The Baptist Pillar ©      Brandon Bible Baptist Church     1992-Present

"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15

Hireling Missionaries:

America, You Can Keep Them

Pastor John Reaves, Sr.

I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. John 10:9-14.

"The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep." John 10:13.

Some could say, "Pastor Reaves, you don't know anything about missionaries."

My reply, I was saved July of 1974 and called shortly thereafter. I entered Bible college one month later. I spent three years in missions classes. I graduated from the missions course in 1977. I started deputation in late 1977. Two and half years later, after having been in scores of missions conferences, in hundreds of churches, and meeting hundreds of missionaries, I was finally able to get to the mission field of Canada in 1980.

I went from Texas, my home state, to the Arctic, 100 miles above the Arctic Circle. I worked with a people who did not want me there, and by God's grace, established an Independent Baptist Church. Then after spending three years on the mighty Hudson Bay working with the people there, the Lord led me to Brandon, Manitoba, in 1988. Praise the Lord, he has established a great work here. A church with a heart for missions.

In April 1994, I resigned as a missionary, after 15 years of being a missionary in Canada, to take the pastorate here in Brandon. Yes, I think I know something about missions and missionaries.

I returned from a recent trip to a northern town here in Manitoba where I had been asked to go and give some counsel, where supposedly an Independent Baptist missionary had been for 12 years. As a result of this trip I felt led to preach this message, "Hireling Missionaries: America, You Can Keep Them."

Canada has had its share of hireling missionaries. They come in as missionaries, but they end up doing nothing more than robbing the people, destroying the testimony of our Lord and His church.

Might I give you a few examples of hirelings in Canada. In one case in Winnipeg, Manitoba, an American missionary comes in, starts a church, looks good so far, but ends up fleeing with much money. Now he is or was pastoring a church in Houston, Texas. What kind of church did he build? It's not there anymore. It folded shortly thereafter, and the building now houses a Sikh temple.

Another case, an American missionary goes to the Far North in Canada, and spends some time in different communities. But out of 10 years, he does good to actually spend 2 years on the field. Most of his time was spent going back and forth to the States raising money for such things as a radio station for the North. By the way, that was an impossibility according to the CRTC rules at that time. But he did raise tens of thousands of dollars, but no radio station. Where's the money? Airplanes, snowmobiles, 5th wheels, and fancy trucks but no churches. Sorry, a few buildings, of which men from the States came and built, and mostly paid for. One has already been sold.

I could give you more examples of these so-called missionaries, but I think I have said enough, anymore and I just might get upset.

America, with missionaries like this, no wonder Canada is still a mission field. And by the way, America is rapidly becoming one.

As a former missionary and now a Canadian pastor, who has a burden for his country and its people, I have had it. Enough is enough. Let it be known that this ministry,
The Baptist Pillar, will expose your hireling missionaries. Send us missionaries with a burden for Canada, but keep your hirelings; we don't want them. It is better to have nothing as to have a hireling who destroys the chance of ever having a church in a certain town. Nothing at all is better than a hireling. Let's look to the Word of God and answer some questions concerning Hirelings.

First of all, What is a Hireling?

Strong's definition for hireling is, "a wage-worker (good or bad), hired servant, hireling." A wage-worker, simply they work for money, their concern is income. Barnes in his notes gives an excellent definition for hireling:

"An hireling. A man employed to take care of the sheep, to whom wages is paid. As he does not own the sheep, and guards them merely for pay, rather than risk his life, he would leave the flock to the ravages of wild beasts. The word translated hireling is often employed in a good sense. But here it denotes one who is unfaithful to his trust; and especially those ministers who preach only for support, and who are unwilling to encounter danger, or to practice any self-denial, for the welfare of the church of God. They are those who have no boldness in the cause of their Master, but who, rather than lose their reputation, or ease, or place, would see the church corrupted, and wasted by its spiritual foes. Whose own the sheep are not. Who does not own the sheep. Because he is an hireling. Because he regards only his wages. He feels no special interest in the flock."

