Global Kingdom worker: Hudson Taylor

Role in The Mind of a MissionaryHe appears in section three: Risks, chapter nine: Spiritual Hurdles.

Dates: May 21, 1832—June 3, 1905

Location of missions work: China

Known for: James Hudson Taylor was a British Protestant Christian missionary to China and founder of the China Inland Mission.

Famous quotes: “When I get to China, I shall have no claim on anyone for anything; my only claim will be on God. How important, therefore, to learn before leaving England to move man, through God, by prayer alone.”1

“China is not to be won for Christ by quiet, ease-loving men and women. The stamp of men and women we need is such as will put Jesus, China, [and] souls first and foremost in everything and at every time—even life itself must be secondary.”2

“Unless there is the element of extreme risk in our exploits for God, there is no need for faith.”

“Many [Christians] estimate difficulties in the light of their own resources, and thus attempt little and often fail in the little they attempt.”

“All God’s giants have been weak men who did great things for God because they reckoned on His [power and presence with them].3

“I wish sometimes that I had twenty bodies that at twenty places at once I might publish the saving name of Jesus.”4

“Let us give up our work, our thoughts, our plans, ourselves, our lives, our loved ones, our influence, our all, right into His hand, and then, when we have given all over to Him, there will be nothing left for us to be troubled about, or to make trouble about.”5

“God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supplies.”6

 

In The Mind of a Missionary, section three: Risks, chapter nine: Spiritual Hurdles, you will see the heroism of global Kingdom workers, but understand that they are mere men and women like you. They are not the Church’s “special forces” but unassuming believers who said “yes” to God. You will learn how to combat territorial spirits, understand the subtle workings of the enemy, and find out how to overcome spiritual attacks upon your missional efforts. You will be inspired to become a student of culture, becoming “all things to all men.” Your Source is Jesus; His power never runs dry. When your heart and mind link to His Spirit, seemingly impossible doors open to you, ushering you into joy and ministry breakthrough.

Hudson Taylor commenced his journey to the Orient on September 19, 1853. Taylor was twenty-one-years-old when he boarded the Dumphries, the ship secured for him by the Committee of the Chinese Evangelisation Society, under whose auspices he was going to China. The journey was an arduous one. Over five months later, on March 1, 1854, the ship finally arrived in Shanghai, China, where he was immediately faced with civil war, throwing his first year there into turmoil.

Hudson Taylor arrived in Shanghai in 1854 during a time of great turmoil and civil unrest. The spiritual forces of darkness poised against bearers of the Gospel in hopes that China would forever remain in darkness. The Taiping Rebellion, waged from 1850 to 1864, ranks as one of the bloodiest wars in human history. Casualties of war are estimated at twenty to seventy million, with millions more displaced.7

 

When each member of the body of Christ operates in their God-given talents, beautiful things happen. The lost are located, the ill get well, the violated experience victory, and the broken become beacons of hope in the world.8

 

On June 25, 1865, Hudson Taylor founded the China Inland Mission. Months later in October, and with his wife Maria’s help, he published China’s Spiritual Need and Claims, which revealed the country’s urgent necessity of the Gospel message. In the hearts of its readers birthed a missions flame, and more recruits committed to return to China with the Taylors in 1866. Prior to their departure, Maria bore three more children: Herbert, Frederick, and Samuel. So, on May 26 of the same year, Hudson and Maria, their four young children, and sixteen of the China Inland Mission’s first global Kingdom workers departed London for the Orient.

 

Many men and women are searching for a hero; God is looking for men and women willing to live heroic lives. We marvel at courageous acts; God seeks to empower us with His Holy Spirit that even greater works might be accomplished. We are enamored by daring escapades; Christ calls us simply to be witnesses of His Kingdom on earth.9

 

It should be stated clearly that missionaries are not better Christians than those who stay at home. Each member of the body of Christ has a specific role to play, and every one of these roles is necessary. The missions venture requires that some go and some stay behind. Those who go seek to advance the Kingdom of God where it is not; those who stay at home hold the ropes in prayer and support, shining the light of Jesus in their local context. Many Christians worldwide share the missionary’s heart for the advancement of God’s Kingdom in the earth. Their faithful prayers often open doors for the overseas missionary to walk through unhindered. But the blessing goes both ways. The home Church experiences spiritual benefits while extended family abroad witnesses breakthrough. The richness of God’s spiritual outpouring cannot be contained within geographical coordinates. The soldiers who go out to battle and those who remain back to guard the supplies all share in the spoils of war.

 

With God, nothing is impossible. We admit that we believe this reality, but do our actions state otherwise? Man’s impossibilities are the avenues through which God proves Himself mighty. These impossibilities become simple difficulties. Then, through the working of the Holy Spirit in and through us, God accomplishes His Kingdom purposes in ways we never thought possible.10

 

Hudson Taylor’s missionary career was marked with difficulty and, consequently, great success. He said, “I have found that there are three stages in every great work of God. First, it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done.”11. Regardless of the physical, emotional, or spiritual struggles he encountered, God stood by his side. Confident that his identity tucked into Christ, he paved the way for the Gospel message to transform China.

 

It is in the secret place of prayer and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit that God wields broken vessels into glorious instruments that He can use.12

 

Seemingly daunting dangers pepper the mission fields of the earth. Global Kingdom workers count the physical, emotional, and spiritual risks they will indubitably face when going to serve abroad. But in chapter nine of The Mind of a Missionary, you will see that intimacy with God through prayer bolsters the Christian mind. You come to realize that in the light of eternity, the risks you take are no risk at all. Those whose minds focus on a Heavenly Kingdom know that there is no safer place than in the center of God’s will.

 

The Mind of a Missionary: What Global Kingdom Workers Tell Us About Thriving on Mission Today by David Joannes 

 

Books/resources:

A Retrospect: The Story Behind My Zeal for Missions by Hudson Taylor (Free PDF) 
China’s Spiritual Need and Claims by Hudson Taylor (Free PDF) 
China’s Millions by Hudson Taylor (Free PDF) 

Books/resources referenced in chapter nine of The Mind of a Missionary:

The Idolatry of Missions by Jonathan Trotter, A Life Overseas 
The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis 
Hudson Taylor and the China Inland Mission: The Growth of a Work of God by Dr. And Mrs. Howard Taylor (Free PDF) 
Farewell to the Missionary Hero by Amy Peterson, Christianity Today 

Footnotes

  1. J. Hudson Taylor, A Retrospect: The Story Behind My Zeal for Missions, chapter three, Preparation for Service, Toronto: China Inland Mission, 1902
  2. A.J. Broomhall, Hudson Taylor and China’s Open Century, Book Five: Refiner’s Fire, page 57, London: Hodder and Stoughton and Overseas Missionary Fellowship, 1985
  3. Dr. And Mrs. Howard Taylor, Hudson Taylor and the China Inland Mission: The Growth of a Work of God, Page 279, The Religious Tract Society, first edition, 1913
  4. A.J. Broomhall, Hudson Taylor and China’s Open Century, Book Two: Over the Treaty Wall, page 362, London: Hodder and Stoughton and Overseas Missionary Fellowship, 1982
  5. Hudson Taylor, Hudson Taylor’s Choice Sayings: A Compilation from His Writings and Addresses, page 52, London: China Inland Mission
  6. Leslie T. Lyall, A Passion for the Impossible: The Continuing Story of the Mission Hudson Taylor Began, page 37, London: OMF Books, 1965
  7. Cao Shuji, Zhongguo Renkou Shi [A History of China’s Population], pages 455, 509, Shanghai: Fudan Daxue Chubanshe, 2001
  8. David Joannes, The Mind of a Missionary: What Global Kingdom Workers Tell Us About Thriving on Mission Today, chapter nine: Spiritual Hurdles
  9. David Joannes, The Mind of a Missionary: What Global Kingdom Workers Tell Us About Thriving on Mission Today, chapter nine: Spiritual Hurdles
  10. David Joannes, The Mind of a Missionary: What Global Kingdom Workers Tell Us About Thriving on Mission Today, chapter nine: Spiritual Hurdles
  11. Leslie T. Lyall, A Passion for the Impossible: The Continuing Story of the Mission Hudson Taylor Began, page 5, London: OMF Books, 1965
  12. David Joannes, The Mind of a Missionary: What Global Kingdom Workers Tell Us About Thriving on Mission Today, chapter nine: Spiritual Hurdles
David Joannes
Founder/President at Within Reach Global
David Joannes is the co-founder and president of Within Reach Global, Inc, which serves the advance of the Gospel in some of Southeast Asia’s most difficult places. He is the author of The Space Between Memories: Recollections from a 21st Century Missionary. David has a love for language, culture, and creative writing, and for the last 20 years, he has witnessed God’s Kingdom established in forgotten parts of the globe. David lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with his wife, Lorna, and their daughter, Cara.