Missions Agencies and Local Churches

In The Nick of Time
by Kevin T. Bauder

The pastor who wants to lead his church wisely in the area of missions will find that he is confronted with a bit of a conundrum. On the one hand, the work of missions grows out of the local church, and each missionary is ultimately accountable to his sending church. On the other hand, few local churches are in the position to closely supervise the work of any particular missionary on any particular field.

The New Testament resolves this conundrum by showing that church-planting missionaries organized to work together, even when they were sent out by different churches. While their ultimate accountability was to their sending churches, their pressing, operational decisions were made together. They had little or no direct supervision from their churches. Their immediate accountability was to their field organization and its leadership.

The New Testament pattern anticipates the missionary agency and particularly the field council. The question is not whether such organizations are biblically authorized, for they clearly are. The question is how to balance the authority and function of the agency with the authority and function of the church. How should the agency and the church support one another in the work of missions?
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God Gives the Increase

by Beth Murschell

My mental images of mankind’s original garden, alas, have been shaped by Sunday school curricula—coloring pages, flannel graphs, and children’s books. Still, I can’t help thinking the garden was more similar to the tropics of today than to the formal English gardens, all stiff upper-lip ornamentation and sundials. Adam and Eve may have left the garden, but the lovemurschell_plant.jpg of growing things remains strong in our collective consciousness.

As optimistic but unskilled gardeners, my husband and I have seen quite a few plants come and go over the years here in South Florida. During the worst drought, we lost a rather nice vegetable plot and haven’t had the heart to try one again, except for the tomatoes we grew in an EarthBox. (It was a bumper crop, which was enjoyed by insects who had weapon, motive, and opportunity.)

No, our greatest success has been with epiphytes. These can grow on trees (Spanish moss, orchids, or staghorn ferns) or in the air like orchids or staghorn ferns or on the ground like pineapples. These kinds of plants require little from us—“they toil not, neither do they spin” (Matt. 6:28, KJV). The rose bush, however, rebounded only after a near-death pruning.
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How Many Points—Some Comments

By Robert Keith Fall

Dr. David Burggraff (PDF), vice president for spiritual formation and ministry development at Clearwater Christian College (Clearwater, FL), spoke at the November 2006 Northern California Regional meeting of the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International. He handed out various notes and articles during his messages to the attendees. “How Many Points” by Richard A. Muller, an article from the November 1993 issue of the Calvin Theological Journal, was one of those handouts. fall_tulip.jpgDr. Muller seems to represent a stream of Reformed thought not usually found among fundamentalists in America. He comes out of Continental Calvinism rather than from Scottish Presbyterianism or English Puritanism. Dr. Muller’s definition of what constitutes Calvinist or Reformed theology stands in stark contrast to how many Anglo-American Baptists define the term.
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Book Review—Crisis in the Village

Reviewed by Beth Murschell

Franklin, Robert M. Crisis in the Village: Restoring Hope in African American Communities. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2007. Paperback, 271 pages. $15.00

(Review copy courtesy of Augsburg Fortress Press)

Purchase: Augsburg Fortress | CBD | Amazon

Special Features: End Notes; Index

ISBNs: 0800638875 / 9780800638870

LCCN: E185.86.F72 2007

DCN: 305.896’073009045

Subjects: African-Americans, Religion
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Thoughts on Pastoral Ministry from Psalm 23

Being Satisfied with Our Shepherd and Pleased with Our Pastor

by Doug Smith

Author’s Note: This article is adapted from a message delivered at the first graduation for the Cumberland Area Pulpit Supply, Phase 1 Training, on April 14, 2007.

Psalm 23—A Psalm of David

smith_sheep.jpgThe LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:
for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever (KJV).

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Missions Agencies and Field Councils

In The Nick of Time
by Kevin T. Bauder

The work of missions centers upon the local church. Properly, missionaries are sent out by local churches. Once sent, they are accountable to their sending and supporting churches. Their responsibility is the work of establishing indigenous, self-perpetuating local churches. The local church is indeed the center of missionary enterprise.

Some have taken this principle to mean that mission agencies are unnecessary and perhaps even unbiblical. Particular objections are raised to mission agencies that use field councils to coordinate their missionaries. Organizations of this sort are thought to usurp the authority of the local church and to curtail the freedom of individual missionaries. Occasionally the suggestion is made that each church should act as its own sending agency, directly supervising the work of its own missionaries.

This suggestion is not without merit. Some churches, particularly larger ones, do manage to send their own missionaries, provide for their needs, and manage their work without the aid of separate mission agencies. Churches that follow this pattern are within their rights.
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Objects in the Mirror . . .

by Jason Stover

Two hours of Lamaze class conquered, I was convinced my wife and I could handle anything our soon-to-be-born twin boys could dish out. After all, the teacher gave me a gold sticker. Some people call it pride; I like to think of it as “deferred humility.” Whatever it was, it spilled over into a discussion after Wednesday night Bible study at the church I was pastoringstover_mirror.jpg in Chicago. One wonders how the dear old ladies at Bible Baptist Church, who had raised their children and grandchildren, handled a lecture on child rearing from their 25-year-old pastor. Nevertheless, they held their tongues as the lecture followed a winding rabbit trail to the topic of sleeping positions for infants.
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Spurgeon and the Battle for Gospel Preaching, Part 3

Note: Dr. Sam Horn is host of The Word for Life radio program.

See Part 1 and Part 2.

by Dr. Sam Horn

The true minister of Christ feels impelled to preach the whole truth, because it and it alone can meet the wants of man. What evils has this world seen through a distorted, mangled, man-moulded gospel. What mischiefs have kutilek_spurgeon.jpgbeen done to the souls of men by men who have preached only one part and not all the counsel of God!
—C.H. Spurgeon, Metropolitan Tabernacle, 1859

Hyper-Calvinsim is all house and no door; Arminianism is all door and no house.
—John Duncan Read more about Spurgeon and the Battle for Gospel Preaching, Part 3