Category: Missions Here and There

4 Important Pastoral Questions Part IV

Q #4

Should you not be careful about who you allow in your pulpit? What kind of parameters should be here? Shouldn’t the guest speakers’ theology be consistent with the churches (if they even know what it is)?

 

 

Benjamin Morrison

American Missionary and Pastor of Calvary Chapel Svitlovodsk in Svitlovodsk, Ukraine

YES! you should be very careful. the easiest thing is if there is someone who share largely similar theology. i am very careful about who i let take the pulpit. that doesn’t mean that i wouldn’t let someone from another movement/denomination preach (i have before), but a) i seek for unity on most things first, b) if there are areas of disagreement, i make sure that person is mature enough not to get up and start to try to argue against our church’s positions. that just shows that they are immature in general.

 

 

 

Nathan Mudd

Student at Moody Bible College (and bear hunting guide in Kodiak, AK)

Because the pulpit is where we herald God’s message, it should be guarded very carefully. Yes. I also believe every preacher should be required to discuss their personal doctrinal statement (if they have one) with the leaders of the church prior to speaking. If there’s any question, have the guest speaker provide a manuscript, or at least an outline with his or her main idea of the message before preaching. Their theology should definitely be consistent with the church’s theology. Pastors are shepherds, spiritual guardians of the flock. Elders guard doctrine, or they should.

These questions are very thought provoking.  We need to be here for each other, and I’m delighted to discuss these things. Blessings, Nathan

 

Nathaneal P. Taylor

Graduate of Westminster Seminary and Ruling Elder at Christ Church Presbyterian in Irvinet, CA

Teachers should be very careful as to who they allow in their pulpit. They should only allow those to preach who are willing to affirm an Orthodox baptist or reformed creed or/and by having a interview on the theology of the preaching candidate. These are both ways to prevent heresy from being taught from the pulpit.

I hope this was a help to brother.

Blessings in Christ,

Nate

Jeff Carver

Graduate of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and former pastor of Vintage Life Church in Fontana, CA

Absolutely. A church is essentially endorsing anyone who preaches from their pulpit and their message. We wouldn’t even let volunteers be a part of our worship team if they had a misguided theology or even an immature lifestyle and faith. They represent our church who represents Jesus daily. A church needs to protect the sheep from EVERY false teaching and even from the unintentional misleading or sowing of doubt from inept preachers.

Sorry for the short answers. I hope this helps and encourages you.

Blessings in Christ,

Jeff

David Armstrong

Former Calvary Chapel Ontario Assistant Pastor and Current Executive Director of Tri-County Love INC, a compassion based ministry in Eastern Oregon

Yes. As a position of being outside and inside the church, the parameters are messy. With Love INC we use the Apostle’s creed to determine who we partner with.

I’ve preached in churches that are theological inconsistent with my beliefs. I normally preach on very broad topics that we do agree upon. I preached at a church of the Brethren once, who are pacifists. Believing that God has not called Christians to pacificism, was a challenge. (In the last year, I received my concealed weapon permit, due to circumstances I faced with my job. I normally carry everywhere, but I do disarm when entering the Brethren church out of respect, even if they do not know I carry.)

I think pastor’s ought to share the pulpit with persons who are at least theologically aware enough to know the differences between the speaker and the church AND the pastor should have the conversation with the speaker. I try to do this, but most of the pastor’s I fill in for gladly hand over the pulpit.

Sean Housman

Pastor of Calvary Chapel Central Maui

You should be careful because you have to give an account to God. I may share my pulpit with someone that I don’t fully agree with, as long as their given topic of discussion is something that I agree with ie an apologist who doesn’t believe the gifts are for today, as long as he is speaking about apologetics and not pneumatology.

 

 

 

Jason Martin

Long time friend and avid theology student

You should be very careful. I think the best test for sharing the pulpit is first orthodoxy, and then consistency. There should be ample evidence that the said person is within the pale of orthodoxy, and second, there should be a consistent, demonstrable history of teaching orthodoxy. I think certain guest speakers can offer helpful insights on certain things, but yet not have to be in total agreement over non-essentials. It is possible to still partner in ministry while disagreeing on certain things i.e. MacArthur and Sproul doing ministry together, despite disagreement over infant baptism.

 

 

Abraham Juliot

Long time friend, evangelist and avid theology student

Elders should be very careful concerning who they allow to teach the flock. A speaker who is given the task to teach the flock should have already been carefully examined by the leadership via the speaker’s own words and testimony. As before noted, that which the speaker teaches should of the same mind with the leadership, “teach no other doctrine” than that which ministers “godly edifying which is in faith.” (1 Timothy 1:2-4). Double minded preaching is unstable and leads to confusion in the church.”Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” (Acts 20:28-30) “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1)

Grace be with you, Abraham

Peter Sammons

Graduate of Master’s Seminary, Co-Founder and President of Chicago Reformed Seminary

I would say yes to all 4 questions.

 

 

 

 

Miles DeBenedictis

Pastor of Cross Connection in Escondido, CA

Should you not be careful about who you allow in your pulpit? What kind of parameters should be here? Shouldn’t the guest speakers theology be consistent with the churches (if they even know what it is)?

I have had, and would have in the future people share from the pulpit, who differ from me on theological positions. But, let me clarify.

First, there are times that I’ve had people share who disagree with me or I with them on some issues of doctrine, but they’re sharing on a differing topic that we do agree on. The fact is, most people out there probably have some issue that we would disagree on. So where do I draw the line. Even within CC there are a lot of areas that I would disagree with other CC guys and they with me.

Secondly, differences in doctrine may exist but not really be errant. You have to identify what you hold as essentially important.

To me—one who would not be considered reformed by someone like Piper or even Driscoll, but would be by some within CC—I do not see most reformed theology as essentially important. Both Piper (on the reformed side) and say Bryson (on the non-reformed side) would totally disagree with me on that… But that’s ok. So, I would not have a problem inviting Begg or Driscoll to speak at a conference. In addition, eschatology is not a huge essential to me (I’m pretty outside of the norm within CC on this). So I would have no problem with someone who holds alternate views on end times speak at my church.

Last point on this. I’m still pretty choosy about who I have preach at Cross Connection, but not necessarily on a doctrinal basis as much as on a practical issue. Anyone that would be on a fairly short list would already pass any doctrinal test… But they would also need to (in my estimation) be able to deliver a message that will somehow connect. It is hard to explain and is a somewhat intangible X-factor, so I’m not entirely sure how to say it.

