James Carney pastors a thriving church in central Mississippi. He has served as a district superintendent and on the Executive Board of the United Pentecostal Church. Carney is a keeper!
Less well known is his father. James’ daddy was a preacher-developing factory. He pastored in the tiny burg where the name of the church is Stateline. I don’t know if the elder Carney ever preached a camp-meeting or that the Stateline church ever had more than 175 people. From that church and that man’s ministry came fellows like:
Jerry Wayne Dillon
and more than a dozen others. Tens of thousands of converts will have come from the efforts of one man at the Stateline church straddling the border of Louisiana and Mississippi.
How did it happen. James Carney tells me:
1. “Dad took an interest in young men with potential and invested himself in what he thought they could become.”
2. Validating the significance of the man of God as something one should hold in high regard and if possible desire to become.
3. Have an expectation of these being developed leaving to be educated, go into ministry and having no expectation of their returning to sit on the pews or teach a Sunday School class at Stateline.
Our most fertile field for changing the shape of the future are the men and women who will be licensed to preach. There are things you can do to make an impact.
1. Establish a minister’s training class. Years ago Louis Green introduced Stan Davidson (now the district superintendent of Alabama) and me to Strong’s Concordance, Greek language, the writings of Charles Spurgeon and The Pulpit Commentary. That affected and continues to affect our lives. Marrell Cornwell has training class each Monday night for young preachers and leaders. He is focusing on getting people ready for the field.
2. Over thirty years ago, men who are mostly now dead: David Gray, Arthur Hodges Jr. and several others in Southern California launched the “Christian Service Training Institute” to equip those who circumstances hindered from attending Bible College. Christian Service Training Institute continues to this day. As a result of their focus on equipping . . . churches have been planted in Southern California and elsewhere. At least one other group has used the curriculum of the “Christian Service Training Institute” to establish their own cooperative effort. Perhaps your section or district could do something similar. The focus . . . the field.
3. The late veteran pastor and church planter Jack Yonts developed training material known as “Passing the Mantle” that is available on DVD. Bro. Yonts focus was always on the field – winning the lost and then developing the very best of those won to become preachers of the gospel!
Our efforts to evangelize our world needs tunnel vision. A focus on the field – the whole wide world – are guardrails that keep me from straying. Would it be possible for you to be a catalyst to raise up laborers from your church or area?