- Chapter 1: Our Hearts’ Prayer: A Victory March in the World
- Chapter 2: No Sophisticated Weaponry
- Chapter 3: The Need for Recovery
- Chapter 4: Games People Play
- Chapter 5: Satan’s Opposition
- Chapter 6: The Need for Team Concept
- Chapter 7: A Tattered Soul or a Sparkling Life
- Chapter 8: The Team Leader: Paul
- Chapter 9: The Team Member
In 1975, the author, with a team of ten adults and one child, traveled to Finland with the intention of complementing the local churches in this area of Christendom. Being young, zealous believers fresh out of a Bible school that was never before heard of in Finland, and coming in the wake of the negative repercussions of the Children of God movement in Europe, they found themselves alienated from much organized church cooperation (professing Christians 96% Lutheran). Working on the basis of a strictly disciplined way of life, with the fellowship of the Spirit on their team, they found out how the power of team life can eventually build a church and speak to a country. Within two years, there was a healthy New Testament-style church, 200 strong. Within three years there was a full-time Bible school with 90 students, and shortly thereafter 125 students were raised up and designed spiritually to train other people to go to other countries with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Now, nine years later, the church stands solidly, having sent missionaries to Sweden, Austria, Japan, the Caribbean, and small groups into various parts of Finland. The work is a testimony of the value of Bible training in Western Europe amongst young people, and a testimony to the power of team concept, the little giant.
Chapter 1: Our Hearts’ Prayer: A Victory March in the World
“Guide us during the few remaining days, for our days are but a handful at the best; give us the spirit of consideration, give us the large sound judgment that weighs things in the right scales, save us from making fools of ourselves by wasting what little daylight there is. ” – Joseph Parker
“Lighten my eyes lest I sleep the sleep of death” – David
“Teach us to number our days.” – Moses
Our missionary caravan paused for a few moments along the main road that led from Krakow to Warsaw. The pause was for a few reasons, the stretching of our legs after an eight-hour ride as well as being captivated by God’s joy and presence. We wanted to stop and pull over and do a victory dance in the middle of the road for what the Lord had done. As Miriam sang her song of victory over the Egyptians, so the Lord gave us a song for what He had done through a small group of common people who decided to get moving through one of His many open doors. That night, we rejoiced under the stars on the quiet black road in the middle of a communist country.
All eight of us felt and knew the same thing. There was hardly room for “talk.” We could barely believe what we had just done. We had arrived in Krakow the very same day Pope John Paul II had arrived to visit his countrymen. We had not previously planned our itinerary so that our schedule would overlap with the Pope’s, but somehow it happened. As our caravan made its way into the old city, we wondered, why all the excitement? Hundreds of thousands of Poles lined the streets. After a few minutes, the Pope’s caravan passed by to the cheers of thousands of nationalists thrilled that one of their countrymen was the Pope. We made our way through the crowd to our contact. After a few hours, it was clear that that night we would be singing and preaching in the same cathedral where the Pope had been the former Archbishop. We could already see that the cathedral would be filled that afternoon as people made their way to the massive building. That night, our small group from Finland sang and preached the Gospel to 4,000 Poles. The anointing and presence of joy and power was so strong that is seemed that we could not pour out enough of our hearts to these spiritually hungry people.
It was hardly explainable, but we all sensed God’s pleasure with us, His “common people.” As we emerged from the cars, we looked to the heavens individually. I couldn’t help but think that we all had prayed with prayers like this:
“Lord, send others into your harvest field for there are many entangled with the affairs of this world. Keep my life simple and pure with power, for there are many allurements and distractions for those who fail to obey. Keep my life in your perfect will then I will do valiantly: you will lift my head. Poland is open. Lord, I pray not just for Poland, but for the world. Call others to live absolutely surrendered to your will that you might make the barren fruitful! Oh, how the mighty are fallen, and how the narrow gate is missed. Lead us and guide us in the true way of Calvary.”
Losing one’s life is the only solution to this world’s problems as our Master so aptly displayed. We’ve discovered a treasure! Many others know of its value. They sell all that they have, buy the field, and dig up the treasure. For what could be better in life than to be in Bethlehem at the birth of Jesus in the hidden place? To be standing in that common and unreputable place that has graciously been visited by God’s presence, making life to be what He had intended it to be, a victory march in the world. Will you go? Will you pray? Will you be one of His little people taking on the challenge of a mighty Goliath? Will you reach the neighbor at your elbow as well as some unknown soul abroad? That is our hearts’ prayer.
The prayer of the Church given by the Holy Spirit is that the Father will send laborers into His harvest field which is the world. It’s my conviction that many more indeed are called than actually go. Satan opposes this work perhaps more than any other. Healthy ministries the world over should be making the whole counsel of God clear to all people. This includes His call to discipleship that all nations may be evangelized. The following words should be a constant part of every church’s vocabulary: “As you are going, preach … to all nations, … to every creature, … unto the uttermost. The field is the world … Let us go into the next town that I may preach there also. I must needs go to Samaria … ”
Secondly, I’m sure that if we would lay our lives at the altar before Him, we would take them up again with hundreds of brothers and sisters in many lands. Unfortunately, however, some Americans would rather hope to amass wealth, have their ears tickled with prosperity doctrines, build massive church buildings, and air expensive Christian programs that often times seem to be grotesquely veneered with Hollywood rather than endued with Holy Spirit power from above. It’s a grief to me to see people, many able-bodied and able-minded, invest their lives in such folly as simply making a living. “Isn’t life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” Unfortunately, much of our society runs people through schooling and training with the philosophy that God is dead … but of course, how can the blind lead the blind?
For this reason, the highest form of living is not one that gives you a living, but rather teaches you a Life. The highest form of education, which is the highest form of communication, is the clear and dogmatic teaching of the Word of God in the atmosphere of a growing, thriving church the corporate Body of Jesus Christ.
All the voices and winds of the world will have to out-shout and smother the life and teachings of the Lord to make their testimony glisten. To us, not only are these voices hollow and the testimony of the world pitifully dull and ready to vanish away, but the testimony of the Lord is like a house so sure and steadfast that nothing can cause its collapse or mar its glorious shine. As the disciples, as young as they were in the faith, were captivated by the life and words of Jesus, so we likewise say, “Where shall we go… ?” Truth has wonderfully trapped and delivered me! We pray that we would all join Jesus Christ in His vision for the world. It’s a heart prayer that “common people” like you and me would boldly believe.
We’re sure that God’s program for world missions is grassroots, that is, it involves you and me. If you have this little booklet in your hand, consider that it is little people like you and me whom God uses to reduce the mountains to ashes. We are His threshing machine. He has worked marvelously in the past reaching the world through burning hearts of love. He is doing exactly the same today. Team concept is a little giant. Common people like you and me, filled with truth, become tools of God. Read the following with a childlike heart! Consider Him, consider yourself, and then look to the fields.
Chapter 2: No Sophisticated Weaponry
” … And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith. ” – (Judges 15:15)
“So maturity is not a matter of age, but of attitude.” – E. Stanley Jones
“Years may wrinkle the skin, but unbelief and doubt wrinkle the soul.” – Gen. Douglas MacArthur
“You have one duty on earth-to save souls.” – John Wesley
“We’re not perfect, but by God’s grace we’re going forward.” – Dr. Stevens
After having been to several countries and having witnessed some of the needs in the world, I’ve been left with some strong indelible impressions about the fathomable possibilities for helping God’s people. I’ll not forget the likeable Polish pastor who explained his tape-recorder ministry to us during one summer visit to his home. With a lone recorder, he reached certain poor farmers in Eastern Poland. Depositing the recorder at one farmer’s home with the assorted music and sermon cassettes, he was able to reach several farmers and their families who gathered weekly to hear the material. “If the Lord would provide us with a few more of these,” he said, “I could expand my work.”
Lea Salminiemi, our mission secretary in Finland, traveled to India with six others last summer and saw the need for the completion of Brother Jacob’s Bible school in Jagdalpur. She initiated a program in Finland for the believers in her local church to buy bricks for the completion of the building. Everyone bought a brick once a month, and the school was completed. Her vision is international, as she said to Brother Jacob: “We in Finland will build the building, and our brothers and sisters in the States will provide the teachers.” – Bold words from a bold sister who has always walked with a vision.
Bicycles for an itinerant evangelist in Kenya can take him a long way; a moped could take him even further. “Could your church pray that the Lord provides me with a moped?” he wrote, ” … as I walk many miles to 30 different small church groups.” Then, of course, the family who adopts an Indian child, as one of the families in our church is doing, has everything to do with world missions. Through one of our Indian workers, who shared with us about an orphanage in India, a couple in our ministry was led to take in one of these precious abandoned ones, for the Lord had put it on their hearts to open up their home. Only heaven and perhaps time could tell the end to the story of a vision for one of the least of these, my brethren.
Another brother, a student in our school, has a heart for China. Since the Lord has placed China on his heart, he has been working regularly on weekends with a Chinese national church in Chinatown, Boston. He is planning, praying, learning, and going to reach the Chinese; at the moment he is not in China, but our backyard.
During the year of 1983, our church had mailed hundreds of Gospel tracts to individual residents in Turkey. We’ve also sent hundreds of cards and letters to Christian Soviet prisoners and their families in various parts of the Soviet Union. And that’s not by going physically, but by mail. The Post Office is just down the street.
Our mission-ship “La Gracia” was a faith vision at the start. Initiated by a couple of faith believers and then carried through by hundreds of believers in New England, Scandinavia, and Florida under the stalwart leadership of Ed Canino, the ship is exemplary of what is possible when people unite in the Word of God for reaching the lost. The main purpose of “Operation Sea-reach” is to complement already existing churches and missionaries in the Caribbean. The ship has been welcome at every port-of-call by denominations and non-denominational church groups. Weeks of showing the Jesus film in Haiti, ministering to the material needs of the people by way of food deliveries, and helping “war-torn” missionaries with availability have all been a wonderful ministry to all involved.
One school teacher from an affiliated church in Springfield took the challenge of going to Pakistan for one month during his summer break of ’83. Having visited there earlier, he met the challenge of working village to village with a Pakistani pastor via ox cart with a Gideon-like faith. Circumstances pressed him into tight quarters where the only solution was God’s blessing. From the start, he sensed God’s hand. Not only were several hundred Pakistani believers touched, but his own life was revolutionized by this bold step of faith. Continual contact with these Pakistani believers has made outreaching to the world a shorter stretch.
During the summer of 1983, approximately 200 people from our church left the shores of the U.S.A. to do temporary mission work in 63 countries including India, Europe, Africa, Latin America, and Canada. Many of these people, upon returning to the U.S., have kept a vision in their hearts. They consider reaching a certain people in another part of the world an added responsibility.
