Persistence and Our Journey with God
In helping to answer the question, “How can my church reach an Unreached, Unengaged People Group?”, I have previously discussed the use of Project Management and the business acumen within your church body to meet the challenge of reaching an unreached, unengaged people group. I have also discussed the importance of Partnering with those “on the ground” and others who can bring specific resources to help you to accomplish the task of creating a reproducible church among a people group who have not even heard the story of Jesus or in many cases embraced the understanding of a creator God.
You may have developed your plans and established your partnerships, but one more important ingredient is Persistence. Establishing a reproducible church among an unreached and unengaged people group is not something that happens quickly (as is said, “There is a reason why these people groups are unreached, and unengaged!”). Persistence in responding to obstacles and in managing expectations is important. Remember, God often also uses the “journey” for His purposes.
You may have developed your plans and established your partnerships, but one more important ingredient is Persistence.
In our case, we have just celebrated our 6th anniversary of our commitment to adopt an unreached people group. We now have over 200 new believers and three house churches established in three separate villages in this UUPG (I cannot specify the country or people group due to security concerns for them). We praise God for those He has brought to belief in His Son, Jesus, as their savior. Seeing a picture sent by our partner of baptisms among the people group reinforced our belief that we were working where God wanted us to be and that our “persistence” is being rewarded.
We now have over 200 new believers and three house churches established in three separate villages in this UUPG (I cannot specify the country or people group due to security concerns for them).
We also know that many would have signed-up for a shorter commitment. Most churches like their “3 Year Plans” and hesitate to make commitments outside of that window. In fact, we have just agreed to support the ongoing development of an education center/church for the next 5 years to establish a discipleship center among these people. When I say we, it is the “church” as defined by those believers who are devoted followers of Jesus, and in this context, willing to support this project individually to see it completed, no matter what local church budget constraints might dictate.
This will require us to continue our oversight and to make sure we have leaders within our local church that can continue this journey. Over these last 6 years, 20 different individuals from our church have been able to travel to the country where we are working. Many of these 20 have gone more than once! Their hearts have been changed as they have returned understanding, “How much bigger our God is, than the one they embraced in our local context!” They now stand together to see that this project is completed.
Over these last 6 years, 20 different individuals from our church have been able to travel to the country where we are working.
Along our journey, we have had to switch partners when the first one was unable to follow-through on the agreed plan. We have had to make several strategy updates and we have been blessed by seeing how faithful God has been through it all. Recently 6 other churches came together for the first time to share experiences and plan together to reach our people group. When we started we were the only church engaged; now six different churches have signed on, each working in different geographical areas among the people group. How exciting it is to see God multiply and accelerate the work.
God calls us to be faithful and does not set time limits! Realize that you are starting a journey that is His and be prepared to be Persistent.
As men and women of Issachar, here are three challenges to consider:
- If you are reading these blogs for the first time, prayerfully consider signing on and adopting an Unreached, Unengaged People Group (Go to: http://www.finishingthetask.com for more information),
- If you have taken the first step and are in the planning stages, find new leaders among your local church body who can use their business acumen and project management skills in this effort, and
Lastly, if you have been engaged in this work and are starting to ask the questions, “Are we done yet?”, “Why is this work going so slow?”, be Persistent. Yes, it is appropriate to ask questions about your strategy when it seems to be ineffective and make changes, but God is not done working to transform us as his disciples, nor is He done reaching the lost. What a blessing to be part of His work, now and for eternity.
Written by Randy Howard
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