The “Operation World” of its Day
William Carey’s 1792 publication, “An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens” contained tables estimating the population and religious adherence of world’s known countries at the end of the 18th Century. What “means” was the “Father of Modern Missions” advocating? It may sound strange to us, but he simply meant doing things, using resources, to reach the world for Christ:
“We must not be contented however with praying, without exerting ourselves in the use of means for the obtaining of those things we pray for.” (William Carey)
President of Belhaven University
Listing five conceivable objections, Carey’s “exhibit A” in the case for the 18th Century’s obligation to the Great Commission was a technological achievement: the mariner’s compass. In his mind, the existence of that technology removed the excuse that the heathen were too far away to reach.
How much less excuse do we have?
As we near the second decade of the 21st Century, barriers to ministry are greatly reduced or eliminated altogether. When I led our English Africa response division, I held monthly Skype meetings with leaders who lived in Ethiopia and Ghana. Without leaving home, I’ve personally conducted chat discipleship groups with believers in all six inhabited continents. I have led seekers to Christ in live chat conversations across multiple time zones. And of course, our main ministry model has always been connecting seekers from all over the world with available Christians all over the world via the simple medium of email. GMO has become the world’s largest internet evangelism ministry and possibly the least expensive way ever to reach people for Christ globally. In 2017 so far, we’re averaging an indicated decision every 2.3 minutes.
Given what he said about the obligation of the Christians of his own day, what would William Carey say about us? Who knows if things will continue to improve or begin to decline. What if, in the final analysis, it’s discovered that right now is the best it will ever be? What if we are actually the generation of believers with the most “means?”
In the digital age, the “net” has already been spread.
The Internet makes it possible for us to send the message across oceans without leaving our desks, living in a hostile culture or risking the martyrdom suffered by some of the 19th Century missionaries. Even the language barrier is greatly reduced in the age of global communications, as our ministry is able to recruit believers with language skills from all over the world, like our new Arabic Global Representative, Wassim Haddad. We are able to share the gospel worldwide without leaving home, using a variety of channels and media.
When I say “our ministry has resulted in indicated decisions,” when I say “I” have led others to Christ, even when I say “resources make it possible,” I really mean God does these things, because only He can. But He has always shown willingness to use means. Ultimately part of those “means” are you and me. Thank you for being willing to invest in us so that He can do these things through our ministry and through us.
Love, in Christ,
One Day Closer!