Guest speakers from various mission groups such as Wycliffe Bible Translators, Latin American Missions, Sudan Inland Mission, North African Mission, as well as movies, slide shows, and mission literature available at our school and church keep the needs of the world present in our hearts.
If we individually, or our church, have any or all of these things mentioned moving in our machinery, then we have a consciousness of others that will do something amazing in reaching the uttermost parts of the world. Missions has always been grassroots. That IS, personal, available people are doing something for others through love. The issue is, “Do I have a vision in my heart for reaching my neighbor?” Unfortunately, some of us get swallowed up in the workings of everyday life and forget the Arabic community at the university down the block or the working class people at our elbows. Our daily lives shrink to routine, and we rarely see beyond the city border. “Pea-sized” Christianity” is to be avoided like the plague. Pea-sized visions invade the life and heart of the believer by the mesmerizing process of the strong, white new church that sits in the “Christian community.” Oftentimes, this building, these people, and the pastor’s message fail to give me a sense of crisis. “Hell is not real” is subliminally echoing in my mind. All is well! Conversations in the church are more along the lines of domestic concerns than the world’s needs. Without guilt, but rather with profound love, we ought to lift our eyes to the fields. You are capable and called.
A world missionary is no longer to be understood as the tiger-fighting, explorer-type that ventures his way into the heart of wild, dark Africa. Too often, we have visions of headhunters dancing around a boiling caldron with the lone missionary tied (in vines) next to it, waiting for his fatal plunge. Now, the world has shrunk, not people’s heads. Jet travel has enhanced international and cross-cultural exchange. The believer is more responsible than ever before to face the challenge of reaching the world.
We’re entering into a new era of missions that is referred to as the “sunrise of missions.” In short, David Bryant has put it this way: “The opening of opportunity to believe the Gospel around the world is accelerating on a scale never before witnessed in the history of the church.” (*1) You and I are our brother’s keeper, aren’t we? It’s been suggested that if all the money spent on church building programs for one year in the U.S.A. was used to buy Bibles, then there would be enough money to put Bibles into the hands of every being on the face of the earth. Even the Jehovah Witness cult follows modest building programs so that most of their money goes into their huge literature program. Consequently, they have the second largest propaganda machine in the world, second only to the U.S.S.R. (*2) Logistically, the needs of the world are fathomable. With the types of resources the church has at large, we are able on every account to help accommodate the needs of all peoples in the world. It simply takes common people like you and me doing our little part through Jesus Christ by God’s grace. The principle for world outreach is universal. Though we are presently addressing American churches and believers, we are not intimating that the mantle has fallen only on us. (We know of over 400 mission agencies in the non-Western world which are sending over 13,000 missionaries-and the number is increasing.)
The indigenous churches in the Philippines are responsible to reach the neighboring tribal people on the mainland and every island in the Pacific. The Cambodians send teams to the highlands to reach the mountain people. Endlessly, the list goes on. If we carry a spark, we can light a fire. Every believer, wherever he goes, carries the inborn capability for spiritual reproduction. The verses on the Great Commission in Matthew 28:16-20, properly exegeted, show a broader perspective of mission work than what is oftentimes represented. The word “go” is a participle and not an imperative. It should be translated “going” rather than a command “go.” The meaning here is, “As you are going, make disciples.” The Lord is not emphasizing the fact that these people are to make their travel arrangements and go. The imperative rather is in “making disciples.” The main and central concern in the Great Commission is to make disciples. This is our primary concern, and we do so as we are going or in our goings. All believers are to be involved whether they stay at home, travel as sailors, merchants, or slaves. We, by being wrapped in the bundle of life with the Lord God, are commanded to make disciples.
None of the champions in the book of Judges defeated the enemy with sophisticated weaponry. On the contrary, what could be more unsophisticated than the jawbone of an ass? Samson defeated 1,000 enemies with what was at hand. The Church is to raise up champions of faith, not timid intellectuals of sight. Teams raised up by the Holy Spirit will use the ox goad of Shamgar or the nails and hammer of Jael to destroy the oppressor. There was no foundry in Israel to make proper weapons during the times of the Philistine oppression. “We certainly are bowed to subservience,” says the Israelite, “for we have no weapons to fight against our oppressors.” What is your excuse? If we will follow the Lord Jesus Christ with raw obedience, then He’ll make us fishers of men. Sophisticated weaponry has its place, but not always. God’s perfect plan is for you and me to begin following Him with what’s at hand. A Spirit-filled assembly, perhaps small in number, is invaluable to world missions. Without a computer, mailing lists, money, technology, and perhaps even, in some cases, proper methodology, we can reach parts of the world. Jesus Christ always produced fervent hearts, educated minds, bold obedience, and open arms for recovery. The battle is the Lord’s. He shall fight for us. Build your church with steps of faith, words of grace, and acts of love.
The key to missions is a strong church that is built on the Word of God and going from faith to faith.
Notes to Chapter 2:
(1) Bryant, David, In The Gap, Intervarsity Missions, Madison, Wisconsin, 1979.
(2) Smith, Oswald, The Challenge of Missions, G. R. Welch Co. LIMITED, Burlington, Ontario, 1981.
Chapter 3: The Need for Recovery
“Could a mariner sit idle if he heard the drowning cry? Could a doctor sit in comfort and just let his patient die? Could a fireman sit idle letting men burn and give no hand? Could you sit at ease in Zion while the world around you is damned?” – Leonard Ravenhill
“Why should so few hear the Gospel again and again, when so many have never heard it once?” – Oswald Smith
“David recovered all” – (I Samuel 30:19)
“God had an only Son, and He made Him a missionary.” – David Livingstone
The Bible is full of redemption. Lost coins, sheep, prodigals, lentil patches, cousins, the ark, gold shields, cities, tribes, testimonies, wars, and then, of course, men,-and so goes the list of lost things in the Bible. At the root of all this, God is telling man that there is an ever-present battle being waged for either the loss or recovery of all things. Ultimately, everything will be found in Jesus Christ, the Guardian, for everything in the universe; but, until that time, there is plenty lost and much to be recovered.
That which is most profoundly and clearly seen is that which is of the highest order of all creation-mankind. God has intended for man to be the noble king of the earth. From the beginning of the Bible record, we’ve witnessed the loss of what God has intended. The loss has been heartbreaking at times as we’ve read the record and as we’ve lived and do live our own personal lives. The Good News, however, in the face of this profound loss, is that God has devised a plan that provides continuously for the recovery of man’s nobility and purpose. MISSIONS, in its kernel-like meaning, is this recovery. God has always been missions minded. If we were to define the word as “the concept of sending God’s people with His message to touch the lives of others,” then we could certainly say that God has always, since the fall of man, instituted a missions program. He has always reached out to the heathen people with His testimony. The establishment of the Jewish people as His nation was the bulk of His Old Testament message. Generally speaking, the Jews were ethnocentric, with a strong nationalism and a centripetal religion. Israel was not reaching out to other nations to convert them and to bring them into the fold. On the contrary, they made the distinctions between themselves and other people with their religious traditions and rigid rules. However, this isn’t to be conferred that God wasn’t missions-oriented from the start. The Old Testament abounds with examples such as Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, Jonah, Daniel, and others who carried messages of repentance, judgement, and salvation to the Gentiles.
God used His people for the sole purpose of establishing a testimony that would affect the heathen. He planted Joseph in Pharaoh’s household, Esther into Ahasuerus’ palace, Daniel into Nebuchadnezzar’s government, and David to live and fight with the Philistines which ultimately resulted in Achish’s testimony that he was “as an angel of God.” Every case expresses God’s desire to establish a testimony to all people of the world. He said through Isaiah that His house was to be a house of prayer to all people. Solomon’s prayer was that, “All people of the earth shall know thy name to fear thee” (I Kings 8:41-43). The Lord pleaded in Psalm 2: “Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance.” This indeed God did for His servant David, for David says in II Samuel 22:44-46: “Thou also hast delivered me from the strivings of my people, thou hast kept me to be the head of the heathen: a people which I knew not shall serve me. Strangers shall submit themselves unto me: and they shall be afraid out of their close places. “God’s heart for the lost is timeless. He has always cared for the salvation of all people.
What is common with all the Old Testament saints is that they all possessed a rare boldness. They were willing to leave their homeland as Jonah did to preach to unbelievers. By providential circumstance, Joseph found himself in a foreign country; and by virtue of God’s blessing, he lived redemptively. Esther rightly understood that her position in life, as comfortable as it was being the queen of a vast empire, was meant to be her God-given appointment to help her people. With deeply-felt conviction of losing her life for her people’s sake, she stepped out of a slot of comfortability and security to face the only thing she could do-be a missionary, a sent one.
The New Testament makes the message of God’s heart clearer. Jesus Christ coming into the world is hardly a message for just Israel, but more broadly, to mankind. He sent His Holy Spirit to “whosoever believeth.” He spoke in terms of “all nations,” “to every creature,” “the uttermost parts of the world,” and “the field, which is the world.”
Jesus Christ had in His heart the burden of reaching the whole world. His love stretched to the furthest comer of the globe without restraint, without excuse, and without logistical calculation. His very existence in the world 2,000 years ago testified to the extent of this great love. He died for every soul for all time and has revealed salvation to ALL PEOPLE-Isaiah 52. Jesus had a world vision. He has never changed. His heart is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Pentecost jettisoned the ethnocentric Jews into a worldwide movement. With the gentle, yet profound movement of the Holy Spirit, Peter, Paul, and all the apostles touched people of all nations with this Gospel of good news. Man has been found, and recovered through the boundless love of God. Now, we are compelled to live for the One who died for us.
Missionaries of centuries past lost everything that they might tell others, those who have never heard of His great love. Many churches and their leaders will one day have to face God for their irresponsibility-their failure to preach the Word with conviction as it is written. Localized churches often times can’t see beyond the town line. Their vision isn’t for the world, they’ve already got that figured out. Their prayers reveal the coldness and indifference of their hearts to a world 1ost and swiftly approaching destruction. Their training programs amount to academic study without obedience, logistics without faith, and a vision without reckless imagination. One church just beginning with 10-15 people involved ought to be challenged in its responsibility to reach the world with the Gospel. Many of us are crippled, thinking only in terms of our little group, and our needs. Certainly, there are needs everywhere, particularly at my front door; but my heart and imagination should take me into the whole world.
“If we are not of our mind, it is for the sake of God if we are in our right mind, it is for you, for Christ’s love compels us because we are convinced that one died for all that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again” (II Corinthians 5:13-15 NIV)
“Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well” (John 14:6-7a NIV)
“In the past, God overlooked such ignorance, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent. For He has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the man He has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31 NIV)
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12 NIV)
“Therefore Jesus said again, I tell you the truth. I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate, whosoever enters through me shall be saved” (John 10:7-9a NIV)
“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep” (John 10:11)
We are called by God with a high and holy calling to fill and replenish the earth (Genesis 1:27). One day, the glory of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea, through human agents, i.e., Jesus Christ and His Church. Until that day, we are sent into the midst of the battle to recover the “lentil patch.” Being God’s fellow-workers (sunergos) pre-supposes unity on the deepest level. With God’s fire in the midst of academics and theological study, we ought to know, feel, and read the heart-thought of God.
