What happens if your mission results in planting churches? What if that was something you didn’t expect? The good thing about something that surprises me or you is that our Father has never been surprised! Something may appear to us as an unintended consequence, but He knows the end from the beginning. What we see as unintended, or unexpected, is what the Father knew all along. And that’s the point in this 10 Days of Purpose post about Missions, Models, and Motors.
Planting Churches: Missions
You may recognize the cover photo as Trinity Baptist Church in Santa Teresa, Belize. Our mission there over the past 5 years has brought us very close to the dear people there. By the end of 2016 it seemed prudent to wrap our work in Belize. Why? Mission: Hope is driving a newer model of missions. But those things don’t mean we lose touch with folks we have come to love. And it doesn’t mean we will never return to look in on things and renew friendships.
The last course offering for the pastors in Belize was our study of the book of Acts. There are many things to take away from that sort of study. One of the things we lingered over was God calling Barnabas and Saul away from the church in Antioch. It was a fruitful ministry and that move must have been unexpected for that church. That bit of church history illustrates the fact that God moves His servants into areas of service at His time for His purposes. That’s what He was doing with us as we wrapped up (sort of!) our ministry in Belize. Remember those unexpected consequences?
Planting Churches: Models
There will be another day devoted to Mission: Hope’s model. The reason for that is consequences not related to Belize. But part of that model is intentionally seeking to enable, empower, and equip people of faith in remote places to transform their own communities. We will still send teams to help but they will generally be smaller in number. We want to equip leaders (pastors) with the skills and tools they need to lead transformational work. Remember that transformation is the intended result of proclaiming and applying the truth of the Gospel!
That’s important and it’s the long way around to tell you about the call I got from pastor Juan. We were driving to Texas and my phone lit up with text messages. When we stopped for gas I read them and replied to each message. What I read was encouraging and very unexpected. It also fits an equipping model of missions. Funny how the Father does that when we never saw it coming!
Juan reported four new churches being planted as a result of the pastors studying Acts. Think about that. You prayed for us. Then you equipped us and supported the work. Which of us knew this would be a result? It certainly wasn’t me. But our Father knew all along. Now we have more opportunities!
Specifics For Juan
Pastor Juan is planting a new church about 20 miles from Santa Teresa. Juan is younger than I am but he has grandchildren. He gets back and forth on a bicycle and on foot. Imagine: 40 miles round trip over rough, jungle ‘roads’ in Central American heat. And this church plant is just one of three churches he now leads!
I was ecstatic at his news and humbled at the same time. And my heart went out to him when I read the line that said:
I’m tired and I need some help.
That’s the kind of faith initiative we ought to be eager to help. And we don’t have to field a mission team to help pastor Juan. That’s where motors comes into my outline!
Planting Churches: Motors
What Juan is looking for is help to acquire a motorcycle. I have inquired in Belize and found we can get a good used motorcycle for about $1,000.00 U.S. We can get a new one for around $1,500.00.
Those are not great amounts of money unless maybe you live off the power grid in the Belizean jungle. Many who read this will think:
I can’t give that kind of money no matter how much it’s needed or how much I might like to do so.
And guess what? I am not asking anybody to do that. I am asking you to pray and see if your Father would lead you to invest in His work in Belize. Maybe this is a project for your Bible study class or your church missions committee. But somehow I think there are probably 20-25 people who could each give $75.00 (or so) and meet this need. Or maybe 3-4 different church groups could each fund what they can. There is a way. It’s just a matter of seeing what we believe.
And here’s a thought on perspective. I’ve been in places where people didn’t want to go to a Bible study because the church air conditioner was not working properly. Really? Here is a pastor we can invest in who is enduring a great deal more than sitting quietly in a room where the temperature is 5-6 degrees too high for comfort.
We didn’t expect this result from our combined efforts in Belize. But it is a result. We ought to celebrate what these pastors are doing. I’ll keep up with it and keep you informed. And if you’d like to help or engage people in your church to help then you just let me know. I’ll be glad to help you help!
Remember: God’s mission is people; God’s method is people!
Soli Deo Gloria!