One undertaker used to sign off his correspondence with ‘Yours eventually’. In my case, whilst my barber faces reduced demand as I advance in years, my undertaker just needs to have patience because, unless the Lord returns first, my body will indeed be his eventually.
There are some activities in the local church that can and should change over time but an involvement in cross-cultural global mission is part of the remit of every local church because a concern for the eternal destiny of people from all nations is part of the heartbeat of God as can be seen from Scripture.
Yet, with many wonderful exceptions, I detect that a good number of British local churches are increasingly focused on local mission rather than the global task.
‘The harvest is plentiful’. These words of the Lord Jesus are as true today as ever with the dark continent of Europe having a lower percentage of evangelical Christians than any other continent. It may not feel like it but Britain is relatively well-resourced compared to continental European neighbours and, for the moment, the opportunities for gospel ministry are open to Brits in a way that has not been the case for centuries. Europe is drawing in many more through immigration from countries where gospel work is
difficult. What an opportunity and, in the case of Farsi speakers and others, what fruitfulness!
At the same time as Christians are being forced out of many countries in the Middle East others are being sucked in to Saudi Arabia and
the Gulf States with the voracious appetite for workers being met by people, including Christians, from South Asia and the Philippines. A friend of mine who has led a
significant student church in the West claims never to have seen such fruitfulness amongst people of all nations as he has encountered in a church in one of the Gulf states.
We shall look at the nature of the 21st Century harvest field at Local Church Global Mission. May the Holy Spirit of Christ give us the same compassion for the lost as Jesus had for the ‘harassed and helpless’.
‘but the labourers are few’. Church leaders that I meet from other countries, often have a sense of gratitude for what their countries have received in gospel work from this country in previous generations but where are the workers being grown and sent out from British churches today? And are there other ways of meeting the needs of the harvest? How can local churches be more intentional in raising up cross-cultural workers for the harvest field?
‘therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest’. The first and best thing that we and local churches can do is to pray for the Lord to raise up workers for the harvest. At Local Church Global Mission we will do that not least so that someone who can train 100 house group leaders for the church in the Gulf region would be sent out.
Andy Lines, Mission Director, BCMS Crosslinks
Together with colleague Jamie Read, Andy will be leading a seminar exploring these issues at the upcoming Local Church Global Mission Conference on 25th Feb 2017. Book your place by clicking here!