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Missions Is Not Dead:
The Leadership Is Changing Hands

...Here were people of great privilege--a nation able, more affluent and more free to act on the Great Commission than any other in all of history. Yet my audiences did not seem to comprehend this...

In my prayers I began to seek a message from God that would bring a change in lifestyle to the Church. It came over a period of weeks. And that message came loud and clear: Unless there is a repentance among Christians--individually and in concert as a community of believers--an awesome judgment will fall on America. [Could that judgment have already begun, as of September 11, 2001? It is time for us as Christians to ask ourselves this hard question. This man wrote this, inspired by God in 1986. That was fifteen years ago. Is God's patience with the Christian church in America running out?]...

...Two reasons, it appeared to me, were the cause for the current malaise that has fastened like cancer on American believers. The first is historical. The second is the unconfessed sins related to three basic iniquities: pride, unbelief and worldliness.

Historically, the Western Church lost its grip on the challenge for world missions at the end of World War II. Ever since that time its moral mandate and vision for global outreach has continued to fade. Today the average North American believer can hardly pronounce the word "missionary" without having cartoon caricatures of ridiculous little men in pith helmets pop into mind--images of cannibals with spears and huge black pots of boiling water.

Despite a valiant rear guard action by many outstanding evangelical leaders and missions, it has been impossible for the Western missionary movement to keep up with the exploding populations and the new political realities of nationalism in the Third World. Most Christians in North America still conceive of missions in terms of blond-haired, blue-eyed while people going to the dark-skinned Third World nations. In reality, all of that changed at the end of World War II when the Western powers lost political and military control of their former colonies.

When I stand before North American audiences in churches and missions conferences, people are astonished to hear the real facts of missions today. The frontline work of missions in Asia has been taken over almost completely by indigenous [local, native] missionaries. And the results are outstanding. Believers are shocked to learn that native missionaries are starting hundreds of new churches every week in the Third World, that thousands of people a day are being converted to Christ, and that tens of thousands of well-qualified, spiritually able men and women now are ready to start more mission work if we can raise their support.

In India, which no longer permits Western missionary evangelists, more church growth and outreach are happening now than at any point in our history. China is another good example of the new realities. When the communists drove Western missionaries out and closed the churches in 1950, it seemed that Christianity was dead. In fact, most of the known leaders were imprisoned, and a whole generation of Chinese pastors was killed or disappeared in communist prisons and torture chambers.

But today communication is open again with China, and 40,000 to 50,000 underground churches reportedly have sprung up during the communist persecution. The number of Christians now has grown to an estimated 100 million--50 times the size of the Church when Western missionaries were driven out. Again, all this has happened under the spiritual direction of the indigenous church movement.

...In the early 1950's, the destruction of the colonial missionary establishment was big news. As the doors of China, India, Myanmar (formerly Burma), North Korea, North Vietnam and many other newly independent nations slammed shut on Western missionaries. It was natural for the traditional churches and denominational missions to assume that their day had ended.

...Except for the annual missions appeal in most churches, many North American believers lost hope of seeing the Great Commission of Christ fulfilled on a global scale. Although it was rarely stated, the implication was this: If North American or Western European-based mission boards were not leading the way, then it could not happen.

Mission monies once used to proclaim the Gospel were more and more sidetracked into the charitable social programs toward which the new governments of the former colonies were more sympathetic. A convenient theology of mission developed that today sometimes equates social and political action with evangelism...

The debate among Western leaders about the future of missions has in the meantime raged on, producing whole libraries of books and some valuable research. Regrettably, however, the overall result on the average Christian has been extremely negative. Believers today have no idea that a new day in missions has dawned or that their support of missions is more desperately needed than ever before.

True, in many cases, it no longer is possible, for political reasons, for Western missionaries to go overseas, but American believers still have a vital role in helping us in the Third World finish the task. I praise God for the pioneer work done by Hudson Taylor and others like him who were sent by believers at home in the past. Now, in countries like India, we need instead to send financial and technical support to native evangelists and Bible teachers.

Imagine the implications of being involved in the work of the Great Commission, of getting your church and family to join with you in supporting native missions...

Every time I stand before an audience, I try early in my message to ask two very important questions that every Christian needs to ask himself:

*Why do you think God has allowed you to be born in North America or Western Europe rather than among the poor masses of Africa and Asia, and to be blessed with such material and spiritual abundance?

*In light of the super-abundance you enjoy here, what do you think is your minimal responsibility to the untold millions of lost and suffering in the Third World?

You have been born among the privileged elite of this world. You have so much when others have so little. Think a moment about the vast difference between your country and the nations with a Christian heritage.

*One-fourth of the world's people lives on an income of less than $3 a week--most of them in Asia. The gross national product per person in South Asia is only $180 a year. Americans earn an average of 54 times more--and Christian Americans, because they tend to live in the upper half of the economy, earn even more.

In most countries where Gospel for Asia is serving the native missionary movement, a good wage is $1 to $3 a day. While much of the world is concerned mainly about where its next meal is coming from, affluent North Americans spend most of their wages and waking moments planning unnecessary purchases.

*People in the United States, Canada and Western Europe enjoy freedom of choice. Political freedoms of speech, press and assembly, freedom to worship and organize religious ministries, freedom to choose where and how to live, and freedom to organize themselves to correct injustices and problems both at home and abroad are accepted as normal.

