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Dispatches from the Mission Field

This past week my wife and I, along with Midwestern Seminary mission’s professor, Dr. Robin Hadaway, took a brief ministry trip to the Middle East. We divided our time between Israel and Egypt, and enjoyed partnering with several IMB and Midwestern Seminary missionaries on the field. Though brief, the trip was personally rewarding, and, I trust, helpful to the Kingdom.

Every trip overseas shapes my view of Christianity, informs my own sense of calling, and strengthens my own Great Commission responsibilities and service. This trip was no different. Here are a few of my reflections.

Being Acts 1:8 Christians

Christianity is a global work, and to follow Christ is to follow him wherever he calls. Acts 1:8 instructs us that our calling is to our neighbors and the nations. Neglecting one or the other is not an option. We are called unto both.

Though different seasons of life, employment circumstances, family responsibilities, and a host of other factors may impact our access to overseas missions, we must never fail to think globally. This means fostering a holistic understanding of the Christian life and of Christian mission and ministry.

Partnering with Missionaries

While overseas we had the opportunity to visit with several of Midwestern Seminary’s Fusion teams. We enjoyed serving with them, praying with them, and encouraging them in their work. Fusion is one of the best-kept secrets in the evangelical world, and one of Midwestern College’s finest programs.

Fusion is a joint venture between Midwestern Seminary and the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. In short, it couples a fall semester of academic and practical training with a spring semester of overseas mission work. The program is rigorous in every way. The students who join are committed to doing hard things for Christ and are accomplishing much for his Kingdom. If your or someone you know is interested in Fusion, you can check it out here

A World in Need

To travel internationally these days is an adventure unto itself. As you travel, you sense uncertainty in the air. The persistent threat of terrorism, ongoing convulsions in the Middle East, massive displacement of refugees, and the unpredictability of the new Trump administration all coalesce to form a general sense of unease.

Global turmoil is the order of the day. This is not just a spiritual reality, it is also a geopolitical one. Recent books, such as Ian Bremmer’s Every Nation For Itself: Winners and Losers in a G-Zero World  and Richard Haas’ A World in Disarray, vividly spell out these realities. Such geopolitical confusion and unrest illumine the spiritual neediness of the world, and it points us to the promise of peace the gospel supplies.

The Exclusivity of the Gospel

 As Christians, our mission work—at home and abroad—is all rooted in the doctrine of the exclusivity of the gospel. The exclusivity of the gospel is a profound truth, one upon which the missions movement is built.

Evangelical Christians believe that salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ alone and that all persons must place their faith in Christ to be saved. This is what Jesus claimed when he said, “I am the way the truth, and the life, no one cometh to the father but through me.”[1] And this is what the Apostles declared, when Peter preached, “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”[2]

In Conclusion

Given a host other institutional responsibilities and ministry commitments, the trip could not have come at a worse time. At least it seemed that way on the front end. As is often the case, once I embarked on the week, I realized the trip, in fact, could not have come at a better time.

The trip reminded me anew of why I surrendered to gospel ministry and why our work at Midwestern Seminary is so urgent. It reminded me God is doing a global work and to be a faithful Christian is to be a globally minded one. And, most of all, it reminded me of the urgency of the gospel, the lostness of the nations, and the exclusivity of Jesus Christ.

[1] John 14:6.

[2] Acts 4:12.

 

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