Their motive, purpose, is money, which proves they are not shepherds. In Ephesians 4:11 in the Greek, the word used for pastors is "poimen" and is the exact word used in our text for shepherd. "But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd..." John 10:12. It's the same word, pastor, shepherd, and in reality the hireling is an imitation shepherd. He is in it for the money. The qualifications of a shepherd, pastor, bishop, elder, same office, just different functions of that office, is found in I Timothy 3: 1-7:

This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

Notice verse 3, "Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre..." A hireling's motivation is gain, his wage.

In Titus 1:5-11, we see the shepherd and the hireling:

"For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.

Verse 11 says, "teaching things which they ought not, for filthy (shameful) lucre's (gain) sake." They teach for filthy lucre, that's their motive. Notice it says teach not preach. Most hirelings can't preach themselves out of a wet paper sack. That's another message. When I was in Bible college I was taught the one thing you must consider before accepting a pastorate is salary.

Salary? What happen to making sure it's God's will before you accept. That's the most important thing.

Forget the money; if God wants you there, He will supply your needs. Before coming to the Far North I checked to see what B.B.F.I. recommended, concerning support, and they said $3,000 a month minimum.

Well, as being an independent, we didn't go by their guide lines. When the Lord told us to stop deputation, we stopped. We only had about $1,400 a month coming in. But guess what? We didn't starve, we were even able to buy a house for $6,000. My it's amazing what can happen when one can trust God for one’s needs.

Things have really changed since our Lord sent the disciples out by two's in Mark 6:7-13. They were to take nothing for their journey, no scrip, no bread, no money, etc... but nowadays, where's the sacrifice?

I have been in conferences where missionaries have displayed their little books of needs: washers, dryers, microwaves, furniture, and now computers, automobiles, etc. They stand up in missions conferences and say we need these things before we can go to the field. Who says? They take all these things to the mission field, and live like Americans, way above the standards of the people. Result, the people see no sacrifice, no self-denial, in other words, no Christ-likeness. God help us, give us that pioneering spirit of missions back again. Give us those who are more concerned about reaching the lost than their own comforts. Instead what we have today are those supposedly missionaries wrapped up in everything but the mission work.

As was the case in that northern town here in Manitoba. When asked for help from some of the remaining people there,  I discovered while visiting that after twelve years of a missionary being there, they had no building. The missionary that had been there had been drawing mission support from the States, his wife was working as a full-time nurse, (In Canada landed immigrants can work,) and he too was working off and on as a nurse. He was president of the Manitoba Foster Family Association, and worked much with that association, and was also involved in fostering, of which you would get around $600 a month per child, tax free. And if that was not enough, he was also being paid $500.00 a month by the church he was trying to establish. Needless to say, when that missionary left Canada, he didn't leave a well-grounded, established church. What he left was a mess and a trail of destruction. America, keep your hirelings, we don't want them. We want missionaries with burdens to reach Canadians with the gospel of Jesus Christ, not rob us blind then leave the country.

The sad thing is he is now doing it to another mission field.

Missionaries are supposed to start churches then turn them over to others and go and start other churches.

But now we have missionaries pastoring churches on mission fields. That's why after 6 years in Brandon, our church had grown large enough to support a pastor, but the Lord had not raised up a pastor to take the church. So I resigned as a missionary and took the pastorate so mission money could go else where. But what is happening today is we have missionaries staying in the same place for 10 or 15 years, no new works, they have around 100 in attendance, and they are pastoring not being a missionary at all. Many of them drawing missions support and support from the church they are pastoring. And we wonder why the world is not being reached with the gospel. Give us missionaries America, keep your hirelings.

Now that we have answered, what is an hireling, he's a wage-worker, his motivation is money — "how much will you give me..." Is not that what one of our Lord's disciples said in Matthew 26:14-15? "Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver." How much will you give me?

Secondly, let's answer the question, "How is it that we get Hirelings?

Missionaries, like pastors are supposed to have a calling, a specific calling. A burden for the lost world is great, but that's not a calling. A desire to preach and teach is wonderful but that's not a calling. A desire to follow in your daddy's footsteps is fine but that's not a calling. While on deputation I heard some missionaries in their zeal make the statement, "Why do you need a call when you have a verse," referring to Matthew 28:18-20. That sounds good, but it's not true. Those that do go must have a calling.

