Will You Hold the Rope?
written by Jimmy Newkirk, Associate Pastor (February 5, 2023)
William Carey is considered by many to be the father of the modern missions movement. As he prepared to devote his life to the mission field in India, he told his friend, Andrew Fuller, "I will go down … if you will hold the ropes".
What does it mean to hold the ropes? It means caring for those on mission and building a missions culture that continues to send.
We have all been called. Carey's life exemplified his mantra, "attempt great things for God; expect great things from God". This philosophy of ministry was taken from Isaiah 54:2-3, anticipating God's future glory for His people and their work.
On February 1, Bradley and Ember Wilkie were officially approved by the International Mission Board (IMB) as missionaries to the People of the Americas in Mexico. Fifty people, representing the Coats Baptist family, were present for the celebration. (Read the IMB article HERE!) The Wilkies will be serving as logistics coordinators in Puebla following the completion of language school. In this capacity, they will support other missionaries during times of need and transition. As missionaries themselves, they will help hold the ropes for others on mission. But this role may also allow them the opportunity to have a limited, but ongoing engagement with the Nahuatl people of San Isidro/Canoa to whom our Church has already begun ministering. God continues to work and open doors for these unreached people!
This is a time of exciting, but difficult transition for the entire Wilkie family. This transition is not just for Bradley and Ember as they vocationally immerse themselves into God's work. Also in transition - their parents, their children, their extended family, their friends, and their church, Coats Baptist.
So, what does that mean for us at Coats Baptist? How do we hold the rope?
At a minimum, holding the rope to support the Wilkies looks like:
Praying can and should be specific when possible. We will keep you informed of specific prayer requests, but some requests have already been made known: Pray for them to learn the language. Pray for friends and gospel connections, especially for their children. And, pray for the transition especially as they separate from their extended family. Prayer is not preparation for ministry. It is the ministry. Keep prayer for missions as a priority.
INVITING OTHERS TO PRAY
We should certainly pray independently with God, but we must also encourage others to join in prayer. Pray for missions. Pray for missionaries. Pray for hearts to be prepared to receive and be transformed by the gospel.
The Wilkies will need letters of encouragement. We will provide an address when available. We will also make known any specific needs and prayer requests. Make notes of affirmation and comfort a matter of routine.
A simple package to demonstrate your love and care will do much to brighten their day and remind them of your support.
When we are able to receive updates, pay attention to what is being communicated. Hear their heart and as well as their need.
VISITING THE FIELD
We will try to coordinate opportunities to be of direct support to the Wilkies. Of course, there will be times and manners in which visits would be best suited to be of support and not a burden. Time will tell how that can best take place.
Holding the rope also means:
PREPARING AND TRAINING OTHERS
We need to be about the business of discipleship - multiplying and mobilizing those called according to His purposes.
GIVING FINANCIALLY TO CBC
Your offerings provide funds to support local discipleship efforts preparing the hearts and minds of future missionaries. By giving to CBC, you also support the Cooperative Program which in turn supports the IMB, missionaries, seminaries to train missionaries and pastors, and much more.
GIVING TO THE LOTTIE MOON CHRISTMAS OFFERING
Offerings to Lottie Moon provide funding directly to missionaries on the field.
While the Wilkies certainly do represent Coats Baptist, they are not token representatives. They are ambassadors for Jesus just like you and me (2 Corinthians 5:20). Each of us are called. Each of us are sent. Each of us are commissioned as ambassadors for Christ Jesus. To quote, J.D. Greear, "put your 'yes' on the table and let God put it on the map". Get your passport ready. He may be calling YOU to the nations.
Remember that the context of caring, of holding the rope, is the Great Commission. We are all to live a life on mission. We are all to make disciples as we go. Danny Akin put it this way, "There is no need to pray and ask God if we should go and take the gospel to the nations. We have been told to go." He quotes John Piper as he refers to Matthew 28:16-20:
'So there you have the word of God from the mouth of Jesus. The lofty claim: “All authority is given to Me.” The loving comfort: “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” The last command: “Go make disciples among all the peoples of the world.” What is clear from this final word of Jesus is that He is trying to move us to act. He not only says, “Go make disciples.” He also gives us a warrant for doing it so that we can know it is a legitimate and right thing to do: All authority in heaven and on earth is His. He gives us tremendous encouragement and comfort and strength to go, with the promise that He would go with us and never leave us. Jesus ended his earthly life with these words because He wanted us to respond. He was motivating us to act.'
"Do you need a reason to go? No! You need a reason to stay! More than 1.6 billion people have yet to hear the name of Jesus" (Ten Who Changed the World, 2012).
Will you prepare yourself? Will you live a life on mission? Will you attempt great things for God? Will you expect great things from God?
Will you hold the ropes?