I was raised at Plainfield Christian Church. After that, I attended Ozark Christian College, where I studied the Bible and Christian ministry. My upbringing was “Christian,” and I was blessed by it in many ways. That’s because I always had a strong group of disciples around me to support me in my walk with Jesus. I would not be the same person without this church, my alma mater, and many Christian friends and mentors who have been with me along the way.
However, in college I studied abroad in North Africa. I loved the smell of the spices in the market, enjoyed fresh seafood caught by local fisherman, the challenge of learning another language, and the many friendships that I made along the way. However, I was spiritually lonely. After growing up in a Christian Community, I was forced into a place where I was essentially on my own. There were only a handful of Christians in our city, and there was no visible church. That’s because the city that I lived in was dominated by Muslims. Islam was so pervasive that most of my Muslim friends had never even met a Christian.
That fact broke my heart in spite of my loneliness. I tried to take every opportunity to build relationships and share the Gospel with them.
The truth is that many people around the world do not know a Christian and have very little opportunity to hear the Gospel. There are even people in our own county who do not have a solid relationship with a Christian who can tell them the Good News about Jesus.
If someone does not go to them they will never hear the Gospel.
Unfortunately, we often want people to come to us, instead of us wanting to go to them. We are content with being with our church or our safe group of Christian friends.
Christians often segregate themselves into “Christian communities.” These can be cliques of Christians that do not want to expose themselves to the outside. Or they are groups of people that just enjoy being with other Christians, people that are like them, and do not make time for others.
While these “Christian communities” can help us to grow in our faith, they do not allow us to fulfill our mission to reach the lost. God has called us out of our comfort zone to share our blessings with others. He has called us to sacrifice our preferences in the same way that Jesus sacrificed His privileges for us so that others can gain the privilege of a relationship with Jesus.
If you are stuck in a “Christian community” I have some advice for you. Break out of your bubble and build a relationship with someone who does not know Jesus. Start by inviting your neighbor over for dinner or your coworker out for lunch. This simple step will lead to a relationship that will give you the opportunity to share Jesus with someone else.