Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Leaving a Gospel Legacy

Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her."                   - Matthew 26:13

Saint Matthew shares a story in his Gospel about a woman who anointed Jesus with a pound of expensive perfume. It was valued at nearly a year’s wages. She did this to prepare Jesus for His burial. It was a pivotal moment in the gospel story. Regretfully, not everyone was excited about her sacrifice for Christ. Some murmured against her, calling it a waste of money. But Jesus said that what she did always would be remembered everywhere the gospel was preached. What a legacy she created in a single act of sacrifice for Christ!

This story in scripture has always challenged me. Does it challenge you? I would like to be able to honor Jesus in a way that leaves a legacy for future generations of gospel hearers. Perhaps you share that desire. Though I am unable to physically anoint Jesus with expensive perfume as this lady did, if I prayerfully seek ways to honor Christ on a regular basis, and then at certain pivotal moments in life, I am willing to make significant sacrifices for the Lord, God will be able to use those moments to create a gospel legacy for His glory.


While there are many ways to leave a gospel legacy, one way my wife and I are trying to do this is by contributing each year to the Baptist Foundation of New England. Though our gifts are not large, knowing our gifts are added to the gifts of others and managed in a way that will produce ministry income until Jesus comes again is very meaningful to us. We know it will be a legacy that will help  future generations hear about Jesus.


I would urge you to consider doing something similar so that you too can leave a gospel legacy. If you do not have a favorite charity that does this, I would be happy to tell you more about the ministry of the Foundation, just email me. We can all make a difference if we will let the Spirit work through us in ways that leave a legacy for future generations.


Lord, give us a heart for the next generation and move us to sacrifice for them. Amen.


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Dr. Terry W. Dorsett serves at the Executive Director of the Baptist Convention of New England. He has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at:

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Difference Between Pastors and Missionaries

Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Missions. Just the word alone put images in our minds. For many people it means that someone leaves their home in the United States and goes to live in a grass hut in a Third World undeveloped country and eats monkey brains for breakfast every day. For other people it means a person must learn a foreign language so they can communicate with some exotic people group. 

But when I think about the word “missions,” I think more about the focus of one’s ministry, not the location of that ministry. To me missions means that we are focused on reaching non-believers with the gospel of Jesus Christ regardless of where they live, what language they speak, or what they eat for breakfast. We need far more missionaries than we currently have if we are to impact both our local community and the farthest corners of the earth for Christ.

I think being a missionary is different than being a pastor. Pastors primarily serve believers in the local church by equipping them to do ministry effectively. It is important work. We need more healthy effective pastors doing the work that pastors are supposed to do. Good pastors strengthen their local church and then that church is able to send out missionaries. They might send them across the street, to the next town, the next state, or to other countries. 

Missionaries focus on reaching lost people for Christ. That does not mean they do not disciple people or strengthen churches, that is just not their focus. Pastors focus on discipling believers. That does not mean they do not engage in missions, of course they do, that is just not their focus. For example, while a pastor is thinking of how he will lead another small group Bible study, a missionary is thinking about how he will reach another community with the gospel. One is not better than the other, it is just different. And both are needed. 

Sometimes missionaries become pastors. And sometimes pastors become missionaries. But most often, they discover a calling from God and remain in that primary calling for most of their ministry. We need both pastors and missionaries working in partnership to fulfill the Great Commission. We need lay people to support their pastors and to support the missionary programs that their church has set up. Both are needed and both need prayers, volunteers and funding. They should not be in competition, but in partnership together so that they whole world might hear the glorious gospel of Christ.

Lord, raise up pastors and missionaries to help lead the church to be all that You want it to be. Amen.

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Dr. Terry W. Dorsett serves at the Executive Director of the Baptist Convention of New England. He has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at:


Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Call to Ministry

Ezekiel 33:7 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.” (NIV)

I remember when I first began to feel a calling to ministry. I was in the eighth grade and attending a Christian school. In the chapel service they suggested that God would not have us in that school unless He wanted us to be involved in some kind of ministry. They challenged all the young men to be willing to surrender to the ministry if God should call them. I remember thinking that I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be a pastor. I wasn’t sure that God was calling to ministry. But I didn’t want to be disobedient to God either. Over the next few days I thought about it a lot and one night before I went to bed I prayed about it. I told the Lord that if He ever wanted me to be in ministry I do it. But I was also happy to just be a lay person in the church if that was what God wanted me to do.

Fast forward serval years and I found myself a counselor at a Christian camp. I was 16 years old. One evening in my personal devotions was reading a passage from the book of Ezekiel about becoming a watchman to the house of Israel. As I read that verse I sensed something happen in my spirit. It was as if it God had written that verse specifically to me. Somehow, deep in my inner being and I knew God was telling me that I was to be a watchman warning others to turn from their sin and to the Lord. 

From that point forward I altered all of my plans and goals in life to focus on training for ministry. During the years since, I have served a children’s pastor in a mega-church, a youth pastor in a medium sized church, as the pastor of a small church and as a church planter. I have also invested much of my time in ministry as an administrator in the denomination I am part of. My ministry to an entire geographical region gives me the opportunity to spread the Gospel much farther than I could if I was only serving a single church. Who would have thought that an 8th grader from a small Christian school in the Midwest would be called by God to impact New England, one of the most influential regions of our nation? But when a person is called to a certain ministry, that person cannot imagine doing anything else, and that definitely describes my life.

