Poiana Brasov Resort was host, between March 14-17, to a conference, focused on a challenging topic: The Holistic Ministry of the Local Church. The event was held by two of the best trainers in this field: Bob Moffit, author of If Jesus Were Major and Darrow Miller, author of many books including Discipling Nations, Nurturing the Nations, and The Forest in the Seed. Cristi Petricioiu, the coordinator of the organizing team of the event, shared with us the following insights:
The training organized by BIG Impact, in collaboration with World Vision Romania, was attended by 89 participants from various churches and organizations. The speakers presented information and techniques that can be applied in the local church, for an impact in the community.
Darrow Miller challenged us with insights and realities about the evangelical world, such as:
– Our life and world view affects the way we see reality and how we make decisions and plan our future.
– Ideas have power – they do not remain isolated in the mind of the individual who has them, but spread, both horizontally and through culture, affecting it towards development or ruin.
– We have a powerful, significant story, which does not begin with John 3:16, but with Genesis 1:1 and which forms the framework for our life and development, story that has the power to transform, not only individual lives, but, also, communities and nations, so that they will reflect God’s intentions on earth.
– Ideas – truths or lies – are the fundamental blocks upon which a culture is built. – Miller challenged us to identify Satan’s lies that are built into Romanian culture, with the intent of understanding them and replacing them with the truth from the Scriptures.
Bob Moffit challenged us with a biblical perspective, bringing to light some of the needs of the local church which, once understood and dealt with, could change her DNA into a holistic one, with impact in the community:
– The church has a role in the society, given by God or, in Moffit’s own words, „the Church is the instrument God uses to change a nation so that it reflects his intentions on earth. Almost everytime in history, both the chosen people and the church have failed in honorably representing these interests of the Kingdom.”
– The irreducible minimum, or the simplest commandment God gave us: to love our neighbor, is a proof of our love for God.
– The need for the church to understand math in God’s kingdom, which makes our few things, given to God in sacrifice and obedience, to be multiplied as much as it is needed for fulfilling the will of God and glorifying his name. In a very interactive and practical way, groups of participants worked with math equations which demonstrated multiplication, based on Bible passages.
– Jesus, as our model for obedience and service – leads us to an intentional life of demonstrating our love for God, materialized in ”small disciplines” of love (at a personal level) and small project seeds (at a local church level), which are meant to influence the community for Christ.
The goal of these sessions was not only awareness for the ineffective practices of the local churches in their holistic impact on their communities, or drawing attention towards a pagan mentality in the context of our Christian environment, but, also, providing some practical tools that can be used by the local church in the process of influencing and transforming the local community.
Here is what two participants shared with us:
“It was a joy for me to attend this seminar and, at the same time, it was a time of introspection in which God searched my heart. It was a joy to be able to understand the broad perspective of God’s agenda. It was a time of introspection, because this perspective pushes you in a quiet, but strong way outside your comfort zone. I was touched first by the fact that the first Christians, when they understood the power of Jesus’ resurrection, were made free from the fear of death, which empowered them to live in a way that changed the ancient world. Secondly, we tore the chapter of the Gospel from the context of God’s agenda and inserted it into our own agenda, our denominational or cultural agenda. I believe that reclaiming the power of Jesus’ resurrection, and, also, understanding and assuming God’s agenda are the keys for reclaiming the power and effectiveness of the Church in this broken world.” (Laurentiu Funieru)
“There were three thoughts that have caught my attention in a special way and which turned into challenges for me. First of all, it is important to share God’s whole story – all of his plan. I realized it is dangerous to emphasize only some of the truths in the Scripture. People need to hear all he has done for us, from Creation to the end of the history in his Kingdom. Then, I was drawn by the idea that God has a plan not only with the individual, but, also, a plan for the nations. He wants the nations to get to know him and serve him. We should be able to look beyond someone’s salvation and have in mind the discipling of the nation, through sharing the Gospel with those around us, then, teaching and training them to live in a beautiful way, Christian way, in this world. I confess that I don’t understand completely how this is possible, how it could be done in our context and culture, but I pray that God will inspire and motivate me in the work I am doing, so that his name will be known and glorified in our city, and, why not, in our nation. Finally, the third challenging thought was, in fact, an image – we, God’s children, are like a team in a game or a fight. The game (fight) takes place during the week, from Monday to Saturday, and our time together as a congregation, or Sunday, is, in fact, “break time.” During this time we are encouraged, motivated, corrected, taught, we rebuild our strengths so that, with fresh energy and enthusiasm, we could return to playing (fighting) in a good way, for our Lord. I wish this could be seen more and more in my life, and I wish I could better transmit to our church the reality that Christian life is not just on Sundays, in our meetings, but every day, in our work environment, with our neighbors, with our relatives and friends, where we should serve our Lord and make him known. Then Sunday remains the blessed “break time.” (Nicu Stremtan)