Multiply!

Go Multiply, India!

Berean India Mission Update

“Go Multiply!”

It has been a tremendous trip to India:  the joy of seeing friends, of teaching the youth, of enjoying the beauty of the sunrise over the Bay of Bengal with my wife.  The list could go on and on.  However, if I did not got to do anything other than what I had the privilege of doing the last day of the youth conference in Tamil Nadu it would have been worth the trip.

At times, the ministry in Tamil Nadu has struggled.  Over the ten years that we have been involved, local leadership has changed a half a dozen times.  Some men have gotten discouraged and left the ministry while others have transferred to different areas and ministries.  Of all the men we have trained, we only have 13 pastors remaining.  However, on Tuesday morning I got to pray a prayer of dedication over eight young men that were being commissioned for ministry.  They have been given the title of “lay pastor,” but they represent another generation of Berean pastors to reach the villages and lost of Tamil Nadu.

Jesus made clear to His disciples the task of the church, “going, MAKE DISCIPLES of the nations.”  Yep, this is it.  This is what it is about.  Multiplication!  Jesus was saying the way we evangelize the world is to MULTIPLY!  So, Pastor JD, who I have had the privilege of teaching and encouraging over the last ten years has taken that to heart.  He has trained and equipped three young men to carry on the ministry, to make disciples.  It has not been easy.  In those ten years he has had a mentally handicapped son, who requires constant care.  He had young twins, one of which was electrocuted as a young child.  But when I gave the charge to these three young disciples and commended him for his faithfulness, the joy in his heart and on his face was palpable.

How will India be won for Christ?  Through discipleship.  JD has built several church buildings to minister in.  They give him cred, allowing him to be considered viable in the eyes of the locals.  I concede that, but buildings will not reach India, discipleship will.  Multiply!  That’s what Jesus said.

How will the United States be won for Christ?  Through discipleship.  Who are you discipling?  Investing in?  Pouring what you have learned into?  The command remains, MULITIPLY!

Your brother,

Tom Walker

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Please leave a comment and let us know how God is using your church to raise up indigenous harvest field laborers in other contexts!

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2013 BFCnetwork “THRIVE” Leadership Forum

2013 BFCnetwork “THRIVE” Leadership Forum

[REGISTER NOW] for this year’s leadership forum!

Speaker: Dr. Paul Borden – GrowingHealthyChurches.org

Growing Healthy Churches

Our latest newsletter with information on the Leadership Forum:

2013 THRIVE Conference

2013 THRIVE Conference

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Leave a comment and tell us a memory about a past leadership conference you attended!

What will you be looking for in this year’s BFCnetwork THRIVE leadership conference?

Walker India Mission Update #2

An Update By Tom Walker From India

This Is Why We Came

Nearly a year ago Janet and I read a book together called “Granny Brand.”  It was the story of Evelyn Brand who was a missionary to Southeast India.  We laughed and cried as she described her beloved “hill people,” along with the sights and sounds of India.  Last Friday we felt we lived out a part of that story.

We left our hotel after lunch and embarked on a three hour journey to a village church dedication.  The journey was complete with bicycles, motorcycles, cars, buses, trucks, three-wheeled “autos,” cows, sheep, goats, chickens and pigs.  (We had even seen a camel the day before).  That is normal for India, but where the normalcy ended was when we turned off the main road.

We began to wind through the countryside, “jungle,” on a one-lane road.  We began to notice cotton fields, being worked by the village people.  Then we came upon an ox cart filled with bags of harvested cotton.  When we arrived at the village it became abundantly obvious that we were the novelty.  Word spread quickly that there were some white faces within view and people began to come by the vehicle and some were even brave enough to try out their sparse English with a brave “hello,” followed by laughter and antics.  We slowly made our way through the narrow, crowded streets of this village of 3,000 people.  Then on the outskirts of town we saw them.  The people of the church, gathered for the dedication service.

For most of us, it would be a stretch to call this structure a building, let alone a church.  In reality, it consisted of eight concrete pillars, some trees trimmed as supporting beams and several sheets of corrugated tin, completing the roof.  The walls consisted of large pieces of fabric and the ground was covered by an assortment of woven grain bags and tarps for the people to set on.  Now in India no church would be complete without a sound system, despite the fact that the enclosed area could not have been any bigger than 150 square feet.  There was a green ribbon tied across the front opening of the structure, awaiting the arrival of the distinguished guests from the Berean Fellowship in the US.  We were greeted warmly by the gathering of about 35 men, women, and children who had been waiting patiently for our late arrival.  After Janet and I were honored to cut the ribbon, all proceeded proudly into the building and took their places on the floor, while we occupied the places of honor, an assortment of plastic chairs at the “front” of the church.  Fresh flower were hung around our necks and coconut milk was served to us, straight from the coconut!  This was a festive occasion for this small band of believers.

