Global Missions Week, 2003

Apr 02, 2003 02:27 PM EST

WAKE FOREST, N.C.— The Global Missions Week of 2003 ended with the prayers and testimonies of hundreds of students at the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, March 27. With an emphasis on international church planting and evangelism, leaders gathered with students to share in the desire to share in the passion of God’s mission.

Among the dozens of missionaries speakers at the Missions Week was Jerry Rankin, president of the International Mission Board, who delivered the event’s final sermon; he challenged students to a missionary life filled with spiritual and occasional physical deaths.

"Most of our world has never heard a message of redeeming love," Rankin said, highlighting the need for more missionaries. "They're still in darkness waiting for someone to reveal the light."

He encouraged the students with reports from missionaries overseas; hundreds and thousands of people come to see Christ daily, he said.

Nonetheless, Rankin cautioned the students to contemplate on their motivation to preach; rather than be motivated primarily by the need or obligation to serve Christ, Rankin said, be motivated to share God's passion of love for all people.

"Whatever it takes," he said. "That's what God's passion did when he sent Jesus to the cross -- whatever it takes."

Another speaker, Cal Guy, distinguished professor emeritus of Christian missions on the campus, challenged the students to place themselves in God’s ultimate plan to reach the world.

"God's ways seem illogical, radical, sometimes even unreasonable and unnatural," he said. "It's because they are supernatural."

Keith Eitel, Southeastern’s missiologist and director of the Center for Great Commission Studies, also delivered a challenging message called the "Antioch Factor," in which he asked the students to imitate the Antioch church of Acts in the New Testament and reach out cross-culturally.

Eitel focused on the love of Barnabas, a leader in the Antioch movement; Barnabas’s love for evangelism of non-Jews in the first century should be a model for church planters in the 21st century, Eitel asserted.

"He took what he knew from the Word of God and he saw that that meant gentiles should have the same basis of salvation as Jews," Eitel said, "That is, faith in Christ."

Eitel then encouraged the students to gain the strength to win from God.

"He's the one to do the empowering," the professor said. "You're the one to simply yield."

By Pauline J.