“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
“For the earth will be filled
with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.” (Hab 2:14)
A cursory reading of these two passages suggests a geographical progression of mission movement from Jerusalem as a home base, to the surrounding regions and to the ends of the earth. Church history informs us of the rapid geographical spread to the “four corners of the earth” (a term commonly used in ancient times to denote faraway places). Indeed, the disciples played that pivotal role in spreading the Good News of Christ. Their missions advanced north towards Turkey, west towards England, south towards North Africa and eastwards to China and Southeast Asia via India and beyond.
From a missiological perspective, the disciples acted on Christ’s mandate to preach the Word, in season and out of season (Paul’s words), to the peoples of the world. The oracle that the prophet Habakkuk saw said:
“Look among the nations, and see;
wonder and be astounded.
For I am doing a work in your days
that you would not believe if told.” (1:5)
In the 18th century, John Wesley envisioned “the world as [his] parish” and brought Christianity over all of England, as well as across the Atlantic Ocean to Georgia, USA.
Methodism was brought to our shores when the missionaries James Thoburn and William Oldham arrived in Singapore on 7 Feb 1885. With Singapore as a stepping stone, Methodism spread rapidly around the region.
God is doing a special work in our days! Statistically, more than 40 per cent of the world are unreached.1 As pilgrims, let us devote our hearts and spirits to fulfilling the mandate of the Great Commission, sparing no effort to reach out to the world with the message of hope and reconciliation.
Therefore, we must seek the heart of God and mobilise disciples to venture into fields across the nations, especially to places considered “unreached”. MMS currently has missions in seven countries. We can enlarge our sphere. With the support of missions agencies and organisations, churches and individuals plus the vast resource we have today, I believe we can develop strategies to reach the world for Christ through new geographical mission partnerships (NewGMP)! United together (i.e. 46 Methodist local churches) in mission, let us pool our resources to reach the world!
Would you heed our Lord’s challenge: “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men”? (Matt 4:19). I invite you (individuals and/or local churches), as fishers of men, to explore new geographical mission partnerships with MMS where we serve together within a collaborative framework to the end that “the earth may be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea!”
1 Statistics according to Joshua Project (joshuaproject.net). “Unreached people” are defined as the category of people where something is happening, but not yet enough to see their whole people discipled. Pioneer work is likely still needed.
The Rev Derrick Lau serves as the Executive Director of Methodist Missions Society (www.mms.org.sg). He also enjoys gardening, jogging, travelling and working on DIY projects. / Photo courtesy of the Rev Derrick Lau