Fellow Citizens

Have you watched the news lately?  Our world is in a state of panic right now!  We see the words of Jesus come true before our very eyes:  “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.” (Matthew 24:6-7)

Race is pitted against race, families are turning against each other, and even those within the family of Christ are being affected by turmoil of this world.  Because of these events, it has become increasingly easy to focus on our differences.  However, it is time that we concentrate more than ever on the things that bring us together as a world church.

In a recent global study (2013) conducted by the Institute for Church Ministry, pastors around the world were asked how important they feel it is to be a part of the world church.  Three out of four pastors (75%) indicated that they feel it is very important to be a part of the world church, as it is unity that enables us to more effectively spread the Gospel.  Seventeen percent indicated that they feel it is important, but should be balanced with work in the local communities.  Seven percent feel that global work was somewhat important, but the real work should be done in one’s local community, while the remaining 1% indicating that the world church doesn’t touch their lives or their local work.

                                               

Since the days of the early church, there have always been reasons to be divided and justification for feeling as though it is “us” against “them.”  However, as Paul writes in Ephesians 2:19-22, we are all part of the same group, bound together by Jesus.  Paul writes, “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”

Now consider your own church.  How does it approach the world church?  Does it prioritize local mission without a second thought to brothers and sisters around the world?  Or are members globally minded, doing all they can to spread the Good News of Jesus around the world? 

If you are seeking to broaden your interaction with the world church, here are some ideas to do so:

  • Stay abreast of global events.  Get involved with learning about issues facing the church around the world.  This means being proactive about learning what concerns and challenges churches around the world are facing.  Perhaps pick one specific country or region that you wish to learn more about and become involved with; this will give you more focus as you learn and prepare to interact with them.
  • Lend a hand.  Perhaps you feel that the Lord has been calling you to missions and you have not yet surrendered. Maybe you feel that God is asking you to give financially to support the work in foreign countries.  Or possibly you are being called to advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves.  If you feel compelled to serve the world church in a new way, the time has come to heed the Lord's call and dive into the work you are being asked to do!
  • Pray for the world church. When you catch a glimpse of all the pain and suffering around the world, it can be hard to see how God is using negative events for His glory.  It can make one feel helpless.  However, even if you cannot contribute financially, travel with missions, or dissipate the challenges facing the world church, you can always pray.  Prayer is one of our most powerful spiritual weapons and should not be neglected!

It should be our global goal to hasten the coming of Jesus.  After all, in Matthew 24:14 Jesus says, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”  If we are simply focused on our local community and neglect to think about the “big picture,” we are not doing all that we can to bring His coming closer.