ebook: Mr. Missionary, I Have a Question (part 6)
Chapter 6. Missionaries, Mail, and Men -- Some answers
In this book, Howard Culbertson answers
questions that were asked in church services across the United States during a home assignment
year. Originally published for the Nazarene Missions International mission book series
by what is now called The Foundry, this book carried ISBN number 083-411-1519
- How would you describe Nazarene missionary strategy?
- The Church of the Nazarene views its missionaries as
assault troops. We are not occupation forces. We go to establish a beachhead. We are not carving
out lifelong niches for ourselves. In attempting to establish that beachhead, often we are able to
link up with the resistance fighters already in battle (local indigenous holiness groups).
Establishing a beachhead means trying to plant churches in
new areas. These churches are then organized into districts. Our task involves supporting
ministries such as Bible colleges to train church leaders. As these leaders mature, Nazarene
missionaries are free to move into unreached areas and begin the cycle anew. Our goal is to make
disciples who will themselves continue the disciple-making process.
In this battle -- just as in a war -- there are problems of
under-supply in some areas and oversupply in others. We do make miscalculations and
sometimes give confusing orders. Overall, however, the battle is proceeding well. The people
called Nazarenes are on the march around the world. Every year more people are hearing the
holiness message. [ mission strategy in Haiti ]
- Do we still have plenty of young people applying for missionary service?
- The Church of the Nazarene actually has an abundance
of those who feel called to be cross-cultural missionaries. Our limiting factor to the expansion of
our missionary force today is not willing applicants, but funds to send these new missionaries.
The application forms come not only from young people but also from older folk seeking
short-term specialized assignments.
Missionary applicants are now coming from those countries that were once viewed as "mission
fields" placed in a category separate from the sending countries. The internationalization of the
Church of the Nazarene is making us even more of a true missionary-sending church. More than
a fifty nationalities are now represented in the Nazarene missionary force of over 600. Our
missionary team in Haiti comes from four different nations.
- Do you foresee the day when we will be sending missionaries to the United States from
- We cannot neatly divide the world into
"sending' and "receiving" countries. Missionaries from all six continents should be commissioned
to serve in all of the six continents — including North America. Churches in areas that
have been receiving countries must soon become sending churches. If not, they will remain
stunted spiritually. The Great Commission was given to the
whole church; the whole church must respond. As a global family of God's people, we must unite
in a common vision of sharing the Good News to the whole world. This means that Nazarenes in
India will be just as concerned about evangelizing lost Americans as the North American
Nazarenes have been concerned about evangelizing India.
Missionaries are people who reach across cultural and
linguistic boundaries with the gospel. We are discovering that there are many cultural and
linguistic borders to be crossed even in the United States. Missionaries and mission methods
must be used to reach many groups of people living within each country. These missionaries
need not necessarily be United States citizens nor would it be a negative reflection on American
Nazarenes if the church commissioned missionaries from other countries to help evangelize
pagan United States cities and reach untouched minority groups with the gospel of full
Some United States districts are using veteran cross-cultural
missionaries to direct their ethnic evangelism thrusts. Robert and Norma Brunson, missionaries
to Latin America and the Middle East, worked for a while in multi-ethnic ministries in the
Chicago area. The Hubert Hellings, former missionaries in Japan, planted churches among ethnic
minorities on the Washington Pacific District.
- Do you have to raise your own financial support?
- Many missionaries have to raise their own financial
support. That is, prior to going to their assignment, these missionaries must get pledges from
family, friends, and local churches. These pledges must indicate that there will be personal
financial support each month for the missionary. Nazarene missionaries do not raise their own
support in this manner.
Nazarene missionaries are part of a team. We are not
isolated individuals trying to go to another country on our own. Nazarene churches all over the
world have banded together to commission Nazarene missionaries through the Nazarene General
Board. Nazarene churches have pooled their prayer and financial
resources to support their missionaries.
