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April-May 2015

10 Years in Print: Special Edition


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Teaching to teach others...


From Generation to Generation

By Clint Morgan


Biblical Foundation

No verse in the Bible so clearly calls for and defines discipleship as 2 Timothy 2:2. The Apostle Paul gave his spiritual son straightforward advice on how to guarantee the ongoing propagation of biblical truth from generation to generation. Paul wrote to Timothy, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”

His words are both practical and profound. Paul laid out foundational principles for every believer to practice. Missionaries in particular should emphasize this strategy for effective discipleship.


10-10-10 THEORY

Have you heard of the 10-10-10 theory of the missionary life? It is a humorous yet realistic lesson I present to mission students and young missionaries. It proposes that a missionary spends the first ten years on the field trying to earn credibility, the second ten trying to do something with that credibility, and the last ten wondering what in the world happened to his credibility. Although the time frames may not work out in precise ten-year increments, the basic phases tend to be accurate.

The missionary arriving on the field needs time to learn the culture and language so he can minister effectively. That period is generally followed by a time of building strong relationships that open the door for effective ministry and witness. As the missionary approaches retirement age, he may sense he is more and more out of step with the rest of the missionaries and the national leaders. This is mostly due to missionaries arriving with new missiology training while the national church matures and selects its own leaders.

Brett Harris—devoted follower of Jesus Christ, husband, and author—addresses the need for collaboration and learning from those of another generation: “The beauty of collaboration between older and younger generations is that we combine strength with wisdom—a surefire way to accomplish more for the glory of God.”

The last ten years of the missionary experience do not have to be spent wondering what happened to credibility. They can be dedicated to the nobler pursuit of assuring truths taught are properly assimilated into the next generation of missionaries, converts, and local church leaders. I can’t help but recall the statement made by a philosopher-physician to sum up the principle of giving yourself to influence others: “My happiness comes from the donation of my life in many ways for the current and for the future generations.”

In reality, from the outset of ministry, the missionary should be thinking of passing the baton to the next generation. The wise missionary looks far down the road and lays out three major strategies and commits to them: 1) adapt to the culture in which he ministers; 2) provide effective ministry that empowers local believers; and 3) exit with grace.


It all goes back to what Paul instructed Timothy, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” The formula presented to Timothy has proven true time and time again. Several examples can be found in the works established by Free Will Baptist missionaries.

In 1960, Fidel Castro expelled all missionaries from Cuba. Free Will Baptist missionaries Pop and Mom Willey prepared for this day from the outset of their ministry in the island nation. They began training leaders from among the first converts. The Willeys understood that another generation of Cubans would not follow Christ if the first generation of believers were not well grounded.

When the Willeys were forced out of the country, they had already taught faithful men who were able to teach others also. In spite of great resistance and persecution, the Church in Cuba has experienced continued growth and expansion. Several new generations of Cuban believers have developed since the expulsion of missionaries nearly 55 years ago.

It has not been possible to assign personnel to Cuba for more than half a century. However, the work continues. Today, in Cuba, strong lay leaders, experienced pastors, and committed churches share a clear vision of taking the gospel to the whole island. This progress is possible because Pop and Mom Willey laid a solid foundation by sharing biblical truths to faithful men who taught others also.


Côte d’Ivoire

In November 1984, I gathered with other Free Will Baptist missionaries in Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa, for our annual meeting. As we assessed leadership needs in our churches, we were struck by the reality that after 26 years in the country we had only two ordained pastors. Several “lay pastors” dotted the landscape, but they needed more training before they could be recognized as qualified leaders.

With these thoughts before us, we pressed forward to turn this vision into a reality and opened the doors to the Free Will Baptist Bible Institute in October 1987. I will never forget the first day as I walked up the steps, looked into the classroom, and saw ten anxious faces staring back at me. I turned to my missionary colleague and said, “There sit our best friends or our greatest enemies.” Fortunately, most of the 42 graduates of the institute have become some of our best friends and fellow ministers. Only two have fallen away, and one was taken in death.

On August 19, 2005, at the National Association meeting in Côte d’Ivoire, we passed the baton to the next generation of leaders for the Bible institute. The national church leaders selected a new director, Pastor Paul Ameizi, and his assistant, Robert Houessou, without any direct input from the missionaries. These leaders were ready to take the reins of the training institution and move forward.

The newly elected director, Pastor Paul, stepped to the podium and said, “I have three sentiments that weigh heavy on my heart today: desire—to see this Bible institute continue to train pastors and leaders for our churches; conviction—that this is what God wants me to do; and fear—fear that I cannot live up to the standard our American missionaries set for us.”

Without doubt, Pastor Paul and the other teachers at the Institute were up to the task. Today, International Missions has no personnel in Côte d’Ivoire. Yet, according to statistics we received, the number of Free Will Baptist churches in the country has doubled in the last five years, and more than 100 people were baptized in the first six months of 2014.

It is evident the faithful men the missionaries taught have, in turn, taught other faithful men, who are now teaching more faithful men who will teach others also.



In October 2012, Jeff Turnbough, director of field operations, and Dr. Kenneth Eagleton, regional director of Latin America, attended the National Association of Free Will Baptist churches in Panama. During a meeting with church leaders, one stood and declared with great respect and humility that the Panamanian leadership had a word for the Mission. In essence, he stated the Panamanian believers were ready to take the responsibility of reaching their nation for Christ.

The missionaries could have been greatly hurt by this declaration had they not prepared themselves and the people for such a wonderful occasion. Missionaries won people to Christ, discipled them, planted strong churches, trained leaders, and looked to the local believers to lead in the future. It was a missiological dream-come-true for the field personnel, the Panamanian Church, and the Mission.

January 8-13, 2015, many former missionaries, office staff, and Panamanian believers gathered for the official passing of the baton. As of this date, no Mission personnel will be assigned to Panama. That is, of course, unless we are invited by our Panamanian partners to come and work on a specific assignment.

The Mission family rejoiced with the Panamanian Church as the president of the directiva took the symbolic baton, thereby declaring that the things they had been taught they were now capable, willing, and committed to teaching to others.



Edmund Burke, British statesman, parliamentary orator, and political thinker, stated, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” We might take this thought and adjust it to say, “The only thing necessary for Christianity to die is for believers to fail to teach biblical truths to faithful men, who will teach others also.”

At Free Will Baptist International Missions, we are committed to seeing the gospel reach the ends of the earth. Our missionaries will continue to teach others, who will teach others also, and in following this process, we will continue to see the Good News pass from generation to generation.


About the Writer: Clint Morgan is director of Free Will Baptist International Missions. Learn more:





©2015 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists