With vibrant communities, seeing is believing

Our new vision statement has galvanized OM worldwide. 'We want to see vibrant communities of Jesus followers among the least reached' is a refreshing statement from standard clichés such as ‘to the glory of God’ or ‘planting churches’ or ‘reach the lost’. I would like to present a few reflections on seeing this vision take place.

To imagine!

‘To see’ should mean to imagine. When we want ‘to see’ communities of Jesus followers, we imagine by faith what we do not as yet see in the physical realm. We dream beyond the present reality and believe God to do more than we can ask or think (imagine) as Paul prays in Eph. 3:20. Einstein said that “imagination encircles the world.” We want to see vibrant communities of Jesus followers encircle the world, too, so let us dream towards that end.

At the same time, imagination can lead to fanciful dreams that go nowhere. We can become so captivated by vision statements that they get the better of us and we become victims of our visions. We eventually burn out and another vision statement joins the ranks of other unfulfilled dreams.

To be visible, countable

‘To see’ must be concrete. When we see something, it actually exits. Vibrant communities of Jesus followers must be accessible, tangible, touchable. In the NGO world of development projects, we are required to monitor and evaluate projects. In areas of unrest, often ‘security concerns’ means that a supervisor or outside evaluation team cannot have direct access to the area. This makes it more difficult ‘to see’ and often projects will stage an impact. We must not fall prey to staged stories. A vibrant community will be visible and hence, countable. What do we count and what do we not count? Someone recently mentioned that they had started a community of Jesus followers in an unreached area, proclaiming “We are two expats who meet together for prayer on a regular basis.” Is this counting honestly?

Seeing is more than observing

‘To see’ thus can sound passive. Is it merely to observe? How much does one have ‘to see’ to be part of the ministry? We can be removed from the actual project and merely hear what is going on. When we want to see communities of Jesus followers, we want to ensure that they take place. We therefore work towards this vision. So ‘seeing’ should be an activity where we implement actual steps which will hopefully birth such communities. Each step may be small, but these steps move us towards the goal.

Presence

In order to really see vibrant communities, we need to be present among the people where we envision Jesus followers to gather together. One of our team members working among Persian refugees wrote recently,

“A refugee couple started coming to our church. The wife was not a follower of Jesus, but the husband was. The husband hurt his hand. It was very painful. He was afraid he would lose his job because he could not use it. He asked for special prayer, and by God’s grace he was healed. His wife began to weep. She confessed Jesus as her Lord!”

How else would we have seen (known) this story, if we were not present with the people? It is easy to rely on second-hand reports or hearsay, but through actual presence we are able to see people following Jesus.

To see means to notice change

Paul writes about being “…transferred to the kingdom of His Son,” – Colossians 1:13 (ESV). Such transfer means transformation. We must be able to witness this. It will often mean time lapse as change is not always sudden. It is more than one evening of excitement or a great baptismal service. It could mean ongoing discipleship and training, long-term care, counseling, wholesome and well-rounded development and much more.

Indeed, there are so many variables as we ‘see’ vibrant communities develop among the least-reached peoples. As we work towards this vision, I nevertheless fall back on the age-old cliché that my father stressed repeatedly: “We are not called to be successful, but called to be faithful.”

Arley specialises in Persian culture, with an MA in Persian (Pakistan) and a PhD in Middle Eastern Civilizations (Canada). He directs Pamir Productions, media and discipleship for Afghans and teaches on Muslim-Christian themes. Exploring cultural themes in honour-shame societies, Arley occasionally runs seminars for professionals and college students in Central Asia. Arley and his wife Janice have been with OM since the early 1980s.

Share this Resource

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on print

Leave a Reply

You might also like:

Other Resources by

Software engineer International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleWe are looking for a Software Engineer to work on a headless CMS that enables ministries to share media with each other and quickly create websites / PWA’s. Using your skills, you will help to strengthen our team and share God’s love with the least reached.
Full Details
OMMS Power BI Developer International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleThis role exists to support, by providing analytics and reporting, for Personnel, Finance, Financial Development and Mobilizing.
Full Details
Storyteller and Scriptwriter International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleOM EAST is looking for a Storyteller and Scriptwriter to strengthen their team. Working together with our graphic designers, software developers and content editors, you will play a vital role in creating media that share God’s love with the least reached in their heart languages.
Full Details
Bookkeeper International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleOM EAST is looking for a bookkeeper to process the team’s financial transactions to ensure the smooth running and continuation of their media ministry. As you work in finance, you are releasing a team of graphic designers, software developers and content editors to produce and distribute media that share God’s love with the least reached in their heart languages.
Full Details
SIEM Solutions International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleThe candidate will have a passion for SIEM solutions. You will have previously worked with SIEM solutions and have a passion for cyber security and technology. You will act as a subject matter expert specifically focused on cloud security, automation, and monitoring technologies. This position will work alongside our IT Infrastructure team.

Remote work possible. Would need to work where they have at least 2-3 hrs overlap with the Europe time zone.

Full Details
Instructional Designer International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleUse your mix of training talent, creative skills, IT savvy and project awareness to design interactive and engaging content to equip our people for mission, online, wherever they are in the world. Instructional Designers with eLearning experience are encouraged to apply. However, training is available for candidates with solid in-person teaching skills.
Full Details
Desktop Publisher/Layout Designer International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleOM EAST is looking for a candidate who has a high attention to detail and the stamina to work as a Desktop Publisher/Layout designer. As you collaborate with our local partners and do the groundwork of laying out and editing texts in different languages for print and digital media, you will play a part in producing high-quality media that shares God's truth with least reached people groups.
Full Details
Personal Assistant for SportsLink Director International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleDo you have a passion for administration, organisation and practical logistics? Are you detail oriented and efficient in your work? If this sounds like you, you are just the person we’re looking for to help our SportsLink International Director manage his responsibilities as he leads sports ministries which build and strengthen communities of Jesus followers.
Full Details
eBook Programmer International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleUse your skills to convert powerful Christian publications into downloadable eBooks that can travel to hard-to-reach places. Share the hope of Christ by making resources available for the least reached in their heart languages!
Full Details
Videographer – Global Story Team International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleOverall goal As part of the Global Video Network under the Video Coach, the Videographer captures and edits stories around the world as they relate to OM. The videographer will receive and go on assignments that are approved by the Creative Traffic Manager, while upholding the OM brand standards as it relates to visual storytelling. A portion of the role involves helping with pre-production.
Full Details
IT Infrastructure Engineer & Helpdesk International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleYou will be part of a team whose overall goal is to design, secure, integrate and provide access to information for OM International. We also support and give advice on how to do this.
Full Details
People Care International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleOM EAST is looking for a People Care worker to join our media ministry. As you support a creative team, including graphic designers, software engineers and video editors, you are making it possible to produce Christian media in the heart-languages of the least reached around the world.
Full Details