Playing church or growing in Christ

For the Dinangat church, God is stepping up His work of grace in growth and transformation.

As the Dinangat church has become more mature and established, missionaries have discussed some of Satan’s attack schemes for any church.

“What I’m most afraid of is that the church will stop growing and start just playing church,” one missionary shared.

Ongoing growth in Christ is the remedy against playing church. So the missionary team and Dinangat church have prayed and worked to encourage that growth. And God is answering prayer.

The growing Dinangat believers, in response to God’s work in their hearts have in recent months, begun an evangelistic outreach in a neighbouring village. And the hunger for the truth in that village is growing by leaps and bound, Ralf Schlegel writes.

The Dinangat Bible teachers have presented about half of God’s redemption story so far. As the story has unfolded, this needy village has grown steadily in the understanding of Who their Creator is and people are increasingly hungry for a Saviour.

They are faithfully attending the Bible teaching to hear about that promised Deliverer who will be introduced as Jesus, God’s Son. Please pray for this village that they will “truly understand and believe in the work of salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ,” Ralf asks.

Believing Dinangat women are growing, too, as evidenced in the women’s Bible reading time. “Their bodies lean forward and their eyes and ears are fully open as they listen to God’s Word. A wonderful sight!” Ralf notes. “There are so many things they have never heard about which they now get to hear and grow in.”

The Dinangat Bible teachers are themselves maturing as believers. As they study the qualifications for church elders in 1 Timothy, “they hear about being blameless, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, being able to teach, being gentle, not quarrelsome, a father of obedient children … and it is quite overwhelming for them. … They know they will have to grow in many areas to be able to do this,” Ralf writes.

There is continued growth evidenced in the literacy program. Last week they presented a “reading challenge” which has brought new excitement and incentive to improve reading skills.

There is also growth seen in individual lives and families who are learning the grace of forgiveness in Christ. This can come at great cost, as ongoing pain makes it necessary to forgive daily. But as the realization of Christ’s forgiveness grows larger, believers grow in their ability to trust God and forgive others who wrong them.

Ralf shared a verse that is much on his mind these days. “Speaking the truth in love, (we) may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ.” Ephesians 4:15

“Growth is important … but it is sometimes hard,” Ralf shares. “Please pray for the Dinangat church; that believers will never just start to play church and stay the same … but that they will keep growing and growing and growing.”