Thursday, April 29, 2010

Building a Model Church to Establish an Expository Ministry

This week, fellow Master's Seminary Alum Travis Allen is visiting our church, Greenhills Christian Fellowship (GCF) to meet with the pastors and elders in the church to get an over view of the church's ministries, as well as with our ministry, the The Expositor's Academy. The reason for this visit is that the former Senior pastor of GCF retired earlier this year and the pastoral search committee is getting to know Travis to see if perhaps he might join them as their preaching pastor.

Travis has been working for Grace to you for about 10 years now and has been involved with teaching in the Grace Life Fellowship at Grace Community Church. About a week ago while Travis was working, he got a call from his supervisor telling him that he needs to come into the office right away. He arrived to find himself in a small meeting with Don Green, Phil Johnson and John MacArthur. Half joking, they told Travis that they were planning his future and then told him about the opportunity at GCF.

You see, about two months earlier some of the elders of GCF made a personal appeal to pastor John asking him if he could help them find a new pastor for their church who is a skilled expositor of Scripture as well as a men skilled in pastoral ministry. After some searching pastor John hand picked Travis and recommend him to GCF.

When Travis was told about the opportunity that Thursday he was very excited and went home to tell his wife. I think that it is safe to say that most mother's of 5 children would not respond well to their husbands asking them, "What do you think about moving out of the first house we ever owned, the one we just bought less than a year ago, and move to Asia to serve the Lord?" It appears that his wife Melinda is open to this opportunity as it has been something they have discussed in the past. Not specifically going to the Philippines, but serving God in the Asia area among English speakers in a ministry that would allow them to have a wide impact. What may have seemed to be an unreasonable request, (A ministry in Asia to English speakers) may just be what God has been preparing them for.

Two days later Travis had purchased plane tickets and after church on Sunday, packed his bags and got on a plane headed to Manila. He had no idea the week before that he would be in the Philippines visiting GCF. He arrived on Tuesday morning (about four days after his meeting with John, Don and Phil) and has been on a whirlwind tour ever since.

In our excitement, Jeffery Co and I joined elder Mike and Goby to pick Travis up from the airport. We took him straight to his first meeting, breakfast with elder James Oh and pastor B.J. Sabastian.
That same evening we took Travis to a dinner meeting with about a dozen GCF elders so that they could get to know each other better. The next day Travis had breakfast with third year students from our training ministry, the Expositor's Academy, followed by a visit with Compassion International, a ministry partner of GCF.
He ended the day by preaching at GCF's midweek service. On Thursday we took Travis on a tour of Faith Academy, followed by a visit to a ministry we have to the poor. He ended the days with another dinner fellowship with GCF leaders.
On Friday he visited the Far East Broadcasting Company where he spoke at the staff chapel service and led a devotion on Saturday with GCF staff. This Sunday he will preach at two services before getting back on a plane Sunday evening.

God's providential hand in arranging all these opportunities was evident as all these meetings and times to preach came together in a matter of days. If GCF follows pastor John's recommendation of Travis and brings him on as their pastor, it will not only be a great benefit to the church, but it will also greatly help to establish the ministry of the Expositor's Academy to not only teach men to establish expository ministries, but it will allow us to have a solid model of what that looks like for our students and other churches here in the Philippines.

Please join me in praying that God would guide the leadership of GCF to choose the right man, weather it be Travis or someone else, to lead and feed us. Pray also that this pastor would be able to partner with us to train godly men and women for the ministry.