It’s not the first time for us. I came into the office the other day to find a desk where my brother has faithfully worked, now cleared.
Empty desk. Empty chair.
For years we have worked with, watched, and tried to train our brother for the work of ministry. We’ve learned together, laughed together, laboured together in prayer and in the day-to-day tasks of leading a church.
But now he’s gone. Gone to the work to which God has called him.
Looking at the empty desk, I can’t but wonder if we’ve done enough. There are so many things that remain untaught, unsaid. So many things I wish we could have talked about. So many ways I wish I could have been a better example. So many things I wish we could have better prepared him for.
Looking at the empty desk, I’m touched by sadness. This brother and his family have been so faithful, and grown so close to our hearts as individuals, and as a church family. Now they’re moving far away and who knows when we’ll be able to see them again?
As we prepare for a new missions course at GFC, I wanted to learn how John Piper and the elders of Bethlehem Baptist Church laboured to create a vision and passion for missions in their local church. Here are seven discoveries and truths they have learned and taught.
- We discovered that God is passionately committed to His fame. God’s ultimate goal is that His name be known and praised and enjoyed by all the peoples of the earth. (Matt 24.14; Isaiah 52.7; Rom 9.17; Isaiah 12.4; Rom 15.9)
- We discovered that God’s purpose to be known and praised and enjoyed among all the nations cannot fail. It is an absolutely certain promise. (Matt 16.18; 28.18; Isaiah 46.10; Hab 2.14)
- We discovered that the missionary task is focused on teaching unreached peoples, not just people — people groups, not just individuals — and is therefore finishable. (Matt 24.14; Rev 5.9)
- We discovered that the scarcity of Paul-type missionaries has been obscured by the quantity of Timothy-type missionaries [by this he means that the number of workers who go overseas obscures the true number of those who go to the unreached, which is actually quite small]. (Timothy ministered in the young church in Ephesus, 1 Tim 1.3; Paul went to the unreached, Rom 15.20)
- We discovered that domestic ministries are the goal of frontier missions, and frontier missions is the establishment of domestic ministries.
- We have come to see that God ordains suffering as the price and the means of finishing the Great Commission. (Matt 24.9, 14; Col 1.24; Matt 10.16; Luke 21.16-18)
- Finally, we have discovered that God is most glorified in us when we are so satisfied in Him that we accept suffering and death for His sake in order to extend our joy to the unreached peoples of the earth. (2 Cor 4.17; Phil 3.8; Heb 13.12-14)
Full explanations of each of these can be found in his book, Brothers, We Are Not Professionals, in the chapter called, ‘Brothers, Give Them God’s Passion for Missions.’
What if I told you that you could help us in the work of evangelizing our community? And what if I told you that it wouldn’t take a huge time commitment, cost you any money, or even necessitate you moving away from your desk at work? What if I told you there was a way you could be encouraged to evangelism and equipped for evangelism from the seat that you’re in right now?
I have both an idea and a resource that I would like to offer you.