As a missionary, I feel like this kid in the picture: chasing pigeons, full of wild ambition. In my ideal world I would go about teaching people, even persuading them that God exists. One would think that this simple knowledge alone would lead them to all the right decisions, and the simple fact that God exists would change their worldview. Then love and the pure teachings from the Bible would sink in and life would take its natural course.
People would start evangelizing, serving, being humble, helping the widows and the orphans, forgiving old wrongs, and striving daily to align their lives according to God’s words written in the Bible, all because of the simple fact that God actually exists. This earth shattering, world changing piece of information should be enough, but then I would be out of a job.
I am an idealist, maybe to a fault, but when idealism meets reality my first knee jerk reaction is to slap reality in the face back and forth, sort of like in those Airplane movies. Of course life does not work that way. There are too many people involved, and too many details to be considered, so that we have a chance to consider all the angles, and figure out what’s working and what is not working and thoughtfully begin the process of problem solving. I’m not sure I have ever been so thankful to be a part of a team. Thankfully, this champion idealism of mine doesn’t hold true for the team as a whole, but adds to the team dynamic. The team came to the mission field with a strategy in mind; an organized plan, and we all have our place within that strategy. If it weren’t for the team I’d run around baptizing people (Nacho Libre style) and leaving a multitude of new converts in my wake. The team, however, has been great in this aspect. We came with a goal extremely clear not only to baptize, but also to “make disciples.” That is where we are in our work; we have enjoyed a lot of really fast and exciting growth in the past couple of years, but now we find ourselves with a lot of new Christians whom we are trying to help along in their spiritual growth. I’ll give you a run down of all we have going on, so you have an idea of the work in general:
Evangelism runs through everything we do, but the focused and purposed effort to reach out and teach the lost is done through, Campaigns, Advertising, & Assimilation. We have up to 3 big campaigns per year designed to draw a large crowd to our church building making contacts and getting to know the community. The campaigns are also designed to allow our supporters to come and get to know the work, and of course to be of service to others and show the love and compassion of Christ. Evangelistically through these campaigns we cast a wide net, hoping that a few stick. The rest of the year we place adds in the papers and radio for the School of the Bible, and special Sundays. The most success we tend to have is through what we call assimilation. Basically this revolves around making good use of the visitor cards. We push hard for everyone to fill out a card, and if they mark that they would like some further form of communication that has been the best follow-up. We try to compel all follow-up contacts to attend a 6-week Bible study through the School of the Bible or one on one study.
Mid-week Bible Studies
Mid-week studies happen in our members’ homes and are designed to be evangelistic. This is a great chance for them to invite their neighbors, but even more so this has become a great way to develop and train men to lead studies. The missionaries develop the studies, and every Monday night we walk a group of men through the study teaching them how to lead that specific study.
These are relatively new to us, but we’ve decided that each missionary will take two new Christians through a series of studies for 6 months. When those two “disciples” have completed the process, they will take on two new Christians and guide them through the same process they had just completed, and the missionaries will start the process over with another group.
Every Friday morning a group of about 5 men meet at the building to train on preparing sermons, delivery, personal study, etc. Out of this crowd we have our first convert already preaching and doing a great job.
Bible class is an hour before the worship service as usual. The only notable difference is that it is organized around a 4-year rotation and we have an attendance policy. Otherwise, it’s simply our best time to really dig deep and get into the Word.
So, I may be a metaphorical crazy kid chasing pigeons, but at least I have a great team, and some new wonderful interns to help give my ambition some direction. Thank God for allowing me to be a part of this work, and thank you for your continual prayers.