Slider

Our Blog

Helping them stay in their designated Place

After serving as missionaries for 15 years, we are more convinced than ever that the backbone of the mission’s endeavor is the connection that exists between the missionary and their supporting partners. But, what does it mean to be a supporting partner? Some of the terms associated with the word “support” are to hold up, bear, prop up, brace, and reinforce.” To be sure, there are other words that can be used. However, the idea is that a support mechanism exists to keep the object of support in its designated place. This is a good description of the support base of a missionary. It goes without saying that all aspects of mission work are upheld by the promises, purpose, and the presence of God. Yet, we live in a world where human partnerships are often necessary to help get the job done. In fact, God can use those partnerships to accomplish great things. Even so, there are obstacles on the Missionary side that people are often unaware of.

Culturally, missionaries are often very isolated and can feel deserted and alone. They may live among thousands of people but may not be able to connect with anyone in a meaningful way that touches them as a person. It is true the common bond with other believers is Christ. However, cross-cultural Christianity looks different from country to country. Many of the things that people do in their home church are impacted by the culture in which they live. What draws people together in one culture may have very little significance elsewhere.

Beyond that, missionaries are deprived of their family, friends, church community, favorite foods, and a host of other issues that leave them feeling stranded. Oh, they know that people are “there for them.” But, on the field that is unseen and often times unheard. So, how can the support base of a missionary ensure that they are actually supporting their partners? Here are three things that may be worth consideration.

The first essential element is obvious—prayer. How can you adequately support someone you are unwilling to pray for? This is so obvious that it is often forgotten. But the truth is that financial support may get a missionary to the field. However, it is your prayers that keep them there. It is essential that missionaries and their partners actually pray for one another. To do this effectively, there must be an actual relationship whereby each partner knows what is important to the other. Thus, this element is greatly impacted by the next factor, communication. 

You can better pray for someone with whom you communicate. Even with the vast distances involved in missionary partnerships, you can develop deep and meaningful relationships in a variety of ways. With technology as it is, people can communicate around the globe in a matter of seconds. Websites are great, but they are often one-sided. However, with the advent of social media people can connect in ways that previous generations couldn’t even imagine. It is amazing how often we hear someone say, “I saw on Facebook…” when they communicate with us. Just that phrase means that someone is paying attention to what is going on in our lives and work.

The third element is involvement. Consider actually becoming involved in the life and work of your missionary partners. Pick a project, big or small, to take an interest in and stay informed. If your missionary is starting a new work, learn as much as you can about it, and then support it through prayer and even special offerings. If you cannot find a new work that your missionary is doing, ask them if there is an element of an existing work that you might take on as a special interest. Perhaps you can become involved in an area that encourages them personally beyond the actual work that they are doing. The point is that when a missionary knows someone is actually concerned and involved in some aspect of their life and work they will not feel so isolated. They will know that your partnership with them is real and meaningful to you.

When you are connected to a work that you pray for and communicate about, you truly are partnering with your missionary and are actually involved in the work that they are doing. You are really supporting the work and are being a blessing to your missionary partner. You are helping them remain in their designated place—the place God has called them to serve.

Jeff & Sandra Price have been blessed by God to be married for 36 years. Their ministry has taken them from Samoa to Bolivia where they currently serve in the city of Tarija. They have 3 grown sons who all have spent time on the mission field as they grew up. They are sent out of Victory Baptist Church in Maryville, Tennessee and are partnered with Baptist International Outreach where Jeff also serves as the Director for Latin America ministries. 

How do your fears affect your ministry?

I have a friend who recently posted something she learned at a conference. It goes like this: 

“The very thing we fear the most is the very thing that we do to others in order to avoid it happening to us. If we fear rejection we reject others first, if we fear being controlled we will control others so that we will not be controlled, if we fear conflict we will avoid conflict at all costs and there by creating it, and if we fear of criticism we will criticize and judge others. If we fear being taken advantage of we exclude and alienate others making them feel alone and taken advantage of. The more we understand ourselves and those around us the more we can live in peace and be more productive with our lives.”

