I have been running a series called “Why I Went” about how people have gotten involved in cross-cultural ministry overseas. Today, we hear from Brian Stankich, a long-time friend.
Why I Went
Now that it has been nearly 13 years since I first left with my family to church plant in the Balkans, I thought it apropos to re-consider the reasons why I went. I have settled on three primary reasons.
1. To Preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ Among People Where He Was Not Known
The heart cry of my departure was “Lord, please bring the gospel to these Muslim Gypsies who do not know you.” Every cross-cultural worker MUST have this passion for the lost, otherwise there is no point in going. Seeking adventure is not a good enough reason to serve Christ in the hard places.
2. To Establish a New Testament Church
Preaching the gospel was not enough. The gospel needs a format with which to inhabit a people, and that format is the church. Church-planting is not about taking your club overseas. Church-planting is obedience to the Great Commission that provides a viable system for real people to experience God by. Evangelism and discipleship are great. Evangelism and discipleship in a church context will transform a community.
3. To Have a Significant and Meaningful Life
I now admit that I had mixed motives for serving the Lord overseas. On a personal note, in all honesty, I viewed a church-planter’s life as a significant life. It gave me meaning and purpose. As I look back, this motive was twofold. First, as an American man, I needed significance in my life, a way to say that my life was worth living. Second, as a Christian, I wanted to show the way to other Christians that living a soft life in the US was…soft.
Many years later, I realize that I lacked complete groundedness in Christ, and was looking for a bit of worldly glamour. Thankfully, the Lord is not intimidated by mixed motives, and he still used me. More than that, he has been faithful in causing me to grow, pointing out my deficiencies in my faith, and has chosen to be glorified in me and through me. Now that is true significance.
If you want to read more by Brian, here are some links for you: