Leadership Ideas from the life of David

God chooses His man

I Samuel 16:13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.

God chooses to use David as the next king over Israel.
 
David is the son of Jesse the Bethlehemite 1 Samuel 16:1

Samuel arrives at Jesse’s house preparing to anoint the next king of Israel. Samuel prepares to sanctify Jesse and his sons and offer a sacrifice but David is not even invited to the meeting. 1 Samuel 16:5

In 1 Samuel 16:6 Samuel sees Eliab and by all outward appearance he will surely be the Lord’s anointed but God rejects him as well as all the other brothers because God does not look on the outward appearance 1 Samuel 16:7 but on the heart.

All seven of David’s older brothers pass before Samuel and each is rejected. Amazingly no one has thought to invite David in from the sheep — no one thought that David apparently should even be considered. 1 Samuel 16:11

This could possibly cause a person to wonder if anyone wanted him for the ministry God had for him. However the key question is Does God want you for that ministry? If God wants you for that ministry then that is all that matters. He can and will prepare the hearts for you. He can and will open the right doors for you.

The biggest question we all need to ask is whether God wants us in the ministry or not! If He does then let’s go forth knowing that He chose us, He sent us, and He will work through and in us!

Encouraging young leaders

1 Samuel 17:33 And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.

David is again being judged on outward appearances. It is not the size of the man in fight but the size of the fight in the man. What Saul doesn’t know is that David has learned to trust God. David knows that God has used him in the past and will use him again. Saul sees youth but David sees God using him even though he is but a youth. Would to God that we would begin to look on the character, desire, and heart of a man to know how God will use him.

David may have been young but God had been preparing him for a long time. He may be but a youth but God has been preparing him for just such a time as this.

Notice also that Saul believes that he can’t be used because he is a youth but Goliath had also been a man of war since his youth. Could it be that we spread doubt and fear instead of faith and power? Are we guilty of scaring the youth instead of motivating them? Do you shrink people or stretch them? I would have no desire to cause fear when God could use me to encourage.

Preparing for the ministry

1 Samuel 17:37 David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.

David is prepared to fight the giant because God has prepared him by giving him experience in battle. The other battles were minor compared to this one. He had killed the lion and bear in hand to hand combat. He had used the simple elements that his father and profession had placed in his hands. He grabbed him by his beard and struck him maybe with his rod or even his bare hand.

But the most important thing is that he knows full well that it wasn’t his power but the power of God that wrought the victory. It was the Lord that delivered him. It was the Lord that gave him the victory. With his pastoral position had come the responsibility of protecting his sheep. He had done so risking his very life. He knew that all responsibility brings great risk. Now he hears a giant cursing his God. He is responsible before God to defend His name. He knows that God is seeking someone who will stand for Him, David knows that if he will but be used God will in great power deliver him.

Now as a missionary or one preparing for missionary service you need to remember that you will have to fight the small battles before you can be used to topple the giant. In your local church begin to kill the lions and bears now. Can you defeat your own laziness and lack of discipline? Can you stand for God and His man when others doubt, criticize and do not do their responsibility? You need not consider going over seas to win souls and disciple believers until you are successfully doing so where you are. If you can not manage the money that you now have for His honor and glory do not expect Him to give you more. Do you pay your bills on time? Are you are man of your word. 

Be faithful in the little things before you expect God to trust you will the big things, Luke 16:10-12

Get some experience

I Samuel 17:39 And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him.

Prove your talents. Don’t make the mistake of trying to do something just because that is how others do it. Prove your own talents. Test your calling and your weapons. Have a fervor for God but do not try to avoid getting all the necessary training to do what God has called you to do.

Be an encourager

I Samuel 17:42 And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance.

Think of it. David has now been disdained by his dad and family, by Samuel the prophet, by Saul the king and now by Goliath his enemy. Each have seen only what the human eye can see. God is seeing a very different story. They see a red headed or red faced, good looking boy. (The word ruddy indicates the color red. Some think that it was talking about his skin color and other his hair color) God saw a warrior and a future king.

If you will disciple men you must see beyond the outward and to the man or woman that will be after God does a miracle work in their lives. 

If you are the youth that is reading this note then hang on to what God is doing in your life. Do not be discouraged by the opinions of family, friends, leaders, and even spiritual leaders. God is the one that will do the work.

Do not be cocky but be certain that God has called you and that God will use you if you will but obey Him and honor His word. 

