SOME IMPORTANT POINTERS PREPARING US FOR THE NEXT STEP.
Before I come to write about the radical Change of direction in my life and ministry, I want to highlight some pointers, that in hindsight were keys in the preparation of the change of direction in my ministry, that eventually led to me literally “living the dream”.
I want to say here, that in these years during our last two Pastorates the Lord sent some key people into my life, that God used in a remarkable way to assist me in my personal spiritual journey, and my ministry development (I will write about some of these people in a later blog.. The most important person was Margaret, although being a busy mother and Worship Ministry (and often working in employment as well) she was always there with her support, and especially her encouragement to be open to what “God was saying and doing today”. Not only was I committed to the Pentecostal position, but there had come more Restoration of truth since the birth of the movement in 1906. There was the “Restoration (or Latter Rain) Movement, then the Charismatic Renewal, then Word of Faith movement, fresh emphasis on Worship based on the Restoration of the Tabernacle of David, Deliverance and Healing Ministry, emphases on Discipleship and Grace. My Mentor strongly encouraged me to “Search the Scriptures” pass everything through the Cross, and KEEP ALL TRUTH IN BALANCE. These have all been important keys to my ministry development.
From the time I was a young person, there was a desire to Disciple/Mentor people, although I could not have articulated the fact, nor knew how to do it anyway. I am reminded that a young person from our church in Melbourne rode his motor bike all the way from Melbourne to the Blue Mountains to seek my counsel, he must have seen something in me I hardly saw in myself in those days. This area clearly developed when we went to Sydney, and even more in our last church, but fully began to blossom, in the next stage of our ministry. In our last church by then I had a Mentor he recommended I commence a “Timothy Class” each week ,and some 20+ guys met with me and the Pastoral Ream every week, their spiritual growth was visibly evident.
The other area is that of Missions. In my first three churches, missions was simply not on the agenda (from memory) I had no exposure to missions or missionaries that I can remember. With the move to multicultural Sydney, and the dropping of the “White Australia policy” began to produce major change in this area. I have already mentioned the Fijians, and here I was confronted with cross-cultural ministry right on my door step.
Probably within a year of our move to Sydney I looked up from the pulpit one Sunday morning, and noticed a large Asian man sitting on the back seat. As soon as the service was over, I went to him, and introduced myself. He had said in his mind, “if no one speaks to me I won’t come back”. He was from Singapore, a new Believer, had met a Singaporean girl, and fallen in love, (I had the privilege of conducting his wedding later) and had recently arrived in Sydney to commence a business. I discipled him, and in less than a year, he began to hassle me, “What are we doing about Asia, we need to send teams and missionaries”. The Lord used him in an awesome way to open my heart to Missions and the Great Commission. I introduced “Faith Promise Giving” and our people began giving generously to Missions. This Singaporean suggested we raise up a team from the church to go to Singapore/Malaysia and “Together 76 was born, some 15 people almost all from the church made up the team, they invited an Evangelist friend of mine to be responsible for the preaching. It was a HUGE success. One lady is still serving in the Philippines to this day, two of the guys are in full time ministry still. An American ministry came through and said I needed to be exposed to what God was doing around the world, in minutes he had raised over $2000 for me to go,On the tail end of that 4 week world trip I spent a weekend ministering in Fiji, this was an unforgettable experience. In 1979 I was invited to be the Easter Speaker in Port Moresby P.N.G. this was also an unbelievable experience.
So immediately Missions became a major expression in our last church, again we introduced “Faith Promise Giving” for Missions and many hundreds of dollars was given monthly. I personally took teams to Thailand/Malaysia & Singapore (17 the first time 24 the second time) I also ministered in India, this connection would develop further in the next step we were to take. Missions began to grip my heart, and when the stirring came mentioned in the last chapter I thought it could be a call to the Mission field, but God’s plan and timing relative to Missions service was still another 11 years away. The development of Missions and Missions training took a quantum leap in our next step.
I will now share in the next blog, The phone call that changed our lives forever.