We Had to Ask: Carlton Coon
InsideOut: What do you like to eat for breakfast?
CC: This has evolved a bit. Currently wheat toast and black coffee.
IO: What’s your favorite book?
CC: Beyond the Bible, I enjoy the contemporary writing of Eugene Peterson.
IO: What time do you usually get up?
CC: Too early. I’m naturally a night person, but life does not seem to operate at that pace.
IO: How do you start your day?
CC: (By opening my eyes – ha.) A quick shower, the coffee and toast.
IO: What was the title of your first message and what was it about?
CC: “The Parable of the Prodigal.” I suppose the title gave away the message. I was seventeen years old. It was preached at a country church pastored by the late Ross Allen. The “crowd” would have been less than 20.
IO: If you could visit one planet, which one would it be and why?
CC: Mars—to conclusively answer the question, “Is there life on Mars?”
IO: How long have you been overseeing Home Missions now?
CC: Four years.
IO: And, since you’ve been there, what have you seen to be the most critical need?
CC: Two things: (1) Men and women who become preachers of the gospel, and (2) wake-up to North America as a mission field.
IO: How do we help change that?
CC: (In response to #1) Several things have to happen. We magnify the call of God to preach the gospel. The late Vance Havner, a Baptist evangelist, said, “Don’t stoop to be a president if God will let you be a preacher.” In this matter, Havner’s thinking was exactly right. I’d paraphrase, “Don’t stoop to be an attorney, physician, secretary, computer programmer, Hollywood entertainer, politician or educator if God will let you be a preacher.” We need a change of thinking which leads to a change in behavior. In the Bible that exact phrase is called “repentance.” We need to repent about our measures of success. Is our view of things more North American than biblical? Success is the right clothes and shoes. Success is owning the right “stuff.” Owning “stuff” and sacrifice are seldom part of the same experience. (In response to #2) North America is relatively untouched with the gospel. Thirty eight countries around the world have more churches per capita than are in the United States and Canada. If one has two unsaved friends— one in Madagascar and the other in St. Louis — the unsaved friend in Madagascar has a much greater chance of coming in contact with a member of a United Pentecostal Church. Substitute any great North American city for St. Louis, and you have the same end result.
IO: This issue of InsideOut is “You, Go”. I think that our generation is beginning to see that you don’t have to go across the sea to be involved in missions. We are surrounded every day by a world that we can help, which is what Home Missions is all about. What can we do as young adults to help this cause?
CC: Be part of an Apostolic Youth Corps trip to a North American city. Intern for a summer with a Home Missionary. Become an X Project Missionary (this is short-term missions roughly equivalent to AIM on overseas missions efforts).