It was pitch black. No electricity. No lights. Our gathering was inside a house in the middle of a Roma (Gypsy) village in Romania. I used a flashlight to read my Bible as I preached. It was not until a couple of candles were located and lit that I could see that we had over 100 people crowded in that small house. As I looked around, I saw something that stirred my soul. It was God's glorious church. I saw diversity. I saw beauty. I saw passion. I saw joy. I saw souls who had been redeemed from sinful prisons that had enslaved them for so long. They had been set free by the blood of Jesus Christ. They wept as they sang songs about peace, hope, and grace.
As they prayed, they quoted promises from Scripture. Their hunger for God's Word intensified, and yet most of them could not even read. However, their memory was like a sponge. These were ones that the Son of Man loved and gave Himself for on the cross. His commitment to them was to "sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church" (Eph. 5:25b-27a). These were former drunks, prostitutes, thieves, beggars, and murderers. But they had been changed, and they were about to turn the world upside down for Jesus Christ. How? Through God's Word.
Acts 17 is a strategic portion of the apostles' ministry around the world. Three events occurred in three different locations: Thessalonica, Berea, and Athens. In 17:1-9, Paul reasoned with the Thessalonians from the Scriptures. In 17:10-15, the Bereans received the Word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily. In 17:16-34, Paul preached to Athens Jesus and the resurrection. However, it was in Acts 17:6 that Paul and his colleagues were called those who turned the world upside down!
God purchased His church by the blood of the Lamb of God, and the church is in the process of turning the world upside down by the power of His Word. The connection between the church and the Word of God is unmistakable. The Bible is a critical tool in the hand of the global church. As a ministry to the lingual church (a portion of the global church that shares the same language and culture), we are commissioned with translating the Bible into these languages. Millions still wait for the translated Scriptures. Part of the church desperately needs this living and powerful tool. Another part of God's church has been given the resources to help make this happen.
For this reason, BI has transformed the former Stewardship Department into what is now called the Advancement Department. The Advancement Department will focus on three vital resources of the church: (1) spiritual resources (prayer); (2) personnel resources (recruitment); and (3) financial resources (funds/donors). The goal is to clearly communicate with that portion of the church to whom God has given His resources, so that they can assist that portion of the church to whom God has entrusted the task of translating the Scriptures. The goal is that each lingual church would have an accurate, clear, natural, and readable translation of the Bible. The Advancement Department is a ministry to the church. The entire church must work together as a team to carry out God’s Great Commission, each part doing its share for the glory of God (Eph. 4:16). Each prayer, each person, and each dollar is an investment into eternity. The goal of connecting the church to God’s Word – that the world might be turned upside down for Christ!