Missionaries often are asked: “How can I pray for you?” and most likely, we will answer: “Pray for our financial support, our witness, and our families.” These are good things to pray for, but there are some things we are ashamed of admitting and that don’t make the prayer request list. A missionary is not someone special, more gifted, or more holy than anyone else. In fact, many of us missionaries joke that God needed to take us to the mission field to teach us the hard lessons we could not to learn because of our own stubbornness and zealousness. Among missionary leaders, there is a saying that leading missionaries is like “herding cats” because of our independent streak. Missionaries can exude strength and courage, but as the years progress, I have noticed certain patterns of struggle that are unique to missionaries (and I’d venture to say much of this applies to those who are in full-time ministry, pastors, or church-planters). We need you pray for us in the following areas.
Editor’s Note: From its inception, the women in the PCA have loved on and supported the denomination in practical ways. One way has been through the annual women’s ministry love gift. This year, the women’s ministry of the PCA is praying for and partnering with the different agencies and committees of the denomination regionally. Throughout the year, we will highlight the committees and agencies to learn more about what they do and how we can pray for them. I recently interviewed Rod Mays, coordinator of Reformed University Fellowship (RUF), about their work with college students on university campuses. Christina: What is your role at RUF and can you tell us a bit about how RUF started? Rod: Currently I am the Interim National Coordinator. I served as the National Coordinator from 1999 until 2014 and returned to RUF in 2017. As I retire again, at the end of the year as the National Coordinator, I plan to stay on in some other capacity. RUF was started in Mississippi in 1973 along with the PCA. RUF grew in the state of Mississippi and became a part of MNA in 1982 where numerous campuses were started in other southern states. In 2001 RUF became its own Permanent Committee in the PCA. At this time, we started to build our senior staff as our expansion started to grow quickly outside of the south. Our growth continues out west, the mid-west and north-east. Christina: What is its mission? Rod: “To reach students for Christ and to equip them to serve the church and the world” (“the gathering and perfecting of the saints”)...
I distinctly remember my first Sunday morning in college. I was 15 hours away from home, far from my family and from the church that my dad planted and pastored for most of my life. I was a PK (pastor’s kid), and for the first time in my life, I had to choose where I was going to go to church. Suddenly, I realized that I hadn’t ever actually stopped to think about why I went to church or what kind of church I should attend. I simply went where my dad was pastoring. I found myself paralyzed by the choices and a little over my head with the decision. Ministering on a college campus has revealed that I wasn’t the only pastor’s kid to feel this way. While seeing the church from the perspective of a PK is a beautiful and complicated thing, sometimes we assume that transitioning to a new church is second nature just because that’s the world we grew up in. But often, it’s harder than we think. You’re not alone, and it’s okay. Here are some thoughts about going to church in college as a PK. Seven Things to Consider as You Look for a Church Home First, go. It’s not uncommon to start reviewing values you grew up with when you leave home. It’s also normal for PKs to feel a sense of freedom from the proverbial fishbowl when they go away for college. It’s tempting to want to sleep in or skip church for a while. After all, you probably never had those options growing up. But, let me encourage you to make going to church a priority. Don’t skip just because you can and feel like it. It will be harder to get back into the rhythm later. If you must bask in a newfound freedom, sit in the back row. Second, don’t be discouraged if you don’t feel “known” right away...
Editor’s Note: From its inception, the women in the PCA have loved on and supported the denomination in practical ways. One way has been through the annual women’s ministry love gift. This year, the women’s ministry of the PCA is praying for and partnering with the different agencies and committees of the denomination regionally. Throughout the year, we will highlight the committees and agencies to learn more about what they do and how we can pray for them.I recently interviewed Dr. Roy Taylor, stated clerk of the PCA's Administrative Committee about their work for the PCA.Christina: Can you tell us the history of the Administrative Committee? Why it was formed?Dr. Taylor: The AC was formed by the First General Assembly in 1973 to provide the legal and organizational structure for the PCA to exist and function as a denomination.Christina: Many in the PCA are likely aware that the Administrative Committee is responsible for General Assembly, but there is more that you do for the PCA. Can you tell us what the Committee does?Dr. Taylor: The AC is to the PCA what Intel computer chips are to computers. The AC enables the General Assembly, the other Committees and Agencies to function, serves like the State Department to relate to other denominations, and advances the purity, peace, unity, and progress of the PCA. The AC also acts as the Board of Directors of the PCA Corporation and provides the skeleton for the PCA to exist and minister.
