GCx Web Library
Resources on the Great Commission church movement
aka Great Commission Churches, Great Commission Ministries, Great Commission Association of Churches, Great Commission International, Great Commission Students, The Blitz Movement
Resources on the Great Commission church movement
aka Great Commission Churches, Great Commission Ministries, Great Commission Association of Churches, Great Commission International, Great Commission Students, The Blitz Movement
So again we want to welcome here, I am talking just a little bit longer so if you people could come on in and take part with us. As we begin things, I would like to just talk a little tiny bit about the word disciple and discipleship, because were suppose to be having a discussion, a panel discussion on discipleship and so it is pretty appropriate that we should try to discover what that means somewhere along the line. I fired off an email to Brent and Bill about their understanding of the meaning of the word discipleship, and they sent back a very good suggestion of their thoughts on that, which I will try to read at some particular point. Let me just begin with a word of prayer and then we will jump into this discussion.
Father, thank you for this time together for each person here, for your word. We just ask you to be our guide. We pray that your Holy Spirit would teach us, help us father to be freed up from any hesitation of being able to share something publicly and just, that we might all enter into this discussion as we move along. So guide us, we pray and we thank you for them. We love you, we just want to tell you that we appreciate being able to be here together. All the things that you are doing, I am so impressed with the two sessions that we have this morning father, and we look forward to just beautiful times for the rest of this day and tomorrow. So, we give you thanks and ask for your help again in Jesus name, Amen.
All of us of course are so familiar with Matthew 28: 19 and 20. Where we're just simply told by the lord Jesus, first of all, which often is left out of the Great Commission. First of all Jesus simply said to his disciples “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Now, as your going, make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all - everything - that I have commanded you. What a tremendous, tremendous challenge, as we all know, and we speak very quickly about being committed to the Great Commission, and as we say those words, of course, it means that we are committed to that entire, the whole thing that he said, beginning with I have the right to tell you to do this because all the authority in Heaven and Earth has been given unto me. Now as you go make disciples.
Most of you know that in that whole thing there are three participles, one imperative or command. The command is to make disciples and I just wanted to mention that the very beginning before we talk about discipleship - just briefly - I'd like to mention that the command is of primary importance, and the command was to make disciples, and I could get in trouble for saying this but I will say it anyhow because I think it is true. I don’t think we have experienced discipleship until we have a commitment to make disciples and I have talked to different ones in recent months and even years that have said to me, "I am considering recognizing someone as a pastor," and just recently this happened to me, and he said “do you have any suggestions?” then is said, “well I have a question”. Tell me about this person and his commitment to make disciples and see people saved. Well he said that is not his gift, and he said, "I do not think he is really characterized by that at all, in fact I cannot remember if he has ever led anyone to the Lord," and I said “Do you want somebody leading your church that does not believe in the Great Gommission?” He said, “oh he believes it! He just doesn't do it." And so I wanted to make that very clear as far as my understanding from the very beginning, that making disciples begins with seeing a person become a disciple.
Now, obviously we usually used the word discipleship in connection with teaching and that is fine. By that way, discipleship in the epistles is never used in that context. I am free to say that because the word discipleship never occurs in the epistles. Instead, we have words like teaching, equipping, commanding, instructing - words like that are very, very appropriate - but discipleship is not one of those words that is used. Now, most of us know that a disciple in the Gospels in the book of Acts simply meant a follower. A devoted, committed follower. It was really the same in those days as a student. If anyone of us wanted special training from an outstanding leader or teacher, or wise person, we would approach that person and say, “could I become one of your disciples” and if they were free to invite us to become one of their followers, they would say, "Yes," and we would become a disciple of that person or that group.
In the Gospels, we find disciples of John, we find disciples of the pharasees, we find disciples of the sagasees, we find disciples of the Herodians. These were all disciples, because it simply meant somebody who made a commitment to follow that particular person and learn, study, and become an active, devoted follower of that particular person. We obviously find disciples of Jesus, and so of course that is where we come in to the whole picture. Anyhow, so that is a disciple. We need to keep that distinction there, and I just want to emphasize and I don't want to lose this for just a second. Remember that unless we are making disciples, as the command in Matthew 28, we are not practicing discipleship in my understanding - and personally, I do not think it has anything to do with gift. The giftedness enters into the methodology, how we do that, and how fruitful or how effective we might be.
God uses us and our spiritual gifts in all kinds of different ways but the scripture tell us as Paul wrote to Timothy, “You do the work of an evangelist.” He did'nt say, "if this is your gift," but rather, because of the great commission. Now you may want to address that, question that or correct me or whatever you would like later on but I just wanted to make that very, very clear. I am saying over and over again more pastors who just don't feel it is their responsibility to make disciples and yet they are actively involved in what they think is discipleship. Literally, they are actively involved in a teaching ministry - and that is wonderful and valid. I am not trying to take away from that, but let us not necessarily call it discipleship as such. Um.
