“And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh,
in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people
who cannot tell their right hand from their left – and also many animals?” – Jonah 4:11
“Should I not be concerned?” God’s concern, His pity, His love for those He has created, moves Him to act. He loves the world so much that He sent Jesus to die on the cross to redeem us from our sin. He has room in His great heart for all the pain and suffering of our world and has promised that He is making all things new (Rev. 21:5). As we wait for that great day when every tear will be dried, He calls us to be engaged in His work as ministers of reconciliation. Implicit in the rhetorical question, Should I Not Be Concerned? is another question: Should we not be concerned? Jonah reluctantly went to Nineveh to bring God’s urgent message to repent; Will we be concerned enough to respond to God’s call?
Bob Pierce, missionary to Korea, said, “Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.” Will we allow our hearts to be so broken, and to delight in the things that delight His heart?
The theme for Missionfest Manitoba 2024 will be Should I Not Be Concerned? Each plenary session will focus on a different area of concern: The Unreached. The Newcomer. Global Youth. The Poor and Vulnerable. The City. Much can be said about each of these, but I’d like to say a few words about that last topic, lest I be misunderstood.
Should I Not Be Concerned for the City? is not exclusive of God’s concern for those in rural areas. I am very aware of the problem of “perimeteritis” in Manitoba, and am working to build bridges with the churches outside Winnipeg. However, the influences of urbanization, migration, globalization and technology have left none of us untouched, and it seems the Church is just waking up to the reality that the future of missions must take the city into consideration. Dr. Timothy Keller was a pioneer in advocating for the Church’s concern for the City, and with his recent passing we have decided to dedicate the Sunday afternoon session to his memory.
I hope you will join us for the weekend of February 2-4, 2024 as we gather in celebration of His concern for the world and His call for us to join Him in His concern.
Grace and Peace to you.
Executive Director, Missionfest Manitoba