We are no longer servants, but friends, for God tells us His secrets. Confidents, fruit bearers, messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ are reflective descriptions of the depth of our union. If we are born victors through Christ individually, with a union with Christ and His Church that is organically one, then we ought to be about our Father’s business recovering that which is lost. “David recovered all” (I Samuel 30: 19).
Chapter 4: Games People Play
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly that in the latter times, some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils…” – St. Paul
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lust shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears, and they shall turn away their ears from the truth…” – St. Paul
“If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God or whether I speak of myself.” – Jesus Christ
“He who seeks to understand commandments without fulfilling commandments, and to acquire such understanding through learning and reading is like a man who takes a shadow for truth” – St. Gregory
Amos said, “There is a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the Words of the Lord” (Amos 8:11). Spiritually applied to today, there are three reasons why a famine of the Word of God exists: 1) there is no preacher; 2) the preacher’s message isn’t God’s message; 3) the people have no capacity to hear. Let’s look at each of these reasons and note their devastating effect on world missions.
First of all, point one: God will never accept our excuses for not being adequately taught the Word of God in present-day America. If the Queen of Sheba could travel several hundred miles to meet Solomon, at a great expense of time, money, and energy in the year 1,000 B.C., then we could certainly move permanently or travel regularly to hear the Word of God in jetage, modern America. It’s a marvel to me that people will spend $10-14,000 a year for their child’s education, travel miles to work, and in some cases move across the country for a new job placement, but will not consider their teaching and training in the Word of God a priority. In short, if there is no pastor-teacher where you go, find one; count it the greatest priority in your life.
Secondly, there is a lot of ear-tickling in this age of narcissism. Ear-tickling is quite different from Jesus’ command to: “Let these sayings sink deep into your ears” (Luke 9:44). People love to live without commitment to the Word of God, and ear-tickling is allowing them to live as they please without losing their lives.
For some people, hearing messages from the Word of God is nothing more than hearing something that gives them self-confidence, positive thinking, self-esteem, self-growth, improvement, prosperity and other self-oriented messages which tend more to make God subservient to our needs and desires than our being subservient to His. Surely, following Christ gives us many of these things that these preachers herald, but are only to be understood on the right ground-we are here to glorify and honor Him. The Scriptures teach that He searches our motives and rubs us the wrong way. Perhaps it would be better to hear more about the grace of God so that we might through joy endure the sufferings of Christ, fulfill the demands of Christ and the plea of the Spirit. A solid foundation in the pure Word of God will see people sent into all the world.
Unfortunately, many church groups need to learn again the first principles of the oracles of God, and that, perhaps, only by the Lord’s removal of the libertine leader. “We’ve heard enough poetry” murmured one distraught church-goer. Another piped up saying, “I’d have stayed home and watched Face The Nation if I was looking for a political dissertation on the Equal Rights Movement or American involvement in Latin America.”
Thirdly, people lack capacity to hear the Word of God. Understandably, not only is the content lacking in the pulpit, but the minds in the pew are as theologically empty as the air space in the church ceiling. Several denominations that held conservative, fundamental theologies in times past shifted to heresies that read equally as erroneous as the Humanist Manifesto. Actually, the similarities are so common, you wonder who is leading who: the theologian with the Bible untold stories of compassionate speakers who, with the fire of God compelled people, whether philosopher’s ideas thirty years later trickle down to the theologian; the theologian does not stand his ground with timeless truths as it ought to be. What a worldly quagmire. Where do missions appear in all this? Only at your neighborhood chopping block. Has your pastor or priest ever spoken compassionately about your call to reach the world? If not, it’s a good indication what place the heart and mind of Jesus has in his life. History is saturated with untold stories of compassionate speakers, who with the fire of God compelled people, whether directly or indirectly, with hearts of love and prayer, to go into all the world.
These compassionate, zealous firebrands for God launched out with a desire to proclaim the GOOD NEWS at all cost. The book of Acts teaches that in primitive times people of many races and nationalities heard the Gospel. Peter referred to a church in Babylon, Paul planned a trip to Spain and supposedly had gone there. Andrew preached to the Sythians north of the Black Sea, and Thomas traveled and worked in Southern India (to this day there are churches there that claim they are descendants of Thomas’ churches). Also, Bartholomew worked in Northern India on the west side of the Ganges. Pontaus of Alexander traveled to India in the 2nd century and reportedly found many Christians there. Philip is reportedly to have worked in Turkey, Matthew in Arabia and Ethiopia, and Simon in Egypt and most of North Africa.(*3)
These men founded churches and plowed the fallow ground having hearts motivated by this truth, “How then shall they call on him of whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach except they be sent?” (Romans 10: 14-15a).
Chrysostom was known as “Golden Mouth” because of his ability to quote and preach from the Scriptures. He sent workers to reach the Barbarians in the Balkans. The Nestorians (though heretics) spread the news of Jesus Christ in China as they were driven eastward by the church at large. Consequently, many Chinese heard about the Savior.
In the sixth century, Columbia founded a mission center on an island off the coast of Ireland where missionaries were trained to reach unreached tribes of Northern Europe.
Boniface, in the 8th century, went to the continent of Europe from England and established churches and monasteries with a well-developed mission strategy. The mission at home prayed and supported the mission abroad with personnel, money, and supplies.
Limited historical records narrow our perception of mission work in the world in the first centuries. We can be sure that reaching the world with the Gospel in centuries past was a dynamic and real function of the church around the globe. More modem works associated with the names of Zinzendorf, Elliot, Carey, Taylor, Studd and Townsend champion the truth that the Church has not been sleeping. God has been faithful.
The needs, however, for people to hear the Gospel in our generation loom out before us. Japan, Thailand, China, India, the 200 million animists scattered throughout the world, the 600 small, primitive tribes in the jungles of South America, 200 different national groups in the Soviet Union, the Europeans that are only nominally Christian and very distant to the truth of the Gospel, and then of course the 720 million Muslims basically summarize the challenges presented to present-day missions.(*4) This is the reason for “grassroots” mission work. As in the past, the responsibility for reaching the world falls on us and our local church.
A believer should be totally indoctrinated in specific teaching that will direct his heart and mind in truth. As we mentioned, God holds the believer responsible to find his fellowship where he can be instructed in the clear teaching of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ’s Word rings clear as a bell, not as a clanking tin can. The hungry heart can readily discern the voice of the Word of God. Surely, some people believe in the cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith, but most assuredly the impartation of the Word to their hearts so that it is “implanted” is quite another thing. Mental assent never motivates a person in faith as does heart talk. Heart talk is that Word from a living voice (rhema) that Jesus told us to live by. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word (rhema) that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). The words from Jesus’ mouth excite, inspire, and persuade the believer. But unfortunately, many of God’s chosen people are God’s frozen people. Who is responsible to fellowship in the Word of God individually and corporately? You are!
These are days when people go through the motions of Christendom. Their minds values and aspirations are as far away from’ Biblical convictions as the Jews in Ezekiel’s day. They linked his messages to a “very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not” (Ezekiel 33:32).
The consequence of the lack of the Word of God is obvious. Man, as a believer who does not get training in clear, exegetical teaching from the Word of God, is capable of doing the same deeds as fallen man. He wanders, deceives disobeys beguiles, and seduces.
In the last days, it is no wonder that the World Council of Churches, as well as other church organizations, have brought fundamental Bible truths into question. Liberal trends have discarded, neglected, rejected, altered and twisted the Scriptures. Zeitgeist’s criticism’ of the Word of God has curbed the missionary flow of the post World War II era to a trickle. However, though six of the mainline denominations have swung liberal, decreased in membership, and sent out fewer missionaries, there has been the increased growth of fundamental, Bible believing groups. Both denominational and interdenominational churches have insisted on the inerrancy of the Word of God and preached it with heart-felt compassion. We need it desperately. All believers should truly believe and see God bring their lives to the ultimate conclusion of the faith.
First of all, you’re to go where you will hear the Word of God. You should make an effort to hear the thorough teaching of the precious and powerful Word of God. Secondly, there is to be no room for ear-tickling. Take up your cross and follow Jesus in yielded obedience to live by every Word of God. Lastly, humble yourself under your pastor-teacher, listen and experience your own personal fellowship with Christ.
Notes to Chapter 4:
(3) Winters, Ralph, Perspective on The World Christian Movement, “An Enquiry into the obligation of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens,” – William Carey Library, 1981.
Chapter 5: Satan’s Opposition
“Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary, the devil as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour…” – St. Peter
“Thus the book of Daniel speaks of an (angel) ‘prince of Greece’ and a prince of the Kingdom of Persia.” Doubtless these refer to demonic spiritual powers which inspire and lead these people… The revelation of John shows that both in the invisible world of light as well as in the world of darkness there are angels each of which is commanded by a particularly eminent angelic prince.” – Eric Sauer
“The power of Satan and his fallen angels is limited They are but finite creatures who can do nothing outside the permissive will of God… They can suggest evil but cannot coerce the will of another creature. They may spread snares and devices to ruin the children of God… They have power over nature when permitted to use it. In truth, God uses Satan as an instrument to chasten and correct the erring saints.” – Lewis Sperry Chafer
There are seven tactful methods used by the devil to keep his “territories” under his jurisdiction. It must be understood that the prince of the power of the air is ruling with an invisible governmental authority over vast areas of land and population. He has hindered the Gospel work in Communist and Muslim countries, as well as Buddhist, Hindu, and so-called “Christian” cultures.
If we were to overhear a dialogue between Satan and one of his cronies, I’m sure it would go something like this: “Sssh!” said Satan as he hunched over on his haunches glaring steadfastly into the brimstone. “Let me think.” His subordinate looked with calm anticipation at his master waiting for his reply. “You mean the 24-hour prayer chain that they started 2 and a half years ago is still continuing? I thought it was squelched. Why wasn’t I notified? It’s exceptionally rare, and, according to statistics, the major cause of loss of ground in several of our areas.” He spoke calmly as if calculating something, stroking his beard as he spoke. you could at the same time sense with fear his growing anxiety. His subordinate said, “Master, we have proof that we’ve lost several locations in government, education, music, and philosophy because of the ENEMY’S recent work through these people. It’s causing me to even lose some lustful waking moments to senseless worry.” Satan replied, “We must stop them! Enough of this blundering. They are only people subject to like passions as all people and are easily, through the right methodology and persistence, brought to the dust from which they came. Now, this will take our major concentration. Assign our best strategies to this task. Already last week, we received reports from five different major cities in the world that our work is being invisibly hindered by the ENEMIES of darkness.”
