During the Sept. 14 chapel service at Midwestern Seminary, Joe and Christy Allen joined seminary President Jason Allen and Provost Jason Duesing for a panel discussion centered on the topic of international missions.
The panel discussion represents part of an ongoing Great Commission emphasis at Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College in the new 2021-22 academic year.
In his opening remarks, Allen said the need for a sustained focus on the Great Commission has been increasingly important to him over the past several years. Further, such an emphasis accords with the seminary’s overall vision.
“From day one, we’ve talked a lot about for the church, and rightfully so,” said Allen. “We have also sought to say consistently that to be for the church is to be for the nations because missions is about reaching people for Christ and incorporating them into established churches and church plants overseas.
“As I look across the landscape of the broader evangelical world and even in our own Convention, it seems as though that we are in something of a low ebb as it relates to a Great Commission awareness—a Great Commission zeal. Through the FUSION program at Spurgeon College and new, forthcoming missions initiatives at the graduate level, we hope to be the place in the 2020s that is championing a Great Commission vision. We are praying Midwestern Seminary will be the place from which God begins an awakening work, reminding local churches of the great need to reach the nations for Christ.”
Allen then interviewed chapel guests Joe and Christy Allen and Jason Duesing. Joe Allen joined the Midwestern Seminary faculty this fall as assistant professor of missions. He and Christy served as missionaries with the International Mission Board in various locales throughout South Asia for over a decade.
During the Q&A, the couple shared details about their individual calls to gospel ministry in overseas contexts and their time spent serving together with the IMB. The task, they said, was difficult at times but worth the time and effort.
“You know, we often consider people like Amy Carmichael, Jim Elliott, and Adoniram Judson—these heroes of the faith,” Joe Allen said. “But, if you were to talk to them, they wouldn’t consider themselves heroes. They would say, ‘We are unworthy servants, just doing what we are told.’ They would probably quote Luke 17:10 or something along those lines. Like them, what kept us on the field was that we knew we were where we were supposed to be. Every time someone came to faith, it was another shot in the arm.”
Christy added she was often encouraged by the Lord’s provision amid challenging circumstances, saying, “I think what allows you to push through the hard times is knowing that God loves me, and he never lets his kids go through hard things without a purpose. He wrote on my heart the message, ‘I will never waste pain.’ God will never waste the pain that is offered to him.
“You know his heart for you, and his plans for you are good. Whether it is going halfway around the world or going to Kansas City, his plans are good. Trusting him has been something I learned on the mission field, and it has sustained me even now.”
Midwestern Seminary Provost Jason Duesing added reflections from his own experiences overseas and spoke of an ongoing desire to see the nations reached for Christ. According to Duesing, the addition of the Allens to the Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College community is key in positioning the institution for greater impact toward that end.
“There hasn’t been an IMB affinity I have visited where I haven’t met the most remarkable people in the world. That hasn’t always been the case, which is a story that is wrapped into the larger story of the transformation of the Southern Baptist Convention and returning to a love for the gospel in the Bible.
“Yet, hearing the Allens story and knowing the type of ministry they desire to do is encouraging. It is gospel-centered, focused on sharing the gospel and leading people to Christ, forming them in groups, and leading them to plant churches. That’s the core of what they are about. It aligns incredibly with what the IMB calls the ‘missionary task’ and aligns absolutely with what we are trying to do here by training students for the church and for the kingdom as well.”
The full panel discussion can be viewed at: https://www.mbts.edu/2021/09/missions-panel-featuring-dr-joe-allen-and-christy-allen-september-14-2021/
Details about Spurgeon College’s undergraduate FUSION program are available at spurgeoncollege.com/fusion
Details about Midwestern Seminary’s new graduate-level missions initiatives are forthcoming.