Sunday, February 26, 2012

Examining Acts 1:8

Even though I presently serve as a missionary, there is a pastor’s heart that beats within my chest with a strong desire to see the local church walk in victory with the Lord.  Therefore, my thought processes are not only missiological, but ecclesiological and pastoral.  It is my privilege to help mobilize local churches for global missions and develop a comprehensive mission strategy.
A comprehensive mission strategy takes into account all 4 geographic regions outlined by Christ in Acts 1:8; namely, our Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and uttermost parts of the earth.  We have been traditionally taught to think of our Jerusalem as our home city, our Judea as our State, our Samaria as our nation or region and the uttermost parts is self-explanatory.  I certainly agree that the local church must be simultaneously involved in conscious efforts to evangelize all 4 regions.  However, I do want to challenge our understanding of this passage to lift one area out as a priority.

As conservative evangelicals, we endorse a hermeneutic or method of interpreting the bible that takes into account the culture, language and context in which the passage was originally written. We do this in an effort to find “authorial intent”.  That is, what the author of the passage intended us to understand by his words.  Let’s use this message to try to understand Acts 1:8.
When Christ spoke these words, the church was non-existent in Jerusalem, not to mention the other 3 regions He highlights.  So, was He saying that the disciples were to take the gospel and therefore the church to places where it was not?  You bet he was!  He still is. Therefore, the priority in missions is those places where there is no access to the gospel because there is no church.  That was and is Christ’s inherent focus in the Great Commission.
Today in missions, we speak of unreached people groups.  What does it mean to be unreached or even worse, unengaged?  An unreached people group is defined as those groups where less than 2% of the population is Christian.  Unengaged people groups have no gospel witness present within their culture.  So, I ask you, where should the priority in missions lie today?
I agree with the principle that lies behind the 2% threshold that defines a reached or unreached people group.  Once 2% of a population becomes Christian, the 2% can theoretically reach their culture and people with the gospel without “foreign” assistance.  Therefore, let’s hold to our hermeneutic and missiology and stop spending the majority of our time and resources on “reached” nations and people groups.  Let’s embrace the intent of Acts 1:8 – Getting the church to where no gospel witness exists and finally fulfilling the Great Commission.
Please give me your thoughts.  To comment on the blog, you must sign in through your email based search engine or through google.  Let’s talk!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

BCF Press Release



February 6, 2012

Students, faculty, and staff of The Baptist College of Florida (BCF) in Graceville have been greatly challenged by the messages of Wayne Briant, Daniel Akin, Jimmy Dukes, and Richie Allen throughout the first few weeks of chapel.

Press Photo
                                       BCF Alum and Founder of LINC-UP
                                      Missions, Richie Allen, Preaches Feb. 1

Allen, founder of LINC-UP Missions, Inc., an organization that mobilizes churches in the United States for church-planting partnerships in Brazil and other unreached places, preached in chapel on February 1. Illuminating the verses found in Psalms 34, Allen proclaimed the importance, intensity, and passion of the word "magnify" and how Christians should relate to our God who is omnipotent, all-powerful, invincible, supreme, omnipresent and omniscient.
For more information about BCF and the 10:00 a.m. chapel services, including the complete chapel schedule for the semester, call 800-328-2660 ext. 446 or visit

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Lord Keeps Us Busy

Ever so often, the Lord does things that are so remarkable until they change the direction of life and ministry.  This happened with me most recently when He showed me the biblical foundation for missions.  This Copernicus understanding moved me for the pastoral ministry to the mission field.

Previously, I had assumed that missions were man-centered and motivated by the lostness of man.  However, Scripture overwhelmingly purports that the Great Commission is God-centered.  We are motivated to reach the nations because of the greatness of God.  He is worthy of the worship of ALL the nations.

Even though we, as LINC-UP Missions, Inc, are the "new kid" on the missions block, God has demonstrated His pleasure upon, and faithfulness to, our efforts.  It can only be explained by the fact that we are committed to accomplishing what is deeply embedded in the heart of God.  Therefore, He has moved mountains in order to resource and bless us with viable opportunities.

