Some things will never change
Things change. Through the dusty afternoon haze, beyond a line of camels moving slowly across the Egyptian deserts, I gazed in awe at the pyramids of Giza in the distance. This same view has captivated people for thousands of years. This is probably one of the most enduring vistas anywhere. However, as your eyes focus beyond these symbols of ancient cultures, through the smog and dust you see the encroaching city, the buildings and signs of a new civilization, of a different culture. Later, marveling at the Sphinx, weathered by time, but still a sign of endurance, of things that last, of the unchangeable; one only has to turn around to gaze at a Pizza Hut. Things change.
Cairo – open to Jesus
Egypt is in flux in other ways too. Since the revolution of 2011 many things are changing. This once seemingly impenetrable nation is opening to the Gospel like never before. An unexpected invitation highlighted this for me. I found myself exhorting a group of people of different ages being prepared for witness and missions, to go out and fearlessly proclaim the name of Jesus.
My host was a dear man of God with a passion for souls and deeply committed to missions. The group was being discipled by him to take Jesus out of the building and into the streets, no matter what the consequences. A student came up afterwards, glowing with excitement about her willingness to preach Jesus anywhere. A highly qualified man came for a chat about how he is trying to discern where God wants him to go.
The Holy Spirit has brought about a movement that has seldom been seen in the Middle East, including in Egypt. A huge number of people have turned to Christ in recent years, many of them through dreams and vision. Television and radio are also making a huge impact, and many are questioning their traditions and religion and are willing to talk about Jesus. Despite the changes there are still many who strongly oppose Christianity.
Harvesters bringing change to Egypt
With change comes opportunity. I sense a real opening for multiplication church planting through evangelism, discipleship and pastoral training. This is what I presented to leaders from different churches and denominations with a view of starting a church planting movement in partnership with Harvesters Ministries.
I am both excited and concerned. Change comes slowly to churches. We are often swept along by societal changes rather than spearheading or at least managing them. Often, by the time the church is ready to meet new challenges the world has shifted and the opportunity has passed. The desire to hold onto that which has ‘worked’ in the past or that which we are comfortable with is great. Yet, there are those who see the change and are energized by the opportunities it brings. Some saw that what worked in the past cannot work now to reach a population of 100 million people. It is too slow and too expensive and new methodologies are required. In the case of the church, ‘new’ usually calls for a return to biblical methods and the application of biblical principles.
There is a need for change
God’s faithful servants, many of whom have suffered persecution, could easily be lulled into seeking peaceful co-existence, acceptance and the respect of their neighbors rather than continuing to radically proclaim Jesus.
How can you get involved?
Harvesters is seeking out those who are willing to step up and step out and grasp this opportunity. Harvesters will be implementing its Strategic Mapping process and opening the way for the Gospel to have a permanent presence in every community across this nation. Join us, help us. Pray for those who see this as God’s timing to bring the Gospel to every place where people stay. Now is the time for new wineskins. Watch this space. Now is the time to change things.