I believe this rings very true. How many items on that list sounds like you? I am sure you can think of a few people that meet this criteria, as well. And, if we think about it the list doesn’t stop there. If we think about what we fear the most when it comes to relationships then we often react in a way to prevent this coming true, and inadvertently we make the situation worse. In the therapy world there is a term called “self-fulfilling prophesy”. Basically it’s where we get so worried about something bad happening that based on our reactions to that fear we actually cause that bad thing to happen. Let’s say a woman is worried that the man she is dating is going to break up with her. She might constantly go to that man and ask, “do you really love me?”,  and “are you going to break up with me?” His answers could be “yes I love you and no I am not going to break up with you”, over and over again, until finally one day he can’t take her asking and accusing him any longer and he…breaks up with her! Then she turns and says. “see I knew you were going to break up with me!” In reality it was her behavior that caused the break up. If she would have just trusted him from the beginning then they possibly could have had a good, long-lasting healthy relationship. 

This fear, also knows as insecurity can creep up in many areas of our lives, not just in relationships. Think about the ministry that you are doing. Has there been times when you were so worried about failing, maybe failing God? Maybe failing your supporters? Maybe failing your family? Or those that you are ministering to? That you have allowed that insecurity, doubt, and fear to become a “self-fulfilling prophecy” that has actually caused failure in your ministry? Think about control. Is there something about your ministry where you were afraid of losing control, and therefore you have so much control that it’s causing lack of growth of those you are ministry to? What about criticism are you so afraid of being criticized that you are lacking in gaining insight as to how things could be better, smoother, stronger and more influential? What about conflict? Is there someone you need to have a heart to heart with, but by avoiding it, you are avoiding them and now the relationship is getting more strained? 

We see a few stories in the Bible where people were insecure. One such story is found in Exodus chapter 4:1-14. Moses was asked by God to free the Israelites. Even after God shows him many signs, lets him know that He will be there with him each step of the way, Moses still had doubts, insecurities, and questioned God. Through it all God still used Moses, with some help from his brother to talk Pharaoh into allowing the Israelites to leave Israel. 

God has big plans for you and for you ministry. But, it’s important to trust him. Step aside and let Him lead. Let him be your security. If your ministry is suffering, it could be because you are more concerned with doing what you think is best, instead of in trusting God, who knows what is best. Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own under standing; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.1. In what area are you feeling most insecure? 2. How is your insecurities/fears affecting your ministry? 3. What do you think would be different with you personally of you let go of your fears and insecurity? 4. Think about who you can contact to hold you accountable to not allow these fears/insecurities to cause problems for you, your relationships, and your ministry. 5. If your fears, doubts, insecurities are severe, causing depression or causing major problems in your ministry, please contact a professional therapist for support. 6. For further support contact Here2there ministries at: here2there.org@gmail.com

Christy Paul, LMHC

Partnership Averts Peril

The purpose statement we use at Here2There Ministries is that we exist to help “Close the Gap Between Churches and Missionaries”. The meaning of this addresses a long standing divorce that has been created from the century old way the church does Missions. Most churches send a monthly support check, read a newsletter occasionally, and every few years invite the Missionary to visit the church and give a report on how things are going. This they call “Missions”.

The above scenario allows no opportunity for real engagement in the work of the missionary or development of close relationships with missionaries. We call this “The GAP”. Missionaries need so much more from their churches and churches need so much more from their missionsionaries. Each has much more to offer the other.

H2T has created a New Way of Doing Missions which we call “Church Partnerships”. We go into churches as well as work with missionaries to teach this new dynamic of doing missions. It accomplishes so much more in the lives of both the church and the missionary.