January 22-25, we preached a revival with a missions emphasis at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Patterson, GA.  Pastor I.B. Boyette and his people are a wonderful blessing to us and our ministry.

February 1, we were on the campus of my Alma mater and partner in missions, The Baptist College of Florida.  We are always blessed by preaching in chapel services and reporting what God is doing on the frontlines.

February 5, we will be at FBC Folkston, GA with Bro Randy Jacoby and his people.

February 12, we travel to Quincy, FL to preach at Antioch Baptist Church.

February 17, our Board of Director meets to officially appoint the Jessup family as missionaries to Iceland and the Scandinavian countries.

February 28 we head back to Brazil to get back on the frontlines.

To God be the thanks and glory for what He is doing!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

LINC-UP Expands to Iceland

It has been my intentions from the beginning of LINC-UP Missions for our influence to be multi-national.  Because our God is so infinite, our vision must encompass the world.  We have stretched ourselves in every respect in order to keep up with the viable opportunities that have become available since we put our hands to the plow of reaching the unreached.  Our prayer for the past few months is that God would send us help in the form of field personnel who fit a very specific profile and also have the ability to raise support as a faith missionary.
Well, in January of this year, the Lord has answered our prayer.  Pastor Bill Jessup, a friend and ministry colleague since our college days at The Baptist College of Florida is coming on board with LINC-UP Missions to help expand our reach and influence.

Bill recently resigned his church in Stafford, VA in order to focus on their mission of planting churches and training leaders in Reykjavik, Iceland.  He will be building on a base that has been established since 2006 through the partnership he led his church to form in Iceland.  For the next 3 years, Bill and Cindy, along with their 3 children will spend most of their time establishing a strong beach-head for the gospel in Reykjavik.  During this time, he will also work to mobilize U.S. churches for mission involvement with him among the Icelandic people. Bill will also help us expand our influence to other unengaged peoples.

Bill describes the difference between our work in Brazil and his work in Iceland by saying, “If the work that Pastor Richie and I do were magazines, what Pastor Richie does in Brazil would be National Geographic and what I do in Iceland would be Gentlemen’s Quarterly.  Pastor Richie works in remote, areas of the 3rd world, while we work among some of the most affluent and technologically advanced, yet some of the most spiritually destistute people on the planet.”

Bill is exactly the type of person for whom we’ve been praying to help us.  He has a track record as an effective pastor.  He is an excellent communicator and preacher.  Most of all, his desire to see God glorified among the nations thrusts him to the frontlines.  Please pray for Bill, Cindy, Cami, Ben, and Alli as we hope to have the process finalized and to have them mobilized for Iceland by early March.

Profile of a LINC-UP Missions Investor

LINC-UP Missions has been mobilizing U.S. resources and personnel for global evangelization since 2006.  Our history of mobilization has allowed us to develop of profile of the people and churches with whom our voice resonates.  This is an interesting profile.  Does it describe you?    
An Investor in LINC-UP Missions:

Desires to see God do something on a scale that is bigger than their immediate surroundings -  They realize that they have a personal responsibility to fulfill the Great Commission. They are therefore motivated to become “world Christians” that leave their mark around the globe for the glory of Christ

Wants to make a significant contribution to the expansion of Christ’s kingdom - It’s not about just doing something good, but doing what is best. Both quality and quantity are important.

Is concerned about eternity – They want to be part of something that outlasts life on earth and impacts eternity.  If life really is just a vapor, and most of its trappings amount to wood, hay and stubble, then these people had rather invest in eternity where their investment will never fade away.

Thinks outside of the box – Thinkers are seldom confined to the boundaries of “the way it’s always been”.  They evaluate in light of effectiveness and are willing to abandon traditional, worn out structures for more biblical and culturally relevant means of accomplishing the goal.

Believes in efficiency and accountability – They want to know that their investment is really making a difference and are eager to hear regular “progress reports”.

