A Day More About Missions than Green Beer

Today, of course is St. Patrick’s Day.

Nancy intends to cook up a pot of corned beef and cabbage before the day is out. She got some Guinness Stout for the occasion also. My mouth is watering already, even though I just finished lunch not too long ago.

Nothing wrong with any of those aspects of the day, in moderation of course, but how much we will have missed the point if we do not acquaint ourselves with the man behind the day, St. Patrick, called by some the patron saint of Ireland.

Mark Driscoll has an excellent post on him entitled St. Patrick: One of the Greatest Missionaries Who Ever Lived.

Let me whet an appetite of a different kind with this pull quote from the post by the man whose family used to go by O’Driscoll:

In faith, the forty-something year-old Patrick sold all of his possessions, including the land he had inherited from his father, to fund his missionary journey to Ireland. He worked as an itinerant preacher and paid large sums of money to various tribal chiefs to ensure he could travel safely through their lands and preach the gospel. His strategy was completely unique, and he functioned like a missionary trying to relate to the Irish people and communicate the gospel in their culture by using such things as three-leaf clovers to explain the gospel. Upon entering a pagan clan, Patrick would seek to first convert the tribal leaders and other people of influence. He would then pray for the sick, cast demons out of the possessed, preach the Bible, and use both musical and visual arts to compel people to put their faith in Jesus. If enough converts were present he would build a simple church that did not resemble ornate Roman architecture, baptize the converts, and hand over the church to a convert he had trained to be the pastor so that he could move on to repeat the process with another clan. Patrick gave his life to the people who had enslaved him until he died at 77 years of age. He had seen untold thousands of people convert as between 30-40 of the 150 tribes had become substantially Christian. He had trained 1000 pastors, planted 700 churches, and was the first noted person in history to take a strong public stand against slavery.

For the rest of an intriguing and to-the-point mini-education on this giant of church history click here.

Before the day is out, take a peek. Give thanks for a gospel-inflamed heart of the past like this one. Ask God to raise up others like it in our generation for His glory, the good of the church, and the joy of the nations.

Introducing Our Church Planting Pastor

As I announced on Sunday morning to our congregation, effective July 1, Greg Willson assumed a full-time pastoral staff position with the title of Church Planting Pastor. Recently God favored us with keeping Greg and Christina around for another year before they answer the call to help with a church plant in Columbia, South Carolina. We are grateful for the “reprieve” in his leaving as it works to our advantage in several ways.

Greg will continue his excellent work as our lead worshipper and shepherd of the young adult ministry. We don’t have to change horses in midstream during this critical year of getting into a building! In addition to those responsibilities, the remainder of his job description will revolve around executive pastor type functions as he oversees the coordination of all efforts related to transitioning into our new facility. We desperately need help on this front and Greg possesses the gifts and talents to help us immensely in this regard.

Another advantage to this arrangement is that we budgeted for the last half of 2011 for a new lead worshipper intern as well as a full-time associate staff person. By not needing to do the former and making Greg the latter through May of 2012, we came out ahead monetarily in terms of latitude in our budget. This too is a great blessing.

Greg and Christina still aim toward helping with the church plant in Columbia, but in the meantime we gain his services on our staff as he further prepares for that assignment on the job at OGC. Having him on board in this position also fits in with the “R” in our BRIDE acrostic – Reproducing Churches. We look forward to launching him out in the future, investing in him in the present, and tapping his gifts and ministry between now and next May, Lord willing. Pray for his fruitfulness in his work among us!

Valiquette Update

On Saturdays we come to the V’s in our call list/prayer directory with only two entries.

One of them is the Valiquette family, missionaries from our church with a burden for Italy.

Recently they altered their missional trajectory to pursue church planting in Salerno with the Acts 29 network.

Click on below for a video interview with that network you can watch to catch a Q&A Jutty did with one of their reps. I encourage you to do so for the purpose of knowing how strategically you can pray for the Valiquette’s and their dream for seeing a church planted in southern Italy.

Jutty does a great job in sharing the passion of his heart. Takes a little over twelve minutes but worth your time.

Acts 29 Italy – Interview from Justin Valiquette on Vimeo.