We live in an exciting and unusual time. The world population has grown from 1 billion in 1800 to more than 7 billion in just over 200 years. Christianity, along with other belief systems, has grown dramatically with the growing population and this makes the challenge of fulfilling the great commission both urgent and possible. We know it won't be easy to get the Gospel to those who have not yet heard but we also know the truth of Jesus's words in Matt 24:14 “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world to all the nations, and then the end will come.”
The completion of Jesus's command will bring about the conclusion we are waiting for! Today about 32% of the world’s population identify themselves as Christians. This number represents all expressions and traditions of Christianity and it means that there are 2 non-Christians to every Christian. Of course not all those who call themselves Christian are strong in their faith and actively sharing the message of salvation with others. If only a third of the world Christian population are serious about the great commission, it means that for every believer who is active in sharing their faith and reaching out to others, there are 7-10 people to be reached.
The statistics above make the task sounds more achievable but there are additional challenges to be overcome. 50% of the world’s Christians live in 11 countries: United States (11%), followed by Brazil (8%), Mexico (5%), Russia (5%), the Philippines (4%), Nigeria (4%), China (3%), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (3%), Germany (3%), Italy (2%) and Ethiopia (2%). Since most of the world’s non-Christians do not live in these 11 countries, it means that some of us have to change locations and learn new languages in order to reach those who have little or no access to the Good News.
We are a missions giving and a missions sending church because we understand the urgency and importance of this work! We are particularly targeting people who live outside the reach of existing believers and churches and we do this by praying, giving and going. We encourage everyone to be involved in all three of these activities. CPBC has short-term missions teams going to China, India, Cambodia and Japan in 2016 and we encourage you to pray and be involved in going on one of these teams. We also encourage everyone to pray about making a faith promise pledge to support missions.
Faith promise giving is the kind of giving practised by believers and churches in the New Testament. According to 2 Corinthians 8 and 9, this kind of giving has several characteristics:
- It is an offering over and above local church support.
- Rather than being a cash offering, it is a faith offering, promising in faith to contribute a certain amount over a one-year period.
- It is given in faith. The reward in ability to give during the year was seen as being directly proportional to the commitment made in faith. Paul illustrated this in 2 Corinthians 9 by a farmer who reaped what he sowed in faith, believing that the sun and rain God provided would prosper the amount of seed he had sown.
God honors our faith promise commitment by making His grace abound towards us as described in 2 Corinthians 9:8, “God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” Here is a promise of comprehensive, complete and overflowing blessing, the kind of blessing that we all want to experience and enjoy.
I encourage you to take up the challenge of making a commitment to faith promise giving in 2016. God had blessed us to make us a blessing. As we partner together to bless others with the message of new life in Jesus Christ, God will do even more to supply our needs and enable us to make a difference with a faith that takes action by giving, going and praying.
Taking steps of faith,