Is relationship oriented – Institutionalism holds little value for many believers today.  Their loyalty does not lie with denominations, conventions nor organizations but with people and personal relationships. They realize, that after all, the gospel itself is relational not institutional.
Is bored with business as usual – We live in a fast-paced, ever-changing world.  What was cutting –edge last year is out-dated today.  If business as usual is not effective, it’s time to do something unusual and productive

Is weary of the pettiness and self-serving purposes that infect American Christianity - LINC-UP investors are very aware that most of the world’s population lives far below the standard of most Americans.  Knowing that Christians who live in developing nations would love to have what we throw away, our investors are somewhat ashamed of the self-centeredness that is so common-place in the average church. 
Is disillusioned with the inefficiency and impersonal approach of traditional methods – When “overhead” and administrative costs eat up the most part of every mission dollar given to some mission organizations, real stewards look for more efficient methods. 

Wants to be hands-on – Today’s movers and shakers want to give more than just their dollars, they want to be personally connected to the work.
Is busy with multiple endeavors – Usually, these people have “many irons in the fire”. Therefore they do not have time for the insignificant and do not want to be bogged down with trivial matters.

Realize that missions is about the glory of God – Emotional appeals about the lostness of man do not resonate with these individuals nearly as much as the prospect of seeing God glorified by bringing the nations to Himself.
Understand that not everything that is called “missions” is missions- These people are aware that biblical missions involve taking the gospel to people in places where it does not exist and is not available. This is priority number one for them. Everything else is secondary.

Project B.O.B.

LINC-UP Missions believes very strongly in equipping the Brazilian people to reach their world with the gospel.  Since Christian resources are almost non-existent in the rural communities where we work, our challenge is to equip them to minister without the luxury of the common tools of the trade which are so under appreciated here in the U.S.  Most of the pastors and leaders whom we train have only a well-worn Bible and the textbooks that we supply during the course of our training program.
Project B.O.B. (Buy One Book) was initiated to help overcome the lack of Christian material, especially books and bibles that hinder church-planting in Brazil.  If a believer is going to “study to show himself approved (2 Tim 3:15)” he must have the materials to help him study. 

Through project B.O.B. we can supply a pastor with a Study Bible for $40.00, with a course textbook for $10.00 or a new convert with a bible for $5.00. The materials that we supply are so well-used by these Brazilian leaders until it is impossible to over-emphasize the eternal and spiritual impact of these resources.

Investments in eternity can be made through Project B.O.B. at LINC-UP Missions, P.O. Box 572, Hilliard, FL  32046 or through our Pay Pal account at

Project Living Water

Gaining entrance into the Quilombo villages of Brazil proves to be a challenge.  Because of their history as slaves, they are very suspicious and cautious of outsiders.  The chief of the village must be convinced that the presence of missionaries is advantageous to his community before permission to enter is granted.  Therefore, in order to get the gospel into these unreached villages, many times it must be coupled with some type of community “improvement project” that will meet a humanitarian need for the benefit of the village.  This approach almost always wins the support of the chief.
Project living water is the perfect marriage of the humanitarian and spiritual needs of the Quilombolas.  Most of these villages have very crude sanitation and water supplies.  Water related illness is rampant among them.  Many are dying from preventable health problems that stem from a lack of clean water.
Therefore, LINC-UP Missions is partnering with one of our Brazilian colleagues (Arilton) who is from the interior of Brazil and whose father is a Quilombola.  He is a remarkable leader and has the trust of the Quilombolas because of his background.  Arilton has established a Not-For-Profit organization in Brazil called Mission Living Water.   Together, LINC-UP Missions and Mission Living Water are taking clean drinking water, but more importantly, the living water Himself, Jesus Christ to the Quilombolas.
Our first challenge is to get the living water into 50 Quilombo villages that have approximately 50 families each.  We are equipping each family with a residential water filter manufactured in Brazil for $15.00. 
If you are looking for a way to involve your church, Bible Study Class or organization in global evangelization, Project Living Water is an excellent vehicle for mobilization.  Our hope is that groups would not only help financially, but would also travel to Brazil with us for hands-on involvement.
To adopt an entire Quilombo village through Project Living Water and supply this unreached community with both clean drinking water and the gospel of Jesus Christ is only $750.00.   You may also choose to purchase 1 water filter for $15.00 or any multiple thereof.  As always,    LINC-UP Missions is highly accountable and will keep you informed of the impact of your investment.

