As the Apostle Paul, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, developed his missionary strategy in the first century, it is clear that he considered major metropolitan areas as the linchpin of his evangelistic work.
Paul spent much of his time in provinces like Macedonia and Achaia (modern day Greece) and Italy, and in large, ethnically diverse cities like Corinth, Athens, Rome and Ephesus, proclaiming the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The rationale was simple—preach Christ in the crowded marketplaces, where few if any had heard the Good News of the Savior’s love, and watch the Gospel spread and the church grow.
Through the years, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has likewise gone into the world, preaching the Gospel in regions where Christians are often the distinct—sometimes even persecuted—minority.
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to preach in China at a church in Beijing, where more than 8 million people live. God has given us a number of opportunities to preach the cross in China the past several years, and we are excited about new opportunities for the Kingdom in that country.
Although the church in China, by God’s power, has grown remarkably, there are still hundreds of millions of people who have heard little Gospel preaching. It is our prayer that as we preach, we also can come alongside pastors and encourage them in the work of evangelism.
While China is currently the world’s largest nation with 1.3 billion people, India is nipping at their heels with 1.1 billion and is expected to surpass China in the next two decades.
For four days this month—Nov. 10-13—I will be holding a Crusade in Hyderabad, a teeming urban area that is considered the Silicon Valley of India with a booming high tech industry. Christians comprise only 2 percent of this major city’s population.
India itself is the most diverse nation on earth, with more than 2,500 people groups and 430-plus languages spoken across the sub-continent. Just 6 percent of India’s people confess Jesus as Lord and Savior. There are more than twice as many Muslims as Christians in India and more than 10 times as many practicing Hindus.
Yet as I stand and proclaim Jesus as the One True God in a land with thousands of supposed gods and goddesses, I know that God has promised that Heaven will be populated by men and women purchased by Christ’s precious blood from “every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9, NIV).
What a sight that will be, and what an encouragement for the proclamation of Christ’s all-sufficient, sacrificial death, burial and resurrection.
We are praying about Crusades in a number of major metro areas for 2012 and 2013. God must go before us and prepare hearts, so I ask you to pray for His guidance and wisdom. There is nothing more crucial than the leadership and anointing of the Holy Spirit in the work of evangelism, and we are grateful for those on the home front who intercede on our behalf.
Christ is coming back soon. We will work hard, pray hard and lift up His Name until then.
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