Recently I was texting with one of our Partner Missionaries. I will not disclose the identity of the missionary or country for the safety of those there. We were discussing the dangerous conditions in that country at this time. They were at a threat level 4K which was an alert for possible kidnapping. The missionary had shared about one Doctor that had been killed and how the authorities were getting close to arresting the one who did this. He also conveyed that much of the violence was gang related. I inquired as to his personal safety and if he and his wife felt threatened.

About this same time I got a text from one of our team members requesting prayer for him and his daughter who were leaving to do missions work in this same country the next day. I immediately copied the text from the missionary and forwarded it to our team member, with my concern for their safe travel at this time.

Within minutes we were able to get needed information from the missionary with more specifics about in country conditions. Travel plans were adjusted due to the quick information shared by our Partner Missionary.

Other communications recently with this Partner Missionary had allowed us to know about a need they had with a broken cistern impacting their drinking water; their need for medications to distribute through their clinic; plans to travel to a city usually 6 hours away but hoping road improvements will make this a shorter journey; as well as their personal safety in this difficult county condition. This Missionary couple has been connected with a local church that has a Prayer Team that actively communicates with them and makes all the above needs matters of prayer and assistance.

That’s what Church Partnership is all about!

To many a Missionary, their lives are one continuous time of “peril”. Things we don’t think too much about because we have modern conveniences and the ability to call a repair facility when things go wrong, give Missionaries great cause for worry for lack of these conveniences. Such situations are just part of life in lesser blessed countries, but that doesn’t make it any easier for the Missionary.

Establishing Church Partnership relationships with caring and trained members of churches makes a huge difference in the life of Missionaries. Having someone who cares for their spiritual, emotional, and physical needs on a daily basis makes a major impact on their lives.

Going back to our first Missionary in the country with so many threats, in an interview with this missionary prior to connecting him with a local Partnership church, when asked his greatest need he responded, “I just need someone to talk to.” That was his “peril”. Shocking and sad, isn’t it? With the modern day technology we have, this is an easily solved problem. CHURCH PARTNERSHIPS!! He now has a bunch of people who care for him.

You may know of a missionary or someone in a similar perilous state. They may just need someone to talk to. Be that someone. Reach out to them in God’s love. Care for them. Discover their needs. Connect them with resources that can help them.

As the Church Partnership Lead for Here2There Ministries I would love the opportunity to share more with you about the Opportunities and Blessings of Church Partnership. Go to our web site at here2there.org to find out more about this important ministry of H2T.

Our H2T team is studying the book Missionary Care by Kelly O’donnell that gives great insights into how to care for the needs of those doing God’s work in a Missionary capacity. Get this book and let it challenge you to become more engaged in this ministry of caring.  You can avert many perils with your love and care.

Wayne Dinsbeer

Church Partnership Lead

EFFECTIVE MISSIONS 10 -Areas to Measure Your Church’s Impact

One of my personal goals for 2019 is to compete in one more triathlon before my next birthday (maybe a significant number). I began running and riding more to build up my strength and distance. I picked out a date for the race. I got some new equipment to help me train. I have a training plan that requires so many miles on the bike and so many miles in the water and running. I know how many times I need to practice a ‘brick’ (bike/run combo) and interval trainings. The easy part of the process is, if I do the training, I will be ready for the race. I have a goal, and I have a plan to reach my goal, and I plan to accomplish my goal!

When I first started competing my plan was to finish and not die.

After my first race I was addicted and wanted to do better, so I began training with others who were more experienced in this area. They gave me tips on training, helped me get better equipment and challenged me to push myself to a better time. I then started setting goals and working towards improvement. And, I did exactly what I set out to, eventually finishing second place in a race!

Does your church have a clear goal for mission in mind?

Do you have a mission’s vision that is measurable, attainable, understood by all, engageable by the church body? If not, how do you know if you are being effective? Your missionaries’ newsletters and updates are not to be the measuring stick for a successful ministry. The measuring stick is what God has asked your church to do, where He has asked your church to go, who He has asked to be a part of the plan to reach this vision.

If you don’t have a goal, how do you know if you’ve met it?

