Calvary Road Baptist Church

“OUR CHURCH MISSIONS PROGRAM”

 This evening’s message is devoted to something I have never done before, which is to attempt to focus your attention on the missions ministry of Calvary Road Baptist Church. Let me say, it will be a superficial introduction. Let me also state that there are a number of missionaries we used to support that I can no longer lead you to partner with in ministry, and I will answer questions about them in private. As well, now that Steve and Suzanne Grey are serving here with us in Monrovia, we currently support ten missionary couples.

Our church’s approach to missions is the classic missionary Baptist approach that has defined Baptist churches who believe the gospel message should be taken to the uttermost parts of the earth over the last two hundred years.

 First, OUR MISSIONARIES

All of our missionaries are mature Christians. Though I would hope to take on younger missionaries in the future, at present our missionaries are not young and inexperienced. Allow me to introduce them to you in no particular order:

Peter and Jean Ard are Baptist missionaries to the Jewish people in Argentina. Peter graduated from the United States Naval Academy and took a commission in the United States Marine Corps. While serving as a commissioned officer, and after he married his wife, Jean, they came under the gospel and were converted to Christ. After God called Peter to the gospel ministry, he resigned his commission and attended Tennessee Temple Theological Seminary in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he received his Master of Divinity degree. After graduation, he applied to the International Board of Jewish Missions and began his ministry in Argentina. Though Peter and Jean are not engaged in a church planting ministry, their evangelistic work among the Jewish people of Buenos Aires seeks the salvation of the lost in general, of the Jewish people in specific, and is directed to bringing them into the membership of independent Baptist churches through believer baptism and discipleship.

Patrick and Cindy Coleman went to Africa to serve as church planting missionaries, first to Zaire (Now the Democratic Republic of Congo) and now in Zambia. When a traffic accident claimed Cindy’s life and almost killed his youngest son who was also in the vehicle, Patrick and his older son and daughter were understandably devastated. Colin has fully recovered from the accident and is now serving in United States Air Force. Several years after Cindy’s death Patrick married Sherry, a longtime single and very successful missionary to Africa who had been a family friend for several years. Patrick continued his church planting ministry in Zambia and Sherry continues her ministry of Bible Correspondence School without missing a beat, and our support for him continues. They enjoy a very fruitful, Christ-centered ministry.

Harvey and Linda Goodman served for many years starting Baptist churches in Australia. Among the fruit of their labors are two missionary couples. John Spoelstra and his wife are now serving in The Netherlands as a church planting missionaries. The Spoelstras are also a friend of Bro. K. They also have a family of church planters in Japan, Tony and Debbie Evans. Debbie was saved in their ministry (Tony was not) and they have been doing a great job in Japan for more than twenty years. For reasons related to the health of their parents and Linda’s health the Goodmans formally resigned as missionaries with the BBFI, but have now turned their attention to Anchor Ministries, a ministry of helps that serves pastors, missionaries, and church staff and family to provide encouragement and spiritual counseling. Their efforts are designed to keep folks in the gospel ministry, and to help men and women who have suffered hard blows in their service to Christ recover and continue for the Lord. Harvey and Linda will be here for our annual missions conference.

Bro. and Ruth K are currently serving in Jerusalem, Israel. I first met Bro. K as a single man who had recently graduated from Baptist Bible College and was on deputation to raise monthly support in an effort to return to his native Lebanon as a missionary. He grew up in Beirut where he was converted and was a member of the First Bible Baptist Church, pastored for many years by Victor Sadaka. Richard, his son, now pastors the church there. The first church Bro K. started was in Sidon, where a Southern Baptist church had previously existed but had shrunk and closed down. Bro K. had already been there for two years laboring and had won more than 24 people to Christ. Along with one residual family from the disbanded church, namely the parents of my friend Pierre Francis, he benefited from their legal status and established a new independent Baptist church, and then turned it over to Brother Pierre, who is currently the pastor. He then started a church in what used to be the South Lebanon Security Zone, in the town of Marjeoun. God visited Bro K's ministry with a revival with 70 people saved and 35 baptized! This led to severe persecution and ended with Bro K. being deported from his own country. The church continued to grow in the fear of the Lord and is now led by Pastor Najib Khoury. Pam and I visited both fine churches in 2007, and I am acquainted with both wonderful men. My wife and I stayed in Pierre’s home in Sidon. Bro K. being forced out of his country and had to make a choice about where to plant a new church. He chose Israel, where he is presently. He then married a wonderful Christian girl he had met in Lebanon, his precious wife Ruth, and I had the privilege of being his best man at the wedding. Bro K. is a leader among the solid men of God in the Middle East, who frequently seek his counsel. He is also preparing an Arabic Reference Study Bible that he has worked on for thirty years. I am hopeful that our church will have a very big part in financing the transcription of his notes and getting that project to publication. It will be a wonderful tool to advance the gospel in the Arab world.