I want to say that, I will just mention as far as my own experience, I do not consider that I am some great authority or example or anything else in the sense of training, mentoring, uh- we use of the word discipling and so forth, but I have a commitment to it, and I am constantly trying to learn and ask God to keep teaching me, and I have an opportunity to be involve in that ministry and maybe if there is anytime later on, I will be glad to entertain questions or even share of some experiences that I have experienced in the context where I am, either here or overseas. With that little bit of introduction, I would like to ask Brent to come here and share with us some of his personal experiences.
Brent Knox: Here we go.. you know the challenging part of the Great Commission that the Hershel just got done speaking- to me- the one that is the most challenging to me about the Great Commission, beyond the phrase make disciples is where he says, "teach them to obey." Boy, are we an a Christian culture that is all about teaching. There is so much teaching that is available in Western Christianity, unlike, probably any other Earth time in history, there are more seminars, there is more books, there's more- proliferation of a spiritual material on the internet, and I think the argument can go without saying and there is probably less obedience that is going on.
I wish to command there and the Great Commission said that just teach, then what I could do is that I could come up with a 5-year teaching plan going from Genesis all the way through the end of the Revelation and put it on an MP3 file and then install that on a web page and my whole job of being the Pastor would be done. Just be disseminating information, but that is not what the Great Commission says, does it says, there are something that we have yet to do as a Christians to obey that Great Commission that compels people to obey and that plagues me with a lot of questions that have been bothering me for years.
You know, I have been the pastor now for 27 years, and those years went really quickly. Went really quickly, its just amazing how quickly, they go by - 27 years from now I am going to be 77 years old. I will be practically.. Hershel's age. And then I have to ask myself a question.. whose gonna replace me? You know - and I need to think about that now and you need to think about that now - will I be able to pass the baton on to the next generation, or is my church going to be increasingly greying, and getting older and we all die together, just like is happening to almost every Evangelical Church in this country.
And you look over Christian, here is another question, it is kind of bugging me, when you look over Christian history, passionate Christian movements are rarely as passionate and effective in the following generations, right? This is true all the way through.. I've been reading a lot about the Puritan’s - boy did they get shot out the cannon. Those are great people, and iby the second or third generation, they weren't anymore. You can go through every Christian movement in history - just about - and come to the same conclusion. Is that happening with us? I think so. What's gonna make the difference with us? That, it's not gonna fade away, I mean, what- if it is not going to happen with us, why not?
Here is another is plaguing question that - it's really being in talked about in Christian circles all over the place - that is, how this real spiritual transformation take place? Are lives really changing in the context of our churches? I know preaching and teaching is important, but I already made the point that America been- has great preaching and teaching all over the place but there is a pretty strong argument all across the board that spiritual transformation isn't taking place. You can read all that about with George Barna and Josh McDale and others - education evidently has its limits does not it? Just have its limits.
We know - there is another question that has been plaguing me - we know the strategy the Great Commission eventually comes down to church planting, and the world is going to be reached by the spreading of churches, and what that means is, if we're going to be spreading churches then leaders have to get raised up somehow, and not just leaders who are pastors but multiplication of leaders at every single level in our church, and so the question become how is that going to happened, how is that going to happened? And we can teach and keep teaching the church but leadership development has to happen, and when it comes down to discipleship, I think that is what it means to me is that I am about the process of raising up leaders. You know, parting my life to rise up leaders.
I think there are something that is in common all those questions that I asked, and what is in common is that, evidently there is something that is more caught then taught, you know, passionate maturity, real spiritual development, leadership development, it just seems to need a model and until us as leaders are ready to get down and dirty into the life of another person - eyeball to eyeball, flesh to flesh, hand to hand - where lives are being exchanged, not just teaching that has been exchanged, but where lives are being exchanged, then there is going to be a ceiling that is created because there is more that is being caught than is taught.
People need to see something in action and I think that is why we see a leadership development occuring in the bible on the level of strong personal relationships that took place between people. You know, you go all the way back to, you see Joshua and Moses. Moses and Joshua and the relationship they had, and he was passing the mantal of leadership onto the next generation. You see it with Elisha and Elijah- you know, you speed up, you guys for you to know what Jesus was all about. Jesus and his disciples, we see Paul and Timothy, Paul and Titus, we see and- Bill I think is going to talk about this in a moment, but you see, this existing leaders making an intentional decision to focus on an every few people. They made the decision and that what's so key.
