Where is the church?

Like many of you, perhaps, I watched the special ‘Idol Gives Back’ last night on television. It really was a great show, which raised millions of dollars to help children who are living in poverty all around the world. Even though I have seen pictures of starving and dying children in africa time and time again, this time seemed different. The stories and pictures were so real. They did a great job to show the true extent of the pain and heartache in the faces of the people there. The reminder that another child is orphaned every 30 seconds from aids seemed to affect me so much more.
They showed a story about a young 12 year old boy who lives with only his 7 year old sister. Their parents are dead and they cook, clean, wash, everything that a normal set of parents would do for their children. That story, and the pain in the young boy’s eyes, seemed to shorten the distance between us. All of a sudden, it wasn’t like he lived a world away.
During the show, they told of at least 3 people, one a child less than a year old, who died just in the hours that they came to know them. I thought a lot about my 3-month-old. I thought about the fact that I would do anything for her. I’d give my life for her. I knew that there was noone capable of doing that for these children.
I watched as celebrity after celebrity shared how they were trying hard to meet the needs of these children. They are giving. They are going. The breaking point for me was when Madonna was shown in Africa, surrounded by children she was seeking to help. I thought about how these celebrities are trying so hard to meet these kids needs. I thought about their need for clean water, for medication, and even for love. However, I knew that these will only meet their temporal needs. What these kids really need is Jesus. As much as these celebrities are meeting those temporal needs, they will never offer them what they need eternally. Only we as God’s children can do that.
So, the question became apparent…where is the church? One scene especially broke my heart. Ryan and Simon, from American Idol, went to a place in Africa that they called ‘one of the largest slums in the world’. Here, in this aweful place, 1 and a half million people are living in an area roughly the size of central park. In some places there are up to 20 people living in what we would consider a small tent space, on mud floors. People are dying, hundreds each day, from Malarya and aids. I wondered, where is the church?
I do not wish to discount all of the missionaries around the world who are bodly taking the Good News of Jesus into the darkest areas of the world. I do not wish to discount the Christians who have, are and will serve in the area of missions during this year and in the future. I do want to ask this question, though. What if God’s people got a passion for these devistated people? It really wouldn’t take a large majority of the church to not only make an impact, but to change the lives of that one entire ‘slum,’ as it was called.
We have got to get to the place where we stop allowing worldly treasures from blinding us to the needs of others around the world. We have got to stop retreating from the battle that God has commanded His children to fight and into more and more comfort and selfishness.
A couple of facts to close: (1) These kids NEED Jesus. (2) We have the hope they eternally need. (3) ‘How then will they know what they have never heard?’
God, forgive us. Help us to see with your eyes. Help us to give our lives back to you. Use us to take the Good News of the Gospel to all the ends of the earth and to ‘make disciples of all nations’ as you have commanded us to do. May we not be unwilling to go to the dirty places and serve those who are hurting and dying without you. Give us a passion.

I Married my bride, Erin, in 2003. We have 3 children: Emma, Elijah, and Lydia. I have served full-time on staff at Westwood Baptist Church, in Roxboro, NC, since summer of 2006 as Pastor of Students & Discipleship. I am currently enrolled at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, pursuing my Doctorate of Education.

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