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  • Monday, September 14, 2020 8:25 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Steve Burkholder  Missionary to Tanzania

    As we discussed in the last blog, keeping one’s savor (saltiness) is necessary in order to remain effective in ministry. This is especially true for the foreign missionary as he does not have resources such as conferences, seminars, and fellowship meetings. That is why we started the SALT Conference.

    The SALT Conference is a 5-day missionary enrichment conference for the whole family on the mission field where they serve. The purpose is to help missionaries stay “salty” through encouragement, fellowship, and fun.

    A ministry team from a local church in the US is invited to minister to missionaries. Adults are taught by a seasoned pastor with a mission’s heart who encourages them with Biblical messages. One of the highlights of the adult sessions is the daily testimony time where missionaries share with each other the challenges and victories of daily life and ministry and pray for each other. A small team of youth workers minister to missionary young people in separate sessions in a youth group/camp environment with lessons, discussion, and games. The children’s ministry team focuses on younger missionary children in a VBS setting with lessons, songs, crafts, and games geared for their age. The whole group enjoys worshipping together, singing their favorite songs in English led by the ministry team. Fellowship during meals and free time, as well as group games and a special outing add to the fun of the week with something for everyone to enjoy . The conference ends with a talent show where the whole family can get involved and many memories are made.

    The Lord is using the ministry of the SALT Conference in the lives of missionaries to keep them salty so they may remain effective on the mission field. Here are what some missionaries are saying about the SALT Conference…

    “The SALT Conference is the highlight of the year for our family.”

    “This year we have run into a crossroads in our ministry and we were really praying for direction and for the Lord to speak to us and this week at the SALT Conference God made clear to us what His will is for our lives.”

    “It’s such an awesome time to get together with people who understand us and share our struggles . . .”

    “We love the SALT Conference because of the fellowship we receive from other missionaries who serve here is so important and so nourishing to us.”

    “We love listening to the testimonies of those who are in the trenches with us.”

    For more testimonies about the SALT Conference go to https://vimeo.com/388427092. For highlights of the 2019 SALT Conference in East Africa go to https://vimeo.com/388415615. For more information about the SALT Conference and how you and your church can get involved contact Steve Burkholder at burkholdertz@gmail.com

    Stay Salty


  • Monday, September 07, 2020 9:15 PM | Anonymous

    Steve Burkholder Missionary to Tanzania

    As Christians we are compared to many things in the New Testament. In Matthew 5:13 we are compared to “salt.”  Salt has many practical uses including the preservation and enhancing of food.  Application can be made to all Christians to be effective witnesses by being a preserving agent in a world rotting with sin and by bringing flavor to a world that is bland and has nothing to offer of eternal value.  This verse can be applied to foreign missions as we consider being the salt of “the earth” and in light of Jesus’ command to go unto the uttermost part of the earth as His witnesses.  (Acts 1:8)  

    However, the verse goes on to say “but if the salt have lost his savor.”  Salt can accomplish its practical purposes only if it keeps its “savor,” meaning its “saltiness” or “effectiveness.”  If salt does lose its “savor” there are two problems.  First, once the savor is gone it cannot be regained.  “Wherewith shall it be salted?”  Secondly, salt loses its purpose without savor.  “It is thenceforth good for nothing.”  

    Like salt, the foreign missionary must guard against losing his “saltiness” and becoming ineffective on the mission field.  There are many things that cause the missionary to lose his effectiveness: burn out, discouragement, interpersonal conflicts, cultural differences, language struggles, government requirements, monthly support, sickness, and the list could go on.  I have faced these challenges personally as a missionary and have been in danger of losing my effectiveness.  

    Missionaries and their families need a regular time of getting together for encouragement, fellowship, and fun in order to keep their saltiness and remain effective.  Sometimes this is done in the US every two to four years as they have access to supporting churches, family and friends, missionary conferences, debriefings, and other resources provided by their sending agencies.  Thank God for those times that missionaries can be ministered to during their short visits to the US!  But to be honest, there are times that “furlough” (defined as “a short leave of absence from work”) can actually be more challenging than life on the foreign field as missionaries travel, struggle to find housing, have added financial burdens, and are away from their home and ministry.  Having an “on the field” missionary enrichment conference for the whole family is a much-needed but sometimes-neglected ministry.  That is why we started the SALT (Serving And Living Together) Conference—for missionaries at their field location, so that they might keep their saltiness and stay effective on the mission field to which God has called them.  

