Four Waves of Change in Missions

Four Waves of Change in Missions

If God would be pleased to breathe on the ripples from the pebbles these speakers drop at our conference this year, they might become waves that break over thousands of lives and churches. The waves I am praying for are:

Wave #1: Putting world evangelization into the passions of a new generation.

Missional is the in word today. But missions is not always in the word. Missions means crossing an ethno-linguistic barrier (that may take 20 years) in order to root the gospel in a people that has no access to it. Missions strategizes to reach not just unreached people, but unreached peoples. “Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!” (Psalm 67:3). Wave #1 would result in missions becoming part of the DNA of missional.

Wave #2: Weaving the dark thread of hell back into the fabric of our compassion.

I pray that the watchword of world missions would become: We care about all suffering, especially eternal suffering. All these words count: suffering, eternal, especially, all, care, we. Each carries freight. Wave #2 would result in that freight being loaded into ten thousand gospel trains headed to the neighborhoods and the nations.

Wave #3: Blowing away misperceptions about what is needed in missions.

I pray that this conference would blow away the notion that missions can stay home now because all the nations have come to us. My neighborhood is currently reported by CityVision to be “the most ethnically diverse single neighborhood in America with 100+ languages spoken.” That changes a lot in the way we do missions. But one thing it does not change is the fact that the Joshua Project catalogues not a few hundred, but 6933 peoples globally without a self-sustaining gospel presence. Another misperception I would like to see blown away is that Westerners should just send money rather than go as missionaries. My paraphrase: Let others give their blood. We give our bucks. Realistically, most of the unreached peoples do not have anyone with better access to them than we have. “Unreached,” in its fullest sense, means: there’s no missionary in the people group to whom you could send money if you wanted to. So wave #3 would result in doing it all: missions to the unreached peoples that are here, support for missions from other sending churches, and especially mobilizing our own people to reach the thousands of people groups without access to the gospel.

Wave #4: Persuading pastors that a passion for the global glory of God is good for the saints at home.

If the light of your candle can shine ten thousand miles away, it is burning very bright at home. What kind of Christians do we want our churches to breed? Consider: Apathetic Christians, who spend most of their discretionary time in worldly entertainment, seldom pray, weep, or work for the reaching of the perishing peoples of the world. Do not coddle them. Confront them. Tell them to get a life. PG13 videos every other night leaves them spiritually powerless and empty. They need a cause big enough to live for. And die for. Wave #4 would make world missions the flashpoint for thousands of awakened Christians.

Lord, make this conference more strategic for the glory of Christ among the nations than we are able to think or imagine.

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John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.