I like being part of such a team. I believe it is in keeping
with the biblical concept of the Church as the Body of Christ. I also believe it assures the most
effective use of mission money. [ Nazarene missions
When Nazarene missionaries are on home assignment (once
called "furlough"), they speak in deputation services and receive
special offerings for equipment needs in their mission work. Their basic financial support and
field operating budgets, however, are secured from the Nazarene World
Evangelism Fund. One of the main responsibilities of missionaries on home assignment is to
report back to fellow Nazarenes on what their World Evangelism Fund funds are doing in world
Nazarene missionaries do not raise their own support.
Thousands of pastors and volunteers in NMI groups all around the
world raise our missionary support as they encourage their local church to pick up its share of the
Nazarene World Evangelism Fund.
- How much of our mission money actually gets to you?
- The Church of the Nazarene is very open about its
finances. We have no secrets. Nazarene World Evangelism Fund funds finance almost all the
ministries of the general Church of the Nazarene, including world mission expenditures.
Nazarene World Evangelism Fund funds also help pay for Nazarene radio and television
ministries as well as some projects in North America. Future pastors and evangelists are trained
at Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City and at the Nazarene Bible College in Colorado
Springs with assistance from World Evangelism Fund dollars.
World Evangelism Fund assists in paying for such items as Nazarene World Youth Conferences,
Nazarene military personnel retreats in Europe and Asia, evangelism conferences, PALCON
meetings for pastors in North America, and much more.
More Nazarene World Evangelism Fund dollars, however,
are spent on world missions than on any other ministry. It is this strong support from every local
church that enabled our denomination to expand into 75 world areas in its first 75 years of
existence (we're now in almost 150 world areas).
In addition, because World Evangelism Fund cares for administrative costs, every dollar given
for specific missionary projects like Alabaster and
Approved Specials can go to these projects.
Hunger and Disaster Fund, as well as Work & Witness
dollars go directly for missions. Deputation offerings received by missionaries on home
assignment go 100 percent to that missionary for equipment expenses. [
very first Work & Witness project ]
- What do you think of the Links program?
- Links is an attempt to
personalize a local church's involvement in Nazarene missions. The word was originally an
acronym. It stood for Loving,Interested Nazarenes Knowing and Sharing. However, acronyms
don't translate at all into other languages. So, now it's just "Links" as in "linking us together." At
its best the Links program has forged some extremely close ties between local churches and
missionary families. Links missionaries have come to feel that they really have been adopted by
churches and districts. [ more on Links ]
- How many years does it take to become a missionary?
- The Church of the Nazarene believes that its
missionaries must have a divine call to missionary service. Missionary candidates are also
required to seek the best possible academic preparation for their assignment, whether they are
planning to be medical, educational, or church planting missionaries. The World Mission
Department of the General Board believes as well that it is important that all missionary
candidates have had experience in their occupation before being sent to a mission assignment. A
minimum of two years of practical experience is required.
If the missionary candidate is applying to be an educational
missionary, at least two years of teaching experience is required. If the missionary is applying to
be a preaching and church planting missionary, the General Board requires the candidate to be an
ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene. One of the requirements for ordination is a
minimum of two years of ministerial service.
So when the General Board of the Church of the Nazarene
commissions a missionary, it wants to be sure that person will already have had special training
as well as at least two years of practical experience in his or her specialty.
It does not take forever to become a Nazarene missionary.
Most Nazarene missionaries leave for their first mission assignment before they are 30 years of
age; however, being a Nazarene missionary does mean that one has given time to extensive
preparation as well as gaining practical experience.
- Don't you find that deputation work on home assignment is tiring?
- Nazarene missionaries usually spend four years in a
mission assignment followed by a year of home assignment in their homeland. During that home
assignment, the missionaries travel to Nazarene churches to speak about their work and to report
on Nazarene involvement in the world mission program.
Although deputation work is a different kind of ministry than serving in a mission assignment, ii
is nevertheless a ministry. Nazarene missionaries do not disappear into some remote corner of the
globe, never to be heard from again. A part of their work is to spread the missionary vision
among fellow Nazarenes through deputation services.
