5 Things I want to Tell My Short Term Mission Trip Leaders


I remember the day.

I remember where I was sitting.
I remember what was happening.
I remember the exact moment God seared the nations on my heart.

God wrecked my pre-established life plans at the 2010 Passion Conference in Atlanta.

Before Passion launched the End It movement to shine a light on human slavery, they had Do Something Now, a campaign which God used tremendously in my life to quite literally expand my horizons and burden my heart for His global glory.

Before Passion launched the End It movement to shine a light on human slavery, they had Do Something Now, a campaign which God used tremendously in my life to quite literally expand my horizons and burden my heart for His global glory.

As I listened to Louie Giglio and a panel of other influential Christian leaders, God pulled me another step outside of myself and opened my eyes to see more of His heart for the world than ever before.

I applied for my passport the day I came home.

Two months later, I was on a plane headed to Ecuador to share the Gospel in my first overseas experience during a spring break trip with my university’s Baptist campus ministry.

And now, six years later, God has taken me on short-term trips to six countries on four different continents for the purpose of serving His global church and joining with them to bring more worshippers to His throne.

There have been some extraordinarily awesome trips and some excruciatingly painful ones. Some that seemed to be led by the Holy Spirit and others that seemed more like we humans were producing more trouble than triumph.

Those trips have been with different organizations and different leaders and, taking what little I’ve experienced, I have set out to write the five things I would most like to tell those who have humbly taken me and others abroad for the sake of God’s name among the nations.


1. Thank you for loving the God of the nations and taking us to Him in the world.

Thank you for being mindful of the reality that “The church of God does not have a mission in the world. The God of mission has a church in the world” (Christopher Wright), and teaching us to join Him in His activity around us, whether in our neighborhoods or across the world. Your love and zeal to make Jesus’ name hallowed on earth as it is in heaven spurs us on and creates an eagerness to follow you as you follow Him.

2. Thank you for recognizing we signed up for a mission trip, not a vacation.

We’re here to serve God and people. To sightsee and explore are perks, not necessities, so thank you for stewarding our schedule to maximize the limited time we’re with the beautiful people in that area. Adventure is what you make it and we can always return if we want to see the sights. Thank you for focusing our hearts and attention on the kingdom and God’s glory and not just landmarks and geography.


3. Thank you for not acting like you have it all together.

We can relate to struggle so when you let us see that it immediately connects our hearts with yours. On the other hand, when you act like you have it all together and nothing bothers you, we can’t relate to that pseudo-perfectionism. In fact, it just causes more division between us. Clothing yourself in humility and allowing us to see the real you—including the times before and during our trip when you don’t know what’s happening any more than we do—helps us 1) see Christ and 2) know how to pray for you, and we desperately want to help you fight the fight of faith as much as you want to help us do the same. We don’t need you to have it all together. We need you to show us Christ. Thank you for recognizing you do that more in weakness than strength.

4. Thank you for asking us how we’re doing and what we’re seeing God do.

It’s always a gift when someone asks those questions. Thank you for giving us that gift and letting us use our voices. And when you actually take what we say and implement it, you empower us to continue using our gifts not just for the Lord but also for the team (which, in turn, honors the Lord). Thank you for giving up control and delegating, letting us share the burden and feel the responsibility and weight of the mission we are called to. Thank you for remembering we might process things differently than you or others on the team and for listening to us and seeking out how to best utilize and get the most out of our strengths.

5. Thank you for all the things you do that no one but God sees.

From ordering plane tickets to organizing communication with contact people to corralling the team in airports and buses to diligently praying over us and the work: you are so appreciated. We don’t fully understand how much effort it takes to do even a weeklong trip across an ocean (or state). I’m sorry for all the questions we asked that would have been answered if we had just let you continue talking. Thank you for your patience with us and for the hours of work and sacrifice that you have made for the glory of God, the smoothness of our trip, and the joy of those we’re going to serve alongside. Your grace-driven labors have never been wasted or in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58).

For more interactive content and resources like this, download the free July/August RTM Magazine. 


Daily Thoughts: Gems from Jeremiah

Some special specific verses that have been life-giving to me in recent weeks; apply them to your life and situation.

Jer. 2:2 – “I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, and how you followed me in the wilderness.” This is the Lord speaking to His people regarding their past love and devotion, and how they followed Him in the past; as I read this, I was stirred to remember the early days of my Christian walk, and how fresh and real it was; I prayed this verse as I read it recently, asking the Lord to give me that newness again.

Jer. 2:8 – “Those who handle the law did not know me.” One of the great problems in the American church is simply this–preachers and pastors don’t know God, either at all or in any deep way; many are either lost or are so shallow, they don’t even know what it truly means to truly know God.