If you are the discipler or leader trainer then get involved in building confidence in your disciple. Help him to prove his weapons by much practice. Help him to kill the lions and the bears so that he will be able to stand against the onslaught of doubt and fear that will be hurled at him.

Pastor be an encourager and not a discourager.

Walking with the “Great I AM”

I Samuel 17:47 And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hands.

David has learned a truth that all of us must learn if we desire to be used of God. The Lord does not save with the sword and spear. That is a blessing because the nation of Israel is standing there before the Philistines with very few swords and spears. Almost certainly the Philistines were mocking them. They had a giant. They had weapons.

The Israelites are standing their side of the valley with slings, sticks, and rocks plus no hero to fight for them, Possibly others saw what was lacking but David saw not the lack but the strength that he had that no Philistine had. He had the power of God. He knew that God could and would win the battle without earthly weapons or wisdom.

God doesn’t call many mighty, wise, or noble but He does give those that He calls power to do His work plus the Living Word that works effectually in the lives of men and women. 

If God calls you to do battle for Him or if you will simply say “Here am I send me” you may go forth with faith and confidence. The enemy may have more of some things than you do but the enemy lacks the one great ingredient to success.

He has no personal intimate walk with the “Great I AM.”

Run towards the enemy

I Samuel 17:48 And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.

David ran not only towards the giant but towards the enemy army. While others cowered David charged. He didn’t just talk a good fight he lived it. When problems arise you need not flee.

The one you serve will give you great power and success as you honor his name by taking a stand and hurrying to the Lord’s battle. The philistine in his pride and anger thinks that by his loud roaring he can strike fear deep into the heart of David.

1 Peter 5:8 I wonder what he thought when instead of fear David showed faith. The devil may go about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour but victory is already our. We simply must stand on the promises. 1 John 4:4

Big and Better weapons coming

I Samuel 17:51 Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled.

When you prove the weapons that you have God will give you bigger and better weapons. The weapon will be there when you need it. Amazingly the shepherd had all that he needed to get the job done of killing the giant but after killing the giant God gave him a sword that he uses the rest of his life. I Samuel 21:9

David took his head

I Samuel 17:54 And David took the head of the Philistine, and brought it to Jerusalem; but he put his armour in his tent.

David took the head and traveled to Jerusalem. Imagine the scene: David has killed the giant. He has taken his head. He will show it to Saul and the army of the Lord. He then travels with it to show to the nation what God can do with one man that will trust him and run to the battle.

God has shown His power. David has proven that God can over other gods. David has proven that the youth can be used when all disdained him. What is on the inside is starting to show on the outside.

That head will win the hearts of the nation and his dearest earthly friend, Jonathan.

As you go out to do battle dear missionary prepare to fight the giant. When you defeat him more enemies will come but so will the army that God will give you to win great battle for Him.

Training men

1 Samuel 18:1 And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.

Do you seek to have a disciple that you can teach and train? Something will have to be done that will cause the one that you will teach to desire to allow you to teach them.

You have to earn the right to teach them. It is not just a normal and natural thing that they would allow you to disciple them.

They are looking for someone that will be able to really help them. In this Bible story Jonathan is the prince.

He knows that he is the man. Who could lead him? Who can teach him?

The answer is the one that brings the giant’s head in his hand when even his dad was unable to win the battle. You can win his heart and love but you must prove your spiritual walk, power and victory before they will want to follow you.

Do you have the victory in your spiritual life? Is God blessing you in a visible way?

He will be willing to acknowledge your ability and wisdom when he sees God’s hand on your life.

Making someone else a success

I Samuel 18:9 And Saul eyed David from that day and forward.

What a horrible way to live! Always afraid that David would get his spot. Hurting every time he heard someone brag on David or congratulate him.

If you intend to disciple others you must remember that your goal will be to make them a success. Your goal will be to promote them to a position higher than your own.

Obviously God is going to use this attitude to remove Saul from his position and to train David to withstand criticism etc but as a discipler you must learn a different attitude.

David seems to have had a different attitude. He sat at the table with other leaders and men who had done as great a work as he had or even greater. Of his mighty men we find stories that rival the killing of the giant with even greater exploits yet David is able to work with them and trust them.

Remember if he is not strong enough to hurt you if will, then he is not strong to help you if he will. If you are to put 2 Timothy 2:2 into practice then you must be willing to see men surpass you in ministry and influence.

