International mission organisation WEC (Worldwide Evangelisation for Christ) is this year celebrating its centenary. DAVID ADAMS spoke to Evan Davies, a former international director of WEC, about the organisation and its centenary celebrations...

International mission organisation WEC (Worldwide Evangelisation for Christ) is this year celebrating its centenary. DAVID ADAMS spoke to Evan Davies, a former international director of WEC, about the organisation and its centenary celebrations...

Firstly, can you tell us a little bit about what WEC is?
"WEC or Worldwide Evangelisation for Christ is an international and inter-denominational organisation with a commitment to put into action Christ’s direction for his followers to go everywhere to share the Gospel especially the unreached areas."

ON THE MISSION FIELD: Evan Davies (right) and friend.

"(WEC) has changed from a predominantly European society to become truly international with workers from Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Fiji, China, Singapore and Indonesia and others making a strong contribution. Multi-cultural teams are a powerful testimony to the unity we have in Christ."

- Evan Davies

Which countries does it operate in today and what sorts of mission activities are WEC workers involved in?
"It operates in over 70 countries through education, medical and drug rehabilitation, relief and development, planting and encouraging local churches, translation and literacy, training Christian leaders and recruiting new workers."

This year marks its centenary. How did the organisation come to be founded?
"Charles Thomas Studd, a former English cricketer from a wealthy home, came to faith in Christ and from reading the Bible felt that he now had an obligation to share what Jesus had done for him. This led him to serve for 10 years in China and then for six years in India. Due to ill health he returned to England. But when challenged with the need of Congo he trusted God for co-workers to accompany him. The result was the founding of WEC and the development of a strong church first in Congo then bit by bit in several countries in Asia, Africa and South America where there were none or very few Christians. Now the WEC presence is worldwide and continuing to grow."

How has the organisation changed over the years?
"Significantly - it has changed from a predominantly European society to become truly international with workers from Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Fiji, China, Singapore and Indonesia and others making a strong contribution. Multi-cultural teams are a powerful testimony to the unity we have in Christ. A very practical constitution has made leaders accountable and involved all members in policy decisions."

And what about its mission and those who undertake it – has that changed?
"The objectives - reaching unevangelised people, planting churches and recruiting new workers – are still sharply focused. There has been a strong adherence to research and regular embracing of new challenges brought before us. Methods have changed with the use of better communication through media and travel. Understanding the needs of the worldwide church is important in moving forward together."

What do you see as the biggest challenges facing WEC today?
"The task set by Christ has not been completed. The remaining unevangelised places and socio-economic groups are the most complex to access and to remain for effective cross-cultural ministries. Persecution poses a serious challenge for Christian workers and for those who respond to the Gospel. Maintaining a vibrant personal and corporate prayer-life and spirituality is essential in sharing the Christ-centred life."

How did your own involvement with WEC come about?
"My parents were WEC missionaries in Democratic Republic of Congo and my background has been in Godly surroundings. Christ called me to His service in my teens and this has involved being mentored and taught by keen exemplars of a Christ-life walk. After training as a student, with my wife Jenny for 27 years we were on the staff of Worldview Centre, the WEC College in Tasmania and then were asked to become leaders in the international office for 12 years."

What has been the highlight of your time with the organisation?
"Being part of the lives of God’s people around the world has been an enormous privilege. To see students of ours now serving in many places and carrying fruitful responsibilities is humbling and a deep joy. To have the opportunity to see how God has blessed WEC ministries over 100 years in the most difficult places is awesome. The growth of the church, raising up of effective leaders and God’s provision and guidance of long-term ministries has been fabulous."

How is WEC marking the centenary both in Australia and overseas?
"In February, my wife and I enjoyed the celebration services held by the church WEC founded in the Congo 100 years ago. WEC have contributed to bikes and Bibles and library books for the Congo church. In Australia, celebrations have been held in each state and local meetings are continuing. Two books have been published telling stories of God at work. Seven short-term teams have been visiting different countries overseas to serve, share and learn. Different sending centres and fields of service have held their own types of celebrations. The organisation has taken on board faith goals for 33 new people groups, 180 new church planting locations, prayer networks for each people group we are engaged with and 1,200 workers  to achieve these goals."

How can people get involved with WEC's mission?
"Call 1300 788 566, email [email protected] or visit www.wec-int.org."

www.wec.com.au