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Trust your coach

I coach golf.  One of the first things I tell a student is that I will tell them to do things that may feel uncomfortable, awkward or seem ineffective.  They must make a decision to trust what I tell them or never improve.

If they only partially, or not at all, believe that I know what I am talking about, then inevitably they will not pay attention to what I tell them. However, after I demonstrate how to do it and they want to be able to do it as well, then they gain more confidence.

If they are willing to persevere through the uncomfortable stage by repeating and tweaking their swing then they suddenly begin to feel comfortable with the changes and they experience remarkable improvement.

The same sequence occurs in the Christian life.  God’s Word is going to tell us things that are initially not comfortable, convenient nor popular.  There is a tendency to doubt that by obeying God’s principles life will be better and I’ll be fulfilled and happy.  My way seems best.

It all boils down to my willingness to trust in the Author and believe that He knows the best way to live, then devour every bit of instructions that He gives. My willingness to master all of His principles, applying them to my life, is the degree of my trust in His wisdom and character.

God graciously accepts us and keeps us, though we can never deserve it; however, He only involves Himself in our lives to the degree that we pay attention to all He tells us.  No coach puts a player into the game who will not listen to what he tells him to do.

Jesus gave His example to gain their confidence stating, “And He who sent me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.” They wanted the same relationship. Then He added, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.” (John 8:29,31) There is no short-cut to playing the game of life according to His instructions.  Trust Jesus as your coach.

My Friend (?)


My friend, I stand in judgment now,

And feel that you’re to blame somehow.

On earth I walked with you day by day

And never did you point the way.


You knew the Lord in truth and glory

But never did you tell the story.

My knowledge then was very dim

You could have led me safe to Him.


You taught me many things, that’s true;

I called you “friend,” and trusted you.

But I learn now that it’s too late

And you could have kept me from this fate.


We walked by day, and talked by night,

And yet you showed me not the light.

You let me live, and love, and die.

You knew I’d never live on high.


Yes, I called you “friend” in life,

And trusted you through joy and strife.

And yet, on coming to this dreadful end

I cannot, now, call you “My Friend.”


By Dave Gibson

Famous quotes about Christian missions

Are you working on a sermon or message on missions? Quotations from missionary leaders like William Carey and Hudson Taylor have served as battle cries for the Christian missions movement. World evangelism has advanced with inspiration provided by missionary slogans like these. Slogans often keep our hearts on fire for the world.

“God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply” — Hudson Taylor

“The Great Commission is not an option to be considered; it is a command to be obeyed” — Hudson Taylor

“Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God” — William Carey, who is called the father of modern missions

“The spirit of Christ is the spirit of missions. The nearer we get to Him, the more intensely missionary we become.” — Henry Martyn

“He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose” — Jim Elliot, missionary martyr who lost his life in the late 1950’s trying to reach the Auca [Waodoni] Indians of Ecuador

“We are debtors to every man to give him the gospel in the same measure in which we have received it” — P.F. Bresee, founder of the Church of the Nazarene

“In the vast plain to the north I have sometimes seen, in the morning sun, the smoke of a thousand villages where no missionary has ever been” — Robert Moffat, who inspired David Livingstone

“Can’t you do just a little bit more?” — J.G. Morrison pleading with Nazarenes in the 1930’s Great Depression to support their missionaries

“Lost people matter to God, and so they must matter to us.” — Keith Wright

“The Bible is not the basis of missions; missions is the basis of the Bible” — Ralph Winter

“Some wish to live within the sound of a chapel bell; I wish to run a rescue mission within a yard of hell.” — C.T. Studd

“No one has the right to hear the gospel twice, while there remains someone who has not heard it once.” — Oswald J. Smith

“This generation of Christians is responsible for this generation of souls on the earth!” — Keith Green

“There is nothing in the world or the Church — except the church’s disobedience — to render the evangelization of the world in this generation an impossibility.” — Robert Speer

“If you found a cure for cancer, wouldn’t it be inconceivable to hide it from the rest of mankind? How much more inconceivable to keep silent the cure from the eternal wages of death.” — Dave Davidson

“If God calls you to be a missionary, don’t stoop to be a king” — Jordan Groom

“World missions was on God’s mind from the beginning.” — Dave Davidson

“Let my heart be broken with the things that break God’s heart” — Bob Pierce, World Vision founder

“No reserves. No retreats. No regrets” — William Borden gave up the Borden fortune to be a missionary, but died en route to the field.

“The reason some folks don’t believe in missions is that the brand of religion they have isn’t worth propagating.” — unknown

“I have seen, at different times, the smoke of a thousand villages – villages whose people are without Christ, without God, and without hope in the world.”       – Robert Moffat

“While vast continents are shrouded in darkness…the burden of proof lies upon you to show that the circumstances in which God has placed you were meant by God to keep you out of the foreign mission field.”            – Ion Keith-Falconer

“I wasn’t God’s first choice for what I’ve done for China…I don’t know who it was…It must have been a man…a well-educated man. I don’t know what happened. Perhaps he died. Perhaps he wasn’t willing…and God looked down…and saw Gladys Aylward…And God said – “Well, she’s willing.”     – Gladys Aylward

“Brother, if you would enter that Province, you must go forward on your knees.”  – J. Hudson Taylor

“The man…looking at him with a smile that only half concealed his contempt, inquired, “Now Mr. Morrison do you really expect that you will make an impression on the idolatry of the Chinese Empire?” “No sir,” said Morrison, “but I expect that God will.”    – Robert Morrison

“Here am I. Send me.”   – Isaiah

“And people who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget that they too are expending their lives…and when the bubble has burst they will have nothing of eternal significance to show for the years they have wasted.”
– Nate Saint

“Jehovah Witnesses don’t believe in hell and neither do most Christians”  – Leonard Ravenhill

“Had I cared for the comments of people, I should never have been a missionary.” – C.T. Studd

“Young man, sit down: when God pleases to convert the heathen, he will do it without your aid or mine.”        – said to a young William Carey

