Date: February 5, 2024
North Africa (MNN) — What made a church leader in North Africa say “Praise God!” when he heard the government had forced twenty churches to close in an unnamed country?
It wasn’t just blind optimism.
Joe Handley with A3 explains, “The reality is that church life can become institutional. And in [this] case, there [were] a lot of those dynamics going on.”
The loss of a church’s building frees its leaders from maintenance needs and disputes on design or decorations and from larger pressures.
“Sometimes it’s political. The government is trying to shut down the church and you get into this massive legal battle that’s expensive and consuming the time of the leaders,” says Handley.
“All of their energy is sucked into that, rather than on spiritual aspects of what it means to be a disciple in Christ and how you reach new people for Jesus, and plant new fellowships to reach this country.”
Isn’t it like God to bring good even out of persecution toward the Church?
“So when my colleague said, ‘Closing churches is actually an avenue to real, effective disciple-making,’ it switches the conversation from the life support systems of the institution or organization or the building, and shifts it to purely the disciple-making spiritual components of who we are in Christ,” says Handley.
Pray that A3’s leadership development groups help North African believers pursue discipleship in new, wise ways during a challenging change.
Click here to read more about A3’s ministry among believers in North Africa and how you can partner with them.
Header image courtesy of Tucker Good via Unsplash.