Suddenly, an office clerk brought in a memo from the demonic commanders over Communist Poland. The air was filled with the smell of brimstone, and tense fear permeated everywhere. Subordinate demons of high command lingered in the place like flies on a carcass, parasitically staring and observing as they do, hoping for an advance, through a superior’s blunder. A sense of suspicion, and yet, order and definition was how these “creatures from the deep” related to one another. Great intelligence with calm and cooly-collected evil dominated every conversation. Satan was throwing brimstone while in deep thought when the memo came. “Christian evangelical teams with Bibles have just crossed the border despite efforts to stop them,” it read. “I want to follow these activities closely with memos hourly from all parts of the earth,” Satan snapped. “Why is it that I wasn’t informed earlier?” he inquired with a gleam of condemnation in his beady sharp eye, and a hiss on his forked tongue. Everyone knew that someone would be paying for not keeping the master better informed, but knew as well that payment would come when least expected, as was always the case. Just then a memo came in from India that read, “Famine is prevailing and floods have washed thousands to our eternal abode.” Another one from India read, “The Bible-preaching team is gaining a foothold with Lydia-type recipients wholeheartedly welcoming the visitors.” Another memo arrived this time from Alaska, another from Pakistan , another from China, until the stack of memos representing all parts of the globe, mounted to the ceiling. Satan’s anger, though calm, was becoming more and more apparent. “Why have we lost even small territories?” He quietly withdrew into his private den for his evil contemplation.
Satan called for a seminar with hundreds of governmental demons, commanders, and the like; the theme being, “Don’t Underestimate the Work of the Enemy When in Infant Stages. “The hall in the belly of the earth was filled with every unclean bird imaginable. Smoke from the brimstone rose periodically so that at times the master of masters wasn’t visible to those hanging from the ceiling at the back of the room. Suddenly, he entered with an explosion of brimstone and a puff of smoke, standing before his high command and his subordinates. Silence and fear filled the foul-smelling air. Not a cry of terror or a whimper could be heard. All of them knew that they were going to receive vital information and instructions that would ultimately determine their future in his organization and the ultimate outcome of his programs for the next six months to two years. He cooly began, perhaps knowing the art of oratory better than any personality in all time:
“More than one grass fire has begun as a result of a spark.” He spoke calmly and coolly with much pause and hesitation hoping that every word would sink deeply into their pointed ears. “We are being presented with a great challenge. There is a growing trend amongst certain assemblies that is exceptionally dangerous to our world denomination. We’ve at times, centuries past, let our guard down, thus having stumbled in part, only to regain our balance and continue our work in subversion. Our work has been profoundly productive through the years. But, we should never rest assuming that there is any stability anywhere at any time. We’ve seen the whimps of the earth slip through our clutches only to somehow later appear over us. It’s for this reason we’ve called this meeting. We must constantly rage war against these feeble folks through the following:
“The following are certain techniques I want every scribe to write, rather ENGRAVE, indelibly on their hearts.
Techniques for extinguishing sparks that lead to global fires:
A. Division in the church
Easily done by the following conditions
1. Uneducated: Promote folk Christianity. That is, belief systems that are vague, originating from others passed down and wonderfully watered-down with people’s ideas, feelings and concepts. The “guy upstairs” idea is as far as some people go with the ENEMY. Keep people both general and this dumb. Anyone really alienated from the ENEMY’S Handbook continues to be a pawn in our hand. These people are seedlings that will, at our command, cause churches to split like firewood on a cold day.
2. Selfishness: Keep people mentally attached to what they have. The moment they start to give away things that they have, BEWARE! This phenomena either pre-supposes a work of the ENEMY in their heart, or else leads to one. In either case, beware. But in some instances their giving has worked to our favor. None of these creatures from the dust can continue to give selflessly for very long before they collapse emotionally (unless they’re supernaturally charged). Sometimes it is those who have given much who make a fertile seedbed for division. It’s those selfish givers that scream the loudest. They give with strong strings attached. Keep these in your front file at all times, because they’ll be extremely helpful at those mounting moments of crisis. When people have given their very lives and have later been (through our help) persuaded that they have been cheated, then we have the makings of a delicious broth of trouble-raging bulls, calculating revengers, conspiracies that ripen with spilt blood-some of these people go nearly mad with revenge. It thrills my soul!
3. Personality Affinities: We have several types of people who by natural phenomena simply fit together. The cool birds are those who pride themselves in their computer jobs, Volvo. cars, racquet-ball clubs, and health food diets. The sad birds are those who haven’t had a break in life. You can tell by how they dress and by their outward appearance. They don’t think too well of themselves. Other lines of demarcation are education, race, music, and politics. If at all possible, keep these natural things before their eyes. It will be impossible for the ENEMY to do anything if pride is seated in their hearts. Divided they fall and are scattered to their own little groups to waste their lives away in delicious folly. What a joy! If, however, they’ve tasted this phenomena that seems to be all quite vague to us-where we lose control and cannot penetrate the cloud-then try to divide on the grounds of personality.
Draw attention to the individual leaders. Use anyone available to us that can carry any kind of charismatic influence as a leader of a group. The more people are viewing themselves in the light of persons, the easier it is to bring in damaging divisions. It’s only a matter of time. For people operating outside of the ENEMY’S influence, there will be great concentration on those things that make them different from others rather than those things that unify, unless, of course, everyone is sleeping, and that, of course, is excitingly possible.
4. Naive to our Activities: Keep these poor souls duped into thinking that they have rights. Confuse certain traditional human rights’ concepts with rights in the church. It’s a grand phenomena to behold when a church is run like a world government, either dictatorship or democracy, it matters not as long as the hearts and words of the people are influenced by our electromagnetic forces. The form of the government isn’t the issue, but the source of the people’s lives certainly is. Whether they be good or bad isn’t our primary concern as long as they are available and communicative with our stimuli. These common societies fail to see our diabolical involvement in their work, thoughts, and speech. They’re like sitting ducks. It’s always so, that when that virtue of our own heart’s pride enters the human scene, then these mud creatures always forget about us and make issues with time, situations, and people. They never seem to be able to focus in on us! They’re as blind as little bats as we move boldly to make them gather and sit in silence or shout so fanatically that they sound like Arabs calling to one another in an Arab marketplace. They privately shoot at one another and destroy. Many die with tight fists and pathetically empty hearts.
5. Weak Pulpit: All of these techniques mentioned thus far will be easily achieved if the leader’s pulpit is weak. This is possible if the leader is not eating food from the ENEMY. Keep the leader from praying and the Handbook at all times and at all cost. The following are a few tips:
Encourage the reading of material that doesn’t inspire, only educates. One of our great successes has been with the propagation of written material that gives people big heads and little hearts. The head, rather than the heart, is in vogue today; greatly to our advantage, encourage intellectual discussion, theological debate, and sparkling sermons with the more illustrious Christian apologists quoted often and referred to. Sooner or later, the concept of hell (our wonderful eternal abode) and the chance of saving people from here will be thought of in disdain, never spoken of and eventually not believed. Complicate issues, mock dogmatism, laugh at simplicity, and muddle black and whites with explanations that offer people a hiding place. After all, it’s all very natural and normal. Remember, people have been initially programmed to believe a lie; they are usually looking for an excuse. An excuse is the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie. Feed people either a reason or a lie, or both, and the human heart will have an excuse. No problem.
Books with no sense of urgency should be read until their little heads inflate. Then allow them to peddle their wares as much or as freely as possible. Words are cheap, as long as they don’t start acting funny. The moment they begin to throw away the more sophisticated extras and live boldly with raw obedience, we’re in trouble. Do everything to dilute obedience with knowledge, worry, personal trouble, and church trouble. We’ve lost too many in years past to those cute, simple sayings, and because of a phenomena we’ve not been able to put our finger on, have been obeyed. For example, one dreadful little worm from the last century, and I’m sure everyone knows his cursed name, said, ‘If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to work for Him.’ Another said, ‘He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.’ Such thinking, in short, believed and obeyed, is the beginning of our downfall. We’d much rather Christians be educated theorists rather than pragmatic soldiers equipped for battle.
B. Concentrate on key individuals
1. Resist the Pastor. Next, and this is a sober command, be sure to weigh heavily on any leader who dares to take world evangelization seriously. ‘A worldwide vision is preposterous,’ be sure to tell him through one of your hand groomed. advocates. Constantly develop resistance. Build that he might crumble! Hold him at bay With our special hound dogs. All ages from all backgrounds are special candidates for resisters to a worldwide vision. Older people who have excessive worry and care for the younger ones are our best advocates. Those who haven’t lived boldly can hardly bring themselves to believe in others who are going anywhere trusting the ENEMY. Middle-aged people are usually quite busy keeping what they’ve attained and earned through hard work. Most of these won’t go themselves but would ‘drop over’ thinking of their little precious ones subject to such bold ideas as going over to another country to live and work by faith.
The younger ones can’t be counted on to resist the pastor. They’ll support the vision more than any other element. But be sure to challenge their enthusiasm so that the vision sounds like a disorganized array of zealous, young people tramping around the world. Discredit the work by throwing car accidents, sickness, and whenever the ENEMY allows it, death in the way. Hit the pastor’s distant friends and relatives with feelings of jealously and insecurity. Drive a wedge With whatever is at hand between the pastor and other church groups. Missions is just another wedge: alienate the pastor. Attack viciously and endlessly both with colleagues and church members, friends, and as much as possible, his own conscience. Undoubtedly if the ENEMY has brought him as far from us as to believe in a worldwide vision, then he is personally impregnable in this area. Our only hope is to cause as much disarray around him as possible. Attack his methods, his vehicle of operation, finances, and his key people. Use reasonable arguments with plenty of reason at any cost.
2. Tame the Females and Domesticate the Males. Remember, people relinquishing responsibility is one of our most effective weapons against the ARCH-ENEMY, as was the case with the Jews who started to build the temple, only to quit soon after. On the other hand, however, there are those like David and his ‘miserable men.’ Those wretched ones who would stand in the lentil patch at the threat of losing their lives, unfortunately, rooted us out. Hopefully, these types are becoming less common, and quite rare amongst those with whom we are dealing. Be sure we keep the male domesticated and keep the courageous ladies at home. The more home oriented they are, the less possibility of their thinking of adventure. Adventure will come from those dreadful missionary biographies and the life stories of those travelling preachers. And be careful that when they read the ENEMY’S Handbook that they are convinced that it is quite another era today, and that they can expect nothing like that today. That is easily done in most places by the lulling effect of the droning of the preacher and the sleeping attitude of the people. Oppress the domesticate with the details of life and continually persuade them that they simply cannot live expecting anything but a new toolbox or a new refrigerator, and that only if they work hard for it. And of course the issue here isn’t male or female. There have been plenty of exceedingly bold females who have been used mightily by the ENEMY to prod the sleepy passive-type male into taking bold action against us. Actually there have been male-female combinations that have absolutely overrun us. Alone they’d be sitting ducks, easy targets; but together they re nearly untouchable. We should keep a tight watch on these couples that are showing interest in consistent church participation. They are extremely dangerous.
