In Romans chapter 10, the Apostle Paul skillfully explains the fundamental need of men and women to hear the Gospel, alongside the fundamental responsibility of the Church as a going and sending organization. With God-breathed eloquence, Paul declares in verses 14 and 15, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?…” This simple yet profound series of questions exposes the core of the church’s responsibility. The world needs to hear; the church must preach and send. Perhaps nowhere else in Scripture is the great need and appropriate response so clearly articulated.
One of the greatest successes of the human efforts of church organization is that together we have been able to accomplish more for the cause of global evangelism than we ever could have hoped to accomplish separately. The move of God that has enabled the Apostolic message to penetrate more than 212 nations and territories is breathtaking. The only reasonable response to witnessing this move of God is praise and worship! God has truly done the impossible. He has triumphed victoriously! The growth and development of UPCI mission ﬁelds around the world is a major victory for the Kingdom of God. Madagascar, Pakistan, The Philippines, Brazil, Spain and countless other vibrant, national churches are testimony to the faithfulness of God to His promises, and of His people to their mandate. To God be the glory!
While rejoicing in the outstanding victories of the present and past, my mind swiftly wanders to more shaded parts of the global missions map. With the incredible reports of victory, at times it can seem as if we have nearly accomplished the goal, but that is simply not the case. Beyond the fantastic victories taking place, we ﬁnd entire nations, provinces, and language groups who have no known witness – not a single voice proclaiming Truth in their tongue! When I consider these areas, Paul’s eloquent line of questioning jarringly echoes in my heart – HOW WILL THEY HEAR?
How will Somalia hear, when the number of Apostolics conversant in the Somali language and culture is maybe 2, or 1, or perhaps none?
How will the 400-million people in the Muslim stronghold nations of North Africa and the Middle East hear, when the number of UPCI appointed personnel fully functional in the Arabic language is less than 10?
How will Afghanistan’s Pashto-speaking majority hear, when our Pashto-speaking personnel and resources are scant and perhaps even non-existent?
Frankly speaking, when looking at the global map…Somalia, North Korea, Algeria, the Maldives, Albania, Chechnya, and a host of other nations and territories SHOUT the question into our hearts and minds…HOW WILL THEY HEAR?
The answer to this question – “how will they hear?” – cannot be answered without serious consideration of how strongly we trust the Lord and believe in His mandate to reach the world.
They will hear…
- when the church decides that the Great Commission carries no exemption clause for high-risk locations
- when the church understands that the eternal destinies of the lost are more important than our own safety and security in the present
- when the church’s budget puts value on reaching the unreached and difﬁcult to reach, rather than supporting the church’s growth in Christian dominated areas of the world
- when we begin encouraging our Bible School students and young ministers to study difﬁcult languages and unreached people groups in preparation for unsung and unheralded service in undisclosed locations that can never be publicly celebrated or even deﬁnitively counted
- when we are willing to joyfully and prayerfully send our well-trained and prepared sons and daughters into war zones, famines, political oppression and religious persecuting areas around the world, for the sake of the Gospel!
How will they hear? Perhaps no other question has the ability to uncover our true priorities and our greatest weaknesses of faith than an honest appraisal of our answers to that question.
It is my ﬁrm belief that the greatest demonstration of God’s Power is reserved for men and women who will face their fears and walk into the enemy’s territory in direct obedience to the Great Commission! From unreached, inner city America to the challenges of North Korean ministry, these areas are the 21st century platform on which the glorious and unlimited power of Almighty God will be displayed!
But it all starts with the honest question…how will they hear?