Please read and critique my interview: Missions principles

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Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Please read and give me your thoughts (also as to spelling and grammar too). I am answering interview questions:




Do you have any general comments concerning governing principles of evangelism?


Missiological principles impacting me:

The motivation for missions is not enough; solid theology and good methodology is vital:

Many churches are so happy when someone desires to enter missions, that they send whoever is willing, i.e., they think that a mere motivation to do missions is sufficient. However, solid theology and sound methodology are also vital. Every missionary need not be a deep theologian, but he or she must be correct theologically.

Mobilization

One person cannot do everything in missions, but everyone can do something. Some do nothing because they think that their contributions will be insignificant. However, some go, some send, some pray; the Church of Jesus Christ is a missionary body, and the Great Commission belongs to the Church as a whole to fulfill. Just as all of Britain was said to be at war during World War II, though only a minority of its population ever left the island, the Church entire is on mission. Let us find, therefore, where we can fill a need, and let us mobilize for war!

Heart-language ministries:

We must prioritize Heart-language ministries. For example, ministering in English (or Indonesian) to those whose first language is Sundanese is like trying to plant a pine tree in the tropics or a banana tree in the arctic. The Gospel must grow in foreign soil and must not be seen as a foreign import. The offense of the Cross is enough of a hindrance and barrier to keep many away from the Gospel, let us not add any extra barriers.

Mr N in Province J tells how very manly S___ men have broken down and wept openly as N__ implored God on their behalf in their own S___ tongue, “I never knew we could pray to God in our own language before – I thought we could only use Arabic.” The language in which couples whisper sweet-nothings, fight and argue, and express their most intimate thoughts - that is their Heart-language, and it must be utilized! The Gospel must penetrate deeply enough to make an impact.

Culturally appropriate, even while firm in the Gospel:

This point is related closely to the concept of heart-language ministry. As we hold firm to our doctrine, let us easily release all things that are not Gospel but are instead mere cultural forms, national blindspots, or church tradition. Types of music, postures of prayer, architecture of church buildings and even arrangement of space and time in worship will, and should, vary as the Gospel impacts different cultures.

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when I enter I___ churches led by pastors donning suit and tie and sing translated English hymns in I____ accompanied by an imported piano or keyboard. I rejoice when I worship with Mr N, sitting in a circle on the floor, praying with upraised hands, and praising God in hymns composed in the indigenous S____ tongue and accompanied by the local drum and flute. If Paul could strive to become a Jew, and even a slave, to minister to others (I Corinthians 9:19-23), then we can surely follow Paul’s basic message, “I am as a slave in my adaptation of how I present the Gospel to different peoples so that I may make the Gospel understandable to every group of people to whom I minister.”

In an age of specialization and short-term missions, we need to prioritize elder-qualified long-term church-planters

Missionaries cannot know the heart-language of their target-culture, nor can they succeed at being culturally appropriate unless they have taken the time to learn the language and culture of the people to whom they are ministering. This isn’t going to happen in 2 weeks.

Short term missions is on the rise, as is missions specialization. I am glad for all missionaries, whether they be male or female. I am glad for literacy workers, nurses focusing on medical ministries, missionary pilots and mechanics, and Missionary Kid (MK) teachers. I am glad that some churches plan well and make their short-term missions effective. However, the crying need of our day is the prioritization of elder-qualified long-term church planters who are willing to stay years and years in order to see the Gospel spring forth fruit.

Strengthening of indigenous ministries:

Missions is no longer merely “From the West to the Rest.” God is raising up pockets of indigenous believers throughout the world. Why bypass those whom God is raising up? They need not learn the language or the culture, they need not take a furlough, nor do most suffer the extreme culture shock that we do, most enduring a good deal better than we can.

Good stewardship, as well as love for the whole body of Christ necessitates that we equip indigenous believers so that they, too, can take part in the completion of The Great Commission. This is not only immensely practical, multiplying our efforts many times over and making our gains permanent, but there is a theological reason to value indigenous evangelists as well. This strategy reflects better the universal and global nature of the body of Christ by enabling all parts of the body to take part in the work.

