In 1944, the Allied forces were facing a daunting task: how to gain a foothold in continental Europe from which they would advance to march on Hitler’s Berlin and thus defeat the armies of the Axis powers. Hitler had set up an impressive defense consisting of among other things a million land mines and barbed wire. A direct assault on the territory without a plan would be disastrous.
So it is in today’s spiritual climate. Satan has set up numerous defenses and strategies designed to keep the Gospel from having its full impact. We cannot afford to think winning occasional small battles is good enough–it wasn’t winning the war for the Allies. We must also develop master plans and all work together to accomplish our Great Commission to share the gospel with everyone. Over the next few posts, I hope to highlight some of the key successful strategies from the Normandy invasions and examine if there are things we can learn from them.
A first strategy is simply this: plan months ahead for what you want to do. June 1944′s victory started with steps taken in 1943. Soldiers trained and maps were drawn. That is why knowing your target is so crucial. What are we aiming for? The answer: the whole world. That’s a pretty daunting task. If we are to accomplish our goal, we have to break it down into manageable parts.
So I guess reaching a nation would be the next thought, but seriously, millions of people getting mass mailers? Not very effective considering the devil has thousands of different distractions and delusions at his disposal. One mailer could not begin to address all of those.
So our next thought process is “take the city” which is better but still falls short. City wide meetings could be held but in cities of thousands of people, you might at best have half the population show up and hear one message that could begin to address a major issue affecting a particular city. Once again, hundreds of other issues aren’t addressed (although perhaps in special instances, God has shaken a whole city, but it wasn’t a norm).
Where does that leave our strategy? The answer: the neighborhood level. I can realistically meet my neighbor and share the gospel. I know what some of the large problems in my neighborhood are because I live there. But herein lies the challenge: there are thousands of neighborhoods, just like in 1944, there were thousands of German positions. How did the Allies address the challenge? It is simple yet profound: they mapped out the details.
They knew where the German Panzer units were and if they didn’t know, they would find out. They learned about the bridges, the terrain, and the regiments. God expects us to use wisdom and map out where we want to go. Do you think Paul didn’t know where his first missionary journey was going to head? Each journey he took built on the last one.
In part two, we will look at how the Allies assembled the forces that were to shape the course of modern history and how we can join together to change history ourselves.