Jesus was up on the mountain praying all night long and He comes off to the mountain after praying all night long, getting God's mind on perhaps the most decision, important decision that he makes in his whole life, and that decision is “who am I going to impart my life too?” And I think that, as I go back and look at my experience - and I got a checkered experience in disciple making. It is going to be like asking the question on - when you make disciples, are you an example of the disciple making? Oh, man I don’t think, you know, I don’t think, I don’t know, I don’t think, so you know, are you an example of loving your wife? I don’t know?
I could have always loved her more, could've always a little bit better a disciple making but I guess that one thing I have always has been in the back of our mind is one of the most important decisions I can ever make in my life is, who do I decide that my most important relationships are gonna be? That's the most important decision I make in my life when it comes to building the church. Who is it that I am going to have as my most important relationships? Do they have the potential of really being the leaders in the next generation? And this was then what my wife does. She orders her relationships according to my decisions because we are doing this together as a couple.
All those examples we showed to shared biblically were the leader making the decision and who his, a, disciple was going to be, and that boy written incredibly important decision that it is.. it's so.. some ways, ladies and gentlemen, it's so opposite but occurs a normal Evangelical Christianity, because what happens in normal Christianity is that if someone wants to become a leader, its their decision, and they go to bible school or seminary and get a degree and then expect to be a leader. Whereas how I've always operated - just the opposite of that is that - is that I choose who I think will be the upcoming leader under the direction of God and give my life that way and pray and hope to God that someday that turns out. One of the things, I think one of the greatest mistakes that I have made in the past is, I have tried to impart my life to too many people at the same time. I am an introvert by nature. I have got very limited relational capacity. Some of you here have a greater relational capacity. Jesus only had, only choose twelve and amongst the three, He really only had an inner circle of three. Now if the Son of man who had a fair amount of capacity - would you agree that Jesus had a fear amount of capacity? Yeah, yeah, you know, who knows deity versus humanity, I do not know.
He had a fear degree of capacity and yet felt like at the most He could give himself was to twelve but He really gave himself to three. How many people do you think I could take on? Half? (Laugh) Not very many. Greatest mistake in my life and this whole area has given my self to too many people. Cause it's all done in the context of relationship. Relationship is just so important here. It is far less important than transferring knowledge. How many people can I be in relationship with? I have a lot of other things I could say, I just want to make those two points. I am going to pass this unto Bill because we only got till 3 o’clock and he's got far better things to say than I do.
Those are the two points I want to make. We are teaching people to obey, that is the goal. It needs to be seen and modeled. There is no substitute for the local church and no substitute for being in close relationship with people. We can only do that with the few, and it is the most important decision that we could ever make, probably, in the life of our church and who we give our lives to, and I think that ought to be prayed over, prayed over, prayed over, prayed over, prayed over and once you make a relational commitment, you stick with it, and its not 6 months and then you think, "oh my gosh this guy's not trained enough," and you go on somebody else. There is faithfulness and unending, unfailing love that occurs. Many a man proclaimed his own loyalty but who can find a faithful man? Anyway, Bill your turn.
Bill Young: I got saved in this movement back in 1981. I really hadn't gone in church my whole life, I never went to church - except with my grandmother once in a while to a Presbyterian church. I just remember that a few times, and I got put in a three man room at Iowa State University. That fall, I got put in a three men with two Great Commission guys that were praying for a pagan roommate, all summer, and I moved in with Scott Rotche and Ron Pool, as their pagan. And they won me to Christ, they didn't preach at me, they didn't yell at me, they didn't tell me how I bad I was - because I was stuck - at least for a quarter. It was a quarter systems back then, and those guys just loved me. They just love me and love me in their kingdom, actually.
And, you know, I do not know, I was thinking back over my discipleship experience and I do not know that- there was no formal discipleship, except for my small group at that time, my home group. We listened to Herschel's "Building Covictions" tapes and that is really what gave me a base for my Christianity. Ah, Scott and Ron, they just answered my questions, they were my friend, they loved me, they came down and visited my family, they called me all the time to invite me to stuff, and that's all I've known. And I was challenged on this since- just this last, maybe a month ago..
A guy that we lead to Christ, a guy that I married, him and his wife, and he was actually my evangelism leader and taught some evangelism classes. He kinda got in to some other teachings, some- some, ah, which I thought were some good teachings, but he got a new authority in his life and he just got immersed- well it was Ray Comfort - and I think Ray is a good guy. I think he has got some disciples that go way over board on some of the stuff and this guy - long story short - got hooked into this, these disciples and he came to me with a list of about literally 20 things I had them emailed to me, so I can looked it over before we met - 20 things that I am doing wrong as a church pastor. A guy I led to the Lord, had discipled, he's my evangelism guy, okay?