“Oh, that I had a thousand lives, and a thousand bodies! All of them should be devoted to no other employment but to preach Christ to these degraded, despised, yet beloved mortals.”
– Robert Moffat

“We must be global Christians with a global vision because our God is a global God.”
– John Stott

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”   – Jim Elliot

“A tiny group of believers who have the gospel keep mumbling it over and over to themselves. Meanwhile, millions who have never heard it once fall into the flames of eternal hell without ever hearing the salvation story.”   – K.P. Yohannan

“I have but one passion – it is He, it is He alone. The world is the field and the field is the world; and henceforth that country shall be my home where I can be most used in winning souls for Christ.”   – Count Zinzindorf

“God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supplies.”   – J. Hudson Taylor

“He must increase, but I must decrease.”    – John the Baptist

“If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.”     – C.T. Studd

“The greatest missionary is the Bible in the mother tongue. It needs no furlough and is never considered a foreigner.”     – William Cameron Townsend

“Prepare for the worst, expect the best, and take what comes.”    – Robert E. Speer

“The saddest thing one meets is a nominal Christian. I had not seen it in Japan where missions is younger. The church here is a “field full of wheat and tares.”     – Amy Carmichael

“I used to think that prayer should have the first place and teaching the second. I now feel it would be truer to give prayer the first, second and third places and teaching the fourth.”
– James O. Fraser

“It is just as proper, maybe even more so, to say Christ’s global cause has a Church as to say Christ’s Church has a global cause.”   – David Bryant

“If you are sick, fast and pray; if the language is hard to learn, fast and pray; if the people will not hear you, fast and pray, if you have nothing to eat, fast and pray.”  – Frederick Franson

“What are we here for, to have a good time with Christians or to save sinners?”   – Malla Moe

“I tell you, brethren, if mercies and if judgments do not convert you, God has no other arrows in His quiver.”   – Robert Murray M’Cheyne

“It’s amazing what can be accomplished if you don’t worry about who gets the credit.”
– Clarence W. Jones

“Two distinguishing marks of the early church were: 1) Poverty 2) Power.”   – T. J. Bach

“Do not think me mad. It is not to make money that I believe a Christian should live. The noblest thing a man can do is, just humbly to receive, and then go amongst others and give.”
– David Livingstone

“I pray that no missionary will ever be as lonely as I have been.”    – Lottie Moon

“All my friends are but one, but He is all sufficient.”   – William Carey

“How little chance the Holy Ghost has nowadays. The churches and missionary societies have so bound him in red tape that they practically ask Him to sit in a corner while they do the work themselves.”     – C.T. Studd

“I have always believed that the Good Samaritan went across the road to the wounded man just because he wanted to.”   – Wilfred Thomason Grenfell

“The more obstacles you have, the more opportunities there are for God to do something.”
– Clarence W. Jones

“Expect great things from God. Attempt great thing for God.”   – William Carey

“God’s part is to put forth power; our part is to put forth faith.”   – Andrew A. Bonar

“All the resources of the Godhead are at our disposal!”   – Jonathan Goforth

“The Indian is making an amazing discovery, namely that Christianity and Jesus are not the same – that they may have Jesus without the system that has been built up around Him in the West.”      – E. Stanley Jones

“This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.”     – Jesus

“All roads lead to the judgment seat of Christ.”  – Keith Green

“Christians don’t tell lies they just go to church and sing them”   – A.W. Tozer

“I will lay my bones by the Ganges that India might know there is one who cares.” – Alexander Duff

“Today Christians spend more money on dog food then missions”    – Leonard Ravenhill

“It will not do to say that you have no special call to go to China. With these facts before you and with the command of the Lord Jesus to go and preach the gospel to every creature, you need rather to ascertain whether you have a special call to stay at home.”   – J. Hudson Taylor

“We talk of the second coming, half the world has never heard of the first.”   – Oswald J. Smith

“God cannot lead you on the basis of facts that you do not know.”   – David Bryant

“And thus I aspire to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named so that I would not build on another man’s foundation.”    – Paul

“Why do we insist on building the largest and most impressive structures in our city when people on the other side of town are hungry, jobless and worshipping in storefronts?”
– K.P. Yohannan

“If every Christian is already considered a missionary, then all can stay put where they are, and nobody needs to get up and go anywhere to preach the gospel. But if our only concern is to witness where we are, how will people in unevangelized areas ever hear the gospel? The present uneven distribution of Christians and opportunities to hear the gospel of Christ will continue on unchanged.”   – C. Gordon Olson

“I spent twenty years of my life trying to recruit people out of local churches and into missions structures so that they could be involved in fulfilling God’s global mission. Now I have another idea. Let’s take God’s global mission and put it right in the middle of the local church!”
– George Miley

“Oh dear, I couldn’t say that my church is alive and I wouldn’t want to call it dead. I guess it’s just walking in its sleep!”      – Church member

“When he landed in 1848 there were no Christians here; when he left in 1872 there were no heathen.”     – said of John Geddie

“At the moment I put the bread and wine into those dark hands, once stained with the blood of cannibalism, now stretched out to receive and partake the emblems and seals of the Redeemer’s love, I had a foretaste of the joy of glory that well nigh broke my heart to pieces. I shall never taste a deeper bliss, till I gaze on the glorified face of Jesus himself.”- John G. Paton

“Save others, snatching them out of the fire.”     – Jude

“The evangelization of the world in this generation.”   – Student Volunteer Movement Motto

“Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring”   – Jesus

“Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t.”     – John Piper

“His authority on earth allows us to dare to go to all the nations. His authority in heaven gives us our only hope of success. And His presence with us leaves us no other choice.”    – John Stott

“Today five out of six non-Christians in our world have no hope unless missionaries come to them and plant the church among them.”    – David Bryant

“Tell the students to give up their small ambitions and come eastward to preach the gospel of Christ.”      – Francis Xavier

“We who have Christ’s eternal life need to throw away our own lives.”  – George Verwer

“Some wish to live within the sound of a chapel bell, I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of Hell.”     – C.T. Studd

“When I get to China, I will have no claim on any one for anything. My claim will be alone in God and I must learn before I leave England to move men through God by prayer alone”
– J. Hudson Taylor

“God has huge plans for the world today! He is not content to merely establish a handful of struggling churches among each tongue, tribe and nation. Even now He is preparing and empowering His Church to carry the seeds of revival to the uttermost ends of the earth.”
– David Smithers

“Answering a student’s question, ‘Will the heathen who have not heard the Gospel be saved?’ thus, ‘It is more a question with me whether we who have the Gospel and fail to give it to those who have not, can be saved.'”    – C.H. Spurgeon.

