People actually do studies of the world’s most dangerous jobs.
Here’s a list I found in my research for my introduction to my sermon this week in chapel at the Seminary.
7. Power Line Technicians
6. Farmers and Ranchers
5. Waste Management Workers
4. Structural Construction Workers
2. Airline pilots and crew
1. Fishermen (a la Dangerous Catch)
In some parts of the world, being a pastor could be life-threatening. But even in the parts of the world that have religious freedom, the ministry is a dangerous job. Check these statistics (thanks to Into Thy Word ministries):
Fifteen hundred pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches.
Fifty percent of pastors’ marriages will end in divorce.
Eighty percent of pastors feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastor.
Eighty percent of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years.
Seventy percent of pastors constantly fight depression.
I don’t have statistics about missionaries or youth pastors, but I am convinced that people who are in the ministry full time need our prayers and encouragement.
So stop what you’re doing right now and send an email of encouragement to someone you know in the ministry. Go get a card for your pastor or youth pastor. Tell him that what he does is valuable and that you are praying for him.
I asked Jim Cottrill if he would write a post for this blog about discipleship. Here’s his thoughts on what it takes to reach people and disciple them.
Years ago I was involved in a church plant in Calgary, I had a friend who loved ping pong (or table tennis – let’s not get caught up in semantics!). I like ping pong too, but this guy really loved it. He had the whole setup in his basement, and his house was often filled with the sounds of chops, flips and smashes (I’m trying to make it sound like I know something about table tennis. It’s not working, is it?).
When this guy joined our very new little group, ping pong came along with him. And it became one of the many answers to one of our biggest questions…
How can we reach people in our community?
Well, with ping pong, of course. Before long there was a mix of Christians and non-Christians down in his basement for some pretty serious tournaments.
I’m not sure where we got the idea that reaching the world only takes one kind of person. Maybe a somewhat dull preacher who can sing a little and sadly endure the inconveniences of wherever-they-are. This narrow vision of missions is going to kill the missionary effort. Can we bury the whole idea of cookie-cutter missionaries right now?
Let me ask you – do you think I would have reached the ping pong players of Calgary? Nope. Not too many people could have.
Here in Mexico, we have the same incredible variety of people that there are anywhere else in the world. And it’s going to take a wide variety of people – both Mexican and non-Mexican, to reach them.
I have a group of Christian friends here in Mexico City who are looking for ways to reach people, just like we were in Calgary. Right now we have keyboard classes for those who want to learn keyboard. English classes for those who want to learn English. Our two kids go to two different schools, and we meet people who are also parents. Those who can build things built furniture to give to unsuspecting families. All these things and many more do something important – they mix together people who have experienced God’s grace in Jesus, and those who haven’t.
You already know Dennis and Janell, and you know they’re training youth workers. But maybe you don’t know how incredibly versatile youth workers in Mexico need to be! It’s going to take more than one kind of person to reach them. I’m betting this new generation has a more varied set of interests than any generation before.
We talk a lot about methods of discipleship, mission strategies, and so on. But it still comes down to this, just like it always has.
Mixing together people that have experienced God’s grace in Jesus with those who haven’t. And sharing stories of that grace.
Do you work in construction? Come to Mexico! Share how you’ve seen God’s grace as you’ve worked with the worker here who thinks he has nothing to live for.
You’re retired? Come on down! You can reach the mature Mexican in a way that the younger missionary never can, because you’ve seen God’s grace in a way she never has.
An artist? Fantastic! Do we have ideas for you! But much too creative ones to write here. 😉
You’re a doctor? We have lots of doctors here you could share ideas with. And show how God’s grace has transformed your life.
Computer tech? Come help us set up an internet cafe, that can mix together believers and not-yet-believers! Help non-techie missionaries with their computers.
You’re a student? Get together with other students, and just give your time. Speak English? Come teach and share grace with your smile and love.
Experience in youth ministry? Oooh boy – don’t wait, talk to Dennis today. 😉
Come for a few years and build deep relationships. Come for a week or two, and you’ll be surprised how deep your relationships get! Help us put on an event. Or develop a long term strategy. Give us a shot of encouragement, or make a long term commitment to stand with us.
Us – all believers in Mexico, no matter what passport we have. There are a thousand things you can do. Jesus is working, and building His church. He may even do it with ping pong.
Just don’t ask me to lead the ping pong ministry.
Jim and Shari have been in Mexico since 2006, and are currently serving in south east Mexico City. Their blog is called Finding direction. Check it out!
There’s a new product coming to North America in the Fall of 2008 called Bible Illuminated. It is an oversized (8 ¼ x 11 ½), full-color, 264-page glossy magazine that has striking, provocative, contemporary photographs. It uses the Good News Translation (GNT) and it is aimed to be less intimidating than traditional Bibles.
One of the cool things is that it is the actual text of the Bible put into a format that is easy to read and feels more like something you would pick up and look at today, either on the subway, the doctor’s office, or anywhere else.
Here’s a video of the creator of the project talking about the motive behind it and what he hopes happens as a result.
This weekend, I helped at a concert that our local church and two other churches put on with one of the primary purposes being to raise money for an evangelistic concert on October 19.
Basically, the idea was that if you attended the concert on Sunday, you could get in to the other concert as a VIP. I’m not sure exactly what it means to be a VIP at the other concert, but it’s going to be a huge concert, so I’m thinking preferential area, etc.
The cool part was to see how the youth pastors interacted with each other and worked together. I just met 2 of them, and they seem like great guys. I’m looking forward to seeing how all of this works for the future.
It’s great to see different churches from different denominations come together to reach young people for the Kingdom of God. This is something that I’ve noticed is not very popular here in Mexico, but things are changing, and this concert was a good start.
Wednesday night I shared at Fellowship Baptist Church, one of the churches that supports our ministry. I was there to share what has been happening in Latin America over the last five years, and I was surprised to see how much what was happening in the church had to do with what I was going to share.
Last week, someone had stolen the guitars the church uses for worship (“>read the newspaper article). Wednesday, the service was started with the song, “Count Your Blessings.”
I’ve known the music director pretty much my whole life, and he started sharing how God had blessed them in the middle of the crisis. He had seen many good things happen as a result of having the guitars stolen, and it was obvious that he was excited about what God was doing.
Part of my talk has to do with the struggles that we go through as we follow God, and how the struggles are nothing in comparison to the glory that awaits us (Romans 8:18).
I also talk about how what God is doing in our lives and churches should be known among our neighbors. I’m excited about the story and what is happening at Fellowship, and I’m glad to have them as our partners in ministry.
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