Throughout all the years of my ministry, whether as an associate pastor, or as a senior pastor, or now as the President of White Fields, I have always recognized the importance of evaluating our ministry’s progress by looking back at the year just passed. We need to look at the results we are achieving and determine that we are engaged in the activities that bring glory and honor to our Lord. God has given us biblical guidance for what he expects us to accomplish, and we need to rely on his grace to give us strength. But we also need to ensure that we are staying on course and that we don’t get sidetracked with the inconsequential business that ultimately will not achieve the right goals.
With that in mind, I looked back throughout our ministry last year. At White Fields, we have a clear priority: our first and foremost goal of the ministry is to establish churches in communities that do not have an evangelical witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ. All other activities come alongside that ultimate priority. Therefore, I consider our churches’ most important task to be proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ.
White Fields does not publish numbers of professions of faith. We do not make fantastical claims of how many thousands are claiming to get saved. We focus our attention more directly on the idea of how many people have transformed their lives to turn from their former futile life of sin and have now committed themselves to join the church and become a disciple of Jesus Christ. Those are the people that show us that a self-sustaining church is being established. We want true believers that commit to walking in faith.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,Matthew 29:19
One guide that we use is to observe when people make the obedient and public confession of their faith in baptism. In all the countries we serve, that step of baptism is a renouncement of all the person’s former religious beliefs. If they formerly were baptized as an infant and counted themselves to be saved because they were baptized into the church by their parents—to be baptized as a believer means they no longer count all their previous works to be part of their salvation.
Some individuals have spent their life gaining credits by attending ceremonies at the temple of Shintoism or Buddhism. To take the step of baptism boldly proclaims that they are renouncing all the former religious actions. Often their unbelieving family will reject them. But I have observed that through the prayers of the faithful, over time, the dedicated believers give a powerful witness to their family, and mothers and fathers will follow the first believer’s decision in faith.
I am thrilled as I look back across the monthly reports that our pastors have sent. Even in a year plagued by a virus causing government restrictions, many people have come to faith in Jesus Christ. Some of our pastors have reported that fear caused their neighborhoods to seek out the church members. The people saw stability and peace in Christians’ lives who trusted the Lord to care for them. They wanted to find out why the church members had confidence.
Many other people received gifts of food from our church members. As our generous supporters provided extra donations, we were able to do more than just support the pastor’s salary; we sent additional finances so they could share simple items like a bag of rice, maize, or beans with neighbors. These generosity acts caused people to be curious about what motivated the Christians to share out of the meager supplies they possessed with those that were impoverished. God opened the hearts of these people to believe the gospel.
As our churches began to meet after the restrictions on gathering were lifted by the government, we discovered that the first request by these new believers was, “When can we be baptized?”
That is thrilling to our heart and gives us the energy to labor all the more diligently this year. Your prayers and continued donations help us continue to support all the remarkable ministry of our pastors.
We have not finished the task of the Great Commission. We added new pastors that are starting their first year in church planting. You can pray for any of the pastors and follow the church’s progress as they apply the principles of establishing a permanent witness in the community. Follow the progress from meeting under a tarp to having a permanent roof. That is just a visual sign of the unseeable spiritual progress being made by the people gathering to study God’s word.
You can be a partner with the faithful servants proclaiming the gospel.