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Ideas for a Church on the Mission Field

Thoughts for building a church on the mission field by Jeffrey Bush

Show and tell your people what all ministerial positions look like — be specific about what an usher, musicians, teacher, etc., should do and how they should act.

Put a tract rack/stand on the street in front of the church where people can pick up information for free.

Place church signs everywhere possible — on building, upright stands on the sidewalk, banners over the street, etc.

Put a speaker outside with native speaker inviting others to come in, maybe some good music or announcements.

Pray God to work. Sounds cliche, but James 4:2 tells us that we have not because we ask not. Do you really believe God can work? Do you want God to do a big work? If you do believe it, then it’s time to ask God, which will result in living expectantly.

Preach and talk about what you want and expect. Would people know you believe and want to see servants of Christ raised up? Remember that nothing is dynamic unless it’s specific, meaning it cannot impact and change people unless you are specific in your preaching and teaching.

Preach messages that are simple and clear.

Get everyone a job, an opportunity to be plugged in. Don’t let hardly anyone in the pulpit, but get a paper and write down all ministries that people can be involved in (i.e.: give out bulletins, ushers, welcome committee, evangelism, line up chairs, sound system, kids ministries, play instrument, serve coffee/tea to all, etc.).

Make an order of the service

Carry tracts with you everywhere you go and encourage others to do the same.

Find out what it would cost to get on the radio, get in the newspaper or put ads on the buses, taxis, street posts, street banners over roads, etc. Get the word out that there is a church that preaches the gospel and wants to help people in your area.

Have a giant sign on your church building, whether someone paints or you purchase it. Using an electrical, lit-up sign if possible so that people can see it at night.

Make sure you have a webpage for the church.

Use Facebook or other popular apps is (like WeChat, WhatsApp, etc.) to promote your church and activities. People use Facebook in other countries more than in the US.

Have Bibles available in church for visitors or for those who don’t have one.

Give out Bibles for free to people who come to three consecutive services (or whatever number of services you think works best).

Pay someone to drive with a big speaker of recording that talks about your church. Although not everywhere, many countries have people that sale fruit or other products by driving around with a big speaker… so use the same idea.

Talk about what a church is and work to organize it.

Have people at the church doors to receive any guests, to give out something, to answer any questions and to point them inside.

Have a personal business card and give it out wherever you go. People will begin to know you as the pastor or Bible teacher.

Send everyone home with something from the church — bulletin, preaching notes, calendar or something. Remember that if they hang up something or carry around something with the church’s name on it, it’s good and free publicity.

Give out gifts to every visitor — pen, mug, tract, candy, magnet or something with the church’s name on it.

Have challenges in church where people can get a gift. For example:

  • Bring a visitor and get a free T-shirt
  • Come so many services and get a Bible
  • Memorize a Bible verse and get a free coffee mug.
  • Pass out so many tracts during the week and get free pen with church’s name on it.
  • Take notes in church 5x and get a free notebook with church’s name on it.
  • Read Bible through and get a sweatshirt or light jacket.

Have a small bookstore (maybe only a small table in the corner) with a few nicer Bibles and books that you know will help people.

Decorate the church with Bible verses on walls, in halls and anywhere possible. Remember, it’s God’s Word that changes lives and we want to get it into their hearts, memories and lives.

Use offering envelopes and put them in a rack or little case hung on the wall. Even if you prefer not to use envelopes, the idea of people seeing others pick them up to give makes a big statement and is a reference when you talk about giving. It also helps divide up where the giving goes (tithe, construction, missions, etc.) and lets people know both the need, the importance and organization of giving.

Put up a map of your city with a verse under it and a saying of how it’s your responsibility to tell the area about Jesus.

For Daily Living

The following rules for daily living were made by Jonathan Goforth in 1894 and written on the fly-leaf of his Bible:

  1. Seek to give much — expect nothing.
  2. Put the very best construction on the actions of others.
  3. Never let a day pass without at least a quarter of an hour spent in the study of the Bible.
  4. Never omit daily morning and evening private prayer and devotion.
  5. In all things seek to know God’s Will and when known obey at any cost.
  6. Seek to cultivate a quiet prayerful spirit.
  7. Seek each day to do or say something to further Christianity among the heathen.

