“Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.” 3 John 5–8
One has only to read Jesus’ words to the seven churches of Revelation to see that those churches under the Apostle John’s authority were afflicted with false teachers, apathy, and persecution. Both true and false teachers were traveling among these churches, and so John wrote 2 & 3 John to address the issue of hospitality with regard to these teachers, some of whom were wolves in sheep’s clothing and some who were true shepherds of God’s flock. The letter of 2 John was written to warn a church not to extend hospitality to false teachers, whereas the letter of 3 John was written to encourage hospitality to true teachers. As John says above, showing hospitality—supporting these genuine teachers in their ministry—means that one is a fellow worker in their ministry.
As we have been talking about hospitality on Sunday mornings the last few weeks, we briefly explored how one of the foremost ways one can show the kind of hospitality that John is addressing in this passage is by connecting with and supporting missionaries. Opening one’s home and sharing life with these traveling ministers of the gospel is mutually encouraging and is a significant way to be a fellow worker in their ministries.
Another exciting opportunity Faith Bible Church has to practice this kind of hospitality is through showing it to our resident seminary students. Since Fall of 2017, Faith Bible Church has had the blessing of housing the Spokane extension campus for The Master’s Seminary. This extension campus is providing an amazing opportunity for many men in the region to gain invaluable tools for ministry, an opportunity that they might not otherwise have. Some of our students have even moved into the area for the purpose of attending this extension campus. Our seminary students are in similar circumstances to those described by John to Gaius: men with their families going out for the sake of the name of Christ. We as a church have the opportunity to help them on their way and become fellow workers in their current and future ministries.
Seminary is an intense season of life. It is a season of 3 to 4 years of full-time graduate level schooling in the original biblical languages, theology, preaching, and the practice of pastoral ministry. I can personally attest to the incredible benefit of this rigorous training. While it is an incredible time of learning about God’s Word and the glories of Christ’s Kingdom, it is also a very stressful time. Many students already have ministry roles in their churches. In addition, most students must work part or full time to make ends meet. Sleep, money, and time always seem to be scarce, but the Lord provides in amazing ways!
You have an amazing opportunity to show hospitality to the seminary students attending classes here, even if they don’t attend FBC and even if they will only be around for a few years. As a seminary student, it is so encouraging to know that the church has your back, to know that the church knows that the training you are receiving is important and will, Lord-willing, benefit many souls into the future. As you show hospitality to a seminary student, you are participating as a fellow worker in their ministry.
As a seminary student, it is so encouraging to know that your church has your back.
How can you show hospitality to our seminary students? First, get to know them. A list and brief description of our current students is below. Talk to the seminary students and their families. Have them over for dinner. Find out where they are thinking about serving in the future. Ask them what things they have been learning. Ask them how they are doing spiritually and how you can pray for them.
Next, ask them about their finances. No one likes to talk about money, but it is a very practical way to support a seminary student (though not the only way). Seminary is expensive, and the more a student has to work, the less time and brain power he has for his studies. Alleviating some of that stress can help a seminary student gain more from his classes and help him to get done and “into the field” more quickly.
Perhaps you don’t have the extra cash to help support a seminary student directly. Another way to help is by offering up items that you would otherwise donate or sell in a garage sale to our seminary students. Or, perhaps you have a particular skill or service that you could offer up to a seminary student or their family. Perhaps you have the opportunity to provide affordable housing or medical services or repair work. All of these things can be practical ways to support seminary students and their families as they train for future ministry. We have seen many seminary families blessed in these sorts of ways, and we ourselves have been blessed by many of you in these ways.
Speaking on behalf of our seminary students attending the TMS extension campus at FBC, our greatest desire is to be able to develop a relationship with you and to partner with you in ministry for the sake of the name of our great God and Savior. Thank you for your hospitality!
Forrest and Ursula attend Hayden Bible Fellowship in Hayden Idaho. Forrest has been a seminary student since Spring 2017. He began at the main TMS campus in Los Angeles before moving up to the area and beginning to attend classes in Fall 2018.
Seth, Miriam, and their family attend Hayden Bible Fellowship as well. Seth is an incoming seminary student for this coming Fall semester!
Josh & Taylor attend Peaceful Valley Church to the north of Spokane. Josh and Mark Ziehnert (see below) work together pastoring at this church.
Dave and Lin Knowles and their family attend Faith Bible Church and have helped teach membership classes and will be helping with the DOXA college ministry starting this year. Dave has pastored in a few different churches in the past and now has the opportunity to get seminary equipping.
Jeremy & Stephanie Kuhn attend Faith Bible Church where they have served for many years in various capacities. Jeremy is currently an elder in training and is attending Southern Baptist Theological Seminary online. Jeremy works with Paul Funchess in family ministry.
Alexey attends Spokane Baptist Church on the Hill and assists the Russian ministry there. Alexey is also a full-time contractor while at-tending TMS.
Jared is the new resident college pastor at Faith Bible Church. Jared and Claire have been in Los Angeles at TMS since Fall 2016. They have just adopted a baby boy and are in the process of moving back to Spokane.
Chris and Ashley attend Faith Bible Church. Chris was at TMS in Los Angeles from Fall 2016 to Spring 2017 before going to Malawi Africa until May 2018, and resuming seminary at the TMS extension at FBC in Fall 2018. Chris is the seminary and college admin assistant at FBC.
Brent and Samantha attend Christ Our Hope Bible Church where Brent helps with the col-lege ministry. Brent began attending the TMS extension campus when it began Fall 2017.
Dmitriy and Viktoriya attend Faith Bible Church. They are involved in a growth group and just recently had a baby.
Josh and Nicole attend Faith Bible Church where Josh is the resident youth pastor. Josh began attending the TMS seminary extension when it opened in Fall 2017.
Alex and Alena attend Christ Our Righteousness Bible Church where Alex pastors the Russian congregation. Alex began attending the semi-nary extension when it opened in Fall 2017.
Mark and Tosha attend Peaceful Valley Church where Mark along with Josh Greenslade pastors the church there. Mark regularly preaches the Sunday morning messages there. Mark began attending the TMS extension in Fall 2018.