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2020年9月19日 至 9月20日
我們的宣教基因?艱苦我奮進
黃彩蓮牧師

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按北宣家的傳統,9 月分是「差傳月」。然而,面對急速的時代變化,繼續每年以整個月關心差傳,會否過多(或過少)?能否適切時代的需要?

回想宣信牧師(Rev. A. B. Simpson)創立宣道會的時候,已奠立以兩條腿走路的方向,其一是「靈命進深」(Deeper Life),其二是「使命承擔」(Mission)。按此方向,假若我們用人生之一半時間關心佈道宣教,其實絕不嫌多。況且,使萬民作主的門徒,也是耶穌吩咐的大使命。然而,面對 2020 年全球疫情肆虐,加上社會經濟越趨緊張,教會經費亦出現很大張力,若把海外宣教的奉獻和參與放輕一點,也不失為過吧?這是你的疑問與掙扎嗎?此刻,就讓我們以史為鑑,回到 1918 年,一個與今天頗相近的年代。

1918 年,全世界爆發「西班牙流感」(Spanish flu),五億人受感染,死亡人數高達 1.7 千萬至 5 千萬人,美國下令教會停止聚會,有些教會的差傳年會也延後舉辦。此外,1918 也是一戰結束之年,雖然美國只是後期的參戰國,但其經濟及人力資源也直接受到戰事影響。面對社會百廢待興,宣道會的宣教工作有否放緩下來?當我翻查歷史,我卻驚訝地發現,1918 年竟然是美國宣道會繼續大力推動宣教的一年,其果效甚至超越戰前情況。

首先,宣道會不斷增加宣教士及工場的本地同工,人數由 1914 年的 259 人,增至 1918 年 300 人。其二,宣教工場之慕道及受浸人數不斷增加,截至 1918 年,之前四年各地共有 5,630 名信徒受浸,遠超過去的成果。受浸人數最多是剛果,其次是中國、智利及印度。其三,就是增加多個新的宣教站,之前四年時間,共增加 226 個新的宣教站——地點主要位於中國、印度支那半島、印度、剛果、南美及蘇丹等地。其四,總收入及宣教上的支出也增加了,若比較 1918 年與之前兩年,總收入增加了一半;若比較之前四年,則增加 112%,可見當時宣道會所得的奉獻並沒有因一戰及西班牙流感而減少,而用在宣教工場的支出也持續增加。

這段宣道會創立初期的歷史,告訴我們社會環境雖然困難,但宣道會卻仍然努力投入宣教,俗語說「有危就有機」(福音上的機遇)。但願這個「艱苦我奮進」的宣教基因,也植根於我們生命中,叫我們一起在宣教行動與奉獻上學習。






Pastor's Sharing
Our Missionary Inheritance? Sailing Against the Wind
Rev Kinia Ng

Traditionally for the NPAC Family, September is our Mission Month. The entire month would be spent specially on caring for mission work and missionaries. But in the face of recent developments in society, would such a missionary inheritance of ours seem somewhat excessive (or otherwise)? Is it still relevant today?

When Rev. A. B. Simpson founded the Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA), he set down a dual target of Deeper Life and Mission. Under the goal, it would not be excessive at all to spend half of one’s life to care for world evangelism. After all, it is the Great Commission of the Lord to make disciples of all nations. The pandemic in 2020 and local economic situation has created pressure on church finances. In times like these, do we need to ease up a little on missions spending and involvement? Might this be a question on your mind? To address the question, let us revisit the year 1918 – a time which is strikingly similar to ours.

The year 1918 was when the Spanish Flu broke out, infecting 500 million people and killing 17 million to 50 million. At that time, the US Government ordered a suspension of church activities. Some mission conferences were postponed. That year also saw the end of World War I. Although the US did not join the war until a latter stage, its economy and human resources were very much strained. Faced with the mess, did the C&MA slow down missions work? I checked the historical records. To my great surprise, 1918 was a year in which the C&MA continued its great effort in world evangelism. And the outcome was far better than that before the war.

The number of C&MA missionaries and locally recruited coworkers at the mission fields grew from 259 in 1914 to 300 in 1918. The number of local people actively seeking the Lord and getting baptized also increased. The four years leading to 1918 saw baptisms at mission fields totaling 5,630. The result was far better than what it used to be. Congo had the largest number of baptisms, followed by China, Chile and India. A total of 226 missionary outposts were set up during those four years. The new outposts were in China, Indo-China, India, Congo, South America and Sudan, etc. Money offering and missionary spending also increased, with the 1918 offering representing a 50 per cent increase over the previous two years and a 112% increase over the previous four years. It was obvious that the offering C&MA received was not affected by the Spanish Flu and the war. Its spending on mission fields also continued to grow.

That was the early history of C&MA. It tells us that despite difficult circumstances, the C&MA kept up its effort in world evangelism. It is said that “With crisis comes opportunity” (the opportunities to share the gospel). That is also true for missions work. Our missionary inheritance is one for standing tough and sailing against the wind. It is part of our lives. It is also a lesson for us in mission work and our offering.






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