MISSIONS MANUAL - GOING OUT
(The Role of Missionaries and Evangelists)
Written by Ruth Grigg (c) 2012
Chapter 1 :. The Role of Missionaries and Evangelists Chapter 2. Values, Motives & Visions
Chapter 3. Our Roles in Mission work
Chapter 4. Paul’s missionary journeys - what can we learn?
Chapter 5. Keep Going Bibliography
This manual is written from the heart, and from both on-going experiences and on-the-field training, including spiritual insights, personal experiences and some general guidelines for evangelism and mission work.; I have also researched and included profound and important practical guidelines from experienced mission people. My own mother was well traveled Evangelist, and I spent some time traveling in the UK with her and ministering with her. She taught me by example how to preach and teach in a way that is simple to follow, and she taught me by example, how to be bold to “Go Out” into the streets and further a-field.
Since then I have been on short trips to Kenya and Uganda, enjoying ministering to children and youth, widows, pastors and leaders and others, teaching them in the same simple way that I was taught; and it is not just simple, it is simply profound. I have also gone out onto the streets in UK with healing teams, sharing the gospel one to one, and offering prayer and healing. I am currently involved in reaching out to my own community where I live (with my husband and house-church), in a variety of ways from door to door, in the town high street, and in bars. Any opportunity or avenue that God leads us to in evangelism or mission, and extending the Kingdom, we will venture forwards. We will go where He goes to spread the gospel, grow and extend the Kingdom of God, and plant new houses-churches or ministries as He leads us.
May you enjoy the insights shared and may it bless, encourage and strengthen you as you GO OUT also.
CHAPTER 1: THE ROLE OF MISSIONARIES AND EVANGELISTS
In Ephesians 4:11-12 we see that the Lord has set a five-fold ministry in place to serve the church, to equip and train the church and to bring the church to full maturity. One of the gifts or Offices that the Lord set was that of an Evangelist. An Evangelist is one who bears the message of Good News, who preaches the gospel and preaches the Kingdom of Heaven is near! He may also expect ‘signs and wonders’ to follow the preaching of the gospel, as it says in Matthew ...... the signs are signs of power that help to convict and convince non-belivers of the power and existence of the living God.
Evangelism can be something that is small, that starts with sharing the gospel one to one with those around us, often this is called personal evangelism or witnessing. Evangelism can have many shapes and forms, from street drama and dance, to healing and prayer on the streets, personal witnessing, tracking or street preaching, to church-missions events that reach children and youth, or much bigger events, where an Evangelists is the guest speaker, hundreds or thousands come to hear him, such as the international German Evangelist, Reinhard Bonnke.
The main difference between evangelism and missionary work is that evangelism tends to be short-term and mission work is on-going. There may be a lot of preparation and follow-up in evangelism, but it is still for only a short time. Missions, however, is when a work is an outreach work that is continuous, e.g. mission work to the homeless, or addicts, to children or youth, to specific groups of people, or to a specific place, or town, city or nation. Missions work can be within the inner cities, in the suburbs, or out of our own country. When we are called to leave our country and set up a mission work, we are most often called Missionaries. Some (not all) Missionaries are also Apostles, in that they have a strong sense of being ‘sent’ by God, rather than by a Missionary Society, organisation or denomination, and they specifically plant churches and other ministry works.
Evangelists tend to be travelling ministers, who carry out short-term evangelistic events or outreaches, but do not plant a particular work or church. Missionaries may often work within an existing framework of churches or organisations, or they could be independent; however, they are based out in the community or in another country. Some Missionaries are gifted and called to plant new churches, others may start new schools, orphanages, hospitals, or other new ministries: they may have gifts of teaching, pastoral gifts, and apostolic gifts, as well as a call to evangelism, and other essential practical skills or trade skills or professional training.
Calling and Sending
We may be feeling called to Evangelistic work (full-time) or Mission work or to Apostolic-mission work, but how will this calling and commissioning come? How will we know we are being called or sent? We know we have the Great Commission, and we know that ALL are called to be witnesses for Christ and the Gospel, and ALL can do the work of a personal evangelist (so there is no excuse), some however, are called specifically to the work of evangelism or mission work..
We need to know we have had a clear calling from the Lord - it cannot be just a good idea, but a commission from the Lord.
I believe this calling and commissioning starts with our relationship with the Lord; when we are born again, filled with His Spirit, and are in love with the Lord, and we have a passion for him and a passion to serve him; and when we decide that we are going to give him everything, and lay our life on the alter for him, that’s when he can take up our lives and use them. When we get to this point, and we really mean it, then the Lord will begin to put a vision and a passion, an urge in our hearts, and this vision will not die or grow cold, but will grow in our spirits, and the Lord will begin to grow that vision and point us in the right direction for that vision and passion in us, to begin to be fulfilled.
Not long after I was filled with the Holy Spirit, at age 17, I knew the Lord was calling me into ministry. Ministry was something I always wanted to avoid as a child and teenager, because my mother was involved in full-time ministry as an Evangelist, and I felt the effects of this on our home and on my life personally. I felt the effects of threats against our family as mum warned people about witchcraft and the occult, and I did not, under any circumstance, want to be involved in talking or teaching about spiritual warfare and witchcraft. I almost vowed it - I was not going to be in ministry..... until the day the Lord caught hold of my heart again when I was 17. He filled me with the Holy Spirit and fire and turned my heart around - ever since that day, I have never been the same. I knew the Lord was calling me into ministry, but I did not know which ministry or direction to go in. I went to Bible School, was involved in children’s work and ministering in song and pastorally with my mother, but nothing really came of the ministry and calling on my life for many, many years.
It has only been recently that I have heard and understood that I am called to missions work and that I am called as a prophet and teacher; and I don’t believe I have seen or understood it all yet. God is still revealing his plans bit by bit, and I will go where he shows me and when. I know there is more.
One thing He has shown is that our motives to serve in ministry must be pure and our motive must be LOVE where ministry is concerned.... love for God and love for others, and to see people come into the Kingdom of God to thrive and grow; and not position, not recognition, power or control or any other motive but LOVE, otherwise your ministry will become tainted with self and greed, and will spoil and hurt the work of the Kingdom. We need to be compelled by love. Love is our motive.
Counting the Cost
Normally, it starts with one step. The Lord will put a vision and passion in our hearts to serve him, and the first step is that we say, “yes,” but we cannot sincerely say ‘yes’ until we have counted the cost.
In Luke 14:25-33 Jesus begins to describe what the cost of following him is, eg we need to put Him first, above our own lives ... then he told some parables, He said: if we want to build a tower, first we must sit down and estimate the cost to see if we have enough before we begin to build... because if we lay a foundation then cannot complete it, it will be a bad witness and testimony to others. He also told the parable of a King going to war against another king. First he needs to consider if he has enough men to fight the opposition, and if not, then he needs to make a peace treaty.
Jesus said (verse 33) IN THE SAME WAY, any of us who do not give up EVERYTHING we have cannot be his disciple.
So is the Lord going to force us to give up everything to serve him? Did he force the Rich Young Ruler, that we see in the Gospels? No, he will never force us, but He will ask us to lay down our lives, to die to self, and follow him and serve him because of our love relationship with Him. He does not want unwilling or half-hearted servants, who will do a poor job, or fail due to lack of love-commitment to Him.
We may fail in some areas of our ministry, simply because of our weakness and humanity, but we will never really fail the task of serving Him, if we recognize our mistakes, correct them, and carry on serving Him because of our love for Him. Following Him means giving him everything, and being willing to carry on when things are hard and when we make mistakes and fail.
