A MESSAGE FROM INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION PRESIDENT BRENT EDWARDS
Virtually every time I am privileged to have a conversation with our beloved founder, Ben Mieth, he utters those consistent words of encouragement and truth: God knew!
We made the very painful decision this past week to suspend all International Projects—those involving US Christians traveling to partner with international churches to share the gospel—through June. In like fashion, we made a very 11th hour decision to postpone the first two Celebrations—much-anticipated events where we are privileged to share what God has done in the previous year, and look ahead to this year—with the possibility of having to make the same decision regarding at least three others soon.
Traditionally, the Celebrations are times when many commitments toward the funding of IC’s ministry are made. Suspending these events, however, does not suspend the work of God. The work goes on…right now in many nations.
While we were all dealing with the ever-changing dynamic of COVID-19, we received most of the last reports from God’s work in 2019. These reports once again confirmed that well over 6 million people heard the gospel, resulting in over 3.4 million decisions for Christ in 2019 during IC International and National-to-National (N2N) projects, and year-long Operation Andrew evangelism in some nations.
God provided the N2N model in the 1990s as an extension of what He was already doing in the traditional International Project model. The number of N2N project requests have continued to grow to the point where we have approximately 400 spread over 106 nations just in 2020. It is evident that the N2N model was God’s way of providing for this truly miraculous model designed to engage the global Christian family no matter the crisis. God knew!
If we believe that God knew this was going to happen—and we agree He did—we also believe that His promise to provide is just as real. He has provided for this miraculous work to proceed every year for 47+ years through the faithful partnership of His people…YOU…and we are trusting Him to do that again.
The annual budget need, just for N2N projects, is a little over $834,000. However, the average N2N project cost is only $2,500. Monthly needs to support the ministry leaders in some nations is as little $500.
Funds for monthly operational expenses of IC supporting ministry staff, office expenses, and the many needs for planning and implementation of our various methods and locations of intentional evangelism come in through various streams. Those resources have all been seriously impacted by the cancellation of projects and Celebrations. When the COVID-19 crisis passes we want to be ready. Your monthly commitments now will help us be accurate and trustworthy stewards. Gifts and ongoing commitments are needed right now at every level.
Over the past two years, the funds required for each decision for Christ was approximately $0.48. Yes, the decimal is in the right place…that is 48 cents! That IS miraculous! We’re positive and confident that God is in control during this season of unrest. Here’s how you can help us continue to add to the 6 million who heard the gospel in 2019:
I am asking you to pray with us and consider a monthly gift of $100-$1,000 to support one or more International Leaders. Or perhaps you could appeal to your Bible study class at church or in the community to join together to sponsor one or even several N2N projects ($2,500 avg). Or maybe now is the time to approach your pastor and ask your church to make this a priority by putting IC in the missions budget. A monthly gift of $500-$2,000 would enable them to rejoice over as many as 4,000 new believers each month because of their partnership. We intentionally lock arms with the US Church to provide opportunities to fulfill the Great Commission. We don’t want to say to the courageous Christian leaders throughout the world who look to International Commission and our faithful partners that we just cannot help them.
Yes, friends, before any of the information surrounding COVID-19 started to make its way to the various channels of communication, God knew. He knew it was going to happen. He knew we would have to make adjustments. He knew we would need His help and guidance and the partnership of faithful Christians who understand the urgency of spreading the gospel. And…He already knows where He is calling us to share the gospel next!
I ask you to seize this moment, push back the enemy, and join us in continuing to respond to the DISTINCT CALLING upon each of us with God’s CLEAR VISION! God knew!
Upward and Onward!
J. Brent Edwards
President, International Commission