“Go and make disciples of all nations…”
A command (Great Commission nogal!) well-known, well-quoted, well-memorized and… well… missed (= well-missed!) by most of us!
I grew up in a home where my dad prayed for, supported and spoke regularly about missions and missionaries, still today at the age of 90! This influence and example have never been far away from me. Therefore, throughout my ministry as a pastor and theological educator I have had some involvement in and passion for reaching the nations, although I personally never felt a calling to go to a foreign nation to learn the language and preach the Gospel as a “foreign missionary”. Being a pastor at Rosebank Union Church gave me the opportunity of going on several short-term mission trips, adding to my understanding of what it will take to “make disciples of all nations”.
As the desire to preach more and lead a church again increased over the past few years, I prayed for the Lord’s to clearly lead me where He sees fit. Since several doors in South Africa closed, I naturally started to look abroad. The International Baptist Church of Bratislava, Slovakia caught my attention – a small church of 40-50 members, representing 17+ nations or nationalities, many of them on short-term contracts in the city. The Lord spoke to me through Abraham’s calling to be a blessing to “all peoples on earth” (Gen 12:3), as well as reminding me of Luke’s reference to the “God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven” (Acts 2:5) gathered in the city of Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost. I started thinking about pastoring a church where “the nations” come and go, and the influence such a small congregation could have in reaching the nations!
Throw into the mix the fact that Joan and I love travelling, that we are at a life-stage where our kids are ready to leave home (or are we leaving home?!!), as well as the fact that this could be the last “full-blown” ministry innings I may have, then the initial prompting of the Lord was confirmed. Furthermore, the church leadership was unanimous in their decision to ask the members to call me and Joan to come to Bratislava, even after they heard me preach!
And so, off we go to “make disciples of all nations”. Please pray for us as we go!