The elders are in the process of drafting a missionary policy to assist our decisions regarding missionary support. To help us, we read the book, ‘Missions’ by Andy Johnson. Also, I have been writing bulletin articles outlining some of our ideas. We’ve seen that we should expect missionaries (i) to be members of a local church; (ii) to have the qualities of deacons and elders, (iii) to have a relationship with us; (iv) to support local churches; (v) to be in theological agreement with us; (vi) to need significant support. I had thought we had finished all the necessary points, but the elders encouraged me at our meeting last Sunday evening to write just one more article on the subject.
The elders would like to encourage Drummoyne Baptist to be prepared to support those going into missionary and ministry work.
The Apostle Paul is a good example of someone who encouraged others as they considered ministry work. He took many people along with him on his journeys. And his letters to Timothy and Titus are full of pastoral advice to fellow workers in the faith. Paul also advises Timothy himself to continue passing on the baton, so to speak. He writes: ‘You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others’ (2 Timothy 2:1-2).
The supreme example of supporting the training of missionaries is, of course, the Lord Jesus. Throughout his earthly ministry, Jesus had his twelve apostles with him and was continually discipling them in order to send them out as his missionaries. In Mark’s Gospel we read: ‘Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve–designating them apostles– that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons’ (Mark 3:13-15). These twelve would have cost Jesus a lot of time and resources, but he bore the burden in order to bless other fellowships in the long-term future.
We should do the same. How? We should be following the instruction from Jesus to pray: ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field’ (Matthew 9:37-38).
We should also be looking around for reliable men and women who can take the good news out from Drummoyne Baptist.
Then when we find them, we should encourage such members to consider the ministry. We should pray for them. We should even support them financially where possible. The women described in Luke’s gospel are a great example to us: ‘The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.’ (Luke 8:1-3). Clearly these women didn’t see putting the apostles through Christ’s Bible college as a waste of money.
So are you ready to support those considering being missionaries?