"A congregation that is not deeply and earnestly involved in the worldwide proclamation of the gospel does not understand the nature of salvation." -- Ted Engstrom, former head of Youth for Christ and World Vision International
Jumping out at me from Ted Engstrom's words is the phrase "deeply and earnestly involved." For me, those words raise questions like:
From time to time, I hear people describe their congregation's involvement in world missionary evangelism as simply, "We always pay our budgets." Things like intercessory prayer support or encouraging children and youth to get involved or providing needed emotional support for missionaries serving on foreign fields do not seem to be on those people's radar.
For them, world missions support is apparently only about sending some money. Furthermore, the way they say "we pay our budgets" sometimes sounds like they view money given to world evangelism as a "tax" levied by the denomination. "We pay our budgets" gives me the impression that they are neither deeply nor earnestly involved in the worldwide proclamation of the gospel.
Others, when asked about their church's global involvement, will mention mission trips taken by small groups in their congregation. However, if sending a few members overseas for ten days a year is all they are doing, can it be said that they are "deeply and earnestly involved"?
I've heard people in new church plants explain that it is too early in their congregation's history for them to think about the worldwide proclamation of the gospel. "We'll get to it eventually," they say.
Engstrom, who was head of Youth for Christ and then World Vision, would likely respond to that by saying, "If involvement in world evangelism is an option your church hopes to add in the distant future, you really do not understand the nature of salvation."
I've known others who say, "We are called to evangelize right here in our neighborhood. This is where we are fulfilling the Great Commission."
To that, I think Engstrom would respond, "The lost people in your immediate neighborhood need to hear the Gospel, but if you are only concerned about them, you do not understand the nature of salvation."
Deeply and earnestly. Key words. Do they characterize my church's global involvement? Do those words characterize my own involvement?
-- Howard Culbertson,