Will your city know you were here?
June 28, 2005
In school, I always enjoyed history, because once you have learned the history, it never changes. In mathematics and chemistry there are new laws and new ways of problem solving that are discovered. I love history because it does not change and it continues to teach many lessons. I learned a shocking historic truth about Britain and India just a few weeks ago at an Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) church planting conference organized by Jerry Field.
When British rule in India ended in the 1940s, a group of social scientists studied its impact on the life of the nation. After six months of study, they discovered that many of the villages of India were not aware that the British had ever been there! The British had been present since the 1600s, but the average Indian villager lived and died without any knowledge that the British had ever been present.
Isn’t this a tragedy? During these years, Britain became the most Christianized culture the world has ever known. Yet, in its own empire, it failed to not only spread the message of its culture; it failed to take the Gospel to the people of its empire. We can lament Britain’s failures, but let me turn our thoughts closer to home.
Is it possible that people in your own city will be born, live, love and die without ever knowing that Jesus Christ was present in the life of His Church in their very neighborhood? We have scores of MBC churches that are 150-plus years old! We have many more churches that are over a century in age. Yet, do the people of your city know of your presence? Do they know of your life? Most importantly, have they heard the message of Jesus Christ?
In more than 300 years of occupancy in India, the British failed the proclamation of Jesus Christ to the people of India. Old Bethel was established near Jackson in 1806. I wonder if we will — after 200 years of occupancy in Missouri — fail in bringing the Gospel to our state? Certainly, we do not have to fail.
Our Lord has given us a command to take the Gospel to every ethnic people of the world (Matt. 28:19-20). Our Lord has also given each of us the ability (power) to take the Gospel to our world and He has shown us the plan to do so (2 Tim 2:2 and Acts).
Pastor Bob Roberts of Keller, Texas, told us, in the church growth conference, that culturally, we (in America) have lost the understanding of the biblical roles and practice of the church. In America, we think the pastor is to do hospital visitation and hold people’s hands when in distress. In the rest of the world, the pastor is the teacher, preacher, equipper and the church body performs the ministry to the body as it is equipped to do. The church is an ARMY! An army does not sit around campfires and eat. The church is an army whose purpose is to change lives and cultures!
Now, soldier, will you take the Gospel to your friends, work associates, neighbors and family? What will history record? That your company is huddled around a campfire? Will your city know that you and your church family are here?