Evangelicals must be alert to the 'urgency' of the need for the Gospel

Goodwill Shana addresses the World Evangelical Alliance General Assembly in Indonesia(Photo: WEA)

Evangelicals from around the world meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, have been challenged to check their priorities and whether they are working to reach the lost or have become "distracted".

Goodwill Shana, President of the Association of Evangelicals in Africa, warned Christians against "making light" of the Great Commission to reach the world with the Gospel.

Addressing the General Assembly of the World Evangelical Alliance, Shana warned that the Church could be focusing on the wrong things.

"The urgency of the condition of the world is worse now than ever before ... the condition of the world is critical," he said.

"We cannot act as if we have not been told about the poverty in the world, about the human trafficking, about the women and children who are abused daily.

"We cannot pretend that we cannot see how bad the situation is."

He went on to say that being indifferent to the suffering of the world was the opposite of walking in love.

"If it does not move you, then what will? If it doesn't touch you, then who will?" he said.

"If it touched Jesus Christ, then I think the world's condition should touch you."

He continued: "I would like to believe that when we leave this General Assembly, we will have this ... indelible pressure on us [to] go out again.

"You remember those early days when you started church, when you started ministry, how fired up you were and how consistently you were going out. God is saying once again 'go out', and there's a reason, because there was an urgency.

Hundreds of evangelicals from over 90 countries are in Jakarta, Indonesia, for the World Evangelical Alliance's General Assembly.(Photo: WEA)

"There is more to do ... The Kingdom of God is still looking out for the lost, for the poor, for the miserable of the world, for the broken."

Elsewhere in the General Assembly, delegates heard a similar call to be "restless for change, impatient for progress and deeply dissatisfied with the status quo".

The call came from Rob Hoskins, President of One Hope International, who said that while he believed that the present age was experiencing a "dramatic kairos moment of change", the Church was "not leveraging all that God has made available to us in this generation".

He said that in light of the rapid technological changes in the world, the Church needed to be innovative and highly networked to keep up with the "trojan horse" of secular ideas coming to young people through their smartphones and other platforms.

Instead of being a "calcified institution", he said that the WEA needed to be a "network of networks so that we can ensure, through big data clouds and the 'internet of everything', that we can create the most powerful platforms ever created to be witnesses and Christ ambassadors on a level we've never seen before.

"[It's about] getting the right resources to the right people at the right time."

Despite the urgency, Dr Bambang Budijanto, General Secretary of the Asia Evangelical Alliance, said that the statistics on the proportion of churches proactively making disciples was "so sad".

He presented delegates with recent research by the Barna groups, which found that in the US, only a fifth of churches were involved in disciple making.

"Is it good enough? It is not good enough," he said.