May 30, 2007

Obedience: a choice, not a process.

I'm currently reading K. P. Yohannan's book, Revolution in World Missions. One part of the book thus far really struck me, and it got me thinking-- why can't the American Church give up their buildings, programs, and method of ministry? I find it really, really strange, in light of the millions of other Christians in the world who meet without buildings or programs, that America seems so violently attatched to their church schedules.

Here is the part of the book I'm referring to:

"This kind of miracle kept me going from village to village for those seven years of itinerant preaching. Our lives read like pages from the Book of Acts. Most nights we slept between villages in roadside ditches where we were relatively safe. Sleepong in non-Christian villages would expose us to many dangers. Our team always created a stir, and at times faced stonings and beatings.
"The mobile Gospel teams I worked with-- and often led-- were just like family to me. I began to enjoy the gypsy lifestyle we lived, and the total abandonment to the cause of Christ that is demanded of an itinerate evangelist. We were persecuted, hated and despised. Yet we kept going, knowing that we were blazing a trail for the Gospel in districts that had never before experienced an encounter with Christ" (p. 30).

Now... this sort of thing is perfectly acceptable for a preacher in Third World countries, but when you try to place a minister like Yohannan in the context of the United States, it seems absurd to us, doesn't it? Why is that? How much have we as Christians conformed to secular society? How much do we worry about retirement, investments, education, mortages, and other material concerns that bear no weight on fulfilling the Great Commission?

When Yohannan heard God's call to spread the Gospel, he didn't stop what he was doing, set up a savings account at the local bank, and enroll in a Christian University, hoping to someday make it through a Masters of Divinity so he could preach in a church full of complacent Christians, urging them to invite their friends to Friendship Sunday one day a year so that he could spread the Gospel. He heard God's call, and he listened. Simple obedience is what it really comes down to.

Now which option sounds more absurd?

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