John the Baptist said that he must decrease so that the one who followed him could increase. John 3:30.

Can you deal with such a blow to your pride. If you can then God can use to make a major difference in other people’s lives and in World Evangelism.

Risk your life

I Samuel 19:5 For he did put his life in his hand, and slew the Philistine, and the LORD wrought a great salvation for all Israel: thou sawest it, and didst rejoice: wherefore then wilt thou sin against innocent blood, to slay David without a cause?

Nothing great happens until someone is willing to put their life into their hand. David saw the Lord bring a great salvation and cause great rejoicing even on the part of Saul the king who hates him.

It all starts with someone that loves God enough to be willing to risk their life. It is God that brings the victory but victory doesn’t come until someone steps out by faith and lets God do something.

How many people never give their live to be a missionary for fear of learning a language, leaving home, getting involved in another culture, raising their support etc? Great blessings will not come until you step on nothing and allow God to prove Himself in your life.

I would like to hear your thoughts. What do you think? Where am I off? Does this apply to you? What can I improve on in what I say here?

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Lessons to young preachers

Achieving the Indigenous Principle Part Two

The Three Characteristics of the Indigenous Church


The indigenous church is not mentioned in the New Testament. It is, however, obvious in the sense that the church took root and grew naturally. In the New Testament we see no outside involvement and help. Paul and others were planting churches but they did not stay long enough for the people to become dependent. The one time that Paul does stay too long he apologizes because he has caused them to be an inferior church. In staying he had worked another job, making tents, without having them pay his salary. They had a church that cost them nothing. That meant Paul wasn’t burdensome (didn’t cost them anything) and this caused them to be inferior. It is expected that a pastor who is so valuable to the church and ministry would be costly!

2 Corinthians 12:13 says, “For what is it wherein ye were inferior to other churches, except it be that I myself was not burdensome to you? Forgive me this wrong.”

Paul had worked among these people and not been a burden to them. He had not charged them anything including a salary. They were the people who least respected him. They took advantage of him. That would be the biblical basis for this study.
Here are some of the proponents of the “indigenous principle” that should help you to learn the necessity of achieving the indigenous principle. You can learn from the mistakes of others and from their wisdom.


Henry Venn (Anglican) and Rufus Anderson (Congregationalist) developed a strategy of indigenization in response to the extreme paternalism that had been exercised by western missionaries in the 19th century. It was obvious to them that “rice” Christians were only loyal as long as they received the free food. The missionary acted as a parent and expected complete authority and control.
Dixon Hoste who followed Hudson Taylor as director of the China Inland Mission is credited with making the Chinese churches apply the principles of self-government, self-support, and self propagation. Melvin Hodges (Assemblies of God) believed that foreign money created dependence and established the paternalistic pattern that created an unhealthy, anemic church.


Consider with me, each of the three principles and how they are applied. We will get into much more depth in the following chapters of how to apply these principles. This will simply be a stating of the principles and how they are to work.

First, the church is to be “self-governing!” That means that the church will develop leadership from within as the Holy Spirit works among those that He has saved as in Acts 13:1-3. The missionary or church planter ceases to be the leader. The national leaders are trained and the missionary is phased out. The church has learned to make its own decisions.

This can be seen biblically in how Paul trained and appointed leaders in Acts 14:21-23. Paul told the church to govern itself in the discipline of a member in I Corinthians 5:45. In Acts 6 the congregation and the apostles picked their first leaders, probably deacons.

 

Second, the church is to be “self-supporting!” That means that the church does not subsist on outside or foreign money. Each church should be able to meet its own needs. From the beginning God’s people gave sacrificially to support their church and its ministry, Acts 4:32-37, 6:1-3. The Philippians supported Paul as a missionary, Philippians 4:10. If a church cannot pay its own way and must depend on outside supply then we will greatly hinder them, damage relations between us, and hinder the starting of future churches.

Third, the church is to be “self-propagating!” Self-propagating means that the church will extend its own ministry in its region and beyond without external help. If we are to evangelize the world in our generation then we will have to start churches that are able to start churches. There is simply no way that we can raise up enough missionaries to start all the churches. In 2 Timothy 2:2 we find, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” As those who hear find others that they can train we will be able to accomplish the task that we have been given.

Disciples must disciple. That is how we will get the gospel around the world. As go the disciples so will go the church. If you have a discipling church it will be a reproducing church. The discipling church will plant other churches.