Things they never teach in the classroom for missions

As a professor I wish we could focus on some specific skills that future missionaries will need to know. Experienced missionaries have a set of skills that we should pass on to our students (if we could and if we would).

Our problem is that professors are boxed into an academic environment that does not give credit for some of these essential skills. I do not mean to devalue the academic, but rather I think we could add to the theoretical some practical skills and understanding, but it probably will need to be extracurricular. The need to understand religions, cultures, cross-cultural communication skills and how to contextualize the gospel and Bible teaching will always be necessary.

Church ministry
At our university we have a special focus on non-religious majors because of the contemporary need for platform ministries in Restricted Access Countries. But this often ignores a major factor: Do they have a passion for ministry to churches and individuals in our culture through Bible teaching, challenging messages, and motivating people to play their part in the Great Commission sufficiently to raise prayer and financial support?

The attitude of some students unfortunately is a dislike for having to spend so much time ministering in local churches “asking for funds” (sometimes even taking several years to raise their support), yet if they hope to start a business to support themselves, they will have to raise a lot more capital from donors or investors. Leadership and fundraising are usually inseparable skills, yet seldom taught together.

God’s people tend to support a vision and leaders that can touch hearts through practical applications of God’s Word. My goal with my students is to change immature negative attitudes into a passion for ministering to God’s people for everyone willing to learn how to teach God’s Word to meet the real needs of people. This can be accomplished through practice teaching and sharing in small groups.

Non-religion majors
On the field, the contemporary focus on “unreached peoples” in the 10/40 Window throws the missionary into a realm where Christian resources, like Bible Institutes or Christian colleges or even other churches, do not exist. They will have to solve the problems of training future leaders without institutions by creating their own study and teaching materials where little if any helpful materials exist in their language group. Few future missionaries have much experience at developing disciple-making congregations, which will have no financial resources to build buildings, etc.

Learning how to create online training and teaching programs while still a student will open the world to their training and discipling tools. Now online training is more accessible than the printed books.

In addition, non-religion majors will need to develop counseling skills, writing and teaching experience for discipleship, evangelistic confidence with a wide variety of techniques (church preaching being only a small aspect of evangelistic applications), and mentoring new leaders into all these skills until their disciples are equipped to do it on their own. Being a good person or ethical businessman is insufficient to produce a new life.

With the contemporary demand for BAM [Business As Missions] skills in addition to the above-mentioned spiritual abilities, where students from other degree programs are learning about job skills, but probably not how to start their profession into a new business, or adapt to entirely different ways of doing their profession in other cultures to fit into a local economy.

Being hired from another national or international company often can take away a job from a national, which can result in resentment, unless as a result he can hire 5-10 more nationals because of his expertise.

Few courses teach the tax structure of foreign countries, their labor laws, or patron-systems with employees, and the delicate and expensive task of firing someone with all the indemnification laws to avoid lawsuits.

Running a business without the availability of inexpensive bank loans and easy credit, (or operating without credit cards, which usually only exist within the upper classes), or how to raise capital from donors or investors, who expect the return of their capital from profits and a ROI (return on investment). China requires a $50,000 deposit for a year or more to the Central Bank to start a new company. Most of these concepts are seldom discussed in international business courses, not to mention the difficulty of expatriating profits back to investors (should you go the investor route).

The complexity of devaluation, inflation, taxes, fees (bribes?), a mandatory two or three extra month’s salaries plus a month’s vacation, dual-book-keeping to avoid exaggerated tax structures, especially high social security taxes (44-48% in Argentina; Brazil is 40%; China is 48%; France is 56%; India is 24%; Netherlands is 43%, etc.), which are usually paid monthly on threat of closure, etc., etc. Most countries do not have income tax, but India has just added a 30% tax on foreign money. To make matters more difficult most judicial systems are biased toward the employee, so lawsuits are constant liabilities.

The naiveté of many students thinking that with their non-religious degree they are masters of a business world sometimes baffles me. Learning how to swim in these waters requires a lot of mentoring, to say the least.

Essential Capital
Inevitable fund-raising for business ventures is a whole world of traps and dangers. Mixing donations with for-profit business is tricky if not impossible. Where does a student learn how to write a good business plan as a starting point for raising capital? Where can students learn proficiency at making presentations to donors/investors/supporters, knowing how to keep financial accounting records, make reports to investors/supporters and return their capital investment as quickly as possible, then create a long-term profit to sustain a business and keep investors content?

Mastering all these challenges to a business while keeping integrity and a heart for God, His Word, for people and ministry is a progressive development with many errors and a few successes. This is the world I lived in for 30 years in Colombia, Argentina and Paraguay, and it is not a lot different in other countries in other hemispheres, I have found.

Each of these critical skills and knowledge bases are difficult to put into any 45-hour class schedule. The mentoring opportunity to help coach each student individually in the area of their burden and interest is going to be a unique and exciting foundation for their future ministries.

New strategies
I’m developing some projects that will answer some of the issues brought up in this summary. I’d like to offer training for anyone interested in publishing, online course development in inexpensive or free environments, invite BAM missionaries who have handled the above issues to spend a few evenings with our interested students, teach Quickbooks, master Chronological Bible Storying by practicing it outside of class, and to create alternative church-based training programs that can be adapted to multiple cultures/languages.