    More information on the SALT Conference ministry in the next blog . . . 

    Stay Salty


  • Wednesday, September 02, 2020 9:15 PM | Anonymous
    Steve Burkholder Missionary in Tanznaia

    Is “feeling” called of God into missions enough to validate a missionary calling? Certainly God created us with “feelings” and He can use our emotions to touch and stir our hearts towards greater service for Him. However, there is a danger of using feelings, emotions, and experiences as the sole foundation for a missionary call. The call of God into missions must have a solid Scriptural foundation.

    A prime example of this is the apostle Paul. Acts 9 records the dramatic events of his trip to Damascus to continue his persecution against believers. Suddenly he was on the ground, surrounded by a blinding light, and having a personal conversation with Jesus from heaven! After being blind for three days, he was prayed for by Ananias, and his sight was restored. During these dramatic events and emotions, Paul was told of God’s future purpose and calling in missions (Acts 22 and 26).

    Not only was his salvation and ministry calling dramatic, but his life of missionary service was filled with dramatic experiences and strong emotions. In spite of all the “drama,” Paul explained what his missionary calling was based on in Romans 15:20-21 where he wrote, “Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation: But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand” (emphasis mine).

    The apostle Paul is quoting from the great Messianic prophecy of Isaiah 52, which describes the coming and suffering of the promised Messiah and how His blood would be shed for all nations. “So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider” (v.15).

    The apostle Paul did not rely on his dramatic experiences and feelings when describing his missionary calling, but rather he quoted from Scripture God’s promise that those who had never heard shall be reached through the preaching of the Gospel.

    It was these very verses that God used in my life to confirm the missionary calling. How many times I have gone back to this passage and renewed my calling when I was not “feeling” called! There will be days you will not “feel” called, but a calling based on the unchanging and eternal Word of God will help you endure those “bad feeling” days.

    Are you “feeling” called? If you are at the beginning of your calling, search the Scriptures and pray for God to confirm your calling through His Word. Perhaps you are further along in your calling, and you are in one of those stages where you are not “feeling called.” You need to go back and remember those precious verses God used to confirm your calling and boldly state, “As it is written.”


  • Wednesday, July 29, 2020 9:20 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Dennis Isbell  Pastor Grace Baptist Temple, San Antonio Texas

    All I’ve been a part of for the 41 years of my saved life is a Wednesday thru Sunday Mission Conference. All we’ve had here at Grace Baptist Temple, for the past 27 years of my Pastorate, is a Wednesday thru Sunday Mission Conference. Is that the only way to do a Conference? Of course not. There are many variations and lengths. But, I’ve known many over the years that no longer see the value of a Mission Conference. I believe there’s still value. In Webster’s 1828, he says, “The real value of a thing is its utility, its power or capacity of procuring or producing good.” To me, what’s of value is what our people get during the time with our Missionaries, and our Missionaries in turn are blessed by our people.

    In our Mission Conference, our Missionaries get to know our people, and our people get to know them. That’s a benefit for our folks and our Missionaries, and I believe it’s one of the greatest values to a Mission Conference. Allowing our Missionaries time to visit with our folks, answer the questions, understand their call to go, many times to another land, helps our folks in giving and praying.

    Brother Don Sisk once said, “Since the last command of the Lord was a command to evangelize the world, this certainly should merit at least five days during the year when the primary emphasis of the entire church is worldwide evangelism.” I couldn’t agree more. This time spent with our Missionaries is of value to me as a Pastor. My life has been changed as I’ve had opportunities to spend several days with our Missionaries, getting to know them, their needs, and their likes and dislikes. It’s a value to our church members who get some “one-on-one” time with them and realize that our Missionaries are “normal people” who have just submitted to God’s call on their lives. Our Conference has the value of seeing some of our folks called to go. It has the value of burdening our folks to support our Mission endeavor, because they see and hear during that week what God is doing.

