ADVICE FOR YOUNG PASTORS & LEADERS: “Don’t neglect caring for your own soul before you care for other souls.” Young ministry leader Tyler Saldaña gives some advice to other young ministry leaders.
A ‘GOSPEL’ THAT ALMOST KILLED ME: “The white-knuckled discipline that I once devoted to the prosperity gospel, I now devote to trusting fully in the finished work of Christ and the grace that I breathe in to survive.” Sean DeMars gives an account of his live when he was devoted to the ‘prosperity gospel’ and how his eyes were opened to the true gospel.
4 WAYS TO MINISTER TO US ‘YOUNG GUNS’: “Many young guys have big hearts and legitimate ambition for the kingdom of God. The church of the future will be far better served if young men are guided and shepherded by more seasoned saints.” John Pond explains four ways older men can mentor younger men in the ministry.
REWRITING OLD HYMNS FOR A NEW GENERATION: “While the text has and will stand the test of time, the melody lost that fight long ago.” Dustin Kensrue shares some reasons and tips for rewriting hymns.
DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR MISSIONARIES ACTUALLY TEACH?: “Stop sending prosperity-preaching missionaries to the jungles of Peru. They’re killing the villages here. Your missionaries are spending tens of thousands of dollars, traveling across land and sea, invading and settling into new cultures, and it’s all for nothing. They’re doing more harm than good.” This is a very important post that all Christians need to read – especially if they support missionaries, are missionaries, or plan to be missionaries. Sean DeMars talks about how the American Church is exporting the prosperity gospel into places like Peru (where he serves) through missionaries. He challenges us to know what our missionaries believe before we support or send them.
Jim Elliot, who died as a martyr on the beaches of Ecuador (58 years ago today), to his parents when he told them he was going:
“I do not wonder that you were saddened at the word of my going to South America. This is nothing else than what the Lord Jesus warned us of when He told the disciples that they must become so infatuated with the kingdom and following Him that all other allegiances must become as though they were not. And he never excluded the family tie. In fact, those loves which we regard as closest, He told us must become as hate in comparison with our desires to uphold His cause. Grieve not, then, if your sons seem to desert you, but rejoice, rather, seeing the will of God done gladly. Remember how the Psalmist described children? He said that they were as an heritage from the Lord, and that every man should be happy who had his quiver full of them. And what is a quiver full of but arrows? And what are arrows for but to shoot? So, with the strong arms of prayer, draw the bowstring back and let the arrows fly–all of them, straight at the Enemy’s hosts.
‘Give of thy sons to bear the message glorious, Give of thy wealth to speed them on their way, Pour out thy soul for them in prayer victorious, And all thou spendest Jesus will repay.’”
HOW TO EMPOWER INTROVERTS FOR MISSION: “We must stop calling everyone to be an extroverted evangelist and allow people, specifically introverts, to live out the identity of evangelist and missionary in the way God has made them.” This is an amazing read! Evangelism is viewed and taught as going door-to-door, sharing the gospel on an airplane, street preaching, etc. For most introverts, like myself, this is anything short of terrifying. Why? It’s not because we don’t want to share the gospel or that we don’t know how. These modes of evangelism are terrifying to us because they are not how we interact through our personalities on a day-to-day basis.
5 TYPES OF FRIENDS EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE: “Take inventory of your inner circle. Does everyone look, talk, and think like you? If so, maybe it’s time to branch out. There’s no surefire formula for creating community, but there are few kinds of friendships you might be missing in your life—and that you might want to pursue.” This is a great article about the different types of friends everyone should have in their lives to help them love others like Jesus and not as projects or potential converts.
WHY SUBSTITUTIONARY ATONEMENT REMAINS CRUCIAL: “When it comes to interpreting Christ’s saving work, everything turns on our view of God’s character and the seriousness of sin.” This article discusses why the doctrine of Substitutionary Atonement remains crucial to our understanding of the gospel and what Christ has done.