Hope this all helps.

Mark LePard

Youth Pastor at New Song Christian Community Church in Wildomar, CA

Yes, but I would be fine giving my pulpit to someone who differs in even issues like infant baptism, eschatology, and even soteriology up to a point. But again, it depends on what the purpose and character of that person are like. But an unbeliever would never get my pulpit. The only time I would let an unbeliever speak in church would be at a funeral service when I let friends and family of the deceased speak. That’s it. Period.

I hope that helps!

 

 

Whitefield and Wesley were friendly, but they actually stopped talking after a letter Whitefield wrote him for some time. Then at his funeral Wesley preached. So, as I understand, they did actually part over the whole deal.

That is one thing I have a hard time seeing. I know elders can disagree with some things. But soteriology seems to be so tightly connected to the Gospel that it seems it should be close handed among the elders. Those have been my thoughts on that.

Wesley & Whitfield’s division is my point. I think it shows their younger vigorous sides were actually unwise. As they matured I think they came to value each other more. That is what happens with sanctification, it makes you care about the important things more, and the small things matter even less. For me it has been the gradual revelation of the amazingness of grace. This has been through trials together with the application of the Word. In each one God has shown me more about His grace. It makes me want to bear with others’ faults more, and not really care about minor things as much. This has been the way it is for all the men of God I really respect. I mean really KNOW and respect. I mean the kind of guy who smells like Jesus. 10 years ago I was a gung ho “Calvary” guy. I bought a lot of the Calvary Chapel line without really examining things. I still think it’s a great church, and my intention isn’t to bash anyone. But I just don’t drink the kool aid concerning eschatology and ministry philosophy. I want less of all that, and just more Jesus.

Jim Teri Baugh

Former Pastor who now works in International Leadership Development at Global Training Network

Of course. I would not want a Mormon teaching or preaching. I would guide the teachers by 5 essentials mentioned above. If the guy was a broad or strict Calvinist or Arminian, I would let them preach as long as their preaching did not violate the 5 essentials. Their is much more to say, but my time is up.

Blessings brother

 

 

Ricky Andrade

Pastor of The Shelter Church in San Diego

YES, Guest speakers need to be approved by pastor or elders, and not be allowed to teach doctrines that conflict with the essentials of the church doctrinal statement. If they are of another branch of the faith they should be instructed not to speak on those matters and to keep the unity. We (shelter) do not allow non reformed preaching from the pulpit. Just personal testimonies, and then I will correct the views that are presented to repair any damage done to tender minds and protect the essential truths of the gospel.

 

 

 

Adam Sinnett

Pastor of Downtown Cornerstone Church in Seattle, WA

Yes, you should be careful who you allow in the pulpit. Of course, this is incredibly difficult in contexts where there isn’t a lot of gospel fluency or trained preachers.

 

 

 

 

Mike Williamson

Pastor of Fellowship Bible Church in St Cloud, MN

Yes, we should be very careful about who teaches or preaches the Word to our people. Elders are responsible to guard the doctrine. I do not have guest speakers unless they are very compatible with what we teach week in and week out. If there was a guest speaker or someone from within the church that taught something objectionable, we would correct that with the speaker and with our people…hopefully in a loving but well documented way.

 

 

 

Dave Mazella

Former elder, long time friend, evangelist and avid theology student

I agree, but my agreement does not dictate what is or is not.. (now if I was an elder or what have you, then I would (if i had guest speakers) only invite those that upheld my same beliefs), but i think there is a place for bringing in people with different views as well.. (Like Piper bringing in Doug Wilson)

 

 

 

Gef Ganey

Pastor of Smyrna Presbyterian in Smyrna, Georgia

Yes. Theology and Biblical (Reformed) world and life view are essential to preach in the pulpit here.  There are also what I call Pastoral and cultural issues that might need to be considered.  I’ll be happy to hover those in more detail later when I have more time.

Sorry for the brevity of this response.  I’m slammed this week, but wanted to get back to you.

 

 

Doug Wagner

Pastor of Calvary Chapel Woodland, in Woodland, CA

Yes we do need to be very careful of who we allow in the pulpit.  They need to be biblically sound and I believe it is important that they share the churches theology as not to confuse the flock or allow a potential false doctrine to enter the church and cause damage/disunity.

Amos 3:3  Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

Which is also why the elders need to be in agreement on theology, decisions and direction.

These are my thoughts on this Jacoby. Let me know if you need any clarification or if you need to expound more specifically on anything.  Blessings my brother- you are continually in our prayers.

Bob Burnham

MTW Missionary and Regional Director in Odessa, Ukraine

Absolutely. In our denomination someone must be licensed to preach, or have a very strong history / reputation to preach from the pulpit. If I were a pastor in a non-Presbyterian church and didn’t have those parameters, and had a potential guest preacher, I would want to know exactly what he believed, and what he would be preaching on. Is this helpful? What are you dealing with right now?

 

 

 

Peter Olson

Long time friend and insightful theology student

Of course! Anyone who stands behind the pulpit needs to have the same core doctrines and beliefs as those leaders who are allowing them to speak.

 

 

 

 

Gee Will

Friend and serious student of theology

Very careful, parameters of good character and sound doctrine and the trust with past involvement. Yes the guest speaker needs to be like minded.

 

 

 

 

Jackson Vue

Friend and serious student of theology

I believe we can make a lot of issues of a lot of things, but I think that if the word of God is being preached, the Pastor will not make anything else as significant as that.

 

 

 

“Where there is no guidance, a people falls,
    but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”

Proverbs 11:14

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4 Important Pastoral Questions Part III

Q #3

Does not sanctification happen from clear Gospel preaching in the sermon and shouldn’t preaching be a major focus of the worship service?

 

 

Benjamin Morrison

American Missionary and Pastor of Calvary Chapel Svitlovodsk in Svitlovodsk, Ukraine

Yes, it does and it should.