    There’s value in being reminded during the focal week of a Mission Conference that souls still need to be saved all around this world. There’s value in being reminded that there are those who are willing to go. And, there is value in our Church being able to pray for these Missionaries that they’ve been able to get to know and give to support the work of God through them. Yes, it takes work and time and effort and prayer to have a God-honoring Mission Conference. Oh, but to see the results are of great value.


  • Wednesday, July 08, 2020 9:15 AM | Anonymous

    Lewis McClendon BCMN

    If you have missionary housing, recognize that things are not going to go as planned. There will be a time when a missionary does not clean the rooms to your standards, a towel is going to mistakenly find its way into a missionary’s luggage, something is going to be broken, a wall is going to get scratched, and the carpet will get stained. Repair, replace and repaint will always be an issue, just like it is with the rest of the rooms in the church. When things go wrong, remember missionary housing is worth it. Every night a missionary stays in your rooms, they are saving hundreds of dollars. The money you save them helps them stay on the road to raise the funds to get to the mission field or to return to the mission field.

    My children are grown now, but I remember what family vacations were like. Our three children were in the back seat of a car filled with as much stuff as we could pack into it. To begin the vacation we drove all day, or for two or three days, to get to our destination. We stayed in cheap motels where we were all in the same room trying to sleep on lumpy mattresses. We got up and drove the next day tired and cranky. We were always glad to get home to our house with our beds and our routine. Even with those memories, it is hard for me to imagine what it is like for a missionary to be on the road for two or three years! When I became a pastor, I wanted to provide our missionaries with the best accommodations I could. It wasn’t that missionaries were complaining about being on the road or about bad treatment at churches. For the most part, I only heard good stories of great treatment from missionaries. I just could not imagine being on the road with my family for that long a time and still being sane. So, when missionaries came to my church I just wanted to be as big a blessing to them as I could. We did not have the perfect or the best missionary housing available to missionaries, but we did get better.

    We put our missionary housing in our budget so we could do all the repairing, replacing, and repainting as needed. We recruited volunteers to clean the rooms when a missionary left and to do the touch up needed just before they arrived. Our volunteers were thrilled to get to be the one to clean rooms for people who had given their lives to reach people around the world. It was a ministry to them.

    These blogs have not covered everything, but I pray that they have helped you in your desire to be a blessing to missionaries by providing the best missionary housing you can. If you have any comments or ideas to share, please contact me at


  • Wednesday, July 01, 2020 9:15 AM | Anonymous
    Lewis McClendon BCMN

    When you arrive at a new place, there is always a learning curve you have to endure. You don’t know for sure where to park, which door to go in, or where anything is. After you have been at a place for short while you begin to get a feel for the place. Every time a new missionary arrives at your church, they experience that learning curve. Some well thought out communication from you can shorten the learning curve for the missionary.

    Pre-arrival information

    Missionaries appreciate any information about your missionary housing that you provide. It takes the guesswork out of planning their stay with you. If they know a washer and dryer are available, they can plan to use them during their stay. If not, they know they need to work in a trip to a laundromat. It would be helpful for missionaries if you put together an informational email that you send to them as soon as they are booked to stay in your missionary housing. That information would include, but not be limited to, the following items:

    1.    Where should they park? A property map showing where to park and which door to enter to find the office is appreciated.

    2.    How many rooms, beds, cribs, or air mattress are in the apartment or house? Is there a washer and dryer? Is there a refrigerator, microwave, stove, or dishes?

    3.    How do they get the key, especially if the missionary will not arrive during office hours? One of the best ways to provide a key is to put a key in a lock box, which is opened by a combination, on a wall near the door they will go in or hanging from a doorknob. Just be sure to send them the combination to the key box.

    4.    How should the family dress for services and activities? At some churches, a tie is appropriate, and at other churches, missionaries have been requested to remove their tie.

    Arrival information

    1.    Provide a written church schedule for the dates the missionary will be staying in your mission housing. Missionaries appreciate knowing about a 6 am men’s breakfast and Bible Study or a teen all night event in the gym. In the schedule you give them also let them know what activities they can attend or are expected to attend. Missionaries have missed an event that the pastor assumed they would attend, and missionaries have shown up at an event where they were not expected or, in some cases, not wanted.