Today’s missionary requires a vast set of skills and experience that in other generations were unknown, ignored or not required. These are not impossible to learn, but mentoring in these areas is the key to global success in the 21st century.

The value of being exhorted

Exhorting copy The reception went well after preaching and teaching in the AM and PM church services in Minneapolis of one of our supporting churches. Jan and I had been married ten years and completed our first 4-year term as missionaries in Colombia. A man from the church came to my side, put his arm around my shoulder and spoke in my ear, “Don, I perceive that you and your wife are struggling. Would you allow me to help you in your marriage?”

I turned to him seeing the sincerity in his eyes and said, “Yes, we would.” That encounter began a process that changed our marriage and opened to us an even broader ministry with other struggling couples.

How common should this experience be in our churches? With the more than 50 “one-another” commands in the NT, this should be a common experience among believers.

What I discovered in Minneapolis changed our marriage and my ministry. The Bible was no longer just a doctrinally true, infallible, accurate, inspired Book that I never doubted, but now it became a fascinating, practical, beneficial guide Book that works in everyday life. Just by taking seriously the instructions given for relationships and putting them into practice in our marriage, our relationship became more like we wanted.

Of course we are not perfect, but now we have principles that work and guidelines to restore harmony when selfishness, pride and foolishness disrupts our bond to each other. Without God’s instructions ours might have been another marriage disaster. Living by intuition, feelings, and man’s philosophies usually ends in misery.

The self-confidence of a naive fool

No one is perfect, nor has all the answers, … well, except the fool: “The way of a fool is right in his own opinion, but the one who listens to advice is wise.” (Proverbs 12:15). How do you know whether you are dealing with a fool or not? Watch how he responds to correction, “A fool despises his father’s instruction.” (15:5).

Unless someone intervenes, many people’s lives can self-destruct. “People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the LORD.” (Prov 19:3) Sadly, wisdom is wasted in the ears of a fool: “Do not speak in the ears of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words.” (23:9). He neither seeks it nor wants it.

“The one who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but the one who walks in wisdom will escape.” (NET Prov 28:26). The fool does not believe God has any helpful wisdom for his problems or his life. He is convinced he knows what is best for him.

Key to success and satisfaction

Since God created us, and cares enough to tell us how best to live and relate to one another, it makes sense to know all He has told us in His Word. Do we believe God’s way will bring happiness and fulfillment, or do we think “my way is best for me”? If we chose God’s way, then we have a lot to learn from God’s Word.

Paul challenged us to a life-long learning process: “For this reason do not be foolish, but be wise by understanding what the Lord’s will is.” (Eph 5:17 NET). If we believe His commands will enrich our lives by thinking as He does, then we’ll help each other know them and practice them in life’s situations. (Learn one command a day at www.walkingHisWay.com) If we doubt the value of His commands, we won’t waste the time to search for them. We’ll do it our way.

The sure test of a fool (or a wise person) is to watch his response to being corrected: “Do not reprove a mocker (worse than a fool) or he will hate you; reprove a wise person and he will love you.” (Pro 9:8 NET) Anyone who doesn’t like being corrected is demonstrating he is a fool. On the other hand, the wise person loves to be corrected because he knows the dangers of foolishness and the benefits of wisdom living. Anyone who cares about someone enough to risk confronting them graciously, and to share practical wisdom applications is going to be beloved.

Practical obedience and real worship

The measure of our relationship with our Savior is evident by our attitude towards His instructions: “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.” (John 14:15 NET). Taking God at His word Who offers us His grace for salvation is wonderful, but the depth of a relationship with Him is built on paying equal attention to all He commands. How much interest in and commitment to His commands is the measure of your true worship?

Jesus told his disciples to be “teaching them (their disciples) to obey all things that I have commanded you” (Matt 28:20). What are all these commands? He gave the church more than 400 to put into practice. This may be the most overlooked aspect of the NT. When have these commands been the core focus of the church?

No one is self-sufficient

Even the great preacher Apollos, “an eloquent speaker, well-versed in the scriptures” (Act 18:24 NET), was deficient in some areas, so “when Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.” (Act 18:26 NKJ). Apollos’ love for God’s wisdom and truth kept him humble and eager for correction.

It appears that wisdom is not natural to our self-centered way of thinking so we need diligently to seek it out (Prov 2:1-5) and to receive it when confronted as a father confronts a son, “My child, be attentive to my wisdom, pay close attention to my understanding,” (Pro 5:1 NET).

Constant reiterations

In fact, we are to “exhort one another daily” (Heb 3:13 NKJ) to be obedient to the commands. Receiving exhortation to practice His will from another believer is the key way to assure we are walking His way. It is so easy to forget important instruction that we need to be constantly reminded of them. Peter wrote of the necessity of reiterating instructions they may have heard previously, “For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth.” (2Pe 1:12 NKJ)

As great athletes need diligent coaches and peer players willing to reiterate and insist on maintaining the “basics” or “fundamentals” of their sport in order to excel. Team athletes are constantly challenging and encouraging one another. In a similar manner, believers need leaders and brothers to keep before each other the commands that will build them into His likeness and maturity.

Together in the battle

Most of the NT commands are in the plural form, implying that it is not that “I” have to obey them, but “we” have to obey the commands together (not just individually). Believers are a team battling sin, the flesh and the devil. We must learn to do it together by exhorting each other and by being exhorted. If we want to win in life, we have to do it together.

I’m thankful a man I did not even know came into my life and saved our marriage by challenging us to practice the relationship commands in Scriptures.

The 59 “One Another” Verses of the New Testament

How would the world be different if we practiced these commands?

