Join the work: Give & Grow
“Leaders need to lead the way, make a push,
and start talking early and often
about God’s heart for the lost. All the lost.
They need to teach that his direction is GO.”
When I was a much younger man, one of the first Western churches I ever visited was a brand-new, tiny group of people who were meeting in a strip mall storefront. Eight families had come together to plant this community, which they called Hope Community Church. The pastor, Steve, was twenty-nine years old, and although he showed up to lead, he wasn’t sure that he was up for the task of leading and growing this little group. He worried about his youth and his inexperience in preparing teachings regularly.
Despite his youth and inexperience, God had given Steve a clear vision for this group. He and I were talking about it recently, and he said, “It’s easy when you plant a church. From the jump, you build it around values that are close to God’s heart.” Church plants or not, Steve said, “Leaders need to lead the way, make a push, and start talking early and often about God’s heart for the lost. All the lost. They need to teach that his direction is GO.”
From their very first year, Hope Community Church got involved in investing in our work in India. Of course, their finances were tight and stretched. They were a small group, growing with new believers and young people. Still, they were committed to giving and emphasized stewarding their resources. “I believe God blessed that,” Steve said. They were faithful with a little, and so God entrusted them with more. That is his way.
How were they blessed? Well, despite small means, they never missed a bill. God always provided. Steve told me, “You might think that because resources were tight that we’d need to hold back or wait until it made more ‘sense’ to start investing outside our local church, but we really wanted to be part of the big work that God was doing.”
They are still serious about investing in God’s work. God has blessed them with the ability to “never miss a bill,” but even more significantly, he’s given them fruit. Today they’ve seen over 1,000 salvations and are a church of 1,000 regular members. The “fruit” is fruitful—these people have the DNA of outward focus and sacrificial giving. This church, even when it “couldn’t,” chose to invest in the Kingdom, to work where God is working, and has now been blessed to give at a much larger scale.
What a privilege it has been for them to see the opportunity and to step into it. To be part of something so much bigger than their own group.
I fervently believe that discouraged Western churches can be encouraged, revitalized, and re-energized as they partner in the big work God is doing in India. It’s a thrill. It’s an adventure. It’s a joy. Most of all, it is where God is working, and it has vast eternal significance.
It’s no surprise that when people are engaged, encouraged, and re-energized around significant spiritual work, energy builds. It grows and is channeled into even more areas where God is working. As you lead your people toward outward focus—to go and give—you will see them grow. You will see them become fruitful and significant in ways that you couldn’t have imagined. God will unleash the willing church and invite them to work where he is working.
An excerpt taken from Unleashed, the newest book by Sam Stephens.
To read more stories like this one visit iglworld.org/unleashed to get your copy of Unleashed today!