I wrote these thoughts last month in the middle of our annual Faith Promise Missions Conference. This year, like most years, we were privileged to have a number of missionaries and fields represented in our conference. They are sharp, articulate people desiring to go the mission field and share Christ with the multitudes. The only thing holding them back is the financial resources necessary to go and be sustained on those fields.
In the opening service of the conference, I was struck when we had a parade of flags. Each missionary guest with us followed a flag of their country as they marched in. The final flag carried in was solid black and represented the countries with closed or restricted access to missionaries.
Over half of the world’s population live in countries where their governments have restricted missionaries from bringing the gospel message. My heart aches as I write these words thinking of the multitudes that will never hear a clear presentation of the gospel. I am sure that in every land there is someone sharing the gospel. However, it is often limited by a repressive government and a lack of churches in “closed” countries.
One of the reasons we must reach the open fields with the gospel is that other nations are welcomed in even though Americans are restricted from going to these nations. For instance, the Filipinos are able to get into most countries of the world. They do service work and have few restrictions in their access. So we need to get missionaries to open fields to win people to Christ, baptize them, form churches, and train them to take the message of Christ to the world.
It should trouble us that while we are restricted from going to other places in the world, we aren’t restricted here at home. Yet so few are engaged in telling others about Christ here in America. I believe we will stand before God some day and give an account for our lack of effort in reaching our own nation with the gospel. I read the other day that when it comes to faith, a fast growing segment of our population are those that are called “Nones.” In other words, they have no faith. They are either atheist or agnostic and don’t care about God or the Bible. Perhaps the reason they are that way is because many in Christianity aren’t living credible lives or speaking of their faith. Too many of us have been intimidated by the culture and silenced by fear.
There are a few responsibilities each of us must own. As American Christians, our responsibility is huge.
- We must live credible lives so that others can see the distinct difference that Christ makes.
- We must be faithful to tell others about the Saviour. When God opens the door, we must speak up. We must look for opportunities to share our faith and do so with boldness and assurance.
- We must give generously so that others can go the fields of the world.
- We must pray earnestly for those who are on the field and for others trying to get there. Pray that God would make them effective in the reaching people with the gospel.
- We must live ready and excited about the return of Christ.
- We must encourage one another to be the best Christians we can be.