Mon, 01/28/2008 – 09:46 — David Watson
I’m in a country where Christian missionaries were forced to leave over forty years ago, and are still not allowed. When the missionaries left, a few struggling, young leaders were in place. The government and the culture were highly anti-Christian. Many of these leaders gave up. But one young man committed himself to making a difference. In the forty plus years since he was left on his own he and his team have started more than 3,000 churches, mostly underground.
In the beginning he tried to start churches the way his missionary mentors had trained. But the quick rejection by local leaders and the opposition from the culture forced him to reconsider his approach. He looked at the needs of the people and began to meet the needs that he had the capacity to meet. At first, there were only a few things his knowledge and budget would permit him to do. But as he grew in knowledge, and as people came to the Lord through his efforts, his capacity increased. He began to meet greater needs and more people came to the Lord. He built relationships through ministry that allowed him to share who he is spiritually, and others came to Christ.
Ministry is at the heart of the church. Christ commanded us to meet each other’s needs as he told us to love one another. He commanded us to meet the needs of even our enemies, as he told us to love our enemies. He commanded us to be salt and light to our communities, which only comes through presence and action. Each of us is to minister to others according to our personal capacity, which includes knowledge and resources. When an obvious need presents itself in our communities, we must band together as believers (A.K.A. the church), pool our resources, increase our collective capacities, and meet that need with a ministry that cries, “We love each other; we love you; and our love demonstrates the love of God you need to know!” We build relationships with love that lead to people really wanting to know us, and knowing us means they will be introduced to the Christ who saved us. If our very nature is found in Christ, how can we not share Him with those who want to know us?
We must make a difference to the extent of our capacity to minister, individually and collectively. When we learn this, moreover, when we do this, evangelism and church planting will become a natural part of our lives. People will see Christ in what we do. People will meet Christ as they get to know us. People will accept Christ on their own as we share the Gospel in a love that includes meeting personal and community needs, as well as their spiritual needs.
From the Capital of a Restricted Access Nation