Following his TGC13 Missions Conference plenary message, “The Heart of God in the Call to Proclaim: Our Goal: To Please Him” (2 Cor. 5:1-10), John Piper sat down with Mark Mellinger to discuss God’s missionary call on the church.
Are most American missionaries prepared for what awaits them? It depends, Piper suggests, largely on what kind of church they’ve been in and what kind of preaching they’ve heard about suffering. “If you’ve heard a pastor come to terms with suffering over and over again, and relate the sovereignty of God to it,” Piper says, “you’ll be so much better prepared than if suffering has always been seen as an intrusion into the God-intended life of comfort and ease.”
Mellinger also asks the former pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church about his remark that the numbers of unreached, unengaged, and untargeted people groups are relatively small. “There are 98,000 evangelicals for every unengaged people group,” Piper explains. “If we have the will, this is doable.”
Nevertheless, the Devil is (quite literally) in the details. In fact, he’s a major reason “why churches find a thousand good things to do, yet don’t do this. Satan hates this mission more than anything.”
The conversation concludes with Piper sharing about his own “annual” wrestling with a calling to the field. When it comes to missions, he insists, pastors should be asking the same questions of their own lives and futures that they’re asking of their people. Otherwise, it’s all too easy to develop a hypocritical sense of exemption from the possibility God just might be calling them, too, to go.