Kirk Franklin is executive director of the Wycliffe Global Alliance >>. Born and raised as an MK (missionary kid) in Papua New Guinea, he has served with Wycliffe for 32 years in media and leadership roles. He and his wife, Christine, live in Melbourne, Australia, and have three adult children.
What is your main focus in ministry and why are you passionate about it?
I am privileged to serve with a team of leaders from across the world who are collaborating together in developing partnerships that include Bible translation movements for the people groups that still need God’s word in the language and formats that best communicate to them. It is an exciting time to be involved in God’s mission.
What does evangelism mean to you?
It is helping people find salvation through the redeeming action of Jesus Christ. Thus, they discover God’s sovereignty, trust in his providence, and personally experience Christ’s sacrificial atonement for them. The gift of salvation they receive includes learning obedience to God and putting their hope in God’s promise for the future.
Tell a story of how you shared your faith in Christ and saw God woo an individual/s one step closer to himself.
A few weeks ago I was preaching at a church in Australia. Afterwards, a 93-year-old man approached me. He grew up as a Roman Catholic but for the past decade had been coming to this evangelical church. While the theme of my sermon was on God’s mission, this man said he could not believe that Christ had died for him and forgiven him of his sins as a once-and-for-all act.
But each time he came to church, he was reminded of this fact. We continued the discussion for some time and as I was getting ready to leave, he said, “I need you to come back each Sunday and remind me of this [what Christ has done]!” I replied, “No you don’t. All you need to do is accept the fact that Christ has given you his gift of salvation once and for all.”
With a thoughtful look he smiled and said he would have to do just that.
What is your favorite quote/scripture?
Habakkuk 2:12: “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” What an amazing visualization of the mission of God!
How can people learn more about you and your ministry?
The place to go is to the Wycliffe website >>.
About the World
What is the biggest issue the Church in your part of the world faces today and why?
The three-fold challenge of secularism, consumerism, and relativism means Christian leaders in this context must address faith in a time of doubt since the predominant worldview is that the Bible, being an ‘ancient book,’ was written for a society that no longer exists, and exhibits moral laws that are not seen as relevant to the postmodern world.
What is the biggest issue the Global Church is facing today and why?
How the Bible is read. To date, at least the New Testament has been translated into over 2,400 languages. Consequently, according to Lamin Sanneh, “more people pray and worship in more languages in Christianity than in any other religion in the world.”
We see ample evidence of how the Bible carries greater authority to Christians in the Global South and East because they more clearly see themselves in scripture. They see how it addresses issues pertinent to them such as famine and urban crisis, poverty and debt, etc. Christians in the North and West continue to debate whether the scriptures are still relevant to them. Consequently, we are seeing and will continue to see greater theological clashes between the ‘West and the Rest.’
What is your hope for the Global Church in the next 10 years?
As the center of gravity of Christianity becomes more solidly planted in the Global South and East, space must be created for leaders from the Global South and East to provide a balancing influence upon global mission strategy. This needs to be done in partnership and communion in unity as the biblical model for ministry. This requires a bold look beyond institutional structures and strategies in order to be obedient to God’s call. It is a realization that the future of missions is more likely to be realized in non-centralized, global, diverse, and dynamic organic structures.