This is actually a picture of my brother in law’s greenhouses, Blossom and Bloom

The Greenhouse Principle

The discussion of the indigenous church is a heated one among missionaries that have to live out its principles on the actual field. They are very animated about the pros and the cons. They tire quickly of the ivory tower specialist that has never had the privilege of starting a church in a hostile environment. They love the new believers. They feel great responsibility for them. They hurt when they hurt and are happy when they are happy. They literally do feel like these people are their spiritual children.

I do not want to hinder your work. I want to enhance it. I do not want to frustrate you but to help you understand just how to achieve this indigenous principle. You know that it is necessary. There is no way that you can deny the reality that one day they will have to manage church life on their own.

Yet you cannot abandon them or leave them to flounder. You hurt for them. It is not a selfish feeling it is really love. I believe that what I want to share with you in this chapter is a balanced view of what you will try to accomplish. It can work. You can achieve the indigenous principle while still helping them as they grow.

Plants that are indigenous may get their start in a greenhouse. The greenhouse provides an artificial climate and the care of an expert to get the seed or small seedling to grow. Everything is managed by another. The seed or seedling is not left to itself.

Kudzu took naturally to the climate of the Southeast United States. Other plants that are indigenous do so much better when given extra care at the beginning of their life. Tobacco is a plant that is native to the US. Europeans discovered it upon their arrival here. The American Indian was already using tobacco since the time of Christ. However farmers use tobacco beds to help the seedling grow quicker and better for their crops.

I am not advocating the use of tobacco. I just want you to see that a plant that is native or indigenous does receive help to gain more success in the crops. The seeds are planted. They are covered with a cloth to keep the frost from harming them. When they reach a certain point of maturity they are taken from the tobacco bed and placed in the field where they will be cultivated.

The same is true for the tomato plant. They are indigenous. They grow fine but to achieve more growth and production they too are raised in a seedling bed. They are covered as you see in the picture to keep them warm and protect them from the cold and frost. They are then planted where they will be able to produce.

Could you consider this principle with me as a church planter? You will go to a foreign land. The land may be hostile to the gospel and the church at the beginning. I challenge you to start the church on what you know from the Bible. You cannot simply win some to Christ, hand them a Bible, and hope that they figure out what to do.

In the beginning you will have full control. You will tell them what a church service looks like. You will teach them how to read the Bible. You will teach them what it means to preach. You will disciple them. You cannot allow them to develop a church along the lines of their culture. They do not understand enough about church to work that way.

You will have a great deal of influence. This places a great deal of responsibility on your shoulders. You are not there to spread American culture. You are not there to make Americans out of them but to teach them the Bible and let God develop His church among them.

That means that you will have to principally teach them the Bible. You will need to teach them what it actually says and not what your culture taught you that it said. You will have to be very honest with yourself and see what you believe and practice that might be cultural and that you cannot support from the Bible. Teach them the Bible. Let them be themselves. Change only what the Bible clearly teaches that needs to be changed.

They do not need American church buildings, American church schedules, American culture in any way. We are citizens of another country. We have another constitution and it is God’s Word. The Bible is our only rule of faith and practice will have to become a reality for you and not just a cliché.

In the greenhouse you will, in the beginning, have all the control. You will decide how a service looks. You will show them how to baptize. You will show them what preaching looks like. But every day you should have in mind that you will back off just a little. In the beginning you have full control and they have none. Over the next several months or years you will relinquish control and they will assume control. You will go from 100% control to 0%. They will go from 0% to 100% control.
You must be very careful. If you take them out of the greenhouse to quick they will die. If you leave them to long they will be dependent. It is a hard line to walk and understand. You must remember that you will be tempted to keep control too long. You will want to protect them too much. A little is good and too much will be worse than none at all.

 

Raising Children

Planting churches has a lot in common with raising children. No one would expect for you to give birth and abandon your children. Everyone would be outraged if they saw you do such a thing. Children need time, tender care, training, and teaching. Yes, they need to become independent but that comes in due time. No more than you would give birth and abandon your child should you win souls, plant a church, and leave.

Again, in the beginning the child makes no decisions, cannot govern itself, cannot support itself, and cannot reproduce. But that will all come with time. In the beginning the only thing the child does is demand. They demand to eat and to be changed. They demand to be loved and held. They can’t talk. They can’t care for themselves in any way. They can’t prepare their own food. They can’t protect themselves.

