"Me Go on an Outreach?" "Yes You!"
With worldwide numbers of evangelical Christians reaching an historical one billion believers and with over half of that number testifying to having an experience with the Holy Spirit, things have never looked more hopeful for Bible-believing Christians around the world.
Achieving our great commission mandate to preach the kingdom of God and make disciples of every nation and people on earth is well within reach. The Bible is now in almost every spoken language in the world. Africa now has a population of 50% “born again” Christians. South Korea has about 30%. Brazil has a critical mass of 20% as does China, with 30,000 new converts per day receiving Christ as Saviour.
The July 2, 2002 issue of Time Magazine features the cover story of the “Left Behind” apocalyptic series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins These books are now the top-selling collection of novels in the United States. Over 35 million copies have been sold and the number is climbing. “Why the great interest in the end of the world and in Evangelical Christianity?” Time asks, pointing out that over 30% of Americans believe the Bible literally and over 60% believe that the prophetic judgments spoken of in the book of Revelation will literally soon come to pass. While many in the West seem to notice only that there has been a great falling away and a gigantic moral slide, Biblical Christianity is elsewhere taking the world by storm, or I should say, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
You Can Make A Difference
What would it take for you to see that you can make a difference? How can you be empowered to go, and have your faith engage so that you can get involved in this great end-time harvest? Let me tell you, you can make a huge difference. Opportunities to spread the gospel have never been more abundant for both short-term and long-term missions. Air travel is available to all who have 10 days vacation time and $1,000-$2,000 to invest. While the logistics of a mission like this can easily be addressed, for most of us, it is more a matter of feeling unprepared and inadequate to step into the stereotypical role of preaching to crowds of hostile natives under a coconut tree somewhere. Those days are long gone in most places of the world.
Today, it is in the world’s overcrowded and desperately needy mega cities where you can have a great impact.
Hopefully, you have a deep desire to do more for the cause of world evangelization, but simply do not know how, when or where to get started. If we can lower the risk, lessen the commitment and facilitate an entry point, I believe almost anyone can be involved. Compared to the early church, most of us are way overqualified anyway. They very quickly evangelized the known world without the aid of airplanes, e-mail and amplifiers. Once we realize that it requires the power of the Holy Spirit, and that He truly lives and moves in us, then all we really need is a desire, an opportunity, and a game plan, and we can very quickly release an army of trained and qualified missionaries who will take the good news of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth.
This is where short-term missions can fill a vital role. Once you go, even if initially as an observer, you will never be the same. Your heart will be joined with some of the most wonderful people on earth. They will not be nameless and faceless foreigners any longer, but new found Christian brothers and sisters that you have deeply ministered to, and who, I might add, have also deeply ministered to you. Your team has made a lasting impact on the lives of many in what is often a new and needy mission church that desperately needed help, encouragement and resources. This whole endeavor is what gives faith and vision for you to be used by God to help bring the Kingdom of God on earth.
Where And How?
But you say, “Where would I go? What would I do? What are the steps to getting there?” First, begin dreaming and thinking about going somewhere to love, serve and help out. Join your church ministry team right away and learn how to pray effectively for others. Become a cell leader in your home church so you will have leadership experience and training to better equip you for your outreach. But perhaps most important of all, ask God to help you get going in the “Great Commission.”
Someone said that there is no magic in an airplane ride. If you are not involved at home, you won’t be effective in another land, either. But the “magic” begins by being a member of an effective team; and by investing a little time and money, you can be truly used of God to minister to others. Once you experience the faithfulness of God in stretching situations, you will be off and running; and you will surely be more excited and motivated once you get back home.
How We Got Started
My very first mission trip was a one-month outreach to Indonesia. It changed my life forever. Then for years, even before renewal came, I would make one or two short-term mission trips each year to Latin America. The invitation would come from a local church pastor to come to them and serve. A team of 15 or 20 would prepare to do worship in Spanish and give a brief testimony of how they came to Christ and what God means to them. All of them had been trained to minister healing to heart issues as well as to the physically sick. Excitement would build as the day of departure finally came, and off we would go. The result was a two-fold blessing, both for those we visited and for our own team and church back home. Folks invariably would learn that God could and did use them. They returned home excited about the local church vision and eagerly desiring to go and help out again.
I remember taking Shirley Smith to Guatemala. She is a founding member of TACF and was an executive secretary with practically no ministry experience back then. But Shirley is an eager learner and willing to help and serve. Sharing the love of Jesus to needy children in the dump in Guatemala City changed her life. She is now in full-time ministry of intercession, active in our counseling and healing ministry, yet the people in Guatemala are perhaps closest to her heart.
Ian Ross came to Nicaragua in early ‘93. He was from another denomination and was in management with IBM. He had never done anything like this before. Having had basic training with our ministry team, he soon found himself leading a sub-group way up river in the east coast of Nicaragua. There they ministered to a village church and saw scores of youth commit their lives to Christ accompanied by many physical healings. Ian was changed. There were subsequent trips, too, as Ian returned home to Toronto and became an active cell leader in TACF, eventually overseeing our cell network for a season. Today, he travels internationally in full-time ministry with his wife Janice, sharing the message of the Father’s love.
Since we started our School of Ministry in 1995, well over 1000 young people have not only completed the School of the Heart courses but have been to many one month outreaches that changed their lives, not to mention the lives of those they visited in the nations of the world.
Outreach teams from many churches from North America and Europe are now joining hands to help Rolland and Heidi Baker in Mozambique each month. The revival there is exploding, and they need all the help they can get.
In 1994, Dan Slade took a short-term mission with YWAM to the Ukraine. He was so challenged with the need and opportunity to bring the gospel and the River of the Holy Spirit to the Ukrainians that he moved there with his family. They have seen the fire of revival spread all over that nation, into Russia and even as far as Tajikistan in the Far East bordering on China and Afghanistan. I was recently with Dan in Kiev and his heart cry is, “Send help!” One or two weeks of your life can make a profound difference to the cause of Christ.
The end-time harvest is upon us. Jesus said, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (Matthew 9:38) This is your opportunity. Join with the Father’s reaping angels (Matthew 13:39) and be a part of the greatest harvest of souls in the history of the Church.