Tuesday, June 17, 2008


One of the many blessings that came about as a result of our recent trip to Swaziland was the people who traveled with us. Larry Bergeron was one of those folks. At the time, Larry was serving as pastor of a good-sized church. He was already passionate about orphans and caring for them in both spiritual and practical ways. His church was involved in a ministry that provided highly nutritious food at a low cost to orphans and other malnourished children in places such as Swaziland. In fact, while we were there, Larry and others were able to actually cook up some of their prepackaged food packets and serve them to some very precious children at one of the carepoints.

Since returning from Swaziland, God has brought about many changes for Larry and his family. One of the biggest changes is that Larry stepped down from his pastorate and started a ministry that is allowing him to pursue his desire to provide for "the least of these" in a much bigger way. In future blog posts, I will be sharing more about Larry and A CHILD'S HOPE. Today I wanted to share with you something that Larry wrote and sent to me. May it stir you up as you seek to live out the Father's passion in the world today.

In a recent article in the Leading Edge from the EFCA, Jim Fann comments on an article by Alan Hirsch. Hirsch found himself intrigued by a report of the early church’s incredible expansion. From 100 to 300 AD, Hirsch noted that the church grew “from being a small movement to being the most significant force in the Roman empire”. This was in spite of the fact that Christianity...

*was an “illegal” religion
*didn't have church buildings,
*didn't have the scriptures as we know them or “professional” leadership
*didn't have seeker-sensitive services, youth groups, worship bands, seminaries, etc.

*was very hard for people to join

How did this fledgling movement manage not just to survive but to thrive, the speaker wondered? And can we do it again? Based on his research and experience, Hirsch is convinced that we can. But this won’t come by following contemporary advice...

*to expand your building
*ensure accessible parking
*provide good preaching
*an inspiring worship service with a first-rate band
*offer quality programs and small groups rooted in a Christian education model
*make sure that next week is better than last week

Why are so many churches shrinking, dying and fraught with conflict, tension and minimal world impact? Hirsch believes that far too many churches have destroyed its most attractive and dynamic aspects, turning a high-intensity, grassroots movement into an arrogant institution controlled by an elite who often managed to be both brutal and not involved in the world.

His solution to what is seen in so many churches today?

Presence. In Jesus, God was fully present to us. As Christ’s followers, this means that “to relate to and influence” our world, we “need to do it from within its cultural forms and expressions”.

Proximity. Like Jesus, we’re sent to befriend outcast people and live life in proximity with the broken and the lost. Our ministries must reflect this more fully.

Powerlessness. Jesus took the form of a servant and not of someone who rules. So should we. Sadly, too many churches have this equation all wrong and power does corrupt.

Proclamation. Jesus was sent to herald the reign of God and call people to respond in repentance and faith

Something to ponder today – Presence, Proximity, Powerlessness and Proclamation. You can join us as partners with A Child's Hope International in each of these areas individually and as a church body committed to seeing Christ lifted higher.

A Child's Hope International exists because the children are waiting.

Larry Bergeron
A Child's Hope International
Liberty Township, OH


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