A Paradigm Shift
One of the mission statements at Global Catalytic Ministries emphasizes thriving in persecution, rather than just surviving it. Regardless of our circumstances, whether we are well-fed or hungry, rich or poor, facing persecution or living in freedom, in the East or West, we can be content in Jesus and make disciples. This way of living is not only possible for every Christian but also critical.
The Western church tends to pity and feel grateful for their persecuted brothers and sisters worldwide. They feel sorry for those who are suffering but are grateful that they themselves are not experiencing the same hardship. Interestingly, the persecuted church feels the same way about the church in the West.
It is natural for people to avoid pain, but the Bible teaches us that we are meant to thrive in persecution, not just survive it. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus calls those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake blessed, for they will inherit the kingdom of Heaven. He encourages persecuted believers to rejoice in their suffering because they will receive a great reward in Heaven. It is puzzling that so many Christians invest an excessive amount of effort in setting up a safe, comfortable life with minimal trials. This is not possible for a true Christian, and it is not Biblical. Instead, we are instructed to count it as joy when we face various trials. The book of James explains that we will receive earthly and eternal rewards for our suffering, including perseverance leading to maturity.
Observing the persecuted church provides evidence of the Biblical truth of thriving in persecution. The areas where the church faces the most severe backlash also tend to see the most growth. This is not coincidental but rather a Kingdom exchange, where we exchange our weakness for His strength. The persecuted church understands that in their suffering, they are becoming more like Jesus on Earth and earning a share of His eternal reward in Heaven. For the Christian, there is no greater joy than this.
It is essential to understand that we should not pursue persecution for its sake. Instead, we are to pursue Jesus with wild, brave, wholehearted abandon. When we embrace the Biblical understanding of persecution, we can pursue Jesus without hindrance or fear. By accepting that Christians will suffer and embracing the truth that suffering makes us blessed on Earth and in Heaven, we can follow God's calling on our lives. As a result, we can impact the world like the early church, with a faith that changes work places, cities, nations, and even generations. It is time for the global church to redefine its understanding of persecution, freeing ourselves to lay down our lives and serve Jesus no matter the cost.
Holy and Pleasing to God
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Romans 12:1
Giving our bodies as a living sacrifice is a biblical mandate, but it can be ambiguous for many Christians in the Western world. The true meaning of surrendering our flesh and blood bodies as a sacrifice and withholding nothing, not even ourselves, is often misunderstood and disregarded by the non-persecuted church. As a result, this instruction is frequently overlooked and forgotten.
To the underground church, the verse from Romans is not merely a passing reference but the very bedrock upon which they construct their response to the suffering they endure. Christians residing in countries where they face severe persecution often experience physical and emotional abuse, rape, mutilation, torture, and even death. However, those who adhere to the principles of Romans 12 expect nothing less. To present one's body as a living sacrifice means surrendering control over one's fate. It is to find beauty in relinquishing the physical body for the sake of Christ, irrespective of the outcome. To be a living sacrifice implies placing oneself fully at God's disposal, being available and willing to comply with whatever God commands. In other words, the verse urges us to "present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is our spiritual worship," emphasizing the importance of offering our physical selves to God as an act of worship.
In the Bible, we witness numerous instances of this verse being manifested through members of the early, persecuted church. Among these, the most significant example is that of Paul. Throughout the New Testament, he exemplified presenting his body as a living sacrifice, rendering him invulnerable. Despite being beaten, he glorified Christ. While imprisoned, he wrote letters that shook the world. And even when threatened with death, he rejoiced in the knowledge that he would soon be with Jesus. His body was simply a vessel for glorifying God and a sacrifice on the altar, akin to wood being kindled and smoke rising, producing a pleasing aroma to the Lord. The underground church has discovered his secret and is using it to become just as invincible.
It's noteworthy that the underground church, which endures the most intense persecution, is also witnessing the most rapid growth globally. When one recognizes that the worst that can happen to them is no more than what they've pledged to give, they have nothing to lose.
The underground church has learned to accept Romans 12 at face value and, by doing so, has attained a freedom that is only attainable through complete surrender.
It is imperative for the universal church to understand this same principle. If we choose to surrender ourselves now, we can be prepared when persecution strikes. We can learn to yield ourselves intimately, like Mary of Bethany, who broke the jar of perfume at Jesus' feet, indicating that she was willing to give everything to Him. We can also offer the same fragrant aroma of a living sacrifice even in the absence of persecution if we are willing to surrender our bodies, plans, finances, possessions, and entire beings to Christ's sake.
