Perhaps an experience of hearing a great orator speak of a selfless mission has you wondering if you possess what it takes to “go ye into all the world and preach the gospel” at home or in some foreign land. But what if you could learn from the experiences of others?
In 2014, a partnership of five churches, Owensboro Christian Church, Heritage Baptist Church, First Baptist Church, Bellevue Baptist and Pleasant Valley Community Church will team up to offer a course that looks at missions from a unique perspective.
Several years ago, Lisa Litsey, mother of 8, and her husband Dr. James Litsey, were operating a successful medical practice in Daviess County when God called them to a mission field beyond Owensboro, beyond Kentucky, and beyond the confines of the United States. The Litseys answered the call to serve in Africa, and trusted in God’s provision for their path. So, with 6 of their children, they left their comfortable lives stateside and began their service in a third world country. Life truly took on a new perspective for the family.
Through Litsey’s work with the Pioneer Bible Translators (PBT), she took a course to prep herself for work in missions. It started with a required course called “Perspectives”.
“Perspectives” is a 15-week course designed to help believers, from all areas of the globe and life, to see God’s redeeming of people, to Himself, from every tribe and nation. It introduces, through an historical overview of Christianity, how God has worked through the ages and among cultures, giving each person a role in His work through the Great Commission.
The course gave Litsey a sense of security in the fears that accompanied her impending mission. It also provided her with confidence to go forth with the Gospel, because she was a part of something much bigger than herself – sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Upon returning to Owensboro with her family, Litsey felt the call of God to share “Perspectives” with Owensboro. She said she saw a heightened involvement in missions at her church, Owensboro Christian. Litsey envisioned that “Perspectives” could further equip those in the mission field, at home or abroad, and felt that her next mission assignment was to provide these classes in a community setting.
While visiting a local coffee shop one day, she saw friend and fellow Christian, Keith Maddy, from Heritage Baptist Church, reading from the “Perspectives” study. It was the first encounter, in Owensboro, that Litsey had with another “Perspectives” student. It was hard for either to contain their passion for the course.
Unlike Litsey, who was new to the mission field abroad, Maddy was well-traveled, and had served in multiple countries. However, when he heard from a church member about “Perspectives,” he felt that he, too, could benefit from its content.
Maddy read many studies over the years about missions, but “Perspectives,” in his own words, “blew him away.” Written from the viewpoints of both men and women in missions, Maddy says “Perspectives” is a comprehensive program that encourages interaction while learning together. He looks forward to being a part of the course in Owensboro so that he can see it at work in a group setting firsthand. Keith previously took the course online, and didn’t get the benefit of a group perspective.
Some people may question God’s purpose in their lives, but Maddy says, “God outfitted me to be a missionary.” In the books of Matthew and Mark, we find Jesus telling the disciples to be “fishers of men.” For Maddy, “Perspectives” confirmed the proverbial expression, “We don’t go to give them fish, or tell them to go fish, we teach them how to fish.”
For Litsey, “Perspectives” encouraged her to “Learn the best way to help” those she is serving from a Christian and culturally respectful point of view. Litsey hopes that every Christian will see the benefit of taking the course, regardless of whether individuals are involved in local, foreign, short, or long-term missions.
With so many Owensboro residents excited about missions, it seemed like the perfect time to offer this course. So began the partnership of the five local churches.
What do people need to know about the course?
According to “Perspectives,” the 15-week course will help students “learn firsthand from the global experiences of pastors, professors, Biblical scholars, mobilizers, theologians, missionologists and missionaries from the field”. This will be done in four areas of study: Biblical – The Word of God; Historical – Your Spiritual Lineage; Cultural – Peoples of the World; and Strategic – Your Place in the Story.
A recurring theme seen in “Perspectives” is that one person, sharing in Christian faith, can have monumental impacts locally and globally. It’s a theme that Owensboro coordinators hope will be felt across the community.
According to perspectives.org, students of the course range in age from 16 to 92. When asked who might benefit from participating, Maddy and Litsey had unique insights. Maddy suggested that individuals in their twenties and thirties may be more apt to attend, because they are often on fire with their faith, and the course might give them the additional equipment necessary to go forth and reach people for Christ. Litsey felt perhaps that those in their forties and fifties would benefit, because they could be nearing an age of retirement and may have additional time and resources to expand their mission field. Either way, both agree that all are welcome!
Regardless of your age, there is much to be done in the way of helping others, and Litsey reminds us, “They don’t all involve living in a hut.” There are many missions and relationships to be built from varying perspectives. This course is for “every Christian,” says Lisa, and is structured so that it will, “help you reach your own community.”
The 15-week journey will instruct participants that every believer is needed to fulfill the Great Commission. Owensboro church leaders hope you will come be a part of this opportunity, and perhaps take on a new perspective.
The course is $199.00 per person, and will be held each Tuesday for 15 weeks on the Owensboro Christian Church campus, beginning Tuesday, January 7, 2014 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. There are discounts and scholarships available. You can find more information at www.perspectives.org, or contact Lisa Litsey at 270-231-7473, or [email protected].