Many of you will remember Adoniram Judson, the Sainted Missionary of the ABCUSA (1788-1850). We often reflect on this man and his calling as a standard for our mission. But what else can the life of the good Reverend Adoniram teach us about living in the days of Covid? I believe we can all be motivated by the principles that Guided the Reverend Judson.
The first principle was that he had a sense of divine purpose. If there was ever a time for those called beloved of the Lord to remember our calling and higher divine purpose, that time is now, and we are that generation. Once Judson felt God’s call to ministry, he never looked back, even during times of devastation and heartache. The God who called you is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So do not let the challenges of the pandemic cause you to forget your divine calling.
Secondly, he practiced Incarnational Ministry. Thus, he adapted his living to the culture and became intimately acquainted with it. In this new world of masks and virtual worship, we can not simply long for the day’s gone by, but we must adapt our lives to the world as it is if we are to be the Gospel in the world.
The third principle was how he developed kingdom priorities that helped him navigate what he could but would not take on. We must guard our time. With endless Zoom meetings and opportunities to serve like never before, we need to be clear about our kingdom priorities. That way, we can say no to the most enticing of opportunities yet stay true to ourselves and our calling.
The fourth principle is Judson’s commitment to evangelism. The Master himself said, “go and make disciples,” a more literal translation would be “as you go… ” As we go, we must be intentional about loving well and relating well if we are to make disciples and stay true to the principle of evangelism.
Finally, the fifth principle was that he never forgot that his work was not a sprint but a relay, and he would have to pass the baton to someone else eventually. We can be so focused on the now that we forget to plan for the next generation’s coming. Therefore, it is an essential part of our preparation to think about those that will follow us. (Adapted from the booklet Adoniram Judson: God’s Catalyst)
These five principles are good reminders that our immediate circumstances cannot deter us, be that Covid or personal challenges. No, we must stay on task and focus on the mission and ministry. If we are to make the best of these challenging days, we will do well to adapt and apply these five principles of The Reverend Adoniram Judson’s life.
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