Rev Canon John Lovell is the Executive Director of CMS NSW and ACT.
The joy of knowing Christ and the eternal security we have in his death and resurrection is a life-transforming reality. And it is this joy that lies at the heart of the vision of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) vision to see a world that knows Jesus. It has recently been reported that the world’s population has reached 8 billion people. Can you wrap your head around the staggering number of people who need to hear the gospel? Never has the harvest been so plentiful; never have opportunities to share the joy of salvation been so abundant.
In Matthew 13:44, Jesus tells a short parable to explain the extraordinary value of the glorious gospel of Christ.
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field.
When a man found it, he hid it again, and then
in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
We could draw attention to the great price this man paid—giving up all he had for the sake of the kingdom. We could note his single-minded devotion and commitment to securing this one treasure. But I want us to notice a key phrase in this verse that is worth reflecting on. Upon discovering the great treasure of the kingdom, it is in his joy that the man went and sold all he had. The treasure of the gospel and the good news of our place in the kingdom of heaven brings great joy. This treasure surpasses the value of material possessions and anything else this world has to offer! And for this reason, there is great joy in serving in global mission, living out these transformed priorities. There is nothing greater, nothing more precious for all people in all places, than knowing Jesus.
In contrast to having the great treasure of knowing Christ and belonging to the kingdom of heaven, many people worldwide are gospel-poor. CMS is committed to reaching gospel-poor peoples for Christ. This means where witness to Christ is limited, we proclaim the gospel, disciple believers, serve in various roles, and partner with the local church.
The joy of reaching gospel-poor peoples for Christ
One of the great joys experienced since the earliest days of mission is seeing people come to faith in the Lord Jesus. In Acts 15, we read how Paul and Barnabas, travelling through Phoenicia and Samaria on their way to Jerusalem, share news of how the Gentiles had been converted. What is the impact of this news? It brings great joy to all the believers! (Acts 15:3-4) This continues to be true today, as cross-cultural workers see people respond to the gospel in faith and repentance. CMS missionaries regularly share stories through prayer updates of how God is at work, bringing us great joy. Here are some recent examples from across the world:
Dave and Beck serving in Japan:
Give thanks for the 3 young people from church who we will spend eternity with!
Simon and Jess serving in Italy:
Give thanks for having some new kids coming to kids’ church—one of our neighbours,
and one of Lydia’s friends from school.
Dan and Marg serving in the Middle East:
Give thanks for God’s grace and love towards us and that we can be witnessesas we share this with others
As well as seeking to reach gospel-poor peoples for Christ, CMS is committed to equipping Christians as leaders in the church and the world. Through this ministry, cross-cultural workers experience the joy of seeing others grow as disciples of Jesus.
The joy of seeing others grow as disciples
The Apostle Paul describes the joy he experiences from God’s work in the life of the believers in Thessalonica. He even describes them as his joy—both in the present and anticipating his future joy of being together in Jesus’ presence when he returns.
For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which
we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes?
Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy.
1 Thessalonians 2:19-20
What a blessing to be used by God to train and equip fellow disciples as we look forward to an eternity with them in glory! CMS Missionaries regularly share this joy in their prayer updates.
Morgan and Olivia serving in the Middle East:
It’s been a joy seeing a bunch of students and graduates step into new ministries at our church. It was wonderful to be led in prayer and corporate worship by a brother who is growing in the knowledge and service of the Lord.
Rebekah serving in South East Asia:
Rejoice that local Christians want to reach out to their communities for Christ.
Peter and Terry serving in Argentina:
Praise God for all those who managed to get to the ABUA conference and for the happy and encouraging spirit during the conference.
Seeing people come to know Christ, and seeing disciples trained and equipped for ministry, is a tremendous privilege and joy of serving in global mission. And there are many opportunities to serve across the world.
Where are the opportunities in Global Mission?
There is a tremendous breadth of opportunities for serving in global mission, with diverse roles and locations. These opportunities include discipleship, evangelism, youth ministry, teaching, international church ministry, theological education, trade skills, medical work, student ministry, and many more. Check out the web page below to explore these opportunities in more detail.
I recall someone sharing with me how for years, they listened to the stories of missionaries on deputation and at CMS Summer School and thought, “I could never do that!”. They went on to serve long-term with CMS in cross-cultural mission, and God brought much fruit from their ministry. Have you prayerfully considered how God might work through you?
The opportunities are many, and the joys are countless. How might you serve in mission as together we work to see a world that knows Jesus?
To find out more about CMS, click here: www.cms.org.au