When we started our church, we made our motto this: “To reach people, you don’t need to cross an ocean. Just cross the street.”
As pastor of Naya Life Community Church (Aurora East Foursquare Church) in Aurora, Colo., I was prayer walking in East Colfax—a dangerous area—where I was told not to give anyone a ride. That was when I met a woman on the street, holding a baby and crying.
I asked her what was wrong, and she said, “I’m lost.” She didn’t know her address, but she tried to describe her home, and somehow we found it about 45 minutes later. She made tea for me and asked, “Can you come tomorrow and meet my husband?” So, I did. Now she’s our women’s pastor, and her husband is one of our associate pastors.
Originally, we weren’t going out and telling people about God. We asked how we could help them first. We were driving people places, going shopping, helping them get medical attention and working out immigration papers. We told them they could call anytime for help, and sometimes the phone would ring at 2 a.m. That was OK.
Aurora is a town with 132 nationalities, and right now we are reaching people from Bhutan, Pakistan, India, Siri Lanka and Nepal. In the past six years, two new churches have opened in Boulder and Thornton, and over 3,000 people have received Jesus—many have returned to their own nations with the gospel. Our biggest challenge is finding people to help us disciple them all. The harvest is plentiful, and the laborers are few right here in this country.
I was just in India recently, and people there are talking about making India a Hindu country. Not only that, but some of them are working toward this goal through violence; they are beating people and persecuting Christians. When I was hearing about all this, suddenly I thought, What if we decided to win this world not by violence but through the love and mercy God has shown us? What if every Christian in the U.S. decided that this was a land of God’s people?
In India, everyone is so hungry for God. When a child is born—actually, even before a child is born—every ritual and god is involved. Every day they pray, offer sacrifices, give to beggars; they even get up at 4 a.m. to take ritual baths—all of this because they are trying to make some god happy. You don’t have to teach these people how to seek God because they’ve been seeking all their lives. They need to be told about a true Savior.
Our gospel is not a calm gospel. Jesus said, “Go!” We have a go-gospel, and evangelism can be done right here. But we need people who will disciple and help train those who are coming to believe, people who will allow these seekers to watch their lives and ask questions, such as, “What does it mean to live like a Christian?” Who else will answer this question for them, if not us?