Partnering WITH the Nations

There used to be a time when ministering among international peoples was best done on a mission trip somewhere a long way from home. However, most of us are acutely aware that this is no longer the case. The nations have come to us. We see this everywhere we turn. We encounter myriads of people every day who speak languages which are not familiar to us. This is very exciting as it means we have the potential to reach the world right here in Colorado!

Yet, when I say “we,” I am using a collective term. Together, we have a chance to reach people from almost every nation right where we live. However, we can only be part of this potential harvest if we are willing to partner with those from nations who are seeking to reach their own people for Christ.

A Heart-Breaking Experience

In late September, I was at the Pikes Peak Baptist Association’s annual meeting. Bill Lighty invited Shadrach Ruto of Upendo Baptist Church (Kenyan Congregation) and Bill Gandy who serves as pastor of Cross Fellowship Palmer Park to come and share about their partnership. Bill Gandy shared how Cross Fellowship opened their doors to this Kenyan congregation who had struggled to find a place to meet. He shared how the congregation has embraced this partnership and how his wife Kelly is teaching their children during their afternoon gathering time. This is a beautiful partnership and Kenyans are being reached for Christ as a result.

However, when Pastor Shadrach shared his journey in searching for a place to meet so he could reach Kenyans in Colorado Springs, it was heart wrenching. He shared how he was reached for Christ in Kenya by IMB missionaries. They were people who connected through the educational system in his homeland and demonstrated the love of Christ freely. However, when he came to the states, his experience was different. As he visited different churches, he found there were people who would not even shake his hand. He did not feel welcomed nor did he experience the kind of love he had experienced at home. Then he asked this question, “Why did people show the love of Christ when they went overseas but it was not seen here?”

"He shared how he was reached for Christ in Kenya by IMB missionaries. ... However, when he came to the states, his experience was different. As he visited different churches, he found there were people who would not even shake his hand."

a shared risk

Though Shadrach’s experience was his own, he represents many immigrant churches seeking to reach those people who have migrated here and call Colorado home. However, they are finding more walls than open doors. 

To be certain, there are always risks in partnering with others, and especially with others from different cultures. We do many things differently. We have different unspoken expectations of partnership. But this is a risk we must be willing to take. In fact, the cost is too great to not take the risk.

Let me share with you some information which I found to be overwhelming. The level of lostness here in Colorado is indeed great! We have been called to reach those who do not know Jesus, but it will require us to make changes and take risks. Let me give you some statistics which evidence the great need before us:

0
Million People in CO
0
distinct people groups
0
languages spoken
0
Evangelical Churches

The Population of Colorado is roughly 5.812 million people (4,654 million live in the Front Range which represents 80% of the total population of the state).

  Along the Front Range alone, there are 175 distinct people groups.

Along the Front Range, there are 109 different languages spoken.

Along the Front Range, there are approximately 1,079 Evangelical Churches.

Now, these are just some of the facts and figures of one section of our state. But in that area which runs from Longs Peak down to Pikes Peak it is estimated that 90-95% of those people are lost or unchurched.

A GREAT NEED

Let me take just a moment and see if I can take these statistics and put them into a perspective which illustrates the great need for partnership if we are to reach our state for Christ.

If we took the most conservative figure of 90% to understand the volume of lost/unchurched in the Front Range, it would look like this:

  • Of the 4.654 million people in the Front Range, 4.188 million are lost/unchurched.
  • With the existence of 1,079 Evangelical Churches
  • Each existing church would need to reach an additional 3,881 people with the Gospel to reach the Front Range for Christ.
"with 175 distinct people groups, we need new partnerships as well. We need churches with facilities to share space with other churches so the lost of every nation can be reached in our state."

This is not only evidence that we need new churches in our state, but with 175 distinct people groups, we need new partnerships as well. We need churches with facilities to share space with other churches so the lost of every nation can be reached in our state. 

For most of us, we live in areas which look very different to what they did just 20 years ago. New people have moved into our communities that do not speak our language, but they are people whom the Lord loves! Since they live in our community, why not partner with an immigrant congregation who speaks their heart language and knows their culture and can reach them for Christ? In doing this, every church in Colorado could say, “We are truly reaching our community for Christ!”

An Opportunity to Partner

Pastors, I understand the struggle in this kind of partnership. I was the senior pastor for three different congregations over 18 years. Each of these churches had partner congregations meeting in our facilities. There were times when these other groups didn’t seem to appreciate the facilities as much as we did. Things wore out faster and many times things were misplaced. Classrooms were not set back as they were found, and doors were left open. But one or even several bad experiences is not representative of the whole. People in your church will bark at you that “These people are tearing up our facility!” But we desperately need churches who will take the risk to be partners in the Gospel with groups who are looking for space. No, things will not be the same. Yes, things will be messy. Yes, things will wear out faster. Yes, there will be risk. But the cost is too great not to take it! 

Your Regional Directors and CBGC staff are here to help make this possible. Please reach put to us so we can talk about the possibilities!

God’s Blessings,

Mike 

Do you know your neighbor?

We can provide a free Demographic Report to help you answer that question. Contact your Regional Director, or the CBGC Office, to receive your free Demographic Report.

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