EU Gradsfund

How God Grew My Heart for the LRLR

by EU Graduates Fund

The LRLR vision aims to grow students’ hearts for churches, people groups and communities who are ‘less reached and less resourced’ with the Bible, the Gospel, and Gospel workers. Below are two students’ reflections on how this vision has impacted and changed them over their time in the EU.

Jacob’s Story

Going into university, I can’t deny that I had decent exposure to the idea of the Less Reached, Less Resourced: I had heard about the persecuted Church and unreached people groups, I had met a few missionaries, listened to their talks, prayed for them, and sometimes prayer with them. Our church had even sent some missionaries out! Yet despite these talks, discussions, and prayers, it still felt like an abstract concept. I knew that somewhere in the world, even in my city, people didn’t have it as good as I had it. Churches were struggling, Christians were under immense persecution or in need of resources, and many people around the world had no access to the gospel or Christians. It seemed clear to me that somebody… somewhere… ought to do something about this. It had never occurred to me, however, that that somebody, somewhere, could in fact… be me.

Hearing and understanding the LRLR vision made me realise that I could, by making thoughtful and sacrificial choices in my life, choose to actively serve the less-reached and/or less-resourced. And, more than that, because the LRLR vision reflects the heart of the gospel, the gospel itself compelled me to do it.

Hearing and understanding the LRLR vision made me realise that I could, by making thoughtful and sacrificial choices in my life, choose to actively serve the less-reached and/or less-resourced.

The LRLR vision therefore challenged me and strengthened me in a number of ways. It presented me, and everyone else, an opportunity to respond to the needs of those who are less reached and less resourced in a real and tangible way, as we choose thoughtfully, prayerfully, and sacrificially, where to church, live and work (whether that be home or abroad).

It reminded me that we are to be active promoters of the gospel in all areas of our lives, using the gifts, skills, knowledge, and freedom given to us by God to serve Him, to serve His people, and particularly to serve those who are without (without Jesus, fellowship, sound teaching, theological training etc.).

It reminded me that there is a huge harvest field but that there are not enough workers, and that we can be (and are) the answer to this dire need. And finally, and most excitingly, it showed me more of God’s character and the heart of the gospel – extending underserved generosity through sacrifice for the sake of others. And now, knowing that, I could go (and indeed I should go) and an extend that kind of generosity myself.

Eleanor’s Story

One big reason I decided to study French and Arabic at uni was my vague hope of using my foreign language skills in multicultural ministry one day. I was hoping to serve either in South West Sydney or overseas (i.e. to do LRLR ministry, although I didn’t have a name for it back then!). And so during my three and a half years in the EU, I have loved the opportunities I’ve had through their summer missions to visit various LRLR churches. Not only have they given me a better idea of the kind of ministry I want to be involved in one day, but they’ve also shown me such a rich picture of what church can and should be.

Across the board at these churches I encountered a way of doing ministry which was so different from anything I’d experienced before. From having smoko breaks halfway through the service, to shared multicultural lunches, to bilingual or even trilingual worship music. I could see that the churches were making such an effort to welcome local people at their services. I was also really struck by how active these churches were in loving their community. They didn’t wait for non-Christians to come into the building, they headed out of the church to help in whatever ways were needed. At one church I visited in a suburb of Wollongong, the congregation members regularly went door knocking to give out bread to those who were struggling. They also ran an op shop, where people from the community could get cheap secondhand clothes and food.

Across the board at these churches I encountered a way of doing ministry which was so different from anything I’d experienced before.

I visited another church a few times in a very multicultural suburb of South West Sydney. The minister here told me that he was regularly at the local court, testifying in support of people from his community who were caught up in difficult immigration cases, or had gotten in trouble with the police. I’d never heard of a minister doing anything like that before, but that was what his community needed, so this was just one of the many ways he was willing to help out. The effects were pretty clear. The first time I visited his church, he showed me around the area and people greeted him enthusiastically as we passed by. These people weren’t necessarily members of his church, but he was so much a part of his community that everyone seemed to know and respect him as the local minister. As well as him, the church had a small team of leaders who cared for their community in all sorts of ways. For example, they ran a kids club and a youth group, and were largely responsible for ensuring the kids and youth actually got to the church. The leaders would walk to the local school on Friday afternoon and pick all the kids up, carefully guiding the large and pretty rowdy group up the main street. Later on, they’d often drive around to the houses of their youth group members, encouraging them to come along. They’d give them a lift to the church and then back home again later.

What struck me the most at all the churches I visited was how open the church members were. People would stand up during the service and ask for prayer on all sorts of personal matters. After the services, they hung around chatting, eating food and sharing their lives with each other. Even as a guest, I found people telling me their life stories and how God had been at work through times of great suffering.

All these experiences of the nuts and bolts of different church communities grew my heart for this kind of ministry and for serving God’s people. Compared to churches I’d grown up in, they were never as big or as impressive by the world’s standards. But God was clearly at work there. Visiting them took my hope of serving the LRLR and made it concrete. It wasn’t so much a distant ambition or an abstract idea anymore. It became about real people in real churches, loving God, loving each other and caring for their wider communities in powerful, beautiful, everyday ways.

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