And two of the things - there is a whole bunch of things I was doing wrong, but two of the things were that followup is unbiblical, not just not a good idea, unbiblical. And discipleship is not in the New Testament just like Herschel said- that it's wrong, it is anti-biblical to do followup, you just preach the Gospel, tell them sinners, and you move on. It is not your job to chase people down. You know- so that- in one sense it challenged- because that is all I have known is the Great Commission, I was just, I was kind of immerse in- I mean, how dare you challenge followup, I mean Terry Bartley taught me followup is part of what we do. I watched the tapes, I saw him say it. Followup and discipleship are part of our DNA as a movement, but it did challenge me. It is like - wait a minute - I had to defend things I never had to defend as a pastor and as a Christian. Follow, I had to defend followup? I had to defend discipleship?
But it was a good exercise for me, because I realize honestly that the discipleship mean a lot of ways for me is just giving people, loving my neighbors myself. What is it they need, what is it they need more than anything else, they need me to chase them? Well I will chase them. If I should not chase them, then I would not chase them, they need to hear the Building Conviction series. They need to learn how to read the Bible, whatever it takes to love my neighbor as myself. That is what we do. But it was good for me.. it was a challenge to me, because honestly if we're growing up in this movement, I mean, discipleship and followup, those things are just part of who we are. We do not give them a lot of thought.
And I started thinking, I started looking back and I told him I said you know honestly, when I looked back in my life and I think of my life, the things that have helped me grow, the things that I can looked back and go, well this caused me to grow and this where I grew here and I learned this here, it is always been to a relationships, like Brent said this, always been through relationships. I can always point to somebody and go Scott taught me this, John Meyer taught me this, Herschel taught me this, Brent, Mark, they taught me these things, would you guys agree with that? It is about relationships and that's what we see in the New Testament, and I see the fruit if looked back my life.
It's kind of like - we have a Labrador retriever now. It leaves its piles in the yard, at different places in our yard, and you can look over in our yard you can kind of see where they have been because the grass grows a little higher there, right? And as I look back over my life, and I guess it is a good exercise go where has, where is the fruit? Do I have fruit in my life? It is kind a like those dog piles that you look back over you see something pop up and you go, "Oh, okay well, they're, is you know they doing really well or are that guy is a pastor now? I spent time with him years ago," I have been amazed. As I starting looking back at what I would consider just in my own eyes, where is the fruit in my life and it is always with guys that I have discipled, really it is always with guys that I have spent a lot of time with. And some of them honestly, at the time I go, "I don't not think they are ever going to be pastors, I do not think they are necessarily, I do not see it in my flesh, that they are really going to be a leader," but I look back now, some of them are pastors.
And I just would spend time with them, lunches - they're in my small groups who we would meet together, we pray together and as you know, I get older and I looked back those dog piles are always ready on a rise been bunch of time with as far as the fruit in my life. And now we spent time but spend time being intentional. It is true in my life as well. I trust as Scott or John Meyer looks back on my life it is the time they spent with me. So, honestly that is, I've thought about that.
I also wonder, I thought Herschel has some more things he is going to say but questions I would have to ask and even for good discussion will be, how can we more practically and intentionally disciple people that are getting older in life have kids or busy - not that other people are not busy - but how do we practically be better disciples and have good ideas on how we can do that, and secondly with our kids? Honestly we need to look at our children as our absolute number one disciples. They are our God-given disciples. We don't have to wonder about them, do we? We can not miss with our kids, that we are discipline our children. I would like to have some discussion on that as well. So, with that, I’m honestly gonna turn it back over Herschel cause he's got a whole list of things that I would love to learn more about discipleship from Herschel here, so Herschel..
Herschel Martindale: Thanks _____ thanks Brent and Bill, it's great. I need to probably clarify what I said about discipleship. Less, you all think that I think discipleship in what we feel discipleship is a unbiblical, because I don’t think that for a second. I just wish pointing out the fact that words may not fully describe what were talking about. And so, discipleship in the epistles is really words like equipping, teaching, and . . . passing on faithful men and women and so forth. So, I’m totally behind our equipping ministry, I just think it’s tremendously important and I just appreciated what Brent and Bill mentioned in connection with that.
