God began arranging this years ago when I was in seminary. One of Manny Jr's professors from Dallas Theological Seminary developed a burden for Liberia and began making plans to visit the country. But then, a pastor from Liberia—a man he didn’t know—contacted him, out of the blue ... to ask him for help in fulfilling his own vision ... to train Christian leaders to plant churches ... and reach out to all of Liberia! The professor was stunned by God’s behind-the-scenes orchestration of events. He plunged in to explore the situation in Liberia. There he found tremendous advantages—it’s an English-speaking country, for example, and the people are both pro-American and pro- Christian ... tremendous opportunity—there’s great hunger for the Gospel ... and tremendous need.
But he also discovered a serious problem: church politics. Many in ministry in Liberia were squandering tremendous time and energy on the question of who will be the “top dog”! Our professor friend knows that such a focus is far from productive. Liberia is a land ripe for harvest—but church is focused elsewhere. This is the ideal moment to bring a healthy perspective to the work in Liberia. The call for help was no coincidence; it comes in God’s timing. The ingredients for a tremendous move of God are all here before us.
So—what next? The professor has been to the field with us. He has taught with us in Spain and in Cuba. Again and again, he has seen God powerfully at work through our Accelerated Church-Planting strategy. Now—witnessing the conditions in Liberia—he came to me asking what it would take to launch a World Link Ministries initiative in Liberia. I answered with the same God-given criteria that have always guided our work. We must examine the health and maturity of seven factors: 1. Students with vocation for ministry; 2. Teachers who will train them on the job; 3. Some place to gather and teach them; 4. Curriculum to transform them into leaders who know what they believe and why they believe it, and can bring others along; 5. Funding to run the operation; 6. A champion to shepherd the operation in country; 7. And God-given maturity or readiness in all of these components.
The professor could assure me on most of these factors, but he wanted me to go personally and test the soil — and I can tell you: The ground is ready!
I believe God has positioned you and me “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14)—and I believe He has been moving us into position for a long, long time. Years ago I was invited to breakfast with a graduate of our seminary in Dallas and a friend of his. The friend boldly asked me how World Link Ministries planned to reach out to his native country—Liberia! I of course recited, as always, the seven factors we employ in our strategy—and he promptly wrote them down....Two years later, I received news that this young man had launched 50 churches in Liberia! He had his hands full! He has only struggled because he doesn’t know how to support such a sprawling ministry on his own!I also believe the ground in Liberia is ready because of God’s divine passion for missions.
The Father is in the ministry of reconciliation; the Son said, “I will build my church.” And the Spirit is at work convicting the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment. We are in pretty good company! God has committed to us the work of reconciliation. He is with us always in this work, until the end of time. My heart is crying out: Let’s go to Liberia!