Broad seed-sowing and being a “Gospel Opportunist”

In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.
(Ecclesiastes 11:6, ESV).

We cannot tell what endeavors God will bless. Therefore, let us vigorously spread the Gospel far wide and see where God will bless it. If secular armies suffer and aggressively advance in order to win worldly goals, let us continually be energetic in the Lord. Waiting on the Lord never entails idleness, and the Lord blesses boldness in Gospel enterprises.

Urgency in evangelism is vital. The Lord opens some doors only for a short time. We must be Gospel Opportunists, “Redeeming the time [kairos not chronos is used here, meaning “making the most of your opportunities,” rather than merely “Shaving off chronological minutes.”] because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16). The night is coming when no man can work, so let us work hard during this bright Gospel Day, knowing that an eternal rest awaits.

Shakespeare summed it up best, “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.”

As we experience “chance encounters” with those who need Christ, let us not let allow these tides to pass.

You plow with the oxen you have, not with the oxen that you don’t have:
If we wait for ideal conditions, ideal co-workers, ideal receptivity, ideal funds, etc., we will never begin working. Let us work and pray to improve the conditions that we find ourselves in rather than only evangelizing in fair weather. I have met men who have catalogued all of their objections to “modern forms of evangelism” who are safeguarding themselves from committing these same errors by themselves doing nothing.

Discipleship in the mode of Jesus:

Many missionary slogans are well-intentioned, but wrong. One such phrase is this, “No one has the right to hear the Gospel twice before everyone hears the Gospel once.” It is true that we need urgency in reaching peoples where the name of Jesus has never been named even once. However, the Great Commission is about discipleship, and not merely about initial evangelism. The Great Commission is about depth (teaching all things that Jesus commanded) and not merely about breadth. We often seek to evangelize but fail to follow up or truly “disciple the nations.”

Also, the message of Jesus matters, but the method of Jesus matter as well.
What was the method of Jesus? Jesus invested Himself deeply in His band of disciples, even withdrawing from the crowds at times, limiting his breadth, in order to gain deeper impact into the lives of His select group of twelve. Jesus valued deep and long-term discipleship.

Jesus, also, was not merely academic. Solid doctrine is immensely practical. As we evangelize let us seek to mentor in the mode of Jesus and pour good doctrine into the disciples in the same practical and hands-on manner that Jesus did, walking, eating and spending time with his disciples in many life situations outside of the synagogue.

Mere classroom learning is insufficient. Jesus took his disciples to work, gave them assignments and had them report back the results. Jesus and his band ministered as a group and then debriefed afterwards. Jesus was a very hands-on teacher.

In my own missionary training, seminary left me woefully unprepared for missions. It was the personal example and practical conversations that I enjoyed with Pastors Holmes Moore and Tom Henry, as well as the mentoring that I received by those who had been veteran field missionaries that best prepared me. They invested themselves into my life. Now that I am on the field, I strive to follow this same example with the tribal evangelists with whom I work. We talk together, trek together, evangelize together and discuss the results, and share our lives together in close fellowship.

A ministry that impacts all of life:

The Social Gospel of this past century has caused many in the West to dichotomize the Gospel into good teaching versus good works. There is no such dichotomy in Scripture. As Jesus went about teaching, He healed all sorts of disease. Any missionary to the Third World will spend a large part of his or her time ministering to the physical needs of the people. This should never be a substitution for the Gospel he proclaims, but it is often supplemental, and a very real and tangible way in which the love of Jesus is displayed. Let us never be lazy in good works, but let us adorn our doctrine with the beauty of Christ-likeness as we walk in the good works that God has before-prepared us to do (Ephesians 2:10).





What 'methods' are you currently employing in it?


God especially blesses the preaching of the Word, and yet “preaching” looks a lot different when separated from a Western context. It is often around a campfire, sitting and informal. It is often done with visual aids to enable native tongues to better comprehend the Gospel. It is often done with object lessons and articles from nature. Much evangelism is not monologue at all, but involves questions and answers and dialogue.

