Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Praying For Laborers and Putting Feet to Our Prayers

Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest,
that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
~ Matthew 9:38 ~

With all the upheaval, suffering, and sin in the world in which we live today, the command of Christ to pray the Father would send forth laborers into His harvest often weighs heavy on my heart. I remember many times in the past when I've offered up my husband and three sons and now our son-in-law as means by which the Gospel would be spread into the world. The Lord seems to be answering that prayer in many different ways in their lives, most recently through our son, Samuel.

Our son Sam with his wife Hannah and two sons,
Sam Houston and Ben, at Sam's graduation from
Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY, this past spring
Sam began attending Grand Rapids Theological Seminary as soon as he moved home after leaving the Air Force. While stationed in Phoenix, AZ, he had attended Sovereign Grace Baptist Church where he was converted and received the call of God to enter the ministry. After marrying his beautiful wife, Hannah, they moved to Louisville, KY, where he entered Southern Seminary, graduating in the spring of 2014. They, along with their two sweet baby boys, immediately moved closer to Hannah's parents where Sam felt led to minister in the vast home mission field of Austin, TX.

Both Sam and Hannah have had a heart for working in the inner city since serving in outreach ministry in Louisville. Sam believed there was not only a great need for the spread of the Gospel in solving social ills, but also in providing biblical counseling and discipleship to those who made professions of faith, involving them in the local church and building them up in the faith. Soon after moving to the Austin area, Sam met and spoke with one of the elders of the Austin Stone Community Church who shared with him the ministry opportunity of working in their pastoral residency program. Sam and Hannah both believed this was God's leading.

Austin Stone Community Church, Austin, TX
Photo source: Direct Expansion Solutions
The pastoral residency at Austin Stone is a two-year program where those who feel led to enter the ministry may get hands-on experience working full-time alongside men of God in the everyday ministry of this strong and growing inner-city church. Because the work is full time, the church requires their interns to raise a portion of their support in order that they might be free to devote their whole efforts into the work of the ministry. Once the two-year residency is completed, and sometimes before, the intern is then eligible to either be taken on as a full-time staff member at Austin Stone or may choose to go into ministry through another church.

Though we are used to missionaries raising support, pastoral residency support may be a new concept. Yet, in my opinion, this way of launching men into the ministry is not only good stewardship but is also a streamlined and efficient way of getting those called into ministry immediately into the work at hand. The church is not risking a salaried position on someone who is not yet experienced, and the minister in training is not saddled with trying to work a full-time job to support his family while trying to minister full-time.

Do you feel the need is great for laborers to be sent into the harvest? Are you praying the Lord of the harvest to send forth those laborers? Are you willing and able to put some feet to those prayers? If so, please take a minute to read our Sam's support letter and consider either a one-time gift or a one-year or two-year monthly support commitment. Even $20 a month -- less than $5 a week! -- would go far in helping Sam qualify for this awesome ministry opportunity at Austin Stone Community Church. He only has until Sept. 7 to raise a certain portion of his support. So, please do not hesitate if you feel led to give. Sam's support site is https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=4b3eb4.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me by email at ehomebody@gmail.com or through Facebook at www.facebook.com/ehomebody.

Sam is available for questions at samwilwerding@outlook.com, and by phone in the evenings at 512-917-5359.

Whether you are able to give or not, we ask you to please pray for Sam and Hannah as they seek to serve Christ in the Austin area. We are excited to see how the Lord will work through his servants.