When Jesus sent the Jews to preach to the gentiles, he sent people into the unknown armed only with the gospel and their faith. Since then, Christians throughout the generations have been going into strange and unknown lands to take the good news to those who need to hear it. They have built churches, preached sermons, and prayed that someone would turn up to hear and believe.
A few years back, due to my own experiences and my passion for theology, God placed on my heart a desire to reach those with disabilities and illness. My own study meant I had opportunities to speak at conferences and get published in the area of theology and disability, but my desire to work in church leadership in this field was continually disappointed. It never seemed the right time and I was unsure of where God wanted me or in what capacity.
And then I got sick. For several years I was in bed anywhere from 3-7 days a week. I was unable to attend church and I became isolated from friends and Christian community. My inability to work meant that I despaired of ever reaching my calling of working in church. It was then, when I feared that I had heard my call wrong, that God spoke. He told me to use my training and my illness and to reach those who were isolated like I was.
During my isolation I found my community online. My support groups were online, my friends were sometimes people I had never met face to face. My strength came from these people, and I was able to go there to cry and to seek support as they understood my journey. But they weren’t Christians and it wasn’t church. God called me into this space. He sent me into the unknown and strange land of the internet and told me to build and church, preach sermons, and pray people would hear and believe.
So I created The Invisible Body, named so for those of us who are a part of the body of Christ but remain hidden and unseen. I started on major social networking platforms and posted my sermons on YouTube. I offered Skype pastoral visits, private messaging chats, live prayer and sermons around disability and the bible. I then sought supervision, for I do not believe in Church without accountability. I was lucky enough to be referred to Wendy Emsley, who was intrigued by my vision and wanted to be a part of it.
Thanks to a donation from a brother in Christ that I may never meet face to face, I was able to start our website. This website allows for people to join the church as members and to be a part of private church forums. It allows me to see
This is a mission field. It is hard to get the word that we exist to people who are isolated in nature, and yet these are the people we want to reach. It is hard to say prayers for the sick and dying knowing that they may simply disappear and I will never know what actually happened to them. It is hard to lead people to Christ knowing I will not be the one to baptise them. It is hard working out how to do this when there is no guide book, no one who has done it before. It is especially hard when some of the physical church does not see it as a legitimate church, or that I am a legitimate pastor.
What we need is support.
We need people to pray for us and our venture. This is not an aspect of our church, as many churches do, where we have a physical presence that is streamed online to others. This IS our church. This is where we do communion. This is where our community is. We need your support. We need you to tell others about us. We need you to pray for us. We need financial support to continue what we do and to expand it. We need you to see us as legitimate as the church that one of your missionaries planted. Just because you can’t see us, doesn’t mean we are a part of the body.