Editor’s Note: This post was written on the ground last year, during a vision trip to a West Asian city. During the trip, team members prayer-walked the city and asked the Lord to rescue and redeem those who are perishing.
“God is great!
I bear witness that there is no God except the One God.
I bear witness that Muhammed is the messenger of God.
Hurry to prayer.
Hurry to salvation.
God is great!
There is no god except the One God.”
I was awakened by the sound of these words being repeated outside my bedroom window this morning. In the pre-dawn hours, a muezzin—the mosque official responsible for proclaiming the call to prayer—will issue this call to the millions of people in this city to wake up and come to the mosque for morning prayers. Another four times throughout the day, the call to prayer will sound. If you stay here long enough, it becomes white noise, no different than the sound of the trains rumbling by or the cars honking their horns to no avail.
But it shouldn’t just fade into the background. This sound, part and parcel of being in a city of 15 million-plus Muslim people, is a sound that beckons them away from the one true and living God and calls them into an eternity of separation from their Creator. The words of Proverbs 24:11 ring in my ears alongside the call to prayer:
“Rescue those who are being taken away to death;
hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.”
This Scripture should compel every one of us to explore our role in God’s great story of redemption for the peoples of the world. There are currently 1.9 billion followers of Islam around the world, the vast majority of whom live in places where there is little to no access to the gospel. The sound of the muezzin, far from white noise, is an audible call for us to reach those who are “being taken away to death.”
One of the unique and emerging strategies to reach these places is through “church-based teams.” Church-based teams are groups of people sent from the same local church and planted on the field long-term with hopes of building a fruitful ministry in an unreached context.
In concert with our partners at Frontiers, Providence Church is praying that the Lord would raise up church-based teams to take the gospel into unreached places like the city I’m writing from today. These teams will be comprised of men and women, young and old, married and single, who decide that laying down their American lives for the sake of God’s global fame is worth it in the economy of God’s kingdom. A decision like that will only make sense in the context of eternity.
Church history is filled with stories of decisions like these. In August 1727, a wave of repentance and revival swept through the Moravian community in Herrnhut, Germany. This event was the signal fire that spawned a 24/7 prayer vigil that lasted for over 100 years and resulted in one of the largest movements of Christian missionaries in history. Five years later, two Moravian believers, David Nitchsmann and Johann Dober (the latter just 26 years old) attempted unsuccessfully to sell themselves into slavery to take the gospel to slaves on the island of St. Thomas. As their ship slipped out of the Copenhagen harbor and into the waters of the North Sea for their journey, they waved goodbye to their family and friends for the last time and cried out, “May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of his suffering!”
The reward: the worship of people from every tribe, tongue, and nation. The cost: our security, our comfort, and our convenience. In the scope of eternity, what could be a more sensible use of our lives?
If you want to learn more about Providence’s church-based team approach to reaching the nations with the gospel, please visit www.providencefrisco.com/missions.