My friend, Tim Meyers, painted a mental picture of missions for me that shapes my thinking to this day. Tim was born in Australia but grew up in the jungles of Papua New Guinea, where his dad flew for Missionary Aviation Fellowship. He has some stories! We met in Dallas during our seminary years, became good friends and had a lot of conversations. During one of those talks, Tim shared with me:
Imagine that a doctor lands in an area filled with scores of sick people. As the plane lands, people surround it crying for help. The doctor is filled with compassion. He is tempted to grab his medical bag and get to work. Who wouldn’t be? Is that the way to help the greatest number of people? He could attend to the sick from dawn to dusk for a few days before he collapsed from exhaustion.
What if instead, filled with compassion, the doctor identifies people in the crowd well enough to walk, trains them to record vital signs, treat fevers and cleanse wounds while he attends to people with life-threatening symptoms. Over just a few days, how many more people could they help? The number would be multiplied!
This word picture aligns with Scripture (for example, Ephesians 4:11-15 and 2 Timothy 2:2) and continues to shape my thinking about missions and church ministry to this day.
Matthew tells us that Jesus traveled throughout northern Israel with his disciples, helping those in need and proclaiming God’s good news to them. He was moved with compassion for people’s physical and spiritual needs. What was His solution?
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:37-38)
The Lord‘s response is, “We need more workers in the harvest! Let’s pray for that.” And His example of training His followers demonstrates that Jesus wants not just warm bodies, but better workers, laborers trained in heart, character and skill.
Here’s the reality today: The church is growing fastest in nations with the fewest opportunities for church leaders to be trained. Global mission leaders tell us that most pastors in poor countries have little to no intentional Bible and ministry training. That aligns with what I have found in Haiti, Dominican Republic, Malawi and Guatemala – “third world” nations where I have had the privilege of spending time with church leaders. These Kingdom workers love Christ and His people. They’re filled with the Spirit and working hard in ministry, usually without pay. They sacrifice deeply and often suffer for the sake of the gospel. But they also struggle and fail unnecessarily because they lack encouragement, Biblical and practical ministry training, and resources.
That’s the reality – and the huge opportunity for people like us. This need to raise up more and better Kingdom workers must rank as one of our highest priorities in missions.
And that’s why I’m excited to get back to Haiti next week. Please pray for our ministry team as we lead three PPI courses in two cities in northern Haiti. We anticipate full courses (112 church leaders in each) and effective times together. Our joy – and priority – is to work behind the scenes to raise up more and better Kingdom workers in Haiti. Thank you for standing with us in prayer and financial support as we do!