Blessed to be a Blessing
Coaching the mission-minded church
Venezuela is sending out missionaries to the unreached peoples of our world. Unfortunately, local churches have not always understood or supported their work like they should or could.
The Gospel preached in Latin America has often emphasized that Christ died to meet our needs. In such a power-oriented culture this has resulted in the flourishing of the prosperity gospel and in many subtle ways it has affected churches of all denominations (including Baptists). In general, there is the belief that God wants to help us fulfill the desires of our heart. People look to God to be blessed. Latins look for blessing so that life will be good and so that God will help them live out their plans. There is little emphasis on the fact that it is actually God who has a plan, and that He has created us to be part of HIS plan.
The Kairos course (www.kairoscourse.org) is being used of God to make a difference; to help believers change their perspective on why God blesses His people. Kairos is a 40-hour interactive program designed to educate and mobilize local churches regarding God´s plan and activity in global mission. It actually seeks to change the worldview of the local church, so that the church is involved in what God is doing in our world. One of the key concepts taught in the program is that we are blessed by God, so that we might use the blessings He has given us to bless others, and to particularly bless the unreached peoples of our world.
Maylin Pernía explains how Kairos was used of God to change her worldview:
“I always had the idea that by accepting Christ into my heart that I was blessed and that God would bless me. I believed that it was a blessing meant exclusively for me, and that if others wanted to be blessed then they needed to accept Christ. This more or less also determined how I evangelized others. Never before had I seen so clearly from the Scriptures that we are blessed in order to be a blessing. I now recognize that if God wants to bless others, then I am an agent of this blessing and that God will bless others through me with the blessing that He has given me.“
Maylin goes on to explain how she is seeking to put this into practice:
“For the past seven years I have been working at Toyota. I work closely with a number of Japanese colleagues. Even though communicating with them is difficult given that they only speak to men, I had never thought of praying for them, that God might reach them and open opportunities so that I might show them the love of Christ. They are right there every day, but I never thought about reaching out to them. I only thought about reaching Venezuelan colleagues. Today, I have a different vision. I know Christ wants to reach them and I have a role in what He wants to do.”
Maylin’s story is repeated over and over among graduates of the Kairos program. In Venezuela Kairos has resulted in people getting together to pray for the unreached and for missionaries. It has led to a greater awareness of the different ethnic groups that live in our communities and to seeking God as to how we might reach them. Kairos has been responsible for an increase in financial support for mission activity, to greater understanding of what it means to be a missionary, in greater compassion for the lost and an increase in evangelism. Above all else, it has helped believers to realize that they have a role to play in the mission of God using the blessings God has given them, right here, right now.
As Fernando Cabrera summarized,
“Kairos sensitized me to what it means to be a Christian. I cannot be selfish about the blessings God gives me. It is necessary to be a blessing to others. His blessing is a gift that obliges me and urges me to be a blessing to others. Being a blessing is about being involved with God, not only in going to the nations, but in sending, praying and supporting financially. All of these areas are important because above all else, it is working with God as a team.”
—Ken and Mary Ann Jolley recently returned to Canada after twenty-five years of service with Fellowship International in Caracas, Venezuela. Among other responsibilities, Ken was Director of the Kairos program in Venezuela and was instrumental in introducing the program in other Latin American countries.