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Church Planting Czech Republic Europe Field Story

...If ye love one another

"No matter if we are a part of a big team or a small team, we are always called to live out the commandment to love one another."

When our team moved to Prague more than seven years ago, we were all prepared to face certain challenges: learning a new culture, a new language and new jobs, as well as adjusting to living far from family and friends. As time passed, we found other challenges that we had not expected. One that surprised (and challenged) me more than others was applying John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. I had not thought before about how this principle and command looks in different situations.

As a team we had each come from a medium or large sized church in North America. When the body you are part of consists of hundreds of people, it is easier to find people that you naturally love and get along with. At the same time, it is easier to avoid those, with whom it more difficult to get along. For our first six months, year, and more, we spent a lot of time together. We worked together, studied together, sang in choir together, celebrated holidays together, and we were church together.

For each of us, the body that we were a part of shrunk from hundreds to sixteen. At times it was challenging to choose to love one another. At times it was tempting to try to avoid one another. At times we even had to have hard conversations to work through conflicts. Looking back we are very thankful that God graciously and patiently guided us through those times, changing us each as individuals and as a team. We can see it, and we have also heard others say that they were impacted by seeing the love we had for one another. (Thank God!)

During those times, we had not thought about the idea that God could also be preparing us very specifically for the future, young church that He would establish here in Prague. Now, a few years later, the Czech believers in this church face similar circumstances. They are a small group. Some people naturally get along and others do not. Choosing to love each other well is often a challenge. But doing so not only displays obedience to God's commands to the church but also is a great witness to those who are not yet believers. Time and again we have been able to encourage this small body with truths from the Bible, with stories from our own experiences and with practical tools we've learned along the way.

No matter if we are a part of a big team, a small team, a church of hundreds or a church of just a few faithful believers, we are always called to live out the commandment to love one another. That looks different for each of us in each situation but we can be confident that God will reward us for being obedient in living out the love He has first shown us.

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