MISSIONS – NOT SAFE BUT GOOD: “When we can acknowledge our perceived security is false and that safety is an illusion, we can begin to risk everything and accomplish great things for God’s glory.” We are obsessed with being safe. How does this obsession carry over into missions? What does God really expect for us? Are we guaranteed to go on a mission trip and come back safely or even alive? These are questions to consider when you think about the danger of missions.
‘YOU ARE MORE’ VIDEO JOURNAL: “We are not struggling to be free; we are free to struggle.” Mike Donehey discusses Tenth Avenue North’s song, “You are More”. Remember that you are more than the choices you have made. Remember what Christ has done today.
If you haven’t already, read Part 1.
God called me into ministry leadership. This terrified me. For a long time after I surrendered to ministry, I would be bound by fear – fear that I wasn’t good enough, that I couldn’t do the task at hand, that I didn’t know enough, that God could never use someone like me. O how true this is if it isn’t for God’s grace in my life! There is no way I could do this if not controlled by the Spirit.
I began getting involved in ministry. I figured youth ministry was what God wanted me to do since I had a passion for young people my age. I’ve recently learned that isn’t the right direction. Many people have told me that I should be a pastor – again, not the right direction. I believe God has definitely called me to ministry leadership, but I have no idea exactly how that looks, as of now, in my life. I do know one thing – he has given me a burden in two areas: missions and discipleship.
This brings me to last summer. I went to downtown Phoenix, Arizona as a summer missionary at Church on Fillmore through the Mississippi Baptist Convention and the North American Mission Board. While there, I was involved in inner-city ministry. I started to learn much more about ministry as we created relationships with kids, homeless, and other people from all walks of life. It is during this summer that the gospel fully clicked for me. Don’t get me wrong – I knew what the gospel was for the most part, but it fully clicked last summer. I was overwhelmed by the reality of the gospel of grace. There is much I could say about my summer there, but I’ll move on.
All throughout last year – my senior year – the gospel fueled me. Any of my friends would tell you that I talked about it all the time (and still do). As I mentioned yesterday, graduation was right around the corner, and I was terrified. I thought to myself – what’s next? People would ask me what I was doing after graduation. My answer? I have no idea. And then, through several situations, God reminded of Proverbs 16:9 and Proverbs 19:21. We plan, but God establishes our steps. It is His purpose that will stand. Again, this is something that I knew, but didn’t really grasp. God is sovereign. He knows what he’s doing, especially when I don’t. All the fear and worry – gone.
And this is where my current season comes into play. I had no idea that I would return to Church on Fillmore for a second summer until the application process began. I knew God was leading me back to Phoenix. This summer in Phoenix was extremely difficult at times, but very rewarding. It was great to see some of the kids start asking questions about the gospel and why Jesus did what He did. The summer began to come to an end and God led me to begin the process of returning to Phoenix for a year as a missionary. After discussions with my missions coordinators in Mississippi and Arizona, I began the process. The church accepted my request and an application was filled out and sent into NAMB. I left Phoenix on August 2nd with an estimated date of re-arrival around the beginning of September.
It’s almost a month later and I’m still in Alabama. A friend sent me a text one day recently and asked if I had heard any news on the Phoenix front. I answered that I had not. And I was asked this – “Real talk. How are you doing with that?” No one had asked me that. I hadn’t thought about it. Obviously I’m eager to return. When you know where you’re supposed to be in the next season of your life, you want to be there. As I began to think about it, though, I saw that I was not anxious (despite the eagerness).
I know God will bring this to pass in his timing, not mine. It had actually surprised me to know that I’m not upset or worried about it. Even if it’s another month from now, I am trusting Him because His purpose will stand. I’m thankful that my friend asked me that hard question. After this year in Phoenix, I have no idea what will be next. I do know one thing – God is sovereign. I have learned to trust Him regardless of the circumstances at hand. And I have experienced such great growth in these seasons of change.
Thanks for reading. I hope that you are encouraged by the peek into my life during these recent seasons of change.
- Have you had a season of change in your life recently that God used to teach you? If so, I would love for you to share.