Each church needs to have their own clearly defined vision and mission for missions so that you can set clear plans of action into place, empower the right people and set your plan into motion.

Below are 10 areas of that can be measured as you build your mission vision.

  1. Prayer team that is regularly meeting to pray with the pastor and leadership and asking God for the clear vision and plan for missions.
  2. A Mission Support Team (MST) for each missionary and ministry partner
  3. Fully engaged church body participating in the vision development, deployment of missionaries, care while missionaries are away.
  4. Designated regions or people groups around the world the church is focused on reaching and serving. (Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, Uttermost)
  5. New and potential missionaries in training
  6. Regular visits to work with and/or simply visit missionary partners
  7. Ongoing connection and communication with missionaries
  8. Emotional and mental check in and support for each missionary
  9. Emergency plans (natural disaster, family emergency, local/political unrest…)
  10.  Return plans for retiring, relocating, transitioning missionaries

We want your church to be effective in reaching all nations – both near and far. We want to see your church body joining with you in these efforts. We want to see people being sent to the nations from your church. That all starts with a plan.

If your church needs help clarifying their mission plan, please contact H2T today. We have a team of people ready to join you in fulfilling the vision God has laid out for you.

Visit our resources page to find tools to help you lay out and reach your goals

Stefanie Nicholson

Team Lead

Seeing the BIG Picture

The Art Of Vision

This weeks blog is a blog that we posted last year, but it’s a great reminder of how important having it is to have a vision. Most churches and/or missionaries want to help, but they don’t always know how to see the big picture and communicate what they see. Once you have a prayer support team set up the next step is having a vision. It’s not just having a vision, but being able to communicate the vision to the church body. Please read the following blog and if you still have questions or need help with this please
contact us at wayne.dinsbeer@here2there.org or via www.here2there.org.

How many times have you been in a place that marketed works of art and wondered, “how did the artist come up with this beautiful creation of style and color”? It is always a marvel to me how an artist can take a blank canvas, some paint and brushes of various shapes, and turn them into paintings they sell for thousands of dollars. I can’t even draw a stickman figure straight. Donna, my talented wife, is such an artist. Although she hasn’t marketed her works, she creates some beautiful pieces which adorn the walls of our home.

Recently we were in a gallery admiring the works of art displayed and engaged the hostess in conversation about the artists on display and how they work. We could more appreciate the paintings depicting scenes and objects familiar to us than those which were abstract creations. Our conversation turned to the ability of the artist to see the finished work before they brush the first stroke of paint on the canvas. My thoughts turned to the topic of “Vision”.

By definition, that is how Vision works. Vision is seeing the big picture of what God wants to do in our ministries and lives. It starts with where we are and is able to see where God wants us to go. For leaders in Churches and Missions ministries, it is the ability to see what God has placed in your heart for the direction of a ministry in a way that you can paint the picture for others to see.

One of the biggest downfalls to the growth of organizations and ministries is the lack of Vision being cast which others seeking to follow can clearly define and carry out. I speak with many Pastors and Ministry Leaders who give a generic answer to the question of “What’s your vision?” Most reply, “We just want to reach a lot of people and grow God’s Kingdom”. Sure, that’s what we are all here to do.

My response is, “What People?, Where are they? How do you plan to reach them?”

As Church Partnership Lead with Here2There Ministries, part of my work is to coach Pastors, Missionaries, and Leaders to better define and see how “Vision” drives everything. It’s the map that moves all participants toward the common goal.

Have you ever gone to sites like Mapquest to get directions? They ask you for two key facts: Where are you now? Where do you want to go? These two points are also very critical in Vision discovery and definition.

Part of our Here2There core values is that we believe in the “And” of Acts 1:8 – our mandate to be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, AND the Uttermost. I use this passage to help leaders better get a handle on their Vision. Here our work is divided up into four sections which are different from each other. Have you ever considered defining and structuring your Vision after this verse?

       What is your Jerusalem?

