about my home church ...
I entered the door of my home church in 1991 in the middle of a life crisis. The girl I was engaged to... the one who said " I love you" ... threw the ring across the room and ended the engagement. One evening I was going to end it all when I remembered the simple truth in the childhood song "Jesus Loves Me" ... was it true? I needed to know as I cried out the name JESUS.. my sorrow turned to Joy!... It was about time I learned about the power of that name... but where? I chose the church that had "Christian" as part of their name because that was the name I wanted to wear. I found the church devoted to rightly dividing the word of God, a loving congregation that had a book, chapter and verse indexed for just about everything. It was because of their solid teaching I was convicted to give my life fully to Christ and ministry. I was baptized by a young preacher who had poured his time and energy into each message. Having many questions, the church family worked in concert to make sure I was off to Bible college. One couple had purchased my sailboat, others donated, and still others assembled "care"packages to make sure I had all the college necessities. - I am so glad they did!
Because my home church is located in a transient community, few of the original remain. Two years back I had invited myself into one of their services to share what I thought, would be an informative and riveting update on our work in the Sudan. I had imagined that their encouragement from such a report would cause the elders to meet with the ambition to "get on board" with the great work our Lord was doing through the Mission. - oh, how misplaced were my expectations. My family and I left that afternoon thinking that my "home" church missed the point when, in actuality, I had missed the point. In reality, None of the church knew us, nor did they"sent" us. Truth be told, I am no more their "Timothy" as " Timothy" himself was to the church at Lystra.
About the term Timothy -
To understand what a "Timothy" is, you need to understand who Timothy was.......
Timothy was raised and taught the Good News by his mother and grandmother and had a greek dad ( probably a pagan). Paired up with Paul, Timothy was gifted and well-qualified as Paul's representative. Paul describes him as "brother...minister...fellow-worker." In sending young Timothy, Paul had strengthen and encourage church members. Timothy was God's fellow-worker. Timothy's task was for the purpose of encouraging and supporting the Christian's so that when the heat was turned up, they would not backslide.
Paul even calls Timothy his "Own son in the faith". The relationship between Paul and Timothy was so close that even a stomach ailment that Timothy had suffered was known about by Paul. Paul gave him counsel. They wrote back and forth and Paul acted like a father to a son as he told Timothy "I command you to stay there in Ephesus" ( 1 Tim 1 ).
In "Churchdom" it is understood that a "Timothy" is a disciple of a particular congregation, however, it was not a congregation that sent Timothy. It is also understood that a "Timothy" lays a foundation for Church work, Ironically, Timothy is a perfect example of a missionary to a reached culture. He went to Corinth, which already had a body of believers that was self-sustaining and reaching out, and he helped them grow. Furthermore, Galatians 6:6 does not instructed a report to a sending Church but to a sending individual.
"Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches."
Understand that I am not advocating disbanding fellowship between the local church and missionaries that spring from their fellowship, however, I encourage missionaries like myself to get a grip on who you are by understanding 1) Churches do not have a mandate to send "Timothy's" 2) We should not expect our home congregations to support the work we are called to. ( although it would be nice) 3) We do have an example to report to our personal "Paul's" and keep them informed of the Lords blessing of all the good things that are happening in the kingdom. ( that would be true for all ministers!).
As individual Christians, We all have a mandate to send others and to support Kingdom work. Like Paul, we will reap the benefit in our older years. In 1Thessalonians 3 Timothy reported to Paul concerning the Churches Paul planted. He told about their love and steadfastness despite tremendous opposition. Timothy's report was not for the benefit of a sending church, but for the benefit of Paul. Paul identified with the suffering and faith of his beloved brothers and sisters and wrote them immediately. in Verse 8 Paul wrote what any sold out Christian could identify with. "For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord."
Want to really LIVE? - Be a Paul - Invest in a Timothy today!