“He went out, not knowing whither he went.” —Hebrews 11:8
Local churches don’t just spring out the ground. They are started by someone with a pioneer spirit. A pioneer is someone who goes where no one has ever gone or does something no one else has done. The Pilgrims were pioneers who came to America on the Mayflower. Roger Williams was a pioneer pastor who established the first local Baptist church in 1638 in Providence, Rhode Island. The American settlers who came West in covered wagons were pioneers.
Paul had that pioneer spirit by starting churches all over Asia Minor in the first century (read the book of Acts). Paul said his desire was “to preach the gospel in the regions beyond…” (2 Cor. 10:16). Again he said, “I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation” (Rom. 15:20).
I think of pastors who had that pioneer spirit. Dr. Tom Malone started the Emmanuel Baptist Church in a deserted dance hall in Pontiac, MI. Dr. Charles Keen started the First Baptist Church in Milford, Ohio (now the home of Bearing Precious Seed). Dr. Ken Blue came to Mountlake Terrace and started the Open Door Baptist Church with 25 folding chairs and 25 hymnbooks in his living room. Dr. Rick Adams came to Portland, OR from Jacksonville, FL to start the Greater Portland Baptist Church. I’ve lost count of the number of churches Brother Jim Modlish has started across America. I’m thankful that God helped me to start two local churches (one in Redmond, and one in Barton, VT).
Our church in Port Orchard was started by a preacher with a pioneer spirt. Brother Henry King came from San Diego, CA in the late 1950’s to start the first independent Baptist church in Kitsap County—The Bible Baptist Church.
Time would fail to tell of all the pioneer missionaries who go into “regions beyond” to do God’s work!
I enjoy the Disney movie, “Never Cry Wolf.” It is a great illustration of the adventure of a pioneer spirit.
A wimpy government bureaucrat named Tyler is assigned to go into the Alaska wilderness and study the depletion of caribou to see if they were being killed by wolves. It is obvious Tyler is a “duck-out-of-water” as he arrives in Alaska.
He hires a scruffy bush pilot named Rosie to fly him 300 miles into the Alaskan wilderness. Tyler is a nervous wreck as they fly in and out through tall shimmering mountains.
Rosie is casually at ease. He begins to talk with Tyler, “You what the problem is down in the lower 48?” Tyler meekly answers, “No…” Rosie continues, “All those people do is sit back in their living rooms and watch the boob tube. Life is too mundane and routine for them.” Then he asks, “Tyler, do you know why I came here to Alaska?” Tyler again whispers, “No…”
About that time suddenly the engine sputters and konks-out. The plane starts to descend heading towards the side of an ominous mountain.
Rosie rummages in his toolbox looking for a crescent wrench. Finally he dumps the box upside down emptying the tools on the floor of the cockpit. He grabs the wrench and opens the door of the plane. Poor Tyler is totally paralyzed with fear.
Rosie steps out on the wing struct with his wrench and bangs on a nut giving it a tweak, a twist, and a turn. He climbs back in the plane, pulls out the choke, and tries to restart the engine. The engine sputters and finally starts. They just miss crashing into the side of a mountain.
Then Rosie casually looks over at Tyler and calmly says, “Now Tyler, as I was saying… The reason I came to Alaska is… adventure, Tyler… adventure.”
Amen! The adventure of a pioneer spirit! God give us pioneer preachers who will go where no preacher has gone before!