Our church began going through the book Multiply in September, and for the past 8 weeks we have explored discipleship, the church, and our approach to God’s word. We have been going through the book in small groups, large community groups, and our pastor has been preaching on it from the pulpit each week. The discussions that have resulted have been fruitful, challenging, and encouraging as our church shifts to become a community of disciples who make disciples.
I wrote this story last week after a great discussion during my small group for our church-wide blog, but it turns out someone else had the same idea and beat me to the punch! As I read back over this though, I thought it could be encouraging for anyone who is desiring to learn more about God’s heart for the world and how we are called to get involved, so I decided to post it on here. 🙂 Enjoy!
We began our discussion about the Global Church last night talking about ways we have been involved in the past, and where we are at now. All of the ladies in my group understand that as followers of Jesus, no one is off the hook from participating in, praying for, supporting, and loving the Church around the world. We want to be involved, to be obedient, and to know what is happening with our fellow brothers & sisters. But, as we continued talking, a theme started to emerge.
“The world is massive – how can we possibly know everything that is going on in the Global Church?”
“My day is full as it is with work and kids and trying to even understand what is happening here in America – how can I add this on without becoming overwhelmed?”
“Those stories from Pastor Lon’s sermon on Sunday were so encouraging, but I have no idea where to find that information myself!”
All of this is true – the world is big, our days are full, and it can be difficult to find stories of what God is doing, especially in closed countries. And although it is daunting to consider trying to keep up with everywhere, we can start with somewhere.
Here are some of the ways our group came up with to get involved with the Global Church:
- Pick one country to pray for on a consistent basis. Maybe it is a country you have been to, or you know a missionary serving there, or it is an MBC partnership country, or you heard about it on the news, or you spin a globe and choose the country where your finger lands. However you decide, commit to praying for, learning about, and supporting one country in the world.
- Find your passion. There are a lot of causes around the world right now – nutrition/health, the fight against trafficking, clean water projects, advancing education, persecution, orphan care, adoption, and many more. What are you passionate about? Find out how the gospel intersects with these causes, and get involved by praying, giving, sharing, volunteering, and serving.
- Start Reading. Get a copy of Operation World and pick a different country every week or month to focus on. Follow Operation world on Twitter, or like their page on Facebook to read about what God is doing in many closed countries. Other great web resources are: International Justice Mission, Voice of the Martyrs, WORLD Magazine, CIA World Factbook , even Embassy/Consulate Websites.
- Get to know your neighbors. Chances are, living in the DC metro area (or wherever He has you right now), many of your neighbors moved here from overseas. Ask them about life in their country, if religious freedom is allowed, what the majority of people believe, what they personally believe, etc. One great tool is the Jesus Film Media app from Cru, which you can download to your smart phone or tablet. It has the JESUS Film and several other videos translated into over 1200 languages, which makes for an easy and personal way to tell them about Christ in their heart language.
- Partner with a Missionary. Whether you give of your finances, or commit to pray for them, or both, your partnership with them allows you to reach a part of the world with the gospel you could never impact otherwise! You will get to hear stories of God changing lives, and know that you were part of the story. Be encouraged as you read their updates, learn about their ministry, and join them in taking the gospel to the nations.
- Go on a Mission Trip. Find out how your church is involved in Missions, and step out in faith to join one of their trips, either locally or abroad. This is one of the most effective ways to gain a heart for the world. You will be wrecked in the best way possible as you see these places with your own eyes, serve alongside your brothers and sisters in Christ, encourage the local missionaries, share the gospel, get out of your comfort zone, and come home with a new perspective.
In his chapter on the Global Church, Francis Chan in the book Multiply says “We are here on this earth for His glory. God has blessed you so that you will use whatever He has given you for His glory, not yours.” Our motivation for loving the Global Church is to see God’s name made known around the world, to celebrate where He is at work (which is everywhere), and to bring Him glory.
What has He given you that can be used to bless and serve the Global Church?