On the other hand, nothing tickles my fancy more than to see a solid-thinking male become domesticated and tamed by his wife or girlfriend. He, fortunately, doesn’t realize his potential as being one of our enemies. Likewise, many potentialy dangerous females are tamed by home-loving males. These males successfully persuade their spouses to stay home and bake cookies for the mid-week ball game. Remember, mixed-matched marriages are extremely effective. It takes a rare bird to drag his begrudging companion around the world with him or her, or even yet, leave them or her behind. What a thrill to see a vibrant living male subdued by the glaring, manipulating stare of a female (or vice versa). A delightful game, like a pawn checkmating a king. Domesticate the male and tame the female so that they are actually like the new summer backyard furniture they were just forced to buy … shiny, new, hollow, and stationary.
3. Finally opposition to the idea of losing your son or daughter to the cause of missions has been pitifully easy. Scores have been delightfully ensnared by the merciless, sentimental clutches of a weak or sick mother. Nothing excites my heart more than to hear the sentimental heart strings emanate from a weak and trembling whining voice. ‘Please, Johnny, if you cared about your family you wouldn’t go!’ she’d whisper almost too dramatically. Delightful confusion and guilt. A ploy that at any opportunity I love to play. Keep those family ties strong at all costs. History can only testily how effective families have been in hindering and preventing the ENEMY’S work.
Be sure that dependence, responsibility, and submission are taught to all members of the family excessively. Use at least one member of the family, if not all, to be so much in love with the family and every member that it is used to bind and hinder. Be sure to use the word LOVE rather than POSSESSIVENESS and RESPONSIBILITY rather than BONDAGE. Always make the words, ‘Let the dead bury the dead’ be a cruel and unthinkable- possibility; and then once the believers have disobeyed their conscience and sensed their puppet-like existence, exemplify their failure and project the stereotype of the 96-lb. weakling to their minds. Once they’re pigeon-holed with the self-image of a weak character, they’ll rarely make any bold decisions, especially against their family. Keep them gutless. We’ve got a showcase of 23-45 year olds who are delightfully bound to home and Mommy.
By the way, many of the potential, effective missionaries whom we have spotted early enough have been, thanks to orders from this office, neatly engineered to normality by falling in love with the skin of a girl more our type. Some of these beauty queens make absolutely wonderful modifiers for the over-zealous. Visions die in the midst of romance. These beauties blind soldiers with EROS love, and win for us a significant battle. One of my favorite lines is. ‘How are the mighty fallen!’ (II Samuel 1:25).
4. Lastly, promote organizational trouble. As I previously mentioned, the work of the temple was hindered for 14 years because of one letter. Governmental difficulties, visas, lost passports, international troubles, governmental policies, all the way down to housing rentals, schooling for missionary children, and car trouble are to be always at hand and to be kept coming with intensity. Keep the caldron boiling. Remember, after a point is reached in the believer’s mind, it’s rarely ideology that keeps him back from the field, but rather, it’s these practical troubles. Family, food, transportation, schooling, etc., are to be continually meddled with as tools of discouragement, worry, and trouble. Usually, it’s the little things that surprisingly break the camel’s back. Another of my favorite, which every subordinate should delight in, is ‘The little foxes that spoil the vine’.
At the close of the seminar, the assembly hesitatingly applauded. As they saw the delight their response brought their leader, the applause increased until finally it crescendoed at a fearful height of intolerable noise. Laughter, backslapping, screams, and shouts of victory filled the room. Their leader was very realistically defining what he knew, and for centuries had experienced. They’d seen slanders, church splits, murders, grudges, and wars, all consequential to their activities with the minds of men. Satan was only abbreviating what could be contained in volumes. Smoke filled the room; it seemed with all the noise, cheer, and clatter that this was more of a time of jubilation than instruction. This was like a pep talk for a new onslaught of evil against the ENEMY’S people.
At Satan’s conclusion, he, in false humility, bowed his head, and with concealed pride gloated in his immediate effect. After several minutes, the crowd began to disperse, very conscious of their own responsibilities to continue their war with the saints of God.
Chapter 6: The Need for Team Concept
“Christ must increase, Christianity must decrease. I am not saying that Christianity must be done away with. I am only saying that a Christianity which is closely identified with the West must be eventually shipped back to where it came from. When Christ is ‘lifted up’ as the liberator of India, as already He has been, He is going to attract millions of people to Himself. This I can give in writing in my own blood. Christ must be proclaimed as the God of our salvation and as liberator from social, political and economic depression. Cells of Christians must be formed. The Indian Church must be formed in its own biblical molds.
Plant churches that plant churches. A church is not an end in itself; it is only a means to an end. The Church is a missionary community. Wherever this principle has been applied, the newly organized churches produced daughter churches rapidly.” – Ezra Sargunam
Flies were lighting on and off the dead dog lying stiffly in a shallow torrent running down the gutter in the street. It was the fifth dead dog that I’d seen on the streets of Calcutta within the last few days. Tearful, hungry, sick children, as well as dirt-poor, playful, happy children were seen continually on the streets. Our trip, thus far, had been mesmerizing as if we were children entertained for the first time by a magic show. The smells of India, the climate, dress, food, and the scenario of life in general were all very new to our Western minds. What startling and sometimes heart-rendering scenes. Stepping off a street car one night, one of us (not me!) screamed with fright as a rat scampered off in front of us. It had been a little more than our tenth day in overpopulated India. Our first nights in Bombay had precipitated a few salvations that caused our next few weeks to be full of hope concerning our missionary visit. What could we do to reach India or any third world country that had her same desperate needs? For some of us, we’d spent the last few years of our lives learning about the needs of the world and God’s vital answer. The Cross of Christ loomed out in front of us and prevailed in our thought-life as the lies of Hinduism and its “evil genius” day after day manifested its hideousness. But we had something to settle in our hearts that went beyond Hinduism. What was His will for my life, my call, my work, my purpose in places like India where the physical and social needs of the country are so great? Between addressing their physical needs of the Indians to addressing the spiritual needs, there lies a large gap. Perhaps both would be appropriate and even ideal, but how to start, what to do? The training I had was primarily along the lines of Bible teaching, pastoring, and counselling. Some of us had already had six to ten years of pastoring and knew very well the value of spiritual teaching, leading, preaching, and praying. The question in the midst of all the orphans at Mother Theresa’s orphanage and in the midst of the cripples in Brother James Andrew’s revival meetings seemed to always present itself. What kind of people are needed here? What should we do here in India?
Without contest came the answer. An answer that God implanted in my own heart and mind years earlier. The dawning of God’s revelation of His Son, the judgement of the world, and the hope of life eternal had never been smothered or stolen during all the years of my Christian life. The Lord by grace had kept such wonderful truths through the Holy Spirit, and again it was clear to me that despite the physical and social sufferings of the people in India, the crux of any true, long-lasting revolution is by the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. A cultural revolution is needed in India, but not one brought in by technology, medicine, or education, but by His Spirit. Herein is seen the value of Bible School. Not just any Bible School or seminary, but Spirit-filled preaching and teaching that imparts God’s thoughts, feelings, and heartfelt will for you is one worthy of human and angelic attention. The highest form of education is that Bible School experience that elevates the human heart to the heavenlies. Divine impartation equips the individual to be a heart-Christian, not just a head-Christian. The Indians, as well as every person in the world, need to see and feel your heart. What is in it? What do you believe about yourself? Why did you come to India? What do you think I need? Why? Unless these legitimate questions can be answered with heavenly insight, inspiration, and love, then how could we touch the hearts of any people? We are all the same. It’s for this reason the Gospel is for all people. Our lives need to be so infused with heavenly life that we can “slip in the back door” of people’s lives. Surely, a lot of missionary blundering has been more the consequence of dead Bible training rather than weak or inadequate methodology.
We who are interested in mission work ought to consider what our particular call is in reaching lost people. Judging from the spiritual hunger of the young men and women in India, there is a need for the ministry of His Word. Unfortunately, there have been such weak testimonies in times past by Christian medical doctors and teachers working abroad, many were unable to defend the faith when asked or confronted with real heart-seeking questions. Their missionary service to their respective countries was like putting a band-aid on cancer. Surely, we’re not worthy of tying the shoes of many who have labored selflessly and suffered in foreign lands, but we ought to take special notice of God’s blueprint for church planting. The Church is God’s answer to the world. As we shall see, it is not you or I as individuals, but His Body of which we are a part, that is needed to testify in the world. Indeed, India has a long way before it would become predominately Christian, particularly when we view it today; but we should see the great benefit in team concept mission work as well, where Body principles are practiced and experienced.
While in Serampore, India, a few of us stayed at William Carey’s College and lived for a few days in the very same house he had built and lived in. My mind registered back to 1792 when he first left for India with his wife, children, and two team members. After 32 years of faithful and hard work, he had translated the Bible and parts of the Bible into 32 different languages. As a consequence of his work, this eastern section of India has the largest percentage of Christianity today.
Despite their problems and practices that would fall under the criticism of some missiologists today, these humble people, a team of workers in India, changed people’s lives. At the time of Carey’s death, there were 16 mission stations with 47 evangelists preaching constantly to great crowds of people. There is a call for believers to count the cost and prepare their lives for addressing the deepest needs of the human race through team concept. People are needed- not just any people, but prepared people, who live according to God’s blueprint. Teams must be sent out by healthy churches of God which cause cultural differences to shrink to molehills. Christ must be seen crucified before us; this is God’s answer for all people.
Chapter 7: A Tattered Soul or a Sparkling Life
“The suffering will be endured and the sacrifice will be made with gladness just so far as the truth of God has reached his heart, and the truth will normally reach his heart only as it is brought to him by a faithful pastor deeply taught in the Word, which God has given.” – Lewis Sperry Chafer
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:2
“Be built up in the structure of your soul by spiritual revelation.” – Pastor Rick Knapp
The principle of sacrifice on behalf of the believer isn’t always to be felt. As a matter of fact, though the believer is appointed to suffer, there is a sense where his consciousness of suffering is transformed to the consciousness of privilege and joy. Jesus Christ considered His call a privilege, for the joy that was set before Him (Hebrews 12:2). “Sacrifice and offering thou hast not, but a body thou hast prepared me, “these were His own words. When Jesus appeared on the scene of human history, the hard ground of religion in Israel was thoroughly occupied with sacrifice. The sacrifice of animals and the sacrifice of worldly pleasures were the common order for the day. Sacrifice isn’t foreign to any religion, because all of mankind has an inbuilt moral conscience that urges him to make a payment to God for his failures in order to obtain God’s blessings. There is nothing new here or strange to the natural man. But the Spirit-filled believer cannot tolerate such an opinion. His viewpoint of himself and his relationship to God is completely different than this.