Clarence and Olga Patterson were a married couple in the same Bible college Pam and I attended. After graduation, the Pattersons went to Washington, where he pastored for a while, before moving to a struggling church in Sutherlin Oregon. When the church in Oregon was back on its feet, God moved them on to a church in Colorado that was about to fold. Despite the health problems Olga suffered because of the altitude, God wonderfully blessed their ministry. When the church in Meeker, Colorado had recovered, the Lord moved them on to another hurting church in Kearney, Nebraska. When he took the church in Kearney, Nebraska, they knew things would be very tough. The church had a bad history, and the offerings did not take care of the pastor and his wife, so they supplemented their income by doing custodial work, while Olga has to deal with significant medical issues without medical insurance for either of them. Clarence and Olga’s task is difficult. It is usually harder to turn a church around and restore it to spiritual vitality than to start a church. However, they are committed to that ministry, and are working hard to bring folks to Christ, with their son and daughter-in-law recently graduated from Bible college helping them in the ministry. Once the church has struggled to its feet, the plan is for their son and his wife to start a church in a nearby town, and then both churches can cooperate in raising up even more churches.

David and B. Mallipudi are church planters in India. David is the grandson of the first man come to Christ in the community where he grew up, with both his father and his grandfather spending their lives in the gospel ministry. David and his wife have lived in Orange County for thirty years, where their children have been born and raised. However, David and B. returned every a year to India to take their vacations, and while there they started twelve churches. That was before they became missionaries. Now that he has retired from his insurance industry career and B. has retired from her career as a registered nurse to become “real missionaries,” they have redoubled their efforts to start churches in India. Ours was the first church that took them on for regular monthly support once this new direction in their life began, when they became BBFI missionaries to their home country of India. Some people take vacations on their vacations, while the Mallipudis invested time and personal resources to start churches on their vacations.

Garry and Nancy Matheny were another couple in Bible college with Pam and me. Garry had been a Navy deep diver before he was saved and called to the ministry. I think it was in Bible college that he met and married Nancy. Garry took his family to Washington after Bible college to work with another of our classmates, Jim Nolan. They started a church together. Later, Garry and Nancy started another church in the state of Washington. When the Iron Curtain fell, Garry and Nancy went as BBFI missionaries to Romania, where they have seen several churches started, have seen a number of graduates from the Bible college he founded there, and he hosts an annual retreat for independent Baptist missionary families in Europe.

Dan and Debbie Watson are missionaries on the island of Taiwan. Debbie Leavell was a single missionary to China we supported for several years. The Tiananmen Square incident forced her out of the country, and serious health issues kept her from returning to China. Dan Watson converted at the age of seventeen before serving as a commissioned officer in the United States Army, holding the rank of lieutenant. He served in the unit that guards the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. He attended Bible college, and then entered law school. He quit law school after a year and surrendered to the mission field to become a church planting missionary. Our church took him on as a single missionary through the Central Missionary Clearinghouse, and then he and Debbie Leavell were married. They have been in Taiwan for several years now.