This is why, at Global Catalytic Ministries, one of our vision statements is, "We offer our bodies as living sacrifices, loving Him so much that nothing else matters. He is worth it all."
As I Have Loved You
The acts of charity, kindness, and service performed by Christians, like those of other religions, are numerous and varied. A significant example of these acts is volunteering at local churches, food banks, and homeless shelters. Many Christians also donate money and resources to assist those who are in need, both in their local community and globally.
One of the foundational beliefs of Christianity is that all people are created equal and should be treated with dignity and respect in the eyes of God. This belief inspires many Christians to become involved in social justice initiatives, advocating for the rights of marginalized groups and working to tackle issues such as poverty, discrimination, and human trafficking.
Another significant aspect of Christian service is mission work, which involves traveling to other countries to share the gospel and help those in need. Missionaries may provide medical aid, construct homes and schools, and assist in disaster relief efforts.
Christians also support acts of charity through organizations like World Vision and Compassion International, which focus on alleviating global poverty and providing aid to children in need. Many Christians also sponsor children through these organizations, offering them essential resources such as food, education, and healthcare.
In addition, Christians serve their communities by offering counseling and support to those who are facing difficulties. Pastors, chaplains, and lay volunteers provide emotional and spiritual support to individuals and families who are going through tough times.
In conclusion, the acts of kindness and service performed by Christians demonstrate their strong commitment to their faith and their desire to make a positive impact in the world. Through volunteering, donating, or serving in mission work, Christians are dedicated to spreading love, compassion, and hope to those who are in need.
Churches Providing Food
Churches often support their communities by offering food assistance programs. These programs can come in various forms, including food pantries, soup kitchens, and meal delivery services.
Food pantries, usually located in the church, provide individuals in need with items such as canned goods, cereal, pasta, and other non-perishable food products. Some pantries might also have fresh fruits and vegetables, bread, and meat. Operating hours for these pantries vary, with some being open on a routine schedule and others having designated days and times.
Soup kitchens are established to serve hot meals to those who require them. The meals are usually served in a communal area like a church dining hall or cafeteria. Some soup kitchens may operate during lunch or dinner, while others might provide meals all day long. Additionally, some churches have mobile soup kitchens that move around to different locations to serve hot meals.
Churches often offer meal delivery services for people who are unable to leave their homes due to illness or disability. Volunteers from these churches are responsible for picking up and delivering the meals to those in need.
Along with food assistance, some churches may also offer financial support to families, such as assistance with bills, clothes, and furniture.
Aside from providing basic necessities, churches also aim to help people move out of poverty and become independent by offering support and resources. This may include job training, budget counseling, and other means to achieve self-sufficiency.
It's worth mentioning that churches aren't the sole providers of food assistance. Non-profits and government organizations offer similar services as well. Nonetheless, the role of churches in providing food assistance in their communities is crucial, particularly in regions where resources are limited.
In conclusion, churches play a significant role in reducing food insecurity in their communities through food assistance programs, meal delivery services, and other support. They also provide resources and guidance to aid people in overcoming poverty and achieving self-sufficiency.
After School Programs
Christian after-school programs for kids are designed to provide a safe and nurturing environment for children to learn and grow in their faith. These programs typically include a mix of activities such as Bible study, prayer, worship, and service projects. Many programs also incorporate educational activities such as homework assistance, tutoring, and enrichment activities.
One popular Christian after-school program is Awana, which stands for Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed. Awana is a global organization that offers a variety of programs for children, including Cubbies (for preschoolers), Sparks (for kindergarten through 2nd grade), T&T (for 3rd through 6th grade), and Trek and Journey (for middle and high school students). These programs focus on teaching children about God's love and character through Bible study, games, and other activities.
Another well-known Christian after-school program is Good News Club, a ministry of Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF). Good News Club is a weekly program that takes place in schools, homes, and community centers. The program teaches children about the Bible, the love of Jesus, and how to live a Christian life through songs, Bible stories, and memory verses.
In addition to these well-established programs, many churches and youth organizations also offer Christian after-school programs for children. These programs may include Bible study, worship, and service projects, as well as opportunities for children to build relationships with other believers and grow in their faith.
Christian after-school programs can also provide a sense of community and belonging for children, especially if they come from non-Christian families or families who do not attend church regularly. Many programs offer opportunities for children to form friendships with other children who share their faith, which can be incredibly valuable for children as they navigate their formative years.
It's also worth mentioning that many Christian after-school programs are open to children of all faith backgrounds and are inclusive of all types of families. The goal of these programs is to provide an environment where children can learn about God's love and character, and grow in their faith regardless of their background.