So what is this cost we need to count?
Jesus stated it in the above passage and in other places. We need to be willing to (hate) lay down our lives, die to self, take up our cross and follow Him. For those who are called to evangelism, missions, or other full-time ministry, this involves a lot of things. We need to put our homes into his hands, and be willing to leave them behind.... if we are called to be full-time missionaries or apostolic missions, then we may need to leave our original home or country or land to the place where the Lord wants us to be.
The cost involves our money... if we are called into full-time missionary, mission or evangelism or apostolic missIons, then that may mean we need to give up our full-time, paid employment, and start to look for other ways of supporting ourselves in the ministry or on the mission field, which could be totally new to us, e.g. we may need to learn ‘tentmaking skills’ to support the work we do, like farming, fishing, weaving, as Paul did. Paul did not rely wholly on people’s generosity, but also worked as a tentmaker, so that he was not a financial burden to others (2 Thes 3:6-9). But it may mean we sell our homes and our business to support the work we do, and move into a smaller, more humble place with our families. It may mean many things which we need to give up: for some that might mean a car, for others, electricity, for others a TV, and other basics like running water, a toilet and bathroom .... whatever those things are... we need to surrender them into His hands.
The cost involves our energy, and our time. Missionary work, missions or evangelism is costly on our time and our families. We must remember that our families are involved with us in this work, and they need our love and attention too and we should not neglect our families in any way. We especially need to count the cost where our children are concerned. If God is calling us and our children to the mission field, how will this affect their lives?
What will we do about their education and training and future careers? Some children may need to go to international boarding schools and some may choose to home-school. Whatever we choose, we need to choose wisely and prayerfully, counting the cost for our children. Mission work will involve our whole family, long days, nights, hours, time, our whole lifetime. It is a lifetime commitment.
Sometimes the cost will mean we are mistreated or used by others we are trying to help; sometimes we will be misrepresented, misunderstood, rejected, even hated by those we are trying to love, help and lead to the Lord. Sometimes the cost may mean we are hungry, or our health is affected, or we are homesick; and sometimes we will face outright persecution, imprisonment or beatings or martyrdom. This is what Paul faced on his missionary journeys. He was hungry, cold, mistreated by some, stoned, beaten, imprisoned and eventually martyred. In 2 Corinthians 6:4-10, Paul says:
“Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments, and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonour, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.”
So are we willing to count the cost? Thankfully, we will not know in advance all the troubles we may face; if we did we would not be able to bare it. Usually, the Lord does not reveal what is ahead, unless it is to warn us, so we may avoid a situation. Jesus said, in this world we WILL have tribulation (troubles, trials etc) but we are not to fear, because He has overcome the world. Greater is He that is IN us than he that is in the world. No matter what we face, He will give us the grace and strength to overcome.
But the question is, despite what we might face, are we still willing: because of our love for Jesus and our love for the lost and those God is calling us too? If we can still say, “yes” then the Lord will make a way for us to go. He will give us direction and he will empower us and there will be fruit because it is ordained of the Lord.
So what is the next step? This is where we really need to wait on God for Him to show us. Sometimes there is a time of waiting, a time of preparation and a time of training before we are sent out, and sometimes the Lord will send us right away, but He will train us on the field: we may have already been trained in another area of ministry, but God is giving us new direction, so some of us may be in a position to “go” more quickly than others.
Preparation: Cultural Adaptations
If we are on mission, or going as missionaries, we need to prepare ourselves practically for the work. If we are being called to a specific group of people, or specific city or nation, then we need to learn all we can about where we are going... we need to find out about the culture, languages, religious beliefs and practices, trades, education etc, so that we go ‘armed’ and not ignorant. We need to find out about customs and traditions, how to greet people, what their values are, how households and families are structured and work, what the challenges are in the culture/people group or country..... and then find a way of adapting our own lifestyles and the message we bring needs to be relevant, so that it is understood in another culture.
We should remember not to impose our cultural style of church, worship or music either... the style of worship should fit the culture of the people we are ministering to and with. The style needs to be simple, applicable and duplicable, containing a simple style of prayer/worship (not necessarily high tech or Westernised, or using electrical equipment), and include fellowship, the Lord’s Supper and teaching, not in a high powered or Western style format, but rather using simple Bible stories and Bible passages that people can relate too. We should teach in a way that new Believers can easily imitate, not necessarily including technology, but using forms of communication and expressions that they use themselves, e.g. drama, storytelling, poems, or songs.
Discipleship and evangelism is also an important part of church life which we need to pass on, so that members grow in maturity, spread the Kingdom and multiply themselves – again this can be simple and modelled, so that new Believers can copy this, making it applicable to themselves and their culture and lifestyle, and pass it on to others.
To be effective in transmitting the gospel into a new or different culture, we need to teach the gospel and nothing more. We need to make a distinction between the Lord’s Commands (repenting and believing, being baptised, loving God and our neighbour, celebrating the Lord’s Super, praying, giving, and the great commission/ making disciples) and the Apostles customs or practices e.g. being single, meeting in homes etc, and also the church’s customs. We should not impose our culture, or church traditions or practices or rules on a new or different culture, that are not necessary or important e.g. where men and women sit (together or separate).
Other examples are: church music and worship style, methods of teaching, electrical or high tech equipment, professionalism, paid ministry posts, or dependence on others to support the new ministry or church. The new church and ministry can establish their own guidelines, according to what is important to them. We can encourage and support customs that the Bible encourages and supports, e.g. honouring parents, and we can stay neutral on customs that are not commanded in the Bible, and let people choose the right way for themselves.
Any customs and traditions that are unbiblical, immoral or opposed to Christian doctrine and practices need to be wisely tackled by studying the Biblical teaching that is relevant to that custom, and asking them to evaluate it. Let them suggest a new way of moving forward, or even adopting a new custom or ceremony to replace the old one, that is Biblical – for example, instead of a ceremony praying to demon gods for rain or to bless a harvest, we can have a ceremony asking for God’s blessing and for rain, or a harvest service. Instead of worshipping the dead, or contacting dead spirits or ancestors, or receiving a blessing from an idol, we can have a blessing service, and pray for individuals. It may be better to substitute a Christian custom or blessing which fulfilled the function and role of an evil or immoral one.
To understand new cultures, it would also be good to go on short pre-visits in advance (if possible) to the places God is sending us, so that we can experience the people and culture we are going too beforehand. We need to learn to the love the people and cultures we are working with, and we need to live with them, be amongst them, and learn the language (or terms, phrases, and words they use) and customs well.
We may also need to train ourselves in other areas, e.g. new trades and also Biblical, ministry and leadership training (some of which can be on-the-field training). Jesus told us to be as wise as serpents, and has harmless as doves; in other words he expects us to prepare ourselves and be wise in how we handle and approach people and situations that he sends us to as his ambassadors.
If we look at the calling and life of Paul the Apostle, who was known for his missionary journeys, we will see there was a time when he went out to preach the gospel and he was persecuted by the Jews; but after that, there was a delay, a time of preparation and re-training for ministry, before he was sent out to do Apostolic missionary work.
Paul says in Galatians (1:18) that after his conversion to Christianity, he went away for 3 years before he reappeared in Jerusalem before Peter. I believe, during this time, the Lord was re-educating Paul, preparing him for what was ahead, renewing his mind, his thinking and understanding of scripture, preparing his heart, and giving him revelation from Old Testament Scriptures about Jesus the Messiah and other revelation he received concerning salvation and the gentiles being bought into this salvation. Paul was thoroughly prepared and trained by the Lord before he did anything, and he also worked and trained with Barnabus for a while before being ‘sent out’.