Eugene and Olga Kozachenko are church planting missionaries and missionaries to the Jewish people in Eastern Europe. When the Iron Curtain fell, several Baptist preachers began traveling to Eastern Europe to preach the gospel. A Ukrainian college student who was fluent in English was one of the translators they hired. After he began to pay attention to the messages he was translating, Eugene was converted to Christ and called to the gospel ministry. He is working with Henry Benach and Jewish Endtime Ministries to reach Jewish people in Eastern Europe, while also reaching Gentiles and planting churches for their new converts to be baptized in, to be trained by, and to serve God from. The entire Kozachenko family will be passing our way during the summer of 2010. I hope we can be nimble enough to plan and do something special for them when they arrive, so plan to invite folks to come hear him speak, especially anyone you know from Eastern Europe.

Ken and Patricia Simmons are starting a church in Oakland. Ken Simmons was raised in a small town in Virgina and obtained a degree from Virginia Tech. He was saved through the ministry of Pastor Lou Baldwin and the Bailey Crossroads Baptist Church, where he was called to the ministry and met Pat. While in that church, he received ministerial training in Fairfax, Virginia. I think it was in Roanoke, Virgina that Ken and Pat went to start a church, and they remained there for seven years before traveling to the Bay area some years ago to participate in a missions conference with his pastor, Lou Baldwin, the founder of COEBA, the Congress for Evangelizing Black America. Ken and Pat felt God’s definite call to start a church in Oakland, gave up everything to move to that area and started the work, and then adopted Rachel and Jeremiah two years ago. I hope you remember their kids and encourage the Simmons family this Christmas. The work is hard in Oakland. Ken Simmons and Eugene Kozachenko are the youngest of the missionaries we currently support.

These are the men and women our church supports on a regular basis using missions offerings that you give above and beyond your tithes.

Next, OUR MISSIONS PHILOSOPHY

When the modern missions movement began with William Carey going to India as a Baptist missionary, the impact in the young United States of America was quickly felt. A former slave whose name slips my mind went to Jamaica as the first Baptist missionary from the United States to a foreign country. However, it was Adoniram Judson, who left the United States with his wife as Congregational missionaries, but embraced Baptist convictions during their long journey to India where they were baptized before going to Burma, who captured the imagination of Baptists in the United States.

At about the same time a division developed between Baptists who could be described as missionary Baptists and Baptists who were anti-missionary, being opposed to sending missionaries out with support from congregations to plant churches in other regions. The anti-missionary Baptists claimed scriptural grounds for their stance, but the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ clearly compels an aggressive missionary thrust, with His command to make disciples simultaneously throughout the world.[1] Our missions effort enables us to get it done both here and there.

Missionary Baptists, and our church is firmly ensconced in the scriptural and historical stream of the missionary Baptist movement, are committed to the Biblical concept of churches starting churches, both at home and abroad. There is a great deal of energy devoted by Christians to all sorts of church and evangelism related activities, but the Bible teaches (and therefore we believe) that churches should be involved in starting churches. By God’s grace, we will someday send out people from our church to start churches in the Los Angeles area and other parts of the world. However, until that day comes we will involve ourselves in selecting and supporting God-called missionaries to start churches both at home and abroad.

It is apostolic Christianity to engage in starting churches. The Apostle Paul started churches in just about every city he visited. The other apostles started churches as they traveled the world. In addition, the churches they started in turn started other churches, with the church in Colosse, started in a city Paul was never known to visit, being just one example. It is also to be observed that Luke never refers to the Christians in Antioch as a church until Barnabas was dispatched from the church of Jerusalem to that city. From then on, after Barnabas’ arrival on the scene, it is a church. Churches start churches. My own conviction is that Barnabas was sent by the Jerusalem church to organize those Christians in Antioch into a New Testament pattern church.

Do we support missionaries who are not starting churches? Yes, we do. However, those missionaries are useful to help others start churches, as is the case with Peter and Jean Ard, or are helpful to preserve both churches and pastors, as with the Pattersons and the Goodmans. As well, we send a very small amount of monthly support to the Baptist Bible Fellowship Missions office to be of benefit to missionaries and pastors. We also do two other things that I believe are called for by a scriptural philosophy of missions: First, we insist that the missionaries we support remain accountable to us and visit us on occasion as opportunity arises, as was the case with Paul and the church at Antioch that sent him forth as a missionary. As well, I visit missionaries from time to time, as was also the case with Paul when Epaphroditus and others visited him.

