August 22, 2016

How to Train Your Timothy: Passing on the Baton in Ministry - Paul Sungro Lee

We believers have been called to preach the gospel to all corners of the earth, starting with our own “Jerusalem” (Acts 1:8).  But, is it a realistic and even possible task?  Yes, I believe so.  That is why the Scripture tells us in other texts: “ … Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.  How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?  And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?  And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” (Romans 10:13-14)  This text instructs us that it is the preachers who are able to bring good news to everyone who would believe and get saved.  In other words, the key to the world evangelization lies with the preachers, both male and female.

     Therefore, training and sending of preachers is probably the most critical ministry the church of Jesus Christ faces today.  However, I believe that three important persons get involved and play a significant role to help shape a godly character in making of a preacher:  (1) God  (2) the Mentor  (3) the one being disciple.  In this section, I would like to draw your attention to a role of the mentor.  After all, the Great Commission is about making disciples of different nationals by going to them (Refer to Matthew 28:19-20).  If you are put to a position of the mentor to somebody, or if you wish to disciple somebody as your ‘Timothy’ either on mission field or at home, this writing is for you.

     "Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him.  He appointed twelve - designating them apostles (Mark 3:13-14)."

     This text informs us that your ‘Timothy’ should be recruited and trained in the church, in the way Jesus called his apostles on a mountainside: the word "mountain" in the Bible often symbolizes the church (Refer to Micah 4:1).  Keep in mind that in most cases God has your Timothy IN your church!  And notice that Jesus called them on a mountainside not on a mountaintop.  It means that your Timothy often could be found among those unrecognized in your church.  Do not only look at the qualifications that may appear at surface when choosing your Timothy.  Try to look for his potential.  In other words, look at who God can make out of him instead of who he may be today.  Envisioning his future will help you make a right choice.  Remember God chose David, the least among the sons of Jesse, to succeed King Saul and make His name and glory known to the nations!

     It is fascinating that in the Bible it is always the teachers who chose the students contrary to common sense of the world today.  Today, students search and choose the schools to go and teachers to sit under for their teaching.  But, remember that it was Moses who chose Joshua in the Bible.  It was Elijah who chose Elisha.  Also, Jesus himself chose his apostles who would become his successors for the work of his kingdom.  It is the mentor who must pray and choose his God-given Timothy.  Be sure to take time in much prayer before choosing your Timothy, as the Lord Jesus showed us an example in Luke 6:12-13 prior to choosing his apostles.

     I am well aware that there are a great many curricula and teaching plans around us as to training Timothy and successors in ministry.  Carefully choose the ones that can work for your ministry style, leadership style and spiritual gifts, etc.  Keep nurturing your Timothy with God’s word.  Provide necessary correction, rebuke and encouragement, along with great patience and careful instruction (Refer to 2 Timothy 4:2).  Continue to love him at all times – even when he may discourage you.  And, remember that the greatest Timothy training method is THE EXAMPLE OF YOUR LIFE.

     You should keep in mind that your Timothy does not belong to you, after all.  You should not try to train him to be your man.  If so, you will not be shaping God’s character in him but your own!  Lead him to grow to full maturity in the Lord.  Such an attitude does not start with the training methods but with your heart’s desire of being a servant.

     In addition, have a fatherly heart.  A teacher can be jealous of his student’s greater success, but a mentor would be happy to see his Timothy to reach a higher mark in ministry – even higher than his own.  A father would not ask his own son to accomplish less than what he achieved.  Rather, he would gladly sacrifice to pour out all his insights and know-how into his son, so that he may achieve even more.

     If each and every senior pastors would embrace such a heart in dealing with their assistants, the body of Christ shall experience an explosive growth.  Jesus did not feel jealous about his disciples doing greater works than him (See John 14:12).  Let us remember the example of our Lord who sacrificed himself on behalf of his disciples, including us, so that millions may be included in the kingdom today.