Jer. 2:17 – “Have you not brought this upon yourself by forsaking the Lord your God?” Concerning any nation, when a nation declines and is being destroyed by disasters, major issues, and severe problems, the fact is, God is turning that nation over to its sin and allowing more severe judgment to occur; even our Republication presidential candidate recently was asked if he had ever asked God for personal forgiveness, to which, he replied, “I don’t think I have ever needed to ask forgiveness for anything.” To that, Jer. 2:35 speaks: “Behold, I will bring you to judgment for saying, ‘I have not sinned.’ Whether DT was saying he had never sinned, I don’t know, but his was a pagan answer, at best.

Again, Jer. 5:24-25: “They do not say in their hearts, ‘Let us fear the Lord our God, who gives autumn and spring rain . . . your iniquities have turned these away, and your sins have deprived you of good.”

Jer. 14:8, Jeremiah’s view of God and name for God- “O You hope of Israel, its Savior in time of trouble.” He has always been, and will always be, the Savior of His people in times of trouble.

Jer. 15:16 is wonderful– “Your words were found and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts.” This is our need and provision, to eat His words and find them give us fresh joy and delight.

– Mack T.

The Spirit of Anti-Authoritarianism


I remember as a boy being taught to respect my elders and especially those in authority over me.

My dad told me on more than one occasion that if I got in trouble at school and received a “paddling,” then I could also expect one when I got home. Dad was true to his word, and that’s all I will say about that.

At one time, respect for leadership of all kinds existed in society and the church. But now a different spirit prevails over American culture and the West. An anti-authoritarianism has settled upon us like a noxious, invisible gas. Young people are not taught to respect authority but to disrespect it, to question anyone in a position of power, to doubt and not trust leadership.

There have always been generational gaps. For thousands of years, parents have felt some disconnect with teenage children. This is the natural process of human development and a child becoming an adult, out from under the shadow of parents. Each successive generation finds ways to express themselves a little different than their parents.

But the collapse of honoring authority is a phenomenon created by existential and postmodern philosophers who dispute the traditional patterns of truth and power. This influence became observable during the 1960s with the sexual revolution and the Vietnam War. By the end of the turbulent ’60s, with political assassinations and an unpopular war, younger generations lost faith in leadership. With the revelation of the Nixon Watergate scandal of the early 1970s, whatever trust in political power that had survived the previous decade disappeared.


In the 1980s, the demise of leadership continued when several prominent religious leaders exposed themselves as hypocrites because of scandalous sins.

Both political and religious authorities were dismissed, proven unreliable. The financial powers have not weathered well either. Many see Wall Street as a public enemy filled with corporate greed, keeping the little guy down.

This distrust of authority has also crept into the church. It’s not that pastors, teachers, and church leaders aren’t respected at all; the problem is that the church member has working within him or her a spirit of autonomy. Submission to pastoral authority is dismissed as being oligarchical or for people who can’t stand on their own two spiritual feet. For churches where only one pastor serves, the idea of submitting to the pastor sounds too much like a dictatorship and must be avoided. For Baptists, we have so emphasized the priesthood of the believer until we have moved the individual believer from being a priest before the Lord, needing no other mediator but Jesus, to becoming his or her own and only shepherd. This is not biblical. It is a spirit of anti-authoritarianism.

The Bible commands the local church to come under the canopy of God’s protection. There is a realm of blessing that God has promised to those who obey His commands. He administers His commands through different levels of representative authorities.

For the rest of the article and for more interactive content and resources like this, download the free July/August RTM Magazine. 


Can the Women Lead?


By Monica Hall

Often, there is much underlying fear when it comes to deciding how women can and should lead in the church.

Women in complementarian churches who have obvious spiritual gifts of leadership may fear being squelched, being dismissed, or not permitted to lead in any capacity. Sadly, there are contexts in which this is a valid concern. Just as male headship can be distorted by sin into overbearing male dominance in the home, this can also happen in the church if the leadership is not carefully walking with the Spirit. When women are not taken seriously simply because they are women, they will stop seeking avenues to exercise their gifts, and every area of the church will be dysfunctional as a result.


This dilemma of how women should serve in the church can also cause the church as a whole to respond in fear. Scripture clearly teaches that there are indeed some limits on the ways women can serve. However, some churches may be so fearful of violating those limitations that they move the boundary line further and further in until women are not allowed to do much of anything. This is not always due to a distortion of the teaching on headship, as mentioned above, but instead could simply be from fear of inadvertently letting a woman step out of bounds. These churches may have unwritten rules that women are not permitted to pray publicly, speak in a business meeting, give testimony, or read Scripture during the worship service, etc.

Startup Stock Photos

When churches refuse to recognize that women are completely capable of serving outside of the nursery and the fellowship meals, they are perpetuating the argument of egalitarians and unbelievers alike that the complementarian teachings of headship and submission result in the degradation of women.

