It is a joy to see the way our denomination is journeying by taking up the task of reshaping for mission. Proposed church plants, revitalisation work and continued gospel ministry all point towards further kingdom growth in our nation. With that as the backdrop the words of Hudson Taylor, the founder of OMF, seem very pertinent; “Let us in everything not sinful become like the Chinese that by all means we may save some”. Loving people by bringing Jesus to them in ways which are culturally relevant is what we have signed up to; this is exciting.
This is the task of mission whether it is in East Asia or the end of our street; taking the good news of Jesus, in all its saving fullness, to those who do not know him. And as part of our ministry Jennifer and I are excited to be working with OMF here in Scotland.
Our main role is to work as the missions mobilisers, representing OMF and the work that they are involved in. This will involve meeting up with people who are exploring cross-cultural service in East Asia, planning and running various events across Scotland and discipling those who want to know more about the global purposes of our global God. Thankfully this is not a task which we will be undertaking ourselves as we will be working in partnership with a team of people based in Scotland who have served with OMF over many years. For that we are truly grateful to God as their experience will be invaluable.
So why focus on cross-cultural mission? Many people today will say something like this “the church in our own land is in desperate need; we need to focus on reaching Scotland”. On the one hand I say “Amen, come Lord Jesus” to these statements. We all want to see God glorified in our nation. But on the other hand I can’t help but see that this only leads to insular and isolationist thinking, failing to take seriously the biblical imperative of reaching all nations (Matt 28:18-20, Rev 5:9-10).
So why OMF? There are a number of reasons for this, but I’ll get straight to the main point. Quite simply the highest quantity of unreached people live in Asia. This means that they have no local church, no gospel witness, false gods and no hope (Isa 44:6-8). Take Tokyo as an example. The metropolitan area is host to around 35 million people (7 times the size of Scotland). In that number there are Christians, but they only account for 1% of the population and this is declining. OMF seek to send people to partner with the church or to pioneer new church planting initiatives which will lead to indigenous Christians taking the gospel of Jesus to more and more people.
“But what does that mean for me?”, is something I usually hear. We tend to have an image in our heads about what cross-cultural work looks like. More often than not it limits gifting to preaching, church planting or medical work. But the wonderful thing about God is that he delights to use the diversity of gifts we have. Business skills, IT ability, concern for the marginalised, urban dance, caring for children and young people…… There is no end to the ways we can be used. Is that you? There are many different ways we can serve our King, both long-term and short-term.
Something which we can all do though is pray and you can partner with us in the ministry which we are involved in. If you would like to receive our prayer newsletter, then please do ask. If you would like us to come and share some of the work that is taking place across East Asia in your church, please do ask. Our desire is to serve the local church with a global vision. We pray that in some small way we are able to contribute to the process of reshaping for mission in this ministry; we seek God’s help and blessing to do so.
“From cowardice defend us from lethargy awake! Forth on your errands send us to labour for your sake” (Frank Houghton – Facing a task unfinished)