     A mentor should value his Timothy.  Cover your young Timothy’s many mistakes.  I admit that if it weren’t for my mentor’s cover-ups and patience, I would not have become who I am today.  We can see that when Apostle Paul dealt with his disciples with his work-oriented personality until his regrettable confession at the end of his life (See 2 Timothy 4:11), nobody, including Timothy, was there for Paul during his imprisonment.  “ … get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry (2 Timothy 4:11).”  We all know that it was Paul who rejected an idea of taking again young Mark who did not show much enduring faithfulness in his first missionary journey; Paul decided to go with Silas after a great dispute with Barnabas (Refer to Acts 15:36-41).  It seems that Paul valued the achievement of his work more than his PEOPLE during the earlier days of his ministry.  We can learn this priceless lesson before later days of our life: God values people more than works!  Value your Timothy.

     However, it is advisable to remain the same distance from all the Timothys around you instead of being close to a particular one.  (Obviously, your ‘Timothy’ does not have to be one only.)  Also, you should not depend on your Timothy to the point that without him certain works in your ministry would not get done.  Sow into the lives of as many people as you can.  Expect God to bring about the harvest from those who received it on good soil of their hearts (Refer to Luke 8:8).  In my experience as a mentor to preachers, I have seen those I least expected would often surprisingly turn out to be the most fruitful ministers of the gospel.  Sow your seeds widely.  Then, God will reap the harvest in the end.

     Succession is a critical stage - perhaps the most important stage in your ministry - because it will measure the true impact you have laid there.  Nevertheless, I have seen many strong churches and ministries go weaker – often even to the point of a split – after the succession.  If your ministry experiences either stagnancy or diminishment after the succession, you probably need to examine your planning and “ownership”.  If the work truly is the Lord’s, and you have so managed it, it should not only go on but produce even greater results after the ministry is handed over to your successor.

     There are too many speaking about “MY ministry” today.  We should keep reminding ourselves that we are called to be the Lord’s SERVANTS.  A servant does not have anything that can be claimed as his own possession, even after years of works of service for his master.  Praise from his master shall be the servant’s only satisfaction.  So is with the Lord’s servant.  All the works of ministry belongs to the Lord Jesus alone.  He has graciously decided to share some of his works with his servants.  We have been called to serve for our portion of works in our times.  There is no such a thing as “my own ministry”.  The work that you do will return to the Lord for an accounting as soon as your time and portion may be due.  My ministries would not last beyond my death.  But the Lord’s ministry will have an impact even beyond my time, to eternity!

     It has been said that a man is not successful until he is successfully succeeded by his successor.  In fact, this was a burden God put in my heart when I came to Kenya as a missionary in 1996 to initiate church planting throughout Africa, sent by the Evangelical Alliance for Preacher Training & Commission (EAPTC), based in Virginia, United States.  As the Lord has blessed our efforts, the work grew to 7 African countries with many local churches, Bible training centers and nursery schools established today.  It was a sovereign work of God when we witnessed nearly 200 new churches planted in those nations since then.

     During my days of leadership of EAPTC Kenya, my wife, Eunice, and I endeavored to commit ourselves to developing and mentoring a team of national ministers with the intention of eventually turning over the ministry to them.  We believed that it was the only way to consistent growth of the churches.  In March 2006, I handed over the leadership of EAPTC Kenya to a team of ministers that we had mentored during my ten-year leadership.  The team is now led by Pastor Edward Ouma.  With the change in leadership, we feel that the ministry has been enhanced, not weakened.  Signs we looked for in timing our succession were four things.  They were:  (1) confirmation both in personal and corporate prayers, (2) change of the circumstances leading to the need of national leadership, (3) proof of maturity in the national leadership, (4) commitment to self-support, self-governing and self-propagation within the ministry.  In our case, God has met all the above conditions at the beginning of 2006.  Then, my wife Eunice and I knew it was time.

