Why Rural Evangelism
The common cry on the lips of many people today is the “hard times” we live in. this concern does not only validate Paul’s letter to Timothy that there will be terrible times in the last days (2Tim.3:1) but also it reminds the Christian world of her responsibility to this sick world. This world needs salvation (Cor.15:1-4) as well as a change of life. (1 Col.1:5). Salvation is a spiritual phenomenon whilst changed life is the spiritual transformation of the physical. This world needs both salvation and the spiritual transformation which alone can guarantee a livelihood that can be described as “soft”.
Over the years several attempts have been made by various Churches and Christian organizations to implement the Great Commission in various ways. The situation today calls for a more determined, holistic and sustainable action, a revolutionary tool to raise up leadership for ministry work, church planting and poverty reduction mainly in the rural areas.
The emphasis on rural areas is based on the fact that mankind is lost in sin and has thus come short of the glory of God (Isa. 53:6). Majority of these lost ones are rural dwellers whose enslavement to sin has been institutionalized by the norms and practices of the rural environment.
The resultant dependency on traditional religious practices has not only pegged them to dehumanizing lifestyle, but has also perpetuated their dependency on idolatry for “survival”. This critical situation notwithstanding, Christian leadership seems to have shunned the rural areas apparently for lack of financial incentives.
The effect of downplaying on rural evangelism is the many souls that are lost daily. It is therefore important for Christian leaders to acknowledge that rural dwellers are entitled to the Gospel and descent standard of living in the same way as the urban settlers.
OFCI’s contribution to the solution of the problem of the apparent neglect of the rural areas is to mobilize, train, equip and send as many as possible to fulfil their part in the Great Commission. “The harvest truly is plenteous; but the labourers are few……send out labourers to His harvest” (Matt.9:37-38 NKJV).
The second contribution of OFCI is the building of capacity of rural dwellers to reduce poverty and thus ensure a healthier lifestyle of the rural dweller. Matt, 25:35-36.
Notwithstanding the reasons accounting for Christian leadership shunning rural evangelism, OFCI is encouraged by the rich promises of God to evangelize the rural areas:
- “He who wins souls is wise…” (Prov. 11:30 NKJV)
- “Those who are wise shall shine…….like the stars forever and ever” (Dan.12:3 NKJV).
- “How beautiful are the feet of him who brings good news” (Isa.52:7NKJV).