The world is a needy place. You don’t have to look far to realize this. We live in a world of profound brokenness. The effects of sin are everywhere.
Poverty, injustice, and social inequality; lack of good education, high crime-rates, and discrimination. All of these things and more characterize poor communities around the world. If you’ve ever spent time in a poor community, or lived in one yourself, you will know what I am talking about. Life is anything but easy in these kinds of places.
But we serve a God who loves the poor. Even a cursory look at the life of Jesus reveals his concern for the poor, the downtrodden, and the oppressed. Jesus prioritized those whom the elite in society deemed worthless.
So as Christians, you would expect our lives and priorities to look the same. And yet, sadly, the church has often neglected hard places. Today, if you look at maps of major cities, you’ll likely find a higher concentration of churches in the nice, middle-class areas than in the impoverished areas.
There are a number of reasons why the church has neglected hard places. At the risk of oversimplifying, perhaps the number-one reason is simply this: hard places are hard.
But none of this changes the fact that God intends to use the church as a means to push back the darkness. Church planting is about shattering the darkness as the gospel is proclaimed throughout the world. We plant churches because we want to see the gospel transform individuals, communities, and whole societies. That’s what the gospel does. Grace changes things.
We long to see gospel-centered churches bringing the good news of the gospel to the hardest places. Not because it’s trendy or romantic (ask anyone who’s done it; they will assure you it’s neither), but because the gospel is what changes lives. Because we want to see Christ exalted among these communities.
So today we have a special podcast episode, hosted by our very own CEO Steve Timmis, with Doug Logan and Mez McConnell. We’ve appointed Doug and Mez as co-directors of Church in Hard Places, and Doug is also the director of our Diversity Initiative. You can listen to this episode here.