From My Heart
Fall Quarterly Newsletter 2017
“I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”
The Church has centuries of human history, tradition and culture behind it. Thus, in regions of the world where for the first time the Christian faith is breaking in and local churches are being born, we must ask: On what (or whom) should these churches be built? On the foundations of history and tradition? Or should they go back to the “basics” of God’s Word which is modeled through the New Testament Church?
Though both its members and those outside the church often view it as such, the Church is not just a human institution. To be organized is essential for proper functioning, but I don’t believe the Church was ever meant to become an institution.
The Church started as a dynamic and vibrant body of Christ-followers desiring to live under the lordship of Jesus. The Church was designed to be a body of believers nurturing, encouraging, fellowshipping and caring for each other. Disciples were called to be fully committed to the redemptive mission of God during their lifetime. It is my conviction that God’s intention is to keep it that way.
The Church was not born out of human plans and aspirations, but instead was established according to the will and plan of God. The Church was conceived in the heart of God and birthed to fulfill his eternal redemptive purposes for the world.
It is important to ensure that growing indigenous churches have clarity on the purpose of the overall Church, and that they embrace its mission within their context. It’s time to get back to the basics. And in doing so, we turn our attention to the New Testament Church as a model for the Church’s forms and functions.
As long as the Church remains rooted in and faithful to Christ, it will never fail. It is designed and destined for victory, not defeat. The Church is empowered both by the Word of God and his Holy Spirit to endure and overcome. The Church is empowered by God to withstand every onslaught of this world and its ruler. (Ephesians 6:10-12)
With all this in mind, this year we intend to prayerfully revisit a teaching theme we studied several years ago based on the words of Jesus: “I will build my Church.” (Matthew 16:18) In 2009 we focused on the nature of the church: What is the church? What is its calling and mission? Now, over the course of the next year, we will look at it from a different perspective, focusing more on the forms and functions of healthy churches.
As always, we will kick off this new theme at our annual conference in November. Pastors will gather from all over South Asia to join us for three days of teaching, fellowship, encouragement and prayer.
Please be with us in prayer for God’s wisdom as our leaders seek to equip the believers with deeper knowledge and understanding of the Word and help the indigenous Church remain dynamic, contextual and missional while still multiplying. I see this as the need of the hour not only for South Asia but for the Church worldwide, facing the storms of the present times.