The Fire’s Still Burning

God’s mission throughout Scripture has never changed.

Gerald A. Klingbeil
The Fire’s Still Burning

Mission has been the underlying narrative in my life and in the life of my family for the past five decades. It began when I joined the team of a café ministry as a teenager in the early eighties in a midsized town in Germany. It drove me to start a music ministry that sought to reach my nonchurched, secular friends. We spent hours talking to strangers in many European cities, inviting them to come to our concerts and begin a conversation about life, God, and the hole we all feel in our souls.

Later God called me to full-time ministry, and, after getting married, my wife, Chantal, and I spent 15 years teaching college-aged young adults in South America and Asia. Fourteen years ago I joined the editorial team of Adventist World as an associate editor, and my mission changed from being a teacher to being an author and editor. It was still the same mission.

This will be the last introduction I will be writing for Adventist World. During the past two years my wife and I have prayed about our mission and have since realized that our mission calls us back to Germany, where we will be able to be closer to my 84-year-old mother and minister to people living in a post-Christian, secular society.

Mission is not limited by geography, our vision, opportunities, or even funding. We were drawn to cross-cultural mission because Humberto Rasi, former General Conference education director, took the time to sit, listen, and “infect” a young couple living in South Africa with the desire to serve God. 

We left—and served under sometimes difficult circumstances. We had to learn a new language and were forced to decipher and understand new cultures. Mission changed us as we also changed those we ministered to.

This issue of Adventist World highlights an important pivot in Adventist mission away from a more administrative and structural approach toward investment in the difficult places and frontline workers who will, one small step at a time, understand, minister, transform, and be transformed by the cultures they will serve.

God’s mission throughout Scripture has never changed. He is still in the business of reaching the hearts of those who have never heard and transforming the minds of those who have been bound by Satan—even though our methods and circumstances may change.Whether in northern Africa, the farthest reaches of Asia, the largest cities of Planet Earth, or the little town that you live in—are you ready to be part of God’s mission?

Gerald A. Klingbeil