Overall, Christian after-school programs for kids can be a great way for children to learn about God, grow in their faith, and form friendships with other believers. They can also provide a sense of community and belonging for children, and offer valuable opportunities for children to develop their spiritual, academic and social skills. It is important for parents to research and carefully evaluate different programs to find one that aligns with their child's needs, interests, and schedule.
They should also communicate with the program's leaders to understand the program's goals, curriculum, and volunteer requirements. Many Christian after-school programs offer scholarships or financial aid to families who need it. All in all, Christian after-school programs can be a wonderful way for children to learn more about God and grow in their faith while also receiving academic support and having fun with other children.
In Christianity, the concepts of Christian mission and discipleship are closely linked. Christian missionaries are individuals or groups who strive to spread the teachings of Christianity to those who may not be familiar with the religion. They often travel to other countries or to remote regions within their own country to reach those who are not yet familiar with the Christian faith.
Discipleship is the process of becoming a follower of Jesus Christ and learning to live according to His teachings. It often involves instruction and mentoring from a more experienced Christian, known as a spiritual mentor or guide.
Christian missionaries play a vital role in the discipleship process by introducing people to the teachings of Jesus Christ and helping them understand the faith. They do this through sharing the Bible, leading worship services and other religious ceremonies, and providing aid and support to the communities where they are working.
As people begin to learn more about the Christian faith and the teachings of Jesus Christ, they may choose to become followers of Christ and begin the process of discipleship. This process typically involves a period of instruction and mentoring by a more experienced Christian, who can help guide them in their understanding of the faith and in their efforts to live according to the teachings of Jesus.
During this process, the new believer may be taught about the doctrines of the faith, the importance of prayer and worship, how to read and study the Bible, and how to live a life that is pleasing to God. Missionaries may also teach about the sacraments, such as baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and the importance of living a life of service to others.
As new believers deepen their understanding of the faith and their connection with God, they will be encouraged to actively participate in sharing the message of Christianity with others. This may include inviting friends and family to church, sharing the Gospel with those they encounter, and even becoming a missionary themselves.
The ultimate goal of Christian missionaries is to assist people in becoming fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ and to aid them in growing in their faith. Discipleship is an ongoing process that continues throughout a person's lifetime. Missionaries and spiritual mentors play a crucial role in this process by helping new believers comprehend the faith, encouraging them to live according to Jesus' teachings, and providing guidance and support as they continue to grow in their faith.
Wellbeing of the Community
Christians have played a significant role in providing social welfare throughout history. Many Christian denominations have established charities and other organizations to help the poor, the sick, and the marginalized. For example, the Catholic Church has a long history of operating hospitals, schools, and soup kitchens, and many Protestant denominations have established orphanages and other institutions to help children in need. Additionally, many individual Christians have been involved in charitable work and activism to help those in need.
The belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ, which focus on love and compassion for others, is often a motivation for Christians to engage in social welfare. The Bible contains numerous passages that call on believers to care for the poor and the needy, such as James 2:15-17, which states, "Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." This verse highlights the importance of Christians to put their faith into action by helping those in need.
Christian charities and organizations have played a vital role in providing social welfare services around the world. For example, World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization, works to combat poverty, hunger, and injustice in more than 90 countries. Similarly, the Salvation Army, a Christian denomination, operates shelters, rehab centers, and disaster relief services in countries all over the world. Many other Christian organizations such as Compassion International, Catholic Relief Services and Tear Fund also work to provide social welfare services such as education, health care and community development.
Additionally, many individual Christians have been involved in various social welfare causes and movements throughout history. For example, during the 19th century, Christians such as William Wilberforce and Harriet Tubman were instrumental in the abolition of slavery and the Underground Railroad, respectively. Similarly, in the 20th century, Christians such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Mother Teresa were leaders in the Civil Rights Movement and the fight against poverty, respectively.
In conclusion, Christians have played a significant role in providing social welfare throughout history. Many Christian denominations have established charities and other organizations to help the poor, the sick, and the marginalized, and many individual Christians have been involved in charitable work and activism to help those in need. The belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ is often a motivation for Christians to engage in social welfare. Today, there are many Christian charities and organizations that continue to make positive impact in local communities and around the world by providing social welfare services.
Christian Relief Efforts
Christian relief programs in war zones are efforts by Christian organizations and churches to provide aid and support to people affected by war and other forms of violence. These programs may include providing food, shelter, medical care, and other forms of humanitarian aid. They may also include efforts to rebuild communities and provide education and other forms of support to help people recover from the effects of war.
