What If?

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

The Billion Soul Initiative, of which I’ve been a part since its inception 15 years ago, recently held a teaching hub in Nepal to train pastors. There is rapid growth of the Christian faith in Nepal. Over 200 pastors from Nepal attended. The teaching hub was so effective that now there are 7 teaching hubs!

One pastor from Dolpa, whose elevation is 15,000 feet, the highest altitude of any human settlement in the world, wanted to attend. He had to hike 15 days through the Himalayans to attend the conference. He then had to hike 15 days to get back home. Many pastors had to walk long distances.

Many of us complain about not being able to park close enough to the church. I’ve even visited churches that have a gym and exercise program, and people complain if they have to walk very far to go to the exercise class!

Think of hiking 30 days just to learn how to plant churches. It’s not hard to see how the church is growing so rapidly in Nepal. Do you think that pastor from Dolpa was going to be passionate when he got home?

Nepal boarders India. I’ve been to India 5 times to teach 3,000 pastors who attended our Billion Soul training. I enjoyed asking pastors what they had done since we last met 6 months ago. It was not uncommon to hear, “We started 5 new churches and baptized 500 people.” Would that be more baptisms and new churches in the last 6 months than all of the churches in Montgomery combined?

There was a particular pastor in my class who went to start a church in a community in an extremely dangerous area. He was immediately persecuted. They broke both of his legs and crushed his feet. They thought that would be the end of him.

But they didn’t know his passion for serving Jesus. When he got out of the hospital, he immediately went back to the same community and started a church. The people were so astounded that he would return. They wanted to hear what he had to say. They were converted. I remember asking him how the church was now doing. He said, “We’re running almost 2,000 and have set a goal to reach 3,000 next year!”

He wore an outfit that many pastors in India wear. He said I needed one to wear in America. I told him that I was much more interested in having what he wears on the inside rather than what he wears on the outside. His heart, mind, and soul are completely sold out to Jesus Christ. He gave me an inner suit that is far more important than the outer suit.

Do these examples help you understand why the Christian faith is declining in America, but is growing exponentially in other parts of the world? I’m not suggesting that we have to hike 15 days to get to a worship experience, or have our legs broken in order to stand strong, but I am suggesting that we need more passion and commitment! What if we had that?

What if?

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