 

 

 

 

Nathan Mudd

Student at Moody Bible College (and bear hunting guide in Kodiak, AK)

I’m struggling with this question myself, so can only say from where I’m at. Sanctification only comes from the Spirit, and God definitely uses the sermon to sanctify His followers. However, it is the responsibility of the listener of a sermon to yield to the Holy Spirit, and let Him work. God does not force sanctification on anyone. I think preaching should be a major focus of the worship service because God uses the human voice and personality of the preacher to deliver His message. Yet I don’t think the pulpit (sermon) should be the only focus of the worship service. I think the altar (sacrifice and reverence) should be of equal importance along with musical instruments (the human voice, piano, guitar, etc. for celebration and adoration). People can listen to sermons on their computer at home or wherever, but they can only corporately worship God when they’re gathered together–that’s the church. Worship is how we respond to God’s grace. If the sermon is a revelation of God, it should come before music and prayer. In this case it is preparing hearts for worship by ministering God’s grace to the hearers. If the sermon is about self-help or being a better person, it should be after the music and prayer because the focus should be on God, not us. Worship is expressing reverence and adoration for God. I think the worship service needs to be more about God, and less about us. I’d be curious to know your reaction to this.

Nathaneal P. Taylor

Graduate of Westminster Seminary and Ruling Elder at Christ Church Presbyterian in Irvinet, CA

Sanctification does happen from clear Gospel preaching followed by application. Sanctification also happens with Gospel preaching in conjunction with prayer and the administration of the sacraments. All of these should be a major focus of the worship service and are all means by which the Holy Spirit sanctifies our hearts. Here is a text which supports the centrality of Bible teaching, prayer, and the administration of the sacraments in the worship service: Acts 2:42 42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

 

 

Jeff Carver

Graduate of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and former pastor of Vintage Life Church in Fontana, CA

Yes, yes, yes. Paul wanted to preach the Gospel to believers in Rome and in Corinth. Believers need the Gospel preached to them daily for sanctification. The mission of the Holy Spirit is to testify of Jesus and build up His church. He does both with the gospel. Read John 16:13-14. 1 Corinthians 15:3 says that the Gospel is of “first importance.” If the church doesn’t preach it, it doesn’t believe it and it does not have the Holy Spirit.

 

 

 

David Armstrong

Former Calvary Chapel Ontario Assistant Pastor and Current Executive Director of Tri-County Love INC, a compassion based ministry in Eastern Oregon

At this time, I’d have to think about where and how sanctification occurs.

I’m not certain that preaching is the ONLY major focus of the worship service. I’d say exhorting, biblical fellowship (not the stuff we say is fellowship).

 

 

 

Sean Housman

Pastor of Calvary Chapel Central Maui

I agree with this. I believe Christian love and unity grows best in the garden of Truth.

 

 

 

 

Jason Martin

Long time friend and avid theology student

Without question. Preaching and teaching is the most crucial aspect of worship in the church.

 

 

 

 

Abraham Juliot

Long time friend, evangelist and avid theology student

The gospel according to the scriptures is the means of our growth in grace and the only hope and strength which faith unto salvation looks for life and peace. We cannot even begin to worship God apart from looking to Christ in the preached gospel. Not only should gospel sermons be a major focus, but also the reading of the scriptures to all the brethren. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly….” (Colossians 3:16) “I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren.” (1 Thessalonians 5:27) “…when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.” (Colossians 4:16).

 

 

Peter Sammons

Graduate of Master’s Seminary, Co-Founder and President of Chicago Reformed Seminary

I would say yes to all 4 questions.

 

 

 

 

Miles DeBenedictis

Pastor of Cross Connection in Escondido, CA

Does not sanctification happen from clear Gospel preaching in the sermon and shouldn’t preaching be a major focus of the worship service?

Yes… Yes…

But… I wouldn’t limit sanctification to gospel preaching.

There are aspects of the Christian faith that we (i.e. those of us who come out of Bible-centric evangelical churches) are rather deficient in. I have been both convicted and amazed by the level of mature devotion that I have witnessed in brothers and sisters in The Lord who come out of developing world environments (think South America and Asia for instance), where systematic Bible and Gospel preaching are at least secondary, if not deficient. Their faith, passion and discipline often times put ours to shame.

We should never lose sight of the fact that sanctification is ultimately a work of God’s Spirit and not my teaching/preaching. That’s not to say that teaching/preaching are not important.

Mark LePard

Youth Pastor at New Song Christian Community Church in Wildomar, CA

Preaching & teaching plays an essential part in sanctification. 2 Tim3:16&17 makes it pretty clear. Ephesians 4:11-15 seems pretty clear that the pastors & teachers are part of that process, and what would a teacher do, unless it is teaching the Bible?

 

 

 

Jim Teri Baugh

Former Pastor who now works in International Leadership Development at Global Training Network

According to Acts 2, their are four essentials for healthy church ministry; the apostle’s teaching, worship, fellowship, and prayer. Each one takes an essential part of the growth (sanctification) in the believers life under the power of the Holy Spirit. in the gift mix of the Holy Spirit, there are preachers and teachers, both used effectively to bring God’s Word to listeners using different teaching methods. Jesus taught the Word to small groups, large groups, and often used different methods to effectively communicate God’s Word. In all this, I believe teaching/preaching the Word of God must be central in the worship life of the local church. Otherwise we will not know the God we claim to worship.

 

 

Ricky Andrade

Pastor of The Shelter Church in San Diego

The gospel should always be preached at a worship service and preaching should be a main dish on the plate. Along with fellowship, communion, prayer and singing. However sanctification comes from discipleship in the faith, the maturity Paul speaks of comes from understanding the whole message of the bible, serving, the mortification of sin, the law, grace, hell, discipline, giving, prophecy, the Lords return EVERYTHING takes a part in our becoming fully mature. Preachers need to be prayerful, meditative, involved with thier flock to know what the Lords message is for them that week. They should preach the whole book of the bible over the years and pepper each message with something that ties the book together. (Cross reference) The message is always CHRIST.

 

Adam Sinnett

Pastor of Downtown Cornerstone Church in Seattle, WA

Sanctification is a life-long process, carried out by the Holy Spirit, through various means – including gospel preaching. Yes, I believe preaching should be central b/c God’s Word to his people should be central. That was a major element of the Reformation.

 

 

 

Mike Williamson

Pastor of Fellowship Bible Church in St Cloud, MN

Preaching should be the major focus of the worship service, along with the Lord’s Table (which preaches!). The gospel taught and applied does sanctify!

 

 

 

 

Dave Mazella

Former elder, long time friend, evangelist and avid theology student

Yes we are sanctified by the word of truth, but things like marriage sanctify us as well.  Preaching is the center of worship.

