Resolved to be Risk-Takers

This journey of faith continues to define us as we daily move forward in the walk Christ calls us to live.  Admittedly, stepping away from a secure position as a Lead Pastor of a church is not advisable when you have nothing to step to.  I would never have recommended anyone to do what we did.  There simply was far too much risk involved.  Yet, we recognize that sometimes Jesus calls us to be risk-takers.

How do you explain to others that what you are about to do is worth the risk you are taking, especially when you don’t know exactly what it is you are going to do?
And when understanding begins to dawn you fumble for words to share the vision.  Nothing you think of seems adequate to express the idea you hold in your heart.  Your best attempts come with a totally silly feel to them that embarrass you as you hear the words come from your mouth.  It just seems impossible!

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This is where we found ourselves just a little over a year ago.  Family and friends thought we had lost our minds as we set aside the security of a job we’d held for 23 years to begin a new adventure.  David’s Mom expressed what most thought, “But David, how are you going to live?  I mean, how will you pay your bills?”  Yes, it’s true this adventure started out void of any plan, income, or destination.  Some might describe it as a whim, a fancy of sorts, where people hit their midlife crisis and do weird things.  It seemed like an insane thing to do, and the people around us had no problem pointing out the insanity!

Actually, this reality didn’t bother us at all because we knew the motivation was love for us.  Their questions were good as they forced us to dig deeper in our own hearts to discover the reason why we would take these steps.  The questions pushed us to this crazy thing called prayer to find answers we didn’t have.  If it wasn’t a midlife crisis, then what was it that had driven us to this action?

One thing we discovered in this journey is not everyone is concerned about your future, and their questions aren’t meant to help you.  All they really want to do is keep you from doing something extraordinary.  Ok, maybe that last line was over the top and cruel, but it is how you feel in a few of these conversations.  Who knows what the real reasons are?

  • Maybe they don’t want to be challenged themselves to a life of faith in Christ.
  • It could be they have experienced some sort of trauma keeping them from risk-taking.
  • It might simply be they are one of the people in this world whose personality kills the sense of adventure in themselves and any others they can influence.

Matthew Barnett posted on his Twitter feed this statement, “Trying to convince a doubter that your leap of faith makes sense is a massive waste of productivity and mental energy.”  What a true statement.  Sometimes, in our efforts to convince the naysayers, all we really do is get frustrated and waste energy.

It isn’t that we think it’s a waste of time to help people who love you to understand the steps you are taking.  They care, and you need their understanding and support.  In fact, experience has taught us some of those you talk with become your biggest supporters for the journey.  When you feel like giving up they are the ones who step up to challenge you to go one more step.  They are worth the energy spent to explain Jesus’ calling.

However, it is a waste of productivity trying to change the minds of people who doubt that you heard from God.  If they don’t think God is in the idea then you just have to wait for God to show that He is.  And that is up to God to do; don’t even go there out of some narcissistic reason to validate yourself.  You don’t need the frustration or waste the time.

As we move further down the path of faith we discover more evidence that the Holy Spirit is going with us on this journey.  There are some days when that is such a relief to our souls.  Multiple times we have seen things that let us know Christ has gone before us and prepared the way.  Here are a few simple examples:

  • 4 days after our final service at Bridge of Hope we were asked to be an interim pastor in the greater Canton, OH area.  God knew the need of that dear church, and He knew our need of income.  The interim time ended just as we had been accepted into U.S. Missions and knew we needed to focus all our time there.
  • After arriving at our current destination we had to shop for a washer/dryer.  Money was going to be a factor at some point, and so we searched for the right situation.  Our prayers were answered as we found a good deal, and the salesman also gave us a slightly damaged microwave for free.  Coincidence? Maybe, but we rather think that God was answering a need.
  • Every time someone becomes a part of our Support Team we are humbled by the reality that another person has chosen to stand with us and say that they believe we have heard from God.  As a pastor serving the local church we never understood what this meant to a missionary.
  • When church planters seek us out for a little advice or a bit of training it encourages us.  There really is need for what God put in our hearts to do, and there are people waiting for someone who can give them the time.  Incidentally, these conversations happen at just the right moments.  Amazing!

This is the kind of thing that gives us the resolve to move forward, growing in strength with each step we take.  When these moments come that defy explanation, we find ourselves compelled by the Holy Spirit and this walk we are on to finish the course and see it through to the end!

*If you would like to know more about the mission that we are on and how you can be a vital part of it, please feel free to contact us.  We would love to share with you what we are doing and how you can best help us out in the journey.

* The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author at the time of writing.  They do not reflect in any way those of the organizations to which they belong to or affiliated with.

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Questions Asked About Our Mission – Short-Term Help

Is there something we can do to help you in the short term while you are raising support?