My other methods are drawn from the principles I have detailed (probably too much at length for a concise interview such as this) above.



3. Are there any particular challenges or unique issues concerning evangelism where you are?

Some personal details here.... then

The challenges are too many to list all of them here, email me to learn further at [email protected].


Let it be especially known that the main challenge is this: too much work with too few laborers.

This CAN be remedied! The church in Acts 13 set aside time to pray and fast as they desired to send forth workers. Your church can do the same. Burden your people with the urgency of the task and deliberately seek out those in your congregations who might be open and fitting to serve the Lord overseas. Pray that the Lord of the Harvest would raise up laborers and know that the Lord uses human means to raise up such laborers, such as pastors who preach on missions and churches who strive and plan, rather than merely support others, to send one of their own to the field. It is the church as a whole that sends the missionary. It does not impugn the sovereignty of God at all to approach people and ask them to pray and consider if the Lord would have them to go.




Have you had any recent successes or hindrances in evangelization in your area?

Through the labors of A.P., the S___ church-planting team, I have been able to rejoice in their success as over 30 S___ Muslims have professed faith in Christ within 2 years and many have been baptized. This is not a light thing in this persecutory context where the believers that I work with have been beaten, cut off from their family inheritances and disowned, called before local magistrates to give account, and have been rejected by their local communities.

In P Province, I have directly witnessed professions of faith, but several of these have not shown any of the fruits of regeneration, one man even threatening me with a machete soon after. However, the Lord is still at work and several sick and dying have professed as well as several young men that I hope to see mature in the Gospel.

One of these young men is Harun. Harun had sat in a church on the coast but had never heard the Gospel clearly preached. He finally learned that we are saved by grace and not by the accumulation of our own merits and he finally believed. Yuli, one of my fellow-laborers who was with me at the time, was so distressed at the thought that Harun’s church was not preaching the truth, that Yuli went the very next day to seek out the pastor and within days Yuli preached the Gospel before this deficient church and corrected their errors of understanding. Yuli has now been making follow-up trips to ensure that that this particular congregation continues to hear the true Gospel. Harun is now attending preparatory classes so that he might one day enter Bible school and he appears to be growing in grace.

Another success is that G___, the national church denomination that I labor alongside in P___, has formally recognized Calvinism as the true Gospel at this year’s S.R., their huge 5-year meeting. Through your help, we have been distributing sound literature and tracts to the G__ evangelists now for almost two years, and are now even increasing our efforts. I am praying that this resolution in support of correct soteriology makes it into the final draft of their “Basic Foundations” document.

Time and space prevent me from detailing even a fraction of the challenges or blessings that have occurred so far within the past 3 years. Email me to hear more: [email protected]




5. How would you have our readers pray for you in regard to your labors?

Pray for physical health. In the past several years we have been afflicted multiple times by malaria, worms, amoeba, and tropical fevers. My wife deworms are kids more frequently than most deworm their dogs. My wife suffered cikengungnya, which caused partial paralysis of the lower limbs for several days, and was unable even to walk to the bathroom. We have been threatened with arrows, machetes, and bamboo canes. I have been spit on, harassed, stolen from, and lied to repeatedly.

Pray also for our marriage and the raising of our children, Noah and Alethea. We suffer from unique stresses on the field that frazzle our emotions at times and we need extra prayer so that a glorifying home environment is maintained, even in the midst of constant guests seeking medical attention, constant sickness, constant fatigue, constant travel, constantly enduring under less-than-ideal physical conditions, constant meetings with co-workers and others, and the constant ache from missing family and loved ones at home. We pray that the Lord would not only make our home a tolerable place, but that our children would see our joy in service to God and be themselves moved to not only believe but also desire to spend and be spent themselves in this wonderful privilege of seeking those whom God has loved from before the foundation of the world.

Final victory is assured, hallelujah!
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
Corrections in red.