I believe it is important that we have a time of preparation and training before we go out. We need to firstly prepare our heart before the Lord, and our minds. In our spirits we need to humble ourselves, and submit everything to Him, to make Him our Lord and King, and we need our old thinking, thought patterns and behaviour to be submitted to the Lord, so that it can be renewed and so we can receive the mind of Christ.
I received my first preparation and training and mentoring through my own mother, who took me out on ministry trips with her. Whilst mum preached and gave her testimony, myself and Jenny, known as “New Dawn” ministered in song, then helped with the counselling and prayer ministry afterwards. I was also involved in youth and children’s work at my local church, mainly in teaching rather than leading, but this was my training ground for things to come. After this I took went to Bible School for a while, but this did not lead to ministry.
After I was married and had children, I started to train at college and university to work with children and also trained to teach adults. I volunteered to go to Kenya to work with some children, and later to train students and pastors, and when I returned, the Lord spoke to me through a Prophet who became my mentor, and showed me what he wanted me to do. The Lord took me into further, intensive training for 2 years in prophetic studies and also apostolic studies and leadership and the Lord hasn’t finished with me yet.
Alongside studies is the practical application. The Lord has given me groups to lead, tasks to complete, outreach and training of others, and a small house-church to lead with my husband - and these I am still doing. My own training is not over yet, but every step forward I take, the Lord will challenge me to go further. He continues to train me, teach and guide me, and provide challenges for my own personal growth and for the benefit of others.
There is yet more to come. I am not suggesting that everybody needs to go to Bible College or undergo the training I went through alongside more informal training; I believe the Lord will take you on your own learning and training journey which will be unique to you. Just be open and let the Lord lead you and take you and train you in the way that is right for you, whether it is through college or mentoring or both. With me, it was, and continues to be both.
At the right time, the Lord will ‘send’ us into the ministry he has called us too. He will put a vision in our hearts and minds about where he wants us to be, and then he will start to open the doors, one by one for us to walk through. I believe we should wait on the Lord for him to show us exactly where he wants us to be... otherwise we may need to uproot and start again, and sometimes, the Lord will move us on from where we begin, as we begin to spread out in the areas he shows us.
It will not be an easy walk, but an obedient one. We will walk a difficult and hard road, just like Jesus did, but the road he walked led to Calvary. Even though the walk is hard, the joy we experience in knowing we are in the centre of God’s will is beyond measure or comparison.
For School or Class: Small group discussions:
1. Look at the parable in Luke 14:25-33. What does this mean?
2. In what ways might you need to count the cost in missions or evangelism work?
3. Discuss anybody who has inspired you in mission or evangelism work, and why? 4. What preparation work or training do you feel you need?
5. Look at 2 Timothy 2:1-26 and 2 Timothy 4:1-8 to find reasons and principles for training Christian leaders.
6. Discuss CULTURE: What is it? Define your own culture and celebrations, food and customs, traditions, greetings, religions and beliefs, clothing styles for men and women, family structures, conflicts and struggles in the community/country, the education, health, political and economic systems etc, and compare all of these to another culture that is different to your own.
Discuss how you can appreciate, value and adapt to another culture and language, if you are to take the gospel there, and how you will present the gospel in an appropriate way to their culture (including prayer, worship and music styles).
1. When and how did your calling come to do mission or evangelism work?
2. Do you know specifically what the Lord wants you to do, or how? Please record this in your Journal.
3. What is your reason, motive, driving force for this kind of ministry?
4. Have you counted the cost? What will this mean for you personally?
5. PREPARE: RESEARCH the country, religions, people groups, culture, language, education, work/skills/professions etc of the people and place God is calling you to work with. ALSO, talk with people who have been engaged in this work, especially in the and with the people and place you feel called to specifically.
CHAPTER 2: VALUES, MOTIVES and VISION
We are called to mission, so we need to have a very clear vision about what we are doing and why.... we need to know what our aims are and how we might achieve them. We also need to be clear about our motives. Do we want to be in ministry to gain our own personal value and recognition? Or is it because we love the Lord with all our heart and we love the people he is calling us too? If love is not our motive, then we will not survive very long.
The journey is tough and without a heart of love, we may not finish the journey, or we can go off course.
I believe this is something that only God can give us. Our calling and vision needs to come direct from him, and not handed down to us from a missionary society or Bible College or training school or organisation. Many come from missionary families or families involved in some form of ministry, and may assume, or take on the role of our parents, or the minister before us, or the organisation we have worked for, but this will not be sufficient to carry us through the tough job of mission or evangelistic work.
There needs to be a real calling, conviction and vision already inside us before we begin or continue to do this work. We need to look to God to give us that vision, and to tell us the plans that he has for our lives and ministry. We cannot go ahead unless this is clear, and I believe that God will make this clear to every one of us who are truly seeking to follow Him. Before we go, and as we go (continuously) we need to be on our face, seeking the Father for his will, purpose and plans, so that we are in alignment with Him, in the centre of His will; then we will be fruitful – anything else is flesh, and God cannot bless flesh.
Our ministry does not need to be BIG. God chooses the weak and foolish things of this world to confound the wise! In our weakness, He is strong, and shows himself to be the good, powerful and faithful God that He is. I have found that my vision was small to start with, e.g. working with children, and as I have been faithful in doing the little things, God has grown my vision and ministry to include prophetic and apostolic ministry, training leaders and pastors. He doubles the talents that we use, then gives it back to us.
In Mark 12 is the Parable of the Talents, and here we have the principle of growth. When we take and use the one or two talents that the Lord has given us, he will cause them to increase. When we take the increase he gives us and work with that, we will increase again.... when we are faithful, loyal and trustworthy, the Lord knows he can trust us with more. Growth is also like the parable of the mustard seed (Mark 4:30-32).
Our vision and ministry may start small, but when it is ‘planted’ it begins to grow, and as the mustard seed grows into a large plant, so can our ministry when we plant it in the good soil, water it and we let God bring the increase. God can and does grow our vision and ministry if we work alongside him, not get ahead of him, but stay close to his side, listen and watch and follow His lead.
We also need to be seeking the Lord about how we deliver the ministry he has called us too. If we are going to a new country, or a different people group or tribe, with a different culture and language and customs, how are we going to present the Gospel and the Kingdom to them? We can need to do our homework, and find out as much as we can so that we can minister effectively.
Paul said, when he was with the Jews, he acted like a Jew, and when he was with the Gentiles, he acted like a Gentile. He became all things to all men, so they may receive the gospel. (1 Cor 9:19-23). This does not mean that we compromise the gospel or it’s message in any way, it means that we learn to adapt to other people’s culture, customs and language in order to bring the gospel to them, EXCEPT practices and beliefs that are contrary to the Gospel and Word of God, or practices that are abusive, corrupt, evil or harmful to children and to the people and culture we are reaching; and if that is the case, we need to do this with prayer, wisdom, knowledge and sensitivity, but also with boldness and courage when people are being harmed.
The message of the Gospel may bring persecution where it clashes with their belief system and culture. as it did with Paul. Again, we need to seek God about how to go about doing things his way, rather than our way. He knows best, and he knows the culture and language and customs of the people we are serving far better than we do, so rather than doing things in our strength, we need to seek Him about how he wants us to challenge current practices.
