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Sunday, November 16, 2008
The Who, What, When, Where, Why and How of Missions
Frances Brannen, Missionary in Kenya ca 1990
Frances organized all the children in her neigh-
borhood and had them play out the Christmas
In response to my last blog one of my daughters asked what happened with the sessions I did for the Lighthouse Church in Madisonville, Tennessee. Here I am going to share with you the notes I had made for teaching purposes - but will post it in segments in order to keep these thoughts brief.
1. Who is a Missionary?
2. What is Missions?
3. When does Missions begin?
4. Where does Missions take place?
5. Why does Missions take place?
6. How is Missions work done?
7. Who is a Missionary?
Lesson # 1
Pre-liminary Definition: A Missionary is one who moves from his home country to live and work in another country. His/Her primary purpose is to witness to and win others to the truth of the Gospel that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only way to be saved and have eternal life.
His/her Work may be the same as any Christian worker here at home.
A missionary is defined as a person who moves from his own country of residence to another country for the purpose of proclaiming the gospel. He is recognized by the Church and is supported by the church in his missionary endeavors. We limit the term missionary in the same way that we limit the use of other evangelical terms. For example: We call a man a “Pastor” if he leads a church. If he is a preacher but has no church for which he is responsible we call him an “Evangelist”. Now, a Pastor can and should do the work of an Evangelist. An Evangelist may act in the role of a Pastor or shepherd. He may find a bruised and battered sheep in his path, and pick up that weary soul, binding up wounds and lovingly holding and asking God for the healing of this sheep until the sheep is better and ready to walk again on his own.
Does a person have to be “called” to be a missionary? In light of Jesus’ command in Matthew 28:19, every believer has “a call” to be a missionary. Yes, I believe that God does call certain individuals to certain places for certain tasks in these un-certain times. I’m fully aware that God gives individuals a “burden” or “desire” to be an Evangelist. To others he gives the desire to be a Pastor. To still another they feel complete and fulfilled with the joy of the Lord in serving the church by singing in the choir or teaching a Sunday School class. In other words, God gives them a “want to” to do what they do for His glory. They are happy in that role. I believe we all can function in other roles but we are more content when doing what we “want to” for the Lord.
Let me illustrate. While pastoring in Waynesboro, TN one of the older men whose wife and family had been members of the church for a long time came to the altar to ask the Lord to save him. He wept a puddle of tears on the altar. He was so intense in his prayer, so broken up inside his spirit for about thirty minutes that I just knew he was saved. However, when I asked him if he felt that he was now saved, he said, “No. I can’t get saved. I know that the Bible says that no man can be saved except the spirit of the Lord draws him.” Finally, I asked him, “Don’t you want to be saved?” His response was immediate and animated. “Of course, I do! I want to get saved more than anything else in the world, but I have to wait until the Spirit draws me.” I then asked, “What do you think makes you “want to”? Who do you think gave you that desire to be saved?”
Sadly – that night Quinton did not accept salvation because I was un-able to help him to understand that him wanting to be saved was the sign that God, the Holy Spirit, was “drawing” him. He did get saved much later. But at that moment he had trouble un-raveling the meaning of the Scriptures.
What I’m saying here is that if you develop an intense desire to go to a foreign field and do work for God that it is God who has given you the “want to”. The devil will certainly not call you or give you a desire to do anything for God. Also I’m saying that if you have the “want-to” you can go based on the call of Jesus to every disciple to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. He that believeth not shall be damned.” Compare Matthew 28:19 and Mark 16:15.
- Fred Alton
- Cleveland, TN, United States
- I am Fred Alton Brannen, the son of Louis A. Brannen (deceased) and Bonnie Jones Brannen, Louis was an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God. Bonnie is an Ordained Licensed Minister and at 89 years of age is still actively engaged in speaking and singing engagements. I am married to the former Frances Hildreth. We celebrated 53 years of marriage this past June and we are the parents of 3, grand-parents of 10, and great-grandparents of 10. I pastored in Tennessee for 24 years and served the Church in some capacity in missions for over 23 years. I retired from full-time ministry in August of 2008 but remain active, speaking and singing and teaching whenever opportunity affords itself. In January of 2010 I received a letter of commendation for having been credentialed as a minister in the Church of God for 50 years! My family is very important to me. Our get togethers are always noisy affairs and most times will include family sing-alongs. The children love their Mom's cooking so we have the privilege of seeing them regularly! WE LOVE having them over.