preach or heal?


Missionaries are often divided into one of two camps: preachers or healers.

Healers are known for their compassion and love (Col.1:27; Mt.22:36-40; Lk.10:29-37; Js.2:15-16; Lk.12:48; Mt.25:31-46), but they must remember to teach (Mt.28:19-20). They often heal to get to the heart. Preachers are often known as good news messengers (Mt.24:14; Rom.10:14, 17; 1:16b; 1 Cor.9:16; 1 Tim.4:13; 2 Tim.4:2), but they must remember the poor (Mk.14:7a). They often get to the heart to heal. Both are needed; both are called of God; both are on the same mission; both can be one.

Our engagement tactics are largely born out of our bias; preachers engaging with preaching tactics and healers engaging with healing tactics (13).

ONE COMMAND

Was Jesus a preacher or healer? (Lk.4:40-43; Mt. 9:35) He was both. He benefitted the needy as he preached (Mt.10:7-8; Mk.6:7, 12-13; Lk.9:2; 10:1, 9). The apostles in Acts continued to preach and heal. Jesus modeled the preach and heal tactic, He commanded it, and the disciples obeyed Him by using it as they went out (17; cf. Acts 3:6-8, 12-13, 19-20; 4:4, 9-10, 33-35; 5:16, 29-33). Jesus sent out all of His disciples to preach and heal. They were given one command, because the two ministries work together in God’s master strategy.

GO WITH WHAT WE KNOW

We need to leave our identity compartmentalization (or specialization or professionalization) at the door when we do the work of the gospel. You might be a doctor, farmer, engineer,tent-maker, homemaker, or pastor, but don’t let that become your total identity. The disciples were not Jedi Masters, they were fishermen, taxmen, politicians, doctor, and ordinary men commissioned to do something greater than their own identity. They took on a new identity in Christ. The problem with compartmentalization is that we often leave participation in the gospel at the door for the sake of our specialization or profession. As our engagement tactics are largely born out of our bias, our bias is largely born out of our educational background. The disciples all performed services as the Holy Spirit enabled them–not with in those realms for which they had been schooled. The identity of the disciples was being a follower of Jesus Christ.

Preaching and healing is a two-handed plow. Both handles must be held with equal pressure and commitment for the one plow blade to dig deep into the ground and transform the soil into a place best prepared for the seed. A hoe or one-handed tool is much less effective and requires more dependence.

IS STRATEGY A BAD WORD?

Most of Jesus’ disciples traveled widely and planted churches extensively: John Mark (Egypt, Libya, Rome), Peter (Jerusalem, Babylon, and more), Andrew (Georgia, Caspian Sea, Istanbul, Russia, Greece), John the son of Zebedee (Rome, Asia Minor, Ephesus, Turkey), Phillip (Asia Minor, maybe France), Bartholomew (Asia Minor, Armenia), Thomas (India, maybe iraq, Iran and China), Matthew (Palestine, Persia, Macedonia, Syria, Ethiopia), Jude (Armenia, Syria, Persia), Simon (Egypt, North Africa, Syria, Persia, Rome), Matthias (Armenia), and Paul (note:3 missionary journeys).

There are two kinds of people: strategy lovers and strategy leavers. It is always our prayer and expectation that our projects and programs will be hijacked by God and driven in His direction. Making disciples and church establishment are the work of God, not men (Acts 19:20). So strategy is simply a starting place that identifies where we are, where God says to go, and how to make intentional step froward, trusting Him for all the process and everything that we need. We cannot predict or control what God will do. But by positioning apostolic ministers and the peoples of unreached nations together, we do provide a venue for God to do something great (38).

What we see happening in Acts is a people movement towards Christ (i.e. church planting movement) or a multiplication of disciples and churches (cf. Mt.13:33; yeast). Indigenous movements of disciples and churches is not our measure of success; only obedience is. Our objective is indigenous movement of reproducing churches (42).

All strategies include two components: meeting the needs of hurting people, providing daily opportunities for preaching, and positioning the apostolic workers so that God can use His power to bring about a Christward movement (43).

Adapted from Preach and Heal by Charles Fielding

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