The growth of the church around the world is fantastic. The facts that, according to the Joshua Project, there are 38,000 evangelical Christians in Mongolia, 879,000 in Benin, and 79,000 in Uzbekistan, is fantastic! It is also fantastic that the nations are coming to Australia. All round the country there are communities of Persians, Bhutanese, Sudanese and more, living here and having the opportunity to hear about Jesus.
However, what is not fantastic is that for many, many others, it is unlikely they will ever hear about Jesus unless Christians go and live amongst them. 3.2 billion, almost 42% of the world’s population, still live in communities where Jesus’ name is not honoured and exalted and is barely known. That isn’t just a sad statistic; that is a sickening statistic. We as the Church have the responsibility to do something about that, to take the life-transforming message of Jesus to those communities and turn those numbers around. As Paul asks in Romans 10, “How can they hear unless someone is sent?”
Jesus came and lived amongst us, yet many Christians in Australia have never considered living overseas to take the gospel to those who need it. WEC Australia wants to serve you, your church, Christian school, university group or other Christian community. We want to help you disciple your people with a mission vision; with a vision of Revelation 7:9, where every nation, tribe, tongue and language can be found before the throne worshipping King Jesus, the Lamb. To build on the amazing work of discipleship that many of you are already engaged in, WEC Australia has launched the Stepping Into Mission initiative.
The Stepping into Mission initiative, to disciple the whole Church family from children through to adults, is designed to see all engaging in mission.
First Steps Kids
– introduces kids to missions.
First Steps Teens
– introduces teenagers to the concept of missions, helping them to engage with God’s world, and pray in informed ways for Jesus’ name to be known.
Next Steps Teens
– helps them to explore missions more deeply, asking questions like “Why should I be involved?” and “How is God leading me?” Again, significant time is given over to praying for the gospel to transform the lives of people around the world.
Next Steps Young Adult Camp
- provides an opportunity to escape the pressures of regular life and get away, seek God, and listen to what He is saying about the future, asking questions and praying together.
The First and Next Steps programs have been designed to serve you and so each can be adapted to fit with your needs. They can be run as weekends away or sessions at your church or school over a period of time; or you can join one of the WEC Australia camps that will be held.
WEC’s STOMP (Short-term Overseas Mission Program) can give you a taste of mission life overseas. STOMPs can be arranged for churches, university groups, or tailor made for individuals, couples or families. Regardless of how many of you go, you are always sent to an area of the world where WEC has workers. There is someone to look after you and help you to be involved in ministry. From a couple of weeks to two years in length, a STOMP provides a great way to test the waters.
Jump is the Stepping Into Mission gap year program for 18-23 year-olds. Jump is about young people discovering the amazing gifts God has given them, honing them and growing in them, through training and experience in cross-cultural ministry and camps here in Australia and overseas.
Leap is an internship program aimed at those over 21 who are seriously interested in investigating long-term cross-cultural ministry. Discipleship is key, as is training and opportunities to discover the way God has created you and how he wants to use you to build His Kingdom.
Our prayer is that through Stepping Into Mission, more Australian Christians will catch the vision to go and live overseas, with the aim of building friendships and sharing the message of Jesus with those who live there. Our prayer is that they will become passionate about the plight of those who don’t know Christ around the world. Stepping Into Mission was created for this purpose.
Matt McNulty is a Brit who, with his wife Rachel, has been part of WEC International since 2012. They serve in Perth, where Matt engages with churches and individuals interested in mission. He also oversees WEC Australia’s engagement with teenagers nationally.
For more details of SITM programs read the stories on other pages in this issue.