In a Time Such as This
I became involved full-time in Christian work in 1969. In the next several years, I learned what God was doing not just through our ministry but others as well.
It was good then, but it was much less than what God is doing today. Consider some amazing facts:
- The church in China has grown to 100 times the size it was when the Communists took over 60-plus years ago.
- The church in India has seen over 50 million people express faith in Christ over the last 15 to 20 years.
- In the Middle East, many people are having dreams of Jesus calling them to follow Him.
Let me illustrate this for you with the story of a young woman I’ll call Anna. As a teenager living in North Africa, she had been repeatedly sexually abused as she was growing up.
One day, she passed by a house with a small sign that said, “Jesus is love.” Shortly after that, Anna failed a critical test at school and had thoughts of suicide. With nowhere else to turn, she cried out, “Reveal yourself to me, ‘Jesus of love.’ ”
Well, Jesus did appear to her in a dream and said to Anna: “Accept Me as your Lord and Savior.” She immediately went back to the home with the sign about Jesus. They gave her a DVD called “Magdalena” — the women’s version of the JESUS film. Anna watched it three times, responded to Christ and couldn’t stop crying for two days.
Transformed, she led her mother and sister to the Lord. She played the DVD for her fellow students, and in just one week, 25 students came to Christ.
She is now a first-year student in university and leads a group of 30 women on her campus. These women now are boldly telling others that Jesus is love.
In many places, people are taking ownership of spreading the message and multiplying it into the lives of others. Let me give just a few examples:
Andres is a Colombian student who was inspired by the vision not just to minister but to multiply. He started by launching a movement group on his campus. Not long after that, he started a second group on a second campus. Then, he turned the first group over to his friend, Freddy, and started a third group on a third campus. Freddy apparently got the picture of what to do and turned his group over to Diego. Freddy then started a fourth group on a fourth campus. Altogether, 50 movement groups have been launched from Andres’ initial efforts.
In Ethiopia, a number of students were challenged to take risks and own the spread of the gospel into relatively unreached areas of their country. When they did that, they were arrested and thrown into a jail cell. Immediately they started ministering to their cellmates. When the prison guard saw that, he decided to move them to another cell. Of course, the students now had new people to witness to. Over 29 days they were moved to 25 cells and witnessed to 1,100 cellmates — many of whom made decisions for Christ.
In the last decade, digital means of ministry have rapidly multiplied the ability to spread the gospel and follow-up with new Christians:
- In the area of follow-up, one ministry has found ways to have 50 percent of those who indicate decisions to enter into follow up.
- In terms of significant reach into the world of non-Christians, another ministry saw over 300 million visits to their evangelistic websites in 2013.
- Social media has opened up whole new, inexpensive means to get people thinking about Christ. Yet another ministry has over 26 million followers on Facebook.
- Another development in recent years is the formation of very kingdom-minded partnerships.
- In the digital area, for example, a very effective partnership has emerged involving 53 ministries.
- In church planting, a partnership has emerged in the last four years that has 33 members and over 100 more organizations expressing interest. The member organizations have planted more than 500,000 house churches over the last several years. They have developed simplified methods of getting things started and growing.
I trust you can begin to see that God is moving today at a remarkable pace. Many groups are working together to see the Great Commission fulfilled in our lifetimes. It is a great time to be alive and in ministry.
-- Steve Douglass