White Unto Harvest

Foreign Evangelism: We Need to Keep Stirring Up Minds

Steve Wallace


It was a little over 8 years ago that the world was shocked to see people sitting on top of the Berlin wall and even walking through openings in it. No event in my generation has so stirred the minds of Christians to think about foreign evangelism as this one has. Reports of possibilities and early efforts to take the Gospel into the affected countries appeared in almost every paper published among brethren. Some papers sprang up that were dedicated to reporting such matters. The result was the most comprehensive effort at taking the Gospel to the lost in other countries seen among conservative brethren in this age. Church cooperation in evangelism, in the scriptural sense, was demonstrated for all to see (cp. Phil. 4:15-16; 2 Cor. 11:8-9; 1 Thes. 1:8). But this is old news to most of us. What is our reason for bringing it up here?

The needs upon which these events of the recent past focused our attention are still there. The fields are still "white unto the harvest" and "laborers" are needed to go forth "into the harvest" (Matt. 9:38). As time has passed, the shocking and wonderful fact of the fall of the iron curtain has been accepted and become old news. Beyond this, other fields that have long been open for the Gospel need further planting and watering. More men need to be found to do this work as well as churches that will support them. Further, churches presently involved in such support need encouragement to not "grow weary" in the "well doing" of using their money in this way. In light of all this, we need to keep stirring up brethren's minds with regard to foreign evangelism.

Peter wrote, "The second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance" (2 Pet. 3:1). He was writing to brethren who knew the truths he taught, but he wanted to make sure they remembered these truths and lived them out in their lives. So it is with our responsibilities to take the Gospel "into all the world" (Mk. 16:15). There are several ways with which we can stir brethren up in the area of foreign evangelism.

  1. Sending out reports of work in foreign fields. It is scriptural to report to the church that supports us in our work of preaching the Gospel (Acts 14:27-28). In our day we usually expedite such reports by writing them. Let us remember that brethren other than the church or churches that support us can profit from hearing about our work (Acts 15:3). Who knows but what some man might be encouraged to work in a needy field, whether at home or abroad, as a result of hearing about your work. In light of this, please remember that such reports are a means of advertising your work. Advertising normally brings a response from a relatively small percentage of the actual number it reaches. In our day the possibility to send pictures or even video footage can further enhance a report of our work. It may take a little more of your time and a few extra postage stamps, but sending reports are a way to keep stirring up the minds of brethren regarding foreign work. Those of us not involved in foreign work can do what we can to further other men's reports of their work by posting them on bulletin boards and sending them on to other brethren.

  2. Actively encourage others to enter such work. If we can talk to others about the Gospel, confront them about their sins, and encourage them in the paths of righteousness, we can encourage them in entering into foreign work as well. Direct contact is one of the best ways to do this (Acts 16:1-3). Such allows the easiest exchange of information. Since such contact is not always possible, we must sometimes content ourselves with the means at hand and write or call a prospective worker. From this it can be seen that such contacts bear some similarity to our work in seeking contacts to teach the Gospel, something of which all of us are capable. The slowest method in finding such workers is also the most desirable. I speak here of training those converted in the country where a given man labors (2 Tim. 2:2). This is most desirable because it most readily leads to the work in that country becoming self-supporting. Finally, preachers can preach on the need for such workers. Those working overseas should always make it a point to mention this in sermons when visiting in the U.S. since their words can sometimes carry more weight.
  3. "Pray the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into the harvest" (Matt. 9:38). These are the words of Jesus and, like all his words, they are as pertinent today as they were when he spoke them. We must keep on in such praying, continuing to seek to stir our Father as in the parables of the friend at midnight and the importunate widow (Lk. 11:5:13; 18:1-8). Further, let us pray for open doors for the Gospel (Col. 4:3). There are still places where it cannot be proclaimed openly and our God is a God of nations who is active in the affairs of men (Dan. 4:17; Jno. 19:11). Such prayers are something we can do to keep stirring up interest in foreign evangelism.

Conclusion

I cannot count how many times I have been asked if I knew of someone who could work in some needy field. Many others have been asked these same questions. There is a great need for men who will go "into all the world." There is a great need to keep stirring up brethren's minds on this subject! When you do find someone who will work in a foreign field, either for short or long term, he also becomes a voice to stir brethren up that he knows. Let us each seek to do what we can in our lives to answer this need.

Note: This is my first attempt at putting out news briefs on works known to me around the world. It is not my intention to give shorter or longer shrift to anyone. Please let me hear any comments/criticisms you might have about the wording, length, etc., of my report on your work. Thank you, White unto the Harvest editor.


To conserve space on our server, field reports are maintained on site only for the current calendar year.  Thank you for your consideration in this.


For comments to the author, or to contribute news, reports, and information regarding preaching efforts in foreign lands, please contact Steve at 100416.655@compuserve.com

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