Passion of a new generation
From generation to generation, the Holy Spirit consistently calls believers to respond to the Master’s Great Commission.
In our day of advancing technology, the rate of change has accelerated beyond anything our predecessors ever experienced. Our world today offers the advantages of rapid and inexpensive air travel and a multitude of communication tools. The electronic revolution has made ministry possible in ways I never dreamed of when I was a young missionary in El Salvador.
But along with the advantages have come increased challenges. Many methods of evangelism cannot be used in “closed” countries of the world. We continually need fresh, innovative approaches in proclaiming the unchanging message of the gospel.
In this issue of Today’s Pentecostal Evangel, you will read about an unprecedented gathering of young people who came to Louisville, Kentucky, for the World Missions Summit at the end of 2005. For three days they interacted with missionaries and missions leaders to confront issues related to fulfilling the Great Commission in this generation. To see nearly 4,000 college-age students and missionaries gathered in one place and expressing their commitment to Christ was an unforgettable experience.
As you learn more about the summit, you will sense a bit of the excitement that permeated the convention hall. However, it is impossible to adequately convey the impact God’s Spirit made as He moved in each corporate gathering and small group meeting. The summit’s theme was “It’s Not About Me,” and from the opening meeting it was no secret that this was true. Jesus was the real focus. To see the students respond to Him through worship and the Word was beyond description.
Prayer meetings became holy moments as students interceded for the lost around the world. During breakout sessions they expressed thoughtful concern for the spiritual needs of people in other nations. Missionaries who attended the summit were blessed and encouraged by the way God is speaking to a new generation about the cause of missions.
In one service, participants generously gave more than $100,000 toward establishing a student ministry center in Austria. Their willingness to give shattered the notion that young people are self-absorbed and material-minded. The students at the summit were willing to give their all.
As the summit drew to a close, students were invited to come to the platform area and sign commitment cards, offering a year of their lives to missionary service. More than 700 students responded, committing their future to God’s service, both in the United States and overseas. As they filed past microphones, calling out the nations where they sensed God leading them, many veteran missionaries were moved to tears. Many of the countries named were not easy places where people are free to proclaim the gospel openly. Instead, they were the hard places where cultures and governments fiercely oppose the truth of the gospel.
In what we believe is the 11th hour of spiritual harvest prophesied by Jesus in Matthew 20, the Holy Spirit is inspiring passion for the lost within a new generation. Though their style and method of outreach may differ from the past, the same urgency that the founders of our Movement felt 90 years ago is burning just as intensely in their hearts. They are willing to follow God into all the world to proclaim the gospel and make disciples of all nations.
Shortly after I returned from the summit, I learned that an elderly minister had sent a contribution to our Senders Fund to help new missionaries reach their fields of calling. In celebration of her 100th birthday, she had written a check for $100 and mailed it along with this note:
“I turned 100 years old today. I contribute monthly to missions to help in the spread of the gospel. Today I am sending a one-time gift of $100 for the Senders Fund in representation of my 100 years of living. I am pleased to hear that God is calling young people to respond to the challenge of reaching the lost. I want to help rush new missionaries to reach the lost.”
The call of God knows no age limit. The Spirit-imparted passion that began this missionary Movement can touch the lives of all believers, whether they are a 100-year-old minister or nearly 4,000 young adults who are eager to be sent. God will be faithful to call workers to complete the mission as we faithfully commit ourselves to follow His leading.
L. John Bueno
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