The center of Christianity has been on the move constantly since Paul set off to reach the Gentiles. It has slowly crept westward from Jerusalem to Turkey and Greece, to Italy, Germany and England, before eventually winding up in America. I’d love to say that America is still the epicenter of Christianity, but that would take ignoring statistics and the recent rise of Faith in the Far East.
Today, the center of Christianity is shifting from America to South Korea and China. But my hope is for India, that one day the center of the worldwide church will rest within these borders. My hope is that India will become the largest disciple-sending nation, the redemption of a country with over 1.1 billion citizens… and growing.
How can such transformation take place? The answer to that question is the same answer as to how transformation will happen in Uptown, or Metairie, or Mid City, or anywhere. We must Go and Tell.
A professor of mine once said that it only takes an American church plant 18 months to go from “Go and Tell” evangelism to “Come and Hear” evangelism. For an international church it’s 30 months.
How do we avoid the trap into which so many before us have fallen? Jesus, in Luke 10:1-9, provides for us a model of “Go and Tell” evangelism:
“After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go.” — Luke 10:1
1. You are SENT AHEAD. Maybe you don’t even realize it but God has sent you ahead of where he is going: your job, school and community. You are where you are for a reason and God intends to use you! The disciples were literally announcing the impending arrival of Jesus to the cities they visited. He choose to use them and now he chooses to use you.
“And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” — Luke 10:2
2. The HARVEST IS HIS. Jesus didn’t tell them to pray for the harvest to grow, but for the number of harvesters to grow. You are a harvester and where there are harvesters there is a harvest. Jesus’ message was clear. New people would come into a right relationship with Jesus because the disciples worked for the Lord of the Harvest. We have that same privilege today.
“Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road.” — Luke 10:3,4
- We DEPEND ON HIM. As “sent ones,” our journey depends not on the flesh. We depend on the Spirit and not our own strength. The disciples probably never took this approach to packing. Their normal checklists and procedures would probably cover every way to protect and feed themselves to safely reach the destination. God wanted them to leave everything behind in order for them to rely on him fully. Our strategy in every circumstance is to trust God as we journey to the people to which he’s called us.
“Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!” — Luke 10:5
4. We bring PEACE TO PEOPLE. Whether we are in a home in Mumbai or at a coffee shop on Magazine, we carry peace. This journey the disciples set off on left them without supplies and in enemy territory. Yet Jesus wanted their presence and words to communicate a feeling usually reserved for those with surplus and in the safety of a protected home. It is in the chaos of real life that a peaceful person stands out the most. We are called to be peace-bringers in every situation.
“And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you… Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’” — Luke 10:6,9
- We must MINISTER or MOVE ON. We choose to invest our lives with the “people of peace” that God brings into our lives. These “sent” disciples spent their time in two ways: journeying on roads and ministering in homes. There are many who we can only “move on” from. We depend on the Spirit to lead us to the people of peace in our lives. It is in that house, that dorm room, or with that co-worker that we minister with everything God has given us. People of peace are the harvest to which Jesus sends us.
I’d like to suggest that the reason the center of Christianity moves is because the church stops being:
SENT to HIS HARVEST in DEPENDANCE ON THE SPIRIT. We stop bringing PEACE TO PEOPLE and don’t MINISTER OR MOVE ON.
Let’s be sent to his harvest in dependence on the Spirit, bringing peace to people as we minister or move on.