William Carey is often called the “father of modern missions” because of his zeal to evangelize the world and his dedication to reaching the people of India with the gospel. He became a missionary at a time when very few were going to the field, and he had a long and dedicated ministry despite many hardships.
While Carey is very well known, those who helped train and send him are often not as well known – men like Andrew Fuller and John Sutcliffe. Andrew Fuller pastored a church in Soham, Cambridge from 1775 to 1782, and Kettering, Northamptonshire from 1782 to 1915. Fuller led the way in setting up a Baptist Missionary Society that helped raise funds for William and other overseas missionaries.
John Sutcliffe pastored Olney Baptist Church for thirty-nine years, from 1775 until 1814. During his time in Olney, he set up a seminary to train preachers in a couple of houses close to the church. Two of those trained there, were William Robinson, a missionary to Serampore, and William Carey, missionary to India. John Sutcliffe helped ordain Carey to the gospel ministry, and Olney Baptist was the church that commissioned Carey to the work in India.
The influence and investment of John Sutcliffe and others in the life of Carey are a great example and inspiration to local churches, pastors, and Bible college teachers. The work that goes on behind the scenes to train and support others is not in vain and is a vital part of getting the gospel around the world. If you are in the role, keep on investing, giving, mentoring, and training. It will be worth it in the end!
Bonus: Below is a short video I recorded recently while on a visit to Olney. I apologize for the background noise, but I hope this video encourages you as much as visiting the church encouraged me.
Note: Special thanks to Olney Baptist Church for their helpful history section. (source)
As you have read through and seen the great need in the world, it should motivate us to do something. One of the most important things that should be done is prayer. What we lack today, in churches and in Christians, is a true spirit of prayer. We pray for the sick and for our personal needs, but do we ever pray for the needs of the world? Do we ever really pray for the heartbeat of God—For the world to truly be reached with the gospel? One of the biggest problems with Christians and churches is the lack of true prayer. Oh, yes, we may pray for our food once in a while, but when is the last time you spent more than five minutes in a quick prayer for things you needed? When is the last time you cried out to God for the needs of the world, for the needs of missionaries all around the world? In this day and age, we need a call to prayer. As devout Muslims, they commit to pray 5 times a day. This takes sacrifice from them and discipline. But we, as Christians, can hardly pray once a day. Why not commit and sacrifice to spend time praying? The reason missions has gone forth so slowly over the past generations is that prayers have been so shallow at home. If we got serious about our prayers, and prayed not just to get it done, but prayed to see a change and move of God in this world, then would we not also, be moved to give and to put feet to our prayers? You see, as you earnestly pray for things, you desire to see them answered even if that requires sacrifice from you. So, if we got serious about praying for the evangelization of the world, Christians would then get serious about giving to help meet the needs all around the world! If we would be doing what we should, in prayer, we could see a 100 times more done for the sake of missions all around the world! The foreign missions movement was born in prayer, and prayer is the vital breath that it lives by, but because of our shallow prayer life, we have yet to see what God could really do if we took seriously the praying for missions and getting the gospel all around the world!
We must be aroused, as Christians and as churches, to pray for more laborers. We must be willing to pray that God would empower and embolden those already on the field. We must pray that God’s word would spread and the harvest of souls would be reaped all around the world. If we would get serious about praying, we could see the world shaken with the gospel and the forward movement of missions!
As a pastor who is responsible to preach about missions and the need in the world, there should be specific things he studies so he can bring this before the church. Not only should the pastor of the church be studying these things, so should we! So, let’s look at what three areas pastors and Christians should be looking at to help see the need for missions in the world.
The world in its sin and misery— Study the world. Get to know the whole world and the different countries of the world. What is said today, is most Christians and pastors only know a handful of countries and where they are, but we should know all about the world and learn as much as we can about the countries of the world. Not only get to know individual countries and where they are, but also, see the great need in these countries. See that in many countries people are dying each and every minute and waking up to spend eternity in hell! See the over 7.6 billion people in the world and the state is which they are. The fact is that most have never heard the gospel and are heading straight towards hell. Keep looking and seeing the statistics of death in countries and let it break your heart. Don’t see it just as numbers, but as individuals, as souls, as people just like you and me, but with no one to share with them the good news of salvation. Then think of what state you would be in if no one shared with you the gospel and know that billions of people are like that all over the world! Let it break your heart and motivate you to do something. If we would stop looking just at our community, our city, our county, our state and our country and start looking at the whole world, it would move us to do something. It would make us realize how great a need for the gospel is all over the world!
