apoLuo WORKSHOP CONTENT #005: NO BRAINS OF OUR OWN
#5 in a series devoted to sending churches. The content of this post is adapted from BMW’s 6-hour apoLuo workshop. Numbered articles are intended to be read sequentially for maximum benefit. (This article originally posted in 2012 and is being republished for new readers that may have missed it–Editor).
On 29 November 1863, in a sermon entitled, “Paul—His Cloak and His Books”, Charles Spurgeon said,
“He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains, proves that he has no brains of his own.”
I don’t want that said of me.
So I’m going to share some of the thoughts of the late Paul Beals from the sixth chapter of his excellent volume, A People for His Name (William Carey Library, 1995). One of the chapters in this book deals with seven critical functions of the missions-minded pastor. Churches—and pastors—are often deemed to be missions-minded if they support a number of missionaries all over the world; post maps and prayer letters conspicuously in the entry of their church building; or sponsor summer trips to exotic locales.
Not so, says Mr. Beals.
First on his list of functions is expositor. The missions-minded pastor has an understanding of the missionary heart of God and a solid grasp of the great missionary texts in the Scriptures. He preaches these texts frequently, carefully and passionately. In addition, he discerns the missional themes and applications in other passages and feeds his people a regular diet of missions-related preaching, recognizing that missions is one of the basic food groups of expository preaching.
The second critical function of the missions-minded pastor is that of intercessor. Not only does he prayer regularly and fervently for God’s global missionary strategy and for his church’s missionaries in his private time with God; he also presents the needs of the church’s missionary family regularly and prominently to his congregation, leading them in their intercessory ministry on these missionaries’ behalf.
In the third place, the pastor is an educator. He casts a vision for the missions outreach of the church and provides training for those who are directly engaged—potential missionaries the church will send; missions committee members—and for the congregation as a whole to make them more effective in praying, giving and providing essential services.
The missions-minded pastor is also an organizer. He is proactive in his involvement in the missionary component of the church’s ministry. He recognizes that missions is not a ministry of the local church—it is the ministry of the local church. He carves significant time out of the church calendar to promote and participate in missions-related events and activities; empowers and encourages those who plan these activities; and participates enthusiastically himself.
His fifth function is as a recruiter. He understands that the test of a missions-minded church is not its seating capacity, but its sending capacity. He actively encourages his people’s involvement in missions at every level and makes frequent reference to the church’s obligation to fulfill the Great Commission. He does not feel jealous or threatened when people in his church express interest in missionary service, and provides opportunities for them to explore how God might use them.
The pastor is, in the sixth place, a counselor. He is actively involved in the lives of his missionary family, and intimately so with those his own church has sent and who are pursuing missionary work. He prays with them, inquires about their welfare, assists them in their goal-setting and evaluation, and provides biblical counsel when they face challenges.
Finally, the missions-minded pastor is a helper. He is available and approachable, willing to invest his energies in God’s global strategy through the people in his congregation. He may not perform all these functions personally, but he ensures they are being carried out by other leaders in the church.
How do you measure up? Perhaps you, too, can use the thoughts of this man’s brain.
Rob Heijermans, Biblical Ministries Worldwide
Image from http://wonderingfair.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/antique-books1.jpg