 

 

 

 

Gef Ganey

Pastor of Smyrna Presbyterian in Smyrna, Georgia

Yes and yes.

 

 

 

 

Doug Wagner

Pastor of Calvary Chapel Woodland, in Woodland, CA

Yes- sanctification is the process of the Word of God being planted in the soil of the heart and bearing fruit in season.  That of course should be taking place not only through public preaching but through a personal devotional life.

1 Cor. 3:6-9 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.  The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor.  For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.

Yes the Word should always be the major component in our services.

2 Tim. 3:16-17 -4:1-2 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.  I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom:  Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long suffering and teaching.

Bob Burnham

MTW Missionary and Regional Director in Odessa, Ukraine

I believe sanctification comes from a combination of the word, the Holy Spirit, and the body of Christ. Yes, much of that comes from preaching in the worship service, and yes, I believe that the preaching of the word is a major (if not THE major) focal point in a service.

 

 

 

Peter Olson

Long time friend and insightful theology student

I agree. However, I also think there needs to be lots of room for sharing and discussion regarding the message and scripture, whether that be a part of the same service or done independently (which should be strongly encouraged). Our testimonies are growing every day and sharing how God is doing so is a vital part of sanctification as well.

 

 

 

Gee Will

Friend and serious student of theology

Yes and its our responsibility to check what the pastor is saying and be a Berean. That is why we meet every week to grow with God’s Word being presented thru his vessel, like a prophet in the OT.

 

 

 

Jackson Vue

Friend and serious student of theology

No comment.

 

 

 

 

 

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4 Important Pastoral Questions Part II

Q #2

Is it biblical (or gossip) to correct unhealthy church practice or theology publicly?

 

 

 

Benjamin Morrison

American Missionary and Pastor of Calvary Chapel Svitlovodsk in Svitlovodsk, Ukraine

Well, it couldn’t be gossip if you’re doing it publicly (gossip is not generally defined as “public”), but it might be slander and divisive, depending on how you do it.  A lot of it depends on how “wrong” you think it is.  If you are in the church leadership, I think honesty would dictate being up front with other leaders about disagreements on policy or doctrine and explaining your position in a spirit of love.  If there is a general readiness to allow variance among leaders on these positions, there is no slander or disrespect in simply telling people your position.  If the leadership has made clear their position and discourages promoting any other position, then I see only a couple options.  One is to patiently continue to pray and humbly discuss with those leaders your position until they come around to it.  But that means in the meantime you aren’t out sowing seeds of dissension behind their backs.  This is generally if the matter is not of first importance and you are willing to bend a bit. the other option is to clearly state your inability to support their position and, in love and humility, peacefully leave the church in good standing. this is if the matter is of greater importance but not something that affects salvation itself. third is if the church is promoting all out heresy and twisting the question of salvation itself. at this point the church is no longer a valid representative of God and you can not only voice your opinion contrary to the leaders, but leave and attempt to rescue as many as you can from heresy on your way out. this is really only in extreme cases where people have gotten so far off base that what they’re teaching will literally damn the souls of their hearers. so the pastor became a JW, raise hell and get out.

Nathan Mudd

Student at Moody Bible College (and bear hunting guide in Kodiak, AK)

Titus 3:9-10 tells us how to respond to hurt feelings. This says to warn the divisive person which could be in public I guess. That’s not gossip. It’s stopping gossip. 2 Tim. 2:14-18, 22-26 gives more commentary on how to avoid conflict. This says to correct your opponents with gentleness. Matthew 18:15-22 gives a private, group, public approach to rebuking the one who has sinned against you. 2 Cor. 2:5-11 explains how to handle a believer who has caused you pain: forgive, comfort, love. Gal. 6:1-2 tells us how to help someone caught in sin. Luke 17:1-4 also explains how to respond to someone who has sinned against you: forgive. Now 1 Tim. 5:19-20 gives procedures for rebuking an elder who has sinned. This has to be public. So for church practice or theology, it definitely needs to be public, but it could be preceded by private biblical steps I’ve referenced.

 

Nathaneal P. Taylor

Graduate of Westminster Seminary and Ruling Elder at Christ Church Presbyterian in Irvinet, CA

Yes, it is biblical to do that, but only under certain circumstances. If they ask you publicly or if it is appropriate for one to speak on it publicly without interrupting a service in a rude fashion.

 

 

 

 

Jeff Carver

Graduate of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and former pastor of Vintage Life Church in Fontana, CA

It is absolutely biblical to correct unhealthy church practice or theology publicly. Read virtually all of Paul’s letters and even John’s epistles to see their public correction of error and sin. Paul publicly pointed out Peter’s error in not eating with the gentiles when the Jews showed up. It was important for him to do that to show that even the Apostles are to be held publicly accountable for their unbiblical theology and actions.

 

 

 

David Armstrong

Former Calvary Chapel Ontario Assistant Pastor and Current Executive Director of Tri-County Love INC, a compassion based ministry in Eastern Oregon

Good question. I think it is biblical to correct church practice and theology in public. The philosopher in me says that each side should bring it’s best arguments and there is a definitive winner and loser.

I think it’s always best to make sure to give a fair interpretation to someone. That is to assume the best position that they mean as opposed to the worst. Example, suppose I post on Facebook about having a drink at a party. The best interpretation would be to understand that I had a single drink at the party. The worst interpretation would be that I’m going to drinking parties and imply that the only reason I would do so is to get wasted. One is entirely sinful, the other only could be sinful.

 

Sean Housman

Pastor of Calvary Chapel Central Maui

It’s biblical as long as you follow Matthew 18.

 

 

 

 

What if you are not at the church but you know a lot of people that go? You have talked to the elders and they continue in it?

 

 

 

I typically name out the practice, state how it’s wrong, challenge the people to fact check me

 

 

 

Jason Martin

Long time friend and avid theology student

Yes, it is biblical correct false teaching and unhealthy church practice, but there is a fine line correction and gossip/prideful scorn. I know some that make their entire “ministry” about pointing out how everyone else has got it wrong. The spirit in which they carry it out sounds very similar to a clanging cymbal. I think that it’s important that we pick our battles wisely here. Some hills aren’t worth dying on or causing a ruckus over, yet all too often we see people taking it upon themselves to correct this pastor or that pastor publicly, over relatively minor issues.

