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Is the Church Accomplishing Anything?

Photo of Randy JonesRandy Jones | Bio

Randy Jones

Randy is Project Manager at International Disaster Emergency Service in Noblesville, Indiana. He is the father of three elementary school-aged children and is married to Naomi. Before working at IDES, he was a missionary in Eastern Europe. These days, he still gets to travel internationally, but now it is to encourage and support the Christians around the world who are partnering with IDES. He loves trying new foods from around the world. He has a Bachelor’s in Ministry and Leadership from Dallas Christian College. He enjoys books and podcasts about ministry or productivity and loves a good spreadsheet.
 

Our world is difficult enough with just humans in it.

Added to that, we deal with all types of disasters: famines, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, war, poverty, and hunger. Disasters affect thousands to hundreds of thousands of people every day. If you’ve experienced any of these, you can attest that it can sometimes feel distant or unreal in the moment. When we encounter something of such magnitude, it can seem like we’re living someone else’s life or watching a movie.

We have personal disasters too–broken families, cancer, car accidents, dementia, financial crisis, and addictions.

Our personal disasters don’t get blown away by a tornado or washed down the river with a flood. Those hurts and pains get buried to be woken another day, exploding among the stresses of life.

When I see the current state of our world, with its many tragedies and disasters, my flesh tends to default with a defeated attitude. But this comes from the insecurities that I’ve allowed to take away my focus from Jesus.

The destruction we see around us can make us feel helpless. Where is the church in all this? Isn’t the church supposed to be light in the darkness?

Please, be encouraged. I know it seems that times are bad and getting worse, but I’ve seen so much good that’s being done in the name of Jesus.

Our churches and our missionaries are taking tragic events and turning them into opportunities. Opportunities to encourage believers and witness to their communities.

I can’t even count how many houses we’ve found out about that have been lost due to large scale disasters. One family who lost most everything in their house from floodwaters kept scraps of debris from whatever the current church group was working on that week. When you’re in their house now, you’ll see pieces of construction with signatures of the volunteers. These fragments have become family heirlooms and the testimony of what the church groups were trying to communicate to those hurting and in need. Love. Love enough to move and help with the physical.

Because of showing their love in a physical, tangible way, these Christians were able to speak to the family in a spiritual way and helped them get closer to God.

We have seen wells dug in countries dealing with drought for so long that entire generations have shared the same plight. After the water began flowing in one Kenyan village, one older man told us about how his grandfather and father and he had walked for miles to get water all their lives, but that now water was coming up from right under his feet. His life was turned upside down just by witnessing the flowing of water.

The Gospel of John has several verses where Jesus is using water to explain the mysteries of God. Now Christians are following Jesus’ example and using the life-producing water from wells to explain who He is.

Food insecurity is overwhelming for many families, but the church and her believers make food available during times when it’s difficult to find or buy food. This creates an open door for the gospel. One of our partners talked about how amazing it was to see Animists, Muslims, traditionalists, and Christians standing together in a prayer circle, thanking Jesus for His blessings right after a food distribution.

Work gloves and a hammer can create a conversation, but an open heart and grace can build a relationship and impact eternity.

Not all of these people have accepted Christ yet but they see the love of the Believers within their communities and that leads to deeper relationships and more opportunities for the Gospel. If we can cultivate a Kingdom mindset, we can be open to the opportunities even in the turmoil of our world today.

Living our lives as servants to our fellow man, as well as remembering the grace we’ve been given, creates a ripple of impact on our world that transforms and redeems any disaster we might experience.

The Church IS accomplishing so much and we can list items that have been accomplished through disaster relief: homes rebuilt, meals given, and wells dug. But the deeper and truer work that the church is accomplishing boils down to life change, the spiritual impacted by the physical.
Work gloves and a hammer can create a conversation, but an open heart and grace can build a relationship and impact eternity.

Sometimes it might be hard to see what is being done by the Church, but God is moving.