Today I received some good news. The news is that a fellow missionary team in Radom Poland has received the money and purchased a building for a homeless ministry there. This was $320,000 in just a few months raised truly a miracle. However a church has been saved through this ministry finding a new home. Let me give you some back ground. I share my story as it has been seen from the sidelines not as one involved so if I miss a fact please forgive me.
In Poland less than 1% of the people believe salvation is through Christ. Most believe without membership in the church and priestly blessing one will go to hell or be stuck in purgatory forever. An evangelical church was planted in Radom Poland. After some growth and nurturing a mission to the homeless was started out of the support of that church. At first there were many successes and all welcomed the poor and down trodden men on Sunday morning. It was a novel thing. Many volunteered and participated from the church as well. Of course there were a few grumblings from some in the congregation but they were eager to share the love of the father. As the mission continued the church saw some victory but felt their church was now being invaded. The congregation grew tired of the stink and sometimes disruptive homeless even when the disruption was a question concerning the message. A divide began in the church. In this little church that represented only a small portion of the people in its city and one of the only places one could go and hear about the salvation being through Jesus and not the Church came under attack.
The Pastor and missionaries struggled with what to do. The church was dyeing and losing members over the issues. The men in the homeless ministry felt jaded by the “believers” and ran back to the drugs and alcohol dismissing the believers as greedy like the others. They had been invited in and seen all the splendor these people were not willing to share with them. They were used to people withholding from them but did not understand how Christians could behave this way. The pastor saw he would lose his ministry and mission if something was not done to separate the two.
Many in the United States criticized the Pastor for not heading to Christ teachings and working it out like in the book of James. I sat back and asked “If any of our churches had 15-20 homeless join them for church every Sunday how long till they grew tired of it?” Let alone our churches are matured in a society where it is acceptable to go to church. How about to already be called names and kicked out of families. Now you are berated by the constant presence of homeless men. Dirty stinky men without hope and without purpose. How does this make you want to go to church? Could we endure what these men and women endure? The church was losing its passion for the Lost. Without the church who would be reached? Without the church, who would support the mission to the homeless?
The Missionaries shouldered the burden of the homeless and found a place to continue their work separate from the church. And in fact it is a new church plant of sorts as this is now where homeless gather to hear the word on Sundays and many other days without the judgmental stares of the flock wanting repayment for the sandwich they hold with their dirty cold fingers. The church is again growing and witnessing for Christ. They are learning to encourage and not force believers to care for the poor and needy. Has the church lost its passion for the lost? No I don’t think so but for a short time there it seemed like it.
The question is now in our court, have we lost our passion for the lost? Really I think the only way to address it is have I lost my passion for the lost? If not does my passion consume me as it did Jesus? Personally this story challenges me. Am I so set on my mission that am I not willing to go anywhere and do anything for the lost? Am I willing to go to Rodam, Poland and work with the homeless? I would rather not . My passion for the lost is if God called me there I would go. My Passion for the lost is if God called me to North Africa I would go. My passion for the lost is if God called me to Costa Rica I would go. My passion for the lost is if I was called to Afghanistan, I would go.
My passion is for the lost. I feel I am best suited for Odessa Ukraine. I feel the ruff neck men of Russia need to know the savior. I feel these are the men I work best with but…. My allegiance is to the saving the lost for my savior. My mission is to reach the lost with a message of hope and a love that is worth dying for. Where ever those lost are I am willing to go. Are you willing to do whatever God ask you to do for the lost?
Only Paul went to Spain. He didn’t ask for a convoy, he only asked for support. Is your passion enough for the lost to support us in our missions?