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Shedding Lethargy

What it takes to move people from complacency to follow Christ.

Imagine you're a pastor in Africa in the mid-1990s. It's the height of the AIDS pandemic and the adult population is dying off. What would you do?

Every day it seems there are more orphans in your community. Surely your church would rise up to this humanitarian crisis. You would have done something as millions died, as families disintegrated, as the coffin-making business boomed.

Wouldn't you?

When I visited Uganda during the worst of the AIDS crisis, it wasn't seen as a problem that required extraordinary action.

Yes, some people were taking in orphans. Everyone knew a terrible illness was spreading. But the response was hardly sufficient.

"During that time, all we preached was judgment," says Pastor Joseph Senyonga, of Kasangombe, Uganda. The disease was viewed as a well-deserved consequence of immoral behavior. "There was little talk of love or compassion."

Attendance at Joseph's church dwindled as people in the community died. Yet, he didn't know what to do.

"As pastors, we were worried ...

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