What Does “Global” Missions Really Mean?

Jason Pickard  |  November 01, 2013

Many of the future leaders of our world are coming to the United States to study before returning home to serve their native countries.  The influence these young men and women exert goes far beyond politics. Future professors who will shape the ideas and values of the next generation, the leaders of technological development, and many agricultural specialists who seek to increase, improve, and stabilize food production currently attend a university near you.   

Sebastián Piñera (President of Chile), Abdullah  Bin Al-Hussein (King of Jordan), and Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck (King of Bhutan)  all studied at an American university. Today, they, and many others like them, are leading their countries and influencing politics, quite literally, all around the globe.  At Texas A&M, I have friends from various countries studying at the Bush School of Government. I tell each of them, only half-way joking, that when they are elected to office one day I expect to be asked to pray at the ceremony. 

The gospel doesn't favor the rich and powerful or the educated and influential, but imagine if these young scholars encounter the risen Christ while studying in the USA and go back home as ambassadors for Christ as they teach and shape students, as they work with governments to solve political and agricultural problems, and even as they become the future presidents and prime ministers of the nations of the world. This is why RUF International exists. 

Today’s university campuses are populated with students from around the globe. In our global age we must rethink what “global” missions means.  While God certainly still calls some to leave their native country and go to another with the gospel, the nations of the world are not geographically bound as we once were.  Students come from nations missionaries could never enter, yet they can still hear the good news of Jesus Christ on an American campus.  Taking the gospel to the ends of the earth is taking a new shape due to the globalization of our generation. 

Not everyone is called to leave home for the sake of the gospel, but the Scriptures are clear that Christ’s Church is called to welcome the foreigner who comes among us (Leviticus 19:33-34), because God, in Christ, welcomes us into his saving love while we were still estranged from God (Romans 5:1). Much like RUF, RUF International sends PCA ordained ministers to campus to share the good news of Jesus Christ with scholars from all nations and because they are in the United States studying, they already know English fairly well. This means RUF International is both strategic—reaching future leaders from around the world—and cost effective. 

In only two years at Texas A&M, we have seen Middle Eastern Muslims, Indians, and even secular Europeans come to faith in Christ.  Many more are currently exploring the most important question of history: who is Jesus Christ?  God is at work to redeem a people for himself, a new people in Christ who come from every tribe, language, and nation—on campus!

This year, we are excited that RUF International will host a national conference for all the international student ministries across the USA in May 2014! This national gathering will explore Kingdom Intersections - City, Campus, and Church. Learn more from Conference Director, Rev. Al LaCour, in this ACMI Conference video