How Bryan Thompson got started in Missions
Bryan Thompson trains people to reach people who can't (or prefer not to) read with the Gospel. By focusing on personal interactions and telling stories rather than pointing to books, he's able to to share God's love in ways that people understand.
Name: Bryan Thompson
Where do you serve? Globally
Who are the primary people you serve?
Currently, there is no focused people group, though I have served several in the past
What do you do to serve those people?
Currently teaching all people with whom I come in contact about oral Bible storytelling/study
When did you start doing this?
Started the training side full-time in 2007
When did you realize you had a heart for missions? How did that develop?
I never had a heart for missions (as indicative of influencing my call!). 2 weeks before being saved I knew that if I was to believe this Gospel that I would need to give the rest of my life to proclaiming it. I was thus called to missions 2 weeks before I was saved! 🙂
What were you doing when God called you this direction?
I was in school (16 years old)
How did God call you? How did you recognize His call?
See 7 above. I had just a clear idea in my head that if following Christ was of worth it would mean I had to give my life to sharing the Message! I do have a specific UPG geographical calling that has not been recognised yet, but I will not be able to talk about that group by name or the country on radio or Internet
Did you have a clear and measurable goal for your ministry?
At 16, yes, it was simple. Give my life to Jesus, go where I could learn more about Him and then go where He was not known
What would you do differently if you were starting today?
I would have started with Bible storytelling in 1977!
Financial / Deputation
How are your financial needs taken care of?
God has promised to provide for me/us out of a “hidden treasury”. He has done for 40 years
How do you stay connected with your partners or supporters?
I have a monthly prayer letter (email only), a weekly brief email prayer/praise update, an almost daily email 1-prayer or praise point update, a WhatsApp prayer group where I write at least once daily. I also have a [Facebook] page that highlights what we are doing as a family and a few other things (but always avoids politics and controversial issues that would alienate some of my prayer supporters and friends – I see [Facebook] as a way to influence people to Jesus and to storytelling the Message. I use other social media to reach other prayer supporters.
How do you find new partners or supporters?
I meet them on my travels usually or people approach me through social media and occasional blogging and audio blogging (via Soundcloud)
Is there a book, tool, resource that has changed the way you stay connected?
Lots! Yikes! Tech books/screencasts on the use of tech, various titles that are missionary bios like George Müller of Bristol, etc.
Ministry / Administrative Tools
Name 2-3 tools that you couldn't live without.
Bible is what I couldn’t live without. If I think of being in prison or having everything lost in a fire, I would be sad but nothing else could be categorised as “I cannot live without”
Is there a book, tool, or resource
Tools are my Mac desktop, an iPad, and iPhone. I use various pieces of software to automate and run regular tasks and my ‘workflow’. A bit too detailed to mention here, but I would be happy to chat about how I manage life.
What do you do to be
3 times a day: Morning Watch, Noon Watch and Evening Watch. Bible meditation at night is a vital, healthy tool as well
Keeping short accounts. Don’t let sun go down on wrath. Investing in family as much as possible
I don’t like “driven”, but the secret to vision is found by following #1 above under this paragraph. Also PTMTO – a series of five words the Lord gave me in the 70s. In everything I must have a life of Praise, Thanksgiving, Meditation (on the Word!), Trust & Obedience
Fully Funded Matthew vi 33. Nothing more. I obey; He supplies. Step out in obedience not when the funding allows you to! You can serve God or Mammon but not both!
Knowing what you know now, would you go again?
- How could your partners better serve you?
- Spiritually: Prayer, prayer, prayer
- Financially: Give sacrificially or hilariously
- Otherwise: When I am out in the boonies, check to see if I would like stuff from home
What’s your advice for people just getting started?
What are some first or initial steps they could take?
Learn a life of PTMTO. Trust that God can be trusted (even if He kills you!). Don’t neglect the prayer closet and unhurried time in the Word DAILY (at least once)
What missions training did you take or could recommend before going?
The best training is the School of the Holy Spirit – trusting and obeying Him always and being in a place where you can follow that pattern and be encouraged in it. I went out for 4 years (doing a lot of kamikaze type outreach – and got arrested while at it several times) with Operation Mobilisation (OM) in Communist Europe. A friend of mine said if he had been God he would have two entry requirements for Heaven (salvation in Jesus and getting a passport). There is nothing like a good short-term missions trip as far from home as possible and outside your homeland to get you prepared for the long-term. If young, the rougher the better! The rest of my training I have continued as I go.
What do you do for ongoing training and coaching?
I take courses on the Internet, listen to podcasts, study books, attend conferences, webinars, watch screencasts and sign up for whatever I feel will help me in my missions focus and obeying Jesus better
What was/is your mindset?
A good listener (A KEY)?
Essential – listen to God/Holy Spirit. Listen to the Word. Listen to audience before preaching or telling the Message
Dangerous on the field and destructive, but every missionary needs to be entirely ruthless with themselves in obeying to the detail what God has called them to do. If He says, “Don’t drink coffee!”, and then sends you to a coffee-drinking nation you need to obey Him first and foremost: don’t drink coffee – ever!
More than flexible. You need to die to yourself. If you are used to an individualistic society of “your space” and you go to some relational culture where “your space” is not understood, guess who has to learn to adapt. I learned through a simple choice in 1989 how to rest with people all around me, even though my rest preference was to get alone and have ‘me time’. I can do both since 1989. I’m happy with crowds in my home all the time and I am happy alone on a deserted island for weeks alone. It was a choice in 1989, and just stepping out in belief. In YWAM they used to say that you had to be “fluid” (because flexible was not good enough). Follow the Cloud and that will make you fluid!
Are you a good example of what you are presenting?
I hope so
My thanks to Bryan Thompson for taking the time to do this. To learn more about Bryan, check out his website or listen to his powerfully engaging interview.