AN URGENT APPEAL TO U.S. CHURCHES FOR THE CONTEMPLATION OF CROSS-CULTURAL MENTORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES IN DRC
Why the Democratic Republic of the Congo? The need is great. Spiritual darkness comes in many various forms, yet many Congolese churches face the darkness of biblical illiteracy. The bible is too often misread and marginalized, even among those earnestly desiring to follow its teaching, and few resources exist to help with proper interpretation. Almost across the board, Congolese churches tend to struggle in one or more of these areas. Many Congolese churches lack godly pastoral mentors who would have trained the next generation of church leaders. Add to this the lack of a church heritage that emphasized the sufficiency of the Word of God and submission to its teaching, and the problem is compounded. Some are led by biblically immature pastors, who find themselves ill-equipped for the ministry. Others are led by pastors with no formal bible training or discipleship. In stark contrast, US churches have been blessed beyond measure with godly, biblical resources to aid in our understanding, coupled with a godly heritage that has defended the sufficiency of God’s Word, and with godly mentors to train the next generation. US churches have training, equipping, and discipleship infrastructures that Congolese churches most definitely lacks.
This is not to say that Congolese churches were abandoned by God, nor unfortunately does this infer that US churches have used God’s blessings wisely. In fact, US churches face spiritual darkness also, a darkness of complacency and consumerism. While our resources reach all-time highs, our efforts seem to be shrinking smaller and smaller. Sure, the US churches may articulate big plans, but they can often cost too much and can demand too much of us. Sacrifice is often an ironic plea to buy one less cup of Starbucks, as if that amounts to New Testament sacrifice. In the end, US churches often do not possess the endurance necessary to reap the harvest of our sacrifices. Their view of God and his promises that a life of sacrifice for him is worth it seems inadequate at best. Compared to US churches, Congolese churches are gritty and enduring against seemingly insurmountable odds. They may be few in number, know only a basic gospel, and have little money or resources to contribute, yet they have an amazing hope in God to work. They give of themselves, their homes, and their livelihood to see the church grow and the gospel go forth.
Congolese churches need US churches. Seth Curtis, missionary to Lubumbashi DRC wrote:
“We are praying for local churches in the USA who are willing to strongly consider personal involvement in this facet of the master plan that God has for this country—subscribing to a broader vision for the future than merely sending sporadic missionaries from the USA— but to become personally involved in forming the infrastructure for the training of nationals who will eventually form an effective missionary force from within this country and beyond.”
And US churches need Congolese churches.
One might wonder what theologically famished churches have to offer, but US churches would be remiss if they assumed that Congolese churches have very little to give. A hunger for truth is one commodity that US churches could emulate. Imagine a well-fed child sitting before a table full of food. He picks at the food, eats the bits he thinks he might like, and maybe even complains that his favorite food is missing. His desire for the food is paltry. Contrast this with a starving child placed before the same table. His eyes widen with excitement as he reaches for any food possible, eats eagerly each piece of food, and is glad to just have something to eat. His desire for the food is immense. Similarly, many US churches have a paltry appetite for biblical truth even given all their resources sildenafil citrate generic. Much can be learned from Congolese churches about hungering for and delighting in biblical truth. Some US churches take their plethora of resources for granted and undervalue this blessing. This leads to missed opportunities in using their God-given resources to further his kingdom. While US churches often waste their abundant theological resources, Congolese church are forced to take the little they have and make as much out of it as possible. US churches need their brothers and sisters in Congo to encourage them to remember that to whom much has been given, much more will be required (Luke 12:48).
In light of this, I would like to appeal to each of you, and to each of your churches: Would you join us in furthering God’s plan to build his church in the Democratic Republic of the Congo? Would you join us by taking your God-given resources and sharing them with your theologically famished brothers and sisters across the Atlantic? Would you join us in both helping and being helped by God’s churches in a different culture, with different languages, but with the same Father, the same Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and the same Holy Spirit?
Upon reading Isaiah 54, William Carey became convinced that God was saying to the Church: “Rouse up from your complacency. Find larger canvas, stouter and taller tent poles, stronger tent pegs. Catch wider visions. Dare bolder programs. Rouse up and go forth to conquer for Christ even the uttermost parts and the isles of the sea.” He concluded with an unforgettable call: “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.”
I appeal to you because I expect great things from God—I believe God’s heart is to build his church in the Congo and for his people to know his word. I appeal to you because I want to attempt great things for God—I believe our efforts should be poured out in making disciples and planting churches, not just in our own neighborhoods but across the globe. I appeal because I believe if you were to pass up this opportunity you would miss a blessing—God rewards his people as they follow him into action.
The door of opportunity now lies open and we stand at the threshold. Let us be moved to enter.