USA (MNN) — 2012 is drawing to a close, and David Shibley, founder of Global Advance, says it's been a great year.
Global Advance has a vision to increase the amount of Christian entrepreneurs, business owners, and professionals throughout the developing world. They provide a way for U.S. business leaders to invest their skills, knowledge, and experience in the lives of emerging marketplace leaders. They not only train in the United States but in developing nations, which increases economic and spiritual capitol.
"We're grateful once again, in our 22nd year, that all of our ministry teams have returned safely in what seems very clearly to be an increasingly volatile world. Hostility against the Gospel is being ratcheted up in many parts of the world, and yet pastors, church leaders, believers in the marketplace, particularly in the business arena, are always grateful for our global advance teams and are benefitted greatly by our Global Advance training," Shibley said.
"This year we were able to go to many parts in the world…. It's so vital to equip national church leaders, because there are now new challenges and restrictions on travel of westerners, particularly Americans, into certain parts of the world."
The Arab Spring in the Middle East has made Global Advance take a more creative route to ministering there. Shibley says, "That has limited our outreach there, at least a physical presence to some degree, although we are looking at very creative ways to still bring encouragement, training, and fostering strength and hope to our Arab brothers and sisters who are courageously holding high the name of Christ in that part of the world."
"Overall, it's been a tremendous year, and we have seen the Gospel greatly advance. We're grateful for that," Shibley stated.
He has noticed a difference this year as they continue to minister. Said Shibley, "I have been not surprised–probably 'sobered' is a better word–that our task truly is urgent. We have to be more strategic, more deliberate than ever before in the mission community, and we have to carry the spirit of our Lord Himself.
"Even though the Gospel is advancing worldwide, and the church is certainly growing at a tremendous clip in much of the world, still there are great challenges. Every day is a great gift from the Lord to us for fulfilling the Great Commission," Shibley reflected.
With all the violence that has happened in 2012, Shibley believes more people are asking questions, which gives them the opportunity to share the Gospel.
"We have seen a cry, simply out of the human spirit, in the Arab world for more freedom. Regrettably, [it seems] that has taken a turn backward instead of forward, in some nations. And still, we can see that there is this innate human cry for freedom. We as believers in Christ know that true freedom of mind, heart, and spirit comes in a genuine relationship with God through Jesus Christ," said Shibley.
A few months ago, Shibley came up with the idea, "Christ to the World." He said, "The 'Christ to the World' Christmas offering is just a cooperative effort of participating churches, to take a single second offering sometime in December or perhaps at a Christmas Eve service, and the leadership of that church can distribute that offering in any way that they themselves determine."
Shibley continued, "100% of the offering goes to mission projects around the world. It's going to be a tremendous opportunity for churches to be planted, for missionaries to be blessed, for hungry to be fed, for poor to be clothed; and it's just going to be a new avenue that we are confident eventually is going to release very large amounts of funds for Christians work worldwide, to bring the light and love of Christ worldwide."
Christ to the World is a project in the early stages. Shibley believes that 2013 will bring in more support for this project. "Many participating churches of many different denominations all across the country will see this as a great opportunity to give, in a sense, a birthday present to Jesus and to extend the Gospel worldwide."
Praise the Lord that Global Advance has been able to minister to people in the Arab world who are asking questions. Pray that "Christ to the World" will be able to reach more people with the Good news of Christ.