Someone who is called needs a burden for the lost, a desire to teach and preach but a calling is of utmost importance. Moses knew the time and place when God called him. The backside of the desert, as he came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb and the Lord called him from the mist of the burning bush that didn't burn. Exodus, chapter 3. He had a specific calling to a specific place, Egypt. Paul, the Apostle, the same, on the road to Damascus, Acts 9.

It takes a calling to be a shepherd , pastor, missionary. Mine was the end of July, 1974, in my home in Texas. After almost two weeks of the Lord dealing with me, I bowed my head as I lay across my bed reading the Word of God. "And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him." Luke 5:11. The Spirit said "you too," and I prayed, "Lord if you want me you got me." Six months later he showed me the place where he wanted me, the Far North.

But many pastors and churches have such a desire to have young men to go out of their churches as pastors and missionaries that they call them. It's kind of like Samuel's sons in I Samuel 8:1-3, "And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel. Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beersheba. And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment."

Notice verse 1, it says "...he (Samuel) made his sons judges over Israel." God didn't call them for that office. They were daddy called, like so many today. They have no calling. They are pastor, daddy, momma called. Results? "And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment," verse 3. Result of daddy, momma, pastor called? Hirelings, turn aside after filthy lucre.

I read a book not too long ago titled, Please Preacher, Please Quit, and it stated that the author believes a large percentage of pastors that stand behind pulpits are not God called. And I believe it also, because of what I see. Pastors, missionaries, running off from their families, abandoning families for other women, dishonest in their dealings, robbing the churches, and stealing from missions. Some of these I don't only doubt their calling, I doubt their salvation.

I have known pastors who were our supporting pastors, who were doing such things as, writing mission cheques to themselves, but the stubs were written out as if sent to the missionaries, thus robbing $1,000's from missions. Others who take from the mission account and buy buses and pay bills; they too are robbing.

So how is it that we get hirelings behind pulpits? Many churches make it easy; they lay hands on them, ordain them, and send them out before they see God's calling on them. The churches in Antioch saw God's calling on Paul and Barnabas because they ministered to the Lord in that church, Acts, chapter 13. We must ask ourselves today, "How is it that we are getting so many pastors and missionaries going bad? Thieves, adulterers, and even homosexuals." How? We must be doing something wrong. We need to go back and re-evaluate. We are too quick to train and send out the un-called.

Many churches send their young people off to Bible colleges and there they are trained how to be a pastor or missionary. From these Bible colleges come most of our hirelings. When God calls a man, he might need some direction and training from his local church and he does. But he doesn't need to learn how to preach. The Lord calls preachers. If you can't preach, you're not called. When God calls a man He gives him wisdom and the ability to counsel. You can't teach someone how to counsel. That's the problem today there is too much counseling being done out of books, like Dobson, etc. We don't need Christian Psychology, we need God called men who can get a hold of the Counselor for counsel. Just like Samuel many preachers are guilty of calling preachers instead of allowing God to call.

OK, so we have answered, "What is an hireling, a wage-worker, his motivation is money, what will you give me?" We have attempted to answer the question, "How is it that we get hirelings?" Mostly through Bible colleges or by pastor, daddy, and momma called. Churches are also responsible for hirelings on the mission field. They have sent them out and they should keep an eye on what they have sent out.

Last of all, let's answer the question, "How Can You Spot a Hireling?

In our text John 10:13, it says, "...He is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep." A hireling does not care for the sheep. Our Shepherd, the Great Shepherd, Hebrews 13:20, "Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant." He cares for the sheep, and even as Psalm 23 speaks of, He leads then to green pastures and beside still waters. In other words, He feeds the sheep. In John 21:15-17, Jesus asked Peter three times, "Simon, son of Jonas's, Lovest thou me..." and once the Lord says. "Feed my lambs..." and twice, "Feed my sheep..." In other words Jesus was saying if you loved me you would feed my sheep.

