The following post is written by East-West missionaries on our Diaspora Team.
I have tendencies toward Lone Ranger syndrome—the notion that due to one’s exceptional qualities, a job can be handled alone.
If others join, fine, it will go easier. If not, no problem, the Lone Ranger will take care of it going solo. But this pride ignores the truth of our interdependence, and Lone Ranger syndrome steers contrary to the ways of God’s Spirit.
God—who is three persons—likes to work in groups.
He worked in a group to create the world and to save it. And He’s designed the gospel to spread in a similar way. Praise the Lord, I can report four baptisms in the last month—all of them right here in our city, all of them for people of our Middle Eastern target nation.
These four people, two couples, were all previously far from church and far from Jesus, but God did amazing things. How did He do it? Not through a Lone Ranger, but using the unified Body of Christ.
First, believers prayed and are praying for the effectiveness of our work. From New York to Arizona, from Mexico to India, God’s people are praying. And so are we.
God hears us all. God answers. These four baptisms are proof.
Second, believers give. Some people in our supporting churches don’t even know who we are, but still give to the missions offering because they are committed to God without necessarily needing to know the specifics. Others who do know us give directly to our mission year after year. In either case, God is honored and we are enabled to devote our lives to helping this section of His Church flourish.
Third, a nearby church allows us and our Middle Eastern roommate—I’ll call him “Amir”—to stay in their parsonage. Amir came to the United States a year and a half ago. Last November he was baptized and subsequently I have spent a lot of time discipling him, being patient with him, and doing evangelism with him.
A year ago the church allowed him to move in with us in their parsonage while he waits to be granted asylum. In our house, he laughs with our kids, sees how we live, asks us many different types of questions, and is loved.
Fourth, my wife offers long-term hospitality. She has allowed another man in her home for over a year. As if I don’t make enough smells myself, she also bears with the strange smells of a foreigner. She consistently forgoes what would normally be convenient for her and occasionally gets trapped by Amir in conversation when there are plenty of other things on her “to do” list.
Fifth, Amir is obedient to Jesus.
He has faithfully witnessed to hundreds of students at the local college where he studies English. Among those of his own nationality in the city, he winsomely introduces them to Jesus, quiets their fears, and leads them into Scripture and Christian worship. In just one year of following Christ, he has led five others to baptism.
Sixth, another local Christian Church has welcomed strangers. Amir was first connected to them when he visited their medical clinic. Since then God has stretched them to embrace Amir and the other Middle Easterners he brings to their worship services and Bible studies.
The cultural clashes are not easy to overcome, but God has enabled the unity of Christ’s body to prevail over misunderstandings. This church has been humble, flexible, and loving, providing a good first home for these spiritual newborns.
As I hope you see, God likes us to work in groups and blesses us when we do so.
I am no more important than you, and Amir is no more important than my wife, and no one church I’ve mentioned or any of the congregations that pray and give to our work is more important than another. And absolutely none of us are a Lone Ranger!
We all are simply and profoundly walking in step with the Spirit—faithfully doing our critical part. The four recent baptisms demonstrate that God is using all of us—together—to accomplish beautiful results.