 

 

 

Abraham Juliot

Long time friend, evangelist and avid theology student

Spiritually unhealthy practices or theology should be publicly or openly shunned and exposed. “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” (Romans 16:17) Elders who sin, should be rebuked by an elder before the church. “Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.” (1 Timothy 5:19-21) Accusations against elders should only be received “before two or three witnesses.” (1 Timothy 5:19) Gossip or slander is rooted in the act of “hiding hatred with lying lips.” “He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.” (Proverbs 10:18) We slander others when affirm that they say things which they do not. “…we be slanderously reported….” (Romans 3:8).

 

Peter Sammons

Graduate of Master’s Seminary, Co-Founder and President of Chicago Reformed Seminary

I would say yes to all 4 questions.

 

 

 

 

Miles DeBenedictis

Pastor of Cross Connection in Escondido, CA

Biblical….? Dunno. Healthy? Sure. But I would do so sparingly. All in all I tend to take the Philippians 1:15-18 approach. Unless it is a destructive teaching that is clearly hindering salvation or leading people astray. Issues of practice and cultural differences I tread lightly around. I tend to do the same on interpretative issues on non-essential teachings. So I’d say that probably limits (greatly) the amount of public discourse I would make.

 

 

 

Mark LePard

Youth Pastor at New Song Christian Community Church in Wildomar, CA

Obviously Matthew 18 says to go to the people first (Leadership) like Aquila & Priscilla did. Be ready for a straight up rebuke from them. I don’t personally know the people, but 9 times out of 10, leadership doesn’t like to be challenged, period. It’s sad, but true. To give a good answer I kinda need to know more. Honestly sometimes churches do things that might seem odd to us, but we may not be seeing the whole picture.

 

 

 

Jim Teri Baugh

Former Pastor who now works in International Leadership Development at Global Training Network

It can be divisive and gossip to correct “unhealthy” church practice in public if you do not take the correct steps. Who is the authority to say what is unhealthy? Is it a method that’s being used, a debatable theological perspective, or is it a clear violation of Scripture. That’s the purpose of Mathew 18, 2 Corinthians 13, and 1 Timothy 5:19. In this passage (1 Timothy 5), it says to rebuke the elder in the presence of all. Does the context speak of rebuking in the presence of all the elders, or all the church?( I take it as a progressive step. You rebuke him in front of the elders, and if it continues, before the church. But all passages speak of progressive steps. First you go privately; then you take an impartial witness(es) on the second round of confrontation because the confronter may be the one who is in sin, not the one accused. In fact, Paul warns against the divisive person (Titus 3:9-11) who want to argue about issues that are at their core, divisive. At the heart, confrontation always involves a thorough heart examination of the one who is confronting. (Galatians 6:1, Mathew 7:3-4) . I serve pastors from a broad theological perspective. However, I view agreement on the essentials of the faith foundational to work with them. (Sola Fide, Sola Scriptura, Sola Gratia,Sola Christus, Sola Deo Gloria.) I always ask the question in debatable points, is this issue the hill I want to die on?

Ricky Andrade

Pastor of The Shelter Church in San Diego

This is a hard question. If it is pertaining to scandelous behavior of the leadership. I say, do your homework, pray about it and take a stand with witnesses and a respectful attitude.

Things are easily taken out of context. We must use scripture, 2 Ti 3:16 says all scripture is profitable for rebuke and correction etc. This should be done with 2 or 3 witnesses (1 Timothy 5:19) and by done by people who have the position to be heard. If there are none of those people around, then expect to be treated like the reformers in bringing reform. Count the cost and pray if that is your role. Read some Bonhoffer.

 

 

Adam Sinnett

Pastor of Downtown Cornerstone Church in Seattle, WA

If you follow Mt 18, and there’s no response, Jesus does include a public element. But my encouragement, from experience, is to be more patient, more gracious and allow for more time than you think necessary. You don’t want the tables turned on you and you want to be able to look back with a clean conscience. There’s a lot at stake, no matter how you dice it.

 

 

 

Mike Williamson

Pastor of Fellowship Bible Church in St Cloud, MN

I think PUBLIC correction (especially names) should mainly be reserved for heresy…false doctrine… The challenge of discerning clearly what is improper or wrong APPLICATION of doctrine is a different matter than identifying the teaching of false doctrine.

 

 

 

Dave Mazella

Former elder, long time friend, evangelist and avid theology student

Scripture clearly says to rebuke an elder if he is in sin, (but with two or 3 witnesses) very wise indeed. Unfortunately, a church practically (by a work of the Spirit), must be changed from the inside out. And sometimes that change could take years.. perhaps even decades. (It is one thing if a church was started one way, and then slipped away from it’s purpose and mission, it is quite another if it is being consistant with it’s founding doctrines). Truth can only be communicated by the Holy Spirit, and scripture tells us that we must patiently teach those that oppose the message. (Praying that God would grant them repentance. (In a real sense, error and heresy are a judgement from God. (Unfortunately many good brothers have their own ideas of what they think is orthodox), so in light of that correct the things which are essential. (Not end times views, modes of baptism, polity, and the such, even know they are important, the main question is the gospel). Is the gospel being preached? There was a time when I viewed Arminiasim as anti gospel, and i think that is a wrong and unhealthy view. (even the Westminster calls them our brothers)

 

Gef Ganey

Pastor of Smyrna Presbyterian in Smyrna, Georgia

I need for context. I would not try to correct an individual’s theology publicly but would go to him privately.  I would speak to elders concerning their theology and would not correct them publicly without having spoken with them first privately.  I would teach and preach the correct (Biblical) theology without naming names of those who hold an unbiblical view unless they are public figures (like Osteen).

 

 

 

Doug Wagner

Pastor of Calvary Chapel Woodland, in Woodland, CA

I believe it is very biblical to correct unhealthy church practice and theology publicly.   Jesus, John the Baptist and Paul did it often (not to mention all of the prophets).

 Matt 16:6 Then Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” 

Matt. 3:7-10 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?  Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.  And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Gal 2:11-14 Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed;  for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.  But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews

2 TIM 4:14-15 Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works. You also must beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words. 

We of course should follow what Jesus said in Matt. 18:15-17 and seek to confront/correct privately first- then publicly if necessary.

