Out of all the amazing talks I heard this week at Together for the Gospel and the Despierta! (the Spanish Pre-Conference), perhaps what impacted me the most was a handful of tweets:
— Kerem Koç (@PastorKerem) April 13, 2016
@kp_halloran It is a stat from TMAI. US has a trained Christian worker for every 235 people. Outside USA, 1 for every 450,000 people.
— David Sills (@DavidSills) April 13, 2016
— New Tribes Mission (@newtribes) April 14, 2016
— Darren Carlson (@DarrenMCarlson) April 12, 2016
My big takeaway: there is still such pressing need for the gospel around the world.
I couldn’t get that stark reality out of my head as I scribbled down notes from speakers, walked around the bookstore, and fellowshipped with friends new and old.
The church in the US has long enjoyed a rich heritage of Christian influence, leadership training, and gospel-promoting resources. If the US has 1,900x the amount of trained workers the rest of the world does (see Sills tweet), we have our work cut out for us in seeing the gospel impact every tribe and tongue and nation for the building of the church.
While there are many priorities for world missions, here are three to consider:
Pray for workers“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:37-38
The first thing to do is obey the words of Jesus in Matthew 9:37-38: to pray for the Lord to send out laborers into his harvest. Pray for this continually as we face staggering—and seemingly impossible—situations around the world. In our own strength, the Great Commission is impossible. But all things are possible with God (Matthew 19:26).
At the Latinos Together for the Gospel breakout session (hosted by Coalicion Por El Evangelio), a brother from Spain shared that with all of the talk of a “New Reformation” taking root in the Spanish-speaking world, many forget the great needs of Spain, a country whose evangelical population is estimated to be only 1% of the total population. This brother’s heart-felt comment struck the hearts of those in the room. That’s why I’m committing myself to pray for Spain and for more gospel workers.
We also must seek to train the pastors and leaders of the unreached world. 85% of pastors worldwide have little or no Bible training—that’s why leadership training ministries like the organization I serve with (Leadership Resources International), Training Leaders International, Reaching & Teaching, and The Master’s Academy International are so vital in strengthening the global church.
Indigenous leaders need to be trained to read and preach the Bible faithfully to build their ministry on the power of God’s Word and ward off unbiblical doctrines or models of ministry. Investing in our under-resourced brothers and sisters in Christ will strengthen them in their role of “[equipping] the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12).
One of the great joys of the Together for the Gospel conference is free books. I received close to 40 free books (although lost a bag with about half of them!).
T4G conference attendees received more free books in three days than many pastors will have access to in their entire lives.
This is why the work of The Gospel Coalition – International Outreach is so important: they are resourcing the global church with much needed theological resources to further gospel ministry around the world.
Our organization has taken advantage of the Packing Hope program and helped spread resources over several continents. Books can be game-changers for ministers without access. That’s why we’re taking the books below to Ecuador for men graduating the Training National Trainers program.
— Leadership Resources (@LRI_News) April 7, 2016
Prayer, leadership training, and resourcing leaders are nothing new in the missions conversation, but continue to be vital in promoting biblical, gospel-centered ministry around the world.
As we labor in the Great Commission, we look forward to the time when we, as a great multitude, will gather not in Louisville’s Yum! Center, but before the Lamb, singing:
“Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”
Join me in prayer:
- for gospel laborers around the world to be called, equipped, and resourced
- for individuals, churches, seminaries, and organizations to partner together for greater effectiveness
- for a gospel unity that would demonstrate the glory of Christ and love of God to the world (John 17:23)