7. World Missions motivation: Getting the Gospel there in time

Slogans to awaken the Church

Quotes about world evangelism that stir hearts and move people to action

"The gospel is only good news if it gets there in time" -- Carl F. H. Henry, theologian

Good news if it gets there in time

The Good News. That's what we believers often call the Gospel. Indeed, the Gospel story is extraordinarily good news. However, Carl Henry, founding editor of Christianity Today, said something worth pondering. Can the Gospel be called "good news" for those who pass into eternity without hearing it proclaimed or announced or explained?

More than seven billion people live on Earth today. Joshua Project researchers say that more than two billion of them have never heard anything about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and, at the moment, have virtually no way of ever hearing it. Phil Bogosian, who directed the Global Adopt-a-People program, calculated how many people in unreached people groups die each day without ever hearing about Jesus Christ. He reflected on how our attention is captured by a news report of someone trapped in a well or a mine and how soon massive amounts of resources are mobilized for a rescue attempt. Then Bogosian asked: "What would we do about it if the 66,000 who die every day in unreached people groups were individuals trapped in a well?"

The answer to that question should be obvious. When a child is missing or someone has fallen into a well, every resource that can be found is immediately mobilized. Time is of the essence. People stay glued to news media for updates. Isn't there some relevance in that scenario to how the Church should be mobilizing for world evangelism? Shouldn't there be the same anxiousness and urgent insistence among Christians about getting the Good News to those who have yet to hear anything about it?

Researchers say there are about 5,000 culturally distinct people groups still unreached by the Gospel. It has also been calculated that the Church possesses the resources and manpower necessary to start church-planting movements within all those unreached people groups. Why don't we mobilize those resources and do it? Let's get the Good News to everyone on time!

Discussion questions

  1. Two billion people have never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What do you think are the obstacles that have prevented the Gospel message from getting to them?
  2. Do you think that Christians today have become complacent about world evangelism? What factors contribute to this complacency, and how can it be overcome?
  3. How could the idea that the Gospel is only good news if it gets there in time motivate Christians to engage in world evangelism? In what ways can this urgency be communicated to believers?
  4. What are some ways the Church could better mobilize its resources to initiate church-planting movements within unreached people groups? What practical steps could be taken to achieve this goal?
  5. How would you evaluate the urgency rescuers feel in rescuing someone trapped in a well compared to the urgency needed to spread the Gospel to unreached people groups?

The Gospel is indeed good news, but it must reach people in time to truly be good news for them. Therefore, we need to rekindle a sense of urgency among Christians. The staggering number of over two billion people who have never heard about Jesus Christ should stir our hearts and move us to action. We must work to overcome the barriers and obstacles that hinder the spread of the Gospel. Complacency has no place in our mission to reach the unreached. Together, let's make sure the Good News reaches people in time.

    -- Howard Culbertson,

Time is of the Essence

In today's rapidly changing world, the urgency for Christians to be mobilized for the cause of world evangelism has never been more critical. With the global landscape constantly evolving, there exists an unparalleled opportunity for Christians to spread the message of hope, love, and redemption to every corner of the globe. As societies grapple with social unrest, economic disparities, and environmental crises, the need for spiritual guidance and solace is palpable. By harnessing the collective power of believers and channeling their energy towards evangelism, we can make a profound impact on individuals and communities worldwide. Time is of the essence, and the call to action for Christians to engage in world evangelism is urgent, compelling us to seize the moment and proclaim the transformative message of Jesus Christ to all ethnolinguistic people groups worldwide.

More mini-essays from Engage magazine in the "Slogans that awakened the Church" series

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