            What is your Judea?

                 What is Your Samaria?

                        What is your Uttermost?

I must say that most leaders and ministries put all of missions in that last category, “Uttermost” and call it “foreign missions”. Here2There Partners with churches, missionaries, and leaders to help them see that “Missions” has to do with mandates and strategies to reach the persons across the street in your communities as much as those across the globe in other cultures.

If you can’t define and articulate these components of Vision –  How will you develop plans and strategies to reach these groups? How will you identify the people and resources needed to accomplish these works? How will you train others to go? How will you raise budget to fund these works? It all starts with Vision and seeing what God has for you and the ministry in which He has placed you.

For those of you who have always felt the above information is how you have thought of “Mission”, consider that the “Vision” is seeing and defining the Big Picture. “Mission” is how we will put the paint on the canvas and accomplish the work of art in our heart. “Mission” includes defining the actions steps which must be taken to get us from point A to completion. No matter what you call it, it is still a vital part of getting ministry done.

Here2There is purposed in helping Churches, Missionaries, and Ministry Leaders discover and define their Vision in such a way that it can be translated into Mission Action Plans. A MAP answers the above questions in systematic ways which result in the Training and Mobilization of the people God has given you and the Identification and Utilization of resources needed to accomplish that Vision.

Our trainings are Vision based and Mission driven to Enable and Empower Christ Followers to do the work of Missions Wherever God has called them.

To learn more about the importance and need for Vision go to our website at here2there.org and check out our resources available to you at no charge.

Let me encourage you to read the book “Me to We” by Allan Nelson. This is a great narrative of a seasoned Pastor sharing his wisdom with a younger Pastor about getting others engaged in accomplishing Vision.

If you are a Pastor, Missionary, or Ministry Leader struggling with Vision and direction, I would love to meet with you to discuss the ways Here2There would be a valuable Partner for your ministry. Just contact us at wayne.dinsbeer@here2there.org or via www.here2there.org.

Wayne Dinsbeer
Church Partnership Lead

Suffering: A Tool of God

Anyone stepping up to do Kingdom work will encounter Satan. As Christians, we are all called to take the Good News of Jesus Christ to everyone who is lost, no matter where they are. When we go into places or circumstances where Satan has a foothold, Satan will put up a fight. We refer to Satan’s resistance against Kingdom servants as attacks. However, if we are rightly considering our development as evangelistic Christians, we will change how we consider these occurrences. Pastors, counselors, missionaries, lay leaders, and any other evangelical minded servants would do better to experience these attacks as trials, rather than allowing the enemy to have any power at all.

Let us get technical for just a moment: As it relates to the person, Merriam-Webster Dictionary identifies a trial as: “a test of faith, patience, or stamina through subjection to suffering or temptation.”  Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance defines the Hebrew word bâchan (בָּחַן),  which is translated in English as trial, this way: “to test (especially metals); generally and figuratively to investigate: – examine, prove, tempt, try (trial).” As mentioned in Webster’s definition of temptation, suffering is a component of a human trial. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance defines  pathēma (πάθημα), which is translated in English as suffering, this way: “something undergone, that is, hardship or pain; subjectively an emotion or influence: – affection, affliction, motion, suffering.”

More simply stated – a trial is a test conducted through some level of suffering.

Now let us look at the passage that is at the core of this message, so we can make the proper biblical connection. 1 Peter 4:12-13 reads: “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy” (KJV).

It was previously mentioned that when we take the Lord’s message to the lost, we are treading on Satan’s ground, and he will put up a fight. However, consider that there are other reasons that Kingdom-servants are subject to hardship or suffering. Suffering, as intense as it can be, is a natural product of God’s process of developing His servants. He uses internal and external temptation, affliction, trials, and even trauma (emotional, spiritual, and physical) to strengthen and bring to maturity, those who might not otherwise be prepared to see the enormity of what He is trying to teach them. Consider also that the level of suffering is intended by God to be commensurate with the level of service in which He plans to place them. Know that it is through this suffering that Christ’s servants will become more like Him and be resilient enough to go where the Lord is calling them to serve.

