Archives For Prayer

To learn first-hand about gospel-centered church planting in Muslim-dominated West Africa watch this brief Pathway Learning video taken from the conclusion of one of my recent public presentations.

New reports are now coming out of West Africa regarding the increase of Islamic Terrorism. This week’s report includes a brutal attack by radical Muslims on an American owned Mali hotel in which innocent people were killed at random as the terrorists yelled, “Allahu akbar” (Arabic “Allah is Great”).

Steve Q&A West Africa (1)When I began training national church planters in West Africa (2006), including church planters from Mali, I had never known church leaders willing to give their lives for the sake of advancing the Gospel.

As a seminary professor I’d also never been asked the kinds of questions they asked me. Like questions regarding whether or not they should kill the Islamic terrorists who were killing their families. I’d also never wondered if the church leaders I was training might actually give their lives doing what I was training them to do among the Islamic terrorists before I returned.

Should We Pray for ISIS To Be Defeated or Converted?

Russell Moore recently wrote an article entitled, “Should We Pray for ISIS to Be Defeated or Converted?” in which he makes a case for followers of Christ to answer yes to both questions.

Moore makes the case that Christians should be praying, with the martyrs in heaven, for justice against Islamic Terrorists–especially when our own brothers and sisters in Christ are being martyred. And followers of Christ should also be passionately praying for God’s mercy toward them.

Mali Church Leader

Church planter from Mali being trained (via French Translation) by Childers in West Africa

The single most effective way for the gospel to go forward with great power into the Islamic State is through church planting. The church is the only institution Jesus Christ promises to build and bless (Matt 16).

But the only kind of churches that can bring true hope in a terror-filled world are gospel-centered churches that produce the kind evangelism, discipleship and acts of mercy that result in both transformed lives and societies.

 

The global war with the Islamic State will not ultimately be won in the military battles on the field but in the battles for hearts and minds.

The greatest threat of Islamic terrorism is not their rapidly accumulating weapons of warfare but their rapidly disseminating evil ideology and worldview that is now able to self-radicalize masses through social media.

This is why the gospel must be understood as not only a way of salvation but also a way of holistic transformation that includes a true ideology and worldview that is able to reshape every sphere of life–cultural, social, economic, and political–for good.

This is also why there must be a renewed focus on equipping church leaders globally to start, grow, and multiply the kinds of churches that result in authentic conversions, holistic discipleship, and acts of justice and mercy drawn deeply from a true ideology and worldview rooted in Scripture.

We’re now living in a time of war–not a time of peace.

We’re facing war on the military battlefields and war on the battlefields for hearts and minds. And war is hell. So we cannot afford to be naïve. Like all wars, there will be casualties. Some church planters called to the frontlines to establish the first kingdom outposts in enemy’s domain of darkness will be killed. The blood of Christian martyrs has always served as the seed of the church in the hardest places where it’s most needed.

From Pathway Learning video "Islamic Terrorism and Church Planting in West Africa"

From Pathway Learning video “Islamic Terrorism and Church Planting in West Africa”

So we should be praying for both God’s swift justice to be poured out against evildoers through the mission of the state (Rom 13:4) and for God’s mercy to be poured out on evildoers through the mission of the church using the sword of the Spirit (Eph 6) against the spiritual forces of evil. These are not contradictory prayers but a reflection of God’s holy justice and holy mercy displayed in the cross.

Followers of Christ are called to be a people of the cross–a people of both radical justice and radical mercy.

Christ followers are called to be a people whom Jesus commands in the Sermon on the Mount not only to hunger and thirst for justice (Matt 5:6) but also to be merciful (Matt 5:7). A people whom God calls “…to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8).

So we must pray and stand against every form of Islamic terrorism that continues to ruthlessly murder thousands of innocent people. But we must also pray for their conversion and transformation–including the transformation of their ideology and worldview.

Childers praying with West Africa Leaders

Childers leading West African church planters in final prayer after their training.

Join me and begin praying with others that God would raise up a host of new converts from within Islamic terrorism who would become like Saul of Tarsus among them, transformed from being murderers to being church planting movement leaders turning their world upside down with the gospel.

These church planters in West Africa know they may not live to see the result of their ministries. But their hope and prayer is that the children and grandchildren of these terrorists will choose Christ instead of terrorism.

PL Poster on Persecution 11-3-2015

cropped-green-mountain-1.jpgThe only way to make ultimate sense out of your story is to understand how it fits into the greater story of the purposes of God for the world. God takes great pleasure in pouring out His power on those who will dare to radically align their purposes with His. In the Lord’s Prayer, God presents us with a clear and compelling vision regarding His  purposes for the world and for our lives in it. The history of Christianity as a global movement is rooted in the lives of countless ordinary people whose lives were swept up in God’s extraordinary purposes revealed in this prayer Jesus taught his followers.

vision-glory-RWhat is God’s ultimate purpose for the world?

God’s purpose for creating the world and mankind is to glorify His name. Jesus gave his disciples a wonderful glimpse into this purpose when He taught them to pray saying, “Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be your name” (Matt. 6:9). God’s ultimate purpose, for which we are to align both our prayers and lives, is for all creation and all the nations to bring glory and honor to Him.

 

vision-kingdom-RHow has God chosen to glorify His name?

Jesus answers this question for us in the Lord’s Prayer where he instructs us to pray, “May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matt 6:10) Here we learn that God has chosen to glorify his name through the coming of his kingdom in such a way that causes His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. God’s name is to be glorified by His invisible kingdom becoming visible in every sphere of life.

 

vision-church-RHow has God chosen to cause His kingdom to come on earth?

God has ordained that his kingdom come with transforming power into every sphere of life primarily through his church. God works through all kinds of institutions and people. But the church is God’s primary instrument for making His “kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” (Matthew 6:10). The most biblical and effective way to bring the gospel of God’s grace to the world is through starting, growing and multiplying churches among all nations.


vision-gospel-RHow can we be empowered to see God glorified and His kingdom come through the
 global advancement of his church?

It’s only by the ministry of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8) through the power of the gospel (Rom 1:16). A deep understanding and appropriation of the gospel is absolutely necessary to have true passion and power for missions. What is needed today is a recovery of the gospel of the kingdom. The hope of this gospel is not merely our conversion but also our transformation into the image of Christ. Its purpose is not merely to forgive us, but also to change us into true worshippers of God, authentic lovers of people, and agents of gospel transformation in the world.

Our mission is to educate aspiring church leaders to start, grow, and multiply gospel-centered churches among all nations.

Find out more at: http://www.pathwaylearning.org