Being called to serve the Living God as Jesus did was quite different from a life of sacrifice that was seeking justification or reconciliation to God. “Dead works” are those thoughts that are the root of all attitudes and actions that tell us we are debtors to God. A believer living on this basis is lacking significantly in spiritual substance and grace. It’s far too easy for a believer to go to a mission field on the basis of dead works and serve for perhaps years with hard sacrifice simply because of moral duty. God is not primarily interested in our sacrifice. God was not impressed primarily in Jesus Christ’s actions. God was pleased throughout the course of His life by His mental obedience, depth of understanding, and walk of faith.
All service for God must be established on this ground. The value of any worker is not primarily his sacrifice, but rather his obedience. Even Jesus Christ’s death on Calvary wasn’t the zenith of His life’s work, but, more accurately, it was a deeper principle-His obedience to His Father by the Word of God. The believer must develop and grow precisely at this point more than any other. We are generally space-oriented. “If I go there, then I’ll be fine,” or, “The grass is greener on the other side of the Atlantic” syndrome. This is so applicable to returning missionaries as well. Your life is not primarily the field or where you are, but rather the joys, revelations, power, and life of the Word of God. The Word of God engrafted in the heart of the believer builds his capacity for obedience. Obedience is more valuable to God because it is self-less. Sacrifice is not always so. Obedience is the highest form of sacrifice- that is surrendering your life to God’s service. Man, however, is always looking both to submit to a religious system, as well as dictate one. The Scriptures teach that the only way possible to prove the good and acceptable will of God, is by mind-renewal. Mind-renewal is a phenomena of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. God is not looking for religious norms, concepts, or moral standards, but rather Spirit-filled hearts that obey.
Spirit-filled hearts that are obeying the Lord release God’s blessings. Body-consciousness amongst believers gives each believer a sense of victory. Rather than sacrifice because of commitment, Body-consciousness-that is, the true spiritual revelation and discernment of the body of Christ- gives the Body member a sense of privilege, honor, and power. Christ did not intend for us to build on the basis of sacrifice, i.e., going to the third world and physically and psychologically suffering. But, we are to build on the basis of His sacrifice which exalts us into the heavenlies. Every worker should be a member of a Body of believers that is grounded and established in truth by way of Spirit-filled living, the Word of God, and Body-consciousness. God is not interested in lone rangers who are out to “serve God,” but rather, servants who are deliberately chosen to follow His blueprint for all divine service. The testimony of missions, whether at home or abroad, is not to be a “phenomenal record of enduring” under adverse conditions, but rather, power in fellowship. Neither should evangelism be the primary work of missions in the world, but rather, church planting and building. The church is the organ for evangelism, not the individual. The missionary should have a relaxed mental attitude of victory deep in his heart. His attitude and spiritual sense should be that he is hidden in the Body of Jesus Christ, and spiritual treasures, riches, and blessings should be his delight. I’ve met people behind the Iron Curtain who have far fewer possibilities for evangelism than we have in the West, yet their testimony, like Paul’s was that though he was bound (physically), the Word of God could not be bound. His mind was positive and victorious in the most adverse conditions because his consciousness was not primarily self and sacrifice, but being hidden in Christ, reigning with Him.
These Soviet believers in the midst of the most adverse political conditions, see the propagation of the Gospel by the power of the Church. The Old Testament typology of the Church’s invisible power is seen in Leviticus 26:7-8, “And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. “There is great power in the fellowship of five believers. Jesus told us that two in agreement in prayer can bind and loose things on earth through the power in heaven. Believers the world over fellow-shipping together express a testimony that cannot be hid.
Team concept reflects the belief that the methodology used by God in reaching, teaching, and discipline people is in the spiritual fellowship with the saints and in the Word of God. It’s our conviction that some mission work has strained for success because of a lack in the measure of Body life ministry, particularly in regard to missionaries. Many missionaries, though deeply committed, have spent years abroad in spiritual impotence because they’ve lacked Body-consciousness and blessing. Even a team of two people is far too few to carry the kind of strength and fellowship needed to establish a Gilgal. In only a few years, ten or twelve spiritually-united people could make an excellent foundation for building indigenous churches worldwide. In Colossians 4, Paul mentions seven specific team members by name. Likewise, when travelling through Turkey and Greece, he picked up disciples who traveled with him and became, in some cases, pillars of other churches. Paul lived and operated on the basis of either churches or teams. He was not the lone ranger type, out battling alone, but rather, he was reigning with Christ in the Church.
The following is a letter from Diognetus who aptly describes the mark of a Christian assembly:
“Christians are distinguished from the rest of men neither by country, nor by language, nor by customs. For nowhere do they dwell in cities of their own; they do not use any strange forms of speech or practice a singular mode of life… While they dwell in both Greek and Barbarian cities, each as his lot was cast and follows the customs of the land in dress and food and other matters of living, they show forth the remarkable and admittedly strange order of their citizenship. They live in fatherland of their own, but as aliens. They share all things as citizens. but suffer all things as strangers. Every foreign land is their fatherland, and every fatherland is a foreign land… ” – The Letter of Diognetus
The “strange order of their own citizenship” could be described as the “stewardship of the mystery,” or in more easily understood terms, the fellowship of God’s thoughts, values, and purpose. There is actually no distinction made amongst believers before God on the basis of class, country, race, or any other thing related to the natural order of things. There is basically one phenomena that sets God’s people in distinction against another, and that is God’s love (John 13:35).
The interaction of the love of God amongst believers is what is discernible to the eyes of the world. “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another” (John 13:35). “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; that the world may know that thou hast sent me…” (John 17:23).
Let’s pray that the true mark of a Christian would resound throughout the world by team life.
Chapter 8: The Team Leader: Paul
“A vision of the hidden people will convince us, for example, of the Evangelical church’s gross imbalance in sending out only one United Stales missionary for every 20 pastors we place at home. The U.S. isn’t 20 times larger than the world- the world’s population is 20 times that of the U.S.” – David Bryant
“‘[He makes] His ministers a flame of fire,”‘ he wrote. ‘Am I ignitable? God deliver me from the dread asbestos of ‘other things. ‘Saturate me with the oil of the Spirit that I may be aflame. But flame is transient, often short-lived Canst thou bear this, my soul-short life? In me there dwells the Spirit of the Great Short-Lived, whose zeal for God’s house consumed Him. And he has promised baptism with the Spirit and with Fire. ‘Make me Thy fue’ Flame of God.”‘ – Jim Elliot
The years of preparation for the Apostle Paul (3 years in Arabian wilderness and 14 years in Antioch as a teacher) were years that are to us somewhat obscure. We can only speculate, but with sufficient evidence, as to how Paul lived with the intention to fulfill his call. The road to preparation for all team members is as follows:
Paul’s conversion was characterized by submitting to a brother never again mentioned in the Scriptures, Ananias, a common man. He spent his years in a church, perhaps as only a brother, and very little more than that.
Paul’s revelation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Arabia was firmly planted in his heart and soon to be brought into the hearts of the hungry, eager ears of the Church. Underscoring his call as a minister was his call as a servant, humbly serving as part of His Body. But Paul’s role to build up the Church was more than only strengthening the brethren. His heart was alive with a vision, a call, a purpose to reach the heathen. Like Joseph, he had to wait on God. Joseph had received the vision that his brothers and father and mother would do “obeisance to me” (Genesis 37:7, 9). He was, at the time, 17 years old. It wasn’t until he was thirty, as a result of the famine and his leadership as a ruler in Egypt, that his dream was fulfilled. Similarly, Jesus carried His vision throughout His lifetime before it was fully realized in space and time; He was also the age of thirty. Elihu needed to wait until the three older men had counseled Job before he could speak. But, there was no staying for him, for “My belly is as wine which hath no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles (Job 32: 19). Surely, Paul’s heart was “full of matter” as he grew subservient to the Spirit, Word, and Body. All three illustrate the need for humility and patience in seeing God fulfill the call He has on your life.
As a Body member in Antioch, Paul’s heart was knit to those people, as his heart would later be knit to church fellowships throughout Turkey, Greece, Rome, and perhaps Spain. He realized divine revelations and shared them with his brothers and sisters. Over a period of time he was built up more and more in realizing the extent of his call to go to the heathen with the Gospel. Not realizing the far-reaching ramifications of his call, he took a step of faith at Antioch. He left for Crete with Barnabas and John Mark on the first, formal recorded missionary journey that ever took place outside of Israel. Paul’s subservience is revealed in the fact that Luke records Barnabas’ name first, probably because Barnabas was older and perhaps indeed the leader. Things changed, and soon after Paul’s name was referred to first. No one is eve; exalted in God’s Kingdom without first submitting one to another. Paradoxically, no one in the Kingdom of God ever goes up without first going down and “staying under.” Only through humility is the soul fertilized for the fulfillment of the call.
Paul continued to stay rightly-related to the assembly that sent him out. After several years of work on all three missionary journeys, which in eluded successful church plantings and deep heartfelt responsibilities to scores of people, he always returned to Antioch, as it was his home and sending church. One man of God said that we ought to bum our bridges behind us, but one bridge we are never to burn is the one that links us to our home church. Much could be said on many church planting issues, and this is one. It clearly shows that Paul was a deeply humble man. Don’t allow his boastings (which were by his own admission foolish and only for the sake of cracking some sense into his readers) and his determination and enthusiasm mislead you. This life of vision, boastings, and enthusiasm should be a part of the team pastor’s ministry and life, but one that expresses humility, not pride. This shouldn’t be confusing. God plays a symphony With our soul, making us vibrant, living people- not dull, dead, phony, legalistic, or hypothetical believers. Free, powerful leadership anointed by the Holy Spirit, is the pathway because the leader is deeply humble in his heart.
Paul could be the first one washing the floor, serving in the food line, and walking the extra mile without reward and without hunger for noteriety. He was extremely humble. He was a servant to all. No one can be substantially used by God without submission to His people in complete humility before God. A successful team pastor must be willing to wash people’s feet daily.
II. Thought-Life and Study
Paul’s thought-life was in the Spirit. There was an absorption on truth in his soul that at times saturated his thinking so thoroughly that one could only wonder how a man, being so very much human, could be so very much divine. By his flesh, he would serve the law of sin but by his mind, he would serve the law of God. His own records reveal that though he suffered he was given abundant revelations. His thought-life exalted him into the heavenlies above and beyond human conversation. His tongue was as the pen of a ready writer, and his heart was indicting a good matter. His preaching was so dynamic that he could hold a crowd all night, stir a city, and persuade men of “unspeakable things.” Augustine once wrote of three things he would wish to have seen: 1) Jesus Christ in the flesh; 2)Rome in all its glory; and 3) Paul preaching.
