Does God Have a New Strategy in the New Millennium?
As we move deeper into the new Millennium, many Christians are wondering what God is doing in the world today. Does God have a new strategy to reach people with the message of His love? Is the Holy Spirit working in new ways in a new millennium?
A better question that we might ask is, "How are we ministering in the new millennium?" God's strategy and plan has not changed since the time of Christ. His commission to His disciples was, "I have been given complete authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28: 18-20)
The Lord Jesus entrusted His work to those He left behind. They in turn would preach the Gospel and train other disciples to continue the cycle. The message of Christianity has not changed in two thousand years. People still must respond to Christ by faith and begin a relationship with Him. Just as the early disciples followed Jesus and called Him, "Lord," so all of His followers have done the same throughout history.
While the message of Christ has not changed, the methods used to deliver that message change regularly. The Apostle Paul, for example, endured many hardships as he traveled throughout the Roman Empire. He says in 2 Corinthians 11 that he was shipwrecked three times and endured many dangers and trials during his missionary journeys.
Today, someone can leave their home and be on the other side of the world within twenty-four hours. A personal example of the relative ease of missionary travel was several years ago when I was invited to preach in India. I conducted Pastoral Training Courses for a week with almost two hundred indigenous pastors. These classes took place in the morning. My afternoons were devoted to speaking at a number of rural house churches. In the evening, I was preaching in open-air evangelistic meetings. All in all, I preached or taught almost twenty five times in a week and a half before I got back on a plane to come back to my day job.
Technology has created wonderful opportunities for the Church to spread the Good New of Christ. Many Churches and Christian organizations are using television, radio, and the Internet to send the Christian message into hard to reach countries. Closed countries, such as North Korea, might keep missionaries from coming into their country, but they cannot keep Christian television and Christian radio signals from crossing the border.
Modern technology also allows the gospel to be preached in other parts of the world in cost-saving ways. I have had the privilege of preaching to churches in Australia and Brazil, via Skype, while sitting in my office in the United States. While there is nothing like being there in person, travel costs and time constraints make mediums like Skype very attractive.
The Church is still God's primary vehicle of bringing salvation to the world. A vibrant local church is the best tool for reaching communities. In this new millennium, there seems to be a growing awareness of the need to plant more churches. Better methods and systems are constantly being developed to make church planting more effective. No matter how good our methods, though, the bottom line is that the church must be filled with the Holy Spirit. God expects us to do the work. He has entrusted the Kingdom Message to us.
At the same time, however, we must not forget what Jesus told His followers just before His ascension, "But when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power and will tell people about me everywhere - in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8) A Spirit-filled Church is going to be the tool that God uses to reach this generation.
How do you see God moving in our generation?
My wife, Annie, and I are serving the Lord in Brazil. Would you consider joining our support team? Just click here to get involved. Obrigado!