Looking at 1 Peter 4:12-13 we see a promise of the Lord.  The Lord is committing to us that if we will put ourselves in the line of fire with Him, we will know joy. That the suffering we will experience in His name will be bearable and rewarded at the time of His coming with glorious joy. There is much more to this story, and there are some details that you do not want to miss, so connect with your Bible and your best study source, or attend the Here2There ampd cohort for the rest of the story. Enroll today to learn how suffering is one of God’s tools for developing into His servants, the resiliency they will need to do the mission He calls them to.

Mark Painter MCM/PC

Walkup Song – a Springtime tradition

Springtime brings spring cleaning, spring planting, and for some of us baseball. A recent trend in Major League Baseball is a hitter’s walk up music. This has quickly become their identifier, their get in the groove moment, their opportunity to intimidate the opposing pitcher. Some hitters have chosen rock n roll, some country, some even Christian music to identify themselves.

Well one Texas Ranger has chosen Baby Shark as his walk up song. Unless you have been under a rock or don’t have toddlers in your family you may not know, Baby Shark doo doo doo doo doo, or be able to finish the tune. Being one of those people not knowing the song, you may be the envy of many reading this. Baby Shark is either loved or tolerated by many. In the debut of his new walkup song, because it’s his sons favorite, Elvis Andrus calmly walks up and proceeds to hit a homerun. That was not only memorable, but it is now known. 

Now I am sure if you made it this far in the reading, you are asking what this have to do with missions or the church. Well I am glad you are still with me. 

How well do you know your missionaries? Do you know them as well as you know a baseball player by his walkup music? Do you know them as well as you may know a song lyric or even the hand motions? That is a stretch, but since I mentioned it, many will remember Elvis Andrus because of Baby Shark, his identifier. 

Each and every missionary you or your church supports needs to be identified. Make it personal, like a walkup song. Make it known so that when you hear that area of the world discussed or mentioned you stop for a moment and pray for them. Make them known in your church so when a need is presented every member knows them or at least is familiar with them. Make it known so that when a letter comes from them there is excitement to hear details of the successes, or knowledge that a need is being presented and you are prepared to react. Knowing our missionaries is the first step to supporting them. Knowing their needs, their birthdays, their kids’ birthdays and maybe even anniversaries are even better. Knowing what they are doing, what they are planning and understanding their struggles, now you are getting to know them. Check out our S.I.T. program if you need help. If you don’t know your local churches missionaries or don’t have any identified, please help us get in touch with your church leadership. Acts 1:8 is the Great Commission and in order to see it fulfilled we must be on mission, both at home, across the street, across town, and around the globe.

What would your walkup song be? I know mine would be, Until the Whole World Hears.

Wayne Pierce

Operations Lead

Country Club vs Military Barracks

Looking back to the majority of my time growing up in the church I can only think of maybe a few times when there was an emphasis my responsibility as far as the Great Commission was concerned and then any training on how I might go about teaching or discipling others. We had the usual Missions Emphasis months where we heard Missionaries come and share about what they did, but I can not remember a time where I was prepared on how to share my faith intentionally with other people around me. I genuinely loved church and loved going, but looking back have some questions about the intentions of how I was prepared to make disciples.

Thinking about my time in church growing up and looking at the churches we have worked with and focus on this question comes to mind…

Is your church more like a country club or a military barracks?

Does your church relate more to a country club where everything is catered to the members or does it look more like a military barracks where everything about it is for training the people inside for the cause outside?

A country club is, typically, a very nice looking place that is well kept up and very well taken care of and everything about it is so that the members feel special and comfortable. When you join a country club you are given access to amenities that others can’t enjoy. The workers exist to make sure you’re happy. Their sole job is to make sure you are comfortable and have everything you need to enjoy yourself.