Deputation means traveling thousands of miles. It means
eating lots of potluck dinners. It also means watching new Nazarenes get excited for the first time
about the world outreach of our church. Deputation is helping someone come alive to the work of
the international team of which all Nazarenes are a part. Deputation is talking with a young
person about a missionary call, knowing that perhaps someday that young person may be serving
in a mission assignment. Deputation can be a very exhilarating experience.
- Weren't the Terry Reads in Haiti?
- Terry and Joan Read spent almost 10 years as
missionaries in Haiti. During that time, Terry was mission director and Joan directed the medical
ministries program. Since that time the Reads have given missionary service to countries in
South America and in Africa.
- Didn't the Walt Crows spend some years in Haiti?
- Walter and Linda Crow were Nazarene missionaries in Haiti in the 1960s and 1970s. Mrs.
Linda Crow has authored a couple of books on Nazarene missions in Haiti. They worked in
building construction, publications, and the Bible school work.
After a brief interlude of pastoring in Texas, the Crows pioneered the beginning of the Church of
the Nazarene in France. In 1982, Rev. Crow was elected president of European Nazarene Bible
College located near Schaffhausen, Switzerland. The school serves as the training institution for
Nazarene ministry in all of Europe.
- Since there are Haitian district superintendents, what does a mission director do?
- The mission council director had a twofold ministry.
He or she is responsible to see that every missionary assigned to the mission council has a fruitful
and rewarding ministry. In some respects, the director is the senior pastor for the missionary
team. The director helps to set the spiritual tone for the missionary ministry. He or she helps to
choose goals and works with individual missionaries to see that those goals are met.
To help meet these goals, the director works with the
mission council in preparing the annual budget requests that must be submitted to the World
The mission director also works closely with the emerging national church. The mission director
helps channel the processes of indigenization and contextualization
as the national church shoulders more and more responsibilities.
For a while Haiti actually had two mission councils: the
Theological Education Council and the Church Growth/Compassionate Ministries Council. The
Theological Education Council cared for the resident Bible college and the Pastoral Extension
Training program. The Church Growth / Compassionate Ministries Council worked in the area of
district and local church development as well as directing the medical and nutritional
- It seems like the general church moves Nazarene missionaries around a lot. Why is that?
- An interesting change had taken place in the past
several years. In the United States, Nazarene pastors used to follow a custom of moving from one
church to another every three or four years. Missionaries, on the other hand, expected to stay at
one post a whole lifetime. Now U.S. pastors are being encouraged to stay in local churches for a
longer time, while missionaries have become much more mobile and transient.
One of the reasons for today's missionaries being so mobile is the ease of world travel. Another is
that the focus of our missionary work had changed from establishing large mission stations to
developing growing national districts.
National churches and districts are assuming responsibilities
and ministries that missionaries have been carrying. When that happens, it has seemed a wise use
of our resources to transfer these missionaries to some place where their particular gifts and
talents can be used to develop another thriving national church.
Veteran Nazarene missionary Earl Mosteller is a prime
example of this pattern. He was the classic "assault troop" missionary. He spent the first few
years of his missionary career in the Cape Verde Islands. He was then asked to begin Nazarene
work in Brazil. As the work blossomed there, it became apparent that his pioneer gifts could be
used elsewhere. So the General Board asked him to move to Portugal, where the beginning of the
Nazarene work got off to a fast start under his leadership. When the church began thinking about
starting Nazarene work in the Azores, it once again turned to Dr. Mosteller. That was Earl
Mosteller's gift: pioneer missionary. He would have wasted some of that unique gift if he had
remained in Cape Verde all of those years.
Of course, there are also other reasons for missionary
transfers. Sometimes missionary health problems require a change to a new location. Sometimes
older missionaries are transferred to a less rigorous post in order to prolong their career.
Sometimes political upheavals make missionary transfers necessary. In other cases, a particular
field may be facing problems that need strong leadership and unusual wisdom. The World
Mission Department may prefer to send a veteran missionary to give guidance during such times.
