10 Years ago, September 2009, John Mark Clifford joined Frontline Fellowship as an IT/Audio Visual worker. Those who observed this quiet, reserved young man could not have predicted the dynamic Missionary into which he would develop.
Cross Border Missions
One key turning point was John’s participation in the 2010 Biblical Worldview Summit and Great Commission Course. Soon we saw John participating in cross-border missions to Zimbabwe and he became a Trainee Missionary.
Taking a Stand
In 2011, I asked John to produce and present The Message in the Music lecture at the BWS. This was another key turning point, as his presentation soon became the most controversial and discussion generating subject at the camp. John learned that to be faithful to the Lord often means being unpopular with the world.
From there, we saw steady growth in John Mark, from IT/AV to Field Worker, to Trainee Missionary; to RSM for BWS and GCC; to Camp Commandant for BWS and GCC; to Theological student where he graduated with high honours; to being an Ordained Minister of the Gospel; to Field Co-ordinator of the Mission and Dean of the William Carey Bible Institute online Leadership Training programme for Remote and Restricted Access Areas.
John led missions to Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Namibia, Botswana, Tanzania, Sudan and Egypt. He also designed tracts for The Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber outreaches at the Cape Town stadium and Health! Wealth! Prosperity! tracts for our outreach to a Bennie Hinn event. John co-authored the Biblical Preaching Handbook and along with Hunter, organised the regular Back to the Bible FIRE Preaching Workshops.
Dedicated and Dependable
John has proved to be a rare person, he has proved responsible, capable, competent, disciplined, dedicated, diligent and dependable, persevering to see tasks and missions completed. He is a credit to his parents and a tribute to home education. John Clifford has become a reader, thinker and knowledgeable leader with insight and understanding.
Most people need constant supervision, reminders, prodding and often even spoon-feeding. Not so John Mark Clifford. As John grew in grace, knowledge and competence, I found in him someone I could trust to such an extent that I could hand responsibilities to him that I have seldom entrusted to anyone, such as: Bible Drill, Just a Minute and running the Biblical Worldview Summit and Great Commission Course. When I was ministering out of town, I would regularly hand over my responsibilities of Salt and Light Radio programmes, From the Frontline podcasts and the leading of The Reformation Society meetings to John.
The True School of Discipleship
It has been a joy and privilege to train and guide John in his adventure of discipleship and ever-increasing missionary responsibilities, now even including marriage and parenthood! As Professor Martin Luther declared: “Marriage is the true school of discipleship and there is no love so sacrificial as that of a parent.”
Responsible and Innovative
It has been said that all people are a blessing. Some people bless when they come and others when they go. John has certainly proved to be blessing throughout his ten years of ministry and missionary service since he first joined Frontline Fellowship, September 2009. The more tasks and responsibilities he took upon himself, the more he freed me and others, to concentrate on other tasks and ministries. In this way, John has enriched and expanded the work and reach of our Mission.
In departing for further education, to complete his Masters in Theology, in the United States, John is leaving a huge chasm behind which will necessitate far more work and diligence from those left behind to strive to fill.
John blessed us by being involved in this work, taking initiative, proving to be trustworthy and dependable and steadfastly reading, studying to show himself approved unto God and in striving to be faithful to all that the Lord had called him to. He has left an example of steadfast perseverance, which I trust will inspire others in our Mission, particularly in the IT department and amongst our missionary interns and trainee missionaries, to read more wisely, to deepen their understanding of the Word of God, to improve their skills, stretch their Faith and multiply their effectiveness.
“For God is not unjust to forget your work and labour of love which you have shown toward His Name, in that you have ministered to the saints and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end.” Hebrews 6:10-11
“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:57-58
May God continue to abundantly bless John, his family, studies and ministry for the fulfilment of the Great Commission of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa
Tel: 021 689 4480
See also John’s Farewell messages:
TEN LESSONS from TEN YEARS in the FIELD Article
Ten Lessons from Ten Years in the Field video and audio. (Devotion)
Ten Highlights and Most Helpful Books from Ten Years in the Field video and audio. (Reformation Society)