The Challenge of
ne of Jesus’ most memorable statements was recorded in Matthew 9:37 where he said ‘the harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few’. That statement is as true today as it was in Jesus day! One of the great challenges of working in Europe is that we can see so much spiritual need but we can never get enough people to meet the need. In a real sense we are only scratching the surface when it comes to evangelism, but better to scratch the surface than make no mark at all. Evangelism is challenging, especially in a place like Europe, and so we need to work hard at motivating people to join with us on summer teams and take the message of hope to a lost continent. Having said
that, we are encouraged each year at the number of people who do join teams. Equally it is exciting not only to see the quality of people, young and old, who do join us, but also to observe the spiritual growth that takes place in their lives as they witness for Christ. God uses them in so many ways and we celebrate this. Mobilising people to get involved in short-term mission is both an important task and a real privilege. We have also discovered over the years that direct evangelism is not high on the agenda of many churches and Christians. If we were to organise a team to do some practical work in an orphanage in Africa, or to run a project for the homeless in India, we would barely need to do any publicity. The team would fill quickly. This is because there is a hunger
“Many teams put a significant focus on literature distribution... However, we also do children’s and youth work, community projects, open air evangelism, English classes, music and the creative arts.”
among Christians for involvement in social care. Of course this is a good thing, because caring for the poor and the underprivileged is very close to the heart of God. Unfortunately, however, a team focussed on evangelism in prosperous Europe is much harder to fill because many Christians are uncomfortable with the very idea of evangelism and are hesitant to get involved. Yes, evangelism is a ‘hard sell’, but what hope does our world have if we don’t actively proclaim the gospel. Hard or not, we make no apology for motivating people to go on teams to share their faith in Christ. Our summer teams are varied, not least because the gospel can be presented in a range of different ways. Many teams put a significant focus on literature distribution and this does bear fruit. However, we also do children’s and youth work, community projects, open air evangelism, English classes, music and the creative arts. Indeed, we use any appropriate method to get the Good News out. Mission is important and we believe that shortterm mission has a vital role to play in reaching Europe. Please pray that we will be able to fill all of our teams this summer and perhaps you will also join one.
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Rising to the Challenge GLO Magazine, eVision, Summer 2017