40 years ago this week, I got married. Two weeks later, I was in Africa with my bride. I spent the better part of two years with her in the “bush” of Ghana and Nigeria often with no electricity and no running water. A French engineer we befriended asked me, “Why would someone come to this place and not be paid a huge salary?” My reply was, “There’s not enough money to pay me to come to a place like this.” So, why do I give a flip about missions? Why have I invested 35 million dollars of the Lord’s money overseas in the last 33 years (and almost that much in local missions in the U.S.)?
As I reflect on this last forty years, here are a few thoughts that come to my mind:
1. The move is on.
- Missiologists tell us that over ONE MILLION souls are being saved every week around the world. Over 180,000 new churches are being planted every year. 30,000 Chinese are being saved every day. We are in “mega-harvest” as the world has never seen.
- Even among Muslims, the move is on. I was told recently that before ISIS there were 1 million believers in Egypt…now there are 4 million. There is a church facility in Nigeria that seats 1 MILLION people. I stood in it. It made me feel like I’ve been doing church in a phone booth.
- Churches of 50,000-75,000 are very common now. I am part of a global network of 100 pastors and the average church size is 17,500. The move is on.
2. The time is short.
- I can count at least 5 major hotspots that could boil over into worldwide meltdown. Nations are rapidly developing their nuclear capabilities once again. How long can earth last with the present level of terrorism and international tension?
- Man is preparing to live on Mars by 2035. Is God going to allow mankind to populate on other planets before His return? Elon Musk says he will “die on Mars.” (Help yourself, buddy, there are no trees and it gets -225 degrees at night at the poles!)
3. The world is connected.
- There are 3.2 BILLION people online right now and the Executive chairman of Google recently claimed that “everyone on earth will be connected by the end of the decade.” Half of the world will be online on a mobile phone by 2020. What an opportunity for the Gospel!
- International pastors have come of age and are connected across the globe. The “Surge Project” is connected to 12 regional directors who are connected to hundreds of apostolic church planters worldwide and has now planted over 22,000 churches with over 1.1 million people attending a weekly church service. The cost to plant a church ranges from $1,200 - $6,000 making it one of the most effective ways to spread the gospel. Read about it here.
Jump on board. Don’t miss this final “Surge” of harvest, discipleship, and church planting. You can now be involved in planting significant churches in remote parts of the world with one “click.” Visit the Surge Project website at surgeproject.com for your starting point on world missions.
Times have changed in this 40 years. Melanie and I are still at it, though, and our best years are ahead!