Why the Church is failing to fulfill its call to make disciples of all ethnic groups?


One of the troubling questions that stays in my head for quite some time is: Why the church is failing to fulfill its call to make disciples of all ethnic groups? My generation grew up under harsh times of communism where there no possibilities to go abroad. There were times when we could not build church buildings, we could not gather when we wanted, we could not talk what we wanted. So in that period, freedom was dream. Once we got the freedom, with it there was a plethora of opportunities, and of course one of them was going abroad to earn money.

That was big dream when I was young. The popular story was: Outside / abroad there are a lot money, people who work in foreign countries earn way much more then us here in Romania. Our convictions about material world start to collapse under a new powerful dream about being rich or at least getting a good social status. The gospel went on second row. The Kingdom of God was no longer a priority as long as we had new horizon before our eyes. What followed then was a huge exodus in Western countries. Some went in Spain, France, Germany Italy and so on. Others went in US, Canada or Australia.

The call of God and His Kingdom remained secondary to many penticostal churches in Romania. Yet we were the first generation of Pentecostals from Romania which had the opportunity (first time in our history) to choose a different dream compared to our predecessors.

Materialism. I consider that materialism is one of the biggest mountain, hard to claim up and hard to avoid. Social pressure within the church is still very strong when it comes to materialism. So many young people from my country consider going abroad the first and most important option for their life. Even the pastors and church elders would consider that “the normal path” for young people despite the fact that respective churches would loose its future. Without young people, the local church may be getting old and dying.

Hedonism within the church. Second very important blocking stone of our generation is hedonism. We live in an era of entertainment, an era of pleasures where we have so many options like never before. Our predecessors did not have the opportunities and resources we have. Today it’s hard to choose because there are some many options. For instance, if you want to go in a vacation, there so many places where you could go. If you want to buy something (a house, a car, some tools etc) for each thing there are so many alternatives. It’s hard leave behind the world of pleasures and move toward God’s vision and path. Simply put, there are so many voices, co-workers, friends and family which go in one direction and you have to go in different direction. It’s not comfortable. Even for the church is much easier to validate as normative the hedonistic approach because most of its members would take that approach and be reluctant when someone is going toward a mission field to an unreached people group because the secondary option is rare and few choose it.

Comfort. The third thing which I have a mind and see quite often in our local churches is idol of comfort. Everything we buy, furniture, cars, clothes etc. has more features of comfort then previous models. Our seats in our church building have more comfort then regular benches we used to have. We have more and more building with air conditioning and life becomes easier and demotivated. Leaving the comfortable world for life of pioneering in a remote area is not a easy decision. Such a decision would put many church members in bad light, and that’s why so many leaders would keep their members rather in a normal way of life than in such a extreme direction.

All these challenges are just the beginning of a new radical way. On the way ahead there awaiting a lot of other challenges. The main reason there are so many people still in total darkness is because Satan wants them that way. He still have a lot power in those areas. His kingdom was not yet shook and as long as the Church around the globe will not challenge his dominion over these areas, the people living there will continue die without the knowledge that Christ came into our world for everyone from every ethnic group. As long as he will be able to keep people out of the reach of the Good news, he will be content because he delays our Lord Jesus return.

Defocusing. A huge disadvantage we have compared to our previous generations is the plethora of opportunities. Although it seems a plus, in many ways it’s not. Take the a smartphone. We have today in a smartphone more then what people used to have in all media appliances from their home plus all newspapers they could buy. Having so many options makes us defocusing in every day life but more importantly we live very spiritually unfocused. It takes more effort to get focus on serious work, it takes more effort to detach yourself from all the noise from social media and focus on the Bible, private prayers and hear what God talks to you.

As evangelicals in Romania living in 21st century, we probably have so many opportunities to do something like no other previous generation, we can travel, we have more money, we know more languages, we are better theologically educated,  yet we hardly resist the imense temptation of materialism, hedonism and confort and choose a radical approach to leave everything behind for God’s kingdom and for His glory. 

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