Revival Through Compassion – Message by Ps Stanley Gerard (Chairman of Go Forth Asia)

Message for Go Forth Asia’s 8th Newsletter (January to June 2019)

Revival Through Compassion – Message by Ps Stanley Gerard (Chairman of Go Forth Asia)

General News

Yesterday’s best strategies to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ in the nations of the world may no longer be feasible today. What is really needed is a composite integration of all ideas related to best practices in fulfilling the Great Commission. Something as eternal and precious as the Great Commission should call for more than complying with current trends. We must be holistic, ‘big-picture’ thinkers. We must bring the gospel of Jesus Christ together with the Great Commandment (“love your neighbour as yourself”) to the nations. Missions is more than populating heaven and adding names to the Lamb’s book of life, as important as that is. MISSIONS IS HOLISTIC.

It involves transforming lives and society, championing social justice and restoring human dignity. It involves bringing decency of living to deprived communities by meeting their practical felt needs. The famous missionary, William Carey and his team, demonstrated this balance. While fully committed to widespread evangelism by all possible means, they also engaged in humanitarian missions to the poor and oppressed. Ministering to the poor and needy, the harassed and helpless, honours God – their Maker and Defender.

As I travelled across Asia for the past 25 years in the mission field – from the tribal hill villages of Mae Song to the silk-weaving villages of Buri Ram in Thailand, then on to the many poverty stricken villages in Cambodia, Myanmar, Pakistan and Bangladesh – I began to realise that evangelism, discipleship and church planting efforts were not as effective or fast-growing as I had hoped.

But when Go Forth Asia began to see that missions is indeed holistic – that it involves transforming lives and society and bringing decency of living to deprived communities – we started engaging in humanitarian missions and community development; ministering to the poor, needy and oppressed. It was then that many doors were opened to advance the gospel of Christ. What we witnessed was “revival through compassion.”

The Scripture from Isaiah 61:1-3 comes to my remembrance:

“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favour and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn and provide for those who grieve…”

A preacher once spoke about the 5 ills of our world – spiritual emptiness, self-centred leadership, poverty, disease and illiteracy – and how our Lord Jesus provided antidotes for these ills during His ministry on earth. We, as the body of Christ, should do likewise. Today, Go Forth Asia shares this same vision and aspiration as we provide for the poor, heal the sick, educate the illiterate, share the gospel, as well as plant churches and equip leaders so they can care for others. This is the epitome of holistic missions.

I believe with all my heart that God’s heart is for the poor, the oppressed, the helpless and the lost. The words of Scripture in Matthew 25:40 constantly challenge us and resonate within our spirits. “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

What will our response be to the escalating number of deprived individuals and communities around us and in the nations of the world? The body of Christ truly has much to catch up with regards to meeting felt human needs. Humanitarian missions, though laudable, have to be sustained, and not just implemented on an ad hoc basis. By the grace of God, Go Forth Asia is emulating as best we can, the words laid out in the Scriptures. We have initiated community development, humanitarian aid, medical care, feeding the poor programs, building of schools, setting up of orphanages as well as providing business and vocation-skills training. We praise God that our efforts have reached into the remote villages and provinces of Cambodia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.

My challenge and plea to the body of Christ is this: May we not withhold our finances but readily channel our God-given resources to minister to the needy. For this will surely result in souls being added to the kingdom of God and ultimately God’s name will be glorified! With the fire of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, the gospel of Jesus Christ in our hands and the compassion of Christ for the poor, may we all have the privilege of fulfilling the Scripture in Isaiah 61:1-3.

“We can give without loving but we cannot love without giving” – truly reverberates in the soul of a person or a church that gives out of the abundance and overflow of God’s love in their hearts.

May God bless you abundantly!

– Ps Stanley Gerard, Chairman of Go Forth Asia

Download GFA’s 8th Newsletter
Go Forth Asia 8th Newsletter (PDF – 20 pages, 12MB)