    2.    Provide a written information sheet that informs them about everything they need to know about your mission housing.

    ● Up to date Wi-Fi instructions

    ● Who to call with a maintenance problems or suspicious circumstances that cannot wait for office hours. Provide the phone numbers of at least a primary and secondary person to call.

    ● Where the laundry is and when they can use it if the washer and dryer are not in the room.

    ● Where should they take the trash they want to take out of the room.

    ● Instructions for the TV, heater, air conditioner and any other electronic equipment in the room.

    ● The location of extra sheets, towels, wash cloths, cleaning supplies, etc. if not located in the room.

    ● The location of recommended stores, restaurants, parks, and places of interest in your area, and warnings about any unsafe places in your area.

    Departure information

    Missionaries sometimes find themselves in a “you should have, you shouldn’t have” world. The expectations about how to leave the missionary housing run the gamut from “the church will do it all, just take your stuff and go” to “deep clean and recarpet.” Missionaries are happy to clean a room just like you want it cleaned if they know what you want and have access to the equipment and cleaning supplies they need. Take the mystery of what your expectations are by writing and posting your cleaning list in the room. Be very specific. In those instructions clearly state where unwashed laundry goes, where the trash goes, and where to leave the key. State if you want the carpets vacuumed, the floors swept and mopped, and if the bathtub should be cleaned. If you have volunteers who enjoy the ministry of cleaning the room to be a blessing to missionaries, let them know that as well. The key to less frustration in the cleaning of your mission housing can be reduced with clearly written, detailed and posted cleaning instructions.


  • Wednesday, June 17, 2020 9:15 AM | Anonymous
    Lewis McClendon BCMN

    When you are on the road, you cannot possibly pack everything in your luggage you will need. You depend on motels and restaurants to have what you cannot take with you. When you host a missionary, they are depending on what you can provide for them. Take the time to think of all the big and little things that will be a blessing to them in these areas:

    1. Kitchen – If your missionary housing includes a partial or complete kitchen, provide as many dishes, utensils, pots and pans, serving bowls, and cleaning supplies as the kitchen will allow. If a missionary is going to cook a meal, they will need everything you have in your kitchen to do it. Stock the kitchen well and check the inventory on a regular basis.

    2. Food – Churches have tried many ways to provide food for missionaries they host. There are plusses and minuses with any way you choose, but here are three ways you can provide food.

    ●     Stock your missionary housing with lots of food for all missionaries that will be staying in your missionary housing in the months to come. Purchase canned goods, crackers, cookies, fruit, milk, cereal, etc. that is ready for any missionary you are hosting. The benefits of this is a missionary has a wide variety of food items from which to choose. The downside is it takes up a lot of room, and food can get out-of-date, stale, and just plain questionable. A missionary can wonder how long the bottle of mustard has been in the refrigerator. If you choose this option, it is best to give away or throw away anything that has been opened after a missionary leaves. Also, continuously check the use-by dates so no food is out of date when a missionary arrives.

    ●     Stock your missionary housing with food specific for each missionary. When a missionary is coming, put food in the room for that one missionary family. If you choose this option, a missionary knows the food is fresh, but you run the risk of stocking the room with food a missionary won’t or can’t eat. They may not like the food or have an allergy to it or be on a diet. To prevent these problems, put a check list together and send it to the missionary before they arrive. Tell them to check one or two in a category of fruits, snacks, drinks, etc. You are still in control about how much you will spend on food by limiting the number of items on the list you provide. It might also be good to communicate to the missionary that they can take any of the food you specifically purchased for them when they leave, if that is your goal.

    ●     Provide gift cards for the missionary. A gift card to a grocery store allows a missionary to get exactly what they want in their favorite brands. Gift cards for local fast food places and restaurants in your area are greatly appreciated as well.

    3. Bathrooms – Provide the basic amenities that motels provide.

    4. Washer and Dryer – Provide normal washing necessities. Some churches that do not have washers and dryers provide gift cards and directions for a laundromat near the church.

