NOTE: The following are a collection of questions and answers relating to our evangelistic work here in Ireland, and are collected from various questionnaires that I have been asked throughout my ministry. The purpose of presenting them here is so that you can glean some background information that might help you in knowing God's will for your own life, and developing a plan to fulfil that will!
How did you decide on your location? Any suggestions on how to survey an area?
Study the entire country. Get a map, and search for straight facts about everything in that country.
Then contact as many missionaries as possible and interview them
But the best way is going to be coming to the field and spending 2 to 3 weeks and driving around, and personally getting a burden and vision for the particular area that God would have you start door knocking and witnessing
Learn from and listen to the people that you talk to – don’t be so dense that you just start TELLING them how to get saved when you don’t even know if they understand a word that you are saying (even if they already speak English, they could totally be ignorant of Bible words).
How did you start your church?
Just what I said above, but it took three survey trips where I came to Ireland and met with other Missionaries here, and just travelled around studying the people and the culture, and learning what would be involved in moving here and starting up a church. Then my family and I moved to Ireland in 1994.
I FIRST worked with a fellow missionary here for 6 months. I believe in team-work and would have continued to work with him if that is what he had wanted.
I went on after the initial six months, and just door-knocked in an area near Blarney
I knew God wanted a church in the Blarney area, and several folks made it possible for me to actually start up, so I did just that.
Ultimately, I was offered a building to meet in, we cleaned it up, made a big church sign, passed out invitation flyers, and started particularly inviting people out to our new church in town.
What type of building did you use in the beginning? What do you recommend?
It was a 110 year old 30' x 70' shed that was known as a community hall
These kind of buildings are the best because everyone knows about them, already uses them for everything else, and the use of them is cheap!
Hotels are very nice, but pretty expensive. Some do well in hotels, but I don’t recommend them.
What principles did you follow in starting your church?
A lot of principles
Just that I was going to start something that Christ loves! That it was going to be the hardest amount of work I have ever imagined. That it was going to be fun, or it wouldn’t be worth it.
What type of personal schedule, church schedule, and ministry schedule did you follow the first year?
The first few months I and my family just got acclimated, and got close to each other again – home-school needed to get running well, the home needed to be settled, we started looking for a house to buy
Then, 10-15 hours knocking doors a week alone
Several hours a week with the other missionary in the area learning from him
10-15 hours a week with just my family a week
Lots of time just driving around, watching, learning, writing things down in journals
10 hours a week just studying Irish history, and European history and reviewing books on missions
I started my church after six months of arriving in Ireland, so I was preaching twice on Sundays, so I spent 10 hours a week studying to preach
And then there was my own personal devotions and Bible study time for my self
During this time, I also began to adapt my Discipleship course to this new culture I was in, and I actually had two students I was teaching in that first year.
With limited facilities, how did you have Sunday School and other activities?
No, we had a unified service on Sunday Morning, so I taught a shortened Sunday School before a tea break, and then preached.
How did you find and negotiate for land? What things did you consider when you were looking for land, and how did you pay for the land?
We have been looking for land for the past 7 years
Negotiating for land is a tough business here
We plan on borrowing 2/3rd of the cost
What would you do differently if you started another church?
Get another missionary family to work with us – it is TO MUCH for one missionary family to do alone!
REPEAT! Get another missionary family to work with us – it is TO MUCH for one missionary family to do alone!
What did you do concerning finances in the beginning, for like your budget, missions giving, building fund, and teaching your members how to give?
I taught them this was their church, and Jesus is their God, and He says tithe.
I promised them I would not take any money, but that it only would go to the ministry of our little church
I taught them that we would only ever do what WE can do
How did you recruit workers?
I asked them to help
How did you motivate workers?
Praying works best
Then, I look for ways for them to lead in a project
How did you train workers?
By making them listen to me
I have written and taught hundreds of lessons on how to do things
I provide three types of training: practical training along side me as I do a task; one-on-one Discipleship that allows me to particularly prepare them to lead; and I teach a Bible Institute set of courses
Who influenced your life and why?
Anybody that offers to help me, I listen to
I have learned from TOO many to list
What advice would you give to someone starting a church?
Don’t do it alone
Make very sure they know what they are doing – not just visionary’s
What advice would you give concerning future full-time workers in my church?
Do everything for the Lord!
Take ownership of every project, and stand or fall with it. Make them be responsible for what they do
What were your services like in the beginning? Do you have any advice about that?
Simple, and fun, with heavy emphasis on listening to them
We used a lot of variety (still do). I have questions and answers, testimonies, we move church outdoors on beautiful evenings, we try to have afterglows often, and so on
What advice can you give concerning preaching and teaching for the first year?
Be helpful – not just dogmatic
Be respectful while being authoritarian
Be balanced – preach and teach
What kind of advertising did you find effective?
All of it - every kind of advertising possible!
The best being door-to-door, personal talking to and inviting
The very best being your people doing the witnessing and inviting
What do you do concerning fellowship, camps, Vacation Bible School, and other events or activities?
Are you kidding? That is a lot to ask!
Have all of that (we do it since the second year here), but do it WITH someone else, NOT ALONE (like I did)!
What advice do you have concerning the relations I should strive for with local officials?
Develop every relationship!
Take every relationship with the police, the city council, the local government, and shop owners, and all the local groups and clubs VERY SERIOUSLY
Did you have to learn a language? If so, how long did it take you to learn it?
No need to learn the language here
How much did the public transportation system factor into starting the church?
How large could you presently grow in your present building and facilities?
Up to 100
What Version of the Bible do you use?
in the USA King James Bible on the field King James Bible
What do you believe about the Sovereignty of God and the free will of man?
God has foreknowledge, but man has a free-will
What do you believe about the charismatic gifts?
I am a cessationist. The gifts are not for today.
Do you believe in miraculous healings?
Of course I do, but only through prayer, and only from God in answer to His sovereign will – not by any faith healer
What do you believe about missions boards? Why?
Mission boards are usually very top-heavy, but some are associated with, and operate under a local church, and are therefore Scriptural, and acceptable. Missions is the extension of the work of our Lord while on earth through His people as they preach the gospel, and establish churches for believers. Missions just simply goes beyond the regions of a local church for the purpose of establishing another local church through soul-winning and discipleship. Each church is to have its own pastor, of its own people who have proved themselves to be faithful to the word of God. The local church is the ground from which all servants come in the Lord’s work, and is to be the training place for those servants, and should send forth the servants to their God-called fields of service. Agencies may help in the getting of missionaries to their field, but they themselves must be under the direct authority of local churches to be Scriptural.