>During my time at Wheaton College, the class that I dreaded taking the most (largely because I thought it was irrelevant) was World Christian Perspectives. Without knowing much about the class, I thought that it was a superfluous addition to an exegesis program and had no business being there. Thus, I decided to take the class as an independent study over the summer (which then stretched out to the Fall). Ironically, the class that I dreaded the most had the most impact on me – my class on the gospel of Mark coming in a close second. The class opened my eyes to the importance and necessity of recognizing and dialoguing with the global church. A variety of readings ranging from Phillip Jenkins’ matter-of-fact presentations of the state of the global church to more liberal writings from R.S. Sugirtharajah cause me to really rethink my assumptions about the global church and the church of N. America. You see, I assumed that because we were a church that was blessed materially and resource-wise, that therefore the N. American church was the theological center of the global faith. The issue has a great deal of complexity, but this much can be said – the N. American church is one Church at the global table. I think the recent Lausanne Congress testified to that. What does this have to do with anything, you ask? Well, as I have come to understand how the American church fits into the larger global church dialogue, I am seeing the American church’s unique contributions as well as its severe deficiencies. As well, from my experience growing up in a bi-cultural home, and subsequently, bi-cultural immigrant church (and now serving in a predominantly Causasian one), I see the larger needs and resources that the American church has in particular. This has caused me to pray for the N. American church – that she would rise up with humility and passion, uniting with the global church for the cause of seeing the Gospel reach the ends of the earth.
What do you think are the unique resources of the N. American church? What do you think are its deficiencies? What might we learn from the global church?
Here are the prayer requests for Day 32 (eight more days!)
- Pray that God would convict the church of North America of its areas of compromise and idolatry – materialism, loose morality, departure from the Word of God, greed, and a lack of concern for the things of God.
- Pray that God would refine his Church through suffering and persecution – awakening her to be an active presence and voice in our culture. Pray that the Church would be different from the world.
- Pray that the Church would have a greater dependence on the Lord, not on programs, packaged ideas, technology, material resources, or our own know-how.
- Pray for a renewed passion for evangelism and discipleship within the Church.
- Pray for pure doctrine and for pastors/teachers of the Word. Pray that the Word of God would be proclaimed in its full counsel.
- Pray that the Church would play an active role in ministering to the needs of the least of these – prisoners, the sick, the poor, the homeless. Pray for compassion and a desire for justice to motivate the Church.
- Pray that the church of N. America would be active in responding to global crises (AIDS, human oppression, persecution, natural disasters, etc.) and in participating in international missions endeavors through a spirit of humility and partnership. Pray against pride and arrogance.