On June 5th, 1944, General Dwight Eisenhower of the United States gave the go-ahead to officially commence the invasion of Normandy’s beaches by the Allied Powers. He knew the fight would be hard, the enemy having erected numerous defenses ranging from land mines to barbed wire to machine guns. But he was prepared and knew that with one big coordinated push, the Allied forces could gain a foothold in continental Europe and begin marching toward Berlin and victory. But it took planning on a massive, unified scale. Just the American part of the invasion involved thirteen infantry divisions, four armored vehicle divisions, and two air support divisions. Countless hours by various special forces and surveillance units were put in to make sure that the operation had its best chance at success.
What if one of the thirteen divisions of American infantry decided to invade on June 4? It would have been destroyed. Why? Simply put, America’s best shot was a unified attack that consisted of each unit doing its part and communicating with each other through meetings beforehand and radio and signals during the battle.
And so it will be for us as believers if we are to attempt to win the world for Jesus. We cannot go it alone and expect to be successful. We have tried individual projects that yield some results. What we need is strategy that results in the major move of God I believe most of us desire. Just like in the Allied victory in Normandy, it will take time and communication with other groups of people, many of whom do vastly different works than what you do. But that’s okay because God has placed within us various spiritual gifts and passions that all are needed to fulfill the Great Commission. Let’s compare some of the units involved in the battle of Normandy and compare them to what we face as Christians in our great spiritual battles.
First of all, they had home bases. These are places where the troops trained, rested, and prepared for battle. These represent our churches. Having great Sunday morning church should not be the main objective of the Church. Church services are to inspire believers during a time of worship and fellowship on how believers can go out into their respective worlds and make disciples. Church is a place where the battle can be planned, not where it is fought.
Second, they had ships that carried the men to the battle. To me, this represents missions organizations that are engaging various parts of the world, both home and abroad. They serve as vehicles for men and women to reach particular cultures with the Good News. A main reason for success at Normandy was the sheer number of Allied attackers and so it will be with us when we send greater and greater amounts of missionaries to the frontlines.
Third, they had individual units that had individual beaches to conquer. I believe this represents individual ministries. They reach a particular audience or address a specific concern. Together, we can reach all audiences and tackle every concern.
And finally, they had Central Command. Whereas I do not advocate one man or one group trying to tell all believers what to do (that is the Holy Spirit’s job), I do believe research must play a central role in reaching our world. People must be able to see all the needs and mobilize teams to meet those challenges. The beach on Normandy was not the ultimate goal and so winning a particular social battle is not our main goal.
Our quest is greater; it is to see everyone on this planet given an opportunity to hear the Good News of Christ’s redeeming love. And just as Eisenhower established targets, we must establish our own targets and goals and then move together to achieve them. Many men lost their lives fighting for freedom in June 1944. Will we not do the same for the cause of Christ?