Dyer urges students to hit 'go' on mission work

Jeff Dyer used his Chapel talk Monday to reach out to GCU students considering mission trips and urged them to consider it for their life's work.

Story by Rick Vacek
Photos by Ralph Freso
GCU News Bureau

Jeff Dyer was on a mission Monday morning as he delivered one of the most powerful talks ever heard in Chapel at Grand Canyon University.

Dyer was there to recruit missionaries – check that, he prefers to call them “goers” – like himself, students willing to sacrifice the comforts of home for uncertainties abroad.

It is not for the faint of heart. It is for bold believers.

Dyer's prayer is that others will follow in his mission footsteps.

“Who here is bold enough to actually raise their hand and say, ‘Here I am,’ when you don’t even know what God is going to ask you to do next?” the General Manager of Scottsdale-based HeartFire Missions asked them.

And rather than write the date in their journals, he asked them to write something else:

“It’s go time.”

Dyer’s go time came in 2017, when the ear, nose and throat surgeon heard God’s call to leave his highly successful practice and take his skills around the world on mission trips (245 surgeries performed annually).

For years, he had abided by a saying he had in the operating room: “Don’t just do something. Stand there.” In other words, if something goes awry during surgery, stop and assess before taking action.

This was different. Naturally, he fought it in his mind.

“I said, ‘Wait a sec, God, you’re the One that called me to be a surgeon,’” he related. “‘You’re the One that built this practice. You’re the One that brought patients in that didn’t just need surgery but they needed prayer and to hear the Gospel, and now you want me to walk away from this?’

“I was a little confused. What do you do when God tells you to do something that is completely inconsistent with the plan?”

But he also realized his “Stand there” saying during surgery wasn’t going to work.

“That’s good advice … except one time,” he said. “There’s one time where, if you stop and survey your circumstances before you go in, it’s going to utterly fail you.”

Dyer is amazed by the way God has used him to spread the Gospel through his work.

That one time is deciding whether to do God’s work on missions.

Dyer pointed to the example Abraham set in Genesis 22:1-3.

Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love — Isaac — and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”

Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about.

Christians know the story: God stopped Abraham from going through with it. But the point is, Abraham didn’t stand there. He loaded his donkey and climbed a high mountain. He did what God asked, without reservation.

Dyer is fascinated by missionaries/goers who went before him.

He shared the story of Robert Wilder and his sister Grace – how their prayer to find 100 college students willing to do mission work came true.

He told of the seven students at Cambridge University – the “Cambridge Seven,” as they came to be known – went to a D.L. Moody conference to make fun of the American’s accent and instead were inspired to become missionaries, creating one-third of the total missionaries in the world.

Then there was Hudson Taylor, who established the China Inland Missions with 800 missionaries and brought 18,000 souls to Christ. At age 17, Taylor said, “If you are simply obeying the Lord, all the responsibility falls on Him, not on you.”

Students who feel the mission calling were prayed on afterward.

Dyer’s talk was filled with some startling statistics that point up the importance of mission work, such as:

  • Four years from now, China will have the most Christ followers (160 million) on the planet, which demonstrates the impact of what the Cambridge Seven started.
  • About 82,000 people (average age, 73) die every hour without hearing the name of Jesus.
  • Most notably, there is one missionary in every 50,000 people in the world. Back in the days of Robert Wilder, the Cambridge Seven and Hudson Taylor, it was 1 in 37.

“This is an emergency,” Dyer said. “… We only have one life – I don’t know if you knew that or not. Not two lives. Not three lives. Just one tryout on this planet. My question to you guys is, no excuses now: What are you going to do with it? What are you going to do with your one life?”

And to anyone who wonders what they could do, he added:

“You are not one college student. You are one college student in the Lord.”

As Jesus said in Matthew 28:19:

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit …”

Dyer shared one other statistic: People in the United States spend more on Halloween costumes for their pets than they do on missions. And he had two more powerful thoughts.

First, this:

“Missions is not for dabbling.

"Missions is not vacation.

"Missions is not a social hour.

"Missions is not your next photo op.

"Missions is where heaven and hell collide. It’s where the destinies of men are fought over.”

Then this:

“It’s time to stop looking for token pledges to make to God, a God who gave Himself so completely for us. It’s time to go.

“We are not called to play video games.

“We are not called to spend seven precious hours on a phone every day.

“We are not called to simple pleasures.

“We are called to advance a Kingdom. We are called to live a life of passion. We are called to fight the powers and the principalities of this present darkness.”

Dyer’s talk kicked off Missions Week at GCU, which includes the Missions Fair from noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday on the Promenade and the Mission Acceleration Program at 4:15 p.m. in Room 180 of the Colangelo College of Business Building.

“Is anyone here bold enough to sign that declaration and become a goer?” Dyer asked.

After all, it’s go time.

Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or [email protected].


To hear the music of the Worship team and Jeff Dyer’s talk in its entirety, click here. For Ralph Freso's slideshow from Chapel, click here.


The Gathering speaker (7 p.m. Tuesday, Antelope Gymnasium): Donald Glenn, Director, Diversity and Inclusion

Next Chapel (11 a.m. Monday): Musical Worship Chapel


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