Once again, WEC week has flown by at Dallas Theological Seminary, leaving us with a beautiful wealth of knowledge to ponder. This know-how, sought through faith, is as beautiful a reminder as a sunset in the rear-view. A string of seminars ranging from at-home-apologetics to the nuances of theological education abroad have rearranged the furniture of our “missions-mind” and re-incorporated some old truths, too quickly forgotten. Keynote speaker Dr. Chris McGuffey, current Pastor of Outreach Grace Bible Church, and former Campus Crusade (Cru) staff in Russia, China, and Greece, recounted countless stories of God’s faithfulness in the field while highlighting the costs accrued when doing “whatever it takes” to make God’s glory known in lands without the Gospel.
Dr. McGuffey was right to count the cost. The cost is great, and for Christ, the cost was the greatest. It was the cross. Only by this cost did Christ produce our salvation. Therefore, the cost, for the sake of the Gospel, is always worth its risk. That is the very reason Peter writes in his epistle that we may rejoice as, “…we share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed” (1st Pet. 4:13). The cost is great, but in the field of missions, the cost is His glory. So that leads us to wonder—what is the reality of the state of missions at large? What is the reality of the world for our witness?
In global summary, 17,461 people groups exist. Yet, the reality is that 7,432 people groups remain unreached by the good tidings of gospel news. This goal is daunting, but surely, it’s surmountable, right? Surely the church has enough manpower to reach the waking world! Surely, technology has advanced far enough. Surely, we are giving enough. Surely, we are doing enough to see the world reached. Surely, our efforts are enough. However, as we contemplate, we come to realize that word—enough—will only shatter. Once the deafening cacophony of its powerlessness collapses, we are pierced with a poignant truth: enough is not sufficient to accomplish the task. Enough will not answer the call. Enough will not bring the good news of salvation to the world. Only Christ can do that.
Still, there remain countless people still living, as if under a veil. Unreached people groups across the world and in our own backyards live under a system of the law that has already passed from the world and made way for the Savior. Nonetheless, they must hear His name. They await a new hope. They await the moment they will see, “beautiful on the mountains…the feet of those who bring good news” (Isa. 52:7), and with it, the message of salvation. Communities from Kolkata to Kansas are aching for the Gospel. Perhaps God will use you as an instrument to reach communities anywhere from downtown Dallas to districts in Dhaka.
We have experienced another WEC week, and once again, we are presented with the missional call to spread the Gospel. We have received power by the Holy Spirit and face a beautiful opportunity to proclaim the Lord’s love for us to the ends of the earth. We stand in wonder at His calling. In the words of Dr. McGuffey, “You are here because it’s hard. You are here because the cost is high. You are here because the people are unresponsive.” As Dr. McGuffey later recounted: the Gospel reminds us of the depth of our resolve but also of the scope of our responsibility.
God has called us into the world. As faithful men and women answering God’s call to go into the world, let us not adopt an attitude of pessimism, fear, or indifference. Instead, uniting the church, parachurch, and academia of God’s kingdom, let’s strive together as “one body and one Spirit…one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Eph. 4:5-6). Only our utmost dependency on the sovereign Lord can accomplish this task. As we mobilize, organize, give, and send, it’s a beautiful reminder we must not “rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead” (1st Cor. 1:9). It is only Christ that can accomplish the task. Only He can raise the dead. Only He can reach the world.