Just two or three things that I’d like to add to the things for just a second - and maybe I should clarify too just briefly what I meant about make disciples. Because I guess I’ve got this thing in my [craw?] that I can’t quite get passed, that I think we can get involved with discipleship and forget the tremendous important that making a disciple begins with conversion. It begins with salavation. They're not a disciple until there is a commitment, we call that commitment conversion. Or a new birth or salvation or winning someone to Christ. So, what I was calling- the thing I was really tried to point out is that that’s got to be in a priority in our lives. Each one of us needs to realize that the command is to make disciples.
Heres a verse that you may wanna jot down, it may be very familiar to you but if not, I think you should jot it down. It’s Acts 14, this helps a little bit I think in that, in that particular discussion or that idea. Acts 14:21, and heres what it says: "They preached the Good news in that city and won a large number of disciples." It didn’t go to the seminar to win disciples, who were in the process of becoming spiritual giants, that isn't what it was saying. They preached the Gospel, and as soon as they were won to Christ, they were disciples. Very important that we realize that, that distinction, they were disciples the minute, they become a believer. Were they fully devoted disciples? Obviously not. That’s the rest of the Christian life, that’s the whole story of, of equipping the saints of Ephesians 4: 11-16. That’s the whole story of teaching them to obey, as Brent was saying, all things that Jesus commanded.
So, it’s a beginning point of saying a person become a disciple through a commitment to Jesus Christ as our Savior, and then of course, a whole life of learning and growing and as Brent and Bill were pointing out, usually the whole concept of discipleship is really just the matured process. And often, we put it into the context of mentoring, for developing spiritual leaders. And probably, we’d be good if we had just a whole session just on that- of mentoring individuals who really aspire to be oversees, pastors, elders and churches - and some of the things that need to take place.
I wanna just mention two or three things really quickly here, first of all, I think I’d like to just make a comment about young and old. I think often as pastors we can overlook some that are a little bit older and feel like that we need to really focused on gung ho young people who are passionate, have lots of flexibility, have lots of energy, have lots of time, in some cases, or at least are willing to take time, and we feel like that’s our future. Well, that’s a part of our future, and a very wonderful part of our future, but I'd like to say that many of the ones that are a little bit older in our churches, have already paid the price. In many cases that they have families, that are good families, exemplary - and it's very interesting to me- as you, that in verse 33 in Titus 1 as we were reminded this morning in our sessions this morning, that the developing of a family is an essential part of the developing of a man of God, a leader of God’s people.
Now, that doesn't mean that a single person, can’t be an elder in my understanding, some would different with that, but that’s my understanding, that a person who is unmarried, can be an elder. I’m personally convinced that there’s got to be a whole proving process if they are not married and have a family. That really shows a whole set of things and reveals a whole set of things about their character. But I really believe that we, in many cases, neglect some brothers that have been around for a long time. Have real convictions, but have been sort of passed over.
In some cases, it's because they have jobs that are just really, really, demanding, and they have very little time. I’m working with some men where I am, and a fair number of those men have jobs and just don’t allow them to have any time, or the men that I’m trying to spend some time with, in mentoring- he can't take any time during the week. So, we get together on Saturday morning for breakfast every other week. We get two hours together, by the time I say, "hey, how it is going?" By the time we breakfast, but the time I say, hey, how's everything at home? By the time I say, what are some things that God is teaching you? It’s time to go. And we have very little time for any structured, teaching or developing or accountability or questioning or help in a critical areas of life.
Well, you say, what’s the answer to that? I was mentioning to other brothers here, a little earlier, I think there are two things that we need to keep in mind. First of all, are we needed to give our older brothers help as to their priorities. They have the priorities that they have because of necessity. But if we give them guidance and help and even help them to know that there is a future in this particular area of leadership, there are many brothers that would be willing to make major sacrifices. Their was a time in my life I taught school, I was not in this particular movement or anything at that point of time, and I knew that God wanted me to be serving Him with my whole life, and there came the day that I wanted my superintendant and said, "I’m resigning, I’m quitting, teaching school." "What you gonna do?" Well, I’m going to be a pastor. "Really?" Yeah. "And how are you gonna do that?" I don’t know, I just believe that, that’s what God wants me to do.
I won't go into the whole story but I quit a job so, sold all my furniture, sold our car, sold everything that we had, my wife took a very difficult job, I took a parttime job, went to school and as a result, God let us be full time in Christian Ministry. Well, who told me to make that sacrifice? As far as I’m concerned, it was only God. I had no one else that could tell me that, no one ever came to me and said are you willing to pay the price, you know, quit your job, sell all your furniture? No, no one ever said that. I felt that it was necessary, are we so naïve? That we don’t believe that there are other brothers in this particular movement? That would at least make major sacrifices, if they knew that we were behind them and would help them to actually grow to the point, develop to the point, where they could serve God, even as leaders of the church.
