My wife Arwen is annoyed with me often. Yeah, I know I am pretty annoying much of the time- for instance, here it is a beautiful Saturday and I am typing a blog post instead of playing with the kids. Shoot, I even annoy myself. But on the point she is most often annoyed with me, I am standing firm. I am not putting in a plethora of job requests. I really don't want lots and lots of Westerners out here. That doesn't sound right does it? One of the first things Jesus asks his disciples to do when considering missions is found in Luke 10:2- we are to pray for more laborers for the harvest. So, why wont I put in more job requests? Well, first of all there are some more people coming to join us. I do have one or two coming along. I need the help and support to keep all the balls in the air. But a friend of mine says that everything you need to know about missions is in the book of Acts. That might be an overstatement but the sentiment is right. Look what I found the other day....
He was accompanied by Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Beroea, by Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, By Gaius from Derbe, and by Timothy, as well as by Tychicus and Trophimus from Asia.
Beroea, Thessalonica, Derbe, Asia? All these are places where Paul first brought the Gospel. All these guys were guys who came to faith through Paul's ministry and then it seems he brought them along for the work of ministry. He did not, as far as we know, write lots of letters back to Antioch and Palestine begging them to send more believers. He used the resources available in the harvest. It took a long time. It was years- estimates vary but it was probably many years- between Acts 9 and Acts 20. During that time it seems that rather than publish alliterated 7 point book studies Paul grabbed the disciples and went to work WITH THEM.
I am getting challenged a lot lately to get more laborers into the harvest by putting out more job requests and getting more Westerners here. Well, God may in fact, be calling some. But the strategy I am following is from the book of Acts. It is Jesus and it is Paul. It is finding men and women of faith and getting them into the Word so that we can immediately go out into the fields and begin working. It can be argued that a farmer needs to know a thing or two before he starts plowing but it is beyond argument that a farmer will never know what he needs to know about farming until he gets out there are starts plowing.
We must be learners. We must be in the Word reading, studying, praying, learning, growing. But until we are doers of the Word and not hearers only (James 1:22) we will not be true disciples. We will be deceived by our own intellectual sophistry as our world revolves around us. We must get out and obey the Word of God for only this is walking in faith. In order to fulfill Christ's command to go and make disciples we must bring men and women from the point of learning to the point of doing. Only then will they be Children of the Living God. As I go and do then it is imperative that I take true disciples along with me that we together may become what He is calling us to be.
A few years ago I went with Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pipen down to Anfalas. We began work there and the project lasted about seven months. During that time we lived together Tuesday through Friday. We camped out in the village, we got up early and prayed. We ate breakfast together and studied the Word. We sang songs of praise and worshiped together. We loved each other and served the villagers daily. After a few months of this Frodo said, 'Strider, every week we go down to Anfalas and pray, worship, learn, serve, and grow together. Then we come back on the weekend, drive half-way across town and meet with a bunch of people we barely know for an hour and a half and we call that church. That is not church, what we do in Anfalas is church!' We have been struggling with the reality of that observation ever since. Since that time we have each started our own house churches. We have each tried to encourage one another to love and good works. We have each tried to discover what the Church in Gondor should look like. This is real discipleship. These learners are on the go.
Bottom line for this post? If we will truly go from learners to doers then church cannot be a Sunday meeting- not even primarily a Sunday meeting. Church must be our life in community on the go. Only then will we be making disciples who are doers and not hearers only.
Oops! My son just came looking for me. Looks like I will go get out in the sunshine after all. Going and doing can be a lot of fun, you know.