A World Missionary Service Like No Other
Don't miss any stories. Follow AG News!
The AG commissioned 108 new career workers along with their children to take the gospel into 48 nations, with one-third of them heading off to unreached people groups. The new missionaries entered the Orlando Convention Center hall to an orchestra playing and choir singing “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name.”
Under the theme of “Come with Me to the Ends of the Earth,” missionaries encircled the front of the auditorium as mentors prayed over them, presented them with Bibles in the language of the receiving nations, and placed prayer stoles around their shoulders.
While many denominations and mission-sending agencies are curtailing efforts, Assemblies of God World Missions Executive Director Greg Mundis believes now is the time to advance as never before. AGWM has a five-year goal of putting 3,900 career workers and associates on the field — an increase of nearly 1,200 from the existing force — as well as outreach to 570 unreached people groups, an expansion of 249 such indigenous ethnic groups today.
“The burden of reaching nominals, secularists, and spiritually lost people is ever on our hearts,” Mundis said. “Every resource and ministry — from teaching to compassion — is critical as we prepare the next generation to establish the Church among all peoples everywhere.”
General Superintendent Doug Clay preached at the service.
“Tonight, we, your church family, are privileged to recognize and celebrate that you are being commissioned and released globally to help advance the kingdom of God,” Clay told the candidates.
Clay reviewed the three primary elements of a commissioning service: Physical action (laying on of hands); group participation (sensitivity of hearts); and spiritual impartation (Holy Spirit empowerment).
The general superintendent reminded the assembled that a commissioning service is biblical and visionary.
“I want this Fellowship to see the bigger picture of what God is doing not only here but around the world,” Clay said. He noted that by affirming them at the service, candidates realize that those sending them out believe in them. In addition, others in attendance may feel the missionary calling themselves, Clay said.
The Assemblies of God places an emphasis on missions because Jesus sacrificially surrendered His life for sinners, Clay said.
“When we realize all the implications of Christ’s death on a cross, then we really should go beyond missiological thinking, we should go beyond missiological talking, and we should move into missiological action,” Clay said.
Clay noted that over 42 percent of the world’s population live among more than 7,000 unreached people groups, defined as a community where less than 2 percent of the population is evangelical Christian. Missionaries need to take the gospel to such locales because the indigenous church isn’t capable of doing so.
The AG must continue to be intentional about missions, lest a maintenance mindset take over, Clay said.
Clay thanked the candidates for accepting the call of God on their lives and being willing to take the gospel to the world.
“Jesus really is the only way to eternal life and He desires that none shall perish,” Clay said.
Customarily in summer, commissioning of missionaries occurs in June in Springfield, Missouri. But Mundis, in consultation with Clay, suggested moving the service to the end of General Council, as AG missionaries from around the globe prepare to gather for the first time in one place, at one time, for one purpose.
The final service for General Council 2019 served as a springboard for Together 2019, an unprecedented three-day gathering of AGWM personnel. More than 1,660 missionaries, over 750 missionary kids, and 300 event staff are assembling Aug. 5-7 at host church Calvary Orlando.
“The representation from our international missionary family will be at a historic level,” Mundis said. “Together 2019 is a once-in-a-lifetime meeting of missionaries.”
Mundis said AGWM has set a goal to increase the number of missionary personnel to 3,900 by 2023, a 25 percent increase from the current total. AGWM plans to focus on 570 unreached people groups, he said.