This has been and will continue to be a journey of faith as we trust God to provide through people who love and care about us and the work He has given to us to accomplish.  One thing I learned while serving as a pastor: missionaries have a lot of expenses as they raise money to do what God has asked of them.  During this time they have lower incomes as they wait for Faith Promises to come in.  Here are some ways you can help us:

One Time Gifts – It may not seem like a big deal to you, but a one-time gift might be the very thing that meets a particular need or bill that comes up.  While this can always be helpful in this life of faith, it is especially helpful during this time where we are trying to raise funds.  These gifts can help sustain us as we itinerate and have lower incomes because the budget hasn’t been fully raised.  In the future they become a great help to do extra-unexpected projects that come up in any ministry.

Each time this happens the missionary feels the depths of your love; your generous heart humbles us.  Something we never really are looking for, but are always appreciative of, are the gifts that come at just the right time.  So, follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit and do what He asks of you.

Prayer – This can sound so cliché, but it is so true.  Not sure I understood how important it is for the missionary until we took the step of faith ourselves.  We literally depend on the prayers of God’s people.  Through prayer we can do things none of us could accomplish on our own when prompted by the Holy Spirit to pray.  Put us on a regular rotation in your prayer time and see what God does to help us out.  Prayer is critical and multiplies the efforts that go forth.

Missions Service – If you can help us get into a church or para-church organization to share in a missions service that would be wonderful.  Your influence can help us get into places we could never have been able to do ourselves.  It would be customary for either a love offering to be received or an honorarium to be shared.  Helping with travel costs is another way to lighten the load of the visiting missionary.

We would love to come to your church or para-church group to share the vision God has given to us.  Talk with your pastor or the leader of your organization you are a part of and then connect them to us.  Then we can schedule to come and share with your church or group.

There are several ways you can give help during the fund raising time.  If you are able to do something please let us know and we will guide you through the process.  Thanks in advance for a generous and loving heart!

* The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author at the time of writing.  They do not reflect in any way those of the organizations to which they belong to or affiliated with.

Questions Asked About Our Mission – How to Help

How can we help you get to the mission field that God has called you to?

There are several ways that people can help us get to the mission field.  First there is something everyone can do:  pray for us.  Prayer is powerful and a great help to every missionary.  Here are a few other things you can do that would be a big help.  Let me take a few moments and share what they are.

Monthly Faith Promise – this is the lifeblood of every missionary.  Through monthly support we are able to focus our attention on the mission God has given to us.  When people become a part of our Support Team they catapult us forward in the mission ahead.

Missions Parties – sometimes people want to do more to help than their budgets allow for them to participate.  A great way to multiply your monthly gift is to host a Missions Party for us.  These are events you sponsor and invite some friends that you think would be interested in what we are doing.  At the party we will share the vision to develop missionary church planters to reach places like the university districts of America.  Opportunity will be given to those in attendance to become part of our Support Team through either one-time gifts or monthly Faith Promise support.  Please be sure to let the people know ahead of time that a financial appeal will be made; we want to be up front with what the event is about. 

One Time Gifts – another great way to help us is through a one-time gift.  This is especially helpful during this time where we are trying to raise funds.  These gifts can help sustain us as we itinerate and have lower incomes because the budget hasn’t been fully raised.  In the future they become a great help to do extra-unexpected projects that come up in any ministry.

Annual Gifts – there are ways for us to set up an annual gift for those who are unable to do the monthly Faith Promise.  Often times business people find this advantageous as they do year-end giving based on profits from the previous year.  Talk with us, and we will help you find the way that best accomplishes what you are wanting to do.

Missions Service – we would love to come to your church or para-church group to share the vision God has given to us.  Talk with your pastor or the leader of your organization you are a part of and then connect them to us.  It would be great to talk with your leaders and explain to them what we are trying to accomplish.  Then we can schedule a time to come and share with your church or church group.

As you can see there are a number of different ways you can get involved in helping us move forward.  If you are interested in one or more of them please feel free to contact us so we can discuss more with you about how you can join us.

* The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author at the time of writing.  They do not reflect in any way those of the organizations to which they belong to or affiliated with.

Questions Asked About Our Mission – Financial Support

Do you have to raise money like foreign missionaries do sometimes?

Yes, together with our U.S. Missions leaders we have put together a budget that is needed to accomplish the job before us. This budget includes the finances necessary to sustain us (myself and Kandy) as we work in areas where no other source of revenue is available. This is part of what makes our ministry fit in the area of Missionary Church Planting & Development with U.S. Missions. Because of this reality we are in need of financial support from those who are willing to help us.

Our budget not only provides the income that we need, but it also has to cover all our expenses for the work that we will do. Thus, the monthly budget is rather large as we have to cover basic expenses like equipment, rent, utilities, curriculum, and travel. As we train missionary church planters to go out we need to be resourced so that we can do the job well.

