Recently, Lance de Ruig and Keir Tayler visited Montenegro on an apostolic trip. Montenegro is one of the most unchurched cities in the world. He asked the leaders there some questions that will challenge you.
Read Lance’s blog about the trip as well.
by Lance de Ruig
Keir Tayler and I have just come back from the country of Montenegro, after having met (literally) all the Christian leaders in that whole country. There were three. One guy has been there for 25 years and has only 30 people in his church. Another guy has been there for 15 years and only has seven people in his church. He has just suffered a church split where his deacon took a whole lot of people with him, but they have nowhere to meet so they don’t even fellowship together.
That’s not easy. But caring means nothing if God doesn’t change our hearts.
Here’s how this motivates me. Montenegro might be on the other side of the world but I ask myself this question: What is stopping South Africa from being like that in a hundred years time? What is stopping our city from becoming like that?
I’ll tell you what’s stopping that from happening here: you and I telling others about Jesus.
You might never get a chance in your life to go to Montenegro or send money for the people there or do anything along those lines, but what you can do is care for your city, the people around you, and ask God to work on your heart. You can make sure that your children and your grand-children and your grand-children’s children grow up in a country where Jesus is loved and praised.
We can ask God to give us a heart for the lost simply because it’s something we say, or we can really let the reality of that sink in and mean it. Here’s a reality: 99 percent of Montenegro’s population right now is going to spend an eternity without Jesus. There are only three men giving up their lives to try and stop that from happening. So the question is, what are we doing?
Let’s open our heart to God and ask him to give us a heart for the people in our city, for the people in Montenegro and Eastern Europe, and the people of this world. This is about this world – this is about the fact that so many people are without God and hope. What are we doing? There are millions of people in Johannesburg right now without God and hope. We have a mission before us.
Our new theme
We’ve had a fantastic season studying Jesus’ discipleship process with his twelve disciples. Our tag line for The Twelve series was “Preparing for the mission with Jesus’ disciples.” As we’ve come to the end of this series we’ve become aware that God wants to change our perceptions of mission and evangelism. In short: Evangelism needs to move from an event to a lifestyle.
We’re still working through God’s challenge to us at the beginning of this year – the challenge of seeking and saving the lost. Christ’s life can be summarised in that phrase. But if we’re honest, seeking and saving the lost is not our culture. Our culture is more about maintenance, self-centredness, and “I”.
The reality is this: if we don’t care for the lost and the fact that people are not being born again, we’ve got sick hearts. That’s why we want to focus on the heart in this next term with a theme called My Heart // My Love.
When our heart is moved with the Gospel our heart has a love for our city and the nations of the world. Inward to outward. We’re trusting God to change hearts. We’re desperate to see revived hearts which care for the lost – hearts which know, deeply, the benefits of the Gospel; hearts that urge us to pray for others and trust for real opportunities where we can share this wonderful liberating Gospel. This sharing is a lifestyle.
How we’ll be doing this
The My Heart // My Love preaching series will take place across the sites and we’ll also be running Equipping Courses on evangelism on Wednesday Nights at Bedfordview. Elders and some of the deacons will be taking teams out to practically engage people with the Gospel. We want to provide some practical learning opportunities like Jesus did with his twelve disciples.
With Easter and voting day (7 May) the term will be structured a little differently in the beginning. We’ll let you know how the dates are going to work out so keep your ear to the ground about that.
As always, thank you for your partnership, friendship and passion. It’s such a wonderful privilege serving our King together with you.
– Marcus and the elders