AS WE BEGIN A NEW YEAR
January 1, 1987 Issue
By Don L. King
1986 is now history. With it have passed the great victories we worked so hard to accomplish. New challenges are before us and await our efforts. The defeats, blunders, defections, hurts, tragedies and heartaches are also history; and though they may still burn within us, we know the passing of time will serve to lessen their memory. We have before us a clean slate upon which to chart our course for 1987. What opportunities lie before us!
We have an opportunity to preach the gospel to people who have never heard it before in places we have never taken it before. By radio (yes radio), television, the printed page (such as O.P.A.) tracts, gospel meetings, and personal contacts, the entire world could be reached during this year if we will set our minds to it.
The worlds population must be near or above the five billion mark now. It staggers my mind to realize that there are roughly three times as many souls who need the gospel today as when my father began preaching about 1915. It is estimated that by the year 2,000 there will be about eight billion living on our own mother earth. The fields are large and our tasks seem nearly impossible. Unless, of course, we begin utilizing the media as never before. It has been estimated that if we could fill the largest stadium in the U.S. twice a day and preach to them seven days a week it would take almost two thousand years to preach to every soul on earth if the population stopped growing right now! The only way we will ever reach such huge numbers is via the media. Surely anyone can realize this simple fact.
Take a brief view of the fields white unto harvest. Africa with nearly a half billion souls, China with about one billion, India about seven hundred million, one hundred million in Japan, forty million in Indonesia, ninety million in Pakistan, eighty five million in Bangladesh, fifty million in Thailand, fifty million in the Philippines and on and on the numbers add. So few have ever heard the simple gospel of Christ. Yet, while all the religious organizations of the world together are said to spend four million dollars per year on foreign mission work; about eight million dollars was spent by Americans last year for dog food. Of course, we care nothing of the amounts spent by denominations to propagate their erroneous doctrines; but how much do you suppose the people of God spent during 1986 to preach the truth to the lost in America to say nothing of the rest of the world? May the Lord forgive us for our lack of vision.
The cheapest and most efficient way to reach the lost (undoubtedly the only way now) is through the use of the media. (Television, radio and the printed page.) Couple these ways of contact with our present personal visits, meetings, etc., and the job becomes possible. Frankly, it bothers me a great deal to think of standing before my Lord in judgment and trying to explain that the reason I didn't preach to those who are lost was because it was too expensive, too far, too time consuming or involved too much "red tape." I know that He Knows He has blessed our brethren with more money today than perhaps at any time since the beginning of the church. Brethren should be ashamed to have large treasuries laid aside and doing little or nothing to save souls. By use of the media we can reach millions for so little. The radio program presently in use in the Philippines has been responsible for the establishment of about twenty congregations during the past five years. In many places throughout the world radio is still a wonderful way to reach the lost.
Also, we are too often satisfied with holding one or two meetings per year in our own meeting houses and preaching, to a great extent, to church members. I am not opposed to this, of course. However, perhaps we could reach more of the world by holding meetings in places they are not used to seeing us. Rented halls, schools, tents, open lots, etc. Some are now doing this very thing and report greater interest by the lost. Preaching is what they must hear to be saved; and if they don't come to our meetings, we must try to take it to them in some way. Remember, Paul said: "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." (I Cor 1:18) God bless us in the work.--OPA.
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