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Recently a pastor friend was asking me about the ministry of Barnabas1040.  I explained that it is a ministry of helps that comes alongside Independent Baptist missionaries and national pastors, providing the resources for them to plant indigenous churches in the least evangelized parts of the world. My friend listened intently, sensing the wisdom of the concept that those we have led to Christ and discipled should be encouraged to reach their own people. After a few minutes he said “I see the wisdom and biblical basis for what you are doing; this is exactly what we see in the New Testament. But I still have one question: It looks like you are the middleman between me and my missionaries…why do I need a middleman?”
 
I think this is a good question that deserves an honest answer, so here are 7 reasons why I believe having a “middleman” through Barnabas1040 is a good way for Western churches to invest in church planting within the 10/40 Window.
 
1. We do the front work of identifying and vetting national pastors who are deserving of your financial support. This is huge, because it is not practical, desirable or possible for most pastors to do this themselves. By living and working in Asia we are able to be your eyes and ears in this vital work.
 
2. We are targeting the most unreached and unengaged people in the world. We support national church planters in Communist, Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim countries. We are helping you go to places and reach people that you could not by using traditional methods.
 
3. We encourage missionaries and nationals through our leadership training times by teaching the biblical truth that there is a difference between the calling and gifting of a local church pastor and a missionary. As a result we are seeing more nationals surrender to serve and more missionaries embrace the vision of 2 Tim. 2:2.
 
4. We provide a way for Western churches to reduce the time and money necessary to plant churches among the most needy people groups in the world. Our nationals already speak the language, understand the culture and are able to live on the same economic level as the people they are reaching.
 
5. We provide a way for Western churches to minister to their suffering brothers and sisters who live in places where missionaries are severely limited by the governments or customs. Our national pastors do not face the same scrutiny or suspicion that Westerners do.
 
6. We accelerate God’s command to make disciples of all nations by supporting men who can immediately lead their own people to Christ. Why should precious souls continue to die and go to hell when there are national workers willing and able to go now?
 
7. All of the money that is donated to Barnabas1040 is used to help nationals. Everyone associated with our ministry raises personal support so there is no overhead. We are able to put 100% of the money sent to Barnabas1040 directly into helping those who are the most in need of the gospel.
 
These are 7 reasons why I believe it might be beneficial to each pastor reading this blog to prayerfully consider letting us be your “middleman” at Barnabas1040. We have only one goal and that is to glorify and obey God by helping to get the gospel to those who are still waiting to hear. There are billions of souls at stake. It would be our great honor to be the “middleman” if it would mean more precious souls could be reached for Christ.
 
If you would like more information concerning how we can serve you, please visit our website at www.Barnabas1040.com or email me at dtomlinson@barnabas1040.com.

“The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine. Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said. And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so?”

‭‭John‬ ‭18:19-22‬ 

In reading this passage this morning, I was struck by the similarity of the treatment of Jesus under the religious leaders to what is happening all around the world today.  The religious authorities’ treatment of Jesus is being repeated in surprising detail this very moment. 

Since starting Barnabas1040 ministries I have had the privilege of meeting men and women across China, Vietnam, Laos and other Asian countries who told me of experiences which sounded eerily like the one our Lord endured in Jerusalem the night of His betrayal. 

  1. They were betrayed by friends who reported them to the religious police.
  2. They were called before the authorities at night.
  3. They were asked concerning their teaching.
  4. They were asked to report the names of other believers.
  5. When they did not turn over the names, they received some type of punishment, ranging from threats to fines, physical punishment or incarceration.

It should be no surprise to us that these things and worse are happening all around the world today. This is exactly what Jesus told us to expect.

“Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.

The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.”  ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭10:16-18, 24‬ ‭

We in America have become so accustomed to the great freedoms afforded to us by our founding fathers that we sometimes forget that most of the world knows nothing of religious freedom. The reality is that the majority of our brothers and sisters in Christ have never known the freedoms that we take for granted. They were born in countries that do not consider individual liberty as a basic human right, and they were born again while living under political systems that deny basic human rights.

Even now many Christians are languishing in prison cells separated from family and friends, not knowing if they will ever be reunited with those they love. In many cases their families do not even know if they are alive. 

Paul Marshall in the book, “Their Blood Cries Out” claims that 80 percent of the world’s believers are living in persecution.

As I thought about what happened to Jesus, and those I have met whose stories are mirrored in his, I realized that they not only identify in effect but in cause. The reason Jesus stood before the religious police was because he “spoke openly…to the world.”

My friends were not called to the police station because they were “believers” but because they were “followers.” They took seriously their Lord’s instructions to speak and teach those things that they had learned from God’s Word. They “spoke openly” and as a result they found themselves in conflict with an authoritarian system. 

