“God has equipped you beyond any other generation because of what God has made available to you beyond any other generation. Will you respond to the marching orders of the Holy Spirit? Will you say, ‘God, as You do Your work in an international, interrelated, interdependent, and integrated Church, here am I, send me.’?” With that question, Dr. Joshua Bogunjoko, Deputy International Director of SIM, wrapped up his challenge to students in chapel on the first day of Cairn’s Global Mission Week 2013.
Global Mission Week kicked off Monday morning, February 18, 2013 with Dr. Bogunjoko’s message in chapel. In addition to students, faculty, staff, and the missionary representatives visiting campus, nearly 200 visitors on campus for an Undergraduate Open House joined in the Mason Activity Center gymnasium for the chapel service.
Dr. Bogunjoko, who will assume responsibilities as SIM’s International Director in June 2013, is originally from Nigeria. He unfolded his message from Acts chapter 2, in which the Holy Spirit comes upon the followers of Christ at Pentecost. “The birth of the church was also the birth of modern missions – the work as committed to the church. It was not the beginning of mission, but its birth in the church. God has always been on a mission. God has always sought to redeem the human race. The Great Commission was not the beginning of mission. It started in the Garden. God did not choose Israel as His peculiar people so that He might bless Israel, but so that, through Israel, He might bless the world.”
Dr Bogunjoko went on to show the ways that God broke down the barriers that separate nations in His work among the early Christians. The first barrier, broken at Pentecost, was the barrier of language: God brought Jews together from all over the world to hear His people declare His glory in their mother tongue. Then, in Philip’s encounter with the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8, God broke down the barrier of geography, bringing an African man to Himself. And in Peter’s visit to Cornelius’ home in Acts 10, God broke down religious and political barriers. Dr. Bogunjoko went on to point out that in Acts 13, Paul and Barnabus were commissioned by an international church in Antioch, with Simeon, who may have been called Niger because of the color of his skin, and Lucius, from Cyrene, which was in Lybia. “God was aiming for a global gospel to reach all the nations of the earth that all the Earth might worship him,” he said.
Global Mission Week activities will continue throughout the coming days. Missionary representatives will be hosting sessions that students can attend that range from Skype conversations with overseas missionaries to informal activities like ping-pong tournaments. Panels and informational sessions will take place on topics of interest to students, including teaching in public and charter schools, the Insider Movement, and social work in local and global communities. Students have organized a missions festival, “Let Your Light,” for Wednesday evening, which includes testimonies and interviews with missionaries, faculty, staff, and students examining the international, interrelated, and integrated nature of missions in the current day. In addition, a global prayer event and worship and praise night will finish out the week.