Our Lord’s command to “Go and make disciples of all nations” is as urgent today as it was when he first gave it to the apostles. There are more unevangelised people in the world in the 21st century than there were in the 1st century. Countries in which Gospel churches were established in past centuries are now more or less devoid of Christian witness. Turkey and North Africa are examples of this and need to be re-evangelised, as does much of Europe. We are committed to bringing the Gospel to unevangelised people wherever they are to be found.
A clear sense of the Lord’s call is vital for missionary service. One aspect of the call is the conviction that the Gospel must be the first priority in our life. The details of where and when we are to serve the Lord may take some time to become clear, but there will be a growing determination that Christ must be pre-eminent in all things. We are committed to assisting Christians with a clear sense of call to go to any country in the world. One of the main reasons why we are now working in some countries is that the Lord sent us people who felt called to work there.
Local churches, not mission agencies, send missionaries. The call to missionary service is tested first in the local church. Everyone who applies to serve with UFM Worldwide must have their call endorsed by their local church. We are committed to involving the leaders of the local church in the application process, including the final interview. The ongoing pastoral care of our missionaries and key decisions affecting their ministry are undertaken in close fellowship with the leaders of their home church.
We are very aware of the great physical and material needs of millions of people in the world and many of our missionaries respond compassionately and practically to these needs. Our first priority, however, is to meet people’s spiritual needs through the Gospel. All our missionaries, even those involved in medical and humanitarian ministries, feel the urgency of evangelism. We also see the vital need for establishing Gospel churches that will provide ministry for Christians and are centres of ongoing evangelistic activity.
Missionaries must be committed to developing the gifts and ministries of others. If newly established churches are to be effective in the long-term they must have good indigenous leaders. Leadership based on the Biblical model makes the training of others a priority. The future of the Gospel depends on successive generations of faithful men. Missionaries today need to be flexible and responsive to change. They need to be ready to move on and to take up new challenges.
The work is not ours, but the Lord’s. We do not have a monopoly of gifts, wisdom or resources. Our missionaries work happily alongside national Christians and churches. Wherever possible, we work in partnership with national churches other mission agencies. In these ways we experience mutual enrichment and are able to make the best use of the resources the Lord has committed to us.
Jesus told his disciples, “without me you can do nothing.” Everything we do is under-girded by prayer. We thank God for the thousands of Christians and hundreds of churches who pray for us and for our missionaries. We are totally dependent on the ministry of the Holy Spirit who alone brings dead souls to life and glorifies Christ in the midst of a lost and unbelieving world.