It was a steamy, sticky, hot evening in the little wooden church in the jungle of northern Peru. Yet people filed in and listened from outside to teaching and preaching from the bible. As I sat in amazement at their attentiveness, I wondered, “Who will teach the children in this jungle village the gospel?” The answer of came quickly; the local Christian believers in their local churches would teach the children about Jesus.
The motionless city stirred to life when the morning call to prayer began echoing from the loud speakers at the local Mosque at 4:30 in the morning. India is a country of about 1.3 billion people. Christians are relatively few by any measure here while Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists thrive to varying degrees across India. Who will teach these masses here about biblical truth? The task will largely be accomplished through the few, dedicated local churches and Christian believers there.
My friend Luis and the people in his church in Santo Domingo ran into the streets as the ground shook beneath them completely unaware at the moment that the same earthquake had just devastated the country of Haiti on the other side of the island they share. As the devastation came into clear focus, the local church in Santo Domingo and other parts of the Dominican Republic began to mobilize to provide food, shelter, medical supplies and teaching about Jesus to this devastated region. They printed water bottles with scripture printed on them. They sent pastors and teachers into the devastated areas and they found ways to deliver their aid and the word through local churches in Haiti.
My friend and those local churches are still at work in Haiti today even as other relief agencies have begun to pull their resources. And when everyone else is gone, the local churches in Haiti will still be there—teaching and making disciples.
Do you see a pattern emerging here? Christ commanded us to go and make disciples (Christian believers) and to teach those disciples all that Christ had commanded. While I am not in the least diminishing the role of missionary endeavors, as a matter of fact they are a crucial part in the overall process, I see that teaching abut Christ is a necessary and often neglected charge for local congregations.
The church is the bride of Christ and until the bridegroom comes again it is her duty to make disciples and teach the world all that Christ has commanded. Is your church honoring its role as a teacher in your community? What might you do to make it more effective in making and teaching disciples?