One of the greatest joys which my wife and I share is the knowledge that our daughter Bethany serves as cross-cultural minister of the gospel, bringing hope and God’s grace to an unreached people-group in Tanzania known as the Alagwa. She is now in her fourth year there. She speaks a language called Alagawesi and she shares life with these dear people. Her daily life is mostly occupied with farming since the Alagwga are a subsistence culture. There is no running water, electricity, roads, banks or anything which we might take for granted. The deeper challenge is being separated from all her family and friends. People often ask Bethany how she is able to do this? To her, it is not a sacrifice. It is a calling. Yes, it is hard. But, there are deeper realities at work. God always grants the grace and peace for whatever our calling might be. Our challenge is to be faithful – daily faithful. Because we have died to the world, we are now fully alive in Christ to engage the world in new and powerful ways.
Bethany is part of a growing movement known as “live dead.” Their mission statement is as follows (source):
The Holy Spirit is speaking to his Church, reminding us of the passion that he has never relinquished — the passion to be glorified by every tribe, tongue, people and nation.
We are committed to taking the church where it does not exist; to making Christ known to people groups who don’t have an opportunity to know him. Live dead is more than a strategy it is a bridge to practically make a difference in the statistic that 40% of the world lives without access to Christ. We believe that we can make a difference; we believe that we must make a difference.
Live Dead is a re-dedication to pioneering, whatever the cost.
Live Dead realizes that the places today where the Church does not exist are harsh, fierce, lonely and demanding; yet we still must go there.
Live Dead is a commitment to evangelism and church planting among unreached peoples in community through teams.
Live Dead acknowledges that if unreached peoples are going to embrace Jesus as Lord, we must die to our selfish passions and small dreams and live joyfully surrendered to the will, plan and means of our Missionary God.
Living dead is a call to joy, a call to life, a call of hope.
Living Dead means listening to the Spirit calling us to “take up our cross” for the sake of those who don’t know what the cross is or what it stands for.
Living Dead means listening to the example of those who have gone before us, men and women like Dietrich Bonhoeffer who said, “When God calls a man, he bids him come and die.”
Living Dead means listening to the cry of those in spiritual death. They call to us: “We will live, if you will die.”
My prayer for my own life is that I will ask God to help me to live dead. I need to live dead every day that I might fulfill God’s calling in my own life. May that be the prayer of the whole church as it brings the whole gospel to the whole world.