This past Sunday, the Discovery microchurches took a “field trip.” We went to another church in the area to hear Ajai Lall, founder of Central India Christian Mission (CICM), speak about his work. CICM celebrates their 25th anniversary this year. In those 25 years, CICM has planted 620 churches. Those churches have a combined 175,000 people worshiping Jesus. That’s mind-blowing. We get excited here in the states when we plant a church that eventually runs 1,000… and a majority of those people have come from other churches. CICM works in an area of India (as well as parts of Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal) where less than 1% of the people claim to be Christian. In addition to planting churches, CICM does a great deal of humanitarian work, which opens the door for the gospel to be preached–medical work, working with orphans, etc. God is truly doing great things in the world. You can see the video of his message here (the audio isn’t the greatest–we’re trying to get a better audio source).
Ajai talked about being a Christian extremist. We hear the word “extremist” and we think about dudes like Osama Bin Laden–people who take their faith so seriously that they’re willing to die for it (and, in the violent threads of Islam and even Hinduism, force others who disagree to die with them).
What does a Christian extremist look like? Here in the states, we tend to think of the “religious right”, guys like Pat Robertson and the late Jerry Falwell, people protesting at gay rallies and abortion clinics. But when you look in the Bible, you see that Christian extremism isn’t about self-righteous finger pointing, political protesting, or lobbying for the government to legislate righteousness. It’s about imitating Jesus–having extreme love for your enemies, having extreme concern for those who don’t know Jesus, having extreme compassion for those in need, and having extreme forgiveness for those who wrong you. It’s about being Jesus where you are, and living in such a way that people are both attracted to Jesus and, paradoxically, reactionary to it. It’s about being so open to God’s leading that you’ll go wherever He calls you to go–whether it be across the world or across the street.
Ajai challenged us to ask ourselves a question: what are you doing with what God has given you? Are we willing to be Christian extremists who have extreme love, extreme, compassion, extreme forgiveness, and extreme concern? We don’t have to be on foreign soil to have and practice those things. We can do it right where we are (although we must be ready if God should send us elsewhere). There are so many people who don’t know Jesus right in our back yard and across the world.
What extremes will we go to in order to tell them and show them Jesus?