Please read and give me your thoughts (also as to spelling and grammar too). I am answering interview questions:




Do you have any general comments concerning governing principles of evangelism?


Missiological principles impacting me:

The motivation for missions is not enough; solid theology and good methodology is vital:

Many churches are so happy when someone desires to enter missions, that they send whoever is willing, i.e., they think that a mere motivation to do missions is sufficient. However, solid theology and sound methodology are also vital. Every missionary need not be a deep theologian, but he or she must be correct theologically.

Mobilization

One person cannot do everything in missions, but everyone can do something. Some do nothing because they think that their contributions will be insignificant. However, some go, some send, some pray; the Church of Jesus Christ is a missionary body, and the Great Commission belongs to the Church as a whole to fulfill. Just as all of Britain was said to be at war during World War II, though only a minority of its population ever left the island, the Church entire is on mission. Let us find, therefore, where we can fill a need, and let us mobilize for war!

Heart-language ministries:

We must prioritize Heart-language ministries. For example, ministering in English (or Indonesian) to those whose first language is Sundanese is like trying to plant a pine tree in the tropics or a banana tree in the arctic. The Gospel must grow in foreign soil and must not be seen as a foreign import. The offense of the Cross is enough of a hindrance and barrier to keep many away from the Gospel, let us not add any extra barriers.

Mr N in Province J tells how very manly S___ men have broken down and wept openly as N__ implored God on their behalf in their own S___ tongue, “I never knew we could pray to God in our own language before – I thought we could only use Arabic.” The language in which couples whisper sweet-nothings, fight and argue, and express their most intimate thoughts - that is their Heart-language, and it must be utilized! The Gospel must penetrate deeply enough to make an impact.

Culturally appropriate, even while firm in the Gospel:

This point is related closely to the concept of heart-language ministry. As we hold firm to our doctrine, let us easily release all things that are not Gospel but are instead mere cultural forms, national blindspots, or church tradition. Types of music, postures of prayer, architecture of church buildings and even arrangement of space and time in worship will, and should, vary as the Gospel impacts different cultures.

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when I enter I___ churches led by pastors donning suit and tie and sing translated English hymns in I____ accompanied by an imported piano or keyboard. I rejoice when I worship with Mr N, sitting in a circle on the floor, praying with upraised hands, and praising God in hymns composed in the indigenous S____ tongue and accompanied by the local drum and flute. If Paul could strive to become a Jew, and even a slave, to minister to others (I Corinthians 9:19-23), then we can surely follow Paul’s basic message, “I am as a slave in my adaptation of how I present the Gospel to different peoples so that I may make the Gospel understandable to every group of people to whom I minister.”

In an age of specialization and short-term missions, we need to prioritize elder-qualified long-term church-planters

Missionaries cannot know the heart-language of their target-culture, nor can they succeed at being culturally appropriate unless they have taken the time to learn the language and culture of the people to whom they are ministering. This isn’t going to happen in 2 weeks.

Short term missions is on the rise, as is missions specialization. I am glad for all missionaries, whether they be male or female. I am glad for literacy workers, nurses focusing on medical ministries, missionary pilots and mechanics, and Missionary Kid (MK) teachers. I am glad that some churches plan well and make their short-term missions effective. However, the crying need of our day is the prioritization of elder-qualified long-term church planters who are willing to stay years and years in order to see the Gospel spring forth fruit.

Strengthening of indigenous ministries:

Missions is no longer merely “From the West to the Rest.” God is raising up pockets of indigenous believers throughout the world. Why bypass those whom God is raising up? They need not learn the language or the culture, they need not take a furlough, nor do most suffer the extreme culture shock that we do, most enduring a good deal better than we can.

Good stewardship, as well as love for the whole body of Christ necessitates that we equip indigenous believers so that they, too, can take part in the completion of The Great Commission. This is not only immensely practical, multiplying our efforts many times over and making our gains permanent, but there is a theological reason to value indigenous evangelists as well. This strategy reflects better the universal and global nature of the body of Christ by enabling all parts of the body to take part in the work.