  •            Stop passing judgment on one another                                  Romans 14:13
  •            If you keep on biting and devouring each other…                  Galatians 5:15
  •             you will be destroyed by each other
  •             Let us not become conceited,                                                     Galatians 5:26
  •             provoking and envying each other
  •             Do not lie to each other                                                               Colossians 3:9
  •             Do not slander one another                                                       James 4:11
  •             Don’t grumble against each other                                            James 5:9


Love one another 

  •             Love one another                                                                John 13:34,35
  •                                                                                                             John 15:12
  •                                                                                                             John 15:17
  •                                                                                                             Romans 13:8
  •                                                                                                             I Thes 4:9
  •                                                                                                             I John 3:11
  •                                                                                                             I John 3:23
  •                                                                                                             I John 4:7
  •                                                                                                             I John 4:11
  •                                                                                                             I John 4:12
  •                                                                                                             II John 5
  •             Love one another deeply, from the heart                       I Peter 3:8
  •                                                                                                             I Peter 4:8
  •             Be devoted to one another in brotherly love                 Romans 12:10
  •             Make your love increase and overflow for each other I Thes 3:12

Serve one another


  •             Wash one another’s feet                                                        John 13:14
  •             Be at peace with each other                                                   Mark 9:50
  •             Serve one another in love                                                      Galatians 5:13
  •             Carry each other’s burdens                                                    Galatians 6:2
  •             Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling        I Peter 4:9
  •             Each one should use whatever gift he has received          I Peter 4:10
  •             to serve others
  •             Pray for each other                                                                  James 5:16


Encourage one another


  •             Encourage each other                                                             I Thes 4:18
  •                                                                                                                  I Thes 5:11
  •             Speak to one another with psalms,                                      Ephesians 5:19
  •             hymns and spiritual songs.”
  •             Build each other up                                                                 I Thes 5:11
  •             Encourage one another daily                                                 Hebrews 3:13
  •                                                                                                                  Hebrews 10:25
  •             Spur one another on toward love and good deeds             Hebrews 10:24
  •             Honor one another above yourselves                                   Romans 12:10
  •             Greet one another with a holy kiss                                        Romans 16:16
  •                                                                                                                   I Cor 16:20
  •                                                                                                                   II Cor 13:12
  •                                                                                                                   I Peter 5:14


Be Patient, Accepting and Forgiving one another


  •             Be patient, bearing with one another in love                          Ephesians 4:2
  •             Be kind and compassionate to one another                            Ephesians 4:32
  •             Forgiving each other
  •             Bear with each other                                                                    Colossians 3:13
  •             Forgive whatever grievances                                                      Colossians 3:13
  •             you may have against one another
  •             Live in harmony with one another                                           I Peter 3:8
  •             Confess your sins to each other                                                James 5:16
  •             Live in harmony with one another                                           Romans 12:16
  •             Accept one another… as Christ accepted you                         Romans 15:7

Be Humble and Submit to One Another


  •             Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ                  Ephesians 5:21
  •             In humility consider others better than yourselves                 Philippians 2:3
  •             Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another             I Peter 5:5
  •             Have equal concern for each other                                             I Cor 12:25
  •             When you come together to eat, wait for each other              I Cor. 11:33


Teach and Correct one another


  •             Instruct one another                                                                    Romans 15:14
  •             Teach…[one another]                                                                  Colossians 3:16
  •             Admonish one another                                                               Colossians 3:16

Prepared by Ryan Stoll, Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary student, for use as a discipleship tool.

Lead by fear?

In a Christian ministry a godly man was trained for several years to succeed the founder when he retired. This protégé seemed to be a perfect successor. Once he was installed into the position he quickly won the hearts of many followers by his kind demeanor with other people in the organization.

This leader could fire a person when necessary, but he did it in a way that respected the individual and did not destroy him.

However, the board of this organization did not like this new style of leadership, believing that the necessary element of leadership was an authority that generates fear in its underlings, especially fear of being treated harshly or fired at any moment without explanation or defense. It is believed that without this harshness, the authority of the leader will never be respected and chaos will ensue. In spite of being the top authority in that ministry, the board removed him from his position effective immediately with the explanation that he was not harsh enough to be a good leader.

Insensitive aloofness

I once asked a leader of a large ministry, “Do you have any friends here?” He immediately responded, “Of course not. How can you fire someone if he is my friend?”

Being “thrown under the bus” by a colleague is all too common in Christian ministries, often to demonstrate the capability of insensitivity to hurting others or harshness to his superiors, perhaps to give evidence of the ability to make tough decisions in order to be promoted someday.

It is easy to discredit potential leaders in organizations, raise subtle suspicions or twist constructive criticism into antagonistic opposition. Gossip is prolific in many Christian ministries and spread by the leaders! Fear of being reported to superiors often keeps gossip under control among staff personnel. Sometimes this makes it difficult for non-leaders to discuss how to improve work situations without appearing to complain and thus get reported for insubordination.

Biblical leadership at any level is totally dependent on trust and perceived integrity. “Bad-mouthing” a colleague is common in conversations. Differences of opinion are seen as threatening or treasonous in the opinion of unquestionable leadership. Paranoia is the fear that staff people are prone to rebel against their absolute authority. There is no learning from the bottom up or attempting to win agreement from the top down, rather a demanding of total, unquestionable submission.

Fault finding manipulation

A second means of establishing this fear-based authoritative leadership is to find a fault, however small, in the work or life of an underling. Minor issues are then blown out of proportion to justify receiving harsh rebuttal or corrective treatment by the authorities. The demoralizing impact of this defacing treatment is intended to crush the staff’s self-confidence or self-image. The only way to get any self-respect back is to gain the approval of these same leaders. This style of fear-based manipulative leadership is all too common in Christian ministries.

Unquestioning followship demanded

“Teamwork” takes on the definition of a total, blind, unthinking submission and allegiance to an individual who alone can decide what the will of God is for others. Any questioning of this authority is seen as rebellion and sinful rejection of God’s anointed one and is treated with ostracism, reassignment and minimizing of influence.

Usually this person has the purse strings of the organization. The practice of the political “Golden Rule” is all too common: “He who has the gold, rules.”

Those who adjust have learned by watching how their cohorts were treated when they questioned decisions. Their defamation generated a fear ripple throughout the organization and taught everyone to be careful of taking any initiative or “constructive criticism.”

