“Risk great things for God, and God will do great things.” – William Carey
“Oh my God”, I cried out, “Something like this may not happen a second time! I will not survive it!” What had happened?
One Sunday I had invited a friend to come to church with me. I could feel his tension; he hadn’t entered a church service for many years. I was sitting next to him with a thankful heart, because God had answered my prayers and my friend finally came to church with me. After the service was over, I asked him: “How did you like it?”
He turned to me with an angry face and said: “Don’t you ever do this again! I haven’t seen such a boring, lifeless, irrelevant and unprofessional performance in a long time. I would rather sleep in my bed than in these chairs here. Don’t you ever invite me to a church service again!”
My joy vanished in less than a second and turned into frustration, but I did not give up, so I asked him: “Is it the faith in God that made you upset?” – “No,” he said, with a now more sad tone in his voice, “it is the style of the church, the sound and style of the music, the atmosphere, and how the people interact with each other.” I knew exactly what he was talking about; I told him that I was sincerely sorry about it.
That night I couldn’t go to sleep for hours. His words were hurting me. I knew that his criticism had hit the bulls eye.
I cried to God: “Why is church the most boring place on earth for many people? What has changed in church that so many people are afraid of it?”
This experience set a godly, radical energy free in me. A church is put together of very many different kinds of people. It could become the most attractive and interesting place on earth with God changing lives if only everyone would serve by using their personal talents. Then the church would have that unlimited power, which would spread sparks of hope.
“The world will thank you, if you try something new.” – Anselm Grün
Two of our most proven people will leave ICF Zurich this summer 2013 with their whole family. ND & Sophal Strupler will plant a new ICF church in Cambodia. They are ready for a really big adventure.
We (ICF Zurich) asked how all this happened and what they feel personally.
Interview with ND Strupler
How on earth did it come about that you decided to move to Cambodia with your family? Your wife Sophal is an adoptive child from Cambodia…
This has to do with our first decision we took over 20 years ago: We where part in the ICF project and are prepared to go “all in”. Now it’s the same just with another challenge. It is a consequence of our first decision wanting to have an excited life in the kingdom of God. Sophal was the one who took the initiative to plant an ICF in Cambodia. It wouldn’t have been my choice, I would have picked California (another place with “C”…). But when she vocalized this, I also realized that like a puzzle many pieces fit together and it really made sense.
Where in Cambodia will you start and why?
After a time of research we chose the city of Siem Reap. At the moment, this is the fastest growing city in Cambodia because it is a tourist spot which attracts many Cambodians from the surrounding provinces. Unfortunately, it’s not near to the sea but one flying hour from Siem Reap.
What is your and your family’s motivation to take such a step after such a long time of active church work in ICF Zurich? You are not 20 any more…
We might be able to restrain a persons angry outbursts by tying him up, but we are powerless to change a persons heart.
This is where God s plan of redemption comes into play.
The Gospel is not merely about “getting us saved,” as if we simply pray a prayer and are immediately transported into heaven. God describes “salvation” and the transformation of the Christian life like this:
I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. (Ezek. 36:26-27)
“Getting saved” is not about praying a prayer and then continuing to live our lives as though nothing happened.
What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus?
As you will discover, the answer is fairly simple, but it changes your life completely. The word disciple refers to a student or apprentice. Disciples in Jesus s day would follow their rabbi (which means teacher) wherever he went, learning from the rabbi’s teaching and being trained to do as the rabbi did.
Basically, a disciple is a follower, but only if we take the term follower literally. Becoming a disciple of Jesus is as simple as obeying His call to follow. When Jesus called His first disciples, they may not have understood where Jesus would take them or the impact it would have on their lives, but they knew what it meant to follow.
This guy is the pastor of a church in Bangkok that has just recently started to do work in Siem Reap. I contacted the guy via email and said I wanted some more information. He wrote back around 4am and said that we met at ICF Zurich in 2000. He was a youth pastor and followed what we did in Zurich. Since 2007 he lives in Bangkok and started a church that does outreaches in Siem Reap. Mails went back and forth and around 5pm we where friends.
What started as an unattractive photo (this is just my opinion) ended up being a divine encounter.
Now I’m even more pumped to go to Siem Reap and start a new church.
I love it when things like this happen
And don’t tell me social media is not important!
I think God has so much fun with us. He must be laughing so hard, every time we try to be wise.
I like this poem, because it gets people thinking about faith in a different way.
I believe everyone has faith, the question is only – in what?
I want my faith to bring life, hope and love to the people I get in touch with.
As a kid I didn’t like to go to church. The churches I grew up in had a boring Sunday service. I am a person that hates boring. I love God and want to follow Jesus, but still I do not understand why my church had such a boring service.
Here is a mind map I did during a boring service
I guess one reason is that they don’t think about how to create an experience where people are taken into the exiting message of the gospel.
Another reason is that they don’t care about quality.
Another problem is, that there is no training on how to create an attractive Sunday service.
Every path is easier to follow when you see someone else’s footprints already on it. Blake Mycoskie
It’s best not to regard your next step as a tremendous risk.
Think about it as one small step on a long journey.
Thinking big always sounds good, but it’s a common mistake shared by lots of people starting a business or organization.
You don’t need to quit your job if you have a big idea.
By starting small, you can work through your story, try out your idea, and test your determination.
Starting an new church
Starting small is particularly good idea if you’re a salesman and are passionate about starting a church. You don’t have to resign your position, instead, rather than Continue reading Think Big Start Small