George Campbell Biography, Evangelist to Newfoundland - 14 - THE CHALLENGE OF TEAMWORK

 CHAPTER 14

THE CHALLENGE OF TEAMWORK

?And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thes­salonians, Aristarchus and Secondus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus. These going before tarried for us at Troas!?

Acts 20:4-5

?Tychicus. .. with Onesimus. . . Aristarchus... and Marcus... and Je­sus, which is called Justus Epaphras. Luke, the beloved physician and Demas...

Colossians 4:7-14

?The time I spent in Newfoundland helping out in the summer work was the most important thing in my Christian life to this point!?

(A young brother in Christ)

DEFINED AREAS OF RESPONSIBILITY

Bryan Funston and I were to go into the Gander Bay area where there are seven different settlements nestled around the bay. We had a contact in Main Point, and we held meetings in their home in the Fall of 1972. Some came, but we knew we wouldn?t be able to work there just then. We decided to get a portable hall and come back the next summer. The next summer we came there, but with a tent instead of a portable hall. A good location with good exposure was found to put the tent on. Right from the start, the interest was good. Gaius Goff joined in that work and we were able to expand an evangelistic concept that we had prac­ticed for a number of years in Newfoundland.

We divided up into areas of responsibility with brother Goff and I tak­ing the Gospel meetings at night and Bryan Funston taking the lead in the young people?s meetings in the morning. Several hundred children and teenagers came each morning. There were so many coming that for a while we had to have one side of the bay come one day and the other side on the following day. At times we had three hundred and fifty to four hundred children.

The tent was also blocked with people at night and there was real liberty to preach the gospel. We also used a larger team that year. There were always ten of us, and sometimes one or two more than that.

WILLING YOUNG MEN VOLUNTEER THEIR TIME

Young men from various places in the U.S.A., Canada and the U.K. came to help us. All the homes were visited in a short time. These men were an invaluable help in the children?s work and in transporting peo­ple to and from the tent. We had a number of vans. They weren?t in the best condition, but one of the men was a good mechanic and kept them rolling even though the roads were bad. Dust and potholes on the gravel roads were hard on the vehicles, but we were able to bring people from all around the bay in those vans.

There was very little opposition at first, and it was obvious that the Holy Spirit was doing a great work. We were giving glory to God as souls were being saved.

At the end of the summer, we continued the work in a portable hall. Through the winter and spring of the next year, souls were saved. At the end of the second summer, a baptism was held and thirty-four obeyed the Lord in this ordinance. Shortly after that, an assembly commenced in that area. There have been rough times there as well as good times, but the work continues.

This association with Gaius Goff and the idea of working in new places with a larger team opened up a whole new way of working. The boat, which had been very useful, wasn?t needed as much as previously. We could get to nearly every place by road now. As a result, we could do much more work than by taking a lot of time traveling by boat and then being limited in equipment when we reached our destination.

THE BEST OF EXAMPLES

Brother Goff and I have worked this way often during the past ten years. We used the tent and large team approach initially. Then follow-up work was done in mobile halls with a smaller group of men who would work with us through the winter months. Jonathan Procopio, Marvin Derksen and Jim Jarvis have gone into the work after spending time with us in this way.

Praying together, studying the scriptures and sharing our experiences with them has been good training ground. This is the pattern the Lord used during His years of ministry.

Paul, the apostle, used the same method of gathering men around him as a team. There are eight of Paul?s men mentioned in Colossians, chap­ter four, and we know of several others such as Timothy, Titus, Barna­bas, Silas and Gaius.

One of them, Marcus, had found at one time that the journey was too long and the obstacles were too great. It hardly suited his lifestyle, so one day he turned back. His spirit seemed willing but the flesh was weak.

However, Marcus learned something of his own fallen nature and with deep repentance and great desire, the man who failed through the flesh and got off to a poor start gets a second chance. The Lord had mercy upon him, gave him the needed grace and he succeeded through the Holy Spirit.

Paul recognized this and valued and defended the man who needed the second chance; ?receive him.? How many young men and wom­en start out to serve the Lord with good intentions and great expecta­tions only to turn to themselves instead of the Lord when the way gets hard.

