Last week I posted while in India where I was meeting with a potential partner for Southeastern. They are seeking to begin a seminary and conference center and have asked for our consultation. It was exciting to hear their plans and passion to equip church leaders. As the Director of our Spurgeon Center for Pastoral Leadership and Preaching, I was blessed to recognize how much we are using the same vocabulary. Through our Global Theological Initiative we are seeking partners like this all around the world and North America. God continues to raise up faithful international church leaders. We can learn much from one another.
While there I also observed a huge Hindu festival in the city in which I was staying celebrating one of their millions of gods. The festival featured beautiful flowers and brightly colored lights. The city was brilliant with color each night. The irony was not lost on me. Thousands of, or even more, people celebrating the darkness with light.
I even found myself in a conversation at one point with a man who had been Hindu his entire life. We spoke of the gospel and of Christ. He was very interested in the discussion, but he seemed not ready for any further steps at that point. He told me how superior Hinduism is to Christianity because they have my God “outnumbered millions to one.”
In contrast, I also had the great privilege of observing a village church dedicate their new building. This village is composed of an unreached gypsy people group. As we drove through the simple homes toward the waiting celebration, I saw idol after idol. Each home had a small wall around it with a gate. “Guarding” the gate on each side were small tiles with images of Hindu gods. They had the Christians outnumbered “millions to one”––darkness.
Then I could hear the sweet singing of children, praising Jesus as we arrived at the building. Church members surrounded us with a joy and excitement that words cannot describe. It is always amazing to me how language barriers slip quickly away when two people know the Holy Spirit. These new friends escorted us in, and the building was dedicated with prayer and worship. The singing and service continued long after we left. That building will be more than a meeting place. It will be a center of ministry and Great Commission fulfillment in that place––light.
I look forward one day to standing in a throne room with people from “every tribe and every nation” celebrating the one true God. I hope to see other members of that village there. A village where light overcame the darkness. A place where the One far outnumbers the millions.As we continue equipping leaders and preparing students to serve the local church and fulfill the Great Commission, I pray we will have the faith, the endurance, the joy and the sense of dependency those gypsy believers displayed. I pray we will continue to have the passion to train other leaders like my new friends have. I pray we will have a desperate love for the church like I witnessed there. A love driven from the One out to the millions.