It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. (Romans 15v20)
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? (Romans 10v14)
Preaching the gospel where Christ is not yet known is the central ‘why’ of WEC’s existence – the reason why so many people are willing to make sacrifices to be part of fulfilling Jesus’ commandment to go. Bearing this great truth in our hearts and minds, WEC International held its 4-yearly international conference in Germany during April 2018. Steve and Gill were privileged to be two of the 250+ delegates gathered from over 20 different countries and from every continent around the world. The huge diversity of our mission force reflects global changes in the church with those from traditional sending countries now joined by Asian, African and Latin American co-workers.
There are still almost 2,000 million people – over 30x more than the population of the UK – in the 100 biggest ethnic groups unreached by the gospel, and over 80% of the world’s Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists don’t personally know a Christian.
Some missionaries are still battling on, sowing the seeds of the gospel in hard places and waiting for some kind of breakthrough beyond a handful of people showing interest. Others struggle to get visas or to retain those that they have, and live knowing that they could be asked to leave their place of service at short notice. Sometimes mission is graft that requires perseverance and determination and it is an ongoing challenge to retain the vision of reaching people who haven’t heard the gospel.
But, there are also many encouragements……..
Conference speakers included the directors of sister missions such as the German DMG and CAPRO from Nigeria. From the very beginning of CAPRO 50 years ago, WEC has enjoyed a close relationship with them forming joint teams and sharing practical support together. CAPRO’s original vision of reaching the Muslim-majority north of Nigeria initially grew to include the rest of unreached Africa, and now has taken on other unreached parts of the world.
The growth of CAPRO represents a rising mission concern in many sub-Saharan African churches in strongly Christian areas. WEC is now working with mission-focused churches in a number of countries to help recruit and send. An exciting new development is coming up soon where new workers from Ethiopia will join WEC. Similar initiatives around the world are seeing NE Indians, Filipinos, and multiple other new nationalities joining us and other similar international missions.
In several countries we are now hearing about much more openness and response than ever before. Long-term missionaries who have been sowing and praying for years have finally begun to see fruit for their labours as people commit to following Jesus.
Our roles at the conference
General Bradley (one of the WW2 Allied commanders) popularised the expression “amateurs talk strategy, professionals talk logistics” Of course he knew that strategy mattered, but he also knew that however good a strategy may have been it was destined to fail with poor logistical support. The same is true in missions where logistics in the form of member care, family support and administration can make the difference between success and failure. A large part of Steve and Gill’s conference was focused on family support in small group meetings and seminars – being part of the logistics that help realise the vision of preaching the gospel where Christ is not yet known.
Steve and Gill will be sharing more about this and about Steve’s visit to Senegal in Jan/Feb at the CBC mission focus day on the 10th June.