Why Strategic World Impact?
“Assisting the Church in a Strategic Response for a Strategic Harvest.: This is the first in a series of articles that are intended to provide the reader with a reference point as to the “why’s” of Strategic World Impact. In an effort to clarify our position with regard to our mission and why we exist the above statement will be examined and clarified phrase by phrase. As it reads, there are three parts which give meaning to the sum of the statement:
“Assisting the Church”
“in a strategic response” and
“for a strategic harvest”.
In this, less than exhaustive, article we will be examining the first phrase. In the first place, why does the Church need assisting? Is there an inherent flaw in the structure of the Church so that it needs help? What can SWI really do to assist the Church? These are all good questions deserving of more than mundane answers.
Let’s begin with the definition of the “Church.” The definition that I will be using for this article is that of the universal people group who have placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior and who is the only one who can save them from the wrath of God, which is directed against all sin. Since that definition can be used for any person in any denomination it is suitable for our purposes.
Does the Church need assisting?
I believe that Paul answered that question when he wrote the words: “just as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:25-27) The immediate context is that of marriage, but the fact remains that Jesus Christ applied His self-sacrificing love to the Church. Our attention then should be focused on the object of His affection, which is the Church. Is the church perfect and in no need of help? Obviously, the answer to that is a resounding “NO!” The point is that we should also focus on the Church. The church has been given a diversity of gifts through the Holy Spirit for the diversity of activities. (See 1 Corinthians 12:4, 6). Does this include ministries, like Strategic World Impact that are considered para church organizations? If you understand that the para church is part of the universal church because of the diversity of gifts then you will understand that organizations, like SWI, exist to assist the church with the Spirit’s gifts. Just as a missionary is part of the body of Christ an organization such as Strategic World Impact is also an integral part of the universal Church.
What niche does Strategic World Impact fill in assisting the Church?
As you are already aware, SWI’s vision is to work in areas of war, persecution (primarily Christian), and natural disaster. In so doing, the teams that go out in the name of Jesus Christ are able to bring the hope of Christ crucified and raised to those who are in desperate situations and who are in crisis. As you know, not all are “called” into these types of situations and it would be difficult, at best, to expect that local churches abandon their posts here in America to go to the war torn countries of the world. But what a local church cannot accomplish, individuals can in the Body of Christ.
SWI provides a vehicle for the gospel to be preached. Those local churches, which may not have the resources to accomplish their desires to go into these types of situations, are enabled to do so through the work of SWI. We recognize that we cannot meet the needs of every local church, but we do believe that we can encourage those churches to open their hearts to the possibilities of going to areas that urgently need Christ. We do this by providing short-term mission opportunities for individuals or groups from the local church. It is our desire that once people have seen the desperate need for the gospel that they will come back to their home church forever changed in their hearts and then they can recruit more ambassadors for the proclamation of the good news. If this is accomplished our mission is complete even if we never again hear from the Church or from the individuals. Our goal is not to make the Church dependent upon SWI; instead we want to serve the Church. In this way the great commission encourages the local church and the universal Church becomes the recipient of a Holy Spirit lead movement to “go and make disciples of all nations.” Testimonials from the trips can be the catalyst for those who previously may not have considered missions to go.
Is Strategic World Impact assisting the Church?
Ultimately, God will be the judge of that but our prayer is to be used in a way that will glorify the Bridegroom. And, as our vision statement reads, “It is our prayer to be used by the Lord to encourage the body of Christ to further rise to the call of world evangelism, particularly in forsaken areas.” If we have encouraged one Christian to be active in the great commission then we believe that we are assisting the Church.
May we, together, accomplish greater things than we could ever accomplish alone. May we ask you to consider, as well, how God might be leading you to assist His church.