Bob Burnham

MTW Missionary and Regional Director in Odessa, Ukraine

I’m not sure what you mean by “correcting unhealthy church practice publicly.” Does that mean from the pulpit, or just talking with people? The first two things that pop to mind are that first, you should always address people privately, one on one, to share your concerns before going public (if possible.) Obviously, if you have a problem with Joel Osteen (who doesn’t? ) you can’t address him personally, so it’s fine to go public. He’s a public persona. Second, you have to go in love, and with humility, stating that this is what your convictions are, not what is “true.” I’m not being post-modern here, but there are a lot of brothers and sisters out there who have studied scripture and come to a different conclusion of what that scripture means. Listen to what they have to say, share what the Holy Spirit has revealed to you, and let the H.S. do the rest in their life.

 

Peter Olson

Long time friend and insightful theology student

Biblical, but I think the issue should first be taken to the one in error so they can have a chance to repent and share the correction with those they have led into error.

 

 

 

 

Gee Will

Friend and serious student of theology

No. It should be addressed to the elders first then,what we talked about a couple months ago with Mcdonald and I was wrong they have a right kick an elder out , leave and find another fellowship. But if there is no change then we should warn the flock but in love not in a gossiping way.

 

 

 

Jackson Vue

Friend and serious student of theology

I think that it’s a bit different if it’s a church you do not attend or part of. That I think is a question that should be addressed to someone who is in leadership, like a Pastor. I’ve personally never had to deal with anything like that. I’ve spoken with other people who went to churches that didn’t preach the Gospel, and I told them that their church doesn’t preach the Gospel, but I’ve never spoken with the leadership there.

 

 

 

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Friends in the Foxhole

There is a striking contrast between those living a peaceful, routine, Disneylandish sort of life at home and those who must face tragic realities of war or oppression as a normal part of life. There are many accurate parralels which can be made between war and our spiritual lives as Christians, as the Church. The Christian life will not survive lived as passive business, nor is it always fun, nor should it be reduced to a pursuit of all American good times. Often we live our lives completely oblivious to the warlike spiritual realities all around us. The Christian life cannot be passive, nor can we afford to live on cruise mode. Those of us who wish to end all struggle as God’s blessings effortlessly overflow into our lives, as we relax and enjoy the ride, will find that this only sinks us deeper and deeper into spiritual stagnation and defeat. In the Christian life, if we are not moving forward, if we are not fighting the war, we will find very quickly that we will be forced to pick up our gear and charge into battle. The forces of our sinful nature, the world, and the devil and his legion are forceful and strong. The battle has been won in Christ…which means we must fight to enter into His rest (i.e. the Gospel)!

All of us, as Christians, are soldiers. Some have different positions and differing assignments. If we could cross this analogy over into the mission field, I’d like us to consider a couple things. Missionaries abroad could be considered, if you will, to be on the front lines of the war. Meanwhile, many are stationed back home at headquarters, and some of those, not all mind you, have dodged the draft. Many are back home learning Greek, examining in depth studies on apologetics and theology. Others are raising families or building businesses. All of these things are good, to note, given the right context. People who are deciding on a church to attend may consider things like the children’s program, the preacher’s personality or the music style, others are more concerned with the mission statement, how missional minded the church is, or the structure of church government, or any combination of these sorts of things. The reasons we have different types of churches which, all things considered, have the same Gospel, are endless. I am not saying these things aren’t important or that people shouldn’t study Greek. I will say, that some people are using studying as a backdoor out the house of serving. And, “what”, you ask, “is my point?”

What is the ultimate overarching divine assignment of the Church? It is that God would be glorified as we enjoy Him! Then, that the world might see Him as we have, and glorify Him. So, as the Church, our ultimate overarching objective is that all the world would worship God, which has been Sovereignly designed to be their perfect and greatest best. Our war mission is this, nothing less, and each of our individual commands is unique. Some of us are called to be going to the front lines, some communicating with the front lines and reporting to headquarters, some are calling for recruits, some send resources and others cry out to God. The goers cannot go without the strategic support of those back home. Why do I say strategic?

God has been strategically working since before time began. He created a world where He could be most glorified in His work of redemption. Some believe He created the perfect world. He was strategic when and how He sent His Son, and strategic in how He prepared for His arrival through the ages before. He was strategic in how the Gospel spread through persecution and the Roman trade routes, the Koine Greek lingua franca, and the Jewish merchants. He was strategic in choosing Paul as an Apostle and He is strategic in His plans for you and I. All He does is with intention and strategy originating in a mind full of schemes of infinite wisdom. As a logical and ordered being His war strategies are numerous and intertwined, and we know, according to His word, the gates of Hell shall not prevail against them.

As full time (most often overtime :)) missionaries in Ukraine, my wife and I, and others we work with, have a team of financial and prayer soldiers who consist of baptists, presbyterians, charismatics, Calvary Chapelers, Sovereign Gracers, non-denominationalists, inter-denominationalists, etc., etc. and differing shades within these Evangelical camps. When you are on the front lines of war, the denominational lines begin to blur. I am not saying they aren’t important, or that I don’t understand the sense behind some of them. What I am saying is that we are at war and we have victory in the Gospel! In Ukraine, in the foxhole so to speak, we are planning and preparing to, by God’s grace, plant a church in the future and are gearing up and training now. God is assembling a special forces unit to plant a new church in Odessa. It is very important for those on this team to have like-mindedness in our beliefs, especially in our understanding of the Gospel. However, in the foxhole, a place where resources and mega churches and Christian sub-cultures are few, we are thankful for the people God brings to us. As long as we have the same Gospel and that is thoroughly understood and we agree on the large majority of the implications of that Gospel, then we can work together. When you meet a friend in the foxhole with bullets wizzing above you, things which were heavy concerns back home begin to seem more trivial in light of present threats of destruction.

When I was in the U.S. recruiting a financial team, many churches allowed me to come speak although I wasn’t apart of their “denomination”. Others did not. Many will only support missionaries from their congregation or denomination. I understand that and I understand why. But, it seems the emphasis has been placed on peripheral doctrines which are not aiding our, the Churches, war strategy. I do not mean that because some doctrines are considered “non-essentials” that they are unimportant, the question is, how important should they be in light of the war we are in? So, we have to strategically decide how we can pool our resources to be more effective war strategists, and I am not talking mere finances. When we plant a church we will have a team which is in agreement on the key issues. Don’t get me wrong, the vision, eschatology, soteriology, ecclesiology, liturgy, homoletic structure, and the mission strategy are all very important. But there comes a time when we must ask if it’s more important I have all these things 110% understood, or that I’m giving my time to people and discipleship? Strategically, when should I stop hiding in a closet learning and blogging, and begin serving and going? Our leadership team will be in agreement on our essential beliefs and particular “non-essentials”, which may be considered non-essential for church membership, but not for leadership, and these things are to be determined. But, don’t you think it’s great that we can go plant a church without a denominational stamp and understand the Gospel, and the breadth and power and scope of it, and harp on it ’til we die, and have that church thrive and work? Striving for unity around the Gospel to have as many friends as possible with us, in the foxhole.

