Fanning the Flame
Ever wonder why even Jesus Himself traveled with a group? Picture a campfire. To keep it going what must happen? As the fire burns down, more branches or logs must be added to feed the fire. If one branch was to be taken out of the fire and placed by itself in a new area, what would happen? Without anything to fuel it, it would burn out. This image is a perfect picture of the way the church is designed. Jesus said, “I am the vine, and you are the branches.” To keep the fire going, many branches are needed. What does this mean for missions?
Having a one-time salvation encounter with the gospel of Jesus isn’t enough. Sustainable church planting is what keeps the fire going. A common misconception is that unreached areas don’t have any Christians. Often times there are Christians in these places, but their numbers are kept from growing because they cannot evangelize or meet as a church. Without being able to add branches to the fire, the fire slowly goes out.
Global Frontier Missions defines unreached people as: “an identifiable group of people distinguished by a distinct culture, language, or social class who lack a community of Christians able to evangelize the rest of the people group without outside help. The only opportunity for the people group to hear about salvation is through an “external witness.” Groups remain unreached for more reasons than just violence. Sometimes there is so much social pressure from the dominant religion that local churches are squashed and individuals who choose to convert are ostracized to the point of cutting off resources. Other times governments create laws so strict that to have church or evangelize in any way qualifies one for prison, deportation, or worse.
This week, we are praying for the global church. We are praying for the places which are difficult for believers to gather together. We are praying for the places in which believers are denied rights. We are praying for the places in which believers are prevented from growing the church. We ask for you to join us in praying for some of these places.
Don’t know where to start? The World Watch List has compiled a list of these areas with both the level of persecution and the source of persecution. The top ten may surprise you. Take some time this week to learn about these countries and to pray for the church in these areas (https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/world-watch-list/). “Adopt” a country to watch as you pray. See over time how your prayers affect what is happening in that nation. Donate to an organization, Mandate or others like it, that directly reaches the unreached. By doing this you are fanning their flames. Let’s keep the fire going around the world because “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5.