If you are thinking about ministry, you do not have to figure it all out at once. Like my experience, you may find yourself in a variety of ministry experiences that will work together to prepare you for the special ministry to which God has called you. And once you find it, you will be the most fulfilled you have ever been as you serve as one of God’s watchman turning others to the Lord and away from their sin.

Lord, please call many people into Your service, in a variety of different types of ministry, so that our nation might be turned from their sinful ways and follow You again. Amen.

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Dr. Terry W. Dorsett serves at the Executive Director of the Baptist Convention of New England. He has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at:



Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Watch Your Words!

Image result for negative social mediaProverbs 18:4 “The words of a person’s mouth are deep waters, a flowing river, a fountain of wisdom.”

I opened up my Facebook page and cringed. A fellow pastor had posted an inflammatory statement on his Facebook page. I think he thought he could challenge people’s thinking and perhaps change a few of their minds on an important topic. What actually happened was for the next three hours there was one negative post after another as people argued with each other on his thread. Lots of anger was displayed. Very few attitudes that would reflect Christian values were displayed. If his goal was to prove a point, he failed. If his goal was to stir up controversy, he was amazingly successful. If his goal was to speak a word of the Lord and advance the cause of Christ, I would also consider his post a failure.

I think pastors must be particularly vigilant when they use social media. When used correctly, social media can be a powerful tool in advancing the cause of Christ. When used incorrectly, it can set back several month’s worth of ministry in a matter of minutes.

While I do not consider myself to be a social media guru, in my experience I’ve learned that best use for social media includes:
  1. encouraging others with positive words and Bible verses
  2. staying in contact with others by expressing genuine concern and care
  3. promoting worthwhile ministry events
  4. sharing humorous moments in my life

I find that most people respond positively to these four things and enjoy interacting with me about them. A long time ago I determined that social media was not the place to discuss controversial issues or to get too preachy to the masses. There are other avenues in which we can discuss controversial issues and push our more preachy ideas. Social media is simply too brief to say all that needs to be said regarding controversial subjects. It misses body language and context, which often is just as important in our communication efforts as the words we use.

While I think this is good advice for everyone using social media, I think this is particularly important for ministers and key lay leaders in the church to understand. Social media can be a great ministry tool, if Christian leaders use it correctly.

Lord, help us use the technology You have enabled us to create for Your glory. Amen.

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Dr. Terry W. Dorsett serves at the Executive Director of the Baptist Convention of New England. He has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at:

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Our Schedules Can Be An Idol

Ephesians 5:15-16 "Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil."

Time is perhaps our most precious commodity. For a growing number of people time is actually more precious than money. Many of us fill our days running here and there trying to keep up with our overcrowded calendars. Sometimes I wonder if Americans have made an idol of being busy. We tend to think that the busier we are, the more important we are. We often equate activity with productivity. Too many people have come to believe that their level of activity equals their level of value. Christians are as guilty of this as our non-believing friends.

I think it is a mistake to equate our schedules with our self-importance, our productivity, or our value. Sometimes we are busy doing all the wrong things. Sometimes our activity actually accomplishes very little because we approach it in such a disorganized way. We should most definitely not equate our level of activity with our value as a person, because our value comes not from how busy we are, but in the fact that we are created in God’s image, and that Christ died for us to be reconciled to God.

This does not mean that we should throw out our calendars and become couch potatoes. What it means is that we should evaluate our schedules and determine if there are things we can cut out to make our lives less busy so we can focus on the things that matter most. It means we must evaluate how our schedules are impacting the things that matter most, such as our spiritual walk with God, our family health, and our overall personal happiness. At some point we must ask ourselves if the things that fill our schedules really have meaning to us or did we just sign up for them because everyone else did. Do those activities really add value to our lives or are they merely attempts to convince ourselves that we are important? We may not like all the answers we come up with when we ask ourselves these questions, but in the end, the result will be a less hectic life that is full of value, meaning and purpose.

For those of us who are Christians, we should determine that before we add one more thing to our schedules, we should take time to ask if that activity fits God’s plan for our lives. Will that activity draw us closer to Christ or push us farther away?

I recall a young family in one church I served as pastor. The wife was a Sunday School teacher. At the time the husband was not a believer though he did come to church fairly often. As their children got older, the children became involved in a variety of extra-curricular activities. The mother volunteered for a lot of extra activities at the school where the children attended. She also volunteered for leadership positions in two community groups. None of these various activities were bad. In fact, some were quite healthy and it was good for their family to be involved in them. But as they continued to add things to their calendar, their schedule got so full that the family’s church attendance went from almost every week to about once every 6-8 weeks. At the end of the Sunday School year the mother gave up her Sunday School class because she was just “too busy to do everything.” I vividly recall her husband’s comment after she resigned. He said, “I think she is giving up the wrong thing!” I found his comment quite insightful since he was not yet a believer at that point in his life. Clearly something needed to be eliminated from her calendar, but it should not have been her service to the Lord. That family eventually dropped out of church altogether and is no longer active in the life of any church. Overcrowded schedules pulled them away from their faith, and did little to enhance their family bonding. All it did was overstress them. Sadly, I see it happening more and more in the typical American Christian family.

We must decide what is important to us. Then we must allocate time, our most precious commodity, to reflect our values. If we fail to do this, we will find ourselves busier than ever but with little or nothing to show for it.

Lord, help us evaluate our schedules and make adjustments that are healthy for our spiritual walk and our family life. Amen.

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Dr. Terry W. Dorsett serves at the Executive Director of the Baptist Convention ofNew England. He has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at: