Benjamin and Rebecca Helge serve the Lord through The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) in the Eurasia region, based in Havířov-Šumbark, Czech Republic. Benjamin works closely with the Silesian Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession (SCEAV) and the Evangelical Center M.I.S.E. In cooperation with SCEAV, he reaches out to the community by teaching conversational English to people of all ages. In addition, he works with a Czech team to plant a church, prepares resources and training materials for the church, and helps organize English Bible camps in the Czech Republic and Poland.
Until a recent missionary conference, I never thought about how the Great Commission in Matthew 28 wasn’t given such a title in Scripture. The term “great commission” came into the church’s vocabulary sometime in the 1800s. And while it is God’s commission for His church, it is simply His order, His plan, and His way of doing things. Disciple, baptize, and connect people to Christ.
For the past eight-plus years, I have run an English conversation club. We refer to it as ETG (English Talk Group). I invite students from the community of Havířov, Czech Republic to come practice their English, have fun, and meet some new people. Once a week, about 10‒15 middle and high school aged students come. We have a theme for the evening that guides our activities, games, and discussions. But before the night wraps up, the final five minutes are for something greater than English.
Using the theme, I share the Law and the Gospel. It’s not a time of discussion or dialogue, but rather, it’s me presenting the truths of Christ crucified and resurrected for our salvation. Some students look around, while others listen intently. For some, this moment might be the first time they encounter this Good News. Week after week, a group of students hear that we are sinful beings in need of a savior, and that Savior is Jesus. He went to the cross to shed His own blood for our forgiveness. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
During the life of ETG so far, three young men believed and were baptized, while others who already received the gift of Baptism at birth were catechized and brought into God’s church now fully understanding what Christ’s sacrifice means for their lives and the entire world.
While we live in a secular age, this is what we do and will continue to do: disciple, baptize, and connect people to Christ. This is what we are called to do. As the Gospel is shared, lives are changed. Both the first-century pagan and the twenty-first century secular age being need to hear the message of Christ crucified for all. The Holy Spirit is still the one who changes hearts. God’s gifts are still poured out in Baptism and in His Supper. And the church still gathers to regularly receive these gifts.
Let us be children of God and live our lives knowing who we are. Let us be the church and gather around His gifts. Let us disciple in every place and nation, baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and bring people to Christ, to His church, and to His gifts.
For we are Christ’s, and He is ours.
“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:20–21 NIV).
English is a “bridge” for me to interact with others and share the Gospel. What “bridge” has God given you to meet people in your community, teach them the faith, and be Christ’s ambassador?
How can you use this bridge to share the Gospel and connect people to the church?
Lord Jesus Christ, thank You for Your death and resurrection. You paid the ultimate price for me, and I am grateful. As You rule from Your throne of wood (the cross), send me out with confidence and humility to a world in need of Your Gospel message. Open my eyes to the “bridges” to people that You have given me and give me the wisdom needed to share Your truth and love. Keep my eyes always on You, Jesus. In your name, I pray. Amen.
Written by Benjamin Helge
LCMS Eurasia Region
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Thanks from the Gospel Outreach Committee!