Church of the future
God is causing a global missions movement to sweep across the nations in a powerful and unprecedented way. The movement is not lateral anymore from the West to the East, but multilateral, dynamic and revolutionary, says Operation Mobilisation (OM) International Director, Lawrence Tong at his Singapore office.
God is growing the Global Church. In the past, the majority of Christians in the world came from developed regions, such as America, Europe and Australia. In recent years, there has been an exponential growth of believers all across Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe. For instance, in 1900, there were reportedly eight million Christians in Africa; today there are close to 500 million Christians. In 1949, there were approximately over two million believers in China; today, the conservative estimate is 100 million.
“These emerging nations will form a big part of the Church of the future,” says Lawrence. “We can play our part in mobilising them.”
“Imagine the Church of the future,” Lawrence envisions. “OM can raise 5,000 self-sustaining workers from within Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe to share the Gospel in their own communities, departing from the traditional reliance on foreign missionaries. We need to prepare churches for this new reality.”
How is OM partnering with churches to realise this vision?
God is leading OM fields to address the key challenges facing the Global Church, such as poverty, refugee migration, relief and development in under-served communities. For instance, OM is active in refugee work in Europe, disaster relief efforts in Nepal, Philippines and Myanmar, integral mission work among the slums of Cambodia and internally displaced peoples at the Thai-Myanmar border, and more.
Executive Director of OM Mercy Teams International Alvin Tey says, “While we pray for God to raise up good governments for communities living under poverty and oppression, we need to realise that the task of integral mission and holistic transformation in these communities is a task not for governments, but for the Church of God. May God stir and empower His people for this task at hand.”
God has also launched OM into directing the Global South Initiative, which raises national believers, trains them to be self-sustaining through creative social enterprise and equips them to become effective spiritual leaders to lead their own communities to Christ.
In one example, OM workers in Zambia are renting out purpose-built flats to help fund their various leadership development programmes. In another instance, Shiloh Farms at the OM Nepal training centre not only feeds staff and students with its organically-grown produce, but also provides training on how to live sustainably via organic farming.
Jason Mandryk, author of Operation World, The Definitive Prayer Guide to Every Nation, says, “The Global South Initiative is a ministry model that seeks unreached communities… Practical skills training and education are offered. The community prospers; it can feed itself and sell the surplus to meet other needs. Locals see Christianity as a local expression of spirituality, not a foreign imposition. They regard Christians as a blessing to the community—a people who love their neighbours.”
God has been igniting prayer movements within the OM leadership and 110 fields all over the world to gather regularly to pray alongside the Global Church for His purposes to be established among the nations. There is certainly a connection between prayer mobilisation and the spiritual breakthroughs happening in the global scene.
Operation World states: “Who among us, 30 years ago, could have envisioned 100 million Chinese Christians, massive people movements in Iran, Algeria and Sudan, breakthroughs in Mozambique, Cambodia and Nepal, and the beginnings of freedom for hundreds of millions in India. Only God!”
OM International Chief Finance Officer Jim Grubb remarks that he is always encouraged whenever OM workers gather for a day of prayer: “During our time of prayer, I realise that God is pleased with our desire to see His will expressed as it is unleashed upon the Earth.”
Church of the future
The fresh wind of the Holy Spirit is blowing. God invites us to partner with Him in building the Global Church through the life-transforming power of the Gospel.
Lawrence issues a challenge for such a time as this: “We are inviting the young and old to join us in this global missionary movement today. Let us not be satisfied with the status quo. Let us find fresh new ways of doing missions. Let us be a people sold out for Jesus Christ in these last days.”
We invite you to come on mission with us. View OM missions opportunities at: www.om.org/en/opportunities.
Published: Tuesday, 20 October 2015
Credit: See Keen TAN