Importance of the Ministry
A. Biblical importance
The Bible clearly points out that God’s greatest burden is world evangelization. God so loved the peoples of the world (regardless of color, creed, culture, country, size, shape, and sex) that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes upon Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
He is not willing for any to perish but will have all people to be saved and come to know the truth. God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked but desires that the wicked turn from his way and live. We know that whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved, but the problem is how shall they hear without a preacher? The Lord has entrusted His people with this ministry of reconciliation.
There are now a record number of foreigners in our country: business people, immigrants, refugees, and students. God commands us to love these foreigners as ourselves. “But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” (Lev. 19:34) Jesus said: “If you love me keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) That obedience involves our ministering to these precious “strangers” who are in our midst.
B. Historical importance
Even after almost 2000 years of evangelistic activities, about 300 million people are still unreached with the good news. While some of these unreached have some notion about Christ, many among them, particularly those from the non-Christian countries of Asia and Africa, have never heard of Christ even once.
The 19th century was known as the “Golden Era” for Western Foreign Missions. With the expansion of Western colonization into Asia, Africa, and Latin America, the gospel also penetrated into many of those colonies. For about 150 years, between 1793–when the father of modern foreign missions, William Carey, traveledto India–and 1949–when the Communists took over China–tens of thousands of Western missionaries spread the glorious gospel across every continent. However, following World War II, many of the former Western colonies gained their political independence. Since the spread of Christianity was in conjunction with the expansion of colonialism, political leaders of these emerging nations associated Christianity with colonialism and imperialism and closed their lands to Western missionaries. Furthermore by the mid-20th century, with the rise of communism, secular humanism, and the revival of Islam, more mission fields were closed to Western missionaries and some even to national Christians. As a consequence, today the bulk of the unreached peoples live in lands closed to the gospel.
Nevertheless, our sovereign God, who is still the Lord of the Harvest, began opening these nations and started bringing the “cream of the crop” to the West, particularly to the USA and Canada, for higher education in science and technology. Today we find the choicest men and women from every nation under the sun on the North American continent as students and exchange scholars. God has brought the nations to our doorstep!
C. Practical importance
While they are here, many of these foreign students experience degrees of culture shock just like any person in transition. They are then open for genuine friendship and relationships. Most of them welcome invitations to our homes where we can minister to their needs, and develop friendship and understanding. History shows that many of these students come to the USA and Canada thinking they are “Christian” countries, but then they are exposed to the immorality and ungodliness which are rampant on our campuses. Unfortunately they equate this immorality with Christianity and are turned off completely from Christ and Christianity, saying: “If this is Christianity, I don’t want any part of it.” Christians controlled by the love of Christ can destroy these misconceptions by opening their hearts and homes to these internationals whom the Lord has brought to our doorstep. In our homes, they can experience the love of Christ, free from the pressure of their countrymen, government, and families. Just imagine the impact you can have on these future international leaders. Through your ministry of love, word, and prayer they may come to know the Lord and can then return to their respective countries as witnesses to their own people. Even if they don’t come to know Him, you and I can help change their misconceptions about Christ and Christianity and be a friend to them.