“Hey! Come with me! You need to meet Jordan!*”
I followed somewhat reluctantly as he went from person to person, introducing me and telling some of what I had been doing. I was training to be a missionary bush pilot and had spent several years in preparation. As my father, he delighted in me and wanted everyone to meet me. More than that he was a mission mobilizer and wanted to provide opportunities for me as a missionary; not knowing where God might lead with each introduction. We traveled together from place to place meeting people in churches, conferences, colleges and banquets. My father is more than an advocate for me. He is a missions exponent.
Exponent: One that speaks for, represents, or advocates: My father is an exponent of missions. A person or thing that explains or interprets. (thefreedictionary)
Do missionaries need to be explained or interpreted? Well, it seems to help. A lot!
Mission exponents have greatly assisted my ability to serve as a missionary.
As I was preparing to go overseas, one person asked, “How may I help?” “Who do you know?” I responded. He took me to his previous home church which was a four hour drive away. The people in the church there have supported our ministry through prayer and gifts for more than two decades.
Another family asked, “What can we do?” I was planning to be in the area for a short time and did not know how to see everyone I wanted to see. They organized a Saturday afternoon meet and greet at their church and sent out state-wide invitations. Later they arranged for me to be the missionary speaker during a week of vacation Bible school. The people at that church have also prayed and supported our ministry since that time.
Overseas I met a visitor who asked where I would be living during my home assignment. I did not know. I anticipated traveling from California to Maine, Texas to Michigan and Florida to Washington. He said, “Come to Spokane!” My younger brother had recently moved half an hour away from there, so I agreed.
When I arrived in Spokane I was the visitor in my new friend’s home territory. He introduced me to people in his church, invited me to speak in small groups, introduced me to church leaders, drove me to some community meetings, provided opportunity to help lead a Sunday School class and found a place for me to live. I was not there long. Less than a year later I met my wife and moved away. Ministry locations have kept us at a distance. Still the church there has lavished unmerited favor and honor on us ever since.
I praise God for exponents and their exponential influence! These people have inspired me as I learn how to be an exponent for the declaration of God’s glory among the tribes.
How can I be an exponent on behalf of other people? What can I do that will have lasting impact on the people I serve and the people whom they serve? What amazing things will God do? I love to see God breathing life into people!