On the other hand, military barracks exist to make sure you don’t enjoy any of the normal comforts. The buildings are stripped bare and the people that work there are focused on training the people inside. Everything that is done in the barracks is to prepare soldiers for life outside.

When I look back at Jesus’ ministry I don’t see a whole lot of him being concerned about people’s comforts. When Jesus sent out the seventy-two in Luke 10 he specifically tells them to not take a purse or bag or sandals. Psalm 23 is a whole chapter about living in an uncomfortable world and relying on God to survive. Paul talks extensively about suffering for the Gospel and he knew a thing or two about suffering.

So, the question is, what is the purpose of the church? The directive we see from Jesus is to go into all of the world, be his witnesses, make disciples, train people to do all that he taught and baptize people in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. If that is what we as Christians should be doing then the church should be a training ground for us to get people ready to do the things that Jesus commanded us to do. If we spend all of our energy trying to make everyone happy we’ll likely never succeed and we’ll sacrifice the Great Commission in the process.

Here2There has developed something called +1(plus one) discipleship. It is the idea that whatever you’re doing you bring someone along with you. If, when you do ministry or are serving in some way, you just bring someone with you then you have started the process of discipling them. Eventually, either you will be absent one time and that gives you the opportunity to allow that person to do the job. Now, you’ve multiplied yourself and you can split off to another area or go do a new work and the ministry workforce has now grown because of the time you spent with that person.

Some things your church(or you) could do are having classes that focus on the many different ways there are to share the gospel. Engage your missionaries if they’re in town for any length of time to come in and teach the church about how they share the gospel in the cultural context in which they live. Begin to imply some sort of accountability and encouragement for each other about intentionally building relationships with neighbors in order to get the opportunity to share the love of Jesus with them and the good news of His salvation. Here2There would love to help you in this area. Please check out our website at here2there.org, we have some great resources for you to read and share. If you need help beyond that you can email us at stefanie.nicholson@here2there.org.

Bryan Nicholson

Media and Marketing Lead

The Cross and Culture

Webster Dictionary defines culture as “the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group.” Culture is, in the words of E.B. Tylor, “that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.” When dealing with a culture we must first understand that it has no boundaries. Cultures continue to transcend time and geographical border. So what part does the gospel play when it comes to cultures?

Just like culture, the gospel of the good news of Jesus knows no boundaries. Even in Acts 10:11 through a vision, God helped the Apostle Peter break down the boundaries of who was deserving of the Gospel. Peter had to be taught that salvation was for everyone. To cross the lines of the Jewish and Gentile relationship was very uncommon for Peters day and age. This display of transcending cultural boundaries would get a very Jewish Peter into confrontations with both friend and foe. Galatians 3:28 states that “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

So how far should Peter have to go when crossing cultures? This age-old question has plagued the church and even sometimes crippled it to a point of taking no action for fear of offending others. As a believer we are called to deliver the good news, but where is the line, if there is one, when it comes to the cross and culture? Romans 12:2 says “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” The first thing is that we can’t be conformed to this world, and that we are to resist it. So, does that mean we resist everything that is in the world? Of course not. We are to test everything that comes to us, so we may discern what is the will of God. When dealing with things of culture, each situation that comes at us must be tested and must past the test of what is good, acceptable, and perfect. All to often we try to place our way of church on a people group as the only way a believer conducts himself. As if our way is the Gospel way. Just like culture has no boundaries, neither does the Gospel. We can no longer afford to package Jesus into a little box and try to mass produce it in our style. We were never called to conform Jesus to our ways, but we are called to be more Christ like every day. Leonard Tyler from Truth Magazine states that “The purpose of gospel preaching is to save the soul of man. The commission demands this purpose. Preaching the gospel for any other reason is outside its design.” If crossing the cultural boundary by wearing a Hijab shows respect to a culture I am trying to reach, so be it. My faith is not in the headgear that I wear, nor in the work that I can do. But it is in the God that I serve, and His ability to use me to reach the people that he loves.  