So, I just want to mention that, does that mean they were not interesting in young people, yes. My comment, comment on the young people would be this: There is a multi-layered opportunity for leadership in the church, let's don't ever think that over seeing and pasturing is the only leadership thing in the church, they're endless opportunities of leadership. There is leadership in and all kinds of ministries, and all kinds of types of, of serving in the church that some of our younger brothers can be given that opportunity and grow in faithfulness which - Luke 16:10 - as I mentioned this morning - they can grow in their faithfulness in those areas and then move on as God raises them up and as the overseers in the church recognize their faithfulness.
One other quick thing is the importance of aspiring, 1 Timothy 3, for if any man inspires to overseeing he desires a good work. Well why should anyone aspire? Well on the earlier years when we talk and felt very strongly that every man should be an elder. People aspired because that was the top rank of the ladder. How do they aspire today when we don’t teach that every person ought to be an elder? It’s because we give them that inspiration so let there is aspiration. If we never give that inspiration, if we never challenge them, if we never help them, if we have never encourage them, if we never take them out for a day of prayer in the woods or a day of Bible study, or an outreach in some other countries or an outreach in another section of our city.
I was really grieved from Colorado down on the New Orleans and it was just a replay, almost, of earlier years. Here was this group of sixty five young people from Fort Collins that there an old bomb down house looking sort of a thing, and ah, you know eating the same thing that some of us ate thirty five years ago (laughs) when I go to the table outside of course, and some of the boys, some of the guys, some other girls, had fixed up hash or something. I couldn't identify it for sure (laughs). But no one was complaining, in other words, this is the part of really meaning business for God and sacrificing. When your involve in some of those things, you began to catch a vision of something more than just coming to church on Sunday, and it begons to affect the life tremendously. So aspiring can be stimulated if we as pastors are giving that stimulation.
And then one quick thought on choice of persons, I don’t know who'd hav thought me this, I don’t think anybody did, it just was just osmosis or something, that I got this idea because largely because of the good Samaritan or something of that nature in scripture where you see this guy all wounded and you’re suppose to stop and help him out and do everything that you possibly can to help him, so my wife and I sort of inherited a whole bunch of people, and I’ve got to be so careful how I talk about this, but you’ve all heard of the Blitz thing. The summer outreach and the bus and so forth. Well I was left in Houston with my wife to start a church with some other ones from that group at the end of the summer. Ohhh - I’m so sorry I have to say this, but some of them should have been in an institution instead of a church. (laughing)
I’m looking at Andy over here who was our only, really faithful soldier. He stayed with us in Houston, ohh, Andy what could we have ever done without you? (laugh) So he stayed, but Andy you know what I’m saying is true. (Laughing). I had people - one of the sisters that we had, we moved them all into our home, we bought a big barn, over there near the universe - they called at the house - and we moved in about eight students with us, eight that we’re willing- the were left in Houston from that Blitz and almost all of them had major emotional struggles. One of them had been on the California prison and had been on heroin for three years tried to kill her mother by beating her to death with a hammer, but she was one of the disciples (laugh). By the way, we loved her like our daughter, to this day, but I don’t mind telling you as long as we were holding her head above water, she was functioning - the minute that we stop holding her up, she couldn’t function. There were just too many scars, too many problems, too many difficulties.
One of the girls that we moved in to our home came to me one day and said “Herschel, I hate your children.” Well, she did. It was that simple, but that didn’t make any easier for my four children. She had major problems, major difficulties. You know something, she and her husband thirty five years later are on our MPT support team and have been for years. How do you explain all those things? All I’m saying is this, there came a time that my wife and I said “maybe we’re not called of God to be a nursing home.” Maybe god wants us to try to be raising up leaders and elders, and we made a change in our whole basic philosophy. We decided to take, no longer, situations - and that this was just a judgment call that God let us to do at a particular time, and I’m not saying that it’s wrong to do the other, there maybe a call of ministry to just do the other, but for us there was time where we made a major change that anyone that we took in to our home, understood that they were there because we wanted to see them become a leader of God’s people in days to come.
So I just want to mention that as far as the choice of persons, some of you may have to make that choice. Don’t feel that you’re automatically called to take in everyone who’s in need, and lest I've left the slightest wrong impression, Andy was not one of those one's (laughs) in me. He was a soldier and he was the only other brother, that at the very beginning, that I had to work with, and he was a wonderful co-worker and still is today, and I just praise God for him, and then another pastor up here was the first person that we saw, reached and become a part of our work there and his a pastor here at this pastor’s conference today.