Broad seed-sowing and being a “Gospel Opportunist”

In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.
(Ecclesiastes 11:6, ESV).

We cannot tell what endeavors God will bless. Therefore, let us vigorously spread the Gospel far wide and see where God will bless it. If secular armies suffer and aggressively advance in order to win worldly goals, let us continually be energetic in the Lord. Waiting on the Lord never entails idleness, and the Lord blesses boldness in Gospel enterprises.

Urgency in evangelism is vital. The Lord opens some doors only for a short time. We must be Gospel Opportunists, “Redeeming the time [kairos not chronos is used here, meaning “making the most of your opportunities,” rather than merely “Shaving off chronological minutes[-].[/-]”] because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16). The night is coming when no man can work, so let us work hard during this bright Gospel Day, knowing that an eternal rest awaits.

Shakespeare summed it up best, “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.”

As we experience “chance encounters” with those who need Christ, let us not let allow these tides to pass.

You plow with the oxen you have, not with the oxen that you don’t have:
If we wait for ideal conditions, ideal co-workers, ideal receptivity, ideal funds, etc., we will never begin working. Let us work and pray to improve the conditions that we find ourselves in rather than only evangelizing in fair weather. I have met men who have catalogued all of their objections to “modern forms of evangelism” who are safeguarding themselves from committing these same errors by themselves doing nothing.

Discipleship in the mode of Jesus:

Many missionary slogans are well-intentioned, but wrong. One such phrase is this, “No one has the right to hear the Gospel twice before everyone hears the Gospel once.” It is true that we need urgency in reaching peoples where the name of Jesus has never been named even once. However, the Great Commission is about discipleship, and not merely about initial evangelism. The Great Commission is about depth (teaching all things that Jesus commanded) and not merely about breadth. We often seek to evangelize but fail to follow up or truly “disciple the nations.”

Also, the message of Jesus matters, but the method of Jesus matter as well.
What was the method of Jesus? Jesus invested Himself deeply in His band of disciples, even withdrawing from the crowds at times, limiting his breadth, in order to gain deeper impact into the lives of His select group of twelve. Jesus valued deep and long-term discipleship.

Jesus, also, was not merely academic. Solid doctrine is immensely practical. As we evangelize let us seek to mentor in the mode of Jesus and pour good doctrine into the disciples in the same practical and hands-on manner that Jesus did, walking, eating and spending time with his disciples in many life situations outside of the synagogue.

Mere classroom learning is insufficient. Jesus took his disciples to work, gave them assignments and had them report back the results. Jesus and his band ministered as a group and then debriefed afterwards. Jesus was a very hands-on teacher.

In my own missionary training, seminary left me woefully unprepared for missions. It was the personal example and practical conversations that I enjoyed with Pastors Holmes Moore and Tom Henry, as well as the mentoring that I received by those who had been veteran field missionaries that best prepared me. They invested themselves into my life. Now that I am on the field, I strive to follow this same example with the tribal evangelists with whom I work. We talk together, trek together, evangelize together and discuss the results, and share our lives together in close fellowship.

A ministry that impacts all of life:

The Social Gospel of this past century has caused many in the West to dichotomize the Gospel into good teaching versus good works. There is no such dichotomy in Scripture. As Jesus went about teaching, He healed all sorts of disease. Any missionary to the Third World will spend a large part of his or her time ministering to the physical needs of the people. This should never be a substitution for the Gospel he proclaims, but it is often supplemental, and a very real and tangible way in which the love of Jesus is displayed. Let us never be lazy in good works, but let us adorn our doctrine with the beauty of Christ-likeness as we walk in the good works that God has before-prepared us to do (Ephesians 2:10).





What 'methods' are you currently employing in it?


God especially blesses the preaching of the Word, and yet “preaching” looks a lot different when separated from a Western context. It is often around a campfire, sitting and informal. It is often done with visual aids to enable native tongues to better comprehend the Gospel. It is often done with object lessons and articles from nature. Much evangelism is not monologue at all, but involves questions and answers and dialogue.