None of these men or women were seeking persecution, but neither did they shrink from it. They are not bitter, nor do they have self pity. They are humble servants of Christ who are simply trying to live their lives as his followers. Some are pastors, most are not, but all of them are focused on eternity. They believe that this life is only preparation for the next and their chief desire is to glorify God. They are not perfect. They struggle with all the temptations that are common to our race but somehow they have caught a glimpse of the world to come. They are living with eternity in view. 

It is my great privilege to attempt to be a friend and helper to those who are walking with Jesus in hard places.

I am writing on a special day…
…from a special place.
…on a special occasion.
A special day because it is the one year anniversary of my resignation as the senior pastor of the church in Southern California that I was privileged to lead for 25 years.
A special place because I am writing from a restricted access communist nation.

And a special occasion because we just added several new national pastors to our growing family serving through Barnabas1040! There are four communist countries in South East Asia and by God’s grace we are now working in 3 of them!

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One year ago my wife and I faced our fears and stepped out in faith to follow what we firmly believed was God’s calling for this season of our lives. We could no longer be content to stay home and curse the darkness, we were compelled to go out and shine the light!

Now, one year later, I am writing these words from the 16th floor of a modest Chinese hotel in one of the largest cities in the world. I am looking out across a city of 20 million people, amazed that God would allow me the great honor of helping my brothers and sisters who are attempting to reach their own people for Christ.

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On the one year anniversary of that resignation letter I would like to share just three of the many things the Lord has shown us.

1. God can be trusted completely.

One year ago today, I did not know how God would use us or provide for us. I knew that He was leading, and that for over 40 years of ministry He had been faithful. The past year has proven, once again, that He can be trusted. As Hudson Taylor said, “God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply.”

2. There are many churches and Christians in America that are serious about the Great Commission.

We have been received with open arms by pastors across our great land that want to help reach those who live and die in hard areas where persecution for Christ’s sake is a daily reality. There are many people in the world who consider Americans to be selfish, materialistic and apathetic to the needs of the rest of the world. There is no question that this is sometimes a problem, but it is by no means a universal truth. American Christians are still some of the most sincere, generous and caring people in the world. We have met thousands of them in the past year.

3. Barnabas1040 is greatly needed.

When we started Barnabas1040 we had a vision of helping our brothers and sisters reach their own people for Christ. We knew intellectually that it makes sense that a native could be more effective, especially in a difficult part of the world like the 10/40 Window where missionaries are often not welcome. It just made sense that someone who already speaks the language, understands the culture and can blend in without drawing attention to himself would have a better chance at reaching people. We knew it intellectually, but now we have seen it with our own eyes.

Just last week, I was in a mountain village in a restricted access nation, and within minutes the house was surrounded by police wanting to know what the American was doing there. I was not allowed to speak and my hosts ushered me out of the village as soon as it was safe. That experience was one of many confirmations that we are on the right track by sending nationals into sensitive areas where foreigners cannot minister.

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There are of course many other lessons the Lord has been teaching us on this journey of faith, but they will have to wait for another day.

We will be back in the USA from September through March and have 2 Sundays open in February if any pastors would like to have us in. Please contact me by email.

God bless you!

Dr. Dwight Tomlinson
Barnabas1040.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gayle and I have been on the deputation trail for 2 months now. The past 8 weeks have taken us to 3 States where I have been in 13 churches and spoken 31 times. To say we are keeping busy is an understatement!
Several of my pastor friends have asked me why I did not just get on the phone, make some calls, and see if I could raise the support we need by phone instead of enduring the rigors of travel and preaching just about every night. After all, we have been in the ministry for over 40 years. God has graciously allowed us to be friends with enough pastors across the country that we could possibly raise the minimal amount of support we need for the 2 of us to live and work in Southern China where we plan to headquarter. Why not just make some calls and skip the hassle and expense of deputation altogether?
There are several reasons we are doing what we are:
1. The Barnabas1040 ministry is not just about us.
If is was just about us, we might make some calls and see if we could raise the personal support we need to live and minister in the 10/40 Window, but that is not the case. This ministry is really not about us at all. It is about God’s desire to call unto Himself worshippers from every nation.
God’s plan for the gospel to go to all people groups can be traced back at least 6,000 years to Abraham. “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”  Genesis‬ ‭12:3‬ ‭
God promised Abraham that all the families of the earth would be blessed through the Messiah.
We could trace through the Old and New Testaments and read several times where the Lord reiterated His plan that “all families (people groups) of the earth be blessed.”  We know that ultimately God’s promise to Abraham will be fulfilled because Revelation 7:9 gives us this picture of a future scene in heaven. “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;”
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God promised all nations would receive the blessing purchased by Jesus on Calvary, and God always keeps His promises!
This ministry is all about finishing the mission of getting the gospel to the yet unreached and unengaged people groups of the world. Part of our ministry is teaching God’s plan everywhere we can.
2. The Barnabas1040 ministry is not just about money.
We have a problem in the 10/40 window. Although less than 2% of our missions money is targeting the over 75% of the world’s population who live there, money is not the ultimate solution. We are traveling on deputation with the goal of raising awareness of the problem and the solutions.
Why is it that the vast majority of people in the 10/40 Window are not only unreached but unengaged; meaning very few missionaries are attempting to engage them with the gospel?
I read a quote recently that sums it up quite succinctly.
 
