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Archive for the ‘Steve Wheeler’ Category

Well, actually home by way of Japan. As I type, I’m sitting at the airport in Manila, PH, waiting for a flight to Osaka, Japan.  It’s Friday afternoon. I’ll only be in Japan till Monday – one-day conference on Saturday, then preaching on Sunday. 

 

The ministry that made it possible for me to be here is White Fields (www.whitefields.org), a mission agency whose focus is almost as unusual as it is noble. The commitment of the agency is to help national church planters with temporary and progressively reduced financial support as those men work at getting a church going.  Thus, theirs is a difficult endeavor because there is an element of anonymity very much involved.  The agency works very hard to raise support for men who will almost certainly never stand before their benefactors.  That leaves the agency with an even greater stewardship than most mission organizations, and they take that stewardship very seriously.  White Fields recruits only those men who have proven themselves qualified and able to do the work of a church planter; they maintain an apparatus in each country and/or region that meaningfully oversees the distribution of funds and the integrity of the ministry of those who receive those funds; they continually and aggressively provide surgically designed training for the pastors (thus this trip); and they demand and post regular reports which honestly and meaningfully chronicle the fruit and the failures and the frustrations experienced by each of those receiving support. White Fields was birthed in 1953, and so there are many “alumni” still involved with the ministry mentoring those men still receiving support.

 

White Fields was born when Bert Poole, missionary to Japan, was challenged almost playfully by a national pastor with whom he was working, “Send me your salary, and I’ll raise up a handful of national pastors!”  He was gripped by the reality that national pastors could certainly be at the work more quickly and more effectively than a missionary coming from another culture and language, and he began to develop a ministry to do just what that Japanese pastor had challenged him to do, tongue-in-cheek or no!  For what it’s worth, I was very impressed that the strategy he developed and which has been fine-tuned over the years – without ever compromising the initial animating construct – is remarkably efficient and effective.  If the idea makes sense to you, check out their website. Steve Wheeler, the Director, would love to talk to you about the agency.

 

This week we had 60 pastors at a very nice Christian camp/conference ground east of Manila called Rizal Re-Creation Center.  The week demanded a great deal of the men, as English is not the first language of any of them, and it is fairly foreign to many of them.  They worked hard, and I don’t know when I have had a more receptive or reactive audience.  I will use this quiet forum to express my thanks to my friend Steve Wheeler, the Director of the mission, for a really special ministry opportunity, to Pastor Leo, the field director in the Philippines, and his wife for caring for me and for the seminar with such care, and to 60 new friends whose commitment to the ministry of reaching people and starting churches has been a challenge to me all week and will be all the days of my life.

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