By Mark Price
From the time I was a small boy in south-central Ohio, I had heroes. My heroes seemed a bit strange to many of my friends. My heroes were not like theirs: Superman, Batman, or Underdog. As far as I know, my heroes never wore capes. My heroes invested their lives in sharing Jesus with individuals who have never once heard His name or story.
Along my journey, especially as a WMO ambassador and IM board member, I’ve met many individuals much like myself: lay-leaders, youth, and pastors who have their own godly heroes of the faith. I’d like to introduce you to a few of mine.
The Unnamed Servant
Scripture contains many nameless characters. They are real; we just don’t know their names. This first young lady is like that, because she prefers to serve the Lord outside the spotlight. We will call her June.
June’s story begins with a two-fold prompting. She and her husband spent time out of town with family during a nephew’s health crisis. While there, they met Eddy and Amanda Simmons. Meeting them and hearing the details of their ministry to the Samburu in Kenya certainly left an impression on her.
The second prompting came when her local church hosted a Go Global event. Her pastor recalls, “I believe we heard from 11 missionaries that weekend. Hearing their stories and their desire to help equip local churches to support mission work around the world left an impression on her.”
June asked her pastor to form a mission committee and implement a Missionary of the Quarter (MOQ) focus. The leadership team approved, but went a step further, enlisting the finance committee’s support. They included a budget line in the annual stewardship plan. Anyone can designate a gift to the MOQ any time. Wednesday night offerings are designated for the MOQ. When the MOQ visits the church, a special offering is taken. At the end of the quarter, all the money collected is sent to the missionary’s account.
“Our hope is not only to educate our church family about the work of missionaries, but also to inspire them to become more involved through prayer, giving, taking mission trips, or even considering if God may be calling them into mission work,” Pastor Paul explained. “The quarter-long focus on specific missionaries, with updates and anticipation of their visit, has created excitement. In many ways, our church family feels they know our missionaries more intimately.”
I met 11-year-old Macy at a WMO dinner. (One of our most effective efforts to educate and partner with Ohio pastors and churches has been through WMO dinners, where missionary speakers or IM leaders share stories of God reaching the unreached.) Macy’s dad, Pastor Del Wallace of Forest Valley FWB Church in Springfield, Ohio, asked if he could bring his daughter to a dinner. Knowing the impact missionaries made on my life and biblical worldview, I didn’t hesitate to agree.
As we welcomed pastors and their wives, Del walked in with two “dates,” his wife Shonda and their daughter Macy. I made sure Del, Shonda, and Macy were introduced to our missionaries. That little girl beamed all evening. Somehow, I was confident she “got it.” Macy knew instinctively that those who make their home in a strange land, struggle to learn a new language, and adapt to a different culture—all to share Jesus with those who have never heard His name—are worthy heroes.
Macy (pictured above with her dad) led her church to support missionaries through the WMO. Many folks in her church have roots in Kentucky, and Kentucky basketball fans are competitive, to say the least. So, Macy suggested an Ohio State versus Kentucky WMO offering contest and movie night, with all proceeds going to missions. Pastor Wallace reported: “Kentucky won by $10 (they cheated!) so I had to dress head to toe in Kentucky blue.” We all know the real winners are those who will hear the gospel as a result of Macy’s efforts.
A number of years ago, when our youngest daughter was born, we lived in the Columbus, Ohio, area. We visited Westerville FWB Church and immediately fell in love with the church and Pastor Mike and Sandy Mounts (pictured below, right, with a visiting missionary family). I witnessed Mike’s heart for missions, and how his heart became the heart of the Westerville Church family. For the last 11 years, Mike and Sandy have ministered to Harrison FWB Church in Minford, Ohio. Their hearts are still as vibrant and passionate about missions as they were 28 years ago when I met them.
Sandy leads the charge for missions within the Harrison Church. With a membership of roughly 80, they go above and beyond in their efforts and creativity. A small, rural church in the foothills of Appalachia, the Harrison Church often receives WMO offerings in excess of $12,000! When God’s people have a mind to work, “little is much, when God is in it.”
Often, individuals and their churches “get their feet wet” by supporting missions through the annual World Missions Offering. But the WMO is just an entry point. With time, many churches grow their hearts and budgets to support missions in more significant ways.
About the Writer: An IM, Inc. board member since 2011, Mark Price has pastored Porter FWB Church in Ohio for 22 years. Married for 36 years, he and his wife Deanna have two married
daughters, Lacey and Hannah, and dote on their four grandchildren. Learn more about IM and the WMO at iminc.org.