Global Missions Week: ‘Be afraid of succeeding at things which make no difference’
FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – Many Southwestern students surrendered their lives to full-time missionary service during an altar call on Feb. 10, with some Southwestern Seminary faculty and staff wiping their eyes clear of tears as they watched.
Clyde Meador, vice president of global strategies for the International Mission Board, gave the impassioned chapel message on Feb. 10 leading up to the invitation, during Global Missions Week, Feb. 7-11.
“Too often we limit ourselves to doing what we know we can do, staying within the borders we already have, when God would call us to do something so much more than that – to give our lives to take His truth to the world,” said Meador.
“Father, do not let us be satisfied in the place we find ourselves today, or in the dreams we may have created for ourselves,” he prayed. “Do not in any case allow us to say ‘let somebody else do it.’ And Lord, do not allow us to shirk our responsibility as possibly some before us have done. Father, use us. Call us to commitment, to sacrifice, to being used of You in amazing ways by Your power.”
Southwestern President Page Patterson extended the invitation after Meador spoke, asking faculty from the Roy Fish School of Evangelism and Missions to assemble at the front. A number of students from the seminary and college responded to Patterson’s invitation, and the professors embraced their students and prayed for them. Then, IMB representatives counseled each student.
Outside of special chapel and Second Front services, these missionaries and mobilizers also met with students in Naylor Student Center, staffed a pizza party and panel discussion in the World Missions Center, and spoke during classes that week.
Gordon Fort, IMB vice president for overseas operations, also filled Southwestern’s chapel pulpit during Global Missions Week. He preached from Romans 1:14-16.
“It’s God’s power that draws people to salvation,” Fort reminded Southwestern from the pulpit. “Why could Paul stay at his task? Because he had the message! He was saying, ‘You know why I can go out and be stoned for preaching the Gospel? Do you know why I can be whipped?’ Because, he said, ‘when I proclaim the Gospel, something happens.’ ”
Fort pointed out the greatness of the task before this generation, how the IMB sent missionaries for 165 years and still, not everyone in the world has heard the Gospel. The time is now to take up the post and declare the message, despite any trepidation, he said.
“There will be those who will say, ‘Oh, but I’m afraid of failing, I’m afraid of failure’ –Don’t be afraid of failure! Be afraid of succeeding at things that make no difference,” said Meador.
Students who have already surrendered to full-time missionary service also took time to speak to fellow Southwesterners of their callings, including Christopher*, Th.M. student on IMB stateside assignment, who shared briefly in chapel about his experiences.
Christopher initially thought he and his wife would serve a local Baptist church after he earned his Master of Divinity, but to their surprise, they felt God calling them to missions.
God eventually opened doors for the couple to work among East Asian affinity people groups. He helped plant a church in a city less than one percent Christian and uses his studies to help equip the local believers.
*name changed to protect ongoing work in the region