Finally, OUR MISSIONS FINANCES

Some churches do not support church planting missionaries. I believe that to be a departure from scriptural practice that is unwarranted. Other churches support church planting missionaries from the tithes and offerings received from their church members. This, too, I am persuaded is unwarranted. My own personal conviction is that the tithe belongs in each Christian’s congregation to provide for the maintenance of that church’s ministry and for the support of that church’s pastor.

First Corinthians chapter nine is a thorough argument for the support of the gospel minister in a congregation by the giving of that congregation. The principle of taking care of the material needs of the one who provides spiritual nourishment for you is also set forth in Galatians 6.6, where Paul writes, “Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.” As well, bracketed by Hebrews 13.7 and 17 (which verses exhort believers to follow the leadership of their pastors), we find Hebrews 13.16, which the context clearly shows to be an exhortation for believers to give for the support of their pastors: “But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”

Missionary support is altogether another matter. This church is supported by the tithes and offerings of our members and whoever else wants to be a blessing to this ministry. Missions support is derived from the giving of God’s people beyond the tithe. It was to this kind of giving that Paul referred in Philippians 4.4, when he wrote, “Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.”

What about the sacrificial giving referred to by the Apostle Paul in First Corinthians 16.2, Second Corinthians 8 and 9, and Romans 15? Listen carefully. In those passages, we find principles related to sacrificial giving and the spiritual vitality that is associated with giving for the right reasons. However, it must be observed that the great offering Paul took up to be distributed to the Christians in Judea would be parallel to our missionaries taking up a collection to send back to us so we could buy food to keep from starving. That is hardly an example of sending money to missionaries to help them start churches.

To restate, then, we have three boxes in which amounts can be designated by those using offering envelopes. The box on the far left, the Church box, is where all tithes and offerings for the benefit of Calvary Road Baptist Church goes. The Missions box in the middle is where any gifts should be sent to support our church’s missions ministry and to provide for the support of those eleven couples I earlier introduced you to. We do not at this time use the box on the far right, Growth, though we will spend any money that is placed in that box. The Growth Fund is what I will talk about when a major renovation of our church property or an effort to purchase property is undertaken.

When you give money to Missions the money is divided up four ways. A small portion is set aside each week to fund our annual missions conference. A small portion is also set aside each week to fund a trip to the mission field. The bulk of your missions giving is divided between Home Missions and Foreign Missions, starting and stabilizing churches in the USA and starting churches abroad.

I am firmly convinced that the light that shines farthest shines brightest as home. I have preached about the difference between the Sea of Galilee, teeming with life, and the Dead Sea, a virtually lifeless body of water, with the difference owing to the fact that Galilee both receives and gives water, while the Dead Sea only takes. I am convinced that principle applies to individuals. Have you ever seen a happy tightwad? Have you ever seen a stingy person full of joy? You can just about spot the tightfisted miser because there is something wrong with a guy who is not generous, who is not giving. Such a person is spiritually and emotionally constipated.

As well, there is something wrong with a guy who withholds God’s tithe, even if he is otherwise generous. He is a thief, and more often than not he knows he is a thief without it bothering him one bit. Tithing is not all there is, however, since God wants His people to give tithes as well as offerings. At our church, because we are a missionary Baptist church, I encourage Christians to direct those offerings above the tithe to our church’s missions program, not some parachurch ministry that has no scriptural authority to engage in the Great commission. I think it will make them more like the Sea of Galilee and less like the Dead Sea to give to good Baptist gospel enterprises their church is involved with.

In like manner, I think it is crucial for our church that we not spend everything we take in on our ministry here. I want our church to be a Sea of Galilee congregation, rather than a Dead Sea mausoleum, as so many churches are these days. I think it is for that reason that we have what I think is a thriving missions ministry for a church our size, and I want our missions ministry to prosper and excite those who attend here to reach the lost with the same level of commitment and dedication as the missionaries we support each month.



[1] Matthew 28.18-20; Mark 16.15-16; Luke 24.46-47; Acts 1.8


Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org