We need to be flexible and adaptable. We need to know the needs of the people we are reaching, so that we meet those needs appropriately and share the gospel appropriately and effectively. We need to know how to reach both the young and the old in a way that is appropriate to them, meeting their spiritual needs and their practical needs. We need a compassionate heart that is willing to go the extra mile for the poor and broken. But we also need to be careful of bringing a social gospel only, that only does good works, but does not preach the gospel or teach about the Kingdom of God. Love is not like that. The love of God deals with both the spiritual and physical. We need to feed the hungry and clothe the poor, alongside preaching the Gospel, because it says in James 2:17: “faith without works is dead.”
In the Gospels, we see that AFTER Jesus had taught the multitude of 5,000, he fed them with bread and fish, and after this Jesus said: “do not work for food that spoils, but for food that ensures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you” (Jn 6:27); and he went on to say; “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” (Jn 6:35). The Lord wants us to address the spiritual issues not just the physical and practical, because the physical is temporal, but the spiritual is eternal. We need to bring fresh bread from heaven: Food that will last and not spoil.
CHAPTER 2: For School or Class:
In small groups:
1. Look at the Parable of the Mustard Seed (Mark 4:30-32) and the Parable of the Talents (Mark 12). Discuss their meaning in relation to your ministry.
2. How will you minister to a different race, culture, language and people? (see 1 Corinthians 9:19-23) 3. What is the social gospel? How can we avoid it?
4. Pray for one another; that God will clarify your vision and calling to ministry.
1. What is your specific vision for ministry? How did you receive this vision? How do you see your vision expanding?
2. Pray this week, that God will give you a much clearer, sharper vision, his vision for your ministry, and record what he says in your Journal.
3. This week, pray for someone else’s ministry. Record what happens as you pray.
CHAPTER 3: OUR ROLES IN MISSION WORK
Our primary aim in Evangelism and Mission, is to bring the message of the gospel, because we have been given the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:18). We have become “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Cor 5:20), and our aim is to bear fruit (Jn 15:16). We are also part of the five-fold ministry that God gives to the church, and our role is to build up, edify and mature the church (Ephesians 4: 11-13).
An Evangelist’s primary role is to preach the gospel and bring people to salvation (remember an Evangelist’s work is usually short-term). However, a Missionary, or Apostle on apostolic mission, who is carrying out outreach and mission work on a continual basis, the role may be wider. A Missionary may have many roles, from being a teacher, pastor, spiritual parent, evangelist, business-builder, or Apostle and more. We may also seek the Lord to show us how to carry out the roles God is calling us too, and He will give us creative ideas that will be effective with the people we are working with. We need to ask the Lord for these creative ideas. It says in Matthew 7:9-10, if we ask for bread will he give us a stone? No, he is a good Father and he gives us good gifts.
Let me give you some example of creative ideas that came through prayer. I was praying about the training schools for some pastors in Africa, and the Lord gave me a blueprint, showing me step by step how these schools could work at ground level (see Appendix for more details). I was praying about how to make our Healing on the Streets outreaches (on going, monthly missions) more effective, and the Lord spoke to me about making the vision bigger, by adding things to it, like praise and worship, street drama, testimonies, face-painting for children etc.
Between myself and other team members, we organised our first event, involving Christians from local churches, which was fruitful and a real blessing to work in unity with others. The Lord daily gives me fresh, creative ideas about training on the ministry websites I have. Every time I ask, the Lord shows me, and sometimes before I ask, the Lord will start to speak to me about these things, which I then put into place and find them to be effective. If the Lord can do this for me, then he can do this for anyone who asks, so don’t be afraid to ask, because he will give you good gifts and inspirations.
One of our main roles on the mission field will be evangelistic and to bring people into a living relationship with Christ. In our role as an Evangelists, we will have a heart for the lost and broken people you are being sent too, whoever they are. We will share the message of salvation either through testimony or by preaching the Word, and this usually involves traveling to various places to share the gospel. An Evangelist has the mark of one who brings many to Christ. When the Word is preached, signs and wonders should accompany the Word, so many may also be healed, as it did with Philip.
Philip was an Evangelist (Acts 8). He preached first in Samaria. Miraculous signs, healings and deliverance accompanied his preaching. The power of God was on him and in his ministry. He then shared the gospel, one-to- one, with the Ethiopian Eunuch. It doesn’t matter how you do it – as long as it is lead and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Many other Evangelists exists today, both men and women. Billy Graham has brought many to Christ, as has Reinhart Bonki. and my mother, Doreen Irvine, who wrote from “Witchcraft to Christ” has brought many to Christ through her testimony.
I would not consider myself to be in the office an Evangelist (as my mother was), however I am called to do the work of an Evangelist, just as Paul told Timothy to “do the work of an evangelist” (2 Tim 4:5). About 2 years ago now, the Lord spoke very clearly to me about taking prayer out onto the streets.... as a form of evangelism. This I did, on a monthly basis, with a small team for 2 years or so. I have a heart for the lost, the hurting and broken, but it was not easy or natural for me to approach people and talk about prayer and Jesus; but I grew in experience and confidence in street evangelism, and the Lord slowly increased our effectiveness. The Lord gives creative ideas and this made the work that we did more effective with the people were reaching.
The aim of evangelism however, is not just to win converts, but to make disciples. The Lord did not tell us to make converts - He told us to make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. An Evangelist therefore needs to work hand in hand with churches, pastors and teachers so that he is able to pass people on who have become Believers, so they may be nurtured and discipled: therefore, if we are involved in mission work , there is another role we need to fulfill on the mission field: we need to teach, nurture and pastor the new converts that we have bought into the Kingdom and raise them to be disciples.
In our teaching role, we need to be mature in our faith and sure of what we know and believe, so we can nurture
and disciple new converts in the way of the Lord.. We need to know the Father well and teach, not just from our
head knowledge, or teach doctrines and theology, but teach from the heart of God, and our personal
experiences. To be effective teachers we need to be grounded in the Word, filled with the Holy Spirit and operate in the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
As teachers we impart not just knowledge, but Christ himself. We make the teaching of Christ accessible and understandable, within grasp, and achievable.. We also demonstrate or model our teaching so that others can ‘see’ , understand and put them into practice when they see how we do it.
Timothy was a leader and a teacher. Paul told Timothy to “watch your life and doctrine closely” (1 Tim 4:16). This applies to us. Why do we need to watch our life? Because as teachers we are held more accountable to teach correct doctrine, being living examples of what we teacher, otherwise we loose our credibility (see Mat 5:19).
As Teachers we need to watch doctrine carefully – check things out...research... watch for anything that exhorts man not God.... make sure revelation and teaching really is from God and not ourselves or that revelation is completely in line with God’s Word and his nature. Paul also warns Timothy that if anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree with sound instruction of the Lord Jesus and Godly teaching, then he is conceited and understands nothing (1 Tim 6:3).
Teaching is a gift, but also a skill that we can enhance by use. Paul tells Timothy not to neglect the gift within him. As teachers need to use and practice the skills we have, and be teachable and mouldable, able to learn knowledge and skills, and deal with heart issues, not given to pride, but dependent on the Holy Spirit and accountable to others.
As a Missionary, we will also be called upon to act as Pastors, to guide, protect and lead the people we have been sent too; we become the ‘Shepherds’ and we are called to love the ‘sheep’ in our care, and be willing to protect them from wolves (John10), modeling Jesus, who is the ‘great shepherd’ who lays down his life for the sheep. We are warned to watch for those who are false shepherds, who would destroy or harm the flock. As Pastors,orone in the role of a pastor, we see the needs of our people, and are sensitive and wise in dealing with difficult situations.
