International (MNN) — In the past year, the entire world has been shocked by the unexpected. From the political arena to the mission field, there is no doubt that things are changing. David Shibley of Global Advance agrees, especially when it comes to missions work and the Great Commission around the globe. He says, “Many things astonishing in the world are happening, [including] some serious issues for the Gospel.”
Russia has taken “very repressive measures… against the evangelicals,” as have parts of Asia. Yet Shibley says oftentimes trials are coupled with growth for the Gospel. He believes governments are cracking down on Christians, “not because the Church is weak, [but] because the Church is strong.”
He reminds believers, “The Gospel has always been a threat, and it continues to be [a threat] to the established order of things if it isn’t constant with Scripture.”
For example, in Cuba, although many churches were forced to remain hidden in secrecy, sanctions lifted by the United States are opening the country up to evangelicals so they can easier reach out with the love and grace of Christ.
In the Middle East, believers in Iran face “very serious challenges,” but Shibley says the Church is still experiencing rapid growth.
“Obviously the refugee crisis around the world…continues to be unabated, [but] the small and yet valiant evangelical Church…remains in Syria and other parts of the Middle East,” explains Shibley. “As Paul said, the Word of God is not bound, and the Gospel continues to go forth.”
Global Advance has made great progress in preparing leaders to meet these needs. “This year…we have given on-site training to over 42,000 frontline leaders in 32 nations of the world. These are in 92 training events that have occurred this year,” says Shibley.
“When Jesus…told the disciples to launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a massive catch, I believe that’s His word for the Church today, that we don’t need to stay in the shallow, safer waters, but rather we need to lock arms with the Body of Christ around the world, much of which is now experiencing persecution.”
Shibley says if believers can continue to have faith in God, His works will continue to surprise and impress as His Word is advanced for the Great Commission.
“Until the nations are discipled, until everyone has had opportunity to hear the Gospel in a culturally viable way, and until churches are planted for all the ethnicities of the earth, the job is not done.”