Marcus, the man who had a poor start but a good ending was able to be used by the Holy Spirit to write of the Perfect Servant in the book that bears his name.

Demas had the high honor and distinction of being called by Paul ?...my fellow labourer.? Philemon 24. The man who had a good begin­ning is mentioned simply as?... Demas? in Colossians 4, nothing more. Perhaps Paul was already seeing a longing after the world in this man that would ultimately end with, ?Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world,? II Timothy 4:10.

The world is always our enemy. People often find it more comfortable to linger in the world with all its comforts and fancies than to be count­ed as Christians. Often Christians experience this in school or in their secular work. The world looms larger than Christ who loved them and died on the cross for them.

Demas weighed up the cost of discipleship and the reproach of Christ and wasn?t prepared to pay it.

Jesus, who is called Justus, reminds us of the Lord Jesus in His manly humility and fairness as he works along as a Jew in the company of Gen­tiles in the high-pressure work of evangelism.

Onesimus is part of the team, the runaway slave who is now faithful and has endeared himself to Paul. I can see Luke, that beloved physician, ministering to not only the physical needs of the group, but also telling Onesimus about the story of the prodigal son. The father received the prodigal; surely Philemon would receive the errant slave.

Tychicus, the stalwart beloved brother, is always there to minister to the assemblies and to serve Jesus Christ as a bond- slave. Paul looks over, perhaps, and sees Aristarchus in prison alongside of him out of loyalty and devotion to the apostle. And where is Epaphras? He is there, alone, in fervent prayer for Christians he knows need his intercession.

A team is not just a group of men and women. A team is a power unit with gifts to use and goals to reach. We need young men and women with vision, vitality and venture!

A WORK TAKES TIME

A year before we got the ?M.G.M!?, Doug Howard and I built a porta­ble hall to preach in on the north shore of Bay of Islands, near Corner Brook. We were putting the portable hall up when a clergyman came by and asked, ?What are you doing, may I ask??

I replied, ?We are putting up a building to preach the gospel in.?

He said, ?And whom, may I ask, sent you??

?The Man who was nailed to the cross and bears the print of the nails in His hands said to go into all the world and preach the gospel,? was my reply.

All he did was grunt, turn around and stalk away.

Some got saved then, but because of a snowy winter, we had to quit. After that, the Canadian Sunday School Missions had a work with chil­dren there for years.

Twenty-two years later, after moving my family back to Corner Brook, a brother in Christ who works in the lumber camps suggested to me that I should think about that north shore area again. We had developed a gospel team, a cookhouse, bunkhouse and buses for transporting people. We used a 30-foot by 75-foot tent.

After prayer and consideration, we went to that shore in the summer of 1977. Mr. Goff and I, with some young men, worked on that shore during the summer. Perhaps the biggest stir was when the big tent was torn to shreds during a severe windstorm. However, Marvin Derksen stayed on to help in that work and later Jim Jarvis joined in it. The as­sembly in Mclvers started twenty-eight years after our first try in the gospel there.

AN ASSEMBLY NEEDS TO KEEP INVOLVED IN NEW WORK

The assembly in Corner Brook, which grew quite rapidly in the early 1970?s, was solidly behind the work on the north shore. Even though the two areas are 25 miles apart. The believers in Corner Brook support­ed that new work with their presence whenever possible by prayer and the commitment of time and manpower.

When the assembly in Mclvers on the north shore was finally formed, the believers who lived closer to Mclvers left the sponsoring assembly and joined themselves to the new work with the confidence that the older assembly whole-heartedly backed them.

That is very important. An assembly with vision and a strong com­mitment to outreach will be strong. Those who sit back and watch the other press forward will be left behind if unwilling to get involved

A believer once said, ?We are right behind you, brother!? The only thing was he didn?t say how far behind.

As I see it, the mandate the Lord gave is still our responsibility. His commission hasn?t changed. It is something that has to be done. Whether He does that work in a year or twenty-eight years is His part.

Related scriptures: Matthew 4:18-22; Matthew 9:9; Mark 1:16-20, 36-39; Mark 3:13-2 1; Acts 15; Colossians 4:7-14; Acts 20.