Jordan (MNN) – There comes some extent when the strains between ministry and work get blurred, and once they do, casualties happen. The identical factor occurs when ministry turns into an idol or expectation reasonably than an trustworthy coronary heart search and a conviction to serve others.
By unintentionally harming the folks the Christians got here to serve. George, an Arab Christian dwelling in Jordan related to Program for Theological Training by Extension, shares his ideas.
“Some people from the West try to save us, but this has two problems. The first one is really the one who works in the heart is God himself. So when they try to help us out of our problems and many difficulties, persecution and all of this, they can’t,” George says.
“They may stop some kind of persecution, difficulties that we face, but really, they cannot change the hearts of those who cause this persecution. It’s God who can really change the situation. But in addition to that…some of those who try to save us sometimes unintentionally create more problems.”
When Serving is Damaging
One instance—non secular freedom. Freedom of faith within the Arab World varies from nation to nation and a few organizations have taken it upon themselves to defend non secular freedom within the area. Nevertheless, regardless of their good intentions, this may be problematic.
Due to the best way a few of these organizations select to assist non secular freedom, particularly for Christians, they’ve insulted governments and triggered extra issues. Christians these organizations had been making an attempt to defend change into larger targets of their nations. Moreover, as George has stated, these organizations can not change hearts; solely God can.
Slightly than trying to vary life as they realize it themselves, Arab Christians like George are trusting God. However when folks do assist, George needs them to pay attention to how their actions and phrases may impression the native Christians and harm them. A bit of recommendation he presents—be respectful to the tradition, the folks, and the federal government. Even the Bible, in Romans 13:1-7 and 1 Timothy, talks about submission to governing authorities.
Be taught Concerning the Native Tradition
Second, get educated. Be taught concerning the complexity of the state of affairs impacting native Christians. Ask native Christians about their experiences, hearken to them and be taught from them. If Christians don’t hearken to the native physique of Christ, their errors will negatively impression these they’re making an attempt to assist.
“When some of them have some political position, stances, and they try to in a way convince us as Christians here or convince the government of these stances, this also does not help us. Let’s really try to separate politics from religious freedom. Politics and religious freedom, although they are in a way connected, are not the same thing,” George says.
Working vs. Serving
Lastly, George says when Christians, notably from the West, come to work alongside the native church, they should serve, not save. Many Westerners have come to the Center East, and different areas, with a savior mentality reasonably than an intention to serve. This has additionally dealt harm to the native Church.
“We welcome all people who needs to come back and assist us. There are a variety of issues that we’d like assist with right here within the space. In the event that they need to come and assist us, we’d like it. We can not deny that we’d like it,” George says.
“The thing is that sometimes they think that they are here to save us., that we are just ignorant and we know nothing and yeah, there are many things that we do not know and we need to learn, but this kind of mentality does not help us.” A few of those that got here from the West [are] making an attempt to steer, they usually make the ministry be centered round them. In the event that they depart, the ministry doesn’t proceed. They make packages they usually ask locals to come back and assist in their packages as an alternative of seeing that we’d like them [in the] ministries [we have] within the space.”
“They will add some enter into it as an alternative of making one thing and attracting others to be the [center of this new thing].”
When Serving Helps
There have been conditions the place outsiders create a ministry that turns into central to the local people. However then once they depart, so does the ministry. George asks for Christians to go looking their hearts and ask themselves why they’re leaving their house nation. Is it actually to humbly serve others and stroll alongside a neighborhood Church to construct it up, or are they touring to a distinct nation to ‘save’ it?
“Leaving your country in itself does not mean that you are serving God, even if it’s religious work. Religious work does not mean it [is] ministry, it means work sometimes. This is something related to the heart,” George says.
Christians ought to search their hearts earlier than touring overseas not as a result of native Christians are not looking for assist from their brothers and sisters, however as a result of they need the assistance to be pure, trustworthy, and God-honoring.
PTEE’s Historical past
George says PTEE has had non-Arab Christians serve with the ministry up to now who actually had a coronary heart for serving and build up the native Church. These Christians made a optimistic impression on the seminary program and the neighborhood, however in addition they served with trustworthy hearts and open ears.
“Some Western workers come and make…their communities here in the Middle East instead of serving the locals and serving the local churches and helping in whatever way needed…They need to be aware of this when they come to serve, not work…they need to have this mentality and they need to be part of…at least the church community,” George says.
PTEE was established in 1981 by Arab Christians and Western Christians dwelling within the Center East. They noticed the necessity for on-location, Biblical, theological schooling on the seminary-level which was not accessible to Arabic-speaking Christians dwelling within the Arab World. Collectively, the international Christians and the native Christian leaders, via God, took the by-extension seminary from an summary concept right into a actuality. At present, PTEE is run by Arab Christians for Arab Christians.
Nevertheless, George says the seminary has room for international Christians who match a particular ability set in administration, some academia, funds, and different areas.
Responding By means of Prayer
Would you stroll alongside PTEE and rethink the way you select to have interaction with the worldwide Church? Search your self via prayer and in addition by asking, why do I need to assist? Ask God to form your coronary heart.
“They need to make sure they come remembering that as Jesus left everything, we at least need to make our work and ministry centered around Jesus himself and around the people [that] to whom we are going,” George says.
“This is ministry to God, not to themselves.”
Header picture by Tim Marshall on Unsplash.