Global mission spotlight
by John Hall
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8
It’s natural for Christians to have a global vision for mission. As we experience the life of Christ through the Holy Spirit, our desire to witness increases. Jesus is Lord over the whole earth, and as His ambassadors, it’s our privilege to reveal His glory in every nation and people group.
This month, we want to give you some food for thought and prayer as we consider Jesus’ words about being His witnesses to “the ends of the earth.”
A common concern
In the Canadian Evangelical Mission Engagement Study (2017) conducted by the Canadian Missions Research Forum and the EFC, it is noted that most pastors of local churches believe that there should be an invitation for young people to consider long-term career missions. But this invitation, if it is given, is often met with resistance by young people. There is a concern that Canadian missionaries pose a threat to indigenous culture.
This concern is taken very seriously among long-term mission agencies, and more care is given to this issue now than at any other time in history. Jesus is the only solution to sin and death; if we believe that, we must share Christ’s love with a hurting and dying world because the need is so great.
Evangelization by people group
In 1974 at the first Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization, Ralph Winters introduced the task of Global Evangelization in relation to unreached people groups. This was a revolutionary idea, and it’s particularly significant for us in Canada considering the current connection between globalization and migration and its impact on population diversity here. An unreached people group, by definition, has less than two percent of Evangelical Christians in their population.
Sadly, according to the Center for Study of Global Christianity, most mission effort is directed at places where the church is, rather than places where it is not. Most of the non-Christian world is isolated from the Christian world: globally, 81 percent of all non-Christians do not personally know a Christ follower.
Giving to mission
Canada, as a wealthy culturally-diverse nation, has a huge opportunity to make a big impact in taking the good news of Jesus to places where His name has never been heard. For that to happen, we need to make some changes and take the task seriously. Our giving is one area that needs to change. About 85 percent of North American church financial resources are used for internal purposes. Another way to view this, according to The Travelling Team, is that “for every $100,000 that Christians make, they give $1 to the unreached.”
Of course, one of the keys to transformation is the development of an indigenous church. For a church to develop, there is a need for the Bible to exist in the people’s primary language. According to Wycliffe Bible Translators, more that 1.5 billion people do not have a full Bible in their language. Out of the 7,000+ languages spoken today, good progress in Bible translation has been made, however approximately 2,000 languages still need a translation project to begin. The biggest need is in the area referred to as the 10/40 window where there are 1600 people groups without a Bible in their own language.
The task of sharing the good news of Jesus with the nations is daunting but not impossible. What seems to be needed most is a change of heart. We need to be willing to be directed by the Holy Spirit to the nations. Would you consider what that may mean for you?
Mission Central and Missions Fest Vancouver would love to help you find a mission agency partner who can help you on your journey to the nations. Visit us at www.missioncentral.ca