    5. Internet – There is no way to overstate the blessing of a good reliable internet connection for a missionary you are hosting. We all rely on internet service, and missionaries do, too. Chances are the emails you exchanged with missionary staying in your mission housing was facilitated by the internet service provided by a church they were staying at when they emailed you. Missionaries rely on your internet for laptops and tablets, and in addition to that, many times the children of the missionaries are enrolled in a home school that requires an internet connection. If at all possible overcome the hurdles of your unique situation to provide a good strong internet connection for the missionaries you host.


  • Wednesday, June 10, 2020 9:15 AM | Anonymous
    Lewis McClendon BCMN

    Three keys for great missionary housing.

    1. Keep it simple

    When you check into a motel room, your most pressing need is where are we going to put

     everything? You want a place for all the things you bring into the room. Then you want a comfortable chair to sit in and a comfortable bed to sleep on. A room with too much furniture or decoration hinders those goals. The decoration on the dresser or desk looks good, but shelf space can be more appreciated than decoration. Think through how many people can stay in the housing you provide for missionaries, and then bring all the necessary items that a missionary would bring in to that room. How many suitcases will fit in the room; is there a counter or folding luggage rack to put them on? Is there enough space on the desks and dressers to hold the computer bag, hand luggage and the other items missionaries bring into the room? Is there adequate room to hang up clothes, and are there coat hangers and skirt hangers? Is there enough counter space for toiletries in the bathroom?

    Also, guard your mission housing from becoming the church storage room. Many times the housing has adequate space, but when the room becomes the go-to storage area for the church, a missionary finds all the drawers, closets and counter tops are full and unavailable for them.

    2. Keep it sanitized

    I can remember when I was growing up that there was no such thing as Expedia to make reservations in advance or chain motels you could trust. When we traveled, we drove all day, and when it was time to stop for the night, my parents had to stop at a motel that looked like it was in their price range, go to the office and get a key to check out the room before making a decision to stay at that motel. If the room did not look clean and smell clean, or the plumbing leaked, we did not stay at that motel. Missionaries do not have that option with the housing churches provide. They stay whether it looks and smells clean or not. When a missionary walks into your missionary housing, above all else they are hoping the room is clean and inviting: no spider webs or mouse droppings, fresh bedding and towels, and clean floors and counter tops. If you provide food, is it in unopened packages and within the use-by date?

    3. Keep it sterilized

    COVID-19 has definitely changed our world. The decorating and cleaning we used to do is not enough anymore. True sterilizing includes both what goes in the room and the depth of the cleaning done. Everything that goes on a bed needs to be sterilized. In the past, the sheets and the pillowcases would be washed, but nothing was done with the blankets, bedspread, and decorative pillows. Now everything that goes on a bed needs to be sterilized, including washable mattress and pillow protectors. That may mean less decoration on the bed and everywhere else in the room. It may also mean changing the current blankets and bedspreads to ones that can be washed often.

    Missionaries really do appreciate any church that provides housing for them. When we go the extra mile and make the improvements these three keys address, we will give our missionaries a nice surprise that will cause them to appreciate staying at your church even more.

    The next blog will address the issue of communication regarding your missionary housing.


  • Wednesday, June 03, 2020 9:15 AM | Anonymous
    Lewis McClendon BCMN

    Missionary apartments and homes are a huge blessing to missionaries. The following are a few of the comments I have received from missionaries regarding the mission apartments and homes churches have provided:

    Veteran Missionary

    Missionary lodging provided by churches is a big money saver for the traveling missionary. Many of us live day- to-day on the road. Deputation necessitates that we launch out for extended tours to visit churches to raise the needed funds. Not having to pay for the basic necessity of lodging gets the missionary another step closer to their goal and makes for solid stewardship.

    Deputation Missionary

    Mission apartments are always a special treat for us, as we get to have some privacy and relaxation, which is so rare during deputation. It is important for our marriage and stress levels.

    Deputation Missionary

    Mission housing has been a great blessing to our family, especially when it has been a relaxing and inviting stay. The sacrifice churches make to love on us by allowing us to use their housing is so encouraging and refreshing. We have enjoyed many different types of apartments or housing in our three years of deputation. Some were uncomfortable to sleep in with the kids and some were inviting. It’s a rarity to find churches that still offer Mission Housing, and it’s even more rare to find those that are kept up.