Simply mark your check to LINC-UP Missions designated to Project Living Water at P.O. Box 572 Hilliard, FL  32046 or through our Pay Pal account at 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Common Myths that Hinder Global Evangelization
Pastoral and Missionary Work are Divergent Streams of Christian Ministry
As a Southern Baptist pastor and missionary, I have the unique opportunity to have one foot placed firmly in the pastoral camp and one in the missionary camp.  What I have noticed is somewhat alarming.  There is a subtle and subversive undercurrent of competition and maybe even resentment that exists between the two groups.  Maybe these attitudes stem from honest mutual misunderstanding, but are nonetheless a hindrance to global evangelization.
From my perspective, this is what I know:  My missionary work as a church-planter among the world’s unengaged people groups would not be as effective without my pastoral perspective.  Those who can carry pastoral vision and leadership principles to the cross-cultural church planting process have a great advantage.  Likewise, frontline missionaries who have never served as a pastor face challenges in which pastoral experience would be an invaluable asset.
The opposite is also true.  My pastoral ministry in the U.S. would not be nearly as effective if I did not bring my missionary perspective to my own community.  The basic skills of sizing up a mission field, contextualizing the gospel and then developing an effective strategy for reaching that community are common missionary tools that seem to challenge most pastors.
Therefore, it’s time for both streams to converge once again and flow mightily towards the delta of global evangelization.  It is not a question of “pastor” or “missionary”, but both.  Maybe a new ministerial animal should evolve.  This unique breed could be called a “passionary”.   This is someone whose passion to see the world reached is fueled from a pastoral perspective and energized by contagious missionary zeal.
Missions Cost Too Much
Believe me, no one knows the rigors of stretching a dollar like a faith missionary in the current global economy.   Money is a very real factor in our mission strategy, but not the decisive factor.
What I am about to say is not preaching rhetoric nor an untested hypothesis.  It is eternal truth that has been tried, trusted and confirmed by multitudes.  There is no way to explain our survival or ministry expansion in this down-turned economy without this principle.
Jesus taught his disciples to “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt. 6:33 NASB).  Part of seeking His kingdom certainly includes seeking to expand it around the world.  All these things must refer to the things necessary in the course of carrying out this kingdom-seeking mission. 
Missions cannot be viewed as a liability on our ministry spreadsheet.  It is rather an asset that streams resources to us.  If our mission investments are not a refreshing fountain of spiritual and financial growth, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate our overall mission strategy.
Simply because the church budget funds a “missions” line item does not necessarily mean that those expenditures are actually advancing the kingdom.  We should ask questions like, “Are we taking the gospel to places where it has never been, or are we simply building on some else’s foundation in an area where the kingdom is already established?”  Similarly, “Is our mission investment creating an atmosphere of dependency among the nationals where we are working, or are we empowering them for kingdom advancement?”
If the answer to any of these questions is “Yes”, then we could very well “price” ourselves out of Great Commission work.  There are many good mission strategies that foster kingdom advancement through methods that promote neither dependency upon our financial resources nor lead us to work in already evangelized areas.   These are the strategies that will survive the financial crunch because the Lord himself promises to provide for their needs.
My Primary Responsibility is to Reach “My” Jerusalem
Sometimes, we seem to take solace in the fact that our part of the Great Commission is to be faithful in our own hometown.  We must resist the tendency to turn the Great Commission inward.  Sure, our Jerusalem, as described in Acts 1:8 is a huge part of the overall plan, but it is only one part.  When Acts 1:8 is analyzed grammatically, we learn that we have equal responsibility to kingdom advancement in all four of the geographical regions highlighted in the verse.
Does God have expectations that every local church will have an influence in all four realms?  Does God expect individual believers to have fingerprints in each region described in Acts 1:8?  These are questions that we must each answer in light of the biblical command.  Maybe we should eliminate the word “my” from our theological vocabulary and replace it with the word “our”.  Then our view of, and responsibility for each part of the Great Commission would be more balanced.
These are the thoughts of only one “passionary” thinking out loud.  May God prosper you as you advance His kingdom!