By Tony Dale
Continued from Where In the World Is the Church?
It is not that God just wants to raise up church in any and every place where He sends His people. He also wants to raise up apostolic and prophetic leadership to demonstrate His divine love and power to a world that is waiting to see Gods word become flesh…
Victor Choudhrie is such an apostolic figure. This highly successful and acclaimed cancer surgeon was also the Dean of one of the best-known medical schools in India when God told him to leave medicine and start planting churches. With no theological background and no church planting experience, he was forced into the only textbook he knew on the subject, namely, the book of Acts.
Now, 12 years later, there are more than 10,000 churches and 100,000 people who are a part of those churches that were started through Victors obedience to the Holy Spirit. This is apostolic work, the ascended Christ building his church.
In our own limited way, Felicity and I have seen the power of Christ in the marketplace of business. Unable to practice medicine in America because our British licensing is not accepted over here, we moved into business. Some years ago we started an evangelistic Bible study with some of our business colleagues.
We invited 12 friends to join us for a weekly study in the book of Proverbs so that we could explore together what the wisest man who ever lived had to say about wealth and finance. Over the course of the next year all 12 came to Christ. This is church. This is the risen Christ reaching into peoples lives, where they are, and meeting them at their place of need.
If you are looking for the apostolic and prophetic people in church, you may be looking in the wrong place. Many, marginalized by their churches, are nevertheless reaching out in ways that only the Holy Spirit could have initiated and are demonstrating how to bring church to the people, rather than people to church.
Jesus never told us to go and get the people to come. He told us to come to Him so that He could send us out. As Keith Green so eloquently put it in one of his songs, Jesus commands us to go; it takes a call to stay. The businessman is as called as the evangelist, the university professor as called as the pastor. And whats more, the businessman and the professor can probably support themselves in the process.
It is an entirely Greek philosophy, which gives rise to the impression that somehow it is more spiritual to be pastoring than to be creating profits. The nature of the apostolic is to be entrepreneurial. Paul wanted to labor where no one else had gone before. He was not looking to build on another mans foundation or to be supported by another persons labor. For him it was a matter of pride that he could find a way to bring the gospel to people without charge.
Many in the business community are an incredible example of what the Romans 12 ministry of giving is all about.
Rich Devos, the owner of the Orlando Magic basketball team, not only models how to maturely manage and give away millions of dollars to inner city missions, but also has devoted his time and talents as Chairman of the Board of Gospel Films, helping it reach millions for Christ through film. Mike Hatley, a friend and neighbor of ours works as a software security expert, travelling all over the country to support client applications.He and his wife, Sue, lead a growing group in their home, in spite of their hectic schedules. This too is church.
Time and space does not permit us to look at the huge number of other examples of the entrepreneurs who are extending the Kingdom of God. A campus group may not be comfortable calling itself church, because it may be viewed as competing with the real churches off campus. But does that make it any less church in the Biblical sense? Look at the awesome work being done through Campus Renewal Ministries and Campus Church Networks!
Christ is calling the church to get out of the walls and into the world. It is when He is lifted up in the marketplace that the people will see Him and be drawn unto Him.
If you liked this article, check out: A Community of Affirmation
Tony is the editor of House2House magazine. He lives with his wife, Felicity in Austin, Texas. He alsoowns a successful business, which helps people without insurance who are struggling with medical bills – The Karis Group www.thekarisgroup.com.