For those of you who are curious, I would gladly disclose my views on any or each of these doctrinal topics, in detail, some of them being tentative. I will also say on any of them I could be wrong. Whichever camp on each of these issues you would find me in, by default, you would find there are people fighting in the foxhole with me, who I disagree with. This does not mean however that we are not wearing the same uniform and firing at the same enemy. So, wherever I fall, I cannot please everyone. Which as much as I want to be in harmony with all my fellow soldiers, my priority is to be faithful to God, to pursue truth in a passionate and worshipful manner as I believe He commands us to do, and to divide His Word, without dividing the body. This will mean there are things we disagree on, but it does not mean we can’t love each other. Please, stop backbiting your brothers and sisters and strategically deploy yourselves into battle, together united around the Gospel as much as possible. I don’t want to have a church which carries a label, and along with that many misunderstandings from those who have been trained by a biased mindset or culture. I want to center around the Gospel and the person of Jesus, love people and teach the Scriptures as they word it and let the truth be it’s own defense. Disclosing theological buzz words and controversies creates an atmosphere where many opportunites to love and disciple people can be lost. So, our war strategy is to work hard, to dot the “i’s” and cross the “t’s” of our theology, so much so that we know which hills are worth dying on, and in such a way that we don’t impend advancing into enemy territory. Love never fails! The aim of deepening our theology is to help ourselves and others find an increasingly profounder doxology!

For so long I strongly desired and worked tirelessly to get more Bible training. I believe preaching is the greatest privilege a man could have and an enormous responsibility…to give an account for overseeing men’s souls is a frightening thought! So, with much care and humility, a man called should be given to diligence in preparation. I desired to learn the biblical languages and read 100’s of books before even attempting to open my mouth.

Then, I came to Ukraine. I came to where bombs were being dropped and shrapnel was flying and saw the immense need for the Gospel. Suddenly, it seemed far less important whether or not I could read the Greek New Testament or quote all the church fathers (of course for some of us this is our calling and we need you guys and thank you so much for defending the Gospel, and for all your hard work!). Now, what mattered was practical hands on picking up an AK-47 and pulling a wounded soldier out of harm’s way. And what mattered wasn’t that I was an expert, but that I knew the Gospel, and understood the Scripture enough to teach it in a meaningful way. There is a thin line where we must decide when learning should become going. For each of us we must decide this time strategically. For me, it seems God has called me to begin full time service, however hard or uncomfortable that is, and set aside my theological, what could be proud, aspirations. And, as we fight this battle, the education continues, but the strategic emphasis is practical ministry where theology is learned and applied in the context of doing.

When I say we must strategize, I do not mean at all to be hardened in any way to the leading of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit guides our planning through biblical principles. All our plans must be subjected to being given to God’s glory and the worship of Him by all nations! All our plans must include, biblically, and therefore being led by the Holy Spirit, death to selfish ambition, redeeming the time, etc. However, there are many ways where we are falling short.

When at war, we must be conservative on how we use our resources and winning the war becomes a top priority where serious sacrifices are made, sometimes our very lives. If we are at war, and if winning a war requires strategy, which involves stewardship towards effectiveness, then we must look at how to win the war. The war is over when all the nations are worshiping Christ! This is our aim. It is not that injustices would be corrected, or that the starving would be fed, and people would have clean water. If people are worshiping Jesus this will happen, and doing these things can be a strategic means to that goal. However, we cannot leave these acts void of the Gospel or our strategy is weakened. We must be strategic in all of life’s decisions. I am pleading for all of you to spend a day, a week, a year, to sit down and look over everything prayerfully. To seriously consider these things, we probably just need to put on the breaks and pull over.

Countries at war strategize to win and do what it takes to execute their strategies. If, to win the war, it is for every unreached people group on earth to worhip Christ, for those in my neighborhood to worship Christ, my family, the atheists and the religions who have distorted the Gospel, what is your role in the grand scheme of this? Are you a goer or a sender? How does your life plans, big and small, support this single assignment to win the war whether you are a baker or a doctor? How have you rearranged your time and finances to be as effective as possible toward this aim?

How has your life been strategically arranged to help us win the war together? Are there friends who belong in your foxhole but you’ve asked to leave?

Take some extended time to pray about these questions. How have you been strategic and Spirit led:
With your primary career choice or education towards this single aim?
With God’s finances He’s entrusted to your stewardship?
With your weekly schedule, priorities, and time?
With spiritual disciplines and prayer?
In planning practical service and building relationships with others?

In encouraging others to be strategic?
In where you send missionaries?
In where you are planning to go as a missionary?
In your local missional involvement now?
In helping your church to think more globally? Or even locally for that matter?
In where missionaries are you are supporting, if you are supporting any, and in what they are doing?
What type of short term missions you support or are involved in?

Are you a goer or a sender? If you are a sender, what does that look like?

In light of the present war, which doctrines are essential for:

Salvation?
Discipleship?
Church membership?
Church leadership?
Partnering with or sending missionaries?
Working with missionaries?
Fighting in the foxhole?
Dividing over? :)

Is it more strategically beneficial for the Kingdom for you to enter the mission field on short term trips or for life?

Are you giving as much of your income and time to Kingdom building as is strategically wise and fruitful?

If you have decided to go into missions, what is your preparation plan?

Jonathan Edwards used to be strategic in planning his meals so he could be as effective as possible in life, which for him was always ministry. His time isolated with God was planned so that he could be more spiritually present to people when he was with them. There is a balance all of us must strategize. I would suggest for many of us, we have too much people time which isn’t fruitful at all. It would be greatly beneficial if the Church had a handbook which gave many examples of strategic outreaches, strategic schedules, strategic ways to use different careers, strategic places to send missionaries, strategic ways of cutting back on self indulging habits, strategic ways to be involved from home, or on the front lines, and strategic ways to save, invest, and give money towards the war efforts depending on various incomes, etc. I would love to write this book. Strategically however, I’ve currently decided to write a blog, pray for all the readers, and get back down in the foxhole with my friends.

