Increasing Complexity

To facilitate a truly global conversation, we ask Christian leaders from around the world to respond to the Global Conversation’s lead articles. These points of view do not necessarily represent the Lausanne Movement. They are designed to stimulate discussion from all points of the compass and from different segments of the Christian community. Please add your perspective by posting a comment so that we can learn and grow together in the unity of the Spirit.

A response to:

Big Vision Simple Ideas – Wendy Strachan

While reading Wendy Strachan’s article, I was drawn to think about the increasing complexity of our world:  information overload, political conflict, social upheaval, etc.  In addition, the sheer number to be reached with the love of Christ — 2.2 billion children — seems almost impossible….

In light of these issues, we may be tempted to get more complex and sophisticated in our strategies for reaching children. We may be tempted to rely on technology or online cleverness to reach every child. But a common thread in the ideas presented by Ms. Strachan was one more simple idea:  relationships still matter most in our work with children.

Relationships in families:  A child’s spiritual life is best nurtured by parents who also know and love Christ. Church programs are best as supplements to what happens at home.

Relationships with neighbors:  Local community members are in the best position to know children and their families and develop lasting relationships and spiritual growth opportunities with them.

Relationships with other believers in the community:  When we work together and love one another, the world notices and is drawn to Christ.

I recently met a family in Nepal who were a great example of grassroots, simple but transformational ministry that incorporated many of these principles.

This small family recently met a young Hindu man, befriended him, and encouraged him as he chose to become a follower of Christ. Within just one year, at age 17, this young man was part of the family’s ministry to street children, and had helped to rescue at least 40 children from the streets. Conversation, prayer, Bible study, inclusion were practiced.

This family had two biological sons, and two other adopted sons, who had previously lived on the streets. Three of these boys (one is still too young) have started a small church for Hindu children who live in their neighborhood. Weekly, these boys spent time in prayer, planning, preparation, leadership development and more under the supervision of a parent. They meet every Saturday for games, stories, and conversation about the Bible.  During the rest of the week, these boys are schoolmates and friends with the neighbor children. The parents are friends with other parents.

The family has also taken in a foster daughter, who was being mistreated in an orphanage.  She is being included, being discipled, learning to attend school, and being loved and encouraged as a family member. Her live is experiencing healing and transformation in the process.

This family works with other ministries for training, on special projects and for difficult needs that may arise in the community. They love to partner with other believers and other ministries to show the love of Christ.

While each of us may not be able to take in foster children in this way, we can each begin to look for the children in our sphere of influence who may need us to listen, encourage, pray for them, teach them, include them, and more. We can look for friendship possibilities in our neighborhood. We can look for other believers in our community who care about children and pray together.  

In some ways, these simple, relational activities don’t seem very effective when compared to the daunting task for reaching our word’s 2.2 billion kids for Christ in a lasting way.  We seem to year for something flashier. But throughout the history of Christianity, this is how children and their families have been reached and discipled. The power of relationships – a simple idea – is still a profound solution for today’s modern world.