On Go. Serve. Love, we talk a lot about strategies to reach the 4.13 billion unreached.
This month, we’re geared up to share stories from Avant Ministries, which since 1892 has focused on planting and developing the church in unreached areas of the world.
Through church planting, church support ministries, media, education, camp and business, Avant hopes to establish churches among the unreached: mature, nationally-led churches that desire to plant more churches, first in their own city, and then all over the world.
Avant trains, sends and serves missionaries in over 50 countries globally. (Catch Avant’s Meet an Agency post here!) Today, we share Sylvia’s story.
By Sylvia Schroeder
They come, a little bewildered, some heralding children yapping at their ankles and running in circles, some almost newlyweds with blank-slate futures while others brave it alone. Obedient to God’s tap on the shoulder, sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s grip of the heart and passionate about the message of Christ’s gospel, they are willing to step over boundaries. Ready to become like children again, dependent on others, they will stumble and babble in unknown terrain for the sake of the gospel.
In the ministry my husband and I are involved in, we are humbled by partnership with overseas kingdom workers. We are privileged participants to Jesus’ moving in hearts fresh and new. In the process they arrive eager for instruction, but as happens, we often end up the learners. “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” (Ephesians 6:13; NASB)
As a sending agency we strategize and plan, we look at what and how our global workers will endure. We consider past successes and failures, victories and defeats, and we work hard to give appropriate tools, as we should. As we must.
One of our candidates, reminded those of us who have already been, how the battle is won. I’d never connected the passage we taught from Ephesians with the story of David and Goliath, but he did. Once again, the teacher learns more than the student. “And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” (1 Samuel 17:37; NASB)
These young eager faces, taking notes like their lives depend on it will face fierce opposition because their enemy is not fleshtheir enemy is not flesh and blood. “Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” (Ephesians 6:14-16; NASB.)
We tell them what we think they should know. We give them what we think they will need. We do our best to equip them well. “Then Saul clothed David with his garments and put a bronze helmet on his head, and he clothed him with armor.” (1 Samuel 17:38; NASB)
“I feel heavy,” this student candidate said, novice in experience yet anticipating future warfare. “There is so much to learn and so much to know. I feel like David with too much armor, too many tools. I can’t carry them all.”
David girded his sword over his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. So David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” And David took them off.” (1 Sam. 17:39; NASB)
And this new worker about to fling himself and his family into the battle, held up his sword, the Word of God, a reminder to us all. “David put down the tools he didn’t need but took the essential because he knew victory belonged to God,” he said. “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”(Ephesians 6:17; NASB)
Oh my, I needed this lesson. How ripe we believers are in an age of ready information, to wear it like armor. Too often I equip myself with other people’s expertise, books, and really good input. I pile it on like dependable layers for the future, while my core trust in God weakens underneath like unexercised, untoned muscles.
Sometimes the more I learn, the heavier my armor, but like David, I can’t carry it all. This go-er reminded his class where to place their trust. The battle belongs to the Lord. His Word is the sword powerful to protect us and bring people to the truth of the gospel. “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” (Ephesians 6:13; NASB)
What’s your armor? “And Saul said to David, “Go, and may the Lord be with you.” (1 Sam. 17:38; NASB)