excerpted from http://www.t4tglobalmissions.org/the-ying-kai-story
My wife Grace and I were missionaries in Asia for 21 years with the International Mission Board (IMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention. After a year of studying Cantonese, we began our church-planting ministry in Hong Kong. In those days, we still used a very traditional method of evangelism.
Each year, the two of us were able to lead 40 to 60 people to faith in Christ and start one new church. We thought we weren’t doing too bad. At that time, our mission organization had given each missionary a guideline: each missionary should start at least one new church every five years, or they should transfer to another region since they were falling short of the East Asia region’s standards. In our annual report each year we were able to report dozens of people coming to faith in Christ and the starting of a new church, so we thought we were doing pretty well. We continued our service in Hong Kong until the year 2000. Then, after a stateside assignment in the United States, the Holy Spirit led us to shift our ministry to a large neighboring Asian country. Before that time, it had never occurred to us to serve in that country. In fact, we were afraid to go to a new place. After a time of sincere prayer, we made the decision to obey his calling. So we contacted our mission agency and requested a transfer of our ministry assignment.
In October of 2000, we were sent to Singapore for one month to participate in Strategy Coordinator (SC) training. A Strategy Coordinator is a missionary who develops and implements a strategy to reach an entire people group or population with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
On the first day of training, our training director asked each missionary unit to prepare a three-year master plan (mission strategy plan) and set an end vision within the three-year time frame. I did not understand what they meant by end vision, so I asked the training director, “What does end vision mean?” He responded, “Ying, it is very simple: how many people can you lead to Christ in the next three years and how many churches can you start?”
After hearing his explanation, Grace and I discussed how in three years, we had barely been able to bring less than 200 people to Christ and had only started three churches. As we studied the new region that the Lord was leading us to, we learned there were three cities in the area each of which had a registered population of 5.8 million. But then, we discovered that there were more than15 million temporary factory workers from all over the country that had come to these three cities to work in the thousands of factories! So there were actually more than 20 million people in our new mission assignment.
This was a lot of people! We thought to ourselves, if we were only able to lead around 200 people to Christ and start only three churches in three years, this number was so pitifully low. Even if we worked very hard to lead 1,000 believers and started 10 churches, the number was still too small for a population of 20 million. So we prayed and studied the Bible diligently every day, asking the Father to give us the best strategy to share the gospel.
I remember when our training director challenged us to find more than 100 different ways to share the gospel and put it in our strategy plan. There was a quote on the wall that touched my heart: “How many people in your city will hear the gospel today?” We prayed and studied the Bible every day to ask God to give us a strategy for how to spread the gospel as quickly as possible and for people to turn to the Lord.
We continued to read the Bible and pray daily until one day, in the middle of the night, we suddenly realized the best strategy for evangelism is in Jesus’s Great Commission! We’ve known this Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) since we were children, memorizing this passage of scripture. We were even able to sing it as a song. But in that moment, we discovered that we had never really followed his Great Commission!