Bishop William Nicholson Message on Wednesday Night, President of United Internati0nal Moravian Ministry Group (UIMM)
October 4, 2023 at Anchorage Moravian Church (AncMC)
How do we make disciples? This is part of the vision we have for our mid-week service. And first what is Christian Discipleship? It is clear that discipleship is a process. A daily lifetime process of learning to love and follow Jesus and becoming more like him in our attitudes and actions. It’s also seeking to make other disciples who want to do the same thing. Most often discipleship occurs in a relationship with a mentor, a youth leader, an elder or maybe a pastor.
Through the AncMC and UIMM we are moving among the nations; we are literally doing Cross-cultural disciple making. Hopefully soon both Pastor Bob, my wife and I will travel to Florida and Oregon. In order to spreading the gospel of the saving grace of Jesus Christ and to reach others across Alaska, our nation and the globe, we need to oftentimes bridge the gaps between cultures. When I was in college serving as international club president, in graduate school where I met leaders from Africa and America, and for my doctoral program for theology in Florida, I met many kinds of people. Knowing Christ means being in meaningful relationship with other nationalities, to foster connections, and share the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. This is an exciting position to be in.
For me embarking on this journey of serving Christ as pastor in southwestern Alaska since 1977 and for 22 years or more working among the people of Anchorage, and since 2012 moving among people from several nations, it is can be both challenging and rewarding. I’ve found to grow this type of Kingdom relationship, it has to be done with intentionality, humility, and prayerful guidance. Through this, we can more effectively grow our Churches in Alaska. Literally grow the Kingdom of God through UIMM, our ministry group, and engage in cross-cultural evangelism as we travel to the nations.
As we prepare to strengthen our own Church fellowship, we need some understanding how we can do better to equip and empower our leaders to work with the complexities of relating to people, and even other national groups. A number of the Directors of UIMM and leaders among the AncMC have experience working with Africans in three separate national groups, Phillipinos a little, the Spanish and Miskito speaking people of Honduras and Spanish speaking people in Cuba, and soon Lord willing, involve ourselves in empowering leaders among the Spanish speaking people of Nicarugua, Lord willing. I’m excited about this! It about making and impact lives for the Kingdom of God, everywhere we go.
UIMM has grown because its leaders are intentionally moving forward to grow the kingdom of God; their aim is to equip, empower, and send to the world before Christ’s 2nd coming. Originally UIMM as a Moravian ministry group was recognized by the Unitas Fratrum in November 2012. In August 2016 duirng the Moravian Unity synod in Jamaica, UIMM was excluded from fellowship with the Moravian Unity mainly due to its scriptural stand against homosexuals serving as clergy in pulpits. UIMM welcomes any Christian leader, especially those who are feeling estranged or persecuted by the Traditional Church, to join us as we move forward as a Spirit-filled Gospel preaching end time army of God.
UIMM’s leaders and pastors are always willing and should work together as a team, and must be intentional. Nothing great ever happened by accident. When it comes to disciple making, the same principle applies. As you plan and prepare for your moving among other nationalities, it takes intentionally.
God has called us to revitalize out of slumber the Moravian Churches and other Church fellowships. As we do this, our vision must be to move among other peoples. We must use our time and our resources effectively, with what little we have. What strategies should we employ to strength others especially in the area of evangelism? It takes humility and submission, I feel to engage with other language groups.
Evangelism requires a conscious effort like the apostles in the NT. As disciples, we must be deliberate in our approach to sharing the gospel, particularly when faced with cross-cultural challenges. John 4:4 tells us that we are Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
As we work among others, we must be open to learning about others, yourself, and the Holy Spirit’s work. Take a genuine interest in others and seek to understand them. Be flexible, adapting your approach when necessary, and listen to the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Prov. 18:13 says, to answer before listening—that is folly and shame.
What’s amazing is that Alaskan natives who are going out to the world, especially in the lower 48 and central America and even Afraid I have found out already have bridges intact. It the difficult, humble, poor life that many of us have been involved especially in the bush.
Bridges that connect are critical to reach others. In disciple making, we should seek out the bridges God has already constructed between cultures—the common ground that links us to those we’re trying to reach. God creates social opportunities for sharing the gospel. John 4:39 says, 39 Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!” 39 Many of the Samaritans from that village committed themselves to him because of the woman’s witness: “He knew all about the things I did. He knows me inside and out!” ). We should strive to know as much about other languages, customs, and activities that will help us to keep positive relations going to spread the gospel more effectively. It’s called bridging cultural divides.
Just some quick thoughts is that we should pray without ceasing; keep in touch with the Lamb of God, know His Will and do His Will as we look to grow the kingdom of God. We should always be open, interested in sharing the gospel with everyone, and prioritize those who are most receptive. The Spirit of God will compel or direct us to the right people. Acts 18:5-8 in NKJV says, When Silas and Timothy had come from Macedonia, Paul was compelled [a]by the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ. 6 But when they opposed him and blasphemed, he shook his garments and said to them, “Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” 7 And he departed from there and entered the house of a certain man named [b]Justus, one who worshiped God, whose house was next door to the synagogue. 8 Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized.
So it’s about focusing on building relationships with those who show interest and openness to the gospel message. Its about sharing our relationship with Christ; the ups and downs and sharing our vision of service to him.
Proclaim the gospel when we have a change is important. Ultimately our goal is to guide others toward repentance and faith in Jesus Acts 20:20 & 21 says, 20 You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. 21 I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.
While learning about other cultures and building relationships is valuable, we must remember that salvation comes through the gospel message, not our friendships or influence. It’s about showing the love of Christ, and respecting their language and cultures and religious experiences and doing so will attract them to the Jesus you know.
Let’s remember that God is calling us to go to the World and make disciples. Make disciples. Our evolving experience through the Anchorage Moravian Church and UIMM mission of reaching the world in cross-cultural disciple making is an incredible opportunity to expand the reach of the gospel and share the love of Christ with people from different diverse backgrounds.
In closing I believe God is calling us to move forward always, to continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Savior, to remember the importance of intentionality, learning, humility, prayer, and knowing others languages and cultural values. By working this ways, we can move among other nations and be more effective in cross-cultural evangelism and make a lasting impact on the lives of others.
Ultimately, it is through the power of the Holy Spirit and our obedience to God’s call that we can bring the life-changing message of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth.
Let’s pray that God will help us to be motivated to give our tithes and offerings, to support the calling to go to the four corners of the world as a Moravian Revival Church. As we embrace this calling and keep our relationship with Christ growing and allow His love to flow through us, we can see the fruits as he through us, transforms lives for His glory.