Editor’s Note: From its inception, the women in the PCA have loved on and supported the denomination in practical ways. One way has been through the annual women’s ministry love gift. This year, the women’s ministry of the PCA is praying for and partnering with the different agencies and committees of the denomination regionally. Throughout the year, we will highlight the committees and agencies to learn more about what they do and how we can pray for them. Below is an interview I did with Wallace Anderson about the work and ministry of Ridge Haven: Christina: Can you tell us about Ridge Haven and how it serves the PCA?
I grew up in a church that publicly honored mothers on Mother’s Day. At the entrance to the sanctuary, they placed a box of little carnations to be pinned on the blouses of women with children as a sort of badge of honor. During the welcome, the pastor would ask all of the mothers to stand. It is right to honor mothers. So much of their sacrificial work is performed in middle of the night moments or behind closed doors, and it is good to affirm their efforts, stirring them up to love and good deeds when they may be tempted to feel as if no one sees or their work doesn’t matter.This ritual to honor mothers was certainly a help to me growing up. My selfish childish heart needed to consider all the ways that my own mother laid down her life for our family and to thank her for it. I remember feeling proud of my mom as she stood during the public acknowledgement of mothers. I also wondered why she always cried, and I remember seeing that most of the women cried during this part, seated and standing alike. Despite all of the beautiful opportunity that this holiday offers to affirm the role of mothers, it can also be a trigger, exacerbating deep seeded pain in those with children and those without. For this reason, Mother’s Day provides the church not only with an opportunity to “see” the unseen work of mothers, but to acknowledge the unseen pain of all women, caring for them by reminding them that our God is El Roi, the God who sees.
In their new book, Life-Giving Leadership, Karen Hodge and Susan Hunt explain that life-giving women’s ministry comes from confidence in Christ, not in ourselves. Without it, they warn, women’s ministry can become a life-taking, destructive activity. There is a third kind of women’s ministry. It may run smoothly and involve lots of the Bible study and service of which Karen Hodge and Susan Hunt speak in their new book, but unlike what they describe, there is no life in it. That’s because it is life-faking. The authors hint at life-faking when they say in their book Transformed, “We feel guilty and hypocritical when we try to play the part of the perfect wife, mother or daughter, but we don’t have to pretend. Paul holds before us the exhilarating idea of transformation.” Life-Faking Ministry A male example of fakery is found in the character of the older brother in Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son. The prodigal son, after rebelling, found reconciliation after he confessed candidly to his father, saying, “I am not worthy to be called your son.” The older son, who had stayed home, revealed his divided heart when he jealously complained to his father about all the attention the younger brother received. He said, “Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends” (Luke 15:29). Apparently, the older son’s expectation of the relationship with his dad was not covenantal, but contractual. He demanded his due. The father’s response is poignant: “Son [note that he reminds him of that important relationship], you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours” (v. 30). The father points out the important part of the relationship, implying sadly, “You and I shared togetherness all this time, whereas the younger son missed out on the relationship. Isn’t closeness with me enough for you?” It wasn’t. The older son wanted to celebrate with “his friends,” apparently not with his dad. And so Jesus asks us, “Are you following me to be with me, or to get something from me? Are you in a genuine relationship with your Father, or have you been faking?”
CHRISTINA FOX|EDITOR Editor's Note: From its inception, the women [...]
In 1995 God used an unassuming, unflashy woman as an instrument to spark a revival of humility and surrender in the hearts of thousands of Christian leaders. Nancy Leigh DeMoss (now Wolgemuth) had been asked to speak to the staff of CRU and taught about the kind of heart that God revives for his glory, and the necessity of a lifestyle of surrender and humility. Christian leaders serving with CRU were deeply impacted and their leadership radically transformed as God’s Spirit convicted them about sin and selfishness. Hundreds of women will gather in Atlanta in two weeks to learn and growth together as women who offer life-giving leadership, rather than life-taking or selfish leadership. Karen Hodge and Susan Hunt share, “Our leadership is life-giving when it reflects Jesus’ person and purpose which is only possible because of his prayer and provision.” Here are three specific characteristics of life-giving leaders:
RACHEL CRADDOCK|GUEST My bare soles felt the hardwood floors [...]