The Journal topic of healthy churches around the world was Dever’s idea. I was doubtful at first. But—goodness—was I wrong!
This might be one of my favorite Journals to date. It’s sort of like Tim Keesee’s wonderful book, Dispatches from the Front: Stories of Gospel Advance in the World’s Difficult Places. The difference is, the authors provide frontline reports on the state of churches. How are churches doing in Brazil, Iran, Cameroon, Albania, China, Singapore?
Are they preaching the Bible? Proclaiming a biblical gospel or watered-down substitute? Pursuing corporate and individual holiness? Pursuing evangelism? Practicing church membership?
The planting and growing of healthy churches is how we will best fulfill the Great Commission.
That said, I have a couple of cautions about this issue. Our ministerial hope should always be in the unseen, not the seen. Plus, we never want to draw the wrong kind of attention to God’s work. I assume that some of the best gospel work “out there” is undetected, unsung, unbothered. We should expect to work under the radar, which is where God does much of his work, not on the “fastest growing churches” lists, which we disproportionately love. Remember, the true nature of our gospel work won’t be revealed till the last day, when fire will reveal the quality and quantity of our labors (see 1 Cor. 3:13-15).
Still, with all that, God does sometimes hearten us with glimpses of the work he’s doing. Christianity faces obstacles around the world, yet churches are pushing back the battle lines. Be encouraged, then, by what you read here.
We also hope this Journal will help you to pray, and maybe spur you to look for other ways to support the work going on in these places. Send books. Fund translations. Help a church leader get trained. Visit.
Our God is not a village God or even a national God. He’s a global God. And he’s at work everywhere. Check it out!