Patrick Fung, MD, believes the Word of God is indispensable to the revival, transformation and mission of God's people. At the Urbana 15 Student Missions Conference being held this week by InterVarsity in St. Louis, Mo., Fung is emphasizing passages of Scripture from the Gospel of Matthew. Urbana combines worship, seminars, speakers and exhibitors for five days among 16,000 participants.
Fung is the 10th director of OMF International (formerly the China Inland Mission) and is the first Asian to lead the ministry. During his time as a medical student in Sydney, Australia, he came to faith in Christ. He was later admitted to the Royal College of Physicians in the United Kingdom and the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine and served as a doctor in Hong Kong specializing in internal medicine. He went on to receive a diploma in Christian studies from the China Graduate School of Theology in Hong Kong and a master's degree in missiology from Fuller Theological Seminary.
"Missions is not about us. It's not our mission. It's God's mission to the world. It's God's salvation to the peoples of the world," said Fung in a blog interview this week related to the Urbana 15 conference.
"When Jesus says, '...all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me,' He's claiming the lordship of the whole world. Missions is calling the world to obedience to Him."
Missions may not begin directly with evangelism, but missions which does not end with calling people to obedience to Jesus Christ is not holistic missions, explained Fung. "It's defective missions. You can have different starting points, but the ultimate call is to call people to live in obedience to Jesus Christ. It's not just conversion, but following him. It's very simple. Follow Jesus unconditionally."
"Missions is not about need. Of course, there are needs and of course, there are people who want to help meet those needs. But if you read that chapter the point is to obey, to follow God's purpose."
Fung said he thinks Christians need to ask God: 'What is it you want me to do to fulfill your purpose?' "Let's go to God with open hands, an open agenda. Sometimes we have a fixed agenda, and we want God to bless what we want to do. Our challenge is to come to God with an open agenda-let God decide what he wants."
This generation has experienced brokenness beyond imagination, and often we have not seen what is a healthy family or a healthy marriage, he said. "We grew up with brokenness. We've seen marriages broken up. We've seen relationships betrayed. So the new generation often has a distorted picture of authority. They actually despise authority, because they've never seen one who handles authority well. If the millennial generation has never seen what is a good father, how can they accept authority from the heavenly Father?"
Fung said people need to relearn-unlearn-what has troubled us. "Then I think we can be used by God. Otherwise, we are haunted by this distorted image of authority. If we have a healthy image of authority, then we have a healthy image of self. We don't have to prove anything; we don't have to prove ourselves."
"In every generation, God is looking for people who are humble. College students are very gifted people. We have gifts. We have talents. We have abilities. We have money. We have resources. But God may not use all of that to advance his Kingdom. So be humble. Look at what God is doing in other parts of the world. Be humble. Don't just think about North America. God is doing wonderful things in other parts of the world-Latin America, India, Africa. Listen to voices from those places, as well. What God is doing among them will keep us humble," he suggests.