Powerful 1920s hymn modernized by acclaimed hymn writers Keith & Kristyn Getty, is centerpiece of massive effort to raise global awareness
On Sunday, February 21, thousands of churches and missions agencies on every continent will join together in song, in every major world language, to sing the hymn “Facing a Task Unfinished” as part of a united effort to draw attention to the imperative need for Christian evangelism worldwide.
This global movement of churches was announced by its organizers – the internationally acclaimed hymn writers Keith & Kristyn Getty, and OMF International, an international and interdenominational Protestant missionary society originally founded by Hudson Taylor as the China Inland Mission in 1865.
In the 1920s, China Inland Mission worker Frank Houghton originally wrote the hymn “Facing a Task Unfinished” as a call for 200 missionaries to go into the heart of China at the height of persecution. Despite great peril, by 1931 more than 200 set sail for China to plant the seeds of the Gospel, resulting in what mission experts believe to be the greatest growth of Christianity in the history of the world – an estimated growth of 80-130 million people, if not more.
OMF International recently celebrated its 150th anniversary and invited Keith and Kristyn Getty to re-visit Houghton's much-loved and still timely hymn. The Gettys say they are privileged to be part of introducing this anthem for Christian missionaries to a new generation. The song will be the title track of Keith & Kristyn's upcoming album (June 2016) and international tours. The song will also be sung during the NRB International Summit at Proclaim 16, the NRB International Christian Media Convention, on Thursday, February 25, in Nashville, TN. All composing and publishing royalties from the song will be donated to OMF International in support of their continued work in perpetuity.
“Songs have the ability to unite and move us as groups,” says Keith Getty. "Frank Houghton understood this and in response to great turmoil in China, turned to writing hymns to encourage those who were witnessing martyrdom around them. ‘Facing a Task Unfinished’ provided inspiration to a generation of missionaries when it was first written, and it urges us on still, even as we also live amid persecution and martyrdom, both at home and around the world today. Into these situations the call of Christ and His Kingdom is our only hope. His Gospel is the window of light pouring into the darkened corners of this world. He is the good news we must sing and bring.”
This revived hymn, traditionally based on the Samuel Wesley hymn “Aurelia (The Church's One Foundation),” has been fitted with a new chorus by the Gettys to help serve a new generation of congregational singing. Married to the traditional lyric by Houghton are the added lines:
We go to all the world
With kingdom hope unfurled
No other name has power to save
But Jesus Christ The Lord
To be a part of this global movement, churches are encouraged to register their involvement at www.gettymusic.com/facingatask. Participating churches will receive access free musical resources to aid in their congregation in singing the song such as fully orchestrated sheet music, choir parts, hymn charts, and audio resources.
By NRB Staff
Published: February 12, 2016