Friday, January 9, 2015

Leading To Die

Fifty-nine years ago Jim Elliot and his four missionary brethren were speared to death on the Curaray River in Ecuador. Great blog post was posted this morning about it. His courageous view on giving his very blood for the kingdom of Christ through the evangelism of a vicious people group was demonstrated there. He wrote about his willingness, and he courageously received it. Great example for us. And to follow his example was that of his wife courageously going back and reaching the same people that killed her husband. Life springs forth from death. Eternal life springs forth from temporary death.

Last week I saw a great example of a church that exhibited the same willingness to give its life and die for the future life of others. This church was in an area of our town that had transitioned from a middle class, Caucasian neighborhood to a predominately impoverished African American and Hispanic area. Rather that taking a typical "white flight" and moving to the suburbs, they truly desired to reach their neighborhood, and continued to evangelize and attempt to make disciples, but with little success. So after much loss and much prayer, they decided to die. They weren't giving up, quitting, or being forced out; they were choosing to relinquish their resources in view of a higher calling, greater purpose, and the leading of God.

They decided that God was leading them to disperse as their current gathering, and put all their assets and resources toward a new congregation that will be able to reach the neighborhood. With great foresight and kingdom commitment, they decided to pass the baton to another group that could continue baptizing and discipling in that location. They wanted to give a jumpstart to a group that could advance against the gates of hell and the darkness in that community.

So I sat in the service last week, and mourned with them as they thought about the last forty-two years, and how there would be no worship gathering that night. I rejoiced with them for the 135 people that had been baptized there in that amount of time, and the $250,000 given through their small congregation. I saw the tears in their eyes, and I saw the courage as well, as they wanted "thy will be done," and "make disciples of all peoples," to come to pass in their community. I saw a pastor courageously stepping out into unknown territory, and by the will and Spirit of God, leading his flock to die for a greater flock that would come and graze in that pasture. They were looking forward to a church more like the community, that could reach the community.

I was proud of them, and I trust that they will be proud when the new congregation is up and winning people to Christ.

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