John Michael Ezell experienced hot water for the first time as his adopted father held his hands underneath a faucet in a hotel room. Kevin Ezell, president of the North American Mission Board and father of John Michael, said his son’s face lit up, saying “that is wonderful.”
Ezell said it was amazing to see an 11-year-old “fired up” about hot water.
“We get so used to certain things, we don’t think twice about it,” he said.
According to Ezell, Christians often take the proliferation of churches in the South for granted. He referenced how in Tennessee, there are more than 2,000 people for each Southern Baptist Church. In Canada, however, there are 117,000 people for each Southern Baptist Church.
Ezell called the audience at Union’s chapel service Wednesday to live “on mission” by supporting pastors of church plants and spreading Christianity to urban areas.
He delivered his message Feb. 10 in a gray suit coat, a white shirt and black pants. His speaking was energetic as he charged back and forth across the stage, speaking to every side of the audience.
“It’s not about your preference, it’s about obedience.” he said.
We are called to be on mission regardless of what we would want to do, Ezell said, and that means many should move to urban areas and support the church planting ministries in poorly-churched areas.
He gave the example of Cuba, and how thousands of churches grew out of the oppression of Fidel Castro. Every time he tried to decentralize and separate the church, the church would spread faster due to the decentralization, Ezell said.
Ezell stressed that we cannot know how God will use Christian efforts to spread the gospel, referencing how church planting efforts in Canada have led to growth even in the Chinese church.
Every person has a responsibility to spread the gospel, he said.
“God put you here for a purpose,” he said. “Regardless of what your profession is, we are all called to be on mission.”
Just how his son experienced hot water with wonder, so Ezell challenged the student body to not take churches for granted, and help others experience the church with wonder.