*Leisure time and disposable income, although not written into law, free citizens of the Western world from the basic wants that make living so difficult in many other parts of the world.

*A large number of service networks in communications, education, finance, mass media and transportation are available which make it easy to effect change. Not having these services available is an enormous handicap to people in most other parts of the world

*Finally, few domestic needs exist. While unemployment is a serious problem in some areas, it is many times higher in nearly every country of the Third World. How many of us can comprehend the suffering of the millions of homeless and starving people in nations like Bangladesh? Overseas the problems are on a grand scale. Some nations struggle to help themselves but still fail woefully.

This list is illustrative of the many advantages of living in the Western world where benefits have come largely because of a Christian heritage.

We began Gospel for Asia without any kind of plan for regular involvement, but God soon gave us one. On one of my first trips, I went to Wheaton, Illinois, where I called on almost all the evangelical mission leaders. A few encouraged me--but not one offered the money we then needed desperately to keep going another day. The friend I stayed with, however, suggested we start a sponsorship plan through which North American families and individuals could support a native missionary regularly. It turned out to be just what we needed.

The idea--to lay aside one dollar a day for a native evangelist--gave us an instant handle for a program anyone could understand. I asked everyone I met if he or she would help sponsor a native missionary for one dollar a day. Some said yes, and that is how the mission began to get regular donors.

Today, the "Dollar-a-Day" Pledge Plan is still the heart of our fund-raising efforts. We send the money--100 percent of it--to the field, sponsoring thousands of missionaries each month in this way.

Do you want to sponsor a native missionary for $30 a month (a dollar a day)? Send a card saying "Please send me more information about how to help sponsor a native missionary, including one-year FREE subscription to SEND!--the voice of native missionaries." Mail this request to GOSPEL FOR ASIA, 1800 GOLDEN TRAIL CT CARROLLTON, TX 75010-9907 Online they can be contacted at http://www.gfa.org .

What people are saying about Gospel for Asia

"There are many that talk a good message, but not too many who actually live it out. Gospel for Asia is serious about the challenge of reaching unreached people groups...the 10/40 Window is where the Gospel needs to go. And GFA is a major force today standing in the gap. They represent the primary unreached peoples on Planet Earth. GFA has what it takes to penetrate the 10/40 Window." Luis Bush, International Director, AD 2000 and Beyond.

"Gospel for Asia has become one of the more significant pioneer missionary agencies, with a good accountability structure...They are doing an excellent job." Patrick Johnstone, Author, Operation World.

"I praise God for the great love and commitment of K.P. and Gisela Yohannan for the people of Asia. Millions have received the Word of God because of them and the ministry of Gospel for Asia." George Verwer, International Director, Operation Mobilization.

"Every once in a while God gives to His people a man who is qualified to cut us open, give us a diagnosis and prescribe a remedy for our healing. K.P. Yohannan is such a man. K.P. is impatient with intellectual knowledge unless it translates into holy living and a single-minded determination to see the church around the world grow for the glory of God. And he practices what he preaches. If you listen to him carefully you will leave with eternity stamped on your heart." Erwin Lutzer, Senior Pastor, Moody Church, Chicago, Il.

"Although there are many fine Christian groups working worldwide, I've found Gospel for Asia to be unique. A very small amount of money can fully support an evangelist to effectively present Jesus Christ to eager listeners abroad. I have worked with these men...and have learned from the values of commitment and wholesale dedication. K.P. Yohannan lives and breathes integrity. This integrity has filtered to the very fiber of his ministry. I am honored to be a partner with GFA." Skip Heitzig, Senior Pastor, Calvary Chapel of Albuquerque, NM.

"K.P. Yohannan, director of Gospel for Asia, spoke to my congregation and his impact on our lives will forever stand as a landmark time in our church's life. He is a man of integrity and prayer. I know of many mission groups, and there's a lot of good ones, but I don't know of any better than Gospel for Asia. For every dollar given, you're going to see more souls won than any other I know." Tom Ferguson, District Supervisor, Northwest Foursquare Churches.

"I am pleased to recommend Gospel for Asia. Their vision for reaching the world through native missionaries should be highly commendable to evangelical Christians who are concerned about reaching the millions of the world with the Gospel." Dr. John Walvoord, Former Chancellor, Dallas Theological Seminary.

"A sweeter spirit I have never known than Brother K.P. Yohannan with Gospel for Asia. He is doing one of the greatest works I know of in his own country with his own people of Indian." Lester Roloff (deceased), Former Pastor, Corpus Christi People's Baptist Church.

"K.P. Yohannan leads one of the largest, if not the largest missionary movement, working across the nation of India in evangelism and church planting. Gospel for Asia has several thousand workers and 31 missionary training centers with over 4,000 students being trained for church planting among the unreached.

As Gospel for Asia has grown and established itself, the ministry has become balanced and is now involved in a host of cooperative efforts with other mission agencies. The impact of GFA's ministry in India is very significant, especially in their evangelistic, training, radio, and church planting work." Joseph D'Souza, Executive Director, Operation Mobilization India.

"To see how you can personally help promote international evangelism and make difference for Christ around the world without ever stepping foot outside your house, CLICK HERE."

 

Content Editor Peter Benson -- no copyright, except where noted.  Please feel free to use this material for instruction and edification
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