How could one explain the nature of his letters; that is, his optimism, his love, his wisdom and selflessness, but that the Word was implanted in his heart. His heart was that new heart which is given to all who believe.
Pastoral discipline in the Word of God is not only a necessity for the pastor’s well-being, but for them that hear him (the life and well-being of the team). Pastors must labor in the Word of God so that they are examples in the Word in conversation, charity, purity, spirit, and in faith.
Similarly, team members should give themselves to continual Bible study, but it must be noted that no pioneering team can be built on hours of Bible study alone. Generally, I suggest that personal Bible study be done early in the morning or late at night, so that the daylight hours can best be used for outreach. Team life leaves no room for the “special office privileges” for the pastor who is church planting. The pastor has to get on hands and knees like everyone else, as a servant, and motivate the team in service no matter what it entails. Team life will surely remove all pedestals; if not, it’s a sure thing that the pedestal will remove the team.
Living doctrine that cuts to the bone does more teaching to the hearts of team members and nationals than anything else. A team that isn’t led by a living example filled with the word of God will only realize 10% of its potential. Oh! How many people enter into the ministry looking for a position, a title, respect, honor, time, and a life… and how few really find it! Surely, we should be anxiously awaiting the arrival of the parchments, but we should be making our way to Mars Hill as well.
Chapter 9: The Team Member
“A father to the fatherless, and a judge of the widow is God in his holy habitation. God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those that are bound with chains…” – Psalm 68:5,6
“Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” – John 12:24
“…Phebe our sister, which is a servant… that you assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you… Greet Priscilla and Aquilla… greet the church that is in their home… Salute… Greet Mary, Salute… Greet… Salute… Salute. ” – Paul writing to the believers at Rome
The Preparation of the Team Member
Whether one has the gift to be a prophet, or the gift of helps, both are vitally important. Both gifts have been given by God for a particular purpose in the edifying of the Body of Christ. Both will be dually rewarded and should be seen as vital. The pastor could not get very far without a car with gas in it, or a train ticket, or the necessary phone calls, etc. Jesus needed the disciples to get the foal for His kingly entrance into Jerusalem. We’re all vitally needed and dually rewarded through God’s program of Spirit placement.
The principles mentioned afore pertaining to Paul, the team leader, now pertain to Titus, the team member. Over the course of years, Paul has seen team members come and go. John Mark, leaving in the midst of their first missionary journey, was, undoubtedly, a great disappointment to Paul, just as in Paul’s latter years, Demas, who loved (agapeo: saw with intrinsic value) the present world (II Timothy 4:10), left him in the face of trouble and persecution.
With the submission to the Body and study of the Word of God already mentioned, we will now continue on to look at the special phenomena that marks a team. The consequential result of the Holy Spirit’s flow in the assembly results in the following:
The Ministry of the Word of God
As mentioned earlier, there is absolutely nothing more valuable than setting someone’s heart on fire with the Word of God. It IS the highest form of communication, it changes people’s lives, instills people with hope, trains them in faith , and addresses the heart’s deepest needs and desires. Team members should speak the Word with one another and eventually establish a Bible School that is used to train and disciple all nations by teaching. We’ve seen the value of establishing Bible Schools in various countries. Our three-year program in Finland eventually led to the cultivation and development of full time Christian workers who now are serving God in Finland, Sweden, Austria, and Japan. The Word of God is so precious that one summer 80 of our people were motivated to go into the world with the Gospel, and, consequently, took part in temporary mission work in 16 countries. The varying curriculum m our Bible Schools in Sweden, Austria, Holland, France, and Puerto Rico all reflect the value of teaching the Word of God.
The family atmosphere of the sending church should be rigorously preserved on the team. Because the team was conceived, nurtured, and sent out by a sending church that has a family atmosphere and deep, personal love, then, hopefully, this will be the case on the team. The relaxed, joyful atmosphere on the team does a lot to release people from the nominal pressures of the ministry. Everyone should feel accepted, specially loved, appreciated, and gifted. Not one person should be overlooked, neglected, or ridiculed not even remotely. All members are vitally important and members of a particular family. All teams should be thoroughly tried and tested during the nurturing period prior to going out, to check motives, life habits, and capabilities of each member. The team leader should use wisdom and guidance in putting his team together. Some people need more training, love, and personal investment before going out because the life of the team members should bathe in the love, faith, wisdom, peace, and joy of the other team members. The deficiencies, weaknesses, and sometimes carnalities of people in a community church-type situation in our own home country can more easily be overlooked than on a team. Team life seems to make the wrinkles look deeper. The make-up seems to wear off rather quickly, and there you are face to face with a brother or sister. “Is this who you really are? Oh, really? Surprised? Don’t be. People are people, and unfortunately, many walk like them. Only Spirit-filled people can survive without hurts, bruises, bitterness and shameful nakedness. Much can be said about this also, but we’ll leave it as is.
Out of all my experiences in foreign mission team work, the one aspect of team life that has again and again breathed life into me is the family. God calls us into a big, heavenly family and then promises us a particular family while on earth. David, as a fugitive in the care of Adullam, had his 400 faithful buddies. They had a ball together! Laughter is more important to me than my daily vitamins. The wise say, “A merry heart doeth good like medicine” (Proverbs 17:22). And, “He that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast” (Pro verbs 15:15 ). What good is a rigid organization if the enemy can’t hear the roar of holy laughter from a group of “disorganized,” organically one people? Nothing could cause his heart to palpitate more than to see God’s people exalted with joy. That joy is our strength and allows for the release of much health on the team. Leaders, beware that you are never discouraged and laugh-less. Always maintain a light and free attitude that is always the backdrop for your life. How often it is possible to become everly concerned with the work, details for living, people, and your own life. The servant of the Lord must not strive.
The Love of the Team
We’ve already mentioned the power of God’s love between team members to outward observers. This love is the consequence of HolySpirit living. Never can the human heart duplicate what’s necessary for successful team work. Just look at what the team member next to you is like. Love propels people into godliness (Hosea 14:4), love covers all sin, love knows no man after the flesh, love thinks (reckons, calculates) no evil, bears all things, love vaunteth not itself, love suffers long and is kind, and love is not puffed up.
The team, built up into the Head by the ministry of truth by the Spirit and the quick and powerful Word, is speaking the truth in love. To provoke one another unto love and good works is a normal phenomena of dynamic living. Provoke expresses the saltiness of our words in daily living. The book of Hebrews, chapter three, says we should provoke one another daily lest we should become hard in our hearts and stand “aloof.” Only love in our hearts could allow for such close quarter encounters on a regular basis without legalism, or personality familiarities to develop and cause the fellowship to turn into something less than a dynamic expression of His mind and heart by the Holy Spirit.
The Team’s Attitude Towards the Work
Whether we’re on a team or not, the attitude towards the Lord’s work must be one of patience, hope, and faith. Of course, it must be clearly understood that the work is actually the Lord’s, and we are only His bondslaves. Without the necessary relationship with Christ, it can be that we would eventually be overwhelmed with the task before us, individually and corporately; like the Shumanite in Song of Solomon 1:6 who was overwhelmed realizing she was the keeper of the vineyards (plural), but had not kept her own vineyard (singular). So we, likewise, might become shortly discouraged and perhaps hurt having been greatly discouraged in our “great exploit for God.” We should do great exploits indeed, but we must be careful to follow in the maiden’s footsteps and learn of Him, for His yoke is easy and His burden light. By the end of the book of Song of Solomon, she had quite another outlook: “My vineyard, which is mine, is before me, thou 0, Solomon, must have a thousand, and those that keep the fruit thereof two hundred. Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice: cause me to hear it” (Song of Solomon 8:12,13).
Here, we have three points that can be gleaned from this teaching. First, the world, Adam, and Satan would like to make our vision for our work too big or too small. The Psalmist prayed, “Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in things too great for me” (Psalm 131:1). There is a tender balance as to what to expect when we’re looking for results and for fruit. We must always remember that He is the Husband man; the work is ultimately in His hands. We ought to seek the Lord as a team and allow Him to lead us in a profound and envisionary way that puts a certain vision before our eyes. As was the Shumanite’s vineyard… “My vineyard, which is mine, is before me.”
This is the second point: We ought to know what we’re doing. The team members and leaders should agree upon certain plans, programs, and projects. There should be a constant development of these plans that work and become projects, and shelving of those that are inappropriate. Everyone should sense responsibility and have definition concerning their role on the team.
Lastly, it should be understood that there are other workers in the vineyard. We should always pray, read, and interact with the Christian community at large in order to see and sense what He is doing in the world through His entire Church. Seemingly, there is nothing that accomplishes that more than to visit other churches in different parts of the world, and to give thanks for His gifted and faithful people. It is such an encouragement to know that at this moment there are Gospel ships, Bible book stores, permanent and temporary missionaries, Bible Schools and Bible couriers, Christian hospitals, orphanages, and schools that are teaching, caring, training and clothing people around the globe.
The Work of the Holy Spirit in Preparing the Heart of a Missionary
In every work of eternal value performed by anyone, there has been the humble beginning of a walk with God. God called Abraham alone. David, while watching the sheep, heard the still, small voice of God, as did Samuel while a little boy in the tabernacle. Before anything is done, God speaks to someone alone. The heart plea of God for the individual to surrender all is heard and obeyed. Thus, we have the birth of a child of God who potentially can pull down strongholds, change nations, and preach and pray with power. The critical time of people’s lives is just at this point. Will you obey, surrender, and follow? There is nothing glamorous about this, actually no one is aware of these heart movements and thoughts. There is no publicity, no counsel with others, usually; this is only your decision concerning your life with God. Affirmatively answered, God sets the Godly apart for Himself (Psalm 4:3), sends the Spirit of His Son into our heart crying ‘Abba Father,’ and begins a process of training. We don’t know for what specific purpose is our call, but we do believe, trust, and lean on the Caller for our lives.
The Work of the Word of God in Preparation
From the moment you trusted in Christ, God determined to finish what He had started in your life (Philippians 1 :6). The Word of God is His instrument of purifying and cleansing the believer. What needs cleansing in the believer’s life? The thoughts, ambitions, and inordinate affections as well as his exposure to the value, wisdom, and spirit of the world. “For the Word of God is quick and powerful sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing… “(Hebrews 4: 12).
