Cairn University held its annual Global Mission Week on February 17-21 – a tradition that has changed the lives of many students, faculty, and staff for over 50 years.
Often, Global Mission Week focuses attention on “the ends of the earth” – on continents and cultures quite different from our daily experiences in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. However, this year’s theme focused on a mission field closer to home: the post-Christian cultures of America and Western Europe.
As noted in a recent article written by President Dr. Todd Williams, biblical literacy in America is waning. According to this year’s keynote speaker, Dr. John Glass, the trend is even more pronounced in Europe. As a missionary for over 25 years in France and Switzerland, he has plenty of first-hand experience. In Friday’s chapel, Glass described the jarring absence of the Christian tradition that underpinned Europe’s longstanding tradition of art, music, and architecture. “You’ll notice the beautiful cathedrals throughout France,” he pointed out, “but they’re all empty.”
According to Glass, only 3% of French citizens are practicing Catholics, and there are even fewer evangelicals. In the country known as “the missionary graveyard,” he explained, pastors and missionaries must remember that success in evangelism is not “saving souls;” rather, it is faithfully communicating the gospel so that individuals’ choice is clear. To evangelize in a post-Christian context, both compassion and remarkable commitment to individuals is needed.
In addition to two chapel services, Glass also gave a lecture on Calvin’s Geneva, as well as participating in a panel of faculty who shared perspectives gained from ministry in Europe. Other guests and faculty addressed the theme of the conference in a series of lectures and presentations, including a panel of guest speakers who led a discussion about the post-Christian elements in the Academy Award-winning movie Life of Pi. On Thursday evening, teams were commissioned for this spring’s mission trips to Austria and Macedonia.
Listen to chapel services from Global Mission Week below.
Dr. Todd Williams – The Real Jesus (Feb. 17, 2014)
Dr. John Glass – One Verse, Five Minutes, and a Little Bit of Encouragement (Feb. 19, 2014)
Dr. John Glass – France’s Multiple Woes and How to Win Her Back to the Gospel (Feb. 21, 2014)
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