By Ryan Shaw
Ryan serves as the international lead facilitator of Student Volunteer Movement 2 (SVM2).
I firmly believe that we can reach the world for the sake of Jesus in our lifetime. We are living today in extraordinary times. God is moving around the world in an increasing fashion.
Though the outlook in many places may seem daunting in our finite view, there are many reasons to be greatly encouraged that we could realistically see the fulfillment of God’s global purpose in our generation, if we will embrace obedience.
First, the church is presently making tremendous headway in this direction. From 1974 until 2004, those out of reach of the gospel message around the world has gone from ½ to 1/3 of the global population.
This means that within a 30 year time-span we were able to plant the church in almost as much territory as was done in the first 2,000 years of its existence.
Every day the average number of people added to the body of Christ worldwide averages 174,000, and 3,500 new churches are being planted every week worldwide (USCWM stats). Yet due to population growth globally this is only a drop in the bucket.
Second, those who put their faith in Jesus alone for salvation in the decade of the 1990’s around the world were more than the rest of the century put together. Third, technology is opening up the ways that the message can be communicated.
Take the completely Islamic island country of the Maldives located off the tip of India, for example. During a visit to this beautiful country, known as the scuba diving capital of the world, in 2002, I spoke with a 20-year old Muslim man whom I asked, “tell me about the various beliefs of people on the islands.” He responded with firmness and ease, “everybody here is Muslim.
Nobody is anything else!” The idea that someone could have a different outlook than this was totally foreign to him.
I later discovered that for the first time in the nation’s history, gospel messages had begun to be beamed in by radio from Sri Lanka, something short-lived as the government realized what was happening and scrambled the radio waves.
The technological possibilities, are numerous, however, before us. Similar stories are common of people using mp3 players to record training materials or messages about Jesus on, as these have a large capacity for storing digital memory.
Fourth, for many in the body of Christ strategic, focused intercession is taking its rightful place as a priority and is helping us understand how to move in the authority of Jesus boldly, yet wisely.
In the 1990’s the church around the world was mobilized in prayer by the millions for the gospel to take root throughout the most resistant areas of the world through the 10/40 Window prayer initiatives.
Luis Bush, in his book, “The Move of The Holy Spirit in the 10/40 window,” relates “Praying through the Window III in 1997 focused on the unreached people groups….. nearly 27 million intercessors from 121 nations prayed for the lost of the window.”
(Bush, 31) And we consistently hear incredible stories of the fruit of this saturating corporate prayer today.
We can trust that in the coming years more fruit will continue to be seen as a result of the increase of awareness and focus on global prayer and intercession. In 2002, while in Lagos, Nigeria, I was invited to attend an all-night prayer meeting and evangelistic service held in a huge, open field on the outskirts of town.
The denomination who hosted this gathering did so on the last Friday night of every month. I had no idea what to expect, but went with much curiosity. When my host and I arrived by car, I was utterly astounded as I made my way through a sea of 1.2 million Nigerians who had come to this gathering.
There were many prolonged times of corporate intercession (focused on national revival and global evangelization) throughout the 12 hour meeting. The global church is learning to pray en masse, and as a result walls of bondage and deceit are being shattered as we move forward in this hour.
In this pivotal hour of change and expectancy let us arise fully committing our hearts with total consecration unto the Lord of the Harvest and respond to Him with faith as we set out to impact a dying world with the love of Jesus Christ.
It is time for serious surrender and perseverance. Who will reach Libya, Algeria, North Korea, Yemen? Who will love the broken and downtrodden in Sudan and India?