At the 2017 Bethlehem Conference for Pastors and Church Leaders, John Piper declared, “God is up to something unprecedented.” He then went on to cite the assessment of noted church historian, Mark Noll:
The Christian church has experienced a larger geographical redistribution in the last fifty years than in any comparable period in its history, with the exception of the very earliest years of church history.
In 1900, Africa had ten million Christians, which was about ten percent of the population. By 2000, the number of Christians was 360 million, about half the population of the continent. This is probably the largest shift in religious affiliation that has ever occurred, anywhere.
There are 17 million baptized members of the Anglican church in Nigeria, compared with 2.8 million in the United States.
Last Sunday . . . more Christian believers attended church
in China than in all of so-called ‘Christian Europe.’
Kenya has more people in Christian churches on Sunday than Canada.
More Christian workers from Brazil are active in cross cultural ministry outside their homeland than from Britain or from Canada.
The point is that our Lord and His Gospel are sweeping across the globe in a fresh, new way. Our great God is bringing the nations into His kingdom! And what’s more, we get the opportunity to be a part of this cosmic movement through our support of missions! Think of it. We can touch eternity itself as people come to know the
saving, transformative power of Jesus Christ!
Now I know there are people who remind us that we have needs here in our own community; and no doubt, they are right. We have great needs here, and we personally expend a lot of resources to meet those needs. I look around at generous people every day. However, when we participate in international missions, we may be giving an entire people group the opportunity to be redeemed and saved from eternal damnation. Entire people groups! That realization drove Lottie Moon to China in 1873 and fueled her sacrificial work there. And that same opportunity should move us to demonstrate the same type of urgency and devotion! If nothing else, we should pray for our international missionaries and their efforts; and we ought to give to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. This coming week, we have set aside a specific time to cry out to the Lord for His protection and empowerment of our missionaries. Pray especially for the unreached peoples that they might know His goodness and life. And then give! This year, our church goal for the Lottie Moon Offering is $145,000, of which every penny goes directly to the international mission field.
Years ago, Dr. and Mrs. James M. Young stood before our congregation and expressed, “How grateful we are for a Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for Foreign Missions that makes it possible for any church to have a part in our entire missionary program around the world a reality.” I echo their sentiment and look forward to supporting what God is up to! See you Sunday as we March for Missions!