Keep on Amid Setbacks, Opposition and Persecution
Yes, fellow workers, we will endure, with God’s help, as thousands have done before us, no matter what ordeals Satan thrusts upon us.
Yes, Lord Jesus, we are shouldering your cross; we will not surrender it except to death. Grant us the grace that you gave Paul and to a myriad of others, to endure victorious amidst torturous trials.
Cultivate resolute courage with the power that Jesus promised.
Satan fights back, when churches or cell groups start multiplying in a New Testament way. Be ready. His most disheartening attacks often come from well-meaning, traditionally-minded Evangelicals. Workers who do significant things for God all endure painful ordeals; Jesus said His followers would carry a cross, and His apostles warned that God would let us suffer in order to refine our faith. Peter told us to rejoice while suffering through trials.
Enlist caring friends and others to pray for you. Keep people advised of your needs and trials, encourage them to pray, and send them notes giving God’s answers to their prayers. Work to have your ministry supported by those who will pray faithfully and specifically for you, and the people you are trying to reach.
Resources For While You …
Practice staying below the radar. Provide realistic experiences while preparing “underground” workers. Simulate a secret, training church that meets several times, avoiding “police” who try to find it. This powerful training exercise has proved a consistent favorite:
Face Goliath-sized challenges. Relive David’s anointing and his encounter with Israel’s enemies:
Bolster sagging courage. Relive Esther’s valiant feat. Show how God delivered His people in exile from Satan’s agents, with this dramatic enactment:
Burrow. Going “underground” to survive is becoming increasingly necessary, worldwide:
Avoid arrests due to unwise communication. Hostile authorities spy on correspondence from abroad. Send any kind of mail only to a safe address, and phone with extreme care:
Escape Pharaoh. Overcoming oppressive government laws for non-profit organizations. Even in free democracies, the state dictates to some degree how churches must organize to get a tax-free status, thereby luring churches and mission agencies into an institutional mold that is foreign to Scripture:
Climb out of old ruts. Keep setbacks from becoming chronic ones. Nip problems in the bud, or simply bypass whatever is causing them:
Arm the vanguard. Bring about needed change, even though others fail to see their urgency:
Dial heaven’s emergency number. Overcome inevitable opposition from friends, enemies and demons:
Side-step Satan’s slippery slope when starting cells. Expose these popular practices that force small groups into an institutional mold:
Leap over tall steeples. Disable these common fears of taking that first, long step to multiply:
Lose weight. Leave behind your church body’s excess flab when penetrating another field. Foreign practices invariably stifle church multiplication. Avoid any alliance with workers who cling to their home church’s practices, or who embrace worn-out mission policies.
Seize the moment. Beware of the assertion, “We must pray much about that first,” when one means it merely as a spiritual-sounding euphemism for “No.” Prayer yes; lazy delay no! Discern things that can be done too quickly, and things that should be done as quickly as possible:
Spot booby traps and hidden trip wires. Differentiate between trust and gullibility to avoid Evangelical frauds, which are increasing:
Duck for safety. Accept criticism and opposition with grace. If you serve with an old denomination, you may find these guidelines helpful:
Oil rusty wheels. Keep things moving by avoiding friction between believers holding other views of church structure and procedures:
Common Traps To Avoid
Provoke opposition needlessly, in a foreign field, by violating local cultural norms. Let local people teach you what is acceptable and helpful, and what is not.
Become discouraged when growth is at a snail’s pace.
Even when growth is slow, you can still see rapid multiplication; simply keep multiplying disciples, leaders and slow-growing churches. Let the exponential factor of a chain reaction slowly take its effect. The sower in Jesus’ parable could not see the plants grow; for although growth was too slow, it produced a great harvest.