Institutional priority

Only the leader can think of effective ideas. The paternalistic patterns build security to some followers and too much confinement to others, who seldom last long in such an organization. When people leave they are seldom missed because they never were important personally. Only the organization is important. People are only to be used then discarded for someone more useful to the organization.

If many “successful” ministries are practitioners of this model of leadership, what kinds of missionaries are we sending overseas to replicate this necessary type of leader? Failure is deemed as not measuring up to this style of leadership.

Cliques of big leaders

These types of leaders think in terms of power-persons, shakers-and-movers, giants, and great leaders. Others have little value, or are made to feel like they have little value in comparison to them. Others are only there to serve the needs of the “big” leaders. What a contrast with what Jesus said!

What about Jesus?

Once two ambitious disciples wanted to be the highest authorities in the universal kingdom of Christ (Mark 10:37). Apparently all the disciples wanted the same authority (Mk 10:41). Jesus takes this opportunity to teach His leadership model, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them” (Mar 10:42 NKJ), that is, the style of leadership mentioned earlier in this article.

Then Jesus makes one of His strongest prohibitions: “Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant” (Mar 10:43 NKJ).

The secular leadership model should be found nowhere among Christ followers in families, Christian institutions or church organizations. Peter never forgot this lesson when he wrote, “nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock” (1Pe 5:3 NKJ). “Lording over” means to “bring under one’s power, to subject to oneself or master, to hold in subjection, or gain dominion over.” Do you think someone can lead without threats, or demanding total unquestioning submission to a leader?

Rather Peter commands, “but lead them by your own good example” (1Pe 5:3 NLT), or by being their “servant” (Mk 10:43) committed to meeting the needs of others, rather than manipulated them by open or subtle threats to meet the leader’s needs. His measure of success is not bigness, but by building a reputation of relationships: “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35 NKJ).

However a leader’s staff perceives his style of leadership, all those under his responsibility will attempt to duplicate his leadership style throughout the organization. The more a person can bring others under their authority however cruel the tactic, the more likely he will be seen as a “great leader” and rise in the organization. As long as such an intimidating leader is successful followers tend to swallow their hurts and pride, just to be part of something big or popular.

Do you believe Christ’s words will work in any organization? If one does not believe what Jesus said, then His directives will be ignored and whatever leadership style brings “success” will become the final authority.

Servant leader: myth or goal

A professor I met said he is sick of hearing about “servant-leaders” because they always mean, “You are the servant, and I am the leader.” He wondered if anyone read what the Bible said about servant-leaders.

Specifically he was referring to Jesus’ statement to his disciples, who all selfishly wanted to be next to the highest authority in the Messianic world kingdom (Mark 10:37). Then Jesus described the basic secular leadership philosophy, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them [katakurieuo “bring one under power, to subdue, master, hold in subjection or be the master of”] , and their great ones exercise authority over them” [katexousiazo, “wield power,” “become master, gain dominion over,” or “tyrannize, domineer”] (Mark 10:42).

This is not a condemnation of this authority but an observation of it’s existence. Perhaps this is a necessity in the military and governments to function. Jesus’ contrast is pointing out that we are to be people-builders instead of empire-builders.

The lust for this level of power is the drive of the fallen angels who craved for God’s authority over creation (Isa 14:13-14), willing to usurp even God’s throne to obtain it.


Jesus is not saying there will not be “great among you,” but rather how one becomes great and what his responsibility becomes as a great leader is radically different from the secular powers. A Christian executive once told me that he did not think strict biblical principles would work in an institutional leadership role. People will take advantage of the situation and inefficiency would result. Perhaps there are some misunderstandings, but one should never “throw out the baby with the bath water.”


Christians should not practice dictatorial, narcissistic, self-promoting, intimidating, fear or threat based style of leadership. Regrettably, many “successful” ministries are led by this style of leadership. The patrón style leader is often sought out for key leadership positions. He can make things happen. This is the businessman leader.

Hendriksen writes, “They spend all their energies to get to the top and once having reached tat peak, they cause all others to feel the weight of their authority” (Mark, p. 413).

Jesus’ definition

How does this fit with Jesus’ directive? He began, “whoever desires to be great among you…,”(Mk 10:43), which is not a bad or selfish desire if it is not self-serving. “Great” means according to Louw Nida, the “upper end of a scale, with possible implication of importance” (78:2).

Desiring to be a leader that is not self-seeking is the first requirement to be a pastor or elder (“bishop” or Overseerer) (1 Tim 3:1).


Jesus continues, “… shall be your servant” (diakonos, “one who executes the commands of another”). In parallel fashion, the next verse reiterates the principle with a synonym, “And who ever wants to be first among you must be the slave [doulos, “devoted to another to the disregard of one’s own interest”] of all” (Mk 10:44 NET).

This paradox is to mark Christianity as distinct. The leader is to live for the interest, needs and wellbeing of others, rather than himself. All the prerequisites (1 Tim 3:1-8) describe a person who is internally and socially healthy to the point that he can be devoted to the needs others.

Jesus gave himself as an example as one who “did not come to be served, but to serve [diakoneo] and to give his life a ransom for man” (10:45). Obviously, we ccnot be the ransom for sinners, but we are to similarly sacrifice our lives freely for the benefit of other people.

Institutional priority

Some live for Christian institutions and use people for the greater good of the organization until such persons are deemed useless. Then they are discarded with little sympathy or care. Jesus’ focus appears to be to serve the needs of people over (or at least parallel with) Christian institutions. This balance act is the struggle of Christian leadership and requires great wisdom to keep Jesus’ priority.

Serving needs

The key is meeting the needs of others. Every believer has the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:9), and thus is given a manifestation of the Spirit’s care for others through the “spiritual gift [that] is given to each of us so we can help each other” (1 Cor 12: 7 NLT). No spiritual gift is self-serving, rather other-serving. Our primary serving to others is through our spiritual gift.

The greater roles are therefore, reserved for those who can meet the needs of more of God’s people.

