Although there are many churches and seminaries in the world, and many graduates of theology and people who are willing to spread the Gospel, there has not been a truly great missionary. Recently, Pastor Stephen Tong spoke on the topic of a great missionary in the STEMI Limited newsletter, and introduced to us some great missionaries in history.
Pastor Tong stated that God provided the church with three things: 1) the missionary who spreads the Gospel, 2) the Pastor, and 3) the teacher. These three roles are akin to parents who give birth, care for, and raise their children. They hold the key to the future of the church, and not one of the three can be without, or else, the church will enter a path of self destruction. He felt that spreading the Gospel should come before preaching and teaching, and thus should be first discussed.
The Gospel should be spread to those who do not know God, but Pastor Tong stated that many churches only preach to those within the church, and have not shouted the Gospel or sincerely invited those outside of the church to come, and thus have not declared war to Satan, and urged those outside of the church to repent and return to God. It is a shame that seminaries have not found a way to nurture this type of missionaries.
A truly great missionary does not rely on his/her own abilities or wealth, but abide in God and fill his/her mouth with the Holy Spirit, in order to spread the word. He/She is willing to sacrifice all fame and riches, and to spread the Gospel even in unfavorable environments.
Historically, in 1900, a Christian signature petition event was held in northern China, which was attacked by patriarchs, where many missionaries were killed, many churches were buried, and those who remained still kept their faith and belief in the truth.
During this time, some of the greatest leaders of the church (such as Wang Mingdao, Watchmen Nee, John Sung) emerged, and China was deemed the country that fought for God the most during the 20th century. The Gospel has an intimate relationship with history, and God's hand has impacted the paths that man has taken as well as saved man from sin.
In his writings, Pastor Tong listed the three most influential missionaries in his opinion, so that we may learn their ways.
1) John the Baptist
John the Baptist did not have any wealth or possessions or power or military support, but through his faith and respect for God, he shouted out the Gospel bravely to millions in the wilderness. Thus, we do not need a comfortable environment or high-tech equipment to spread the Gospel, but only sincerity to do so.
2) John Wesley's friend, George Whitefield
At that time, the British industrial workers had to go to work as early as 6 or 7 am, and thus George Whitefield held a Gospel meeting at 5 am every morning, without the help of an amplifier or a microphone. He did this for more than 10 years, which illustrated that if we have a will, we can spread the Gospel even without the help of modern technology such as a microphone.
3) Pastor Sung
Pastor Sung was spreading the Gospel all his life. Despite obtaining his Doctor of Philosophy degree in America, he was able to give up the world and choose to spread the Gospel. He had preached until his body collapsed due to overtiredness and bone cancer, and had passed away at the young age of 44. Thus, a missionary does not just preach in the church, but should spread the word to those who do not know God. This is the essence of being a true missionary.
[Editor's note: Carol Lee translate the report.]