So what do we do to help our children. We take complete charge. We do not ask them if they want to live at our house. They do not choose their food, their clothes, their activities, we do as parents. We do not ask them if they like the vitamins or the medicine that they need to take. We do not ask them if they want to take baths, brush their teeth, take a nap, etc. We decide and we command. We do not allow them to decide how to study and educate themselves. We do not allow them to decide what model of family they want or activities.

They will decide these things later in life just not now. We would be pitiful parents if we allowed them to make decisions too soon. We would be negligent. We would actually be criminals charged with child abuse if we didn’t ensure that our children ate correctly, were bathed, educated, cared for medically, etc.

As they grow we give them more and more freedom. We give them more and more choices. They decide what to wear. They dress themselves. They take over many of the decisions that we were making for them. They are reaching maturity. We know as parents that we need to have them to a place in their lives that they can support themselves and govern themselves by 18 to 22 years of age. Soon after that they will reproduce. That is life.

Can you think of a church like that? Can you imagine teaching and training them so that every day they took on more responsibility? Do you realize how much you harm your children when you give them too much and do not make them work for it? Spoiled children do not make good, responsible adults. Churches that have been spoiled will not make good, responsible, indigenous churches either.

So again you have the same diagram, controls relationship to responsibility. So as Control diminishes Responsibility increases.

I would love to hear your comments. I will refine what i think if you simply let me know where I am failing to make a clear decision or thought process. If you like it, comment. If you do not like it, comment! I would love to hear from you!

 

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The Challenge of Missions

Vision Baptist Missions has published a new run of this great classic on missions. Reading this book is a life changer. It will give you a heart to get the gospel around the world. It will help you see the challenge before us. It will be a great gift that you can give to someone else so that they can read it if you already have it digitally or in print. I just want to excite people about what God is doing and how they can get involved.

Vision Baptist Church is starting our World Evangelism Celebration today. In celebration of my favorite week of the year at Vision I want to give away 10 copies of this book. I will pay postage and everything. All I ask you to do is comment below.

The first 10 to leave a comment in the US will get a copy of the book shipped to them for free. If you do not have a US postal address then I suggest you get the kindle version here.

You do not have to leave your address in the comments for security reasons. Just comment about your desire to get the gospel around the world, etc. Then write me an email with your postal address and email address. I will confirm with you and send the book on.

My email is gardner @ bcwe.org

Remember only the first 10 comments will get a free copy of the book. I can tell you how to get the book if you are that 11th so no worries. I still want you to have the book.

God bless. Please leave your comments.

Visiting London and Northern Ireland

IMG_0465

Betty and I just returned from visiting the Travis Snode and Chris Waye families. We had a wonderful time. God is going to do a work there and I am very excited about it.

I must admit to you that this trip changed my opinion. I have been quite down on missions to Europe. I still have the same questions that I would have had before but this trip showed me several things that I believe have caused me to rethink my previous findings.

I have doubted the work in Europe for all the traditional reasons and then some. Many missionaries call the United Kingdom the “burned over” area of the world. They have had the gospel. They have rejected the gospel and it seems that the time off seeing God do great things in this part of the world is over.

Others have told me that the UK and much of Europe is a place of gleanings! By that they mean that the time of harvest is over. They would say that God did His great work in Europe and has now moved His center of work to other places.

There is a general feeling of apathy over there. The missionaries and even the national pastors often seem to act as though you can’t expect great things from God. Now please remember that right now I am speaking of London, of the UK, of that part of the world. I do welcome your comments below. You do not have to agree. I am open to be taught and would welcome further conversation.

I have had some friends that have been quite angry with me for not promoting missions to Europe like I do to other parts of the world. I would like to tell you why I have taken that position and then possibly explain why I think that I may have been wrong.

While I was in London and in Northern Ireland on this past trip God showed me or allowed me to see some amazing things. I will share just a little of those in just a few lines.

My concerns with work in Europe has been based on what I have seen and heard from so many. I have allowed the public perception to affect me way too much. At the same time the Bible is clear that it is harder to get a rich man into heaven than to get a camel through the eye of a needle. Meaning that rich people typically feel like their life is set, they do not need God or anyone else. They are not so ready to hear a gospel message and feel no need to do so. Also the Bible states that the common people heard Jesus gladly and the standard has definitely been raised in the UK.