There are many, many reasons for a missionary transfer, but you can be sure that in each case you
will find the church's prayerful attempt to discern God's will for a particular missionary and for
the developing national church.
- What can men do in the local church to promote missions?
- Too many Nazarene men are still sitting on the
sidelines in the cause of world evangelism. Every local church needs some clear examples of
men whose hearts are aflame with a passion to reach the unreached of our world. Men can model
the burden that sanctified believers ought to carry for lost people everywhere. A man's informed,
unceasing, untiring support of missions can be contagious within his family circle as well as
within his local church.
Within your own family, you can foster a concern for
Nazarenes worldwide as you participate in family worship times. Help your children learn to pray
for people of other countries. After watching the international news on television or reading the
newspaper, lead your family in praying for Nazarene work in the countries making that day's
You can ignite a missionary vision in your family through
the direction of the discussion at the evening dinner table. In addition to sports, politics, the
weather, and school, put world missions on your subject list. As you discuss family finances,
make clear your commitment to world missions. Help your children understand that what you
give to missions is not just excess pocket change. Make it clear that you are consciously directing
some of your family's financial resources toward world evangelism.
Use these same methods for modeling your burden for
missions in your local church. As you have opportunities to pray in public, pray for specific
needs in world mission areas. Let fellow believers also hear you pray for those people to whom
the Church of the Nazarene has not yet gone.
As you discover the wonderful things God is doing around the
world through the Church of the Nazarene, take opportunities in prayer meetings and other
groups to share your discoveries. In Sunday School classes and elsewhere, try to help other
Nazarenes see the world from a missionary point of view.
In addition to being a role model for missions concern, you
may also be able to counsel a young person concerning his or her career. Encourage your own
children and other young people you know to seriously seek God's will for their lifework. Pray
with them as they try to see where they fit into God's plan for world evangelism. It's not a
question of "called or not called." It's a question of what God wants you to do to help fulfill His
Be alert as well to Work and Witness project opportunities. Your personal involvement in
helping build a church, parsonage, or a Bible school building will not only affect your life, but
also touch those of your family and your church.
Finally, give some thought to what you will do when you retire. Today's pension plans make it
feasible for some businessmen and tradesmen to retire early and thus have years of valuable
service to give to the Lord without needing to raise much additional funds. Perhaps your income
and health would permit you to give some time to actual mission involvement. If that might be a
possibility, contact the World Mission Division at the Nazarene Global Ministry Center in
Lenexa, Kansas, USA. There just might be a place of service for you.
- I've heard that some missionaries have luxurious homes. Is that true?
- I believe you would be pleased -- probably even humbled -- by the life-style that your
missionaries have chosen to accept in helping you carry out your responsibilities in evangelizing
the world. Missionary homes are not luxurious; they are modest and adequate for their
Many missionaries are quite creative in furnishing and
decorating their homes. As a result, an extremely modest home is often transformed into
something a tourist may mistake for a luxury home. My wife, Barbara, is a gifted home
decorator. Here in Haiti we live in a very simple, concrete block building which they told us had
originally been automotive garage for the missionaries. Barbara transformed it into a beautiful
Tourists also have trouble judging buildings in other countries. Tourists were often awestruck
when they saw our marble floor in Florence, Italy. Actually, they were the cheapest kind of
marble available. Wood floors in Italy are a luxury addition to a home. The Italians pitied us for
our cheap floors. Americans thought we were living in luxury.
- Do you have electricity and running water?
- We live in a suburb of the capital city, so our home is
connected to the city water supply. We do, however, have to keep extra water stored in cisterns
for use in emergency situations.
We get our electricity from a government generating plant.
We also have a diesel generator on the Bible college campus for use during blackout times. We
cook with bottled propane gas.
- Shouldn't you be living in homes without running water in order to better reach the people of
- Through the centuries, Christian missionaries have often debated how they can best bond
themselves to the people they are trying to evangelize and disciple.