My other methods are drawn from the principles I have detailed (probably too much at length for a concise interview such as this) above.



3. Are there any particular challenges or unique issues concerning evangelism where you are?

Some personal details here.... then

The challenges are too many to list all of them here, email me to learn further at [email protected].


Let it be especially known that the main challenge is this: too much work with too few laborers.

This CAN be remedied! The church in Acts 13 set aside time to pray and fast as they desired to send forth workers. Your church can do the same. Burden your people with the urgency of the task and deliberately seek out those in your congregations who might be open and fitting to serve the Lord overseas. Pray that the Lord of the Harvest would raise up laborers and know that the Lord uses human means to raise up such laborers, such as pastors who preach on missions and churches who strive and plan, rather than merely support others, to send one of their own to the field. It is the church as a whole that sends the missionary. It does not impugn the sovereignty of God at all to approach people and ask them to pray and consider if the Lord would have them to go.




Have you had any recent successes or hindrances in evangelization in your area?

Through the labors of A.P., the S___ church-planting team, I have been able to rejoice in their success as over 30 S___ Muslims have professed faith in Christ within 2 years and many have been baptized. This is not a light thing in this persecutory context where the believers that I work with have been beaten, cut off from their family inheritances and disowned, called before local magistrates to give account, and have been rejected by their local communities.

In P Province, I have directly witnessed professions of faith, but several of these have not shown any of the fruits of regeneration, one man even threatening me with a machete soon after. However, the Lord is still at work and several sick and dying have professed as well as several young men that I hope to see mature in the Gospel.

One of these young men is Harun. Harun had sat in a church on the coast but had never heard the Gospel clearly preached. He finally learned that we are saved by grace and not by the accumulation of our own merits and he finally believed. Yuli, one of my fellow-laborers who was with me at the time, was so distressed at the thought that Harun’s church was not preaching the truth, that Yuli went the very next day to seek out the pastor and within days Yuli preached the Gospel before this deficient church and corrected their errors of understanding. Yuli has now been making follow-up trips to ensure that that this particular congregation continues to hear the true Gospel. Harun is now attending preparatory classes so that he might one day enter Bible school and he appears to be growing in grace.

Another success is that G___, the national church denomination that I labor alongside in P___, has formally recognized Calvinism as the true Gospel at this year’s S.R., their huge 5-year meeting. Through your help, we have been distributing sound literature and tracts to the G__ evangelists now for almost two years, and are now even increasing our efforts. I am praying that this resolution in support of correct soteriology makes it into the final draft of their “Basic Foundations” document.

Time and space prevent me from detailing even a fraction of the challenges or blessings that have occurred so far within the past 3 years. Email me to hear more: [email protected]




5. How would you have our readers pray for you in regard to your labors?

Pray for physical health. In the past several years we have been afflicted multiple times by malaria, worms, amoeba, and tropical fevers. My wife deworms [-]are[/-] our kids more frequently than most deworm their dogs. My wife suffered cikengungnya, which caused partial paralysis of the lower limbs for several days, and was unable even to walk to the bathroom. We have been threatened with arrows, machetes, and bamboo canes. I have been spit on, harassed, stolen from, and lied to repeatedly.

Pray also for our marriage and the raising of our children, Noah and Alethea. We suffer from unique stresses on the field that frazzle our emotions at times and we need extra prayer so that a glorifying home environment is maintained, even in the midst of constant guests seeking medical attention, constant sickness, constant fatigue, constant travel, constantly enduring under less-than-ideal physical conditions, constant meetings with co-workers and others, and the constant ache from missing family and loved ones at home. We pray that the Lord would not only make our home a tolerable place, but that our children would see our joy in service to God and be themselves moved to not only believe but also desire to spend and be spent themselves in this wonderful privilege of seeking those whom God has loved from before the foundation of the world.

Final victory is assured, hallelujah!
 
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