I enjoyed reading Peter Rowan’s recent article, Six Reasons We Should Listen to Christians from Around the Globe,1 where he argued that it is essential to listen to voices from outside the West. Rowan talked for example about how this will help us to demonstrate connection, identify blind spots, encourage humility and face realities.
Let me suggest three practical ways that you and your church could do this.
1. Listen to those who have received the mission partners you sent
It has been a joy for the staff team at UFM in recent months to hear from leaders from Iran, DR Congo and Indonesia. We were encouraged by stories of bold evangelism in the Middle East, humbled by the experiences of those serving Christ in the midst of war in Central Africa, and challenged by hearing about gospel needs in the midst of deep poverty on an island in SE Asia.
Could you do something similar in your church? As well as having your mission partners Zoom in to your prayer meeting, why not invite their national partners to do the same? There is so much for us to be encouraged, humbled and challenged by!
2. Make the most of your visits
Another really helpful recent article highlighted the ways that sending churches could make the most of visits to their mission partners.2 Tim Hamer’s excellent suggestions focus on caring well for your mission partners. However, alongside intentional time with those you have sent, it is important to make time for the local leaders whom they are serving alongside.
A Bible college Principal in Barcelona talked about the gospel needs in his nation … some parts of Central Spain are still waiting for their first protestant church.
On a visit to Spain recently, I found it so helpful to meet with and listen to a Bible college Principal in Barcelona. He talked about the gospel needs in his nation and how some parts of Central Spain are still waiting for their first protestant church. Then he shared his perspectives on the best ways that believers from other coutries can partner with the Spanish church to see the gospel make progress in that great country.
3. Broaden your list of visiting speakers
Perhaps your church finds itself among people from all around the world in your local community. As you pray about how to best reach out across cultures with the gospel, why not learn from those already involved in reaching those people groups in other parts of the world?
My Egyptian colleague’s stories of sharing the good news with people from a Muslim background really spurred us on to see how God can change hearts.
It was a joy recently to have my Egyptian colleague in UFM share in some lectures I was giving to Bible college students. His stories of sharing the good news with thirsty people from a Muslim background really spurred us on to see how God can change hearts. His examples of hospitality, care and welcome were a wonderful encouragement to love our Muslim neighbours so that we might share Christ with them in very natural ways.
As we continue to send from the UK church, let’s find every way we can to learn from our brothers and sisters around the world. We have so much to learn and so much to be encouraged by, in all that God is doing around the world today.
If we can help you and your church to connect with people from different parts of the world, then please don’t hesitate to be in touch.
WORDS: Michael Prest, Director, UFM Worldwide