Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Closed Culture

Here's a great article written by a member of Pastor Andy's Love Wins team:

Everyday, we hear news in corners of the world about places that are closed to proselytizing and sharing the Gospel. The penalties if caught unwarranted sharing this message can be intense as people face fines, jail time, torture or even death. Yet through the hard times, they persevere with an unwavering presence and share the Gospel not only through words, but through actions.

We often feel so far and separated from such places, but think about the United States for a moment. There are many areas in our own back yard that are considered closed cultures similar to the cultures overseas. These closed cultures in the United States consist of people simliar to us, however, they have been wounded and deeply hurt by the church in the past- so much that Christians often find themselves challenged to reach out and to show love.

What does it take? First of all, prayer! God hears and answers prayer and often times more than not, we find that He's already been working ahead of the efforts of this ministry team to break down walls and barriers so lives may be impacted. Second of all, it takes Faithfulness to the call. We have been called to show love and to be a presence in a community that has been wounded in order to reflect Hope-little by little, bit by bit it's working. Third, it takes Presence- Just Show UP and literally, God takes care of the rest. God is a God of opportunity and when we pray, are faithful and present- He works in magnificent ways.

Really, the United States, in some regard is similar to many closed areas of the world in the sense that we have to change the way we've operated as the Church as a whole and as Christians on a personal level in order to properly build bridges. We are no longer "Christian Soldiers Marching Gallantly unto War with our Bibles in the Air." Instead, we are intentionally present and patient as we build relationships with individuals who begin to see differences in our lives and ask questions. Through these opportunities we not only have a chance to share our faith and our relationship with God, we have the opportunity to live our faith out through our actions.

Let us not forget it is about relationships and genuinely knowing and caring for the people God places in our paths. Let us not forget that part of ministry in a "Creative Access Area" means that CREATIVITY is the KEY! We can reach people in ways we have never imagined because we can span beyond tradition.

I encourage you to look around you, to take note of your hobbies and interests and use them to build relationships. You never know how God will use them or who He will allow you to cross paths with in life. :-)

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