On a dirty bridge spanning Bangkok’s smog-drenched Sukhumvit Road a mother sits cradling a rag-clad infant in her tired arms. Her empty begging cup mirrors my spirits as I look into the woman’s eyes, from which all hope seems crushed. Beside her a beautiful toddler with the face of an angel pats the ears of a homeless puppy. Commuters rush past.
I drop some Thai baht into the cup, enough perhaps to scrape some food together, but a mere token, a temporary Band-Aid. If I were Jesus, perhaps I would stay and cradle the family in my arms, but I just walk on, not knowing what else to do.
Snapshots such as these play again and again in various ways all over God’s earth, where sometimes His presence seems to have disappeared. Many wake each morning in fear of the spirit world, trudging their way through days and nights that measure out hope in unsatisfying drips. Others navigate their lives with no reference to God. Megacities grow exponentially every year. Millions have never even heard the name of Jesus.
We praise God for the thousands of new groups of believers planted in the past five years. We praise God that more than 1 million people joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church each year during that time.
But we’re still here. The mission challenge remains. How will we respond?
The old expression “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” suggests that what gets our attention also gets our financial support. Big-wheel organizations that have the most arresting pictures, the most compelling videos, the most heart-touching stories, often get the big donations—“the grease.”
The Seventh-day Adventist Church, however, pools tithes and mission offerings into funds that make sure people and places around the world that might be outside our knowledge or notice receive assistance. They help support schools, hospitals, publishing houses, media outreach, publishing, church planting, missionaries, and so much more. They keep the church alive in places where many church members earn less than a dollar a day. They make sure that wheels that can’t squeak also get some help.
Adventist Mission is supporting wholistic mission to the cities, including a rapidly growing number of urban Life Hope centers (centers of influence) that serve as a platform for putting Christ’s method of ministry into practice.
Home to the most people in the world and the fewest Christians, the 10/40 window remains a high priority for Global Mission church planting and wholistic ministry.
Pastors Sam Gungaloo (left) and Vili Costecu from the South England Conference initiated the Sabbath sofa project to introduce urban dwellers to the concept of the Sabbath (see facebook.com/thesabbathsofa). Growing secular and postmodern populations—particularly in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, North America, and cities worldwide—provide a huge mission challenge. Global Mission is supporting innovative new approaches to touch the lives of these urbanized people.
During the past five years, every four hours around the globe, a new Adventist church has been established, along with many more groups and companies. During the past five years Global Mission has:
Kebe Moyeyi, working in Botswana, is just one of thousands of Global Mission pioneers planting new groups of believers in new areas and among new people groups around the world. Receiving just a basic stipend, pioneers live among their own people and understand the language and culture. Their incarnational mission reflects Christ’s method of ministry where they mingle, show sympathy, minister to needs, win confidence, and lead people to Jesus.
During the past five years, someone joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church every 28.5 seconds.
Global Mission centers develop methods and models to enable Adventists to understand and share with people from major religious and people groups more effectively. The six centers are: Global Center for Adventist-Muslim Relations; World Jewish-Adventist Friendship Center; Center for East Asian Religions; Center for Secular and Postmodern Studies; Center for South Asian Religions; Global Mission Urban Center. For more information, visit