Missionaries will often become Spiritual Fathers and Mothers to others, and in a more concrete and practical sense, when we are looking after children and youth in our ministry; however we become spiritual parents to those we raise and nurture, no matter what their age. The role of Pastor and Apostle overlaps in the aspect of spiritual fathering.
In 1 Jn 2:13 & 14 John says, “I write to you fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning....
“ As Pastors we know who our heavenly father is, we know we are sons and that we are loved and accepted, and we are able to love others and nurture others in the way that the heavenly Father has loved and nurtured us. We also counsel, care for and FEED the sheep. We feed the sheep GOOD food so they grow. Jesus asked Peter, ‘do you love me? .... Feed my sheep.’ As Pastors, or one in that role, we are called to feed the sheep. We need to provide the right kind of food – ‘milk’ for the young Christians, and ‘solid meat’ for the more mature Christians. There are different ways of Pastoring or serving.; whichever we do this, we need to be good role models – bearing good fruit, with hearts that love and serve God. Good pastors do not control or dictate or manipulate people in the fellowship, but lead by serving in attitude and life-style.
Some on the mission field are called as Apostles to church plant and lay new foundations, or new ministries, and see them grow to maturity. It is a very responsible role. A true Apostle will be known for their ‘fruit’ not just their works; fruit will be evident in our lives in every area. – I am not talking about ‘numbers’ but about the fruits of the Spirit and the Gifts of the Spirit both being in operation together, which will manifest in our ministry.
An Apostle’s ministry will vary from person to person; it will be unique and different to each individual Apostle according to his calling, and the way each person works will be different. We see in the book of Acts and in the Epistles, that the Apostles, had many roles and responsibilities, and different areas of ministry, and to different people, eg Paul was an Apostle to the Gentiles and Peter was an Apostle to the Jews. Most Apostles are called to a specific group, place, or area of ministry, and they are called to do a specific task in the Kingdom of God, and they are called to be spiritual Fathers to the church.
An Apostle’s role varies from being an Evangelist, to a church and ministry planter and spiritual father, to trainer, overseeing church business and leaders. Apostles are people in love with God and we have great compassion for others, which is shown in practical ways. We will be accountable to God and others. We will teach sound doctrine, and have ‘signs’ following the ministry (that can be evidenced and authenticated), and we will begin to train, mentor, and nurture new disciples, churches and ministries. We will raise spiritual ‘sons’ and ‘daughters’ as Paul did with Timothy.
As Apostles, we will regularly check on the progress of the church or the work we oversee, directing it, encouraging it, and correcting it, where necessary, especially if we move on to another area. We will encourage and build. We will train and appoint others into leadership, developing ministry teams, and work-based teams to achieve the vision and calling God has placed on our lives. Apostles are all- rounders, and are able to carry out all five of the five fold ministry roles because of their training and experience; however they train others to carry out these responsibilities and them over to enable growth and maturity amongst those with whom they are working.
It is important to note that Prophets often work alongside or with Apostles, and Apostles are also prophetic in their calling and nature, and have experience and understanding of the role of Prophet. Apostles have operated in the role of the Prophet, and still do operate in the role of a Prophet when this is called for.
The Prophet’s role is to pray and intercede, and warfare on behalf of the people, city, nation, church, the workers, and to seek God for guidance, direction, specific instructions and blueprints as to how engage in missions and church growth. Prophets call people to prayer and they speak, prophecy, proclaim and decree the living word that God is saying to the church, here and now. They may call the Believers in the Church to repentance and readiness (not with judgment), and they also encourage and build up the Body of Christ. They call the churches to prayer and intercession on behalf of the people or nation., and they will continue to seek God in all aspects of Kingdom and church and community.
Prophets can open up the way to transform their communities, via prophetic prayer, intercession, fasting, and spiritual warfare, for the Kingdom of God to rule and reign in their towns, cities, villages, and communities, amongst the people God has called us to work with.
Developing and Transforming our Community
As missionaries, ambassadors and carriers of the message of the Kingdom, we are also called to have a positive and transformational effect on our communities. By prayer (first and foremost), our message, preaching, teaching and lifestyle, we can transform people around us, which in turn, transforms the community we live in. We can transform people’s thinking and belief and religious systems. We can transform people’s lifestyles and livelihoods and standards of living, especially if we develop a business that incorporates local people in employment, and we increase trade in the local area.
We can transform and improve the health in the community, by teaching about diseases and how to avoid them, and by implementing new projects that improve health, e.g. medical or water projects, pregnancy, or mental health support, drug awareness and support, or care for widows or the elderly or disabled in the community etc. We can be an even greater witness, with more effect, if we implement and decide to work together with other agencies, charities and government organisations, and work alongside and with other Christian churches and organisations.
To give you an example, I have given a vision to some church leaders in Africa, concerning children’s centres, and how these can be a positive and effective tool for transforming their own communities, by offering care and education to children and youth, families and widows, including health education, and how they can also support this project as much as possible, by farming and their produce. I have encouraged the local church leaders to work together, so it is a community project that is owned by them all, run by them all, supported by each other, and has a positive effect on all. I have seen the effectiveness and the fruit that these children’s centres are producing on the local community, and what they are accomplishing by the local leaders praying and working together.
There are many, many more stories like this all over the world. Now, my husband, myself and few other local Christians are thinking and fervently praying for change and transformation in our own local town in the UK, and we are waiting on God to show us how to go forwards. We believe he wants to breakthrough and bring transformation through us, together. Together we can all have a huge and positive effect upon the community.
We see the effect of a community that was transformed in Acts 2:42 to 47 and Acts 4:32-37. The first believers were transformed by the message of the gospel and miracles, signs and wonders. This transformed their lifestyle and had a positive effect on the community. They began to share everything they had with each other and with the community. No-body was in need. They had the favour of God and people. They lived a simple, communal life-style that involved, eating and fellowshipping together, sharing in the Apostle’s teaching, prayer and breaking bread. They became the first church, but this quickly spread as the message and the fruits of the teaching of the gospel became evident in their lives. The churches began to grow and spread, especially as persecution took root. Today, there are many more stories about how communities, towns and cities have been totally transformed by the message of the gospel and lifestyle and impact of the Believers upon the community.
One town in Guatemala had a serious drink and employment problem, affecting the lives of every household, until God sent a missionary couples into the town. They spent their time praying and seeking God, and drawing others into praying for their town. They spent time breaking down the spiritual strongholds in prayer and spiritual warfare, with other fellow Christians and leaders in the town.
After this, God, by his Spirit, radically transformed that town. People started coming to know Christ, including some of the leaders of the town. Gradually the bars shut down and the crime rate went right down; the prisons were no longer needed and were also shut down. The local Christians and people started to farm their land with more commitment, and the soil and land produce were blessed so much, that that the fruit and vegetables grew to 3 or 4 times the normal size. The town was able to grow in trade and produce employment. Now the whole town is transformed, from a drinking and unemployed and poor community, to a productive, happy and healthy community, who love God.
