Alex Mandes, Director for the EFCA All Peoples Ministry, recently told me a story that highlights what made the Eastern District great in its early days. It was the first time I heard it and it impacted me deeply.
He said that when some of our Norwegian Free Church fathers were immigrants who lived in Brooklyn and around the NYC metro area, they gave up to 50% of their income to the cause of ministry and church planting. (WOW!) They made this sacrifice in order to reach other Norwegians who had immigrated to America and needed a safe place to land and begin their lives anew.
While not everyone could afford to give financially like this, many would take weekends and after-hours to manually build ministry facilities. Of course, the Norwegian men were famous for their craftsmanship, but it wasn’t just the men working – the women would join them, doing whatever they could contribute to the cause.
In addition, and most importantly, these men and women would go out and do street ministry sharing the Gospel, meeting people where they were with a message of hope. As a result of their obedience, God blessed the region with many Gospel-centered ministries. The kingdom impact wasn’t just regional – it was global.
I’m in awe of our EDA history, inspired by it. We have expanded way beyond those early days when we were largely a Scandinavian movement, but we share that spiritual DNA. It’s who we are at our core. That encourages me.
After six months in the role as District Superintendent, I know very well we have our challenges, but I am confident that with God’s help we have some very exciting days ahead. Together, we can make an impact on the world for the glory of God, much like our district’s founders did.
In next week’s blog, we’ll start looking at some great stories of God at work in our district today.
Believing Him for you!