What do people need?

Paul told the elders at Ephesus to “watch out for yourselves and for the flock of which [not over which] the Holy Spirit has made you overseerers, to shepherd the church of God (Acts 20:28 NET). The plural command to “watch out for yourselves” or “watch out for each other” refers to the group of elders who were to keep accountable to each other for obedience in their lives as well as their care of the flock.

Jesus gave a primary focus of the ministry to be “teaching them to obey all things that [he] commanded” (Matt 28:20).

The secret of life’s success is living by the Word of God. No greater service can be given than to teach, explain, exhort, comfort, encourage and preach obedience to all that Jesus commands all believers to obey. The personal psychological, emotional, relational, moral, and corporal needs are foundationally built upon God’s Word.

Symptoms of a servant

Perhaps the key is communicating to each other how import they are personally to you and to Christ. The opposite is all too true about leaders as the tittle of Les Carter’s book on Narcissism, “Enough about you, let’s talk about me.”

The one who obviously is more interested in others than in himself is the one who should be entrusted with leadership roles. Pay attention to how much people love to talk about themselves with little interest, except criticism, for others.

Servant team

Leadership is always a team effort with each one contributing their strengths and giftedness to the benefit of each other and to the whole task, while keeping each other true to the principles of God’s Word. What a purposeful life!

How to live out the ideal servant-leadership role without a strong natural dominating leader taking over is the challenge of any team ministry. The Body of Christ is not a football team led by a quarterback, rather perhaps the analogy of a soccer team who learn to blend their strengths together helping each other perform their best and reach their goal.

Any organization that is committed to making every member a success and never communicates rejection or failure is bound to succeed. Someone said, “the more people you make successful, the more they will make you successful.”

Strategic thinking on missions

On a recent trip to Colombia in discussions with missionaries I kept asking what was the most significant lesson that they wished new missionaries would have learned before coming to the field. One topic kept surfacing: how to do strategic planning.

Every ministry or field of ministry should have a strategy statement that expresses its long and short-range plans. Without this clarity of thinking everyone is in a fog of ideas about what to do next. The home board, field director, supporters and the missionary himself has no idea what to do or if what he is doing is in line with the goal of the mission or not.

A Strategic Statement

Here are some benefits of a clearly written strategy statement:

  1. It enables the board to evaluate the direction of the mission’s work periodically and determine the quality of work being done.
  2. It enables the board to make intelligent evaluations of requests and activity changes which various personnel are requesting to make.
  3. It enable the board to help in terms of recruiting of future personnel and financial support.
  4. It enables the board to answer responsibly to the supporters as to the progress of the work on any given field.
  5. It makes clear to potential candidates the type of work being attempted and where he could fit into the gran panorama of the ministry.
  6. It enables the missionary to know just how he fits into the broader picture of the field’s objectives as well.
  7. It enables the missionary to follow a pre-planned series of actions and activities over a number of years on the field. He is never without understanding of how his task should be done.
  8. It enables the entire field conference to work together as a team for a common objective; thus will aid in minimizing personality conflicts and dominance of stronger personalities, when all activities are reviewed for compliance within the strategy decided upon.
  9. It gives the entire missionary conference a sense of accomplishment, meaning and purpose.

Elements of a Strategic Statement

A strategic plan originates in a clear Mission Statement (What is our general/ specific purpose for existing), which is then refined by a Vision Statement by adding numbers, dates, and personnel to the Mission Statement (What our mission will look like in 1, 5, 10 years). The Strategic Statement is the practical strategy steps to realize the Vision Statement. It tells what is going to be accomplished and the methods to be employed.

Likewise a Strategic Statement must define the lines of authority and the relationships between the field conference and the home board. This declaration should be in the hands of all personnel home and abroad. It should include the following items.

  1. The definition of the field in terms of its geographical, cultural, affinity and linguistic identity. Today it is becoming common to identify the target audience by its ethnic identity or affinity group regardless of the geographical boundaries. The field as defined by affinity group might be located in a multitude of geopolitically defined countries, but remain the same people group to reach.
  2. A clearly defined statement of the objectives of the mission in the specific field or target area. Is the mission in the field as a holistic service agency primarily or as a disciple-making, church planting objective? These objectives form a circle of operations focusing all strategic activities while avoiding other activities that deviate or drain resources from the main objectives previously defined.
  3. A broad list of specific activities, which are designed to bring about the desired objectives. This list may be quite long and more than the present personnel are able to engage in. Another list may be appropriate to include activities to avoid. This will define for all the work of a missionary.
  4. Every individual should develop a series action points, phases or levels of development for every ministry. This may or may not include a time-table but preferable a “scope and sequence” of developmental events for a ministry that flow into one another. By this scale the board and each missionary will know at what stage he is engaging in the development of the objectives. For example: Phase one: Missionary orientation to the field, accountability supervisor or director, language and culture learning expectations and what he is expected to learn. Phase two: the missionary is to settle into an area, define the activities to get acquainted with the population and beginning to focus on ministry. Phase three: A clearly defined strategy for evangelistic activities, which may include visitation, literature distribution, open-air evangelism, market-day evangelism, etc. A fourth phase: the establishing of house church or church meeting in a rented facility. A fifth phase: the training of National Christians for the work of the ministry. Each phase should include learned lessons from past successes and failures and be written for future missionaries and National pastor/missionaries.
  5. A statement of authority lines. What is the relationship of the field council to the home board? What is the autonomy of the field council or field director? What types of decisions can be made on the field without consultation with the home board? How is the field leadership selected and when? Does everyone have a full voting privilege or are there distinctions? (New missionary, Short-Term missionary, etc.).
  6. A statement should be developed to define the relationship with national personnel. To whom are they accountable or is the missionary accountable to the national leadership? Who evaluates the work of the national? Can the national ever evaluate the work of the missionary and have his recommendations listened to? When does the national begin to take the leadership of a ministry? Are there phases of development for the national as well as the missionary?
  7. A schedule of the reports to be made to the field directors, and home board must be clearly defined. This should include whatever the report should include, the format of the report for consistency, to whom it should be sent along with the absolute deadline for such reports.

This line of thinking strategically should characterize the entire organization from the board, to the field , to the field director, to the missionary, then to the national leaders. This strategic planning should be incorporated into every fiber of the mission.

No strategy is ever written in “concrete” or forged into metal. It must constantly be revised, updated, adapted to changing situations and personnel. Decision-makers must be decided upon, with a sequence for making changes. For example, if a mission begins with an urban ministry in a major city, then someone wants to launch a new ministry to a rural or jungle ministry with an unreached people group: how is this approval and strategy change going to be made? It must be contemplated before the issue surfaces.

Additional information in the strategic statement:

  1. A map of the field showing all communities where ministries are identified, where future ministries are possible, and any significant geographical factors to consider.
  2. Define the commerce, economics, politics, culture and major religion of the field.
  3. Include a brief history of the region and how the mission came to the area.
  4. As the Strategy statement is developed to include a Program of Events possible, a list of personnel to accomplish these programs will likely be larger than the actual personnel on the field. The recruitment for the blanks in the list of required personnel become the task of the home board and furloughed missionaries.
  5. A job description should be developed for each type of personnel on the field, coming to the field and for whom the field is praying to join them. This latter groupings of needed personnel for the strategy and program is the key tool of the representatives and recruiters.
  6. A financial statement of how monies are invested, along with a list of needed projects, which might be used by interest supporters and donors.


Such a declaration as this should be compiled and produced in an attractive format for wide distribution especially for anyone interested in joining the field team or supporting the work.

Any missionary coming to the field will be interested in knowing:

  1. Language requirements and proficiency expectations for teaching, preaching and general witnessing.
  2. Living conditions, locations, and types of housing.
  3. Climate expectations throughout the year.
  4. Financial support principles for raising support and perpetuating support level.
  5. A schedule of activities from the time of his arrival on the field as a new missionary until he will be given responsibility for a new ministry start-up.

The objective of such a Strategic plan is to clarify and focus the gifts and talents God raises up on a field, to minimize the disillusionments and false expectations, and to preclude misunderstandings before the erupt. The more transparent and well-defined a ministry the more secure the team will work with each other without competition and unwarranted criticism.


Adapted from a MARC publication written by Gordon MacDonald, “Reflections on Mission Strategy.”



Being a Prayer-Partner with a Missionary

The following is a brief outline of suggested topics and themes that need to be saturated with prayer lest the evil one gain an inroad into the life of a servant:

SPIRITUAL LIFE: The key to an effective ministry is the power of the Holy Spirit guiding and filling one’s life.  The sensitive conscience to the Spirit’s urgings and conviction of outward and/or inward disobedience requires a broken spirit and submissive will.  The missionary will be tempted to not trust the Lord, cut corners financially, morally, and ethnically to accomplish his goals. When he believes his identity and reputation are tied to his goals then the temptation becomes greater. The enemy will use discouragement and discontent in his attack.

THE QUITE TIME: One’s spiritual life is maintained by abiding in the Lord and in His Word on a daily basis. Vital to this process is an unhurried prayer and Bible study time seeking to understand the application of His commands to our lives, speaking to God with transparency while listening to His Spirit’s conviction in private areas.

DISCIPLINE: In a busy life there needs to be balance and the right use of time so that there may be a healthy life, including physical, mental and spiritual aspects. Pray for consistency in spiritual disciplines and accountability with someone.

PROTECTION: The missionary does not lead a sheltered life and should not seek it. Risks vary in different parts of the world, so pray for wisdom.  In all situations and journeys the Lord can protect and for this end prayer should be lifted up to the throne.

RELATIONSHIPS: Right attitudes, actions and reactions to others are vital.  The enemy loves to destroy relationships through gossip, misunderstandings, critical and judgmental reactions. The work is done with other missionaries, and national Christians, as well as living among non-believers and interacting with leaders, shamans, and government officials. The missionary must have no favorites.  He must have the grace to discern broken relationships, to admit failures and put wrongs right.  The missionary must discern how to serve the real needs of others, while never expecting others to serve him.

THE WORK: In every missionary task there is urgency and pressure. The ideas, programs and strategies must come from time in prayer. In spiritual work, equipment, materials, transport and buildings are needed and must be maintained.  God can supply our inner and outward needs for His purpose.

PLACES AND PEOPLE: Take note of all the places and persons mentioned in communications with the missionary and lift them up before the throne. Ask God to do His convicting, breaking, and enlightening work through the Spirit in each of their lives or situations.

THE LOCAL CHURCH: The members, workers and leaders of the church have the largest part to play in most missionary work; the need to be progressing in spiritual maturity and commitment to each other.  Pray that selfishness, pride and apathy to God’s Word will be conquered demonstrating transformed lives and Spirit-gifted service to one another.

MISSIONARY FAMILIES: Parents need to be wise when priorities in the ministry and home seem to conflict.  Discerning how to be a Coach to children without alienating them, how to break their will without breaking their spirit, how to discipline without creating anger, and how to engage them in the ministry till they are excited about what God is doing in lives.

THE CHIDREN: Missionary’s children often face an abnormal life, sometimes separated from their parents. Pray that they will see the high value and adventure of an international ministry and the planting of the gospel among a new culture. Pray for their health, safety, education, vision for the ministry and relationship with their parents.

FURLOUGH: Adjustment is needed when returning to a home culture that has changed in 4 years (especially for children who may not remember much of their homeland). Pray for a place to live and schools for their children to attend (and adjust to). Pray for meetings and travel arrangements, for every aspect of their ministry to the churches and individuals in their homeland. Pray that someone along the way will be an encouragement to them and be interested to ask questions about the missionary’s life and ministry in a distant land.

A prayer partner who prays through this list, filling in the blanks with real names and situations for individual missionaries will be a true co-laborer and prayer warrior partner.  May their tribe ever increase!