Today, Sunday, February 25, 2018, the earthly remains of the giant of the faith, Rev. Billy Graham, are being laid to rest in North Carolina. Few if any evangelists have borne the fruit that he did in his ministry around the world as he preached the gospel of Jesus Christ to an estimated 2.2 billion people in crusades and through TV and radio. Yours truly is one who accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior at a Billy Graham Crusade in 1976.
Yet, so much work remains to be done before the end and the return of the Messiah Jesus Christ.
Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Rev. Graham’s ministry was concentrated in the cities of the world where he could draw large crowds and where people had access to radio and TV. Today the great majority of people who have never heard the gospel even once live outside the cities in rural areas and in villages.
According to a 2014 report by the United Nations, “The rural population of the world has grown slowly since 1950 and is expected to reach its peak around 2020. The global rural population is now close to 3.4 billion and is expected to decline to 3.1 billion by 2050. While Africa and Asia are urbanizing rapidly, these regions are still home to nearly 90 per cent of the world’s rural population. India has the largest rural population with 857 million, followed by China with 635 million.”
Many followers of Jesus Christ believe that we are now living in the Last Days just before the end. Yet so much work needs to be done—“this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” The inescapable conclusion is that there must be an acceleration in missions during these Last Days: we must quickly preach the gospel to the billions living in rural areas before the Second Coming of the Messiah.
And that is the calling of The Elijah Challenge. In accordance with the Lord’s command in Luke 10:2, we train and send out workers into the Lord’s vast harvest field in the world’s rural areas where the workers are so few. And we will send them out just like Jesus sent out the Twelve and then the Seventy-two disciples.
Luke 9:1 When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
Luke 10:1 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. …9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’
We train the Lord’s disciples how to preach the gospel in unreached rural areas of the world just like Philip, Peter, and Paul did in Acts as they reached out so fruitfully to the idol-worshiping Gentiles in Acts. These rural areas today are inhabited by gospel-resistant peoples dominated by Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, idol-worship and witchcraft. Only by preaching the gospel accompanied by powerful, never-before-seen miraculous healings can we reach such resistant people groups with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The calling of The Elijah Challenge is to train and send forth a vast army of nameless, faceless disciples to fulfill the as yet unfulfilled promise of Jesus Christ in John 14:11-12.
“Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. “