Last night was a treat for me specifically and for my gathering family. A missionary friend of mine, Ben Armacost, happened to be in the West Tennessee area visiting family. When I found out about this, he and I connected and I asked him to come and share with this wonderful house group. Naturally, if you know Ben at all, he cheerfully agreed.
I have known Ben since around 2011 when we first learned of each other while Dawn and I served with IMB in Czech Republic. At that time, Ben was serving in Australia. Later, in the Fall of 2013, we met in person at Timișoara, Romania at a pastors conference that was sponsored by Greater Europe Mission (GEM). Ben was one of the trainers at the conference and then worked with the International Mission Board (and still does). I was there as a guest of another brother / missionary, Bill Payton, who works with E3 Partners in Europe. So, this was an interesting collaboration, for sure! Anyway…
Last night at our Gathering, Ben taught us some practical ways to share our faith – with a strong emphasis on disciple making. Over the years, I will say that Ben is one of those rare missionaries who honestly lives out his mandate, his calling, to go and make disciples – all the time. Don’t get me wrong here. I am NOT saying that other missionaries do not do their jobs or pursue their callings into service. What I am saying is there are some who are always dialed-in, focused on the task. Whether you are in a group or talking with them one-on-one, they are always trying to advance the Gospel and make disciples. Ben is one of those guys.
One neat thing that he did last night was to use a simple, yet powerful, visual tool to show us the real importance of discipling others that God brings across our path in life. He had me stand up and join him as the first person in the chain, then I was asked to bring up another, that person was asked to add on another, and so on. The chain started with Jesus and went through several steps, using one of the 11, and Paul was added, then Timothy… you get the picture. At one point, Ben asked our “Barnabus” to step out of line. At this point, he asked us what would have happened if Barnabus decided to NOT add the next link – the Apostle Paul? Naturally, we got the picture. If any of the chain in the discipleship process fell apart previous to Paul, as much as a 1/3 of the New Testament would never have been written… much less the results of Paul’s missionary and church planting journeys… and what about Eutychus?
Ben followed up the discipleship chain visual with a tool that we can use to share our faith in most any situation. It does not require a printed tract or lengthy oratory. You just need to use one of your hands and tell the story of the Gospel with your digits 🙂 With just a little prep time, anyone can use this method to share the Gospel. Below, I will leave a link to this “hand” presentation and a few other items specific to Ben and his ongoing mission activities. This was a wonderful evening for me, getting to reconnect with Ben and introduce him to my brothers and sisters at the Gathering. Ben, if you read this in the future, God bless you and thank you for meeting with us last night! I love you in the Lord my brother!
Here is the list of links that I spoke of and it is followed by some photos from Ben’s visit.