Please understand that the UK doesn’t know poverty like the rest of the world or even the USA. Their welfare system takes care of so many and quite well compared to the rest of the world. Just on this trip I was told that a pastor knew a family in a certain part of the UK where no one in the family had worked for three generations because they could make more money getting the “dole” or welfare than they could working.

Also Europe tends to be very educated. They have superior knowledge similar to the Greeks in I Corinthians and so they seek wisdom. They prefer man’s wisdom to something “foolish” like a person, the Lord Jesus, dying on a cross to save all of mankind. To them that seems like a very simplistic answer.

While in Northern Ireland I was able to participate in the ordination of James Wilson. James is the pastor of Northwest Baptist Church that was started under the ministry of Travis Snode.

 

The following morning before we left the city James Wilson, in the red shirt, Chris Waye, Travis Snode, and I had breakfast. It was a wonderful time talking with an excited and motivated pastor and two great missionaries. I am blessed and excited to see what God is going to do.

The beautiful thing was that James was doing in the city exactly what I would challenge any of our guys to do anywhere else in the world. He was training some young men. There were about 5 of them. I mentioned that to him and he said that they were his team. I was elated. I told him that I was seeing a picture of exactly what God did in our ministry in Peru over 26 years ago.

Travis sure spent a long time and lots of hard work to see the Northwest Baptist Church get started but it got started. God sent His man. The church seems to be doing great. It is small but it is Northern Irish. It will grow and as James trains the young men we are going to see great things happen.

My confession

When I got to London I started praying and thinking of what I would do if I were there. I realized that the same truths apply in London and Europe as everywhere. The majority of people are not interested in the gospel, anywhere! If you go to the young couple that is getting a family started they might not be interested. If you go to the older couple they may have decided a long time ago that they do not believe in God or care anything for Him or the Bible. The wealthier people are always prouder it seems.

So what if you did in Europe what I did in Peru, what James is doing in the city in Northern Ireland. That is go find young men that want to serve God, young men that are looking for more. They are willing to listen. They will be trained and desire to serve God. As those young men surrender their lives then they are able to reach their families, their friends, and their neighbors. It was those young men that built the work in Peru.

Start a youth meeting. Find young people. Teach them the Bible. Teach them to love God. Teach them how to do the work. I spoke with a British pastor that says that he has been the youngest pastor that he has known for many years. He is now in his mid thirties. it is time to change that. Go get a Timothy. Teach him and watch what God does in and through him. I believe that there are young men who are hungry to know the gospel. Getting those first few will be hard but once you do it will take off.

It took me a year in Arequipa of working with everyone I could, having youth meetings, church meetings, visiting, inviting and praying to find the original five that got the work done. Remember our goal is to train men. These men will learn to do the work.

I still see the work in Europe as a bit more difficult. It is much more expensive. They are more educated, but God is still God. The Holy Spirit still convicts and draws. I know that God will do a work.

I confess that I was afraid that the young men that I loved and worked with would get hurt and burned in Europe. I didn’t want that. I confess that I had seen the difficulties and like an old parent was afraid for my friends and spiritual children. But I was just in London. There are lots of churches that believe the gospel that may not preach the gospel or present it clearly.

A friend attending the new Downham Baptist Church made the comment that the church was going to be a verse by verse Bible preaching church wasn’t it? He said that people were looking for that kind of church that didn’t give sermons that talked about the Bible but actually preached what the Bible said. He is my age.

On Sunday night in just two weeks the Snodes and the Wayes have seen 7 visitors. One man is already committed from their earlier work. I believe that God is going to greatly use them. They must focus on getting the young men and training them to do the ministry, in my opinion. They must go after everyone but train as much as they can.

God has allowed me to have several friends that are seeking to reach Europe. Our church either supports them or will as soon as we are able.

Scott Newton and

David Velasquez are working in two different cities in Spain. David is already working in two churches and seeing God move along with his dad who also works there. Scott is starting a new church right now.

John Grasty is raising support to get to Slovenia and will leave soon.

I confess to all of you that I was wrong. I was afraid out of love but admit that I think if you use the right plan of training men that you can be very successful and used of God in Europe. Please forgive me this wrong.

God has also allowed me to meet Pastor Martin Wickens and be blessed with his friendship.

So I left London knowing that I had been wrong. I know that God is still working in London and all of Europe. Yes, it is hard and will continue to be hard. Those that work there will need more support than most other people, but God is at work. I was blessed and honored to see God at work.

I will pray harder and help my friends as much as I can.

My final words to you. Find and train young men. Go after the young men that can be raised up to start a new move of God in Europe. I know that you will find that working there is like working in a wealthier, more educated place here in the USA. I also know that God can use you and your ministry to get the gospel around the world. Train men. Send them all over your country. Raise up a new missionary training and sending ministry there in Europe.

Like George Mueller of old prove that God does still hear and answer prayer. Prove that God is still alive, well, and at work.

I welcome your comments, your questions, your disagreements with this post. Please comment below. Please enter into a conversation with me. Thanks to all of you for taking the time to read this and pray for Europe with me.

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Achieving the Indigenous Principle Part One

Why an indigenous church?

Chinese pastors

The indigenous church is also the only way we will have any permanence in our work. I can only live so long. I can preach and do the work of a missionary only so long and can reach only so far with my ministry. However if I can plant a local, indigenous church, when I am dead and gone they can still be preaching the gospel to others. While I can only reach a handful, the church can reach more and can train others to do the same. If they kick us out of the country, as has happened in so many communist countries in the past, the way we will continue to have a ministry is by having people trained to do the work.

The indigenous church can exist without outside help or influence. The indigenous church will support itself and does not depend on the missionary for its existence. The indigenous church will continue to plant other churches in her own country and even around the world. The daughter church many times will do more than the mother. Consider that the church in the United States that came from Europe is now carrying the gospel back to the land of the mother church.

Finally it should be noted that the church must be indigenous because that is a peculiarity of the Baptist distinctive. As Baptists we believe in local autonomous churches. It has been our history to establish local churches that governed themselves. We have never had a headquarters that made the rules, supported our pastor, or received our money. How can the missionary go to the field as a Baptist and do anything less than a Baptist? As Baptists, no one pays our bills, calls our pastor or makes our decisions. As Baptists, we do things differently because we have that right and privilege as an independent group. We are autonomous. We are indigenous. Make it your priority on the field to establish an indigenous church, just like you have here in your home church.

The indigenous church depends on its leadership. It has been said, “everything rises and falls on leadership.” If we win people, baptize them and help them get a building, what will happen when we leave? Think of what would happen in America if the church were to lose its pastor and were unable to get a pastor. We all know what would be the results and have even seen it with our own eyes. It will surely happen on the mission field and to worse ends.

 

indigenous church

Explaining the Indigenous Principle
The successful missionary is one who has done his work so well that he is no longer needed in that area. Melvin Hodges

The true measure of success is not that which the missionary accomplishes while on the field, but the work that still stands after be has gone. Melvin Hodges

kudzu developed here
Kudzu arrived in the United States in 1876 at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia! The first recorded “Kudzu Planting” missionaries were Charles and Lillie Pleas. They have a historical marker in front of their Glen Arden Nursery in Chipley, Florida that states; “Kudzu Developed Here!” When the Pleas discovered that animals would eat the plant they began to promote its use for forage in the 1920s.

During the Great Depression the Soil Conservation Service promoted kudzu for erosion control. They gave hundreds of young men the job of planting kudzu through the Civilian Conservation Corps. Farmers were paid an incentive to plant kudzu in the 1940s.
Channing Cope of Covington, Georgia promoted the use of kudzu to control erosion. He wrote articles in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and spoke on WSB-AM radio. He was very disappointed when in 1953 the US government no longer promoted the use of kudzu.

The problem was that kudzu grows too well. It can grow up to a foot a day (or so they say). In 1972 the USDA declared kudzu to be a weed. The southeastern US has near perfect conditions for kudzu to grow out of control; hot, humid summers, frequent rainfall, temperate winters with few hard freezes, and no natural predators.

Kudzu is fully indigenous to Georgia, the Southeast, and many others parts of the US. The word indigenous means according to Webster’s Online dictionary; “having originated in and being produced, growing, living, or occurring naturally in a particular region or environment.” A synonym is native. If you will go back over this paragraph and consider what you read then you will have an idea of what our goal is as “church planting” missionaries. Today, kudzu is nearly considered a curse. You can’t kill it, you can only try to control it. The pictures should let you see that kudzu is really “native” to Georgia.

