“We worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.” I Thessalonians 2:9
In August 2006, Larry Barker invited me to go on a Barnabas Touch Trip to Moscow. The main emphasis for the trip was for the team to be an encouragement to the Pastors in the Moscow area. Bro Larry planned a retreat for them. Another Pastor and I had a schedule to go by, preaching and sharing from the Word and our hearts.
I was thrilled to get to go, to see the sights, and fellowship with men who were making a difference there in that great historic city! It was amazing to walk on Red Square and see the Gum and St Basil’s Church! I was able to take a young man, Jacob Guenrich, who had surrendered to ministry in our youth group. I enjoyed the time investing in him and exposing him to a mission field. Great memories!
However, there was one thing that happened on the trip that I have never forgot and wont! The vast majority of the Pastors in Moscow had full time jobs. They worked all day and then would come home and work in the evenings, fulfilling their role as Pastor. We had a round table breakout session. Surprisingly enough some of them spoke English. In fact, one of the Pastors had been in the States and had gone to College here. At my table, the one who spoke English would translate to me for those who did not. One of them ask me if I knew “what a blessing I possessed?” Not knowing what he meant, I asked for clarity. He said, “I dream of one day being able to be full time in ministry like you.” He went on to explain that he wanted to have more time for his family in the evenings.
That stayed with me. During quite times it would come to mind here and there. Even though I told no one, it was convicting me. I really wasn’t thankful enough for the “blessing I possessed”. Even though I had a brief time as a Bi-vocational Pastor in my first ministry, I knew I had not fully experienced that since at that time in ministry I was without a wife and children. After we made the transition of our lives in 2011, God brought that Moscow Pastor to my heart so clearly again. He also made it clear to my heart at the National Meeting in Jackson, MS as I listened to the heart and passion of Dr. John David Smith, calling us to have a heart for church planting and to be creative in our approach to it. Why argue with God? I just had to do it. I was actually excited that He would give me the opportunity to experience life and ministry the way the Pastors in Moscow do.
So, I know, for a season, God has called me to be Bi-vocational. He clearly led me in scripture and by the Holy Spirit’s promptings. I know to some it may seem unordinary for a man in the BMA to not tap into salary resources available through the BMA of Mississippi, Arkansas or our National Association. But when God makes it clear, you simply obey. His leadership for our lives is not an option, it’s an obligation! Since He led us to do it in this way and He has provided for our needs and given me the grace to develop the ministry of Central as well.
This is another reason the verse in Colossians means so much to me right now: “struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me”.
Keep Praying For Central!
TIME TO TOIL….
Colossians 1: 28, 29