Anyhow I just want to mention that, and then the last thing that all this mention is there’s a difference between mentoring and teaching classes, as Brent or someone was mentioning there, I already forgotten which of the two it was, I have enjoyed both of their comments. It’s so easy for us to think that discipleship or mentoring or anything of that nature significantly to it’s just teaching of class, in fact, and I don’t want this to be critical, I really don’t. I won't even mention his name, I hope I don’t give it away, but there’s an outstanding Christian leader, you would know his name in an instant. An outstanding Christian leader, considered to be one of the greatest authorities that I’m aware of in Christianity today, in the area of discipleship and so forth. I was in his class at one point and he was telling me about his, the way he raised up leaders. He met with them for two hours on Saturday morning, teaching a class, but he had no further contact with they’re lives. They became theologians, but I don’t know what else, and I really agree personally that the very best way of seeing the best transformation takes place is through relationships and through keeping that close relationship, especially as we teach, we do our very best to put it into example and practice.
I think we needed just- oh by the way, I passed out that sheet because it was just some things that God has been trying to beat through my thick skull and I thought there might be some things here that you might want- or things you may have questions about, something that, any one of the three of us can- would be happy to address. I apologize that I went a little bit longer that I intended, we have about, at least ten minutes, we’d like to open it up for some question that you could address, anyone of the three, or just contribute yourself. Yes Robbie…
Robbie: I just like to ask all of the three of you . . . about just choosing people that are working and working, got kids and all that, what’s the practical ways to practice the Jesus style of ministry in twenty first century American? The tweleve were with him, and how do you practice that "with him" in twenty first century America, practically?
Herschel: Okay, the "with him" especially with those who have full time jobs and things like that…
Unknown: So what’s your answer?
Robbie: Well I don’t know that’s why… (laughing)
Unknown: Oh do have one little tiny little thought. I think that’s twenty thousand dollar question… (laughing)
Unknown: You know how it that you’re how is it that you can be with, it comes down to time really isn’t it, isn’t it, basically what your getting out of this what I saw on 60 minutes or so a while ago with the American. The United States work week is the only work week in the Western civilized world that keeps increasing? You know and it is worst now than it was even 10 years ago? A commuting time's increased, the work life increases, people's responsibility increases. There are so many demands for time, I think it really comes down to, not only our time, but uh, men's time, I think that's a very challenging questions.
I don’t know how to answer that except that one thing that I have tried that has helped a little bit is understanding 2 Timothy 22, were Paul says, you guys all know the verse, but the Timothy . . . the presence of many and trust the faithful men so that they might be able to teach others also. There is a lot packed into that verse, but uh, one of the questions arises to me is, how did Timothy learned? I think there's sometimes too much placed at that feet of one to one mentoring. Timothy just says- indicates there- that they didn't learn by listening to Paul on private instead the things that you have learned from me if heard in the presence of many witnesses.
I ask myself the question of Jesus, how many times that I see Jesus one on one with somebody? I don’t think there is a one recorded incident in the whole Bible in the Gospels where he was with somebody one on one. And I mind if it occurred, it is kind of an argument from silence. You do see him in groups though, there is unbelievable dynamic that occurs when you meet with people in a mentoring type of way, in groups, and a dynamic that is created there when you don’t have to be with the person all the time, but they are developing relationships with a, peers that are maybe even at their own spiritual maturity, and then maybe they start building into one another, as well. You can save an incredible amount of time if you don’t think in terms of one on one but you think it terms of groups.
Now that doesn't solve everything. You have to be really creative, my group time on jumping into the lives of men where really busy, occurred Friday nights starting at 9 o’clock. That is when all their kids were all put and all the family responsibilities were all done and we got together at 9 o’clock and went until midnight. You know, and did it every Friday night for a years. Some creative way to consider how to open up time, and then I tried to do stuff for people on the side the best that I could. So that is really does not solve, I mean, that is an incredibly important questions and it is not a very easy one to answer.
Herschel Martindale: I would like to do stand to that, just from personal experience, my Pastor, co-pastor and I- Ed Algee from the back. We had, one of the brothers we were working with a group brothers in the church there naturally and one of the brothers we went through about 2 years ago and we said, “Brother, have you ever really considered the possibility that God might want you to actually be in the ministry, even a pastor of the church someday?” And he said, “well I have already considered that.” And so we said, "Well you should make that a matter of prayer sometime.” Anyhow, about a year ago, we talked to him again, and he said. “I’m really seriously considering that and my wife and I are praying about it, thinking about it."