It is a necessity that God works in the missionary every day, prior to his going out, to prepare him so that he may be able to contribute, share, and impart spiritual life to people through example, word, and deed. When soulish or self-oriented people go to foreign countries as missionaries, their work, unfortunately, is excessively occupied with particulars, cultural differences, and life on the natural plane. Generally their work is unproductive. Though they may sincerely labor, and that for many years, they are lacking in a daily walk with power in the inner man through the Word of God. Deeply-rooted peace is to be our norm, whether at home or abroad. C. T. Studd would read through the Bible once a year in the jungles of Africa. After the year, he would purchase another bible and begin to read and mark it throughout the next year. This practice continued yearly. Though his teaching certainly wasn’t intellectually sophisticated, because he worked with the African savages, his personal study in the Word of God was deep and real. It supported his life spiritually so that he could always teach, minister, and pray. The Word is vitally important. There is no life for the believer who is not continually living by every Word of God. Therefore, in our church we suggest a preliminary three years of intense Bible School training as part of God’s educational and spiritual training. In well-educated Christian countries, such as you find in Europe, the people want to know why you came to their country and what you have that they don’t have. It would be rather ineffective for the work of the Kingdom if we weren’t broken people with some years of training, educationally and practically, in spiritual victory and power. We need to be able to speak over and above people as Jesus did, not as a method, but as fruit from really seeing something from God. The heart ought to be filled with wisdom from above to deliver us from the snares of the devil below. If our message is primarily the Gospel, the primary issue of faith in Jesus, and the abounding revelations in the Word of God, then our ministry will not be confused with political, national, or cultural issues. Every missionary should be baptized with power and filled with the Word of God.
The Work of the Body in the Preparation of the Missionary
Commitment to live before God, fulfilling daily responsibilities at work, at home, and at school, proves on a gut level what kind of people we are. As one man of God said, “Some people do really well praising God in an earthquake, but when the coffee spills, their world falls apart.” Some think that full-time Christian service would automatically guarantee their spirituality. On the contrary, it would perhaps mean their downfall. Our daily encounters with people tend to give a true test of how we are related to God. We become walking mission-fields if we despise people, react quickly, and make excessive demands. If we live in moods and suspicion, receive ungodly counsel, question the motives of others – if we condemn and judge – we need to relearn the first principles of the oracles of God (Hebrews 5: 12).
If our minds and spirits aren’t developed through the Word of God and prayer to handle such normal encounters, then how can we be qualified to go abroad to teach others how to live? “Therefore,” said Paul, “if I cannot work, then I cannot eat. If I despise man, then I despise God. If I cannot take care of my family, then I’m worse than an infidel. If I judge others, then I am actually judging myself, for I have done the same things.” John said, “If I cannot lay down my life for my brethren, then I haven’t passed from death unto life.”
One missionary visiting our school from Latin American Missions said, “Your spartan-type facilities at your school are very fitting for your vision. Why have wall-to-wall carpeting in the dormitory and a sophisticated football team with cheerleaders if you plan to send people to third world countries who are expected to sleep on the floor or in trees?” We at Stevens School of the Bible are interested in seeing God rub us the wrong way; for we’re praying for the Lord to send out soldiers, not children.
Yes, how you treat your brother at your elbow is the only truth about how you’ll feel about your brother across the sea. Only by living faithfully and spiritually in a specific church with specific people here at home, would you ever expect to be prepared to live effectively for God abroad. Churches have the responsibility to build teams.
“They had set out in 1732 from a small Christian community in the mountains of Saxony in Central Europe as the first missionaries of the Moravian brethren who in the next 20 years entered Greenland, North American’s Indian territories, Surinam, South Africa, the Samoyedic peoples of the Arctic, Algiers and Sri Lanka, China, Persia, Abyssinia, and Labrador. This was but a beginning. In the first 150 years of its endeavor, the Moravian community was to send no less than 2,158 of its members overseas.” – Colin Grant
We’ve covered basically three concepts:
The needs of the world with the pressing economical, political, and social problems are making a plea to God’s tender hearted people. “Come over and help us,” were the words of a certain man from Macedonia (Acts 16:9) in Paul’s vision. Similarly, doors are open for us to reach out around the globe, without necessarily going. Prayer, the pen, and people are always at my disposal. A global vision in your heart will always bring you into the world via prayer, via the post office, via church involvement, and via evangelism.
The Home Church
There are many distractions, conflicting interests, purposes, divided concerns, confusion, weaknesses, sins and weights on the soul, that cause me to lose sight of my primary purpose in life: glorifying God by obedience through grace. Satanic opposition and a weak pulpit dampen sparks of interest in making the stretch of a world vision. The answer is God’s New Testament blueprint. The Spirit and Word-filled life in submission to the brethren builds my capacity for truth in the “inward parts.” My transfigurement (cf. Romans 12:2; Mark 9:1-8) allows for my acceptable service to God. Add to this my involvement in a healthy Church, with line upon- line exegesis, devotional inspiration, testi .. monies, and deeply practical love from God, and I am built up in a spiritual house. This spiritual house, the local assembly, nurtures teams that are to be sent out to foreign countries.
The Church’s life not only nurtures the birth of a team, but sustains it. Because of organic oneness, a spiritually healthy Church has everything to do with spiritual victories through teams abroad. Illustrating this point are the Moravians who sent out teams throughout the 18th century. These communal Christians from Germany sent out teams to North and South America, Africa, and China, as well as parts of Europe. The Church was very healthy at home with a deep sense of responsibility to the ones they sent. For example, they had a 24-hour prayer chain that lasted one hundred years! Some records have it that one out of every twelve of their members went on the field. “Within twenty years (1732- 1752), they started more missions than all Protestants had started in the two preceding centuries. Why? Because they saw evangelization as essential and made it a ‘common affair’ of the Moravian community. How? By sending groups of ordinary believers to establish themselves in new areas and raise up testimonies for Christ. In the case of the Moravians, they sent out nuclei of believers to even the remotest areas of the world.”
Though mission boards were not intended to replace churches, they have subtly done so. Both in the mind of church leaders and individual believers, the mission board, mission society, or parachurch organization, has taken on the specialized responsibility of reaching the world. The fact that the church has been so weak as to necessitate this is indeed tragic. You are to go, not through a board or other agency primarily, but through your Church. From your pews you should be sending out people. Your pastor and his associates should lay hands on your head and all the church members should send you out after prayer and fasting. They should “hold the ropes” by bearing your names and faces on their hearts, and sacrificing through their lives and pocketbooks. The local Church is the sending and supporting organ for mission work. As a missionary you go and know the love of “your people.” Seeing people leave your assembly is as if a member of your family had gone on a long journey. The cords of love, prayer, concern, hope, and support are like ligaments, ever binding and ever holding. How could it be otherwise if we are knit together as the Son was with the Father? Only love, not bureaucratic handling, passing the buck, technology, or selfish living can replace the New Testament blueprint. It’s a cold thing to think that I must return to an empty airport, catch a taxi, and wait until Sunday morning before I get a clammy handshake welcoming me back home.
No wonder missionary casualties are as high as they are. If I suffer on the field, psychologically struggling with a troubled self-image, and the fear of failure, then to return home to something less than a personally loving church is like putting nails in my spiritual coffin. Who is responsible to meet my needs, preserve my life, and launch me into the future? An organizational band of administrators? Or a burden bearing assembly of Spirit-filled people who go beyond the fault and see the need and potential of a people? Who heals the shattered? Jesus Christ was and is anointed to do so. Where does that anointing flow? To His Body, His members in particular (Psalm 133:2). We are here in His stead. Who is at the airport? A hero’s welcome, a band of people who love me, correct me, serve me, heal me, and lay down their lives for me. Are there casualties in the Body of Christ? How is that possible if we have been placed in His Body? Shouldn’t open arms, overflowing hearts, and thoughts of agape love coming through channels of flesh and bones, make me feel accepted, a part of Himself, delightfully lost in His program and purpose for my life? Even if the immediate battle is lost, there should be, through the ministry of God, an obvious and splendidly wonderful revelation ‘ at all times, that the war is won.
If the Church has lost something, the missionary methodology has lost something. If the Church is alive and well, living with a fresh perspective of eternal things, then the field will be a place of expressing victory via the team. The team actually will be a spiritual extension of the Church. If the Church is healthy, then it will take shattered lives and heal them. It will take the stumblings of youthful steps and reinforce them with words of faith, arms of strength, and thoughts of truth. It will make that which appears to be tragic, difficult, or hopeless, and bring it into His illuminating light. Surely a healthy Church at home will launch “projectiles of light” into a dark world, effectively, and sometimes rapidly.
Mission work is not only for the strong and determined. Mission work is for Spirit-filled Body members, supported by Spirit-filled Body members.
Team concept, though an organized group of people, is more than an organization-it is a deep love and life through the power of the cross of Jesus Christ. The supply of the Spirit knits the hearts of the missionaries together deeper than the projects, methods, hopes, and works of man. For this reason, the testimony of the work rings louder and clearer because it’s a testimony of the love and truth of the Church. Church planting progresses more rapidly and effectively because of the quality of our lives as we express spiritual unity. What would normally take a lifetime with one worker, may be reduced to five years with a team. Not only is the team a testimony to the world, but it is a place of refuge, spiritually, and to a certain extent, culturally, to the worker. The worker should labor to be indoctrinated culturally into the society and not exist as a microcosm in the foreign field. Though evangelical teams exist today, there is a need for the Church to rediscover the power of church planting through teams that have been nurtured and groomed through the years. All churches have that responsibility. May God edify us and all His churches in His marvelous grace so that some may take bold leaps, others may walk, and all may fly with global wings… into the world.
Often those nearest us are pampered by overindulgence in prosperity and hardened by overexposure to the Gospel. Through involvement in outreach at the global level, we find many people crushed by deep needs they cannot hide, who openly seek the fulfillment found in Christ alone.
Entanglement in the affairs of this world is never seen at first sight as a huge monstrous evil hanging over our heads determined to bind us, hands, feet, and mouth. Actually, entanglement is more subtle then that. The word entangle is translated from the Greek word empleko which means to weave. Pastors, churches, and all believers have the tools at their fingertips to embrace a world vision. Beware that you don’t get so woven into life that you can not dream an adventure of faith or be personally involved in reaching out to the uttermost parts of the world. The following are a few tips that will help you spread your global heart-wings:
a. With urgency, biographies – C. T. Studd,
b. With information, references – Operation World,
c. Periodicals – World Christian.
3. Guest speakers from various mission organizations.
4. Prayer meetings specifically designated for missions.
5. Choose a tribe that your church can concentrate on in specific prayer and study. Send a small team to visit this group of people to scout out the land.
6. Missions seminars.
7. Pursue information for job placements abroad. Perhaps God will open a job for a tent-making ministry in Cairo, Egypt or Peking, China. – Overseas Counseling Service
8. There are a number of summer work programs available for part-time workers. The Bible Speaks sponsors a Summer Harvest program that places people into the foreign field for 2-12 weeks.
9. Attend a missions-oriented Bible School program. For more information, visit: mbcs.edu