Connections: Greg Beggs
Aug. 3, 2014
Abiding in Christ
Greg Beggs has spent most of his life in Africa, growing up in a missionary family and continuing to serve as a missionary. Beggs was recently appointed Assemblies of God World Missions regional director for Africa. He spoke with Scott Harrup, Pentecostal Evangel managing editor.
evangel: What signs of vitality do you observe within the African AG fellowships?
GREG BEGGS: We are in the middle of a decade of Pentecost in which we have been reminding ourselves of our Pentecostal DNA. Our very identity is melded with the Holy Spirit’s ministry among us.
That drives us to be Pentecostal in our missional focus. African AG fellowships are focused on church planting, both within their nations’ borders and through a growing missionary force. There are Africans carrying the gospel all over Europe and into restricted-access countries. Within their home nations, African fellowships are establishing strategic plans for church planting and exponential growth.
evangel: How are these qualities reflected in the Assemblies of God around the world?
BEGGS: Whether in Africa or around the world, the DNA of the Assemblies of God is that of a pioneer movement. Our growth over the last 100 years speaks to an apostolic ambition within our Movement that drives us to plant churches where there are none, that drives us to look for places where the gospel has not yet been preached, that drives us to continue to ensure that places already enjoying an adequate gospel witness receive continued ministry with the goal of continued harvest.
The very Pentecostal nature of who we are drives us, empowers us, to witness; that results in souls being saved and churches being planted no matter where we are.
evangel: Are there pitfalls for believers and churches to avoid as they seek to represent Christ in the 21st century?
BEGGS: A narcissistic or self-centered approach to ministry will doom any ministry model. When the gospel becomes consumer-driven — where we ask what a church can offer us rather than discovering how we can be empowered to fulfill God’s call to ministry — we lose. Similarly, when we view our churches as magnets for sinners rather than seeing ourselves as gospel emissaries to go out among sinners.
I believe churches in Africa are growing, in large part, because they believe churches are designed to prepare saints rather than attract sinners. And those saints, once prepared and empowered, go into their communities and witness to sinners who then come into the church and become saints. Churches grow exponentially in that model. We all live in a very self-centered world, and we need to guard against the temptation to do church for ourselves.
evangel: How do you stay grounded and growing in your own faith?
BEGGS: There is no substitute for abiding in Jesus. There is absolutely no substitute for the fundamentals of waiting on the Lord in prayer and in Scripture study. And it has to go beyond simply preparing to minister to others. I set aside a couple days a month to just fast and pray.
My friend Dick Brogden has been a powerful influence in my life, reminding me to reconnect any of my goals or values of spiritual growth with the fundamental principle of abiding in Jesus Christ as the Vine in order to produce the spiritual fruit He demands. Jesus called people to himself before He sent them out, and that basic reality has never changed.
evangel: Any other comments?
BEGGS: I’m grateful to God for our wonderful Fellowship. It’s changing, growing and morphing. But at this transition point in the history of the Church — with a great awakening these past decades in the Southern Hemisphere, for example — nobody needs to stand by shaking their head wondering, “What happened to us? Where’s our growth?”
We need to gratefully move ahead and remain focused on communicating the gospel to the lost and planting churches.