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August 22, 2022

Fully Christian And Fully Asian

Fully Christian and fully Asian. I was privileged to visit with some Bataknese people here in Southeast Asia. On my last day of visit, my host arranged for a time of worship, dance, singing, and affirmation of our humanity. It was uniquely Batak, dance steps in the tribal way, singing songs in the language of their ancestors, and moving with everyone that only belong to their Bataknese identity. They welcomed me as one of their own. The leaders draped me in the traditional garb with its tribal colors. Everyone coached me to dance in the rhythms of their tradition.

I have never felt more fully human and fully Christian before this particular worship time of Bataknese dance and songs. I started praising God in unfamiliar tongues and moved with the people in the beat of their culture. I felt so close to God in a very strange way. Fully Christian and fully Asian. God be praised!

Christ Of Today

“The transforming power of Christ among the people is what draws outsiders into the circle of Christian fellowship,” Pastor Abi shares to me through my interpreter and consultant Dr. Mamahit. I am here in Southeast Asia visiting several partners. One of them is Pastor Abi, who is working among the Muslim people of this Southeast Asian nation. He narrates how they intentionally share the gospel in simple ways, focus on building relationships, give more time in Bible applications, and gather together in small groups. As I was listening to Pastor Abi, I wondered how this ministry could be replicated around the world. Would there be a level of success if we follow this model of sharing Jesus?

Many of these indigenous ministries are outside of our comfort zone, not to mention that most of them are beyond our usual ways of understanding what a Christian ministry looks like. Pastor Abi’s members are still considered Muslims by many of their neighbors. They are popularly known as “Followers of Jesus,” and are not ostracized by their Muslim families. Unheard of in the minds of most Christians. And yet, the Lord of the Harvest is raising up leaders like Pastor Abi and the gospel grows in the lives of the people.

“We share the story of Jesus from both the Koran and the Bible,” Pastor Abi continues. He was quick, however, to say that the final word is always the biblical stories of Jesus. He explains how the people soon realize that the Jesus of the Bible is the Christ of today whenever they experience healing of the sick, reconciliation of families, and many answers to simple prayers. The transforming power of Christ becomes an everyday encounter. So, do you think we can replicate this kind of ministry in our churches today?