Accountability, that’s the buzz word of the day
We are so grateful for everything our gospel partners have done in the last 3 years to see that we made it here to Las Vegas. God has blessed us tremendously through your giving and prayers!
We wanted to take a few moments to share how we are prepared to be good stewards of your generosity. You may or may not care, and you may trust us, but we care to show the necessary work.
We have involved other churches and pastors into every step of the process, beginning with the first vision trip in September 2016. It is important to us to hear wiser voices speak into this journey. We believe it is biblical and the right way to operate.
Here are the 4 ways.
1 Being good stewards of our time.
The honest truth is that there can be quite a bit of down time on the mission field. Despite popular opinion, a missionary’s day is not completely, totally, absolutely filled, “24/7”, with door knocking and outreach evangelism efforts. Without accountability, it can be very easy to just check out anytime you don’t feel like doing anything “today.”
In order to be a good steward of our time, I have been working a day job that was strategically chosen before moving here. Air conditioning was something I previously did and have continued to do for convenience, but this job has also put me in the homes of a great variety of peoples in the city. I have seen the best and worse that this city has to offer. I have had interesting conversations, and have been able to begin to get good understanding of how the men, women, and families of this city think, believe, and operate on a daily basis. This is invaluable information! For the upcoming slower winter months, I am working on getting a substitute teacher license. This will also earn extra income and will be invaluable for future ministry.
We also send monthly reports to the elder board of Grace Bible Church. Grace Bible Church of Oxford, MS is our sending church. As such, we feel a responsibility to keep them updated on all the great things we have seen God do here in Las Vegas. Also as such, we try to keep them updated on how we are using our time.
Lastly, we have local accountability. We answer to Common Ground Church and their staff/leadership. After assessment, and before coming to Las Vegas, it was agreed upon by our sending church Grace Bible and its pastor, JD Shaw; Common Ground Church and one of its pastors, Ben Barfield, and Lauren and I, that we would plug in to a local church of our choosing in Las Vegas that would give us local accountability. We ended up choosing Common Ground for a variety of reasons and are thankful they allowed us to partner with them!
2 Being good stewards of the financial gifts we have received
This may be uncomfortable to talk about, but a large portion of our income is from gifts and offerings. With that being the case, we want to be careful to be good stewards of the funds given us. Grace Bible Church of Oxford processes all gifts and funds for us. We have several families that give on a monthly basis. Those funds are included in our monthly support check from GBC. GBC also processes and holds all one time donations for us until we need them.
The financial pastor of Grace Bible, Chris Teague, has to receive a detailed request or receipt from us anytime we need to pull money out of this savings fund. No lie, he’s a pretty tough nut to crack! But in all seriousness, we did not want any of those funds to be easily accessed. GBC has made the process of receiving funds very simple, when a need arises. We just didn’t want to have sole control of the monies to prevent impulse buys that were a waste of the gifts that you have given.
We have also began giving our monthly offering/tithe giving to Common Ground Church. CG made a commitment to invest in us, and we want to invest in them, with our time, and also with our gifts and offerings. We are glad to give towards the work God is doing in Las Vegas!
3 Being good stewards of time to learn
Some have asked why I do not work full time. The short answer is I could, and my possibly have to one day but for now, I am using that time to learn and meet people. As we meet more people, I will be using that time to meet with seekers or new believers, and do evangelism events with Common Ground. Another great reason is mentorship. I have been using Tuesdays and Thursdays to schedule time with mentors. Every month, I try to set up at least 3 to 5 meetings with pastors and church planters that are willing and able. This has been invaluable, and I always look forward to each meeting; especially lunch meetings! God has blessed Las Vegas with some great leaders and men of God. We want to soak up every bit of wisdom that are willing to share.
I have also been spending time on Tuesdays and Thursdays to read. One of the recommendations from one of our assessors was for me to read more books on leadership. So far I have read two books: “Leadership” by Rudolph Giuliani and “Reel Lessons in Leadership” by Ralph DiSibio. I have also tried to use some of this time to read church planting books, read other Christian books, study God’s word, and soon will be using it to work through North American Mission Board’s pipeline church planter training.
4 Being good stewards of our family and children.
Moving on the mission field, we said that we were “refusing to sacrifice our children for the sake of the mission. “ That can be a sticky statement. On one hand, it would be very healthy for them to see the gospel go forward and see God build his church. We also do not want to hold back the work God “could” do if we weren’t so afraid to take our children in to “unsafe” places. The flip side; we didn’t want to forsake common sense, putting our children’s physical safety and future faith in jeopardy because of where God was calling us. It’s funny how so many things work themselves out without any effort on our part. God knows what he is doing.
We have tried to maintain a balance on the mission field. Landon has been able to join a little league baseball team for the fall. This has been a great experience and we have never seen him so excited about baseball. Paislee has been able to take a gymnastics class. We really wanted to home school Landon for his first few years here, to ensure he has a Christian education. We also gave him an opinion in the matter. Everyone chose homeschool. He has the option to choose different in the future.
No matter what life brings, we want to continue to strive to make raising up “God worshipping” children a priority. Lauren and I have given each other permission to call the other one out if this mission gets sidetracked. We also have been able to get wisdom and accountability from our church family and pastors at Common Ground.
We understand that you could give towards or pray for countless things going on in your life. Never feel like we aren’t appreciative for every single prayer lifted up to God and every single cent given towards the gospel work in Las Vegas and towards supporting our family. We love you and pray that you will continue to partner with us for years to come.
We want Philippians 1: 3-6 to always be the way you view us and us you!
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.