The Bateman Family

Batemans in Argentina

Shawn Bateman, Misionary to Argentina

April 6, 2018

“Dear Pastor, Perhaps You Should Consider Resigning and Moving. Part 2”

“Dear Pastor, Perhaps You Should Consider Resigning and Moving. Part 2”

May I ask you a question? What would hold you back? What would hold you back from resigning and moving your ministry somewhere else?

In the last article (You can read it here) I wrote about the explosive growth of the early Baptists and how the relocating of pastors helped multiply churches in those early years. In this article I would like to make it a bit more personal.

After graduating from Bible college I had the opportunity to work in a little country church in Oconee County, SC. I lived in Pickens County and had a part time job at UPS in Greenville

County, all of those counties are in what is known as the “Upstate” of South Carolina. This is a heavily churched area. I worked as a co-pastor for two years and then as pastor for six years more. The little church started growing. It was still a little church but the attendance more than doubled, and we experienced more growth in the last two years than we had experienced in the previous six. Just as the church started growing and gathering some momentum we left. Why? Allow me to answer that with three questions.

  1. Was there sufficient Gospel witness in that area? If you know anything about theupstate of SC you know that there are churches everywhere, and more being started each year. In Pickens county alone there are around 150 Baptist churches with a population of 110,000 people. In Salem, where I was pastoring there were at least 8 Baptist churches serving a town of 135 and a wider community of much, much less than 10,000 people. You may ask, “But do all these churches believe exactly like we do?” The answer is no. However, having visited each of these churches and having preached in most of them, I can tell you that each of these churches preach the Gospel clear and sound. They are active in the community with different ministries giving the message of the Gospel. Yes, the people there have a sufficient Gospel witness. I can show you whole “towns” in Argentina that have populations of 100,000-250,000 people and these “towns” do not have one Baptist church present to proclaim the gospel.

  3. Was there someone to take over the ministry? In the upstate of South Carolina there is no shortage of preachers. Within six months of my resignation the church had a new pastor, a seasoned veteran who had had three previous pastorates. He lives there in a community near the church. He is a good man, a faithful man, and a man that preaches the Gospel. The church keeps on going.

  5. Could I make more of an impact somewhere else? I think so. In an area saturated withchurches, it is almost like a competition. It’s like the Baskin Robbins of churches.  If you don’t like this flavor of church you can go down the road and try another. Am I saying that I couldn’t have an impact there?    Am I saying that my ministry was not needed there? No. What I am saying is this: With all the churches and pastors in that area I could go out from there and go to another community, town, city, or country where the need is greater and have a greater impact. I now have the opportunity to speak to people who have never heard what a Baptist is.  I speak to people on almost a daily basis who really have no access in their community to hear a clear presentation of the Gospel. I think the possibility of me having a greater impact with my life for the Kingdom of God is substantially greater here as opposed to there.


Brining it Home :

Should every pastor up and move? No. Should you? That is between you and God, but perhaps this article will cause you to pray and consider this as a possibility. In Gospel-saturated areas the call should not be to plant more churches where they already exist, but rather to send out from those areas men who can go and take the light to the dark areas of the world. To start churches in the small towns of America that yet do not have one. To go to the cities of America where years ago the churches left and now there are whole communities without the Gospel.
To go to foreign countries and take the Gospel to incredibly needy lands. Will you ask yourself these three questions today, and with prayer consider resigning and going somewhere else?


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