Dr. Phil – In addition to my overseas travel schedule, I have been teaching a History of Missions course at a local bible school (in Canada). The course focuses on the individuals and movements that have been faithful to the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20) over the last two thousand years. Instead of just emphasizing dates & religious leaders, I trace those who have kept true to God’s heart of reaching “all peoples.”
Granted, there have been some low eras in the last two thousand years when the “going to all peoples” flame seemed but a flicker. Yet there has always been a remnant who remained true to God’s heart. During the darkest time there were still individuals such as St. Patrick and Francis of Assisi, and groups such as the Jesuits and other monastic movements who were not content to keep the Gospel to themselves, but were focussed on spreading it to others who had not heard. While the strength of the Reformation was not its outward focus, good theology eventually laid a foundation for groups such as the Moravians, William Carey, and eventually the Modern Mission Movement. Then during these last 200 years we has witnessed the expansion of the Gospel around the world as never before.
A transition has already happened. It is no longer the Gospel going from the “west to the rest,” but there are missionaries being sent from Brazil, Korea, Africa, China, Ukraine and, to some degree, from virtually every other country to every country. There are still difficult regions (the 10/40 window) where the major religions of Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, dominate, but the final chapter of God’s story is not finished yet. Stay tuned.
Being refused a visa to Russia for the first time, reminded me again of the importance of training those who in turn can then train others (2 Timothy 2:2). While this is helpful in the short term, more importantly, in the long term it is about equipping others to fulfill the Great Commission. No matter what country we are from, we all have a role to play, even if that role or function has changed. It is not our responsibility to do it all on our own, rather leaders such as those that we have been mentioned in this Update (as well as others), carry on the vision of training leaders in their country. These ministry coaches in our network are key as we fulfill the mandate God has given us.
Together with our international team, it is our desire to equip servant leaders so that they will then have the tools and encouragement to train up another generation of leaders in their countries. Thanks for standing with us as we work toward this common goal and together be part of the legacy (regardless of whether are called to “stay” or “go”) of those who have never lost God’s heart to be a blessing to all nations (Gen. 12:1-5).