4th Aug, 2009

Can You Imagine the Church Going?

As a Christian missionary I often think about how we can reach more people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We always need more laborers for the harvest, see Luke 10:2, and that is often what I pray for. Even the largest evangelical denominational missions agency, the International Missions Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, has about 5000 missionaries on the field. Youth With A Mission, the largest interdenominational missions group has about 15,000-20,000 full-time missionaries on the field. Given the fact that there are over 6 billion people on the earth, with at least 600 million of those currently unengaged by Christian missions and unreached with the gospel, these numbers fail to meet the need. The 600 million doesn’t even account for the untold millions who may have access to the gospel but simply don’t believe.

If we were to try to plant a church for every 6000 people on the earth, it would take 1,000,000 missionaries or pastors or full time ministers. Even just targeting the 600 million who are completely unreached, it would take 100,000 full-time workers to provide just one worker for every 6,000 people.

Interestingly, there is a group that has 50,000 missionaries working full-time right now, larger than the IMB or YWAM. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, often named Mormons, has 50,000 full-time workers around the globe. One of their missions websites provides the following information:

For members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sharing the Gospel is one of the most important and rewarding ways we can spend our time. Thousands of young men and women leave their homes and families each year for this purpose. There are currently approximately 50,000 full-time missionaries serving all over the world.

Young men and women in The Church of Jesus Christ are not required to serve a mission, although many do. Missionaries are not paid for their service and, in fact, pay all expenses incurred during their missions, often with the assistance of their families and/or members of the church where they live. Young men (between the ages of 19 and 27, but mostly 19-21 years old) serve for two years; young women (usually 21-24 years old) serve for a year and a half.

Senior couples are also encouraged to serve missions once their children are raised and they have the financial means to do so. Senior couples typically serve for 1-1/2 years, and have proven invaluable in many areas, including training, reactivation, fellowshipping, temple service, etc., as well as proselyting.

Notice a few things. First, these missionaries raise their own support. Second, although it isn’t explicitly required, nearly all Mormon young people serve on these missions.

I just wonder what would happen if parents raised their children with the expectation that they would serve for 2 years on the mission field. Right now, most parents teach an expectation that their children will go to college. But what if we changed that to even just one year on the mission field and college? What if every church focused all of their members to serve for a period of time in missions and full-time ministry?

Why does this question even seem absurd to some? This seems like it should be a given. What did Jesus tell His followers to do? Go to the nations and make disciples of the nations. Matthew 28:19-20. What did God tell Abraham and his heirs to do? Be blessed and bless the nations. Genesis 12:1-3. What did God say His unchanging purpose is? To bless Abraham’s heirs (us) so that they would bless the nations. Hebrews 6:15-20. Where did Jesus tell His followers to go? To the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8.

Moreover, can you imagine what an impact it would have? Even if just 20 million Christians in America alone would find a way to go bless the nations for even just 6 months over the next ten years, don’t you know it would have an unbelievable impact? Come on!!! Let’s go! Rise up!!

And if you think, “but I don’t know how.” Well, I can show you. Check out a website like www.ywam.org or http://www.uofnkona.edu. There are places all over the world that would spend 3 months training you and then sending you out on targeted outreaches for 3 months to as long as you want to go. Moreover, it’s not as impossible as it sounds. God promises to provide for His children and He will give good gifts if only we ask. Ask Him to pave your way and GO! Don’t hesitate to contact me with questions either. I’d love to help you go.

Responses

Bryan,
Fabulous post! Yet humbling. I’m in the Navy and got an early and continuous dose of missions with a tour in Japan and the opportunity to meet many missionaries in my other travels as well. And while I find myself wishing I could show my kids how important missions are, I fail to actually follow through with that. Thank you so much for this humbling post. We must do more. To think that my kids might just be part of that prayer that Christ prayed for more laborers! What an awesome opportunity for me!

Dan Smith’s last blog post..5 Places on the Ship I’ve Ministered

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