Friday, July 22, 2011

Rethinking Radical

We don’t need any more books, seminars, or conferences.  What we need are examples.” Matt, a rising college freshman, has spoken for a generation that is tired of being entertained by Christian celebrities and challenged to “go” by executive pastors who stay.  

As I thought about Matt’s statement and the desire of a generation to live “Radical,” I thought immediately of Charles Thomas Studd.  He was born in England in 1860.  His father, Edward Studd, had made his fortune in India. C.T. Studd was handsome, rich, and athletic.  He attended Cambridge University, one of the most prestigious universities of his day.  Studd had a passion for Cricket (the sport, not the insect) and became what others have referred to as the “Michael Jordan of Cricket.” Studd was claimed by some then and today as the greatest player to have ever played the game.

However, after hearing an influential missionary from China speak, Studd, along with 6 others made a commitment to go.  They gave up promising careers and their fame, and walked away from the “Great British Dream.” For several months, the “Cambridge Seven,” as they became known, traveled from campus to campus across Britain challenging students to give their all for the glory of God.  Their testimony and their lives rang with authenticity and awakened the church to His global cause. 

C.T. Studd spent his life as a missionary mobilizing the church to “Come.”  Once he said, “There are more than twice as many Christian ‘officers’ at home among the peaceful Britain’s 40 million evangelized inhabitants, than the whole number of forces fighting at the front among 1.2 billion unreached! And yet such call themselves soldiers of Christ.”

What might C.T. Studd say today to our Christian “officers” at home?  What might C.T. Studd say to David Platt about being “Radical?”

David, your book is good, but it’s not really that radical.  Your call to finish the Great Commission rings hollow to a generation looking for examples. Follow me.  Resign from your church.  Rally six of your friends in similar positions as yourself.  All of you go and spend your life among an unreached people group until you have learned their language and learned their culture, and planted the Church there. This generation may be moved, but never mobilized by your books.  It will take ‘reckless sacrifice and heroism in the foremost trenches.’

I think at this point in the C.T. Studd challenge, Adoniram Judson would be stirred from beyond the grave and the words he spoke in 1832 would echo down from Heaven, “First, let it be a missionary life.  That is, come out for life, and not a limited term. (What would he think of our generation’s short-term mission strategies?) Do not fancy that you have a true missionary spirit, while you are intending all along to leave your people group soon after acquiring their language. Leave them?!  For what?  To spend the rest of your days in enjoying the ease and plenty of your native land?”

Francis Chan hinted at the C.T. Studd challenge when he resigned his mega-church last year to “seek God’s direction and serve for a few months in a developing country.” Now he’s back and the message that is heard louder than his words or books is that, “Crazy love doesn’t mean following Christ long-term to the unreached.”

….But what would happen if all these mega-church pastors resigned? Who would lead their churches?  Thousands of applications would flood their church offices within weeks! Who would rally the church to go if these important voices left? Ion Keith Falconer served as a missionary to Arabia from 1885-1888. (He died after only 3 years on the field, just in case you are wondering why he served short-term.) He had attended the commissioning service of the “Cambridge Seven,” and followed them in their radical experiment for life.  He said, “Perhaps you think you are meant to remain at home and encourage others to go.  You think that by sending money, sitting on committees, speaking at meetings, and praying for missions, you will be doing the most you can to spread the Gospel abroad.  Not so! By going yourself, (He was not talking about a short-term trip.), you will produce a tenfold more powerful effect.  You can give and pray for missions wherever you are.  You can send descriptive letters to the missionary meeting which will be more effective than second-hand quotes gathered from others.”

One final word from C.T. Studd… “Dear David and friends…  Hundreds may go as a result of your books, songs, and conferences, but if you will follow my example and go-- for life--  a whole generation will follow you.  They are waiting for an example.”

C.T. Speer
imb missionary
Southeast Asia

P.S.  This may be the first time in history that the majority of our ‘mission heroes’ are not missionaries.  Where are the voices from the field that compel a generation to come?  Where are those with blood on their faces that challenge a generation to join the fight?  They are serving quietly and faithfully among the unreached and hard to reach.  

