NASHVILLE – Their Facebook page says that Mission Lazarus (ML) is a Christian ministry actively working in the developing countries of Honduras and Haiti with the purpose of intentionally sharing Christ’s love.
Given the onward march of Christian missions of purposely becoming increasingly like secular NGOs, I am attracted to agencies who boldly proclaim that their purpose is intentional sharing Christ’s love.
At the bottom line, Mission Lazarus believes evangelism is the responsibility of every Christian. Service is simply a tool – a very powerful tool – for accomplishing our responsibility. Human services and “progress” are much more marketable commodities than evangelism but, if they are allowed to have the priority, the good intentions of the agency and its supporters can have harmful, long-term, unintended consequences.
For that reason, Mission Lazarus is “strongly committed to programs and services that positively impact others without leaving a trail of harm in its wake. We have departed from many common mission practices that seem harmless, or even helpful, on the surface but in reality, promote dependence and reinforce helplessness.”
Mission Lazarus’ Five Rules to Live By
ML has developed five “Rules to Live By” that have proven successful for their evangelism efforts in Honduras and Haiti. Those rules and the underlying reasons for them are best expressed directly from the Mission Lazarus website:
Do no harm. We refuse to engage in charity practices that promote dependence, reinforce feelings of helplessness, and destroy the dignity of human beings.
Better Together. Development and Discipleship. Always do these together. Together these elements communicate genuine care of the whole person.
Healthy Rules of Engagement. With an endless need and limited resources, we partner with and invest in individuals and communities who actively seek to improve their current circumstances. Our partners are not passive recipients of charity; they are the primary change agent of their future. We are a catalyst for that change.
Relationship as Process. Transformation is continuous and life-long. It’s not a “one-off” and is not achieved in the short term. A commitment must exist on both sides to achieve long-term goals.
Teach Him to Fish. Knowledge is better than gold. Salvation is priceless. No one can steal them away from a person. And both can be shared repeatedly with others.
The Results of Living by the Five Rules
- Two private college-prep academies
- Two vocational schools
- Three medical clinics
- A dental clinic
- Four children’s homes
- Hundreds of souls saved
- More than 100 mission employees
- More than 25 supporting churches
- The Lazarus Group
The Lazarus Group is a profit-making parent company that opened in 2018 to “Cultivate dignity and purpose in the lives of individuals so that they can live better lives now and for eternity.”
The four businesses, Lazarus Artisan Goods, San Lazaro Coffee, Posada San Lazaro, and Lazarus Lumber, provide sustainable business models for discipling believers in their walk with Christ.
ML does not evangelize, then walk away. Nor does it put service before evangelizing and discipling. Every effort expended is to introduce people to Jesus, then to disciple them to make their faith in Christ contagious and reproducible.