Give Me Back My Church

Recently I met a senior pastor, a highly respected person who has been faithfully serving the Lord for more than 30 years. One of the questions we discussed was this:

“If we were Jesus, what would we say to churches today?” Both of us paused for some time and felt very uncomfortable to come up with the answer. Eventually, he broke the silent and said, “Give me back my church.”

I was shocked for a while, and then tears started to spill out on my cheeks. That silent moment was very painful, very hard, and stressful.

Jesus poured out His life and built the “Church” by Himself. He entrusted His Church with all authority that even the gates of Hades couldn’t overcome. The Church holds the keys of the kingdom of heaven.

In the world today, we have seen that many churches don’t function or make an impact as they are supposed to. They are not salt and light to the community.

salt and light verse

We have seen church growth and an increase in the Christian population in many parts of the world, but poverty and social problems have also increased. It seems that the assumption that “more churches + more Christians = more impact” is not always true.

So let’s ask ourselves these questions:

  1. How can Compassion work with local churches for greater impact in every country we’re in?
  2. Is there anything that each of us, as part of the universal Church, can do to make our congregation a place of light and salt to our community?
  3. Should Compassion explore any interventions to help churches that are not our partners be catalysts of transformation?

“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” –Matthew 16:18–19, NIV

Prayer: We pray that the Church will be a catalyst and will fulfill God’s mandate.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sanya Ladaphongpattana serves as the Country Director for Compassion Thailand.

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4 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Sanya Ladaphongpattana June 26, 2021

    Thank you so much for these great inputs. They are very relevant and I pray that we can do somethings to gather like minded ministry and mvoe togeter for a greater impacts in Thailand and also the idea of alumni, mini leadership development program, etc.

    Praise God and thank you so much.

  2. Tondja Colvin November 25, 2012

    Winston Salem, NC

    Well written and thought provoking.

  3. Gerald November 20, 2012

    Have you thought of holding conferences in various parts of the country, based upon interest, that tells your story, hears our and works with leaders to create a network that connects American Christians in the churches with international opportunities to serve?
    I’ll help you do it….

  4. Kees boer November 20, 2012

    On question 1. I’ve thought about this a lot and I’ll give my thoughts from just one view and not necessarily a total view of the entire Compassion ministry.

    But the alumni associations in the country are very important to be able to have a continual influence on that country. In other words, if we spend all of the energy to have children love Christ, somehow we need to mobilize these young adults to now that they are released to continue seeing themselves on a mission to release others. This would create a multiplied effect. So, do the teenagers when they graduate from Compassion know how to share the Gospel and lead others to Christ? Then are they grounded in the Word of God? Can they defend the basic doctrines of the faith? Can they withstand every wind of doctrine that might come at them. Cults are also working to reach these same teenagers.

    It would be great if there was a program, sort of like a baby LDP, which people could get involved in. In Bolivia they call this GAP. That this program like the CDSP would run by their local churches, maybe by the pastors. They would be developing leaders of them. LDP is quite expensive, hence it is a bit difficult to enter this. But what if every church had a handful of young upcoming leaders that could be the future leadership of that congregation. Maybe they could even go to the University. Or maybe Compassion could provide a way for the sponsor to just sponsor them in this program and if the sponsor is able to, to pay for the university education, but they would have a way to actually pay for their university without having to worry about whether the money actually gets there.

    Continue to have the LDP in the mean time, but raise the bar for it. Let the Local Church be the one who raises them up to be leaders, but the goal would not be to raise up a good engineer or so, but truly a man of God, who will make a huge impact in their country. I.e. an LDP student would not have as a goal to maybe one day be the sponsor of a child. As exciting and great as that is, it would be to truely make an impact on their surroundings.

    But again, I’m speaking from a very limited prospective.

    In the mean time, thank you for your work with Compassion in Thailand, especially to my little girl Thawinee. 🙂

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