Dear Missionary

Dear Missionary,

It’s pretty clear you’re doing this all wrong.

————

You missionaries living in guarded compounds, you’re obviously not really invested in your community. You alienate your neighbours with barbedwire topped fences.

You missionaries living in houses and apartments in local neighbourhoods, you are risking the safety and well-being of your family. Thank God for those missionaries in that guarded compound nearby that welcome you with open arms and shelter you in times of trouble.

————

You who buy imported western food; don’t you know how important food is to a culture and that by avoiding it you are avoiding connecting with your host culture?

You who buy food from the local market and street vendors, don’t complain when you get typhoid or amoebic dysentery. It’s your own fault. You know how unsanitary all that is.

————

You who use cars and drive everywhere you go, how will you ever become part of your community if your neighbours only see you coming and going through tinted windows?

You who walk or bicycle everywhere, your community is embarrassed to have the only missionary without a car. If you had a vehicle you could use it to better help the community.

————

To the missionary full-on embracing your new culture and abandoning your own, you’re “going tribal” and that’s a pretty foolish thing to do. You’re headed towards a cultural identity crisis.

To the missionary clinging tightly to your home culture, opening up those clenched fists won’t make you un-American or whatever. You’re alienating yourself by not loosening up.

————

You who go on furlough every summer are basically telling the people you serve that your vacation is more important than pastoring that young congregation, translating scripture, or helping the suffering community through that health crisis. Your actions don’t match your message.

You who wait years and years before taking a few months away are going to have a nervous breakdown. Missionary burnout is well documented and you jeopardize the long term work.

————

To the missionaries who own modern appliances, what a frivolous waste of donations. You should be living at the same standard as the people you serve.

To the missionaries without modern appliances, you are frivolously wasting time doing things the hard way when you could be spending that time ministering instead.

————

You who attend language school, you are probably substituting a classroom for relationships within your community.

You who learn language on your neighbourhood streets, your approach takes forever and if you just went to a school it would be a much more efficient use of time. You could get to actually ministry sooner.

————

You who attend the expat church on Sundays, think about the message you are sending to the local Christians. It might not be with words, but with your actions you’re saying there’s something wrong with their churches.

You who attend the local church are neglecting worshipping in your own language and culture. You hypocritically insist the local Christians should worship authentically in their own cultural way, but you don’t do it yourself.

————

To the missionaries who send their teenagers off to boarding school, you are risking the emotional health of your kids when they are already at their most vulnerable ages.

To the missionaries who home school their teenagers, you alienate them from all their friends who have all gone off to boarding school and you’re risking your child’s academic development.

————

You who pastor and translate and evangelize but don’t include seeking justice and meeting physical needs because that’s just not your ministry, aren’t ushering in God’s Kingdom here on earth.

You who spend all your time doctoring and building clinics and teaching new farming methods are forsaking the gospel and might as well just be humanitarian workers. There are more important and eternal things at stake.

————

You who hire house helpers, gardeners, and cooks should be ashamed of your colonial attitude.

You who do it all yourself without house helpers, gardeners, and cooks, are pretty selfish and stingy for not providing employment when you clearly have the funds to do so.

————

To the missionary already decades in the field, your methods and mind-set are outdated.

To the brand new missionary, you haven’t been here long enough to understand the complex layers of this culture and in your zeal you’re making some really stupid and damaging mistakes.

————

Hope this helps and you feel suitably convicted.

Thanks and yours truly,

Judgmental, but totally righteous, Missionary Me

The Missionary Wife’s Role in the Ministry By Austin Gardner

“The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” Titus 2:3-5

  1. Remember that the people where you will be serving will see you as their pastor’s wife!
    1. Great Responsibility as the pastor’s wife.
      1. You are responsible for the growth of the ladies in your church and ministry
        1. Teach them the spiritual lessons that they should learn
        2. Teach them how to live at home
        3. Teach them how to treat their husband and children
        4. Teach them how to serve others
      2. You need to help the ladies so as to protect your husband and his testimony. Genesis 20:16. “And unto Sarah he said, Behold, I have given thy brother a thousand pieces of silver: behold, he is to thee a covering of the eyes, unto all that are with thee, and with all other: thus she was reproved.”
        1. You are his veil or covering; his separation from other women.
        2. Keep an open relationship with your husband. No secrets, no locked doors
        3. Protect your family life and testimony

