World evangelism is the Christian mandate from Jesus known as the Great Commission. God’s heart for world evangelism is found in Matthew 28:19, which says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” As the world becomes more accessible, this mandate is more easily accomplished. Air travel, satellites, and the internet have made it possible to evangelize more of the world than ever before. Jesus left this instruction with every believer who claims to follow Him, so it is important that we find ways to obey it.
The following are some ways that every Christian can be involved in world evangelism:
1. Personal evangelism. In focusing on the needs of the world it is easy to ignore the world right outside our front doors. While evangelizing Africa, India, and China is vitally important, making disciples of our next-door neighbors and coworkers is equally valuable. Sadly, in our postmodern world, nations such as the United States that once held the Bible in high esteem have produced a new generation that knows next to nothing about the things of God. Entire segments of Western culture are as pagan as Third World tribes. Unless we see the mission field in our own backyards, we will probably not have the motivation to contribute to evangelism around the world. World evangelism starts in our own communities.
2. Prayer. Missionaries and indigenous pastors need our prayers. Physical needs, life-threatening dangers, and loneliness are all very real parts of giving up one’s own life to obey the Great Commission. Mission boards help, but a common cry from the mission field is “Don’t forget us!” Especially for those laboring in hostile or gospel-resistant areas, prayer is vitally important. When we pray for those involved in world evangelism, we can ask the Lord to encourage them (2 Thessalonians 2:16–17), provide for them (Philippians 4:19), give them boldness in presenting the gospel (Ephesians 6:20), and open the hearts of their hearers to God’s truth (Acts 16:14; Ephesians 1:18). We can pray that they will not grow weary in well-doing (2 Thessalonians 3:13) and that they will press on in their high calling (Philippians 3:14).
3. Financial support. Giving to missions is a vital part of world evangelism. There have never been so many ways to contribute financially to people and organizations on the front lines of evangelism. In order to devote themselves full-time to ministry, missionaries and indigenous workers need financial support from those whose calling is to send, not go. Before offering financial support, it is important to research the person or organization responsible for using the money, as some are more trustworthy than others. In choosing an evangelistic endeavor to support, look for reputable endorsements, longevity in the field, and open financial statements. Read the statements of faith, learn the percentage dedicated to actual ministry as opposed to fund-raising or overhead, and find verifiable testimonials of others associated with the ministry. Jesus was supported financially by those who believed in Him (Luke 8:2–3), and Paul was not shy about rebuking the churches who were not giving adequately to support God’s work among them (1 Corinthians 9:11–14; 16:17; Galatians 6:6).
4. Online involvement. Due to the extent of the internet, more opportunities abound for becoming involved with world missions from the comfort of our own homes. Most major evangelistic/humanitarian organizations have websites that offer an array of support possibilities. From writing letters to imprisoned pastors to contributing biblical truths in chat forums, opportunities for world missions are often no farther than our fingertips. GotQuestions.org is one such organization. Through published articles and personal responses to questioners, we are able to reach millions around the world with God’s truth. A little bit of surfing will reveal dozens of online opportunities that allow willing Christians to follow Jesus’ command for world evangelism.
5. Go. For some, the call to world evangelism is deeply personal. In order to obey it, they leave everything familiar and follow Christ to remote lands, often to people groups who have never heard the gospel. Some mission organizations specialize in facilitating this radical obedience and send trained missionaries into places from which they may never return. For others, obedience to this call may mean a short-term commitment. Medical, architectural, and engineering teams often take time off from their own lives in order to invest their skills in places that would otherwise continue to suffer without them. They do so within a limited timeframe so that they can return to their regular positions and continue to provide for their families and the ministries they financially support. Short-term mission trips are also opportunities for people considering full-time missions, allowing them to experience life in another culture and more specifically define God’s call on their lives.
Each of these opportunities is a way we can contribute to world evangelism. God has gifted each of His children differently, and it is important that we discover those gifts and utilize them to the fullest in service to Him (1 Peter 4:10; 1 Corinthians 12:4). However, none of us can rightly say, “World evangelism is just not my calling,” because it is a mandate given by Jesus before He gave anyone specific callings. World evangelism is a universal instruction given to every follower of Christ. As long as our hearts, calendars, and checkbooks are open to Him, He will show each of us how we can contribute.