    Veteran Missionary

    I have deep gratitude for churches willing to provide houses and apartments to traveling missionaries. Hotel costs will eat you alive out on the road. As many churches are ceasing to provide this help to missionaries, those churches who do offer missionary housing are much appreciated.

    I am sure if your church has a mission apartment or house you get a lot of requests from missionaries to stay in your mission housing. When I was pastoring we had a studio apartment and a two-bedroom apartment with a living room and kitchen. We had the privilege of hosting many missionaries. As a pastor, I wanted our mission apartments to be an uplifting experience for a missionary. I wanted their time with us to be a time when they could relax and thrive, and not a time they had to endure and find a way to survive. We made a lot of mistakes, and over the years we learned ways to improve a missionary’s stay with us.

    Our first attempt to improve our missionary housing was by asking missionaries to critique our rooms. This kind of critique, however, did not always provide all the information we needed. Missionaries do not want to say anything negative about a supporting or potential supporting church. When I talked with the missionaries about our mission apartments, I let them know I was hoping to improve our apartments and would not be offended with anything they pointed out that needed improvement. The missionaries we talked to gave us some great ideas about improving their stay with us.

    We also learned how to improve our mission housing when necessity required Karen and me to stay several nights in our mission apartment. We had to vacate our house for some repairs. We chose to stay at the church. We were there for several nights. When we moved back home, my wife had a list of things we needed to add to the apartments. Some improvements were small and some required some money. A few night’s stay in our apartment showed us our two-bedroom apartment with a kitchen complete with stove, refrigerator, sink, dishes, pots and pans lacked some simple things like a can opener. Walking through the missions apartments to look for any repairs or upgrades needed and staying in the apartment for several nights are two different things. Testing a chair for two minutes and sitting in a chair for two or three days, or sitting of the side of a bed for 30 seconds and sleeping in that bed for several nights, are two different things.

    In blogs to come, we will talk about three areas to consider to improve a missionary’s stay in your missionary housing. We will talk about comfort, convenience and communication.

  • Monday, May 25, 2020 9:15 AM | Anonymous
    Bob Hutton Missions Director Canton Baptist Temple

    Not every church has the ability to have a dedicated Missions Pastor/Missions Director. Very likely in the majority of situations, the Senior Pastor handles the missions program of the church along with all of his other responsibilities. If you are a Missions Pastor/Missions Director or the only Pastor on staff at your church, let me share what I feel are three major areas of responsibility for a Missions Pastor.

    First, if your church has the ability to have a dedicated Missions Pastor, one of the most important jobs that you have is to alleviate as much pressure from the Senior Pastor as possible. I’m on staff at a church where the Senior Pastor is very missions minded and wants to be involved with our missions program. However, because of the nature of his job, he can’t do everything.

    We support over 150 missionaries and projects, have 14 families out of our church on the field, and have a mission agency just for missionaries out of our church. So our pastor can’t be as involved in our mission program as he would like to be and still be as effective as he needs to be in preaching, teaching and ministering to those in our church.

    Some of the things I do to make sure he feels confident that our program is what it should be: handle all calls/emails from missionaries wanting to come to the church, meet with our missions committee every month, set up missions trips, stay in contact with our missionaries, plan our missions conference and Global Impact weekend, and anything else that helps maintain a well-rounded missions program.

    Second, develop new missionaries. More missionaries are retiring or coming off the field than those who are going. Push missions in your children’s programs; encourage teens, young adults, and young families to go on missions trips. Encourage those who show an interest in missions by taking them out to eat with you and a missionary that may be visiting, or find a myriad of other ways to encourage and develop a person who shows a desire to full-time service.

    Third, and very important, is missionary care. In years past when a missionary went to the field, it was usually for life. Today, close to 50% of all missionaries don’t make it to a second term and more than that don’t make it past a third. I don’t have time now to list all of the reasons why, but suffice it to say we need to do all that we can to help our missionaries stay on the field. You can’t help everyone, but you definitely can help the ones out of your church. Stay in touch with them by phone or video. Go visit them on the field. Don’t be afraid to have hard personal conversations with them. Help meet their financial, emotional and spiritual needs. If you are not involved in their lives and ministry, you won’t know when a potential problem arises.


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