Let them eat punch & cookies
I remember as a child when used shoes, old clothes and even used tea bags were collected for missionaries – no kidding, as obnoxious as that sounds! I often think that times have really changed.
We are at 50% of our support, having lost 50% since returning from overseas… we are domestic, not exotic; we do something pastors don’t get because it’s not shiny programs & therefore their people don’t get because its not discussed or promoted as valid; and without ever saying it, well, it can indict some that their individual church can’t be all to all lost people. It’s not intended, it just is.
BUT, we continue to enjoy steady, consistent, faithful support from almost all of our donors who stayed on board – for years, some even increasing. This is encouraging, even in this tough economy, to know dear ones still value us and stand with us.
Not so for all… I have a guy, a church planter, I’ve mentored and encouraged a bit. His movement [unnamed to protect the guilty] has not approved of his desire to get trusted and known and love people (dwelling among them…head that somewhere) and wants him to cold call on people and hang a shingle and get a Sunday event going… cause evangelicals “don’t measure success or real church by the Mass”… okay, baby.
He’s been through a Job year: house broken into at least four times, drug dealers and pimps and Ho’s around the house, car broken into multiple times, have to call the police 3-4 times a week out of fear, threats to kill his family, and a very weak support from his denomination. He’s not been able to get work to support his family and is on the brink.
Then the week from hell came: his denomination dumps him as a church planter and cuts off money end of this month; the church planting church he was looking at as this one was heading this way, calls and says no, and his father-in-law (overseas) dies.
Where is his denomination when they suffer PTSD, are in a horror breaking situation, have suffered violence and threats and suffered for the kingdom? Why walk out? Why not care for our wounded?
We’ve given them some funds to help and hope to give more. Yet, the abandonment of the church frustrates and hurts me for them. They’re at a place now, where they need a minimum of a year rest, probably more. Yet, utilitarian approaches to ministry… have to execute God’s will… forget behaving like Him, drives the action. I’m sad.
Matthew 25.31 comes to mind, along with Isaiah 58 & 61.
You know, I know lots of people with pedigree – degrees in God, ordained, right reverends, who strategize, make following Jesus and doing His will to bring the Kingdom complex, mind and business games, tactics, and new plans… yet, they don’t know how to really engage authentically, relationally, lovingly love people. It’s sad.
Lord, may we, your people, your leaders, learn to follow and imitate you….with the least of these, and even our own wounded. Lord, forgive us.
Epilogue: In the US Civil War, if you were wounded, there was greater than 50% probability that the wound would kill you. Today in combat, there is a greater than 97% probability that if medical help reaches you, you will survive. The difference – help. I can’t tell you how many compatriots who laid their lives on the alter as living sacrifices has been victims of ministry and its heavy, costly toll: spiritual warfare, unfair expectations, unhealthy leadership, unhealthy fiscal, emotional, leadership support, and the list goes on. Oh, that we would repent and care for those who dare step up and answer the call. …warning…you may have to sacrifice and give up some things to really care.