In Acts 6:1-7 it appears that the Greek cultured converts were facing similar problems in the Hebrew dominated Church to what Muslim converts may complain of in some of our churches today.
To be honest, churches spend more than necessary in order to keep converts but the manner in which this spending is made is commonly counterproductive. The fascinating daily gathering of converts from various backgrounds into the Christian Faith (which I describe as the end time Revival) calls for a new approach to the converts. This is because in the third world countries, Islam is using much of her resources to recapture converts to Christianity.
The focus of Passion for Converts is to maintain this revival as well as to bring the converts to spiritual and material/financial maturity in the most efficient way. A convert is like a plant that is transplanted and needs attention in order to succeed in its new environment. God initiates the process by revealing the Truth to their hearts, and assigns their care to us Christians. However, they face challenges, such as the expectation of the church on them and their expectation from the church. On the part of the converts, they expect an all round support that will replace the one they might have lost by leaving Islam.
It is noteworthy that the expectation of converts for physical/social security from the Christians, often appears to outweigh the benefits of the most important reward of conversion (eternal life) which they have automatically received. the challenge here is, that the absence of the former pose the risk of losing the latter.
Very essential here is, in the effort toward meeting up these expectations, there is the need to avoid making converts what is commonly known as “Rice Christians”. This simply means, converts seeing Christianity as a means of earning livelihood. The danger here is in two folds: (1) If end-needs are not made, there will be backsliding (2) Even if end – needs are made, for how long will that be? And the second expectation of the converts might be lost i.e. making eternity, if the support do not last.
There is the need to strike a balance between the two. Support the converts, and also gives them an understanding of their eternal expectation as been above the earthly benefit. Notwithstanding, there is the need to point converts to the easy and possible way of meeting end-needs without loosing their eternal hope. The converts must be able to give reason for their hope with all gentleness. (1 Peter 3:15-16) keeping a clear conscience and putting all slanderers to shame. Worthy of note here is, the ability to see any kind of suffering they might face as God’s will and not for evil but for good with Christ as our perfect example. (1 Peter 3:17-22).
In third world countries, where economy seems to turn down even spirituality, Islamic evangelism keep using almost all of their Financial support. These are two aims to this (1) To keep Muslims in Islam by supporting them. (2) To enticed Christians as well as other unbelievers to choose Islam as their new faith.
Worthy of note here is, despite all of these efforts by Islam, Muslims on daily basis becomes Christians with genuine conversion. The unfortunate thing is illustrated by the parable of the lost sheep, lost coin and the lost son. In Luke 15:1-end, as it concerns Converts from Islam or other faiths to Christianity. Seldom, you find converts to Christianity backsliding.
Certain factors are responsible for such backsliding. Among the reasons responsible there are the avoidable and the unavoidable reasons. The avoidable reasons could be lack of proper discipleship, lack of proper financial support as well as lost of familiar Companionship without any replacement. The unavoidable reasons can be compared with the figure of speech Jesus use in John 10:10-6.
The sheep listens to the shepherd’s voice and He calls his sheep by name. (John 10:3) “when he has brought out all His own, he goes ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice” (John 10:4). Once the sheep belongs to Jesus’ sheep pen, there is nothing that can stop the sheep from following the shepherd as he goes ahead and only by hearing the voice of the shepherd.
However, Jesus assures us that there are sheep that are not yet in the sheep pen: “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one Shepard” (John 10:16).
The task of bringing in the sheep into the pen is Jesus while we have the role as the sheep already in the pen to keep the sheep the shepherd brings in. where we play our part faithfully we leave the rest for the great shepherd.
The task of discerning between the avoidable and the unavoidable in ours together. Experience as well as Research has clearly revealed these two as been present in the Church today. Avenues where to:
- Reduced the polarity between Muslim and Christians through the right principle of Biblical love.
- How to reach the Muslim man in his own context without offending him but bring joy into his heart is another concern.
- Backsliding can be reduced to the bearest minimum if possible stopped Completely become the main concern of passion for converts.
- To make wholistic converts through the following:
Our activities will aim toward devicing modalities that can lead to the attainment of the above stated goals:
Some of these modalities will include:
- Help converts adjust their lives quickly and easily through proper counselling and sound Biblical teaching.
- Help converts to see and understand the better that lies ahead of them in this new faith.
- Prepare them (converts) to become potential tools of Evangelisms not necessarily until when they become Pastors but even by sharing their testimonies and declaring what they have discovered.
- Help them to discover their various gifts, talents and provide opportunities for them to use them to God’s glory.
- Give them necessary skills of their choices that will help establish and make them self-dependent. As such they will be contributors in the church rather than become dependants.
- Organise seminars or worships with the aim of educating Church leaders on the safest and better way to bring up new converts. This will reduce what is spent on converts yet keep them growing in the faith.
- Provide teachings for Christians on how to utilise every opportunity that comes their way daily with Muslim. Share their faith with Muslims without violence and compromise.
- Bring hope and confidence in place of fear and despair as regard Muslim Mission.
- Help all converts as well as Christians to be prepared to give reason for their hope in Christ. (1 Peter 3:15).
- Do all through the Biblical principle of “LOVE”.
Continued: Deliverance Prayer & the Spiritual Life