        Read More

How to Start a Bible College

  1. Be sure to have a local church that is already training its folks. The college will be a natural outgrowth of your ministry as a Biblical pastor or missionary.  Matthew 28:19-20, Ephesians 4, II Timothy 2:2,
  2. Have the knowledge and ability that the people can see, want, and imitate
  3. Where do I get teachers. Do not use other missionaries unless they are in agreement with you.
  4. Daytime Bible College versus Night time Bible Institute
    1. Explain credit hours
    2. Remember they need more training than someone who grew up in church
    3. You can have 1 hour classes or 2 hour classes
    4. If you give enough homework you can give credit for an extra hour on any class
    5. Allow independent study classes for those who really want it and are really willing to pay the price
    6. Class hours
      1. Monday night 6:30 to 9:00 for two hours of class and 1/2 of chapel
      2. Tuesday night 6:30 to 9:00 for two hours of class and 1/2 of chapel
      3. You can go longer or start earlier, remember that they can take one or class or all the classes
  5. What level of training do you want to have?
  6. What age group do you choose to teach?
  7. Requirements to enter Bible College
    1. Saved, baptized, active church member
    2. Tithing
    3. Serving
    4. Separated
    5. One year of growth
    6. Willingness to submit to the authority and leadership of the Bible College
    7. Be involved in a ministry in your church

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Your Disposition On Deputation by Missionary Tony Howeth

It has been stated that life is 10%  what happens to you and 90% how you react to those things and their consequences.  There is much truth to that in life and especially concerning Deputation.  I am sure none of these are original!   I learned or heard them from someone else but have been very much personalized over the last 16 months.  I pray these will help you as you serve our Lord on Deputation.

D – Discern why you are on deputation.  If the total focus of your time, travel and teaching is to get money you will be sorely disappointed when no love offering comes your way.  You are given the opportunity to stir, motivate and encourage others about the greatest thing ever and that is world evangelism.  Would you rather have a “good love offering” or have  a young man  surrender to the call to preach? If God can’t use you to minister to the lives of people on deputation, what makes you think that He would use you to minister to others once you get to the field?

E – Educate yourself as to your responsibility.  Many missionaries complain of being on deputation for so long yet they have been in relatively few churches.  The question is not how many months have you been on deputation but how many churches have you been in?  I have met brothers who have been on deputation for a year and a half and have 30% of their support. That is not the problem, the problem is that they have only been in 75 different churches….that is only one new church a week! That is the problem! All of us will have to go to around 200 churches….you must decide how quickly you want to do that!  Call, fill your schedule, write letters and learn how to present your ministry.  Try to average 12+ meetings a month and once you are in a church present your work by God’s grace in such a way that they will never forget your name and the field you are going to. Again, learn how to do a calendar, make phone calls, schedule your meetings, present your work, carry yourself, talk to pastor’s, etc.  God will do His part…will we do ours?  Be careful not to blame God for something you were responsible for. Read More

Multiplication By Dawson Trotman

Notes taken from preaching by Dawson Trotman: http://turret2.discipleshiplibrary.com/AA094.mp3

Multiplication was the 1st thing God told Adam and Eve – and to Noah and his family when got off the ark

  1. One can not multiply if no union (man with his wife) — and one can not spiritually multiply if do not know Christ
  2. One cannot multiply if sterile or a sickness – a Christian that does not have the spiritual union with Christ and gossips and lives in sin is sick spiritually and cannot reproduce. One is spiritually sterile when they do not have a daily walk with the Lord
  3. One can not multiply if lacks maturity (a kid can not b/c his body is not ready) – if Christian is a babe (I Cor. 2-3) and immature, they can not reproduce

There are Christians that have been saved for years and have never reproduced – I don’t want to know how many tracts you passed out, rather how many sheep you have.

So many people are ready to cross an ocean and learn a language, but do not have anyone they have won and living for Christ. And so many lay people are sitting and not producing. Could it be a lack of communion with the Lord? Could it be sin in your life? Could it be that you are still a babe and need to be taught again?

Teach someone to read and study God’s Word Read More