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How big is God?

April 12, 2013

We are exploring how we can get involved, as a Church, in supporting people in church planting abroad. As we announced what we were thinking of most people were excited, but there were some – very real reservations and questions.

The most fundamental of those is the question why?

Why should we reach out to other people when there is so much to do near home?

There are many ways to answer the question, and I am not going to give all the possible answers here – but simply to point to three really good reasons why we should get stuck in!

How big is God? The God we worship, week by week, in our services is not a local God! That might sound like stating the obvious, he did after all create all of the Earth, and the solar system, and the Milky Way – and the Galaxy’s beyond! He is not limited to my small concerns, or even the concerns of my town or country. Please don’t hear what I am not saying – He is passionately concerned about each of us, but he is not limited to that. God is BIG, and his plans are big – in fact, his plan is for “all creation” – he is working on preparing a church `from all nations` to live with Him in heaven. So by refusing to open up our hearts and minds to partner those far away, we are – no doubt unintentionally – but it happens nonetheless, reducing God to a local God with local concerns. Getting involved reflects how BIG a God we worship!

Comfort Zones. There is something in each of us that likes to be comfortable – even people who work or explore `on the edge`, like to have somewhere familiar to retreat to. Comfort is a universal desire -maybe even need! That said, there are various ways in which we respond to getting outside the comfort zone – some people deal with it better than others. But the point is that we will not grow as people or in our abilities unless we step out to try new (and dangerous) things. We have to be prepared to be uncomfortable – and to fail sometimes in order to learn and to grow.

Of course it is possible to step out of the comfort zone closer to home. There is a world of need and challenge right on our doorstep. People who are `without hope`, people who struggle with addictions, people to face overwhelming difficulties. It is right to start here! However the fact is that by working not just with lost or challenging people, but adding a multicultural dimension we are pushing ourselves to grow more. We are taking greater “risks” and the rewards of failure or success are greater, we will learn more – See God at work through us more, and have more to help us in our work at home.

We have a choice to partner internationally and grow, or stay within the limits of what we can do or learn at home. As the saying goes “a ship is safe in harbour, but that is not what ships were made for”

Greater Need? Although not all my readers will agree, I believe that we have a responsibility as human beings, and a greater responsibility as people who have received God’s grace, to help those in need. That includes physical, social and spiritual needs! There is undoubtedly more need on our doorstep than we have the resources to meet – more injustice to challenge, more loneliness, more spiritual hunger than we can cope with, but… and here is the thing – On a global scale the needs and problems that we have at home (here in the UK) are not on the same scale as those overseas, particularly in the developing world. If our task is to meet need, surely we are at our most effective where we meet need at it’s greatest!

There are many more things to say about getting involved in church planting and development around the world, but lets start with the three good reasons here!

 

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