The witness of the church is also important. The church that does not witness is not a mission church. The witness of a believer is not always the words he speaks, but also his life. Is there a difference between the church and the world? As a believer, is my life conformed to this world, or is it transformed by the renewing of my mind, that I may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God? Romans 12: 2 It is important to get our doctrines right, as doctrines guide our lives.
Missionaries are guided by the Holy Spirit. They go when there is a call, to answer it and determine the sincerity of the call. Paul was called to “Come over into Macedonia, and help us” Acts 16: 9b, and so he went.
Missionaries are accountable to the church, being under the jurisdiction of the consistory of the church which sent him, and does not have free rein to solve problems independently of the consistory. The consistory should be thoroughly acquainted with all aspects of the missionary’s pastoral work.
In preaching the gospel, missionaries should not preach subtly or dilute doctrines for fear of frightening people away. That would be a lack of trust in the Holy Spirit’s work in the hearts of the elect! The missionary’s job is to preach the whole counsel of God, and not adapt sermons to babies in the faith.
Finally, there may be occasions when the missionary is discouraged, because he loves the people he has come to know and done everything he could, but it seems that nothing is working. Or, back home, the church wonders why the number of believers is not increasing. Yet this belies an emphasis on quantity as an indicator of quality. Do we, puny man, trust our sovereign God enough to entrust the numbers to Him?
I have benefitted immensely from Prof’s talks. He speaks the truth in love, for CERC. He does not shy away from difficult topics or questions but tackles them headlong in his talks, shedding Scripture’s light on our paths, guiding our feet. May these lessons stay with us and be applied in our daily lives.