As we plant churches we want churches that will be indigenous or native to the area. The term indigenous church has been defined by three characteristics; self-governing, self-supporting, and self-propagating. Though these are not biblical terms you will see their necessity when you begin planting churches and we see them illustrated in the Bible. As you travel, research, and see churches on the mission field you may be shocked. A great number of them will not be able to support their own pastors even though they have been an organized church for many years.

 

Missionaries, it seems, must stay many years before a church is able to become “native” to the land. They are unable to maintain their churches, pay their pastors, start other churches, effectively evangelize their own people. When the missionary is forced to leave, the funds are cut off, the work dries up, and dies. The only other answer is to urgently look for another source of income and another foreign missionary to prop up the church.

Is it God’s will for His churches to be so weak and dependent on outside support? Can a church be planted that will take on the characteristics of kudzu and become so “native” that it will not need outside help? Will the Bible, the church, the gospel work as well in all cultures as it has in ours?

What would happen if we were to train some national pastors who would have the attitude of Abraham when he said in Genesis 14:23 “That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich.” Abraham wanted God to get all the credit for his success and not a pagan king or anyone else for that matter.

I do not want to promote a position of boasting or pride among the national believers and churches but nor do I want to promote dependency that lasts for years. After having received so much help for so long they become bitter and demanding. They expect you to give to them and if you do not then you are wrong, selfish and bad. They demand, are not thankful, become accusing, and everyone is hurt all around.

In this short study I hope you will learn how to achieve the indigenous or “kudzu” principle. I hope you will at least learn to think, research, argue with yourself until you are convinced of your plan of action as you seek to plant churches for the kingdom and glory of God.

 

Q&A on the Indigenous Principle

What if a missionary says that conditions aren’t correct for kudzu in their area of the world?

Biblically, we can know that all areas are conditioned to have an indigenous church built there. The command was given to take the gospel to all the world. He would not have commanded us to take the gospel there if He weren’t going to prepare the people and build a church for His honor and glory.

There is however a truth that now is not always the best time to start a church in certain places. The apostle Paul went through many cities on his way to a town where he would preach and plant a church. Evidently the timing wasn’t right at that point. At the very beginning of their ministry notice that they went through Seleucia and Cyprus before it is mentioned that they preached in Salamis Acts 13:4-5. This happens on more than one occasion. I do not understand why he skipped those cities. I do not know how we would decide what cities to skip but I do think that it at least shows us an example of timing or some other reason to come back to a city later.

There were also places that rejected the gospel according to Jesus. He simply told them to shake the dust off their feet and move on to the next town. I am not sure that we will run into that much in today’s world because our cities today are larger than their countries were back then. The attempt had been made. They were unsuccessful and they moved on. Matthew 10:14.

There is also the truth that certain places will be more difficult and take longer. In a “creative access” country where it is against the law to openly preach and witness it is only logical to realize that things will take longer. There will be questions to answer that are not dealt with in open countries. We are not to compare ourselves among ourselves or we are not wise. II Corinthians 10:12We are however to work at doing the job that we know that God has given us of getting His gospel to the entire world.

We must remember that an indigenous church will look differently in the different areas that it is planted. When the indigenous church is planted and takes root it will maintain all of its essential characteristics. It will be the same organism in all basic make up but it will be different in many of the externals. The music style will be more appropriate to the culture, language, and people. The hours of services, the buildings, meetings, etc. will differ. It will be a church. It will follow all the Bible principles but very likely it will differ from our preconceived cultural mores. The missionary must be very careful to plant a church and not a cultural idea of a church.

How can a national church not feel like “takers” or a “welfare church” if they receive offerings to build their church from outside sources?

A plan that worked for us on the field was to teach our people that though we had been recipients of gifts from others we would never be takers. We would always pass the blessings on. We did not loan the church money because the borrower is servant to the lender and I felt that would cause unnecessary bitter feelings. Proverbs 22:7.

I felt that if instead of a loan we could as a church agree to set aside 10% of our offerings to give to other new works then we would have received but would live a lifetime of giving. Our people rejoiced at the idea. We gave away great deals of money. Not out of obligation but out of joy and abundance. Had the church been required to pay the money it could have led to bitterness. Had the church simply taken the money they would have remained weak and never felt the joy of being a giving church. There are ways that we can accomplish the work with great success by simply teaching our people to give.

 

Please comment!

I would really like to discuss this with you. What do you not understand that I am trying to say? What do you disagree with? What questions are left? What do you agree with? What more do I need to write about to explain this? I promise to answer each comment. Please get in a discussion with me!

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