Unreached peoples are unreached for a reason; They’re hard, difficult and dangerous to reach. All of the easy ones are taken.”
 
Most people don’t want to go where it is hard, difficult and dangerous! One of our prayer requests is that more Western Christians would be willing to actually do what we love to sing about! We sing about going “anywhere with Jesus,”  but when it comes time to go, too many of us look for the places that are easy.
At Barnabas1040 we believe that we need BOTH missionaries and national pastors working together to reach the hard, difficult and dangerous countries in the 10/40 Window.
That is why we are raising support to care for national pastors working under the mentoring of missionaries to plant indigenous churches among their own people. Obviously we need money to care for these workers on a temporary basis while they teach their people to give and become self supporting. But even more than we need money, we need missionaries who understand the biblical principle of indigenous missions! Far too many missionaries do not understand the difference between a pastor and a missionary. This critical misunderstanding leads to our too often failed policy of foreign missionaries: pastoring foreign style churches, financed by foreign money. No wonder the local people call this model, “foreign religion”! This model is not only foreign to them, it is foreign to the Bible!
If we are going to finish the mission of gathering worshippers from every nation, we must get back to the Bible principle of training and empowering local people to reach their own people.
3. The Barnabas1040 ministry is not just about you and your church
God has chosen to work through His body, the Church. The local church is God’s chosen instrument to be the custodian and proclaimer of His truth. The Church has been chosen, commissioned, empowered and authorized to preach, baptize and disciple. The local church is very important.
That being said, it is imperative that we not forget that God does not need us, we need Him! Missions is bigger than any of us. It is about God; and Him receiving the glory that He deserves. It is about the sacrifice of His Son. It is about Him seeing the results of His Son’s death.
Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” Isaiah 53:10,11
Dwight, why not just get on the phone and try and raise your support? I guess because this thing is so much bigger than just raising my support.
Please pray for the almost 4 billion people in the 10/40 Window. Many of whom are still waiting for someone to bring them the gospel.
Dwight Tomlinson
There’s only one thing worse than being lost and that is being lost and having no one trying to find you.

Last Sunday night I led our church in voting in a new pastor. Our people happily voted by a 99% margin to replace me after 25 years! The next morning my wife asked me how I felt. My reply? I feel great!

You might read into my reply that I am excited about retirement. Actually, you would be mistaken, because I don’t believe in retirement. I am not excited because I have retired and am looking forward to a stress free life of daily golf. (Those who know me well know that there are few things more stressful to me than trying to hit a golf ball.) I am feeling great because we are following God’s plan for our life in beginning a new ministry that we believe will be every bit as busy and productive as the one we are leaving.

After 40 years of pastoral work, we are dedicating the rest of our lives to planting churches in the 1040 window which contains the world’s least evangelized countries. We have the privilege of reaching people who have literally never heard the name of Jesus.

I don’t believe in retirement if it means we stop devoting our full energy to spreading the gospel among those who have the least access, therefore the greatest need.

If you want to know why I don’t believe in retirement I will show you a verse and a photo.

First a verse: Isaiah got a vision of the Holiness of God that changed his life. His response was to volunteer to serve. He received a command to go and tell people of the greatness of God. He asked the question “how long?“. (When do I retire?)

Here is the answer and the reason I don’t believe in retirement.

Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate” Isa. 6:11.

I will believe in retirement for a Christian when the whole world has heard the good news of Jesus. Until then, I plan to keep on doing everything I can to reach people with the gospel.

Now the photo: This is San and Yom. This week they will be enabled to go full time in the gospel ministry reaching their own people in the 1040 window supported by Barnabas1040.com.

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They are former muslims who have endured much persecution for Christ. They are now working full time to reach the muslim villages surrounding the capital city of Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

As long as there are people like San and Yom willing to plant churches among their own people with our help, I won’t believe in retirement.