Love Month: How Much Does a Christian Cost?

February 15, 2010

On Sunday, we had church at the airport.

To some people, that may seem out of the ordinary.

We were having church at the airport in order to send my Dad off to Sudan for six weeks.  We prayed, and everyone’s hands were anointed as intercessors for Africa.  It was pretty awesome.  A few months ago, I was asking you for prayers as Dad underwent surgery to reconstruct the bones in his neck.  You can see Phil in the pictures with the red hat, and a fully functioning neck.  So thank you for your prayers.

You may ask “why Sudan?”  You may also be asking “where is Sudan?”  Well, Darfur is in Sudan.  You’ve probably seen how bad Darfur is on the news.  The rest of Sudan isn’t that bad, but you’d probably think it was pretty unpleasant.  The civil war ended a few years ago.  The nation is very illiterate and poor.  It’s 120 degrees in the daytime.  People live in fear of evil spirits.  There’s even people “possessed” by demons.  No, I can’t explain it, but it’s real.

So our church founded Save Africa.  It’s our catchy name for our missions group.  The crusade we’ve planned will tell people about Jesus, revive and mentor local churches, and find a place to build a school.
We’re praying that over the next six weeks, 100,000 people hear the message of Jesus for the first time.
You might think it’s silly for a little church like ours to try to make a difference in Africa when lots of huge organizations are already sending clean water and Christmas gifts over there.  Well I’m glad they are.  We aren’t equipped to do that.  But there just aren’t any Americans going to Sudan to preach.  It turns out, our church is equipped to send a American to preach.  We found out five years ago that people in Sudan are ready to walk for days, to sit in the dirt and hear a white preacher talk over a tinny, malfunctioning microphone, and get baptized.
In our culture, we spend a lot of money.  I’ve helped plan huge “outreach” events with carnival games, in an effort to attract the “unchurched” people in our city.  These always cost thousands of dollars and have minimal results.  We’d spend hundreds of dollars for one new member family.
Yet, we found out on our first mission to Sudan five years ago, that the cost for us to bring one man, woman or child the message of Jesus was just $2.00.  And we didn’t even know what we were doing.  We were complete amateurs.
Two lousy, stinking, devalued bucks.  I could get two new Christians for the price of a trip to Starbucks.  I’m pretty sure on this trip, the price will drop to something like 15 cents a piece.  You can’t buy anything for 15 cents!
As an ordinary American Christian, I’ve heard thousands of sermons in my life.  I’ve contributed tons of cash to build buildings that enhance my “worship” experience every week.  I’ve been mesmerized by multi-million dollar church conventions with the “best” worship leaders and sound equipment, and light shows.  Yet there are village chiefs who have never heard one single three-point sermon, much less how to enter the Kingdom of God.  That doesn’t seem right.

You might have noticed that there aren’t too many people in our group.  That really is just about all of us.  We don’t even have a denomination with deep pockets.  Yet, we own this entire mission.  It turns out, when a church’s priorities aren’t buying things for themselves or advertising themselves on crummy billboards, God sometimes lets them do something special.

I’m not saying we’re doing the most, or we’re doing the best thing.  But we’re doing something we can be proud of. 

Is your church doing something you’re excited about?  Does your church have a special calling from God?  Are you feeding hungry people, or sending missionaries out or building hospitals?  It may be big or small, just tell us what your church is doing!