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  • Best chapter
  • Best quotes
  • Best illustration
  • Best idea
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Expect Great Things: Mission Quotes that Inform and Inspire

Author: Marvin J. Newell

Publisher: William Carey Library, Pasadena, 2013, 352 pages. Kindle format forthcoming.

ISBN: 978-0-87808-626-9


This is the most comprehensive collection of mission quotes, contemporary and classical, ever compiled in one book – over 700. Here you will find the best mission quotes ever uttered by Great Commission Christians. Some are classical, having been given in the distant past by well-known missionaries, missionary statesmen, teachers, and preachers. Others are quite contemporary. Some are pithy one-liners that carry a meaningful punch; others are extended paragraphs that develop a thought-provoking mission theme.

Because this is a book of quotes containing 60 categories instead of chapters, this summary will not follow the normal categories. Instead we will list some choice quotes from the book as a way of providing a sampling.


“I love those that thunder out the Word. The Christian world is in a dead sleep. Nothing but a loud voice can awake them out of it.” Jonathan Goforth, page 1

“Do you love the Lord’s appearing? Then you will bend every effort to take the gospel into all the world. It troubles me in the light of the clear teaching of God’s Word, in the light of our Lord’s explicit definition of our task in the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20) that we take it so lightly. ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.’ This is the Good News of the Kingdom. Christ has wrested authority from Satan. The Kingdom of God has attacked the kingdom of Satan; This evil Age has been assaulted by The Age to come in the person of Christ. All authority is now His. He will not display this authority in its final glorious victory until He comes again, but the authority is now His. Satan is defeated and bound; death is conquered; sin is broken. All authority is His.” George Eldon Ladd, page 4

“When I left England, my hope of India’s conversion was very strong; but amongst so many obstacles, it would die, unless upheld by God. Well, I have God, and His Word is true. Though the superstitions of the heathen were a thousand times stronger than they are, and the example of the Europeans a thousand times worse; though I were deserted by all and persecuted by all, yet my faith, fixed on the sure Word, would rise above all obstructions and overcome every trial. God’s cause will triumph.” William Carey, page 12

“God has called enough men and women to evangelize all the yet unreached tribes of the earth. Why do I believe that? Because everywhere I go, I constantly meet with men and women who say to me, ‘When I was young I wanted to be a missionary, but I got married instead,’ or, ‘My parents dissuaded me,’ or some such thing. No it is not God who does not call. It is man who will not respond.” Isobel Kuhn, page 15

“I wasn’t God’s first choice for what I’ve done for China…I don’t know who was…It must have been a man…a well-educated man. I don’t know what happened. Perhaps he died. Perhaps he wasn’t willing …and God looked down…and saw Gladys Aylward…and God said –‘Well she’s willing!’” Gladys Aylward, 18

“If a commission by an earthly king is considered a honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?” David Livingstone, page 22

“Let us remind ourselves that the Great Commission was never qualified by clauses calling for advance only if funds were plentiful and no hardship or self-denial involved. On the contrary, we are told to expect tribulation and even persecution, but with it victory in Christ…It is ours to show, in the salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in personal communion with him, a joy unspeakable and full of glory that cannot be affected by outside circumstances.” John Stam, page 24

“The greatest hindrance to the advance of the gospel worldwide is the failure of the lives of God’s people.” John R.W. Stott, page 27

“You might say, ‘I’m not called to plant churches.’ Yes, you are! It’s always the will of God to have a people who worship His Son in the nations. You’ll never have to worry about making God mad if you try to plant a church. It seems crazy to me that people are under the delusion they need a special calling to save souls, to disciple them, and to get them together to love Jesus. Whatever ministry you are with, you must understand one thing: church planting is not for us, it’s for God. We do it so God will have a people to worship Him!” Floyd McClung, page 45

“The motto of every missionary, whether preacher, printer, or schoolmaster, ought to be ‘Devoted for life.’” Adoniram Judson, page 50

“Missionary zeal does not grow out of intellectual beliefs, nor out of theological arguments, but out of love. If I do not love a person I am not moved to help him by proofs that he is in need; if I do love him, I wait for no proof of a special need to urge me to help him.” Roland Allen, page 56

“Joy and sorrow travel together.” Malla Moe, page 70

“Would that God would make hell so real to us that we cannot rest; heaven so real that we must have men there; Christ so real that our supreme motive and aim shall be to make the Man of Sorrows, the Man of Joy by the conversion to Him of many.” J. Hudson Taylor, page 79

“True faith glories in the present tense, and does not trouble itself about the future. God’s promises are in the present tense, and are quite secure enough to set our hearts at rest. Their full outworking is often in the future, but God’s word is as good as His bond and we need have no anxiety.” James O. Fraser, page 90

“Depend on it. God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply. He is too wise a God to frustrate His purposes for lack of funds, and He can just as easily supply them ahead of time as afterwards, and He much prefers doing so.” J. Hudson Taylor, page 93

“God is the God of missions. He wills missions. He commands missions. He demands missions. He made missions possible through His Son. He made missions actual in sending the Holy Spirit. Biblical Christianity and missions are organically interrelated.” George W. Peters, page 102

“It is to be kept in mind that the ‘generations’ of men do not wait for the convenience of the church in respect to their evangelization. Men are born and die whether or not Christians are ready to give them the gospel. And hence, if the church of any generation does not evangelize the heathen of that generation, those heathen will never be evangelized at all.” J. Oswald Sanders, page 118

“Jesus Christ alone can save the world, but Jesus Christ cannot save the world alone.” George Sherwood Eddy, page 126

“The spirit of Christ is the spirit of missions. The nearer we get to Him, the more intensely missionary we become.” Henry Martyn, page 135

“Blessed the man and woman who is able to serve cheerfully in the second rank – a big test.” Mary Slessor, page 140

“It would have been impossible for one in foreign dress to go to places to which I had to go if I were ever to discover the truth about things in India.” Amy Carmichael, page 165

“He who does the work is not so profitably employed as he who multiplies the doers.” John R. Mott, page 174

“Sympathy is no substitute for action.” David Livingstone, page 183

“No generation of Christians has been fully obedient to Christ’s Great Commission. And yet, no generation of human beings can be reached except by the Christians of that generation. For sixty generations of lost people it is too late. And yet, according to the promise of God, some generation will be able to stand before the Lord and say, ‘It is finished. The task you have given us to do, we have accomplished.’” Robertson McQuilkin, page 189

“James Gilmour in Mongolia, David Livingstone in Central Africa, Grenfell on the Congo, Keith Falconer in Arabia, Dr. Rijnhart and Miss Annie Taylor in Tibet, Chalmers in New Guinea, Morrison in China, Henry Martyn in Persia, and all the others like them had this ‘inverted home-sickness,’ this passion to call that country their home which was most in need of the Gospel. In this passion all other passions died; before this vision all other visions faded; this call drowned all other voices. They were the pioneers of the Kingdom, the forelopers of God, eager to cross the border-marches and discover new lands or win new empires.” Samuel M. Zwemer, page 198

“I have but one passion: It is He, it is He alone. The world is the field and the field is the world; and henceforth that country shall be my home where I can be most used in winning souls for Christ.” Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf, 201

“Suffering and success go together. If you are succeeding without suffering, it is because others before you have suffered; if you are suffering without succeeding, it is that others after you may succeed.” Edward Judson, (Adonirman’s son), page 279

“In spite of sorrow, loss, and pain,

Our course be onward still;

We sow on Burma’s barren plain,

We reap on Zion’s hill.” Adoniram Judson, page 284

“God is pursuing with omnipotent passion a worldwide purpose of gathering joyful worshipers for Himself from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. He has an inexhaustible enthusiasm for the supremacy of His name among the nations. Therefore, let us bring our affections into line with His, and, for the sake of His name, let us renounce the quest for worldly comforts and join His global purpose.” John Piper, page 309


Read this book for personal encouragement. You can paste the quotes on your website, blog, or other social media, or tweet them to a friend. Include them in sermons, speeches, newsletters, and lesson plans. Pass them on to others to encourage them along their way to Great Commission familiarity and commitment.

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