John Folmar Identifies the Mission Strategy of the Apostle Paul
January 19, 2017
The Lord’s servant, John Folmar, the senior pastor of United Christian Church of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, joined faculty, staff, students, perspective students and 9Marks en Español guests for chapel on Sept. 26 at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS).
Folmar, a N.C. native and graduate of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., moved from Washington, D.C. to Dubai in 2005. Folmar last visited SEBTS in 1996 with Mark Dever from Capitol Hill Baptist Church, in Washington D.C. and shared his testimony in chapel. “Always be prepared to give a reason for the hope you have in Christ Jesus,” said Folmar. He also spoke at the 2013 9Marks at Southeastern Conference.
In reference to his interactions with Muslims in Dubai, Folmar spoke about two men that memorized the entire Koran. The men said that it was beneficial for them to memorize the Koran to internalize it and then spread the word to others.
This leads to the question Folmar asked guests: what is the mission strategy for those who follow Jesus? The sermon message was taught from Acts 14 on the mission strategy of the apostle Paul. Folmar highlighted three key elements of Paul’s ministry: preaching, pastoring and praying.
First, Folmar noted that preaching is any kind of heralding or announcing of a message. “The church has and always will be a people with a message,” said Folmar. “Our message must be the same as Paul’s: turn from these worthless things to the Living God.” During the early church days, not just the apostles but the entire church was committed to speaking boldly of the Good News about Jesus.
He challenged the audience to be wise in how they share the Gospel with those of different faith and cultural backgrounds. To avoid confusion, he emphasized the importance of clearly defining terms. “Whatever you do, you must end with Christ crucified,” said Folmar.
Folmar also spoke about the persecution that comes with this strategy of preaching. “Pray for wisdom when you are in a situation where you are being responded to with such hostility that it may be best for you to go somewhere else,” said Folmar. “[The strategy] was bold but it was not cheap.”
The second point Folmar taught on was pastoring. “Not only did Paul and Barnabas preach, they cared for these people,” said Folmar. He also spoke about how the people who Paul shared the Gospel with stoned him. “Not many people live to tell what it is like to be stoned,” said Folmar. “Why did he go back? Because he loved those people. … He wanted to strengthen the believers and establish leaders in the church. … If you are preaching the Good News, you will face opposition,” said Folmar.
Prayer was the third mark of the Apostle Paul’s mission strategy. “When man prays, God works,” said Folmar. “Missions is ultimately by God and for God. … It is all about His glory … He alone gets the credit. … In His mercy to us, He allows people like you and me to be a part of what He is doing.”
Folmar concluded. “This was Paul’s missionary strategy: preaching, pastoring and praying. … May it be ours as well,” said Folmar.
To listen to or watch the sermon online please click here.
To view photos from the chapel service please click here.