The Lord had impressed upon me that when I brought the dedication address it should be in story form, as undoubtedly many of these simple villagers would be illiterate.  That was the case as only a few possessed Bibles.  I chose as my text the familiar passage where Jesus tells the story of “three lost things,” in Luke 15; a lost sheep, a lost coin, a lost son.  The people sat attentive and captured by the Word of God, communicated orally through a translator.  Knowing looks and heads bobbing in agreement conveyed to me that the stories were part of their culture, communicating truths they were connecting with.  As I sought to be animated and relevant with my illustrations I was observing three men that were standing some distance away, along the road.  Obviously, they were not yet part of this fellowship, but would they be in the days ahead as the believers live out their faith?

Then it struck me.  This is why we came.  This made all the expense, inconvenience, heat and humidity, culture shock, and feelings of being overwhelmed worth it.  As I looked into the faces of these simple, village people, and saw the beaming smile on the face of the young pastor whom we had honored by dedicating “the building,” my heart was moved.  This is why Christ came, to seek and to save the lost.  This is why Granny Brand endured decades of hardship to reach people just like these, nearly a century ago.

Some things have changed in the villages of India over the years.  Some have electricity, cell phones, and indoor plumbing, but the need remains the same.  Men who will brave the challenges of ridicule, prejudice, and threats.  People who will pray and encourage those who go.  People who will give.

For ten years now the Berean Fellowship has been invested in training and supporting men such as this, who in turn will go to the villages with the light of the gospel.  This is my eighth trip to teach, preach and encourage.  But all over again I remembered why we came.  Why you gave.  Why they go.

Tom Walker

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Please leave a comment and encourage the Walkers in their missionary work!

Walker India Mission Update #1

Walker India Mission Update #1

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Since I was a young boy, I have struggled with feelings of inadequacy. I can relate to Moses when he argued with the LORD about his inability to speak. Gideon’s words ring a chord with me when he says, “My family is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.” (Judges 6:15) Never are these feelings more palpable than when I am in India. The needs are so great and the challenge before me to minister to these dear men and women at times overwhelms me.

Yesterday was such a day. I preached to the youth in the morning for several sessions and then I met with one of the leaders who was telling me of the needs of our pastors. I wanted to extend our help as a Fellowship but knew that the need was so great that the little help we have given and could give would not begin to meet these needs. Health issues, family crises, ministry challenges are commonplace but also bigger than life in this culture. By the time I was to speak to the youth in the afternoon session I was overwhelmed with emotion and my sense of inadequacy to meet the need was looming before me.

Then Aaron, one of the Crusade workers who was to translate for me, said something peculiar. He said, “You have come with great power this trip.” I was taken back. I wanted to laugh and argue, “If you only knew the thoughts that are going through my head right now and my desire to run and hide, you would not think of me as coming in power.” We proceeded to the following two sessions and the LORD gave clarity and freedom to share my heart and his Word with the youth. I was exhausted but grateful.

From where does our sufficiency come? Paul says it comes from Christ. He reminds us that we are not adequate. We are not sufficient for that which is before us in life. However, Christ is sufficient and willing to use us if we let Him.

So what must we do? We must give up! We must surrender. We must cry out to the LORD and yield ourselves to his Spirit and let him work and speak through us. “Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7) Paul goes on to say:

“Therefore we do not give up…for our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seem, but what is unseen; for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Cor. 4:16-18)

This morning, Thursday, January 17th, I still feel inadequate, even somewhat overwhelmed. However, I will minister in the closing sessions today by faith, in the strength that the All-Sufficient One provides. How about you? What are you facing today that you feel inadequate for? The truth is: you are! But it is also true that your sufficiency is in Christ. Give up and walk in the power that his Spirit supplies today.

Thank you for your prayers. The LORD is sustaining us. We conclude the Youth Conference in AP today and tomorrow will be visiting some of the works on the field. These are particularly taxing days for Janet and me as we don’t always know that it is in the best interest of the men to have “white faces” show up in their villages. The perception can be that since they have “wealthy American” friends, they will have access to many resources and don’t need the offerings and support of the local people. Pray with us that we would think right about the opportunity to bless and encourage the pastors and wives by our visits.

Your Co-laborers,

Tom and Janet Walker

Bereans In India And Spain

Berean Missions

Prayer Requests and Trip Plans for Tom & Janet Walker

Blog post by Tom Walker

It would not be within our norm to be out of the country for seven out of nine weeks, but as you know, that is how the schedule has fleshed out from December 3rd to February 4th for the Walkers.

Mission accomplished as it related to the first trip to Peru.  We were able to help Hannah finish out the school year by teaching, rehearsing musical numbers, administering tests, grading papers and even making costumes for the closing program!  Besides the school aspect, I was able to preach each weekend to Hannah and Jhonatan’s church family and we spent as much time as possible with Micah Joy!

This Friday morning we are off again on our trip to India and Spain.  The first two weeks will involve ministering to around 350 young people, ages 16-24, from our Berean churches in India.  The next several weeks, the schools in India take time off, so these youth conferences have been scheduled over this holiday where the youth as well as the pastors and wives can travel to these conferences.  The first one will be in the state of Andhra Pradesh and the second in Tamil Nadu.

Following these youth conferences and meeting with the pastors and wives in the two states that we have oversight of, we will be spending ten days in Spain with Esther, our second daughter.  She is involved in laying ground work for a church plant in the village of Alburquerque, where a team from Lincoln Berean college group has ministered the last several summers.  We will also be traveling to Seville and Malaga to visit longtime friends and missionaries.

Please pray for us! Here are some of our prayer requests:

  • travel safety
  • quick adjustment to the 12-hour time difference
  • wisdom and stamina during many speaking sessions
  • God’s blessing on the marriages of the Indian pastors and their families
  • for the Holy Spirit to work powerfully among over 300 youth
  • the work of the Holy Spirit to continue after the Walkers leave each Indian region
  • God’s blessing on the Berean mission work going on in Spain

Also, if you would still like to contribute to the costs for this trip, please send your gifts to:

  • Berean Fellowship of Churches
  • P.O. Box 174
  • Alda, NE 68810

Thank you for your interest and support in our ministry.  We are trusting the Lord to use us and meet the need.

Your Gospel Co-laborers,

Tom & Janet Walker (longmont09@gmail.com)

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Please leave a comment with an encouragement for the Walkers, and we will send it to them!

Convention Letter From Mike Huber

Convention Letter From Mike Huber

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Just last Saturday, I met with the Planning Team for the 2012 National Convention of the Berean Fellowship of Churches.  We met to review and evaluate this year’s convention.  Certainly, we found things to improve.  However, it was noteworthy to me how many comments we received like, “This was the best Berean Convention I’ve ever been to!” and, “Now THIS is what a family of churches feels like!”  The atmosphere was positive and encouraging.  People were valued and churches were honored.  The Lord was praised!

They truly were wonderful meetings.  A most encouraging introduction for me and Pam to our new Fellowship.  To all whom we were able to greet there (including those we met for the first time) it was a rich and enjoyable privilege for us.  To those of you who were not able to (or chose not to) attend, we missed you.  Your presence would have only added to the richness of the experience.  I can only begin to tell you a little of what you missed.

To begin, delegates from our churches overwhelmingly elected me to be the first full-time President of the Berean Fellowship.  I look forward to these next years, as we continue to carry-out the Lord’s mission and discover together what the next phase of ministry for the BFC looks like. Since last December, I’ve traveled our region (11 states and Canada) and met with pastors and people of our 65+ churches.  In those travels, I have repeatedly taken note of four essential qualities or values of our Fellowship:

  1. The Word of God
  2. The local church
  3. People and relationships
  4. Ministry together.

All of these commitments were evidenced again in our recent Convention.

The mealtimes were varied and satisfying times of fellowship.  We sat with someone new at every meal.  They were times to relax and take our time in visiting and connecting with others in our BFC Family.  The food was tremendous and sumptuous – not like any “camp food” I ever knew.  The facilities at Maranatha Camp were perfect for our purposes.  The Camp staff went out of their way to meet our every need and served us way beyond the call-of-duty.

We worshiped our Lord in song, in prayer, and in study of His Word.  The messages from several of our most excellent pastors fed our souls and practical workshops equipped and encouraged us to be more effective in ministry – both in evangelism and edification.  We heard updates on what the Lord is doing through our church planting efforts, both nationally and internationally and were encouraged by examples of church-strengthening ministries of the BFC that are helping our churches to be healthy and more fruitful.

It was a special point of celebration when we welcomed a new district and three new churches: Nashville, TN, Huntsville, AL, and Columbia, KY.  One delegate observed, “We are becoming more diverse and more multi-cultural, and yet we are still ‘the Fellowship’.”

If you did miss this Convention or if you want to enjoy it all over again, the pictures and videos and sermon-audios are all online on our website: bfcnetwork.org

Next year, we’re planning to be back at Maranatha again.  October 10-13, 2013 are the tentative dates.  Go ahead and put them on your calendar right now.  You really won’t want to miss these meetings!

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Dr. Mike: President of the Berean Fellowship of Churches

dr.mike@bfcnetwork.org

Planting and Strengthening Churches, to Make Disciples, to Reach the World!

www.bfcnetwork.org

2012 Berean National Convention Day One

2012 Berean National Convention Day One

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Please leave a comment below and share a story from this year’s convention.