If you can agree with this GOSPEL CENTERED CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT why not jump in the foxhole with us? To help us strategize towards the worship of God in Ukraine, click to JOIN OUR TEAM.

If You Only Read One….Make It This One!

Monthly Ministry/Prayer Update

The last couple weeks at camp has been one of the most fruitful and worthwhile things I have ever been involved in! To hear more just follow the link to the NEW VIDEO UPDATE. If you only ever watched just one of my video updates, please make it THIS ONE. :)

 

Click on this sentence to read why some short term missions might be a waste of time when they are not relational.

 
To read up on our current prayer needs simply scroll to the bottom, just above the “People” pics.

 

Just Before Camp the Ladies Had a Craft Day at Our Place

 

The ladies figured the first step in sparking a Jesus Movement in Ukraine would be to turn everyone into hippies. :)

…and Mexican Food for the Guys!

 

What’s a better way to get the guys together than to invite them over for scrumptious burritos. We were happy to have a couple Muslim friends over and had a great discussion over a quote from C.S. Lewis book “Miracles” comparing men to Limpets when trying to describe God.

The Team Prepares for Camp

 

After the team from South Africa flys in, we head to the camp for some training and preparation time. We had servant leaders from many countries working together! South Africa, Ukraine, Nigeria, Conga, U.S., & Canada!

Campers Arrive

 

After the campers arrive and we help them with their bags.

English Assessment Tests

 

Very soon after the campers arrive they go through an exam for placement in their English classes. This is for a lot of us and them, our first contact with them.

Conversations Over Meal Time

 

One of the greatest things about the camp was all the one on one conversations we had. Meal time was a good time to meet new people. As all of the leadership was very intentional about talking to new people I don’t think I sat by the same group twice the entire week.

Morning Meetings

 

Every morning was kicked off with some silly song that got our blood flowing. Then we’d have announcements and a trivia game where throughout the day the campers would have to approach the leaders to find out if they matched the trivia question. This gave us more opportunities for intersting conversations.

Bible Reading and Discussion Time

 

To start off the day we’d have a group come together for a time of Bible reading and discussion. For many, this became their favorite part of camp!

The same group would meet in the afternoon for another discussion time about other topics where we focused on getting to know people and helping people practice their English.

English Class

 

Gert & I were the teachers for the Advanced English Class, so we had the translators as well. The trick was finding words they didn’t know but would be useful for them. We had a great time and I was very impressed by their learning abilities! Poor Sergey, he was the only guy in the class.

Evening Meetings

 

In the evenings we met for some worship in song and a teaching from the Word. Each night focused on a different attribute of God. We spoke about God as creator, God as perfect, God as a just judge which was the night I spoke, God is love, God is Father, and finally a Gospel call night.

Bible Teaching

 

It was a great opportunity to show the youth that the cross is the best display of where God’s justice and love meet!

Conversations

 

All the different conversations we had with the campers was what it was all about. We were very relationship focused and is my favorite thing about these camps! From the first day to the last we worked hard to connect with those God opened up. Many were open and we were surprised at their openess. They saw our sincerity and let us know how much we were appreciated!

Optional Discussion Times

 

The afternoons were open for free time but many of the campers joined us for an optional discussion time. I did a knot tying lesson one day and on another did an intro to the Bible talk. We also talked about God and suffering, had a first aid class, and a premarital talk all of which went very well.

Crafts & Tea Time

 

Various crafts and tea time were prepared for the ladies in the afternoons as well. We are not sure how some ladies actually made it through the door undetected.

Activities

 

The evenings were always filled with a different fun, competitive, and challenging activity where we had to work hard to work as a team to win.

Many of the campers also stayed up late playing all kinds of different games.

Skit Night

 

Our discusiion groups each had to plan and perform a skit together on skit night. You’d be surprised at how creative some of these guys and girls are!

Gospel Night ~ Decisions

 

On the final evening Arkadiy gave an invitaion for those who wanted to repent or had questions regarding it. I was very happy about the way we went about it, not using emotionalism or some kind of spontaneous decision tactic to get people to say a prayer.

I believe for the first time I saw a sound model for how to do an “altar call”.

Translators!

 

Of course none of this could have been done without the help of the translators! Thank you thank you thank you translators!

Banquet & Certificates

 

Back in the City

 

After camp, we are not done yet! We spend more time with the campers at church, the catacombs on a guided tour, seeing the city center where Daria and myself guided a tour for the group, some time at the beach, walking through 411 WWII park and ice cream at the church where the campers say their goodbyes to the team heading home.

 

After Camp

 

After camp is over it doesn’t mean our work is over. The people at our church are very intentional about relationships and discipleship and go the extra mile to stay in touch with as many as we possibly can. New friendships have been forged and a large handful made decisions to turn over their lives to Jesus!

We’re already planning another mexican food and movie night after we finish the second camp.

 

Prayer Requests

 

Please pray for the second camp, the family camp which begins this weekend.
Please pray for those who made a decision and for those whioch are seriously thinking about spiritual things.
Please pray against legalism and empty traditions and for clarity of the Gospel both at these camps and in Ukriane as a whole!
Please pray for the team as we need an extra measure of strength to get through these camps.
Please pray about whether or not God would have you or your church to be involved somehow!
Please pray for Odessa!
Please pray for Ukraine!

Missions exist because worship doesn’t!

THANK YOU!

 

Get Involved

 

Some ways you can be involved:

Prayerfully. If you would like us to send you a prayer card to remind you to pray for us we would be happy to! Just let us know.
Last month a few individuals were extraordinarily generous and we are unspeakably grateful! We are still in need of month to month supporters! Please pray about being involved as a sender of meaningful missions. To give, CLICK HERE!
Let us know if you would like to come in the future on a construction crew, to help with one of these awesome English Camps, or to give away your life so that God would be worshiped by more Ukrainians! Pray about full time missions in Ukraine! It’s worth it!
To send us some socks and underwear (or clothes) for the homeless, CLICK HERE!

 

For More Info on the Camp, watch this video:

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nydAyemH0Is?rel=0&w=640&h=480]

Click on this sentence to read why some short term missions might be a waste of time when they are not relational.

 

People

Camp Pics

 

Many more great pics from camp can be viewed HERE.