Acceptance of extremely primitive living conditions would, of course, expose the missionary to
debilitating diseases that could shorten his missionary ministry and career. In 1983 the life
expectancy for the average Haitian was 48 years. The missionary would also be forced to give
much of his time in survival activities such as carrying water for long distances.
Our denomination has followed the lead of other evangelical missionary organizations in trying
to provide a level of living that gives the missionary adequate time for the ministry for which he
is called, gifted, and trained. The church seeks to safeguard missionaries' health so that careers
are as long as possible.
- Do you have air-conditioning in your home?
- Even though Haiti is a tropical country, we do not have air-conditioning in our home here.
For the most part, missionary homes in Haiti have big windows to let in the breezes. We also rely
on fans to keep cool.
- Do you have servants?
- We employ some part-time help. To free us for more mission involvement, we employ a
Haitian lady part-time to assist with the marketing as well as doing some cleaning and cooking.
She also does some occasional baby-sitting. Along with another missionary family, we employ a
man to work in the yard and garden. I would hesitate to call Yves or Marie "servants." If I
understand Scripture correctly, we are all to be servants to each other and the our King.
- What changes do you see in the United States when you come back on home assignment?
- The standard of living in the U.S. seems to continue
upward with each passing year. Each time we see lots of technological changes evident. One
time, for instance, mushroom-like satellite dishes had sprouted in yards all across the country.
Another time it was the comeback of the old-time ceiling fans -- not only in homes but also in
churches and other public buildings.
In the church, I have sensed a new interest in planting new congregations. Naturally, I pray that
this interest continues to grow. Growth in the church in my homeland will mean more mission
prayer involvement, more mission finances, and more missionary recruits for our world mission
- Did you take a car from the U.S. when you went to Haiti?
- After our arrival in Haiti, we purchased a four-wheel-drive Daihatsu. This jeep-type vehicle
is manufactured in Japan. It can take us over most any of the graveled, rough, mountainous roads
To be sure, vehicles can be purchased cheaper in the United States than in Haiti. However, by
the time the customs charges and shipping costs are added, the price of the vehicle purchased in
the U.S. will up being greater than one purchased in Haiti.
- I read about some lady who goes to other countries and tells Bible stories to the children
there. Could I come to Haiti and do that?
- Telling Bible stories through an interpreter to children in other countries may sound like a
romantic ministry, but I'm not certain it is the most effective contribution you could make to
A pioneering child-evangelism work would probably best be done among some of the unreached
people groups of the world where as yet no church has been started. In Haiti child evangelism is
directed by hundreds of Haitian Nazarenes. They speak the language fluently and can identify
completely with Haitian children.
Your most effective contribution to world evangelism might be getting involved in the children's
ministry in your local church. You could be the key to making them lifelong mission "fanatics."
Some could be future mission prayer warriors. Some could become strong mission financial
supporters. Some could become career missionaries.
Such a contribution would be far more lasting than anything you could do as an "excursion
missionary" working through an interpreter in brief encounters with children of another culture. .
. . [ more ]
←Prev | Preface |
1. Hawaii, Garden Hoes, and Holiness
2. Creole, Christopher Columbus, and the
3. Regional Directors, Demons, and the
Dominican Republic |
4. Mangoes, Malnutrition, and Modernization
5. Rice Christians, Churches, and Caravan
6. Missionaries, Mail, and Men |
|We fell in love, discovered we shared a sense of call and
commitment to world missions, and were married . . . . [ more
Rosso, an Italian captivated by a vision God's
Bulgarian tapestry The
Kingdom strikes back: Signs of the Messiah at work in Haiti
Paul McGrady, Mr. Evangelism
Our balanced attack: How Nazarenes finance world
evangelism Pasta, pizza and
Pinocchio Jonah, the reluctant
missionary Rookie notebook: Our first
nine months as missionaries in Italy Other books and
10/40 Window explanation and map
Seeking God's will?
Mission trip fundraising
Nazarene Missions International resources