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Kid's Korner

David is in his first year as a student at Houghton College in Houghton, New York. This tropical boy is experiencing winter weather like he has never seen before! Single-digit temperatures and inches of snow are a common occurrence during the winter months. The 1st semester has passed quickly as he is adjusting to college classes, made new friends, and playing on the school’s JV Men’s Basketball team.

The year 2010 has brought several “first’s” for Krysten: 1st mission trip to India (traveling by herself), first perm, getting her student permit & then driver’s license, visiting potential colleges, volunteering at a local pediatric clinic, and working a couple days a week at her grandfather’s law office. In between all of these activities she was involved in the youth program at our home church- singing in the youth choir, performing with the drama troupe, & taking weekly voice lessons- while being homeschooled (Biology, Geometry, Spanish, etc)… it’s been a busy fall! She’s looking forward to getting back “home” and getting back to her friends and normal life. She’s also looking forward to her next mission trip… SPAIN!!

This fall has been an exciting time for Betsy also. Lots of new experiences… or at least experiences that seem new to her! A family trip to Disneyworld was the highlight for her. Other trips to Washington D.C. and Niagara Falls were great field trips to supplement our history curriculum. She has continued her piano lessons and enjoyed her role in her choir’s Christmas program. Betsy is looking forward to getting back to her school in the Philippines. The 5th grade class has started band and she’s looking forward to learning to play the flute.

American Nehemiah Teams 2010

2010 was an exciting year for our American teams. Many of you were partners with us as we conducted our first stateside orientation & debrief. It was such an encouragement to have so many churches & individuals involved in this training. 105 students from 19 states & Canada were trained & sent out to seven different countries (15 different people groups). Nazareth Baptist Church (Rainsville, AL) hosted this event and provided a large part of the meals with other churches helping with meals & transportation to & from 3 different airports. It was a major undertaking that produced eternal results! At the end of the summer as the teams gathered for debrief, it was exciting to hear what God had done through them:

  • 250 people indicated a decision for Christ with 25 of these following through with baptism,
  • more than 170 orphans cared for,
  • almost 10,000 gospel tracts were distributed,
  • 92 circumcisions were performed plus other basic medical services provided,
  • assisted with 2 baby deliveries,
  • English classes using the Bible were taught to non-believers, many in “closed” countries who don’t allow traditional missionaries,
  • trees were planted,
  • houses were built in partnership with Habitat for Humanity,
  • thousands of pictures were taken,
  • and… thousands of people heard the gospel presented clearly, many possibly for the very first time.

As we begin 2011 we need your partnership again. More students have been requested so we anticipate a larger group of students to train this June. Please let us know if you or your church can help in any of the following areas: providing meals, providing transportation to & from Atlanta, and providing lodging for trainers/facilitators. In 2011 we are looking at having teams in some new countries including India and some European countries. We will also be having our first North American teams. Teams will be returning to the Philippines, Thailand, southern Sudan, Japan, South Korea, and some other Asian countries. A complete listing of the teams can be seen on our website ( or on the IMB Student website (

Filipino Nehemiah Teams 2010

During 2010 there were 6 Filipino franchises (or affiliates) which sent teams of Filipino students to the unreached & hard to reach of their own country. These 100 young adults served on 20 different teams, sharing the gospel with thousands of their countrymen. Many indicated a decision to follow Christ and 68 followed through with baptism.

Happy 2011!

It has been exciting to be in the U.S. during this past holiday season. We’ve enjoyed spending those special days with family and friends. It was an added plus for us to wake up on Christmas morning and have… SNOW! The first white Christmas Alabama has had in years… our kids think it was just for them! The icing on the cake for us was to hear reports from you as your churches set, reached, and exceeded your Lottie Moon Christmas Offering goals! We are so thankful for your generous giving to this offering as well as the Cooperative Program. These two avenues fund the majority of the budget for the 5,000+ International Mission Board workers serving all over the world. Thank you for giving so that others have the opportunity to hear the greatest story ever told!