Thursday, August 13, 2009

Counting the Cost

Luke 14:28-30 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— 29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’?

Our team member, Kenne, got home a few weeks ago after spending an extra two weeks in Bulgaria with the Robnetts. While he was there, he spoke with the pastor of the Blaga Vest church in Sofia about returning next year and staying for a year to volunteer in their soon-to-open childrens' daycare program.
Kenne works in the daycare now at his high school and feels called to ministry with young children. He is very excited about the possibility of spending a year ministering in Bulgaria but is sobered by the overwhelming financial burden of such a venture. Now, instead of looking to raise a couple thousand dollars to return for two weeks, he is faced with raising enough money to support himself for a whole year (rent, food, transportation, etc.). He definitely has a lot to pray and think about.

He got me thinking, though, about the cost of going to Bulgaria every year. Of course, there is the financial aspect of it. Each year the trip costs somewhere between two and three thousand dollars, which includes airfare and ground costs such as lodging, food, and transportation. Some people on the team have the money available for such an endeavor, but most of the team have to do a lot of fundraising and extra jobs to gain the money to go.

In addition, there is the cost of time. Two weeks is a long time to be away from family and friends, and for those of us who work, its a chunk of vacation time. As a husband and father, I can personally say that two weeks feels like an eternity away from your family! Of course, two weeks is a fraction of the time we invest. Fundraising is a year-round effort and we spend a lot of time training and preparing the team before we ever pack our bags and head for the airport. Generally, we start bi-weekly training meetings several months out and switch to a weekly schedule as we get closer. In addition, this year Barbi provided weekly language lessons for several months.

The cost of NOT going...

While the cost of going to Bulgaria is high, I believe the cost of staying home is higher. Telling God "No" always takes it toll. What God has put on our hearts cannot be ignored. To not do what God has called us to do would be damaging to our walk with Him and affect every area of our ministry and personal lives. I cannot speak for every person on the team, but God has given me a "burden" for Bulgaria. A burden, quite simply, is a weight that cannon be ignored. Often, there is a heaviness on my heart for the Church there which can only be relieved by serving as God has intended me to.

Then, there is the price we would pay as a congregation. God never intended the Church to be inward-focused, concerned only with our own needs and wants. We can get so caught up in our local ministries to each other that we forget the Great Commission Christ delivered to His Church: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." (Matthew 28:19-20) God has always intended for His Church to be globally minded and globally united. When we, as a congregation, lose that outward focus on the rest of the world and the rest of our Body throughout the world, our self-centeredness will lead to spiritual withering away. We become ineffective and powerless in ALL areas of ministry, not just our missions.

Finally, the loss suffered by the Church in Bulgaria if we are unwilling to pay the price. God is building an incredible work in Bulgaria, led by godly men who have a heart to follow after Him. They are doing the work God has called them to and doing it well. From a strictly human viewpoint, the work we do in Bulgaria is of such small consequence. Surely, they don't need our help to get the job done! No, they don't, but realistically, God doesn't need ANY of us to get the do His work. He CHOOSES to use us as He sees fit. And God, in His unique plan, has grafted us together... a growing movement in a country somewhat hostile to the gospel and a small church in a small town in the middle of the desert. Relationships have been forged, trust established, and camaraderie built. To walk away from all that would do irreparable damage to both sides. As in marriage, what God has joined together, let not man separate!

I write all of this because we are ever in need of willing men and women, young and old, to join with us in this incredible venture. But we are not looking for just anybody. We are not the "Bulgarian Vacation Club." What we need are people who have sought God and heard Him call them to be a part of this ministry. We need people who would pray for a burden for Bulgaria... men and women with a heavy weight pressing upon them that leaves them no choice but to partner with us. But, above all, we need people who have counted the cost. Those who quickly respond out of an emotional plea generally fall by the wayside as the ministry progresses, but those who pray and ponder and consider the cost will generally make it through the trials and difficulties that rise up along the way.

So, to those who wish to come alongside us in our ministry to Bulgaria, I challenge you first to consider the calling. Is this something you want to do, or something you have to do because God has told you to? Second, count the cost. Are you prepared to make the financial sacrifices that will be required? Are you ready to make a huge investment of your time? With a group this size, there is never a meeting that doesn't conflict with somebody's schedule and we often find ourselves changing this or that to make it work. Are you willing to make this team a top priority in your schedule? Is your family willing for you to make this a priority?

If you have spent the time in prayer and know you are called to join us, if you have counted the cost and are willing to pay, then we welcome you and look forward to serving alongside you!


  1. Just come across you. It sounds good what you are doing.I wonder how I may communicate with you directly. A Christian

  2. I can be e-mailed at