The Dearth Of Reapers

People are being converted to Christ in record numbers around the world, making the current shortage of ministerial and missionary recruits perhaps more critical than ever. Delegates to the annual convention of the Christian and Missionary Alliance were told last month that national church leaders are making repeated appeals for more trained workers from North America. In a number of areas, it was reported, the appeals are based on the desire to capitalize on surges of revival. “Both the overseas and homeland reports show the highest number of converts in any one year in our history,” said CMA president Nathan Bailey.

CMA-related churches overseas now have more than 264,000 members, a 125,000 increase in ten years. The number of congregations increased from 3,397 to 4,651 in the same period, not counting the 1,406 CMA churches in North America. A total of 16,264 baptisms were recorded by CMA missionaries in 1971, the last year for which figures are available, and this represented an all-time high. The gains took place even though the CMA missionary task force has stayed at approximately 900 for the past decade.

Bailey says that in his travels around the world he has sensed quite the opposite of the “missionary go home” spirit alleged in some quarters to characterize overseas Christians. “On my recent trip to Africa,” he declared, “the national church committee and the district committee in one area asked for an interview with me. Their burden in each case was a plea for more missionaries.” Similar calls were voiced in a meeting of CMA-related church leaders in Southeast Asia earlier this year.

CMA foreign secretary L. L. King echoed: “Although a renewed ...

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