- Published on June 18, 2015
I pastored for over twelve years before going “on the road” to raise support for our new church planting project. As a pastor, my experience with missionaries has been overwhelmingly positive, and as a “missionary,” my experience with pastors and churches has been 100% positive. I have not had a bad church visit, yet.
However, as I talk with and fellowship with other missionaries, there are some common (and some not-so-common) things that many wish they could communicate to pastors. Most missionaries are spiritual, surrendered people who's sole purpose is to serve and glorify God. They will not bring up these things, simply because they are gracious people and are very grateful for what God is doing for them through the pastor and the church.
1. We understand the need for missionary screening forms so that your church can know who it is supporting with its hard-earned financial resources. We support that and are happy to complete those forms. However, when those screening forms exceed ten pages and/or ask questions like, “what does your wife wear to bed,” please be aware that you may lose the opportunity to support many worthy works which God would have otherwise desired for you to be a part of.. Please also be aware that missionaries who are on the road full time do not have regular access to printers to print an application, so it would be helpful if you were able to accept these questionnaires via e-mail. We don't mind re-typing the questions into the e-mail.
2. Most of us are happy to visit your church even if you are not currently looking to take on new missionaries. We look at “deputation” as a ministry in and of itself, and strive to be a blessing, doing the work of God where ever we are. We also understand that “prayer support” is more valuable than financial support. So, if you would like us to come by and preach or be at your missions conference or camp meeting, please ask! We enjoy preaching, serving God, and blessing God's people.
3. Our kids are pretty much just like those of your church. They are kids and have problems, and we are likely very aware of those problems. Please be gracious when they misbehave, and please don't be quick to blame the “missionary kid” when something goes wrong. Pastors certainly know what it is like to live in a fish bowl, with all eyes on you and your family. Missionaries live a similar life, with everybody at every church watching them and critiquing them.
- Published on June 17, 2015
My experience with missionaries during my time as pastor was very positive. During my time "on the road," I have been able to talk with many pastors, who have shared their experiences with missionaries. Again, the experience of most pastors is very positive -- but every pastor has one or two stories of things that went very wrong with visiting missionaries. Below are pieces of advice culled not only from my own time as pastor but also from numerous pastors I have visited with and fellowshipped with. A missionary who takes these things to heart will avoid many potential problems as they visit churches.
It is unfortunate, but there are some pastors who have a very negative view of missionaries because of things that a few have done. Missionaries as a group are sometimes viewed and "moochinaries," begging money church-to-church; as telemarketers who call ceaselessly and repeatedly, even using the pastor's personal cell number and interrupting those rare family times; and even as carnal salesmen. This really is unfortunate, because it impacts the spiritual men and women who have given their lives in surrendering to do God's work. The advice below will not only help the missionary who heeds it, but will help those who must follow in their tracks.
1. Don't describe your work as being "on the front lines," as it implies that our church is on the "back lines." In truth, the pastor and many of the active members are very literally on the "front lines" every day, in ways you cannot imagine.
2. Be honest and reasonable about the amount of funds you are raising. Money does not grow on trees. People in the church make some incredible sacrifices to support missions. Many live very conservatively and give up things that they could have had so that they can help you do the Lord's work -- not so that you can live the middle class lifestyle.
3. If you are not living and laboring as a missionary stateside, what makes us think you will magically start doing it when you get to your field?
4. If you complain about the food or accommodations we have sacrificed to provide you with during your stay with us, we probably won't be inclined to support your work. If you are not grateful for what the Lord provides today, how are you going to be grateful for what He provides you on the field?
5. We are contacted by 6-7 missionaries every week who are seeking meetings. We love missionaries, but cannot invite everyone who contacts us. It's nothing personal. And, while calling 5-6 times doesn't help you get that meeting, it may cut into the only family time I have this week.
- Published on June 9, 2015
God has been so good.
Since leaving Maine again in early April, God has given us one good meeting after another. Everywhere we go, the Spirit is already there preparing the way and ordering our steps.
We began this leg of the journey with a Wednesday night visit to Good Shepherd Baptist Church in Smithfield, KY, to hear some great preaching. From there, we headed up to Walbridge, in northern Ohio, where I was privileged to preach at Grace Bible Baptist Church during the morning and evening services. Pastor David Stogsdill and the folks there have a great heart for church-planting in their own Judea – and there is a tremendous need for sound churches in their county.
From Walbridge, we went to far western Kentucky, to a missions conference at Faith Missionary Baptist Church in Benton (Pastor Bill Amberg). The Spirit was there, preparing the ground and enriching our hearts.
- Published on March 3, 2015
Tennessee Temple University, after almost 70 years in operation in Highland Park, is set to close after this semester.
Trustees are set to vote on Tuesday morning to merge Temple with Piedmont International University of Winston-Salem, N.C. Students who are not graduating this semester would have the option to continue their education there. Bryan College in Dayton, Tn., and Shorter College at Rome, Ga., would be other options.
The closing follows the shutdown several years ago of Tennessee Temple High School.
- Published on March 3, 2015
An imprisoned creation science evangelist and Baptist minister who refuted evolutionary theory and who has served eight years of a ten-year prison sentence faced trial in Florida today as he fights a new charge that could put him behind bars for life.
Kent Hovind, the founder of Creation Science Evangelism out of Pensacola, Florida, has been incarcerated since 2007 over 58 federal counts, 45 of which centered on alleged “structuring,” a term that refers to breaking up one’s banking transactions into smaller amounts in order to avoid reporting.
- Published on October 15, 2014
A federal judge ruled that a biblically based denunciation of homosexuality was a “crime against humanity.”
In his decision in the case of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) v. Lively, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Ponsor held that Scott Lively, an evangelical pastor, was “aiding and abetting a crime against humanity” when Lively spoke in Uganda and in America against homosexual behavior.
Ponsor wrote in his 79-page opinion that Lively’s message was “analogous to a terrorist designing and manufacturing a bomb in this country, which he then mails to Uganda with the intent that it explode there.”
- Published on October 15, 2014
“Political and social commentary is not a crime,” Holcomb said. “It is protected by the First Amendment.”
The subpoenas are just the latest twist in an ongoing saga over the Houston’s new non-discrimination ordinance. The law, among other things, would allow men to use the ladies room and vice versa. The city council approved the law in June.
The Houston Chronicle reported opponents of the ordinance launched a petition drive that generated more than 50,000 signatures – far more than the 17,269 needed to put a referendum on the ballot.