Well just last month, he approached Ed and I, and said “I really think that God might have me to pursue something about nature.” We said, “Well obviously”- He is a Professor in University, and we said, “Obviously your schedule is very difficult. It is going to be hard for us to spend any quality time” but he said, “I have already talked to my administrator about that.” And he said, “What I am thinking about doing is working four 10-hour-days and then taking a day off just to be available to you and Ed, and anything that you want to do with me, take me out, do something with me, teach me, reprove me, instruct me, whatever you want to do with me. I'd be available.”
Well, I think that was an exciting thing because Ed and I said “when do we start?” and so that is going to be starting next week. Another situation was Ed himself, here, uh, I talked to Ed, what, 3 years ago about his being involved. He's been in the church for a long while, he has been a mature leader of the church in a lot of different capacities, he has got a lot of maturity, a lovely family, and so forth. And he had a- has a construction company and so we talked about aspiring and he said “yes, I do.” And we say, “well lets thinks about and pray about how will that could take place,” any so two years, whever it was . . . he said to me, he said “I think that I could actually take off maybe a day or two and still keep my company and it would support me, and perhaps the church can afford a little bit of salary, and with that along with my company and so forth, working a couple days a week, I could be available.”
So we asked Ed if he be willing to go in to an intern situation, a pastoral internship in the church and he said, “he loved too.” Well, he did such a great job and we have such a confidence in his heart and commitment and life and so forth, that about whatever, it's been a year now or something, like that Ed? And we asked him if he would go on fulltime and that we would like to ordain him as a pastor and he been functioning in a very wonderful way and that capacity, and so there are number of different kinds of situations.
Another one of the once of the men that were working with there is a doctor. And he just told us one day when Ed and I were talking to him along the same line, he said, “you know I could work 3 days a week and support myself totally as a doctor, and I could have 2 or 3 days available to really serve the church, and serve the Lord in the church- All I’m saying is that as Brent said if we we're really thinking on these terms and praying and giving inspiration of the men that we were really close too.. There are many creative things that can take place. Bill did you have anything to add to that? Three minutes. Yes? Tim.
Tim: (Inaudible) as an example about the (inaudible) of course, trying to multiply the leaders and all levels in the church (inaudible) that man will be multiplied as a future elder hopefully. If he were not willin to, one day, go full time, would that make a difference to your commitment to him- in other words you may only want him, ah, as a bi-vocational leader some day, but- if he's not willing to go full time..
Herschel Martindale: The question has to do with fulltime or bi-vocational or that sort of thing. There are different understandings . . .as you know, many different ones. My own personal conviction is very-very simple. I believed in bible vocation elders in other words I would not, I would loved to see us at where we are at have five elders, and I would not bother me if 3 other were able to support themselves in some way or even working. I think that ones who aren't available anytime other than, you know, nights or Sundays, presents a certain problem, as far as how they have the unity, how they have the interaction, how they have the, even the development that is necessary. There are different understandings convictions, and whatever your conviction is, have it before the Lord.
One last thing, uh, I just want to give credit to the guy who led me to Christ. Most of you know my testimoney and I would promise I would not take more than 2 minutes, I hope. (laughs) Anyhow, the man that led me to Christ the first day, he said, "Hershel, I would like for you to come” - He was only there visiting for 2 weeks, he was a visiting teacher in this church where I got saved. And he said to me, “Hershel, I want you to come to the home where I am staying every night at 6 o’clock. I have to teach you at 7, o’clock every night, but I want you to come from 6 to 7 and be there with me.”
And you know, this is an old guy that I, you know- and I was 22 years old and he was like Methuselah to me, I mean he was way over there, and so I would never thought of saying no. Would never have crossed my mind, "Sure I'll be there. You know." Like Moses telling me what to do. Anyhow, I came there and that man took the next two weeks every night, and he said Hershel he said, “I want you get started in your Christian life.” How I have praised God for that man. I look forward to seeing him in heaven and thanking him.
Many of the things that I believe with all my heart tonight were taught by that man, the first two weeks of my Christian life, and I often tell, when I am telling a story, I always say. . . . He started me on the book of Revelation and he said, “I tink you if I can not get you through this one, you can get to rest on you own.” So we went through the book of Revelation together the first two weeks of my Christian life, and I just praised God because- I’m calling attention to his heart. Here is this guy that was similarly 70 something years old, willing to take an hour every night before he was to preach, and help a kid started in his Christian life. Praise God.. that God rises up ones with that kind of a heart.
Thank you so much for your time and the patience and the fellowship together. I am sure that Brent and Bill will be here for few moments afterwards, if you have personal questions you can come in and ask them. Let's pray. Father teach us your ways, give us your grace, your wisdom, build in us your heart, the things that are on your heart, and we just thank you for this time together and praise you for your goodness. Bless the remainder of this conference father we pray. We thank you in Jesus name, Amen. Thank you.
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