Irfan’s Role as Director of Ministry
As the director of the ministry, I am involved in almost every aspect—from choosing whom we will support, maintaining the website, to writing the newsletter—I do a little bit of everything.
One of my essential duties is choosing who it is that we will support as national pastors. I take this task very seriously and work closely with the men before I choose whom we will support. I make sure that all those we work with are doctrinally sound. I do this not only by speaking to them but by listening to them teach the Scriptures. I also spend time with them (often several weeks) getting to know them as individuals as well as getting to know their families and lifestyle. The process of choosing whom we will support is a rigorous one, and we undertake it with the utmost responsibility.
Twice a year, I visit our church planters. These trips usually last somewhere between 4-6 weeks. The purpose of these trips is to make sure that we are spending the resources the Lord is providing in the correct fashion. We want to make sure that what we are told by our church planters is actually being done. We believe one of the keys to working with nationals is providing accountability.
Some have wondered what I do with the rest of my time if I am only in the Middle East for a few months. One of the great responsibilities I have is getting the word out about our ministry. Since we work in closed countries with heavy persecution, almost everyone who becomes aware of our ministry does so through me directly. In fact, many people have no idea that you can do church planting where we are doing it. This makes it very difficult to do church planting.
Because of this, I travel and speak in many churches. In the last year alone, I spoke in almost 30 different churches. Some of these churches were new churches that were considering our ministry for support. Many were churches that wanted updates on the ministry. Because I live stateside, many churches which support us have me in often, some every year, to update them. I relish these opportunities as I want our supporting churches to be aware and praying for our ministry.
I also travel to raise support for our church planters. We currently have 6 church planters, but our goal is to have many more. The irony of the situation is that there are many churches who want to support missions to the Middle East, and there are also men willing to plant churches; however, there is no way for them to meet. That is where I am of help. I work as an intermediary to help national church planters get sponsored to build self-sustaining churches.
Finally, even when I am stateside, I am in contact with our church planters, encouraging them, receiving reports, and discussing the course of the ministry.