Think Globally, Act Globally

President Corey encourages students to pursue missions as a lifestyle.


Tomber Su/THE CHIMES [file photo]

President Barry Corey, Writer

Tomber Su/THE CHIMES [file photo]
I recall a popular bumper sticker that read, “THINK GLOBALLY. ACT LOCALLY.” My friend, the missiologist Tim Tennent, had a better idea. He preferred a more compelling twist to the bumper sticker: “THINK GLOBALLY. ACT GLOBALLY.”

Next week is our annual Missions Conference, a Biola tradition that began in 1927. That same year, Charles Lindberg flew “The Spirit of Saint Louis” nonstop from New York to Paris on the first transatlantic flight, marking a “think globally/act globally” achievement.

Alex and Amber have worked hard to prepare for this year’s Missions Conference. Cody has led the SMU team. It has been a year with incredible highs and heart-wrenching lows. But I believe God is at work in the joys and in the griefs. Never have I anticipated a Biola Missions Conference as much as this year. It is going to be a historic three days as we think globally and ask ourselves how God might be calling us to act globally.

Acting, though, does not mean going. Everyone does not have to go — but if you are a follower of Christ, you do have to care. Not caring is not an option, focusing only on my country, my church or my career.

A professor here at Biola once told me that the choice is not between missions and career.  The choice is between missions and disobedience.  You do not need to search for a calling. You have one. It is to surrender and be obedient with the gifts God has given you. Missions is not an extracurricular program in the Christian life or an SMU three-day project. Missions is a community value for us.

Missions is more than a guilt trip or a thrill trip to go overseas. It is a lifestyle wherever we are. My prayer is that the conference this year and every year, as it has since 1927, will convict us not to go on a missions trip, but to live missional lives.

Biola students, it is in our DNA.

Missions is not one among many good pursuits. Missions is not something reserved for specialists or missionaries or the Cook School of Intercultural Studies. Missions is at the very heart of God. Everything that God has said and done to reconcile a sinful world to Himself is an expression of His missionary heart.

As British theologian John Stott puts it, “The Living God is a Missionary God.” We will know God most truly, and worship Him most fully, when we do so in the presence of the redeemed “from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Rev 5:9).

Only then will our worship be complete. Only then will we grasp and gasp at the full “height and depth, width and breadth” of the love of Christ — when we see, displayed in full color, the multilingual, multinational, multicultural people of God, purchased by His blood which was shed on the cross.

That is why I’ll be there next Wednesday when the parade of nations launches us into our 86th Missions Conference.


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