Like many of us, Steve VanDyke didn’t grow up in the church. He was born in Michigan, grew up in Southern California, and became a believer at age 20. At the time, he was dating his wife and they both became believers.
They moved to the Nashville, Tennessee area in 1998 and joined LifePoint church in 1999. Then, in 2007 the moved to India and began their missionary journey. Most recently, God called them to Bangkok, Thailand in 2011.
In our time together, we talked about:
- How God called him into full-time ministry
- Some challenges he had
- Specific encouragement for people who think God isn’t able to use them anymore
- One thing that challenges missionaries that people often forget about
Life in Ministry
As we recorded this, we were just a few days away from Steve's wedding anniversary. His daughter was preparing to graduate from high school and will be heading to college soon. And their son is starting Middle School.
They served in India with the International Mission Board (IMB) and were under the leadership of David Garrison. After two years there, God called them to Bangkok, Thailand.
Their vision and goal is to multiply disciples, leaders, and churches among the Thai people. They are equipping the Thai people to reach their own people.
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. (Habakkuk [2:14])
While we talked, Steve suggested a specific thing way that we can keep this prayer in front of ourselves.
And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. (2 Timothy 2:2)
Steve shared how Paul, “fully preached the Gospel.”
in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit; so that from Jerusalem and round about as far as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. (Romans [15:19], emphasis mine)
And then gave some insight into how he considered the work complete in that region.
but now, with no further place for me in these regions, and since I have had for many years a longing to come to you (Romans [15:23], emphasis mine)
Before they got on the mission field, Steve and his wife had a rough time in their marriage. Both of them had family histories that involved failures and they were headed down that path. But they were surrounded by church leadership who didn't give up on them.
Many people might think that, after failure, God can't use them anymore. Yet, Steve reminded us that, in failure we join the likes of:
- Peter, who denied Christ
- Paul, who persecuted the Church
Steve and his family were just “living their lives.” God had restored their marriage and they were part of the church – involved in Sunday School and service. And then their church took a trip to India.
For some reason, this trip grabbed Steve's heart and he mentioned it to his wife. Both of them had some concerns, but God wouldn't let it go.
That trip changed his life.
Upon his return, everything seemed meaningless, compared to the great harvest.
As a church plant, they want to be a sending church. They are equipping the Thai people to start small groups. Those small groups will lead to planting churches and multiplication around the city.
They are near students, businesses, and low-income residents. Because of that, that they are able to build relationships with people.
God put them in the right place and they have been ministering in the low-income community for the past three years. They are working to plant a church in that community rather than invite them to their church.
Significance in the Marketplace
If you have the means, go visit the missionaries you support. Stay with them, see what they do, and jump in with both feet.
- Reverse culture shock – the challenge of returning “home” – is real.
- Gotten into missions earlier.
Personal Success Habit
- Consistent Bible reading
Shifts in Society
- Don't be afraid to approach folks that look different
- Learn from them and invite them to things
- Don't hesitate to go to things when they invite you
- Get to know then, build a relationship
- Share what you believe from the beginning
- Be visible in the neighborhood
If you'd have any comments or questions, you can always leave a comment in the show notes or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a listener of Engaging Missions, Audible.com will give you a free audio book when you sign up for a 30-day free trial to check out their service. With over 150,000 titles to choose from, you’re sure to find one you like.
Personally, I recommend the Bible. Just about any translation. You can't go wrong to have God's word available when you're driving to work, out for a walk, or working out. It's what I did when I joined Audible over 7 years ago.
Claim your free book
Help support the Engaging Missions Show
Engaging Missions Show
Or subscribe with your favorite app by using the address below
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”