Share the gospel in the land of pain and suffering

posted in: The Church on Mission

Workshop: Church planting models for the 21st century
G Ross and panel

A chorus of voices translated the words of five pastors from nations outside of North America today as they engaged the question “What are key church-planting principles that are transferable to other contexts?”

As a former church planter, I expected many of their responses:

  • remember that it is God’s mission, not yours,
  • choose a strategic location,
  • remember that the church is not a building, but a people.

I did not expect my tears at the words of a pastor from a war-torn country: “meet people in their pain and suffering with the love of the gospel.” His genuine, humble response struck me as simply a description of his reality, a reality vastly different from mine, rather than a principle to remember. He serves and loves in a context that I will likely never know.

I was moved by his deep love for the people of his country that drives him to risk his life so that they might find life in Jesus. Yes, his “principle” is transferable – far beyond church planting.

Pain and suffering have no nationality. Too often, they touch us and those we know. The beautiful simplicity of this church planter’s response challenges me to meet people in places of pain and suffering, wherever they live.


Lianne Nikkel planted Trailhead Church, Littleton, Colorado, USA, with her family 10 years ago. She serves the USMB conference on the Leadership Board. She works as in training and mentoring at Denver Seminary.