An hireling doesn't care for the sheep and it shows in his feeding. He doesn't study, he doesn't seek God for messages, he gets his messages out of a book, like he does his counseling. Pastors are warned in Acts 20:28, "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." We are to feed the church of God but a hireling doesn't care for the sheep and it shows in the feeding. The sheep will be ignorant pertaining to the things of God. They won't be well grounded.

Concerning the matter with hirelings in the North, when I was in the town in northern Manitoba just recently and talked with the folks there, I found out that after 12 years with a supposedly Independent Baptist missionary there, they were very ignorant concerning separation, Baptist doctrine, and even concerning why we use the K.J.V. of the Bible. So one of the main things that shows up in a hireling is, he is not concerned about feeding the sheep. He doesn't study. He's lazy. He isn't learning or feeding himself much less the sheep.

I Peter 5:2 says, "Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind."

A true pastor has a heart for his sheep. He understands they are not perfect, they have problems and true pastors, missionaries, stand up for their sheep when the wolf comes. He defends the sheep because he loves them, but a hireling flees.

You can spot a hireling because he is always fleeing. He is gone more than he is at his church. As was the case in the northern town in Manitoba I just recently visited. The former missionary there was so heavily involved in Manitoba Foster Family Association as president of that organization, he was gone a lot, involved in everything but the Lord' work. No wonder after 12 years, the church never had more than 23 in attendance and less than 10 adults. Ever wonder why pastors are jumping from one place to another? It's hard to find a pastor that has been at one church for more than 2 or 3 years. The first time the wolf comes, or there’s a little problem in the church, the pastor flees.

And of course, the hireling missionaries have to change fields on a regular basis. And how does the hireling missionary leave his work after he flees? In the case of the town in northern Manitoba, he leaves it with a novice, barely out of Bible college, 23 or so years old, who doesn't even know what he believes. The missionary leads the church to ordain this novice. After all, when he flees, he must leave it with someone. hat way he can say he established a church in Canada and left it with a national pastor.

But let me fill you in on what has happened since. This novice pastor that was missionary called lasted only 18 months. He read a book about Hyper-Calvinism and he became one. The church people had to ask him to leave. The church stripped him of his ordination. So what does he do? He begins attending an Alliance Church. Now, 18 months later, there are only 7 to 10 people attending the church. They are without a pastor. The hireling fleeth because he doesn't care about the sheep. God help us. America, keep your Hirelings. Send us God called missionaries with a burden for Canadians.

Of course, another way you can spot a hireling is by their pocket book. I can understand a missionary in Europe needing 4 or 5 thousand dollars a month because they lose half to exchange. But I have problems with missionaries in North and South America needing 4 or 5 thousand dollars a month. In countries where the staples are cheap, such as food and housing.

You can spot an hireling missionary by his newsletters. He is always talking about money and needing more. Always wanting, never satisfied. While on furlough in 1985, I had a pastor ask, "Bro. Reaves, do you need anymore support?" My reply was, "No, Pastor, we are OK" He went on to tell me that I was the first missionary that had ever told him that. There is something wrong today my friends, when money is the driving force in missions. God give us missionaries and pastors with a willingness to sacrifice instead of a desire for filthy lucre.

Maybe why Canada has not been reached with the gospel is because this scenario, as in this northern town in Manitoba, has been re-enacted many times from coast to coast in Canada. May I end with this, we as Independent Baptist like to claim that Christ is the head and we the Church are His body and so we are. No big organization over us, we are independent. But we the church are responsible for those who are members and go out from our churches. The church is responsible for their missionaries. Check them out. America, keep your hirelings, but give us your God called missionaries.

Ask for the Guide Book, the Bible from heaven;
For our salvation its pages were given;
If truth you are seeking the way,
Ask for the Guide Book, believe, and obey.

Heed not the voices that bid you remain,
Heed not the false guides who seek only gain;
Ask for the Guide Book, — its teachings are true, —
Heeding it daily will carry you through.

Thousands are traveling in death's downward way;
Few walk the path that is narrow to-day:
One ends in darkness, and one ends in light, —
One is the wrong way, and one is the right.