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Strengthen What Remains

October 9, 2017

I read these strong words from the apostle John this morning:


 “Wake up! Strengthen what remains…” Rev.3:2a (NIV)


With these words, the apostle was warning the church at Sardis not to forget the Biblical convictions upon which they were founded.

 I think there’s a lesson in here for us: In times of rapid change, it’s critical to embrace fresh ideas and new approaches. But sometimes…you need to ‘strengthen what remains.’

 As an organization, we need to be flexible with our methods and strategies. At the same time, we need to hold fast to our Biblical convictions and foundational values. Knowing what we believe about Scripture, God, and salvation is critically important. However, it’s also important for us to know ‘who we are’ in terms of the values that shaped our identity.  In uncertain times, we need a strong sense of collective identity. We need to ‘strengthen what remains.’

Every organization, church, and individual believer has been given unique values and distinctive qualities that God embeds in our spiritual DNA. Recently our organization leaders came together and identified those values and qualities that are unique to us:


  • bold Faith
  • life-giving Community
  • empowered Partnership
  • strategic Innovation


These qualities have been defining characteristics of HCJB/Reach Beyond ever since our founding over 85 years ago. They made us unique. They made us who we are. We need to embrace and strengthen these values.


 Clarence Jones was a man of bold faith. Six radios in the country…and he starts a radio station. That’s bold faith.  So many of our pioneers were men and women of great vision who stepped out in faith and took risks for the sake of the Gospel.  We can recapture that courageous, entrepreneurial spirit. We can ‘strengthen what remains!’


 In past days, most of our missionaries lived and served together on the compounds in Quito and Shell. While there were plenty of squabbles, there was a genuine sense of family. Missionaries and staff felt welcomed, valued, and cared for. Since then regionalization spun us out all over the planet. Distance came between us. But there are things we can do to nurture that same sense of belonging and life-giving community that characterized our early years. We can ‘strengthen what remains!’


 From the very beginning, HCJB/Reach Beyond has always been about partnership. Today, we have scores of partnerships all over the world. However, truth is…we haven’t kept pace with changes in the church-base that supports us… churches that want to adopt un-reached people groups or get involved more strategically. We can change this. We know how to partner. We can ‘strengthen what remains!’


 One more value: innovation. For many decades, we were known as a cutting-edge mission. If a technology didn’t exist, we invented it. If there was no cure for an illness, we’d find one.  No task was too big or confusing. We figured stuff out: “Need a radio transmitter to fit in a suitcase. We can do that.” Over the years, we’ve lost a little bit of our edginess. Can we recapture that can-do spirit of strategic innovation? I think we can. We can ‘strengthen what remains!’


 These four values matter. They are part of our story. They make us unique. We need to protect and preserve them. We need to build on them. We need to ‘strengthen what remains’.

Written by Steve Harling--President of Reach Beyond

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