Tuesday, August 08, 2006

“Seven Questions with a Southern Baptist Missionary”

I recently received a request to answer seven questions being posed to various Southern Baptist personnel on a blog. I answered those questions today, and have posted my responses below as well.

What were some of the key issues that lead you to serve with the International Mission Board?
During seminary at Columbia International University, we were planning on serving as ISC missionaries with the board when we finished my degree, and then returning to the continental U.S. to be better at pastoring for the experience. We thought that after 2-3 years of short-term service that we would get the missions bug out of our system. During this time, we served a one-year internship “suffering” for Jesus in the state of Hawaii in a Baptist church of another denomination. God spoke to us and told us that he wanted us to give our lives to missions. We returned with a conviction that the Southern Baptists were more strategic in their practice of missions than other agencies that we had seen. We had no doubt that God wanted us to apply with the IMB and to serve Him where he put us within the board.

What is your greatest passion?
I would say that I have a dual passion. The first is to see Brazilians become disciples of Christ. I am firmly convinced that the best way to bring this about is to plant as many dynamic new churches as possible. My second passion is to train others to plant churches and to evangelize. By doing this, I can multiply my ministry many times over, and see many more churches planted and more Brazilian believers.

What is one barrier that you are experiencing in your ministry at this time?
Because of health needs, we moved from Northeast Brazil to extreme Southern Brazil last year. As such, we have had to retool and fit into a very different ministry role. This has been both a challenge and a blessing!

What is one thing you would want every Southern Baptist to know about your ministry?
THE PRAYERS OF SOUTHERN BAPTISTS ARE ESSENTIAL TO THE SUCCESS OF WHAT HAPPENS ON THE GROUND HERE IN RIO GRANDE DO SUL BRAZIL. WE ABSOLUTELY NEED YOUR SPECIFIC, TARGETED PRAYERS! Every member of our family has an internet blog to keep folks back home informed on ministry and family needs here in Brazil. My blog (which links to everybody else’s) is: jeffdunson.blogspot.com

What has been the biggest culture change that you have experienced since leaving the States?
Nobody here speaks English, and we didn’t speak Portuguese when we arrived on the field six years ago. J

There has been a lot of blogging about pressure from the IMB towards missionaries to produce converts. Do you feel pressure from the IMB? What type of ministries are you doing to reach people and start churches?
I can honestly say that we have never experienced pressure from the IMB to produce converts. That being said, I must say that I often feel tremendous pressure to do so – but it comes from myself. I am fully capable of getting overly stressed out about ministry results without any outside help! Just a few days ago, God had to remind me – again – that the ministry does not belong to me, and that my self-worth cannot be based on results, but only on my relationship to Him.

We are planting a church in the city of São Leopoldo. We hope that this church will become both a model and a mother church for a flood of new churches. I am also teaching a decentralized leadership training course to a group of students that I hope will become church planters. I recently concluded teaching two groups of church planting students in the Baptist Seminary.

What are two or three things that you hope to accomplish in the next year and are there some prayer needs that we could begin lifting up in prayer?
We would like to see the church plant in the Vila Baum neighborhood in São Leopoldo firmly established and on its own, as well as seeing it reaching out to plant several new churches in the next year. I would like to start a church planting institute to teach laypeople to start new churches and give them the skills to pastor and lead those churches. We would also like to see a new excitement for church planting spread among our Baptist partners.

In closing, just let me say that we love serving as missionaries of the IMB. It is a privilege and an honor to be a part of this organization and this family. There is no place we would rather be, and nothing we would rather be doing than serving God and Southern Baptists here in Brazil. Thank you to everyone who contributes to our ministry through your prayers and your finances. Just a reminder – check out my blog at jeffdunson.blogspot.com to know how to pray for us.


GuyMuse said...

Great answers! I look forward to reading them again on the other blog when they are posted.

wsbaptista said...

Preach,man! Let's win this land for Christ!

Pr. Walter Baptista
(Igreja Batista Sião, Salvador, Bahia)
Former student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Lville, KY