This past Sunday at church I was humbled to be able to share one of the most exciting things I have been a part of in 16 years of ministry. LifeBridge has formally “taken the plunge” and committed to fully funding 20 indigenous church planters who are taking the Gospel to the most rural areas of Nepal. In an instant, our LifeBridge staff went from 1 to 21.
One of the core values of our church has always been what we call “Extreme Generosity.” Quite simply, we intentionally spend less on niceties for our own church, so that we are able to invest much more on the front lines kingdom work out in our community and world. For the cost of about 1/2 of a typical U.S. church worker, we are able to fully fund these 20 church planters in Nepal. While we have to give up a few things we’d really like, the Kingdom impact makes it SO worth it.
Let me share one story with you:In the Fall of 2011, I had the chance to visit Bhakta Sijali, who is bringing the Gospel to his family village in the mountains of Eastern Nepal. The entire region, including his family, is either Hindu or Buddhist, and prior to Bhakta’s work there was no Christian church anywhere near that area. Bhakta came to faith several years ago after a huge family fight caused by his alcoholism. He fled to the capital city where a man handed him a tract and invited him to a Christian gathering. That night he came to faith and became a changed man. Ultimately, he felt compelled by God to go back to his village to ask for forgiveness and to bring the message of Jesus Christ to his family and friends who had never heard Christ’s name.
While Bhakta has experienced a great deal of resistance and persecution, one by one he has seen people come to faith. Last year, his father (who is now preparing for baptism himself!) donated a small plot of land and the area’s first ever Christian church was built. Since then, their gatherings have swelled to 25 or 30 people, so they are making plans now to take out the back wall and add an additional 10 feet of worship space. Praise God!
In partnering with ServLife Intl we have the privilege of standing side by side with Bhakta, and 19 more doing work just like his, in bringing the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Some of it is money — the total cost for training, equipping and sending a church planter is $1300 a year. Some of it is going, as every year we send a team to help build up and encourage these guys in the work they are doing.
As always, we find that we end up getting much more than we are giving. We are blessed with resources that are very valuable to them as they bring Christ into new areas. They are blessed with a spirit and conviction that has much to teach us in our relatively easy faith environment. Our prayer is that more and more individuals and churches will partner with us in this amazing mission opportunity that God has placed before us. You’ll never be the same…
For information on sponsoring a church planter, please contact Pastor Michael Meissner at firstname.lastname@example.org