Another city in South America, was controlled by drug lords, and the whole community lived in fear of them and were controlled by them. The police regularly did drug runs for the drug lords. God sent a missionary couple to the city who began to pray, and pray and others joined them in prayer. Other leaders began to join them in prayer, and soon the churches came together in prayer. Through prayer and unity, and working together, the whole city was changed. The leaders of the city started to become Christians, sports teams became Christians, government officials became Christians. Then the drug rings and drug lords were broken up, arrested and moved out. The city began to thrive, and the churches (every denomination) began to grow, as more and more people became believers. As more became believers, the whole city was transformed and local trades increased and flourished.
There are more cities and towns and communities that have transformed by the message, lifestyle and impact of Christians. The key to transformation is PRAYER (see ‘Prophets’ above) and seeking God for a breakthrough, through intercession and spiritual warfare - including prayer for leaders and government officials, a then allowing the Holy Spirit to convict people of sin and bring change. It all starts with prayer, preaching and sharing the gospel, and transforming lifestyles. If we are willing, God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, more than we can ever ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
Many missionaries feel called to start a particular ministry, e.g. a Children’s Home, or church planting, or a school, or a combination of other things. If this is the case, then the projects we are called to start will need to be financed in some form or another, and will be prayed over carefully and daily; and I believe, the Lord will ask us to be wise and to find ways of fundraising that will enable us to carry out our task. Our finances can either hold us back or release us to go forward, so careful thought, planning and lots of prayer is needed to enable and release us to do the work. Some missionaries may be called to work in areas where Christianity is not acceptable, and they can be imprisoned for their activity. In this case, they will need to go into the new area or country operating as a new business as self-employed, or be employed by a local business or organisation, or to begin a community development project, as well as working for the Kingdom of God. This needs to be carefully researched and planned and organised so that the business can succeed.
Tent-making missionaries will need to combine work/business and mission work, which can be effective in community; this kind of work is demanding on our time and commitment, but also fruitful, especially if local people are involved in the business and we are able to bless and provide for others. ‘Tent-makers’ will therefore, need to take regular times of rest, and time out and away from the work and mission to refuel and refresh themselves.
Our role then becomes one of being creative entrepreneurs or business people, involved in a genuine working business or employment, so that we can be self-supporting and continue the work in the Kingdom; so we may be called upon to start and manage a new business, or to use the skills we have, to enable the mission and ministry we are called on to exist, to survive and thrive. God has given us many skills and talents, and he wants us to use every one of them to further the Kingdom of God.
If God has given any of us skills or gifts of weaving or making and selling clothes, fishing, or farming and selling organic or natural foods, business skills, teaching and language skills, engineering, building, or any other skills, then I believe the Lord will ask us to use these skills so we may finance ourselves and the ministry, but more than that, to help the people we are sent to... we can teach others to develop their own skills or new skills, so people can make a living and the daily needs are met as far as possible..... but not without prayer and reliance of God either... we recognize that every good and perfect gift comes from the Lord, and we can do nothing without him. Prayer is the most important aspect of our work. We need to be in tune with the Holy Spirit and what he is saying to us, and only do the things he shows us, as Jesus did.... He said, “I only do what I see my Father doing”, so we need to follow Jesus example and be totally reliant on him for our direction and growth in the calling he has placed upon our lives.
For School or Class: In small groups, discuss:
1. Discuss and explore the roles you might be called upon to take up and use in mission work: Evangelist, Teacher, Pastor, Apostle, Prophet, ‘tent-making’ mission and business, transformational changes, or an other role linked to this ministry. What roles are you already involved in ?
2. Discuss creative ideas, and how you might do things in a flexible, creative way to reach people on the mission field ?
3. How will you support yourself ? Will you begin a business or become employed? What genuine occupation or business enterprise could you successfully run? How will you do this?
4. How can you begin to transform the community you work with? Discuss how you can impact your community by prayer and other aspects taught in the class.
1. Have you ever had a creative ideas for business or ministry ? Please record this in your Journal.
2. This week, pray and seek God for creative ideas in how to minister to a particular group of people, eg children or widows, etc. Record this in your Journals, share these ideas with others, and begin to try out these ideas in your ministry. Record what happens.
3. What roles do you feel you are good at? What roles do you feel you have already been fulfilling? What role do you need to strengthen? What makes you feel uncomfortable? Record in your Journal.
4. If you are thinking of supporting yourself through business or employment, do some market research
first, then write down your proposals - your business or employment plans, costs and equipment or stock, import and export or clients/students, employees, and how you might establish this.
5. Begin to seriously pray and seek God on a regular basis for your communities, town, cities, people that God is calling you work with and among. You can do this on your own, but better still, gather and pray in unity with other Christians and leaders, even if it is only one or two to begin with, and include Church members for your communities and for a spiritual breakthrough. Do not give up or stop praying (no matter how long it takes) until the breakthrough comes and you see a total transformation of your community, city, village, town, and people group. Then begin to teach and disciple the new believers in the way of the Kingdom of God.
CHAPTER 4: PAUL’S MISSIONARY JOURNEYS: WHAT CAN WE LEARN?
If we look at the life of Paul and his missionary journeys we can learn from him about how to carry out mission work. Paul was sent out with Barnabus from the church at Antioch, as directed by the Holy Spirit ... When Paul first went on his missionary journeys, (with Barnabus or a small team), he went to the Jews in the Synagogue and he preached, talked, debated with them about the Messiah Jesus, and the prophecies from scripture that pointed to Jesus. He went to his own people and culture first. He knew them. He knew what they needed and how to talk with them. He was equipped to do the job, and some believed. We read later in the book of Acts that Paul also went to the market-place to spread the gospel, he preached from house to house, and he hired a hall, e.g. not the synagogue, to debate with the Jews and Greeks. Paul did not keep the message of the gospel inside the four walls of the synagogue – he took it outside, as we need too.
However we see from Paul’s journeys and experiences that the Jews were quite hardened to the gospel and did not receive it well from Paul. He was persecuted in most places and even stoned to death. Paul had more success with the Gentiles, because they listened, and because God was sending Paul to the Gentiles, e.g.. not the Jews. Paul became an apostle to the Gentiles, and through his ministry, he established some Gentile churches. We can learn from this, that we need to make sure we are working with the right group of people to bear good fruit, good soil – we know God wants ALL to be saved, but he doesn’t send us to all; he sends us to one place at a time, one and people group; and another person he will send to another place and people, so we need to know our sphere of ministry.
When Paul began to teach and preach in a new town or city, he followed a pattern. He was led by the Spirit as to where to go – he first prayed and sought God about where he needed to go and went where the Spirit led him; then he would go to where Jewish believers gathered, and begin to teach and preach the gospel. He would gather a nucleus of Believers and teach them by laying a solid foundation of the gospel and apostolic doctrine (see 1 Corinthians 3:5-6 and 9-10). He would train leaders and leave them in charge of a new church plant, but come back to visit, strengthen, encourage, correct and teach again. When we begin a new church plant, we need to preach, gather, teach and train leaders, appoint leaders, (and encourage a variety of developing gifts and ministries). We need to make disciples by teaching and laying the initial foundations of believing, baptism, laying on of hands, resurrection from the dead and eternal judgment (Heb 6:1-3) and then move forwards into teaching at a deeper level, to enable growth and maturity.
We also need to model and give the church a simple, duplicable model (as in Acts 2:42) of prayer, fellowship, the Lord’s supper, and Jesus’ teaching. We need to train the new leaders how to do what we are doing. We need to teach and model how to live through scriptures and we teach how the church how reach out to the community and multiply itself in the Kingdom. We then leave the new church plant in the hands of the new leaders. ‘Leaving’ means that the church will stand on it’s own two feet, and will grow and multiply. Leaving also means that the church planters are free to go wherever the Lord is sending them to next (if he or they are not called to stay).