Churches that distort the teachings of gender roles in the church—whether by a sinful dismissal of the capabilities of women or by a fear of overstepping the bounds of Scripture—will be stunted, unhealthy churches. How could they be anything otherwise, when they are neglecting to exercise the gifts and abilities of half the church body?

There is yet another reason women may fear being held down in church service even in churches that value and celebrate the gifts of women. Perhaps this unfounded fear has nothing to do with church culture but goes all the way back to the Garden. After the great Fall, God said to the woman, “Your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you” (Gen. 3:16). This is where the battle of the sexes began, and since that day, women have had a desire to dominate men, generally speaking. A flip side of this is that they also have a fear that men will end up dominating them.

A woman’s fear that she will be undervalued in her church may simply be a result of that fateful day in Eden. If this is the case, she needs to confess that fear to the Lord and ask Him to help to think on things that are true (Phil. 4:8), specifically that her church leadership would probably rejoice if she steps up and volunteers her abilities for the good of the church body. Then she needs to obey the prompting of the Spirit, offer her service, and serve joyfully within the appropriate boundaries of Scripture.

For the rest of the article and for more interactive content and resources like this, download the free July/August RTM Magazine.



Fellowship Conference New England begins this afternoon

For those wanting to participate by live-streaming the conference, more info can be found on the conference generally at

All sessions Eastern Standard Time

Schedule of sessions

Session 1 – 2:30 pm
Session 2 – 5:45 pm
Session 3- 7:15 pm

Session 4 – 9:30 am
Session 5 – 11:15 am
Session 6 – 6:30 pm

Session 7 – 8:30 am
Session 8 – 10:15 am
Session 9 – 1:30 pm

Here is the link


you will have to sign in with your email to watch, but those emails won’t be used for anything else except this access;

Text either number below with questions if it doesn’t work
Josh at 207 595 8728
Darius 708 574 2846

Hope you can enjoy some of the conference;

Mack T.

The Power of the Holy Spirit in Portland, Maine

Daily Thoughts: The Power of the Holy Spirit in Portland, Maine

Although Edward Payson (1783-1827) is largely forgotten today, he was well-known in the first half of the 19th century. According to Iain Murray, Payson’s biography by Asa Cummings “was probably the most influential ministerial biography to appear in the United States in the first half of the 19th century.” His influence was so large that thousands of 19th-century parents named their children after him.

Payson pastored for twenty years in Portland, Maine. During his ministry, he had a remarkable prayer life, praying hours daily, and preached with great reality and power. Payton saw 5 different periods of spiritual awakening, between 1807, his first year there, until his final year in 1827.

Known as Praying Payson of Portland, he would not have liked such a title, but his reputation spread widely as a man who spent hours in private prayer and communion with God. Archibald Alexander, one of the pre-imment leaders of revival in New England, said in 1844 that “no man in our country has left behind him a higher character for eminent godliness than Edward Payson.”

Payson was a pastor during seasons of revival. In 1813 he spoke of “never having seen so much of God’s power displayed at one time.” He wrote his mother the next year, as he traveled home to Portland, describing God’s power in a period of revival: “I came home thoroughly drenched by the shower of divine influences, which began to fall; I soon found, upon returning home, that the cloud had followed me, and was beginning to pour itself down upon my people; we appointed a season of thanksgiving, and a blessing seemed to follow it. I then invited a number of young men to our house for a meeting; I expected twenty at the most, but the first evening, forty came, then sixty, and finally seventy came. About thirty of these are seriously inquiring about salvation, and there is a real appearance that the work is spreading. Meanwhile, I am rejoicing and astonished to see what God is doing, so that I can scarcely get an hour’s sleep.”

Payton later wrote on April 1, 1816: “Our revival still lingers, and even increases slowly. I have conversed with about forty persons who are entertaining hopes of their conversion and with sixty others who are inquiring about their salvation. Twenty-three souls have been added to the church since the year’s beginning, and the work is evidently not over. There is also quite a revival at Bath, south of us here. Nearly two hundred apparently have been awakened there. Seventy-one persons were converted and added to a church at one time recently. In New York and Baltimore, there are also revivals occurring.

Such seasons of spiritual quickening in Portland continued in future years, later again in 1816, 1822, and in 1827, the final year of Payson’s life.

Such divine visitations of reviving grace in Christ’s church have come in the history of New England and in various parts of our country. New England, as well as every state in our country, is greatly in need of such a work of grace again. The God of Edward Payson still lives in Portland and is being sought again there in a serious way across New England, so pray for His work there, and use this encouragement to pray for God to revive His work in the midst of the years where you are. Our national election this fall will mean nothing for our future if God does not do a new work.

– Mack Tomlinson