The very idea of people’s desire to continue in sin shows a gross misunderstanding of grace and a contempt for Jesus’ sacrifice. Either we believe what God says is true or we don’t.
More and more every day, the world is turning from God. But praise God, not all of them are, and that’s even more reason to proclaim the gospel message everywhere we can while we can.
The churches of Arkansas are diligent in their duty to see and meet the need to plant new churches. Because of your faithful and consistent support, we find ourselves again in the desired position to come alongside one or two new missionaries as God moves on the lives of men to serve. May our churches be mindful of the potential of such men among them and be an encouragement to help them to follow God’s leadership. I would to God our churches would become incubators for church planters — not only sending them by name only, but to love and nourish them in that time of their life.
This year, we witnessed the organization of The Table Church in Springdale under the leadership of Clinton Morris. Currently, this leaves us with six missionaries, and Michael Hight continues to serve as your Hispanic Coordinator. I will let them share what is happening firsthand.
Some works are moving ever closer to organizing, as others are only beginning. But praise God through His marvelous grace, we look forward with anticipation of these becoming stand-alone churches. For this to happen in the future, our churches must make planting a priority. If I were asked what the greatest need is in the Missions Department today, I would have to say men, workers, soldiers of the cross. Sure, funds help facilitate the work of missions but “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Rom. 10:14).
I would have to say, through my observation, it appears to be much more difficult today to plant than when I planted in 1999. Between the old atheist, new atheist, the nothings and the science that no longer needs a God, we may feel there is no way to function in today’s world. When this happens, we must remember the Lord’s command to us is to plant the seed! While society has changed, God is the same yesterday, today and forever and the Holy Spirit is as present and as powerful as ever. We are told if we go forth sowing precious seed, we will come again bringing our sheaves with us. That’s a promise.
Financially, we are perhaps in the best position in the general fund as ever before. There was once a time when we had men who wanted to serve, but we did not have the funds to help them do so. Now, it is the opposite, and that is because there are fewer and fewer qualified candidates surrendering.
Our Revolving Loan Fund is likewise as healthy as ever before, but the exorbitant cost of land and buildings is quickly putting us out of the church building business.
This forces our missionaries into an even more difficult situation when trying to find facilities to meet. Please pray for them and those God has in the wings yet to make their calling known.
Please pray for the Advisory Committee and me as we are considering sending two men to one location to widen their footprint, double their efforts and serve each other as an accountability partner. Of course, any changes would have to go before the Missionary Committee for their consideration.
C. Peter Wagner, a writer and teacher, stated that the most effective evangelistic methodology under Heaven is planting new churches.
In closing, I completed my 13th year as your State Missions’ Director this past July. I want to thank each of you for this opportunity to serve our association and the privilege of working with these men. I commend Donna Webb, my administrative assistant, for her wonderful commitment to our missionaries and their families. I also thank the Advisory Committee, the Revolving Loan Committee and the Missionary Committee for their faithful service to our association and this department.
Likewise, we continue to enjoy working side-by-side with Executive Editor Jeff Herring and Associate Editor Allan Eakin of the Trumpet. It doesn’t hurt to have two computer gurus in the house. Joann Bailey, owner of Trumpet Printing, also has an office in our building and her willingness to use her expertise to help State Missions is truly appreciated.