The Task We’re Facing

Posted by Keith Getty on 18 February 2016

Keith Getty talks to WeAreWorship about why he’s calling people to sing about mission

WeAreWorship: What’s the story behind your new hymn, Facing A Task Unfinished?
Keith Getty: I’ve always loved the work of hymn writer and missionary to China, Frank Houghton. Kristyn feels the same. She says that when she sings the Houghton hymns she stops caring about things that aren’t important. It’s that missional focus which centres you, especially in his hymn Facing A Task Unfinished. I’ve loved the song for years, even before I wrote hymns myself.

WeAreWorship: But you felt there was something missing, is that right?
Keith Getty: It’s a great commission song with no response, and I wondered if it needed a chorus. So I wrote one in time for the Gospel Coalitions Missions conference but at the last minute chose another song as I had so little confidence in what we'd done.

The organisation that Houghton went to China with – the China Inland Mission – is still around today. It’s known as OMF International, and with their President Patrick Fung choosing "Facing A Task Unfinished" as the theme to celebrate their 150th anniversary in Singapore, they approached us again about giving it another attempt.

WeAreWorship: And that changed your mind about your new version of the hymn?
Keith Getty: By creating a new version we were able to create a song both drawing attention to the work and mission of OMF as well as a new copyright raising funds for OMF International through the royalties.

WAW: So what are you inviting people to do?
Keith Getty: We’re excited to share Facing A Task Unfinished. We’re inviting churches around the world to join in a global sing this coming Sunday (21st February, 2016) and we’re well on the way to our goal of 1,000,000 people from 100 countries and in over ten different languages. Visit GettyMusic.com and you can find all the free resources you’ll need to get your congregation singing.

WeAreWorship: Thinking about the bigger picture, why does any of this matter?
Keith Getty: Compared to 50 years ago there are very few songs today about witnessing to your neighbour or going to the ends of the earth to bring the gospel to the world. This generation has been relatively quiet on mission. We’ve been silenced by society, by the media and political correctness, and worship music has also become increasingly commercialised. I think it’s time to get people singing about mission again.

WeAreWorship: Because…?
Keith Getty: We’re meant to sing about things like mission. After all, if we don’t sing about it we don’t think about it, we don’t pray about it, we don’t talk about it. It fails to become a part of the moment by moment choices we make in life. But as Christians we’re meant to go against the flow.

WeAreWorship: Are you optimistic that we can?
Keith Getty: Ninety years ago there were 750,000 Christians in China. Today there are anything between 80 and 132 million. We want to get people excited about world mission, to remind them that in the midst of this remarkable church growth – as well as persecution – there is so much to thank God for.

We’re facing a mighty task. Not just in China, but in Cuba or in the Middle East for example, and back home as well. There are millions – even billions – of people who need to hear the gospel message. It’s a task unfinished, and it’s our turn to grab hold of the baton.

Find more information on how to be a part of this global movement at GettyMusic.com and omf.org/jointhetaskunfinished

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