From Darcy: By observing and following in the footsteps of passionate believers in previous generations and in other locations, we experience community that exhibits God’s love, and we learn their glorious habit of continually bringing the mind’s eye back to Jesus. That is what my husband and I experienced in meeting the interviewees for The Yes Effect when we started this project a few years ago. And that is what the first chapter of The Yes Effect is all about, an invitation to follow those leaders who are following Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). Whether our favorite mentors are still on earth with us or have gone ahead to be present with the Lord, we have “a great cloud of witnesses” cheering us on (Hebrews 12:1). Today, I’m welcoming an old ministry friend, Michael Chung to share with us about his legacy of faith. Michael and I had the privilege of serving in the same city during my year in Asia. He is a fun-loving guy who also loves Jesus and the nations, and after learning about his most influential mentor (who also happens to be an endorser of The Yes Effect!), I now know where he got it from. Here, you’ll learn about what led Michael to serve in the 10/40 Window, and how listening to the stories from “mentors” in past eras and present places around the globe can change our whole outlook in the here and now.

By Michael Chung

“I want to hear some shouts coming from that library, Michael,” my professor said as I walked past him with my stack of books.

It’s appropriate that the word “seminary” sounds a lot like “cemetery” because, though seminary is meant to be a place for the most joyful kind of learning on earth, at times it can feel rather cold. Men and women spend hours in stressful studying yet may be devoid of true worship and spiritual transformation.

But Professor Robert Coleman was different. He has always believed that studying God’s Word should be more fun than a lot of people make it out to be.

Many times He would display His excitement about God, even shouting with joy and breaking into preaching during class lectures. In his mind, edification was better than mere education.

Coleman, best known for his book The Master Plan of Evangelism, has always been a man with a deep love for Jesus and a passion for making disciples. His work influenced leaders like Billy Graham to not only focus on reaching the masses with the Gospel, but to mentor newer believers who would then mentor others, creating growth in the kingdom of God that looks like multiplication instead of simple addition.

Studying under Professor Coleman, both in formal settings and in friendship, helped me learn how to connect with God in a deep, fulfilling way that made me want to share with others. Through his books, his teaching, and his mentorship, many have been greatly influenced by his raw passion for God and his desire to make disciples.

My story of faith starts well before seminary, though. All of us have events and experiences, positive or negative, that seem to define us. For me, it was losing my father. I’ll never forget the feeling in the pit of my stomach when I heard the devastating news that he’d drowned in the ocean on a business trip. I was only nine.

But in my greatest time of vulnerability, I heard about Jesus. And the church that helped me understand that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1), also made it clear that they would be there for me, too. No person could truly replace my father, but my church family helped fill many of the holes left by losing him at such a young age.

That same church gave me a vision for taking the good news that they’d passed along to me and sharing it in the world through missions and ministry. With this vision, I consulted a pastor and decided to enroll in seminary where I met that dynamic professor who would be the most influential mentor of my life.

In that era of ministry, with the 10/40 Window as the new buzzword, I began to get excited about the idea of sending resources and missionaries into this under-reached part of the world. Heeding the call, I chose to spend significant time in one part of the 10/40 Window. Even now, years later, I serve as a visiting professor at a school in Indonesia, another part of the 10/40 Window.

I didn’t know much about Luis Bush until reading this book, but I did know about his most significant work. And even without me knowing the man behind the movement, God used Luis’ work in the 10/40 Window to direct my life nonetheless.

I appreciate Luis’ focus on the fact that he is just one small part of a long line of people participating in a big move of God. Because of his teamwork, and the influence of my personal mentors, I have been able to witness God at work with previously unreached people groups. What an honor. And now, my faith is richer for taking the time to read and discover the story of Luis and his fellow laborers in the gospel.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about when I mention the 10/40 Window, you’ll get the whole story in the first chapter of The Yes Effect. There, we learn how the 10/40 Window became one of the most well-known terms in the missions and social justice world. We also get a glimpse of Luis Bush’s personal transformation from local hooligan and mediocre student to a business man following Jesus into full-time ministry. (It’s a fun story.) When God sets a grand transformation plan into motion, it always involves the transformation of individual people first. That redirection in Luis’ life, we read, will eventually change the focus of missions and lead to a huge surge in worldwide ministry efforts.

Life is a story, and we are all part of a subplot. When we show up in the world, we enter as part of a long history leading up to our place in time. With a focus on that long line of faithful people, invitation one of The Yes Effect is readying us for the rest of the book.

We are invited, as we read on, to open our hearts to God’s larger story and the other characters in it, those not just from different eras, but from different areas around the globe.

Like Luis and Darcy write, “When a follower of Jesus says yes to His invitation, all kinds of possibilities open up in that particular person’s life in that particular corner of the world” (33-34). Tuning in and paying attention to these brothers and sisters around the world prepares us to follow in their footsteps. And in following, we deepen our devotion to God and expand our faith and vision for what can happen where we are.

Strong reflection on our personal history and the life stories of the believers before us helps us participate in God’s plan in the present, while giving vision of the kingdom to come. That far-reaching view can encourage each of us to live out a meaningful calling through all the stages of our lives.

Make it personal: What mentors in your personal faith story can you thank God for today? What trailblazers in missions and church history have inspired you?

*Photo by Thành Alex on Unsplash

Michael Chung has taught at Fuller Theological Seminary, Houston Baptist University, and Houston Graduate School of Theology. He is a visiting professor at Calvary Theological Seminary in Jakarta, Indonesia. He has served as a missionary, pastor, and para-church minister over the years. As you enter the Lenten season, be sure to look for his book, The Last King of Israel, which explores how Jesus chose to live his final ten days culminating in the resurrection.