Christ’s love— After looking at the sin and great need in the world, we must look at the love of Christ. Realizing that John 3:16 is not just a verse to quote, but to seriously think about the love of Christ. That He would leave heaven, to come to earth, to suffer and die for you and for me, but not just for you and for me, but for the whole world! Dwell upon and mediate upon this love that Christ showed. How awesome and how humbling it is for us to think of Christ loving us and dying for us WHILE WE WERE STILL DEAD IN OUR TRESPASSES AND SINS! While we and the world had no desire for Him, He loved us and desired us to be His and gave His life for us. As you dwell upon how much Christ loved you, it should constrain you and motivate you to action! It is why we do what we do as Christians. It is the only reason we must go! The love of Christ should compel and urge us forward. But not only do you think of His love, but of His power. The fact that because He loved us and died for us, He has the power and authority to command us to go. But He promised not to leave us alone in the task of reaching the world. He said He would go with us. That He would give us the same power to overcome the world and to reach it with the gospel!
As Christians and as churches we are the link between the two— We are the link between the world and the love of Christ. You see we have been shown the love of Christ and it should compel us to go to a sinful world and proclaim the message of salvation! That, as Christians and churches, is the whole purpose for being on the earth— to get the gospel to the whole world. The supreme end of the church is missions! God is waiting and wanting to use us to get the gospel all around the world and yet, we have been so inwardly focused we have missed seeing the great need all over the world!
We have seen the three things that pastors, but also, we as Christians should focus on when it comes to world evangelism. If we would take all three of these things seriously and dwell on and think about these things we would then go to God in prayer as to what we can do to reach the world in this generation! If pastors resolve in their heart and mind that the missionary problem is a personal one, they can convey the need to their churches and if we, as Christians, realized the missionary problem is a personal one then we will do what must be done to get the gospel all around the world!
We just established that it is the responsibility of every believer to be a soul winner and to take upon him the burden of getting the gospel to the world. Now, we turn our eyes to individual churches. If it is every believer’s responsibility to get the gospel to the world, then it is the purpose of the church to get the gospel to a lost and dying world! The whole purpose for everything we do, as a church, is missions and getting the gospel to the whole world. That being said, let’s look at how we can do this in the church.
The purpose of the ministries of the church is to guide to church and make her fit to get the gospel to the world.— Every ministry of the church should align for the purpose of equipping the people and the church to get the gospel to the world. That means all our ministries should have an outward reaching focus not an inward reaching focus. They should be designed to reach out in our communities and all around the world with the gospel! The sad thing about most ministries in churches today is that they are focused inwardly and on reaching the people in the church, when they should be all about reaching outward and taking the gospel to people who have never heard!
The purpose of preaching in the church should be to help the people and the church fulfill their purpose of getting the gospel to the world. That means that the preaching of our church should yes, focus on the needs of our people and helping them to grow; but more importantly, it should help us focus our attention on the world and the great need for Christ in the world. If we would preach more on missions and getting the gospel to our communities and to the whole world, more people would give their lives for missions or give more towards missions!
The purpose of every pastor, then, should be to equip himself and his people for this work— He should strive to labor and send those to take the gospel all around the world. He should prepare his heart and study the needs all around the world! He should be prepared to be a torch bearer for getting the gospel to a lost and dying world! His proclamation and heartbeat should be that of God, that he desires to see the whole world saved and will do what must be done to prepare himself and his people to go out and take the gospel to the world!
Each and every church’s purpose is to get the gospel to the whole world! It’s time we, as churches, wake up and get our hearts right and get our ministries aimed at getting the gospel to the world. We need to stop focusing inwardly and start focusing outwardly on the great need in the world!
Yes, you may now know and understand that every believer is to be a soul winner, but sadly, too many people make it a secondary thing in their lives. The truth is that “Every believer, a soul winner” is the chief reason we exist! The whole reason the second we are saved God doesn’t just take us to heaven is because we are left on this earth to take the gospel to people who have never heard! As a Christian, that should be our whole purpose of life. We do not live for things, family, possessions or fame. We live to glorify God and to make His name known to all the nations. If this becomes the priority and lifestyle of every believer, what a great change would be made. People would then stop living for themselves and start living for the evangelization of their community and the world! But really, unless one is in close fellowship with Christ, this truth will never be engrained in his life! We must be living close to Christ and in fellowship with Him and by doing that, Christ draws us to Himself and His purpose of seeing the world reached with the gospel.