In order for us to go to work we need other people to join us through monthly Faith Promises just as our foreign missionaries do. Thus, we have been sent out to grow our Support Team, people who are committed to seeing the vision come to life and grow in the years ahead. God works through individuals like each of us to not only do the work, but to fund it as well.

This is probably one of the hardest parts of this entire venture. We realize how difficult it is to earn an income in this world and are humbled each time a person(s) chooses to share what they have earned with us. It amazes me how generous God’s people are and how committed they are to seeing people like us fulfill His call for our lives. Please know that missionaries, like us, appreciate each gift that is shared and recognize the sacrifice being made by those who give.

If you are interested in joining our Support Team please feel free to contact us so we can share more with you about the vision and how you can go with us.

* The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author at the time of writing. They do not reflect in any way those of the organizations to which they belong to or affiliated with.

Questions Asked About Our Mission – Startup Time

When will you start doing this missions work?

Good question, which provides me with the opportunity to share something with you. We are all missionaries and should be doing the work of a missionary all the time. So, you could say that we already are doing this work (in that as a follower of Jesus Christ this is the life we have been given to live).

Formally, as fully appointed missionaries in partnership with U.S. Missions of the Assemblies of God we are able to start once our full budget is raised. Until then, our job is to raise the funds needed to do the job God has called us to.

While it can, at times, feel somewhat frustrating to put your desire and dream on hold, it is an important process to work through. During this time we are building a Support Team that does much to help us for years to come. Most obvious is that the financial support others provide for us enables us to focus our attention full time to the ministry God has given us. This is such a tremendous help as we are able to move forward undivided in our attention. And just as important is the prayer support that is being grown around us as we share the vision of influencing the influencers. The prayers of others are what will help us in the days ahead as we forge into new areas.

Of course, as we raise funds we are ministering to people along the way as we encourage, challenge, and teach them while we share the plan of God for our lives. It is fun and fulfilling to see people come alive to the mission of Christ as they discover how to live as a community of God’s family. During our itineration time our focus is on the relational convergence, that takes place one person at a time, as we meet people, share our hearts with them, and minister to them.

If you are interested in helping us feel free to contact us so we can share in more detail with you about the vision to impact the university districts of America.

* The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author at the time of writing. They do not reflect in any way those of the organizations to which they belong to or affiliated with.

Questions Asked About Our Mission – Mission Explained

Can you describe what you will be doing in missions?

At the heart of our mission is a desire to ignite a fire in others to fulfill the mission Christ gave to make disciples of Jesus Christ.  Here is how we see it happening.

We will identify, train, equip, resource, and walk with others who are willing to live as a missionary church planter. Through an apprenticeship type of program we are able to multiply ourselves as we share our 30+ years of ministry experience with others.  Instead of doing one church plant, our hope is to do multiple plants at a time as we work with and through other missionary church planters.

Our desire is to establish multiple churches in difficult situations where people often feel marginalized by the church.  These are people who most likely would never walk into an established church because of various understandings they hold.  They are interested in talking about God, but for different reasons are not interested in attending worship in a local church.  We want to send missionaries to them so that they can discover the love of Christ.

You could say that we will be like a coach or mentor as we help others learn how to live as missionaries in our world.  Then we will send them out to befriend others and experience life with them as they share the gospel message of Christ’s love.

Until we are fully appointed we will be focused for the next year or two primarily on raising funds to do the job we believe God has given to us to do.  If you are interested in helping us feel free to contact us so we can share more with you about the vision.

* The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author at the time of writing.  They do not reflect in any way those of the organizations to which they belong to or affiliated with.

Questions Asked About Our Mission – Candidate Missionary

What does it mean that you are a Candidate Missionary with U.S. Missions?

A Candidate Missionary is an individual who has applied with the Assemblies of God to serve as a missionary in one of two areas of focus. (World Missions – any missions endeavor outside the United States; and U.S. Missions – any missions endeavor within the United States.) They have been through an intensive interview process to determine if this individual is prepared to fulfill the work of a missionary. 

After some basic training the Candidate Missionary is released to begin the steps to becoming fully appointed as a missionary with the Assemblies of God.  It is here where the decision is confirmed through monthly support raised for their annual budget.  You could say that our leadership is wanting to see if those who know this person best are willing to stand with them in the mission field.  This means that every time we partner with a missionary through financial support we are in essence giving our approval.  We are recognizing their call to the mission field.

We (myself and Kandy) now have the opportunity to connect with other people to see if they are interested in standing with us to become fully appointed missionaries.  Once our budget is raised the U.S. Missions of the Assemblies of God will commission us.  Simply put, your support helps our leaders make full appointment with confidence knowing that the body of Christ stands with us.

If you would be interested in talking with us more about what we are working towards please feel free to contact us.  We would love the opportunity to share with you the idea God has given to us.

* The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author at the time of writing.  They do not reflect in any way those of the organizations to which they belong to or affiliated with.