This month I present the third of four foundational values that drive what we deliver at Missio Nexus. As I said previously, these operational values have been forcefully demonstrated in the lives of past missionaries, missionary statesmen, and biblical leaders. That is why after defining the value in our unique way, we highlight historical figures (our “heroes”) who have demonstrated that value in their lives and ministry.
Value: Glocal Connections
The facilitation of linkage between those who are distant with those who are near for the purpose of enhancing kingdom-wide networking and interaction
John Mott (1865-1955)
Methodist in background, in 1886 Mott pledged himself to missionary service during his student days at the Mt. Hermon conference. He was co-founder and then the chairman of the Student Volunteer Movement from 1888-1920. In this position he traveled the world – over 2 million miles – acquiring immense knowledge of the missionary enterprise, encouraging students and field workers, and setting up national councils of churches all over the globe. He was chair of the International Missionary Council (1921 – 41), but simply desired to be known as an evangelist. Labeled the “Father of the young people of the World,” Mott was adept at spotting and nurturing young recruits. He was so much respected by political heads at home and abroad, that he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946.
“With God, anywhere; without him, not over the threshold.”
– John Mott
Robert E. Speer (1867 – 1947)
Born in Pennsylvania, Speer developed an interest in missions as a student at Princeton University. During the heyday of the Student Volunteer Movement, he traveled across the campuses of America and Canada, spreading interest in missions. He was a powerful speaker, a keen writer and a perceptive analyst of mission affairs. His extensive international travels kept him in contact with affairs on the fields. He wrote sixty-seven books, the most notable of which was The Unfinished Task in Foreign Missions. Although active in the ecumenical movement, Speer stood firmly on Christ’s supremacy and incomparability of Christ. Probably only his good friend, John Mott, was more globally connected the first half of the 20th century.
“There is nothing in the world or the Church – except
the Church’s disobedience – to render the evangelization
of the world in this generation an impossibility.”
– Robert E. Speer
Abraham – Wandering Aramean
Abraham is a premier example of someone who by faith was willing to pick up his family, travel anywhere God would lead, and reside in any country God so directed. Genesis gives the historical account of Abraham leaving his hometown of Ur in Mesopotamia, settling temporarily in Haran (southern Turkey today)(Gen. 11:31), and then moving on to the land of Canaan (Gen. 12:4-9). A journey into Egypt and back for survival purposes (Gen. 12:10-13:1) completed Abraham’s international travels. He connected with a lot of different cultures along the way.
Abraham’s “eternal perspective” – of raising above and not clinging to the temporal as an example to all missionaries on the move – is found in Hebrews 11. By faith he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived in a foreign land, living in tents (though he could afford a trophy home). His sights were on something greater, as he was looking forward to the city whose designer and builder is God. (Heb. 11:8-10). Abraham was a sojourner in the true sense of the word, knowing that which is of the present is temporal and that everything which is of the next life is eternal.
Paul – Tireless Missionary
There is no more globally connected person in scriptures than the apostle Paul. For the cause of Christ, he globe-trotted around the northern Mediterranean basin. At least four different travels or voyages are mentioned in Acts 13-28. He established churches across Asia Minor and into Eastern Europe. In most instances, he was the first to pioneer into a new area.
Paul did more than establish isolated churches. In most cases he connected newly established churches with the older ones. We find him carrying ecclesiastical decisions from the mother church of Jerusalem back to his mission churches (Acts 15-16). Conversely, he carried money from mission churches back to the financially strapped mother church (Philippians). At the end of each missionary journey he reported back to his sending church in Antioch. Paul was a master in forging global connections across the vast geographical areas he traversed.