After leading a seminar on global mission at the recent Bristol Women's Conference Judith has written a short summary for all of us (men and women) to read...
The late John Stott said: “We must be global Christians with a global vision because our God is a global God.” Thinking globally shouldn’t be too difficult in the 21st Century. Travel and long distance communication have never been easier and we have almost limitless access to information. So how can we use those things to help us develop a global vision in our church? We can feel overwhelmed and possibly confused by missionary work and what it looks like today. As a result we may feel disinclined to take much interest. But we cannot escape the fact that God is concerned for the whole world. There are countless references from Genesis to Revelation which remind us of this and, of course, the Great Commission is to make disciples of “all nations”.
We hopefully agree that there is a Biblical basis for global mission and that our church should support those endeavours in some way – at least financially and prayerfully. We may even appoint a small missionary committee to take a special interest but how can the whole church take this on board? So we have the internet offering articles, blogs, talks etc on this subject. All the main missionary societies have a web presence – discover where they work, opportunities for service (long and short term) etc. Visiting a missionary or doing a short term trip is an excellent way of learning and seeing what is involved. Communicating with people on the
field is now easy – WhatsApp, FaceTime, e-mails and Skype.
Let’s work at preventing marginalisation of global mission in our churches. Let’s get used to gaining information and news regularly in our Sunday services as well as in the small groups. What about our youth and kids’ groups? How can we teach and enthuse them? Many missionaries can look back and say that they felt God was laying missions on their heart when they were in Sunday School.
The task of global mission is far from over. There are around 3,000 people groups who are totally unengaged with the Gospel. This means that there is no evangelical effort to reach them. These people will have never heard of Jesus (Matthew 9:37-38). Of course it’s a real privilege for a church to be involved in sending out their own missionaries. Perhaps we can be more proactive in that respect – in informing and challenging one another of the needs and opportunities. What is God asking us to do with our lives? Missionary work is not reserved for the special or super-spiritual. We are all called to “Follow me" and to seek first God’s kingdom. What is our response? Maybe He will lead us to go to another part of the world in His service. If not, may He help us to give, pray and send so that His ways may be known on earth, His salvation among all nations (Psalm 67:2).