Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Missions Across the Street

Last weekend in the Dallas area, I visited a good friend and partner in our work for 40 years.  When I first visited his church back in 1975 they were located at the end on a vacant lot on a dirt road.  Today, their church is surrounded by houses and businesses.

One of the interesting things about this neighborhood is that most of the people who have moved in are either from Nepal or Tonga Islands.  He asked me the obvious question, “As a missionary, do you have any ideas how we can get these people in church?”  Great question, and of course I did have some suggestions. 

There is hardly a place in the America where there are not immigrant people groups.  A vast majority of these people will never enter into a church, indeed, cannot enter a church because of cultural barriers.  So how do we reach the Nepali Hindus, or the Pakistani Muslims who are in our communities?

When I first went out as a missionary to Africa I heard the refrain in U.S. pulpits, “If we aren’t taking the Gospel across the street we shouldn’t be sending missionaries across the world.”  In today’s world our neighborhoods is every bit as foreign as those we send 10,000 miles away.

My advice to my friend was obviously brief as how to befriend a Hindu, which may lead to a discussion of Christ and His salvation, couldn’t throughly be explained over lunch.  I was able, however, to give some simple ideas to get him started.  How to take those suggestions to the next introductory level will take at least one full day and for the serious cross-cultural church planter more than a week.  However, I was encouraged that he at least was thinking about the questions.  Perhaps in the future I will be able to coach he and his church member how they can serve their ethnic community.  It really is true, cross-cultural ministry is not just on the other side of the world, but also across the street.

For more information on how to reach those across the street, visit our webpage, http://Lewis-Training.com