Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you and how He has had compassion on you. (Mark 5:19)
When I learned my friends Missionaries Tim and Iracema Kunkel were returning to the States for a time of rest and recuperation, and would be sharing in SBC churches, I made a suggestion.
“Tim, when you speak in a church, don’t just deliver a missions sermon, the kind I or the host pastor might give. You have a unique opportunity to tell us something about God’s work in South America we don’t know. Tell us what you have seen. Give us your stories. Tell us which scriptures have made a world of difference in your life and ministries.”
It takes a certain amount of nerve, I know, to instruct veteran missionaries on how to do what they do best: preach in churches. And yet, as a longtime pastor who has pretty much seen it all, I want the speakers to be as effective for the Lord as possible.
In the late 1970s I served as a trustee of our denomination’s International Mission Board and have made mission trips overseas, working with missionaries. We love missionaries and give generously to support their work. As pastor, I was always delighted to have them speak in my church. But–and this is my burden–I’ve seen it done poorly and seen it done well.
Here was Tim’s response to me…