     In choosing your successor, please do not consider how your successor may treat you later on.  Yes, it will be proper for your successor to treat his previous leader with care and respect, knowing that someday he will also need to pass on the ministry to someone else.  But that should not be the main factor in choosing of your successor.  Let the Lord choose and arrange the man/woman after his own heart (Refer to 1 Samuel 13:14).  Trust God to reveal the right person and the right time.

     Lastly, commit your successor unto the safe hand of our Lord and power of his word, as Apostle Paul did with the elders of the church from Ephesus in Acts 20:31.  Even after the succession, be sure to give your full support to your successor by PRAYING for him/her to make right decisions at every turn of the ministry.  Do not fall into temptation of continuing to TELL him what to do or how to do about the issues.  Remember that the Lord is very able to continue to build His own Body without you.  Do your best to help your successor firmly establish his/her roots in the new ministry.

* This article is excerpted from [Disciples of the Nations: Multiplying Disciples and Churches in Global Contexts]. To purchase and read the rest of the book, please visit Amazon or Wipf & Stock Publishers

August 4, 2016

[The Lees Update] Newsletter (August 2016)

International Graduate School of Leadership, Manila

It has been over 12 weeks by now since we arrived in Manila. Although my family has been exposed to a number of cross-cultural encounters in past, another one doesn’t just get easier! Extremely hot and humid tropical monsoon conditions quickly wear us out. The world’s worst traffic jam in the metro Manila frustrates our in-and-outs. We had a hard time to survive without an air conditioner or a fan in the beginning. To make the matter worse, a water pipe in our neighborhood lately burst due to ongoing heat to leave our house with no water for the last couple of days.

Nevertheless, we’re slowly adjusting, and the Lord has been truly gracious to us all along. Timothy and Titus have entered the Faith Academy, one of the oldest MK schools in the world, as transfer students in the 10th and 6th grades. As Eunice and I began full-time teaching ministry here at the International Graduate School of Leadership since May, we’ve been often privileged to witness passion of IGSL students for the Lord and effective ministry. The students are from nearly 20 nations of Asia and elsewhere, many of which gospel is either extremely hindered or restricted to access. Most of them came to study from the countries with less than 10% evangelization rates! This is what initially captured our hearts and continuously motivates us to serve here in Manila in spite of challenges we may face.

One of Bangladeshi students in our mentoring group lost a friend by the recent terrorist invasion at a trendy restaurant in Dhaka. 20 non-Muslims were brutally murdered if the victims could not quote certain Quran verses. Some of his Christian colleagues are under 24-hour police protection due to constant threats of violence. A substantial number of IGSL students would go back after graduation to such hostile places to witness Christ. Within 2-3 years of time while they’re pursuing MA to PhD here, we’re determined to invest our time and energy to help mold in them Christ-like characters and virtues. This is one critical but meaningful task! And we’ll need your prayer and support to do so.

Our teaching ministry at IGSL is purely based on support-raising. We do not get paid nor any of the professors at IGSL do so. We all serve as volunteer professors so that more students may get benefits of scholarship made available for them. Over 80% of IGSL students are studying with full or partial scholarship, and it takes thousands of dollars to educate one graduate student for 2-3 years. We do appreciate your prayers and support. And if you have a heart to reach Asia and Africa and are looking for ministry to support, would you kindly consider this ministry? We trust your seeds will not go wasted at all as you sow into the lives of these elite soul-winners and church planters.

Yours for the nations,
Dr. Paul Lee (& Eunice Jaeun)

August 3, 2016

[이석로/송재은 선교사] 기도편지 (2016년 7월)

마닐라 국제리더십대학원 이야기

더운 마닐라에서 문안드립니다. 이곳에 온지 11주가 넘었습니다. 필리핀의 열대 몬순 기후는 우리 모두를 지치게 하고 숨막히게 합니다. 심지어 세계 1위를 자랑하는(?) 마닐라의 교통체증은 어느덧 한국의 속전속결 문화에 익숙해진 우리들을 답답하게 하지요.

