I will readily admit that my routine is not as regimented as some other missionaries...
a day in the life of a home missionary
by Tom Jones, home missionary to Greensburg, Pennsylvania
I will readily admit that my routine is not as regimented as that of some missionaries. I maintain a “to-do” list to help me make sure I complete the necessary tasks, and there is always plenty to do.
My day usually begins at around 7:30 a.m. with a cup of coffee as I look into God’s Word for a time of devotion. This is followed by a time of prayer and getting ready for the day. I try to stay abreast of the current news. My office is in my home, so I can have the television news on even if I can’t see it!
At this point the to-do list takes over. Since we are currently in a renovation project, the list often includes picking up supplies, contacting the architect, speaking to our electrician, or trying to get in touch with our building inspector. Some days, all of these can be quite a challenge. Until you actually have experienced the responsibility of going through a church building program, you have no idea of how challenging that can be.
The building we purchased had been a night club and banquet hall which we are renovating. All of the work is being done by volunteers. That means that there are many days when my son-in-law and co-worker, Nate, and I ARE the volunteers. While neither of us are carpenters by trade, we hopefully know to keep the work going.
We try to meet at the building by 10:00 a.m. to begin the work scheduled for that day. This has involved electrical work, hanging drywall and most anything else you can imagine. These jobs are relatively simple for those who know what they are doing, but decidedly more difficult when you are novices. The Lord has provided us with an electrician and drywall guy who come when their regular jobs are completed. They assign tasks for us to complete and we work to get them completed.
Our regular schedule of telephone calls and hospital visits still need to be made. There also are contacts and follow-up visits, along with meetings with those who need our help and attention. These are most important and the reason we are here and working for the Lord in Greensburg.
While this is all going on, we try to coordinate and cooperate with missions groups that arrive to help us in our ministry and construction work. We recently had five groups that all proved to be very helpful. One group conducted a Vacation Bible School in the evening and worked on the building during the day. Others have helped canvas neighborhoods and distribute information about the church.
Nate and I prepare two weekly Bible studies. I teach one on Wednesday nights while he teaches one in his home on Thursday nights. We both attend both studies. There are days we are so tired from working on the building that we can hardly go, but it must done and we are happy to be there.
The Sunday morning services must be prepared each week. I type and print the church bulletins and prepare the message. Nate usually preaches at least once a month, so he is busy working on messages as well. He prepares the announcement power point, the monthly memory verse and puts together our missions moment. We want to teach our folks the importance of scripture memory as well as introduce them to the work of both Home and International Missions.
The time we get home in the evenings varies. It depends on the day of the week (Bible study night or not). On days when our drywall guy or electrician is there we stay later to take advantage of the times they are able to work. It can be anywhere from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. before we are finished for the day. On other days we are able to call it a day around 5:00 or 6:00 p.m.
There are days we have dinner with our families and days that we do not. Both Pam and Jenna are very understanding of this and know that the work has to be done. There are days we go home utterly exhausted, but we are thankful for the opportunity to serve Him. Each time we see a heart given to the Lord we are reminded what a joy this work is for all of us. It is all worth all the work and time that it takes! Leading the lost to Christ is the most important task for everyone in the mission work.
What is it really like to start a new church?
In the church where most of you worship, everything is in place. There are staff members to help with anything that may arise. There is a church building in which to worship. All the details for a complete and successful time of worship and training are there for those who come in to renew and strengthen their walk with the Lord and for those who come in search of the Lord’s grace for their lives.
Now, try to imagine what it would be like to take your family into an unfamiliar area to plant a church where there was nothing was in place. There was no staff, no property, no building, no funding, and no ready tools of the ministry. You need to look for a place for your family to live, schools for your children, and to make new friends. This is what most missionaries face when they accept the call for missions and head out to work for the Lord. They are happy and excited at all the prospects of the work before them, and they know the Lord is by their side. Still…there is so much to be done.
Read more about the ministry of Free Will Baptist Home Missions at www.homemissions.net.