Ten Exciting Developments in the World of International Missions

by Chris DeWelt

 “...and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles” (Acts 14:27).

1 God is answering our Matthew 9:38 prayers! Young people are stepping forward in huge numbers saying “We want to do whatever needs to be done to see the nations come to the Throne of God!” Where is this happening? Through campus ministries, at Bible colleges, in local churches. In addition, not-so-young people are volunteering and going to the field for service both short term and long!

2. The nations are coming to the West! The gospel is by nature both centrifugal and centripetal, in that it both attracts and it sends us out! The nations are coming to our college campuses by the thousands and hundreds of thousands. We are seeing the cross-pollination of the Mars Hill of today! They are coming to America to live and work, exactly like our great- grandparents did. They are coming in the midst of huge sociological changes, ours and theirs.

3. The openness of the international college campus. Opportunities exist today to do a totally new kind of campus ministry on the college campuses that are found in every nation on earth. Today, openings are there for those creative enough to seize them, even in Kabul!

4. The international desire to know the English language. English has become the “Koine Greek” of modern times. It is the language of international trade, of education, of the Internet, and much more. It is highly desired by people in virtually every land and every social level. What a gift from God! They want to learn English! We can go and teach them. It is a key to the unopened door! It is a means of support in many places! It is access to people of education and influence.  It is the “tent-making” skill of the modern era!   

5. A century of technology has led us to unprecedented opportunity:

• The use of PCs and Macs for translation work has reduced the job of 25 years to under 18. There is now an ability to proofread and print out in minutes what formerly took months.

• The power of the Internet in China, where 10 million users  will climb to 100 million in 36 months time.

• The possibilities of “distance learning” that will create a virtual classroom and even what David Cho and Rick Warren call “a virtual church!” David Cho simulcasts his services on the Web and thousands watch him in the Middle East!

• We can pick up a telephone and speak to anyone on the planet in seconds at ever-decreasing costs.

• We can travel to the other side of the world in under 24 hours and walk into virtually any location.

Are we paying attention? Do we stop and consider why we have such things?  Could it not be that the Father of all art and science is handing us the tools to finish the task?

6. Scripture translation is racing forward with breathtaking speed! At the beginning of last year, 8 out of 10 people on planet earth had the Scriptures available in their own language. Nine out of 10 had the NT. During the 20th Century languages with  Scripture portions climbed from 537 to over 2800. Sounds great, but the difficult part is that there are over 6000 languages. However, Bible translators (Wycliffe, Pioneer Bible Translators,  and others) have set a goal of having projects started in every language by the year 2025. Could it be that the “end” is in sight? (By that I mean every language group having at least the New Testament.)

7. Christian Radio. Radio ministries around the world have united to see that there is a 30-minute short wave radio broadcast every day in each of the world’s 372 mega languages (spoken by 1 million-plus people). This would mean understanding by over 99% of the world’s population. They are about halfway to that goal after 15 years of work. According to best estimates, as many as 15% of some closed countries listen regularly to Christian radio as a source of basic information and a window on the world.

8. The Jesus films. According to www.Jesusfilm.org there are currently 745 translations available of this remarkable film, which is the life of Christ from the Gospel of Luke. A Webcast in 55 languages is also available, as is a single DVD with 8 language choices! Thirty-two million video cassettes are also in circulation.

9. Huge changes in modern political systems. Could I have ever imagined the day that we would see the total annihilation of a world political system in places like Russia or Ukraine or even in Albania? Unbelievable! What does it mean? For one thing much prayer is needed and with those prayers, workers are needed!

10. Huge changes in the unreached peoples of the world. In the Hindu world of India where some are radical, we have seen the death of a Christian worker, Graham Staines, and have heard his widow, Gladys Staines give testimony on national television in the land of 1 billion people. Every network covered it. She and her daughter sang “Because He Lives” in English and in Hindi to hundreds of millions of Hindus who were watching, wondering how a Christian would respond to such a difficult situation. Even more amazing is the fact that last year the Dalits (untouchables)—300 million strong—were challenged by their own “leader” to leave Hinduism! Some have turned to Buddhism, but many can and will turn to the cross of Jesus! Pray for India!

 Changes  are also rocking the Muslim world. The extremism of a few has acted like a rock dividing the stream. Which side will each of the world’s 1.2 billion Muslims take? Many are more open today than they have ever been in history! There are more Muslim background believers today than ever before and, according to those that know, more Muslims have come to Christ in the last 15 years than in all of Muslim history (1300 years!).

Can God not open doors? Will the walls fall? Is the church paying attention? Could it be that God is “shaking the nations” (Heb. 12) making way for the church to do her task? For it is our task to do. The angels won’t preach the Good News! He has given that job to us.

Chris DeWelt is publisher of College Press, Inc., and director of missions at Ozark Christian College, Joplin, MO

Reprinted with permission from One Body, summer 2002,

published by Peace on Earth Ministries (POEM), Joplin, MO