그럼에도 불구하고 International Graduate School of Leadership (국제리더십대학원, 이하 IGSL) 에서의 사역은 참 의미있고 보람있습니다. 저는 선교학과 더불어 이번 학기에는 목회지도력(Pastoral Leadership)을 가르치고 있습니다. 또한 이곳 IGSL 대학원의 특징중 하나인 소그룹 멘토링 그룹 사역을 통해 학생들의 영적 및 정신적 필요를 돌보는 일에 에너지를 쏟고 있습니다.

재은 선교사는 이곳 대학원생들의 자녀들을 교육하는 Dynamic Learning Center 학교사역에서 매주 채플 설교를 해오고 있습니다. 아울러 신학생 사모들의 멘토링 그룹도 섬기고 있습니다. 20여개국에서 온 학생들의 열정과 소명의식은 때론 가르치는 저희들을 감동하게 합니다. 학생들 한명한명의 간증이 도전입니다. 얼마전 방글라데시에서 IS 회교 테러집단의 만행으로 지인을 잃은 학생이 저희 소그룹 멤버중에 있습니다. 현재 한국인 학생들도 5가정이 수학하고 있습니다. 많은 IGSL 학생들은 복음화율이 10%가 채 안되는 나라들에서 공부하러 옵니다. 이들이 훈련받고 2-3년후 학위를 받아 자국으로 돌아가서 그리스도의 선한 영향력으로 변화시킬 열방을 꿈꾸어봅니다. 아프리카에서 주님이 역사하신 것처럼 아시아에서도 그분의 꿈이 이루어질것을 믿고 바라보며 오늘도 숨가쁘게 무더운 마닐라에서 선교의 사명에 정진하고 있습니다.

음 학기부터는 IGSL 정규 강의 사역과 더불어 사역의 양이 증가할것으로 보입니다. 8월에는 한국에 EAPTC 선교훈련 강의를 다녀와야 합니다. 9월에는 IGSL 35주년 기념 행사중 하나인 졸업생 세미나에서상황화 (contextualization)”를 주제로 강의하며 섬기게 됩니다. 10월중 C국 사역자훈련원들의 강의와 집회를 놓고 기도하고 있습니다. 11월에는 마닐라의 얼라이언스신학대학원(AGS)에서 강의하게 되었습니다. 모든 일정들을 지혜와 건강으로 감당할수 있도록 기도해주십시요.

도해주셔서 진규와 현규는 Faith Academy에 허입되어 8 1일 개학과 동시에 선교사자녀학교에 다니게 되었습니다. 어디를 가나 아이들이 가장 적응이 빠른것 같습니다. 주변의 아이들과 벌써 친구가 되어 이래저래 모임들이 있습니다. 한국에서 학년을 낮춰 학교를 다니면서 나름 힘든 시간을 보내고 상처를 받았었는데, 선교사자녀학교에서 좋은 친구들과 선생님들을 만나고 선한 영향을 받기를 기도합니다.

IGSL은 많은 학생들이 장학금 혜택을 받아 공부할수 있도록 총장님을 비롯한 모든 교수진이 선교사들로 구성되어 있습니다. 동역자 여러분의 기도와 후원이 이 사역을 가능케합니다. 아시아와 열방을 변화시킬 엘리트 사역자들을 양성하는 일에 동역자님의 지속적인 사랑과 지원을 부탁드립니다.

경은 쉽게 끊어지지 않는 삼겹줄에 대해 얘기하지요. 동역자님의 기도와 후원이 저희들의 훈련사역과 연합하여 우리를 통해 열방으로 파송되어 나가는 사역자들의 버팀목이 되어준다면, 머지않은 미래에 아프리카와 아시아는 하나님의 나라로 변화될 것입니다. 그날을 꿈꾸며 오늘도 여러분과 함께 달려갑니다. 이 비전에 함께 하는 동역자님의 가정과 교회에 주님의 평강이 함께 하기를 기도드립니다.

러분의 동역자,
석로 (송재은, 진규, 현규) 드림