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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the Ends of the Earth

We have done a great job as churches ministering to our communities. We have done a great job ministering to those around the world. But for some reason, we haven't done so well with those in the middle. Let me explain.

Acts 1:8 says " 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

It seems to me churches find it easy to target their local town--their Jerusalem--and find ways to minister. This includes Sunday worship, children's and youth ministries, senior adult ministries, compassionate ministries, etc. The list goes on. It's quite natural to focus on these much needed ministries, and we surely need to keep being creative, understand our towns, and do our best to love them.

We also do well at witnessing to the ends of the earth. We send missionaries to Haiti, Africa, South America, Asia, etc. We take special offerings. We hear the amazing stories of how God is working and answering prayers and people are coming to Christ! We have work and witness trips that change our lives as much as those to whom we minister. Again, I strongly believe we need to continue to be creative and reach all cultures for Christ. Loving well, and attracting people to Jesus.

I wonder, though, if we are doing as good as a job reaching our Judea and Samaria. For many churches, this is hard to even define. Who is this group of people?

It occurs to me that Crosswalks Coffee is one part of that answer. We are close enough to some churches to be their Judea. For others, BSU is enemy territory, with as much disdain as the Jewish people in Jesus day had for Samaria. That means we are your Samaria. We're outside your direct community influence, and not far enough to be the ends of the world.

The awesome thing, though, is that we can position ourselves to reach those from the community, those from surrounding states and areas, and those from around the world all at once. We offer a rare opportunity to be witness to a unique mission field.

I wonder what might happen if churches saw reaching their Judea and Samaria as crucial as reaching the ends of the earth? I believe we offer an opportunity to do just that, and we invite you to join us!