One of the highlights was a service in the town of Goroka. The church house was filled with hundreds of people. Approximately fifty children sat on the floor. All three of us preached. Not one child left their seat. I still can’t believe how quiet and attentive the children were for a three-hour service.
Ideas to Make a Missions Trip Productive and a Blessing to the Missionaries
Having served as a church planting missionary in London, England for over five years, I had some groups that were a tremendous blessing. I also had others who were a tremendous burden and left my family and the ministry that the Lord gave us suffering when they left. Let me quickly say, a missions trip can be a great blessing to the church planter or it can be a great burden. Below are a few thoughts about short term missions trips that will come from the perspective of a pastor and a church planter:
A furlough is defined as “a leave of absence.” To missionaries, the term “furlough” is known as the time to go “home.” There are many different views on what a furlough is, depending on what a missionary wants to accomplish while he is back in his homeland.
I wrote these thoughts last month in the middle of our annual Faith Promise Missions Conference. This year, like most years, we were privileged to have a number of missionaries and fields represented in our conference. They are sharp, articulate people desiring to go the mission field and share Christ with the multitudes. The only thing holding them back is the financial resources necessary to go and be sustained on those fields.
Jesus said more than once that His hour had not yet come. However, just a few hours before He was to be crucified, He proclaimed in John 12:23, “The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified.”
There are some books that you read, finish, and move on. And then there are books that you read and feel profoundly thankful were written. For me, Forward in the Face of Fear: My Life for Christ in the Muslim World by Edgar Feghaly is in the second category.
Striving for Indigenous National Leadership—Part 2
A common decision missionaries run into on the field is deciding if they should use their church as a hub to train nationals and send them out; or if they should turn their own work over to a national once it is self-supporting, and start over somewhere else repeatedly. I have personally done it both ways and would like to share some insights I have learned.
Striving for Indigenous National Leadership—Part 1
There are many issues churches need to address concerning modern missions. Should churches in the U.S. support national pastors on a monthly basis? What are the positives and the negatives? Is it good to fund national projects? There are many churches and individuals who have a heart as big as Texas and have a desire and capacity to help, but are we, in fact, helping or hindering?
As recently as a few weeks ago, I stood with Dr. Daniel Kim at the DMZ by North Korea. It’s a heartbreaking feeling to stand just a few hundred yards away from people locked in a country of repression and, for Christians, a place of severe persecution—and be able to do nothing to help them.
As you learn the language, you won’t just be learning how to express yourself, but how the people of your country express themselves. As you do this, you will understand their mentality. Culture and language are inseparable. Therefore the faster you do this, the easier your transition will be.
A few years ago, Amanda and I were privileged to meet some American missionaries to the Philippines, and they became very good friends of ours. They told us about an animated evangelist they saw try to communicate to a Filipino audience—through a less-than-animated translator.
Our church was very skeptical of the idea of “faith promise”—largely because of the way it had been presented. Pat walked me through the concept and presented several solid reasons why I should use my pastoral office to implement this method of missionary giving.
I am not excited because I have retired and am looking forward to a stress free life of daily golf. (Those who know me well know that there are few things more stressful to me than trying to hit a golf ball.) I am feeling great because we are following God’s plan for our life in beginning a new ministry that we believe will be every bit as busy and productive as the one we are leaving.
There is a broad spectrum of responses when one hears the phrase short-term missions. “Why even bother?” “It’s a total waste of money that could be better spent somewhere else.” “It opens the eyes of the world to the needs around them.” “It will forever change your life.” “No short-termers ever become long-termers, so why waste the time and effort?”
To most missionaries on deputation, arriving on the mission field after just eighteen months of raising support is an unattainable dream. I have met missionaries who have been on their deputation trail for three to six years. One missions agency says that the average deputation time is four years.
What is a missionary? I have been called one for twenty-one years, and through those years I have heard many different people use the term—from well diggers, to doctors, to school teachers, to veterinarians, to church planters, to orphanage directors, and some whose sole purpose is teaching good hygiene habits.