NOTES FROM THE FIELD
In this series, thoseinvolved with CLC foreign missions profile one aspect of our overseas endeavors.
“We have a problem. Twelve disciples we could handle, but seventy? How can we keep tabs on what they are doing? And then there is this thing going on in Samaria. Furthermore, we have heard that men from Cyprus and Cyrene are now preaching the Lord Jesus to the Greeks at Antioch!
We can’t keep up!”
The early church in Jerusalem, or a segment of it, may well have had this response to the early successes of the Gospel. It is an awe-inspiring overview when we look into the Book of Acts—how many were the emissaries of Christ! How quickly the Good News spread! Our own fellowship might react the same way regarding our efforts in India, Nepal, Myanmar, Nigeria, Togo, Congo, Tanzania, Kenya . . . and the list goes on. What a glorious problem to face! What a comfort to know that it is the Lord Jesus’ church, that the Holy Spirit works on the heart of each, and that the Father knows exactly what is going on!
Prior to World War II, the French considered the Maginot Line of fortifications to be impregnable; in the event it was irrelevant. The Germans in 1940 attacked through the Ardennes Forest where they were least expected and where the defense was light. Despite all the time, effort and money spent on the splendid line of fortresses, it stood as a hollow monument to static defense. The Germans employed mobile forces that broke through and swept up and around their enemies.
Are we sometimes guilty of what seems to be a static defense instead of a mobile warfare that sweeps forward in our kingdom work? For the Germans, there were great risks. They could outdistance their fuel supplies and be held up. Their infantry perhaps could not catch up sufficiently to hold the ground that was gained through Blitzkrieg. The risks attendant on this method of warfare were real and dangerous, but the sweeping, surging movement proved extremely effective.
There are a variety of risks for us also as we operate in a mobile and forward-surging movement called “outreach.” The terrain for us is rugged, and the risks exist. It would be a daunting task except for the fact that we are led, not by an earthly field marshal, but by the “Commander of the army of the Lord” (Joshua 5:14), Who has already won the victory! We are to be mobile and forward-moving as our Lord taught, “I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18) In hearts He builds a force that is mobile and expanding, not stationary.
Whether as a missionary, a board, or a synod, if we fail to take note and go where He points, we risk falling back on a static defense and may one day be overwhelmed. When we continue in the surging, sweeping movement, the impregnable is overcome and the impossible becomes possible. “All things are possible to him who believes.” (Mark 9:23)
David Koenig has served as a foreign missionary in Africa, India, and elsewhere. Though officially retired, he continues to be active in the synod’s mission endeavors.