Christian relief programs in war zones are typically run by Christian humanitarian organizations, such as World Vision, Samaritan's Purse, and other Christian aid groups. These organizations work in partnership with local churches and other religious groups, as well as with government agencies and other non-governmental organizations, to provide aid and support to people in need.
In war zones, Christian relief programs often focus on providing emergency aid to people who have been displaced from their homes by violence. This can include providing food, water, and other basic necessities, as well as shelter and medical care. These programs may also provide psychological support and other forms of assistance to help people cope with the trauma of war.
Christian relief programs also work to rebuild communities and provide education and other forms of support to help people recover from the effects of war. This can include building schools, hospitals, and other infrastructure, as well as providing vocational training and other forms of education to help people find employment and support themselves.
In addition to providing aid and support to people affected by war, Christian relief programs in war zones may also focus on promoting peace and reconciliation. This can include efforts to bring warring parties together for negotiations and peace talks, as well as programs to promote understanding and tolerance between different groups.
It is important to note that Christian relief programs in war zones may face significant challenges and dangers, as they are often operating in areas that are highly unstable and dangerous. Missionaries and aid workers may be at risk of kidnapping, harm or death. Therefore, Christian organizations take great care to ensure the safety and security of their staff and volunteers, and they are typically very experienced in working in difficult and dangerous environments.
In summary, Christian relief programs in war zones are efforts by Christian organizations and churches to provide aid and support to people affected by war and other forms of violence. These programs may include providing food, shelter, medical care, and other forms of humanitarian aid, rebuilding communities and providing education and other forms of support to help people recover from the effects of war, and promoting peace and reconciliation. These efforts may face significant challenges and dangers in war zones, but Christian organizations take great care to ensure the safety and security of their staff and volunteers and they have significant experience working in difficult and dangerous environments.
Christian missionaries are individuals or groups who are dedicated to spreading the teachings of Jesus Christ to people who may not be familiar with the religion. They often travel to other countries or to remote areas within their own country in order to reach those who are not yet familiar with the Christian faith.
One of the primary ways that Christian missionaries share the message of Christianity is through the sharing of the Bible. Missionaries will often give out copies of the Bible in the local language and explain its teachings to those who are interested. They may also lead Bible studies and other religious education programs to help people learn more about the faith.
In addition to sharing the teachings of Jesus, Christian missionaries often provide other forms of aid to the communities where they are working. This can include building schools and hospitals, providing education and healthcare services, and helping to establish other social programs. The goal of these efforts is not only to help the people they are working with, but also to demonstrate the love and compassion of the Christian faith in a tangible way.
One of the ultimate goals of Christian missionaries is to convert people to Christianity and help them live according to the teachings of the religion. Missionaries will often spend a significant amount of time building relationships with the people they are working with and helping them to understand the faith in a way that is meaningful to them. This can include explaining the beliefs and practices of Christianity and addressing any questions or concerns that people may have.
It is important to note that the work of Christian missionaries has been subject to criticism over the centuries, with accusations of cultural imperialism, forced conversions, and other human rights violations. Missionaries are encouraged to respect the culture and customs of the people they are working with, and to do their work in a way that is sensitive to the local context.
Despite these criticisms, Christian missionaries continue to work in many parts of the world today. They are driven by a deep belief in the power of the Jesus to change lives and bring hope to people in need. Their work can be challenging and often difficult, but they are committed to spreading the message of Jesus Christ to as many people as possible.
Aid to Society
For centuries some kind of social welfare has deeply impacted society. In modern day, charitable organizations can have a positive impact on communities by providing assistance to those in need, promoting education and public health, and building community infrastructure. These are just a few examples of how charity can positively impact communities and overall society.
One specific benefit of charity organizations is that they often provide basic necessities such as food, clothing, shelter, etc. to individuals and families in need. These things greatly contribute to improving their quality of life and also assists them in getting back on their feet. The existence of upporting local economies: Charitable organizations often purchase goods and services from local businesses, which can help stimulate economic activity and support local job growth.
Promoting education: Many charitable organizations support education, either by providing funding for schools or by offering educational programs and resources. This can help improve educational outcomes and promote social mobility.
Improving public health: Charitable organizations can help improve public health by providing medical care or promoting healthy behaviors. This can lead to improved health outcomes for individuals and communities.
Building community infrastructure: Charitable organizations may also help fund the construction of community centers, libraries, and other facilities that provide important services to local residents.
Overall, charitable organizations can have a positive and lasting impact on communities by providing assistance to those in need, supporting local economies and education, and improving public health and community infrastructure.
Global Catalytic Ministries - Spreading the Message of Jesus Worldwide.