By Leslie Diestelkamp
For three decades I have been pleading for more mature men to go into the new and destitute fields for gospel work. Many have done so. Many others admit a desire to go but they never fulfill that urge because they do not want to ask for support. Some have told me, I refuse to beg. Please consider the following:
1. It would seem wonderful if churches would become so thoroughly awakened that they would beg preachers — no, not to bid for them to come and work locally, but to beg them to accept support and go into the needy fields. But perhaps this would not actually be good. A preacher who had to be begged would probably not be spiritually suited to such work anyway.
2. But why should a preacher decline to ask for support? If the work he plans to do is indeed the real work of an evangelist, and if the work he asks churches to do in supporting him is indeed the very mission of the church, then why would he hesitate? After all, be is not asking for personal gain but he is really asking that the church participate with him so that fruit may abound to your account (Phil. 4:17). Actually it is only a false sense of pride that would prevent a worthy preacher from asking for support for work in new fields.
3. A few churches still do not want to support men in distant fields. Usually this is because they have not been taught to do so. Their local preacher may have delivered profound lessons from the scriptures but he may have failed to emphasize the scriptural mission of the church.
4. Modern transportation facilities and abundance of money in the church treasuries have enabled some preachers to go abroad for a few weeks of evangelism. This is wonderful. Yet this produces two dangers: (1) Preachers may feel that a few weeks in a distant field thereafter excuses them from any such work. The great and crying need is still for men to go out into the fields where truth is unknown and commit themselves to a sacrificial labor of love there. (2) And churches may supply funds for short-term work from their reserves and fail to really make a commitment to support again and again the world evangelism that is so dependent upon them. So, let us send more and more, even on short-term trips to distant places, but let us not mistake this for our total obligation. Father, let such become a motivation for fuller, greater and wider use of men and money in the various fields of the world.
5. A few years ago when a preacher determined to go abroad he had to spend many months raising support and travel funds. But today this is not longer true. There is no need for men to advertise far ahead for funds to travel. Churches will not want to tie up funds for so long in advance. Let those who want to go make their plans and two or three months before departure they should write a few churches, describing their necessities, and they will get the money. Brethren will not let them down. And if you want to get money easily, go to those churches that are already deeply involved in such work. They know its worth and they will find ways to help you too. But if you want to do a greater service to the cause of Christ, prevail upon the churches that have not done much of such work. It may be more difficult for you, but it will awaken them. Soon they will be enthused and will seek such work to do. And some of the otherwise greatest churches in this land still need to learn that lesson.
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XVI: 39, pp. 9-10
August 10, 1972