I recently saw a videotaped interview with Dr. Richard Pratt, former RTS Orlando professor (one of my favorites when I attended there from ‘o1-’04), now Director of  Third Millenium Ministries. When asked how he became interested in providing free seminary level training for third world pastors, he told how in the mid-80’s he and his wife began traveling overseas. He played his guitar and sang Beatles and Elvis Presley songs to gather a crowd and then preached the gospel to them.

He said the “mistake” they made was going back. He went on to say, “If you go back, you get to know the people, and you can’t stay away.”

He also noted in the same interview that most third world pastors have received only one hour of formal Bible training. That seems to be what has spurred him on these many years to develop Third Mill Ministries. Check out the link above and if you’d like to see the interview with Pratt click here. 

I’ve experience something similar but to a smaller degree when I’ve gone overseas or to other parts of the country on short-term mission trips. Our trip to Kentucky to join three other EPC churches this summer called “Appalachian Impact” was a good example of that. Because we spent a whole week working on the home of one particular family, we got to know them pretty well and a bond was formed.

One of my next goals is to do something similar here in our own town-city-region. There are plenty of “missionary” opportunities in our own area with which we can become involved.

They begin in our own back yards with people in our neighborhoods. Presently, my wife Beth and I are seeking ways to reach out to those who live on our street. This is an opportune time to do so since we just moved into this house last January. We were recently invited to a back yard gathering hosted by one of the families on our street where we met a number of our new neighbors. I was surprised to learn that others were fairly new to the neighborhood as well.

Statistics show that folks are generally more open to the Gospel immediately after a significant change has taken place in their lives – a new baby, a move to a new town or new neighborhood, the loss of a loved one, a new marriage, a divorce, etc. Often these folks are looking for new friends, new schools, new churches, groups or clubs to fit their new situation, so it’s a good time to reach out to them and offer help, friendship or an invitation.

More in my next blog post about some ways I hope our church will be able to reach out in the months ahead.