The other day I read these statistics in regards to missions in one of John Piper’s conference sermon transcripts:
“One fact is the tremendous unfinished task before the church of Christ. Depending on how you define an ethnic people, there are between 1,000 (Barrett, in World Christian Encyclopedia, p.19) and 17,000 (Ralph Winter, USCWM) unreached peoples on the earth. Johnstone himself suggests about 3,000 unreached peoples (Operation World, p. 32). In any of these cases it is still true that about half of the world's 5.2 billion people live in those people groups where the church is either nonexistent or so small and weak as to need outside help in evangelizing its people. That means that about half of the world's individuals are culturally cut off from the witness of the gospel. Thus the need for cross-cultural missionaries is still extraordinarily great. That is one fact made clear in this book. The missionary task is unfinished!”
When I was in college, one of the verses that led me onto the mission field (my first trip was to Nigeria, Africa with a Navigator team) was John 10:15-16 “just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold....” And Paul says in Ephesians 4:13-14 that the only way ordinary people will cease to be children tossed to and fro by winds of false teaching and by the cunning of men is if they come to full manhood in knowledge - the knowledge of the Son of God. It is a biblical mandate for every believer.
Now, I realize that there are many not called to head out onto the foreign mission field... if that was the case, there would be no one ‘at home’ living out the love and justice of Jesus in our own culture. I like the way Piper puts it... “....taking up, for example, the issues of evangelism, poverty, medical care, unemployment, hunger, abortion, unwed mothers, runaway kids, pornography, family disintegration, child abuse, divorce, hygiene, education at all levels, drug abuse and alcoholism, environmental concerns, crime, prison reform, moral abuses in the media and business and politics, etc., etc. In general being salt and light at all levels of society in our own culture”
But there are also those who God is nudging to take a step of faith and ‘go’ but who are crippled by feelings of inadequacies. What spurred this blog was an email we received from one of our supporters who shared she was heading to Guatemala for a mission trip with a church. In her email she says,
“My relationship with Jesus is growing and I’ve chosen to follow His leading to go on a short-term mission trip to Guatemala... I don’t yet feel equipped for such a calling, but am reminded that, “God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called.” He didn’t call me because of who I am or what I can do, but because God can and will do his work through me.”
In this short article by John Piper he addresses objections to going into missions such as ‘I’m not smart enough’, ‘My body and my personality are not strong enough’, ‘I’m not a good speaker’, ‘I’m afraid of the horrors I read about in the newspapers’, ‘I’m afraid I won’t be fruitful’, ‘ There is plenty to do here’, ‘I am not married’, ‘I fear that when I get there it might turn out I made a mistake and will come back with shame’. If you have ever said one of these eight things (or more) when you have felt the Lord nudging you to step out in faith and experience God on the foreign mission field, I encourage you to read this article.
God wants to use YOU in powerful ways... in ways that you did not have planned... one of which just may be sending you to reach the unreached!
(As a side note, if you would like to help our friend/supporter out financially or prayerfully, please let us know and we’ll send you information).
In light of Danielle's comment below, I wanted to add this sermon. After I read Danielle's comment I looked it up. This is probably one of the best, if not THE best sermons I have ever heard on missions. It is an hour long, but it is POWERFUL! I encourage you to find the time to listen to it. Divine Sovereignty: The Fuel of Death-Defying Missions.