Last month I introduced the first of four foundational values that drive us at Missio Nexus to deliver what we do. These operational values have been forcefully demonstrated in the lives of past missionaries, missionary statesmen, and biblical leaders. That is why after defining the value in our unique way, we highlight historical figures who have forcefully demonstrated that value in their lives and ministry.
Value: People Development
The process of stimulating progress and change in individuals with the goal of optimizing their gifting, talents, and abilities for the cause of Christ
A.T. Pierson (1837 – 1911)
Arthur Tappan Pierson is hailed as the greatest popularizer of missions of his age and one who revolutionized missionary literature. As a missionary statesman he sustained a life-long commitment to world evangelization. In 1886 he gave a keynote address at the D.L. Moody sponsored Mt. Hermon convention that greatly influenced the start of the Student Volunteer Movement. As president of Boston Missionary Training School (now Gordon College) from 1895 – 1901, he influenced many into missions. Among his protégés were such missionary giants as Robert E. Speer, John R. Mott, and Samuel Zwemer. He authored several missionary books that motivated many to enter careers in missions.
“If missions languish, it is because the whole life of
godliness is feeble. The command to go everywhere
and preach to everybody is not obeyed until the will
is lost by self-surrender in the will of God. Living,
praying, giving and going will always be found together.”
– A.T. Pierson
A.J. Gordon (1836 – 1895)
Adoniram Judson Gordon was a Baptist missions promoter, who championed the cause of missions during his pastorate in Boston, MA (1869-1895). In 1889 he founded the Boston Missionary Training School (Gordon College today) which in its first decade sent out fifty missionaries to some of the hardest to reach areas of the world. Through his extensive speaking and writing he impacted many across denominational and even international boundaries. He is remembered for his books, hymns and expository classes that impacted many to either go into or support missions.
“You can do more than pray after you have prayed,
but you cannot do more than pray until you have
– A.J. Gordon
Nathan – Palace Prophet
The prophet Nathan functioned as an advisor and mentor to two kings and a queen mother at the height of the united kingdom of Israel. His godly advice and wisdom developed the lives of these prominent people. Nathan gave advice to King David when he was intent on building the temple (2 Sam. 6), and boldly rebuked David after his immoral affair with Bathsheba (2 Sam. 12). He affirmed David after the birth of Solomon (2 Sam. 12:25).
At the very vulnerable time when the transition of kingship was being passed from a very physically weak David to a very young Solomon, Nathan intervened by mentoring the key personalities through a time of threat. First, he advised Bathsheba as to what to do (1 Kings 1:11-14) and then David (1 Kings 1:22-27). He participated in the coronation of King Solomon (I Kings 1:38-40). It is implied that he stayed on in the palace as an advisor to Solomon after David’s death.
Barnabas – “Son of Encouragement”
Whenever Barnabas is mentioned in Acts, he is involved in developing others. Early on he set an example of unselfish giving to all the believers in the infant Jerusalem church, so that they might emulate his action (Acts 4:36-37). At a critical juncture after Saul’s conversion, when others did not believe he was a true convert, Barnabas took him to the apostles and vouched for him (Acts 9:27). Additionally, he seemed to have been the primary teacher at the thriving church at Antioch (Acts 13:1), mentoring an international staff of leaders.
Barnabas became the first missionary sent out officially by a local church, and took Paul along as his co-worker, mentoring him along the way (Acts 13:4-14). He represented the church of Antioch at the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15), helping the council through an essential theological issue. Finally, we find him picking up the young John Mark to form a missionary team of their own (Acts 15:36-39). He must have been successful savaging Mark, for this same Mark would later write one of the four Gospels and once again become valuable to Paul (2 Tim. 4:11).