God unites us
I speak of the State of the Church in Democratic Republic of Congo, believing that God is powerfully at work in a similar way around the world. The church is growing in the world in terms of evangelism and membership. Each year in Africa, particularly in Congo, there are places the church has never before reached with new congregations because pastors and lay people are passionate to share the Gospel of Jesus with others and willing to sacrifice to do so.
In Congo, the church develops new leadership through trainings and is engaged in ministry with the poor through schools, medical centers, nutrition centers and opportunities that empower the local people and enable them to support themselves even when resources are limited. Agencies such as United Methodist Communications, Discipleship Ministries and the General Board of Global Ministries partner with Congo leaders to accomplish many of these ministries.
The church makes efforts to alleviate poverty and deadly diseases, such as malaria in Congo and Ebola virus in West Africa. Millions of bed nets were distributed by the United Methodist Committee on Relief for prevention against malaria. Coordinated efforts from church doctors and prayers from all Christians worked effectively and were sufficient to stop the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
The church sends missionaries and training pastors to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. The church teaches love, which influences many to manifest good hearts of giving compassion and care for others in disasters, such as Typhoon Glenda in the Philippines and everywhere.
In the United States and other parts of the world, unfortunately, people desert the church. The love of God is not strong. Many of the members and even leaders have lost the passion, joy and hunger for serving God. Such places need a revival of God's Spirit. The church is also facing a challenge of incomprehension of doctrine and regulations from The Book of Discipline, which confuses many, especially in other cultures. For example, disagreement around homosexuality is a phenomenon that might divide the church.
Terrorism is a defeatist ideology that calls for spilling of the blood of innocent women and defenseless children. Through terrorism we have witnessed thousands of people being killed throughout the world. We have seen hundreds of girls being kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria. Wars have ravaged the world surface, causing suffering and terror. Millions of people are dying in Syria, Congo and other parts of the world; hence many children have become orphans or are illiterate.
The Bible unites us to live as a global church where material resources and human resources should be put together for global development. As a church, we cannot ignore the environmental facts in the world in which we live: pollution of water and air, loss of biodiversity and public health issues make us vulnerable to disasters and tragedies now and in future. Furthermore, we face the dilemma of resources that block the development, support and building of infrastructure in Africa.
It is time to put our little differences aside and forge ahead for the betterment of humanity. Let us work together, deny ourselves, take the cross of Jesus as we preach and live the gospel together and pray together binding our hands and hearts across generations and differences to engage in vital witness and mission for Jesus Christ in all our communities.
Peter Cibuabua is one of the African young adult leaders of the third African Annual Summit and secretary of the youth in the West Congo Conference. A civil engineer, he is president of the youth and evangelist in The United Methodist International English Church in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo.