“We are not the only leaders of Christianity around the world”

This, from the Weekly Update of the Church of God Chaplains Commission, Dr. Robert Crick, Executive Director, after a trip to the church’s seminary in Quito, Ecuador:

When you travel to other areas of the world, in this case, to South America, you obviously get a bigger picture of not just what God is doing around the world, but God’s plan for the United States.  Apart from the heavy administrative duties, I always take the opportunity, whether on those long plane rides or those extra hours in a hotel room, to pray and ask God what He is up to in our day in regards to our own nation.  It is apparent, in viewing the ministries in other countries, that this is a new day for us and for them.  You recognize immediately that we are not the only leaders of Christianity around the world.  In fact, some of the fervor, passion, and power that we once had as a US church are now more noticeable in other nations.  They are, in many regards, leading us and not the other way around.  The South American Seminary campus, and most especially its highly effective curriculum and programs, could teach every one of us how to do ministry in a post-modern world.  So the obvious question is, “What shall be the US’s new agenda in these changing times?”  I raised that question to South American students, faculty members, and most especially to the seminary President and member of the Council of Eighteen, Dr. David Munguia.  He and others stated very quickly that they need our partnership, relationships of integrity, and our wisdom; that is, lessons learned throughout our 100+ year history.  It is essential, as I heard time and time again, that we come to them  as “brothers and sisters” and not as “domineering parents.”  They can only listen to us if we can listen to them.  You know, some might find these words discouraging.  That is, we are no longer the number one voice on the scene; rather, we are sharing the table with “equals.”  I actually find this very encouraging.  It is not exactly complimentary when someone only receives you or listens to you because of your money and power.  That can be very lonely.  But, when we can mutually receive one another as brothers and sisters, and when we can mutually reciprocate in thought and affection; that, to me, is a long, overdue role for the US church.  And, this certainly applies to our chaplaincy ministries around the world.  We know that when we go into these new and exciting areas we come not as “know it all fathers,” but as “brother and sisters” willing to share and willing to learn.  May God burn in our hearts this new agenda that He has for the United States, and may it also be shared with other nations around the world.

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