Editorial

Less Than One Percent

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Less than 1 percent. Less than 1 percent. Less than one tenth of 1 percent! These words haunted me during my recent trip to Europe, the Middle East and Russia. Less than 1 percent of the population of the countries I visited claims to be evangelical in faith. But The Christian and Missionary Alliance is working hard to change those percentages.

As I traveled through the region, I was struck by the beauty of the countries and the elegance of the art and architecture, sights that some people can only dream of seeing. Yet in these places there is a spiritual climate that is desperate for a living God. Most people living there don’t even acknowledge God’s existence and believe that they are the masters of their own fate.

In my previous ministry with World Relief, the physical needs of the people were so obvious that as soon as I got off the plane, I knew what had to be done. However, on this trip, people’s needs—spiritual needs—were so well-camouflaged under wealth, prestige and education that it was almost impossible to know where to begin. We must remember that even in the world’s most developed countries, people are dying and going into eternity without Jesus Christ!

Our workers in the Europe/Middle East Region face unique challenges. In two countries, national pastors told us that because of budget constraints, they must rent inadequate space for Sunday worship. People say to them, “We are so sorry that your god is so poor you have to meet in a small, rented building.” Having their own facility would give them credibility and legitimacy within their communities. But how to do that?

If ever there was a time for our Alliance family to live the call together, it is now! Pray, give, go and send—we have all heard it said so many times that perhaps we have grown immune to the power behind the words. But have you considered the possibility that you could go and serve in one of these nations? Do you support Alliance work overseas through the Great Commission Fund and other special projects? When was the last time your church actually stood behind a young person and sent him or her out as an accredited missionary candidate? Do you personally lift up the worldwide work of The Alliance before the throne of God on a regular basis? How you accomplish these vital challenges is up to you, but our workers in these lands are depending on your help! The lost are desperate for our Savior and your action.

Dr. Clive Calver, former executive director of the Evangelical Alliance in England, used to tell the story of a young pianist who performed at one of the great halls of London. When he finished, the members of the audience jumped to their feet, clapping and shouting for an encore. The master of ceremonies rushed backstage and told the virtuoso to play an encore. The young man refused.

“But they are all standing in approval of your work.” The pianist said, “They are not all standing. Top row, third seat in, that man is not standing.”

“Obviously he doesn’t know anything about music,” said the MC.

The young pianist looked down and said, “He is my teacher. If he were standing, I would play again. He is not standing, so there will be no encore.”

Two thousand years ago a man named Stephen was stoned for his faith. Scripture tells us that before he was killed, Stephen, “full of the Holy Spirit,” looked to heaven and saw Jesus “standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55). This is the only place in the Bible where we read of Jesus standing, rather than sitting, at God’s right hand, and I believe that He was doing so in recognition of a life and ministry well lived for Him.

How do we get Jesus to stand in recognition of our ministry? One of the problems in Western society is that we have too many options vying for our time and attention. Stephen focused on Christ and on a lost world. Our workers in this region and every other region of the world are focused on Christ and a lost world. Our national pastors are focused on Christ and their lost nations. Are you? Less than 1 percent. Less than 1 percent. Less than one tenth of 1 percent!

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