bits from bob....
I received an unsolicited email letter from a brother in Christ who preaches for a church in India. The letter was a request for help, for this brother works in a church with many needs. What most caught my attention, however, was the story this brother told in his letter. I marvel at the power of the gospel, the commitment of brothers and sisters in places outside the U.S., and at the way in which the message of Jesus spreads at the hands of those who truly hear, believe, obey, and commit to live life as a follower of Jesus.
First, the brother describes his congregation: "We are the people living for Christ...." He tells how his father, a pastor in the Lutheran church, heard the gospel, was caught by the Word of God, and was baptized. Thus his father started preaching in a small church with 15 persons. The church grew to 125 members and set up preaching ministries in five other villages. Now there are 25 preachers working in villages and forest areas to spread the Word of God. According to the letter, this man is continuing the work of his father after his father's death. He reports baptisms, opportunities to share the love of Christ, tract distribution, and reaching out to many who desire to worship God as New Testament Christians. He also describes the work with the youth, Sunday school, preachers' Bible class, widows, VBS, lepers, distributing free Bible and tracts, and working in an orphanage and school for poor children. He says that these things are done by the local church with local contributions. As in many places, the local church trying to serve in the love of Christ faces more opportunities than available funds can meet. Such will always be the case when God's people are aware of those around them and seeking to live out the reality of the presence of God in this world.
Ponder the simplicity of this story. It sounds like something right out of the first century, something right out of the New Testament: a new church begun, the gospel preached, souls won, preachers sent forth to nearby places so that more churches can be established, the gospel echoing forth throughout the region.
Why does it not happen more often, especially among churches committed to restoring the model of the church in the New Testament?