I recently read this article in “Leadership Quarterly” called “7 Questions for New Converts in an Asian Country.” It caught my attention on the one hand simply because of its compelling nature, but also as I have been thinking about our new process of annual membership renewal. What many Christ-followers have to sign their name on the dotted line for shines a light on and helps us see our membership renewal process in a bit of a different context. Here’s the article:
“Asian Access (or A2), a Christian missions agency in South Asia, listed a series of questions that church planters must ask new believers who are considering baptism. (Due to safety concerns, Asian Access does not mention the country’s name). The country is predominantly Hindu, but over the past few decades Christianity has grown in popularity – especially among poor and tribal peoples. These are the 7 questions asked to help determine a new convert’s readiness to follow Christ:
1. Are you willing to leave home and lose the blessing of your father?
2. Are you willing to lose your job?
3. Are you willing to go to the village and those who persecute you, forgive them, and share the love of Christ with them?
4. Are you willing to give an offering to the Lord?
5. Are you willing to be beaten rather than deny your faith?
6. Are you willing to go to prison?
7. Are you willing to die for Jesus?
If the new convert answers yes to all of these questions, then the A2 leaders invite that person to sign on the bottom of the paper that of their own free will they have decided to follow Jesus. But here’s the risk: If a new convert signs the paper and is caught by the government, he or she will spend three years behind bars. The one who did the evangelizing faces 6 years in prison.”
The call of Christ to follow Him has always been a life-encompassing commitment. As we live in a place where there is still considerable religious freedom, it is good to be reminded of what “fully-devoted Christ follower” means in some parts of the world today.