Although Paul left the churches he established, he was still their spiritual father, and he never stopped loving them, nurturing and guiding, them or praying for them. He fathered the churches and leaders, and we in turn, can follow his example. An Apostolic Missionary then, would be engaged in prayer first, then evangelism/preaching the gospel, healing the sick and deliverance (as Jesus was), making disciples by teaching and training, leadership development, delegation (passing on the batten) and revisiting and fathering the new church plant and ministries. Jesus (the Chief Apostle) modelled this was of working as well as Paul.
Please note Paul had a small team, not an army of people. He did not have a big team with a big tent, with horse-loads (or ship loads) of equipment to ‘win’ the lost, nor did he have a big ‘fan-club’ of followers, nor did he have lots of finance in order to preach the gospel. What he had was the word of God and the power of God, he had simplicity, power and truth and that was all he needed. No shows. We need to learn from this, and not be fazed by our smallness or lack. Remember what Paul said: God takes and uses the weak and foolish things of this world to confound the wise. It is through our weakness his grace and power is shown.
Another thing we note from looking at Paul’s journeys is that he never worked alone; Paul always had a small team with him; and like Paul, we need to training people up in ministry and sending teams out. We need to learn how to work in teams as equal partners and how to use our gifts and skills to the best of our ability for the sake of the gospel and for others; and our teams need to work in harmony, not in competition with each other or with different aims and goals, our teams need basic training, motivating, nurturing, mentoring, pasturing, and releasing by us.
Teams need to be united in their vision, otherwise they can too easily be torn apart. Even Paul and Barnabus had a sharp disagreement over John-Mark being in their ‘team’, so they parted company. In my experience, if one member has a different goal or vision than the rest of the team, then they cannot function together in peace and unity or as effectively as they should. I believe the enemy gets in to divide and to spoil and to foil our plans, if we let him. We need to watch out for the enemy’s tactics and remember that it is not people we are fighting against, not flesh and blood, but principalities and powers.
When I have travelled to Kenya and Uganda I have always taken a little team with me... in one particular place two of the team members fell out with one another and they both threatened to leave. One team member had different priorities to the rest of us, and it caused some conflict. At that time, all I could do was pray and become a peacemaker so that we were able to work and live together as a team for a short while and complete the task at hand. Sometimes we may be called upon to exercise more grace, wisdom and patience than we ever thought we had in these situations, remembering to honour and prefer one another. It is not easy, but it is a learning curve and it certainly matures us. We need to be always praying, always forgiving, always gracious. Thankfully, even though Paul and Barnabus parted company, the enemy was not able to stop the gospel spreading; in fact they formed two teams instead of one to preach the gospel.
Please also note that Paul and his team also stayed in the places they were teaching and preaching in for several days or months or years, to make sure the churches had the right teaching, the right foundations, and leadership in place, before they left to go on their next journey. He laid a solid foundation in their lives. (see 1 Cor 3:10 ).
We can learn from Paul’s example: he did not move onto his next mission until he had established the current one. He laid a solid foundation first, and he appointed leaders to continue the work. He would then travel to on to do more missionary work, but come back to strengthen the churches he first established.
Whilst on his journeys, Paul encountered many things that he needed to deal with: he needed to deal with division in the church over the issue of circumcision; and this came from legalism and interpretation of the law that was being wrongly aid on the Gentiles. Paul had to deal with angry unbelievers, spirits of divinity, false allegations against him from unbelievers, and suffer at their hands, e.g. being whipped and thrown into prison. Paul had to deal with criticisms and immature behaviour in the churches he established, and he had to deal with hardships of hunger, being cold and shipwrecked and riots. He learned in all situations to be content. Paul even said: “... we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character, and character hope.” (Rom 5:3-4).
Despite all his suffering Paul never gave up on the people he loved and the churches he established. We note that he always prayed for them. He returned to see the churches he established to strengthen and encourage them. He later wrote letters to the churches to encourage them, correct them and strengthen them. He was a true Apostolic father.
We also need to note the simplicity with which Paul presented the gospel. He did not use special equipment or special effects. He said he did not come with eloquent words. He did not give motivation talks, or talks to make people feel good. He preached the gospel, pain and simple. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:1-5: “when I cam to you brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.”
Many times I have felt like Paul – I have felt I was an inadequate speaker and could not ‘deliver’ a message in the same way as I have seen many other people do. I need to use notes, and I do not take well to being put ‘on-the-spot’. I need to prepare well. However, the Lord has helped me to overcome my weakness and inadequacies and he has helped me to see that he loves and accepts just the way I am, and he can use me, just the way I am.
I don’t need to be like anybody else. As I started to teach and preach, using notes, the Lord has given me more confidence that the message I am bringing is from him, and that my style of delivery is just as good as anybody else’s. I don’t need to copy anyone. I can just bring the simple message God gives me and share it in the way he shows me. That is enough.
Paul did not preach eloquently, but he taught us with revelation that he received directly from the Holy Spirit and
from Scriptures, and because of this, the power of God was displayed and miracles and healings took place.
(Acts 19). We can learn from this. The simplicity and truth and power of the gospel message is enough. It is the power of God unto salvation. If Jesus didn’t need it and Paul didn’t need it, then why do we? Let’s keep things simple and pure. We can nullify the gospel or taint it with self and pride., then it looses it’s power. Let’s go back to the origins, to the basics.... What is the message all about? Let’s leave the thrills and sensationalism behind and preach and teach the gospel and message of salvation, healing and deliverance.
For School or Class: in small groups, discuss:
1. What are the benefits and draw backs of team work? What can pull teams apart or unite them?
2. What group of people did Paul minister too, and why did this change? What principle can we learn from this?
3. Look at Acts 2:37-47 to find the basic functions of the church.
4. What was Paul’s role and responsibilities in establishing churches?
5. Look at Romans 15:14-20 to find out what Paul considered to be his missionary calling.
6. Look at Acts chapters 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18 and Luke 10, to find the basic functions of mission work.
1. What kind of situations did Paul face in his ministry? How did he handle them?
2. How did Paul preach and present the Gospel?
3. Record how you might feel and how you might respond in some of the difficult situations that Paul faced?
CHAPTER 5. KEEP GOING
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. .... One thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead. I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heaven-wards in Christ Jesus.”
So how do we keep going on, keep going forward, especially when we encounter testing times, dry times, lack, or conflict? It isn’t going to be easy, but we need to learn how to handle conflicts between ourselves and our work- colleagues, between ourselves and other Christians, between ourselves and the community; and we need to do it in a Godly way, in an open and honest way, and with love. Love needs to compel us. Love needs to the driving force that keeps us communicating, that keeps us co-operating and keeps us loving those who hurt us or despitefully use us. Sometimes we will feel ‘used’ but Jesus said, if someone asks for your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.... as long as respond to conflict, false accusations and misunderstandings the way that Jesus told us too, we will not go wrong. The Lord will vindicate us and bring about a peaceful solution.
We also need to be wise with money and our accounts, and be transparent about what money we spend (especially
if people are supporting us) and how we spend it. Our money is something the Lord needs to trust us with. If
he supplies, through various means, then he is expecting us to use the money wisely and honestly – it’s back to
the parable of the talents. If we use what we have wisely, then the Lord will bring an increase. If we do not, then we may find that the Lord removes the little bit that we have until he can trust us again.
Unfortunately, I have seen and heard pastors in conflict with one another over financial issues because of lack of transparency and wisdom. It has bought division between pastors and brings dishonour to the Lord when his children are in open conflict with one another. In these situations I can only point the Scriptures that says we need to be reconciled with one another before we make our offering to the Lord. The scriptures say we need to forgive one another, to love and honour one another above ourselves. If we are not able to do this in our personal relationships or with people we are working alongside, then God needs to work on our character and our ‘self’ a lot more. Remember we need to die to ‘self’. “Self’ gets in the way and does not bring glory to God. Death to self and ‘our way’ of thinking and doing things however, can bring healing and reconciliation in situations of pain and conflict. God does not expect there to be personal conflict between his people. It is up to us to choose God’s way of thinking and behaving, and we need to let the Holy Spirit mellow us.
Paul certainly went through conflict and pain, but he said: “we are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed...... therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Cor 4:8-9 & 16-18).
Sometimes we can feel let down, discouraged or crushed by our circumstances, by lack of response and
‘hard ground,’ or feel alone or abandoned, or even betrayed by our close friends or companions. We may lose heart when our finances do not match our needs. We come across trying times and may wonder if it is all worth the effort and if God really called us to this in the first place.... we may develop doubts about our calling or become quite callous and hard towards people. I have felt this way many times, especially when it is time to take out the small team on the streets to pray with people and share the gospel.
Sometimes the ground has been so hard, and people so resistant that I have wondered if I was called to this work at all, or if I am in the wrong place? Doubts started to creep in and discouragement. We need to be careful of discouragement. Satan puts doubts and discouragement in our hearts and minds and these can be a block to us, unless we learn to discern where they are coming from and how to handle them. I have found that when the enemy is discouraging us is it because we are doing the right thing, otherwise he would not be bothering us.
Discouragement comes from the enemy and it is a tactic he will use to stop us proceeding and furthering the Kingdom of God. He is the one who puts doubts in our head.... Do you remember what Satan said to Eve in the garden of Eden.... Satan put doubts in her mind about what God said and God’s motives, he asked Eve:
”Did God say......?” then he offered her an alternative, but it was not based on the full truth about what it would mean once she had eaten the fruit. Satan will only tell us the bits he wants us to hear because he wants to cause our downfall or turn is in the wrong direction. So he told Eve she would have knowledge of good and evil and that she would be like God. He did not tell her that this was rebellion and sin and that it would cut her off from eternal life and from the presence of God. So if Satan does start to whisper things in our ears, and cause us to doubt ourselves, our calling, or what God has told us, then we need to firmly say, NO, I am not listening to this, and give him his marching orders.
We then need to encourage ourselves by praising God in and through our circumstances and pushing through the barriers with praise and worship. When we do this, we change the atmosphere from doubt, fear and unbelief to faith, hope and joy, and when we wait on him, it says in scripture, we renew our strength. Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” but it is through Christ, and through his strength and not our own.
Sometimes we need to stop all our activity and take time to wait on Him to renew our spirit and mind. We need to take time out to be refreshed.. I am not talking about going on furlough, although we can do that also, but rather making sure we spend part of our day soaking in the Lord’s presence and power, letting him touch us, speak to us and renew our vision. We need to be doing this work in his strength, not in our own, and we need to be careful we do not quickly ‘burn-out’. Burn-out comes when we have exhausted ourselves through self-effort, and through not knowing when to take a break. Burn-out comes when we take on the problems of everybody around us and forget to give them and the circumstances and problems we face, to the Lord. We need to do this daily so we are not overwhelmed by other people’s needs or the task ahead of us. God will not give us a commission or a task that we cannot do, even though we may feel inadequate like Moses felt.
God chooses us because he knows we can do the task, even though it looks impossible at times. God asked Moses to deliver his people from the Pharaoh, and Moses did not feel up the task, he even said, I cannot speak.... So God gave him Aaron as his spokesman. God knows that we cannot do things alone, and that is why he puts people alongside us to help us fulfil the task. That is why he sent the disciples out in twos, and that is why Paul never worked alone on his missionary trips. God will not leave us wounded and broken, but he will send someone to help. If God can send angels to Peter to get him out of prison, Ravens to feed Elijah by the brook, and Christians to raise Paul from the dead after he had been stoned, then there is no reason why he can’t help us and deliver us in our times of need. All we need to do is call on him, and He will come.
We need to keep our eyes on Jesus at all times, in all circumstances, in all aspects of our ministry and life. We need to keep the vision alive and growing within us, to keep ourselves pure in the way we handle matters and people, and to keep expanding the work and vision he has given us, firstly in prayer, hearing directly from the Lord how he wants us to expand or vision., then taking the appropriate action that he shows us.
We may reach some of our goals in ministry and we may still be working on others, and some, we may not reach
ourselves, and we need to pass this onto our successors. There may come a time when God pulls us out, asks us to stop, or to move on, and pass on the work to our successors. It is time to pass the baton on; just like Moses based on the batten to Joshua, Elijah to Elisha, and Paul to Timothy.
Before we are able to pass this work on though, we need to be sure we are passing it onto the right people,
who also have a vision and heart for the ministry and who have a big heart for God. We need to know that the people who succeed us are able to do the job, because we have spent time with them, training and mentoring them, and allowing them responsibility. and finally, handing things over to them as we obey the Lord and go where he tells us too (which may mean going onto a new mission or going back home). Remember Paul did not leave the work he started until it was fully founded and established. Then he left the work in the capable hands of the leaders he appointed over the work.
But it is hard to let go of something we love, and people we love. It is hard for them to let go of us too. It was hard for Paul when he needed to move on, but unless Paul moved on, and unless we move on, the ministry will not become fully functioning, independent from the founders, or fully grown. When we let go, the ministry has to stand on it’s own two feet and begin to walk, then run, and even take over and do better than we ever imagined. God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, ABOVE all we ask or imagine. Our role then is to let go, and become fathers and mothers from afar, who pray regularly for the work, who love and support the people, who advise when needed and who visit to encourage and strengthen (but not take over). This is what Paul the apostle did, and we can learn to do the same. So we fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, and we press on towards the prize, forgetting the things behind us and walking forwards, we keep going.
For School or Class:
In small groups, discuss:
1. How will you keep going on, when circumstances and situations are against you? What strategies will you use for support? (See 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, & 16-18).
2. How should we handle money issues and our accounts?
3. What does ‘passing on the baton’ involve, and how do we do it?
4. Pray for one another and encourage one another in your ministries.
1. Explain how the enemy uses discouragement and lies against us? handle it? How will you handle it now? Record in your Journal.
2. Has this happened to you? How did you handle it.
3. Have you experienced burn-out? What will you do if you begin to feel this way?
4. Pray for another mission ministry or outreach this week. Record what happens to you as you pray.
5. Briefly discuss any questions or issues, and discuss what has blessed you during this study.
Make an appointment to see the Chairperson or Deputy. Show them your Journal.
6. Ask the Chairperson or Deputy to sign your Journal.
Baker H, 1984, Compelled by Love, Charisma House, USA
Yohannan Dr. KP, 2004, Revolution in World Missions, gfa books, USA.
The Missionary Training Service UK, 1996, The Missionary Training Guide, UK
The Missionary Training Service UK, 1998, How to Make Disciples in Other Cultures, UK
The Missionary Training Service UK, 1998, Tentmaking Missionaries, UK
Scheidler Bill & Dick Iverson, 2001, Apostles, the Fathering Servant, City Bible Publishing, USA