Join me for a few minutes of amazement in this article. It is the story of the birth of the department of International Outreach at Desiring God. Things have developed so fast and so amazingly that I can’t keep up. But let’s get some glimpses so you can rejoice and pray and—who knows—maybe go somewhere you never dreamed.
Just a bit of history. Desiring God is about ten years old. It is owned and governed by Bethlehem Baptist Church. So the elders of Bethlehem appoint and hold accountable the Desiring God Board. Desiring God began as a tape ministry in 1994. Jon Bloom, the Executive Director, now leads about 35 employees and oversees a budget which next year will be about $7,000,000. The aim of the ministry is to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ, especially by celebrating the truth that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. The central repository of ministry resources is our website, and this is the primary way we spread. We increasingly focus on trying to reach the most effective spreaders.
More and more that means spreaders from around the world. Bill Walsh has moved from his long and fruitful tenure as Director of Operations into the role of Director for International Outreach. Trips to Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Brazil, and the Dominican Republic changed Bill’s life—and ours. When you receive your DG International Outreach Calendar (mailed to all our donors and handed to all regulars at Bethlehem), it will be Bill’s creative hand and heart that took those pictures and brought that work of art into existence. We did not ask Bill to move in this direction. It came from his heart, from a vision for the world, and from the Lord Jesus. There was no turning back once the evidences of fruitfulness began to mount up.
- Total number of foreign-language book translations: 180 (50 added since last quarter).
- Latest: What Jesus Demands from the World in Spanish and Amazing Grace in the Life of William Wilberforce in Italian.
- Top language blocks: Korean (26 titles), Spanish (23), Portuguese (18).
- Online foreign-language resources: Spanish (144), Romanian (5), Chinese (9), German (4), Dutch (13), Russian (24), ASL (11) and growing weekly.
- Funds provided for a Khmer translation in cooperation with Action Cambodia.
- Provided grant for Russian translation of God Is the Gospel.
- Bill plans to visit Kenya, Zambia, and South Africa in February.
- Partnerships in the offing with The Bethlehem Institute (TBI) to provide church-based leader training curricula.
- Increased international travel for me in the next several years with careful advance planning for maximum spreading impact.
That’s a fraction of what is happening. In the executive summary of the International Outreach Management Plan, Bill wrote these crucial words:
A grassroots spreading effort is already underway [globally]. However, there are many more individuals and groups who would greatly benefit from our distinctive message. The greatest limiting factors are funding, transforming materials into the needed forms, and strategic distribution. The danger of doing nothing is that they will revert to materials that are theologically unsound and ineffective. We sense that the time is ripe for Desiring God, by the grace of God, to implement a focused effort to more effectively meet these needs. The mission of International Outreach is to expand access to Piper resources for lay-people and ministry workers outside of the United States so that they are spiritually nourished and, in turn, are teaching and mobilizing others within their sphere of influence across the globe, underwritten by the contributions of donors who are passionate about partnering with us in this effort.
I hope you are encouraged at the globalization of the vision of Desiring God. The need for sound, biblical, theological resources for building up the church of Christ is greater in many places than they are here. The need for truth is great in America, but access is not the problem. It is the problem in many parts of the world. Increasingly, we feel drawn to help.
Thank you for supporting Desiring God. if you would like, consider joining the Philippian Fellowship—the band of friends who give regularly to DG. It is one of the great joys of my life to be a part of a church that continually creates ministries and never settles down with the status quo. When you have found the greatest Treasure in the world, you don’t need the world. You need room to share. We are always discovering “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).