How is your church reaching out to your Judea, Jerusalem, Samaria and the uttermost? Does your church have a mission culture? If you need help in these areas, we would love to help you. Please contact us at stefanie.nicholson@here2there.org.

Steve Gant

Here2There volunteer

Give and Take

Being in ministry and following God’s call on your life can sometimes feel very lonely. One man, the man after God’s own heart also had this same feeling of loneliness. God called David to become the next King after Saul. Saul did not like that too well, and so he sought after David’s life.  David literally had to run away, and spend some time in hiding. There are many times in the Psalms when David talks about his loneliness and fear.

Although God has not called you to be the next King. Although in most cases you aren’t having to run for  your life, or live in hiding, you may still feel very much alone, and lonely. In many cases the problem is that people just don’t seem to know how to treat their Christian leaders. Sure they are kind and nice to them, but how often as a leader of your church has anyone invited you over because they genuinely wanted to be friends? How often were you asked to join in on joint family vacations with non-relatives? How often has anyone contacted you, and asked if you had any prayer needs?

Several years ago I made a decision that I was going to spend one month praying individually for each of my friends on social media. I would send that person a private message letting them know that it was their day, and ask if they had any specific prayer requests, and if not, I was praying for them anyway. The first time I did this, a pastor responded and asked me if I was serious about praying for him. He did not ask in a condescending way, but rather, was really wondering.. “is she going to pray for me!?!?” I was convicted on the spot. So many times we say “I will pray for you” or “I will do this or that”, but do we really? Sure, our intentions are good, but when it comes down to it, do we REALLY do what we say. So, I thought about what he asked for about 3 seconds, and then I responded, “yes of course I am serious about praying for you”. At that moment my words HAD to become actions. If I was going to tell people I was praying for them, I really DID have to pray for them. He then responded with numerous prayer requests. Here was a pastor, getting asked if I could pray for him, and when he found out YES, I TRULY was going to pray for him he inundated me with prayer requests, as if (and I don’t know this to be true) it was the first time anyone had asked to pray for him. Or, at the very least at that moment he really needed prayer and wanted to be asked. Fast forward to years later, and me doing my prayer for my social media friends, and ANOTHER pastor responds, “wow I am always asked to pray for people, but no one asks to pray for me, thank you so  much”.

The church may respect and admire their pastor. They may trust him and go to him and ask for advice, or prayer. But how many times does the church go to the pastor and ask him what he needs. How many times does the church go to their missionaries and ask what they need? How often is the church praying for their missionaries? Not just saying they will pray, not just praying and saying “God, be with the missionaries” or “God be with my pastor” but instead asking the missionaries and pastors, “how can I pray for you”.

We all need to be asked how we are doing and how we can pray for each other. When it becomes one-sided then loneliness, depression, insecurity and all kinds of other negative feelings can creep in.

It’s important to keep a two-way street. Sometimes people don’t ask about pastors or missionaries because some pastors/missionaries are very closed off. They act and look like everything is fine, or they may not feel comfortable opening up and sharing. Sometimes it takes one person to make that step. What would it look like for a pastor or a missionary to go to someone with a prayer need and say “I am experiencing (this) in my life right now, can you pray for me”. Or when someone does ask to pray, then ask them if they really mean it, then give them a list!!!

James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

1.) What would it look like if the church asked their leaders and missionaries HOW they can pray for them?

2.) As a church how are you praying for your pastor or missionaries?

3.) As a church leader how are you asking for prayer in your own life?

4.) As a church leader how are you dealing with feelings of loneliness, fitting in, and insecurities?

5.) If you are experiencing loneliness, and don’t feel like you are getting the support you need please feel free to reach out to Here2There Ministries: stefanie.nicholson@here2there.org

6.) If you are experiencing any serious affects of loneliness such as depression, anxiety, mood, or contemplating suicide, please contact a licensed Christian mental health counselor.

Christy Paul, LMHC