Posts Tagged ‘Frontier Missions’

Frontier vs. Regular Missions Part III

August 13, 2010

Today concludes a three part series of defining missions, and showing the priority for frontier missions over regular missions.

I hear all the time, “Our mission is right here in the U.S.” Let me preface the remainder of this discussion that God is God and He can call anyone to any task he has, no questions asked.  God can call us to the U.S. for a purpose and I am fine with that.

However, I think many people use that statement as an excuse. Yes, we are all called to witness where we are located, in the communities we are a part.   That is a static calling that is a clear imperative from God’s word.  We are to be a redemptive force pointing to the Kingdom no matter what our location is.   Evangelism is the natural sharing of our deepest love, not the end of bringing Shalom to a hurting world.

We are not supposed to stay here because it is comfortable or because God has a special calling for us away from the unreached people groups.  I’ve really agreed with this phrase, “You can’t stay here unless you are willing to go, but you can’t go unless you are willing to stay.”  We are all to have a part in the Great Commission. It is a commission for all of us who given our lives to Christ. The question is not “does God want me to be involved in spreading his Word throughout the world”, but “how does He want me to be involved?”

So, is it bad for Christians to stay in America? NO, but even those who aren’t called to go overseas should be involved in the kingdom spreading to those who don’t have access to it. Those who stay aren’t doing something else, they are still focused on the unreached and having a huge part of the behind the scenes work. We’ve come up with a list of different roles on how to be involved with frontier missions, only 2 of the 11 are actually leaving the U.S.

Conclusion: Unreached People Groups is not a concept only for the missiological society.  It is an issue for every follower of Christ.  When we say we adhere to the principles set forward by Christ himself, then we all are responsible for the one sheep missing.  We must all be concerned that everyone has a chance to hear.  We all have a part to play and a role to fulfill.  We are all called to the Great Commission.

I leave you again with the words of the greatest missionary:

“thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, but as it is written, ‘Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.”
-Romans 15:20-21

Frontier vs. Regular Missions Part II

August 11, 2010

Today continues a three part series of defining missions, and showing the priority for frontier missions over regular missions.

Last entry I gave a personal story as well as worked through some definitions and gave some statistics. I wanted to lend my thoughts on the implications of Frontier vs. Regular and what missions means.

I mentioned that the word missions is far too over used. I would go on to say that the word is so over used that it loses its meaning.  No one is going to say that their mission is useless and no one is going to condemn another when the generalized term is used.  Using the previous definitions and the knowledge of the state of the world we must re-gain our focus and really do missions (frontier missions).  All of those other “missions” are good, but in order to see that all peoples have a chance to hear and respond to the gospel, we must focus our efforts on those areas completely without access to the gospel.

The question is of strategy. Should we keep sending our resources (people, money, prayer, etc.) to places where the gospel is planted and where individuals have an opportunity to explore the scriptures and have someone walk with them the path of faith (regular missions)?  Or would it be best to send these resources to places that have no witness at all (frontier missions)? If I had a dirty house with 10 rooms, would I get together all of my friends and spend all of my money and our time just to clean 6 of those rooms over and over and over again, leaving the other 4 rooms dirty? NO, that would make me a bad steward of my house, and I wouldn’t be able to say the house as a whole was clean.

So too with missions. We put so many resources into certain areas, completely neglecting the need for Christ throughout the world. Evangelism is great. We are all supposed to be a part of it. There are not those who are called not to share their faith. Evangelism is not a special calling that you have but a gifting of the Holy Spirit from re-birth. Evangelism should not soften the word missions.

How many new followers to Christ are there everyday in America? In China, about 30,000 people are coming to Christ daily. Can you imagine the impact more resources would have on this place? There are still so many who have not been presented the gospel. Most people in America have heard the gospel; but world-wide, last year alone, 120 million people were presented the gospel for the first time ever. Can you believe that there are that many people today who have not heard the gospel, and that was just one year of first encounters with the Truth.  We need to pray and take care that we are good stewards of God’s Kingdom.  May we be like the men in the parable of the talents who expand their ruler’s kingdom (Matthew 25:14-30).

I leave you again with the words of the greatest missionary:

“thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, but as it is written, ‘Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.”
-Romans 15:20-21

Frontier vs. Regular Missions Part I

August 9, 2010

Today begins a three part series of defining missions, and showing the priority for frontier missions over regular missions.

Missions is a term that can be thrown around easily. Missions is now exchanged for the term “evangelism,” and “outreach”. Missions is a budget line item in the church that goes far too wide and far too shallow. Missions is not to be just a sector of ministry in the church. Missions IS the purpose of the church. As the church universal, the body of Christ, we are commanded to take the gospel to where it is currently not. The purpose of the church and the very reason it exists is to worship Christ with everything and bring more worshipers to Him. It is out of God’s passion for His glory that missions exists (read John Piper’s“Let the Nations Be Glad.” )

A few years back I had thought the only division was between lost and saved people. This included here and around the world, and the church just gets people to come to Him wherever they are. The first time I heard about Christ was when I was 15. I knew where churches were, I just wasn’t interested to find out what they were all about. I thought that is how it is all over, churches out there but individuals decide to go or not.

I never realized that there were whole groups of people separated from God, who have no access to His gospel. I found out that there were places where there were no churches. That there were places that people didn’t have the bible translated in their language; places where people are actively searching for someone to tell them the greatest story told, but no one around knows it. This changed everything.

Missiologists have termed this concept “reached” and “unreached.” Come to find out, there are whole sectors of culture termed people groups that are characterized by this reached and unreached zones.

Based on this, here are some definitions:
“missions” that is within our country is called evangelism
“missions” outside our country that is among reached peoples is called regular missions
“missions” outside our country that is among unreached peoples is called frontier missions

Here are some statistics to make things more real:

  • There are an estimated 24,000 people groups
  • 8,000 of these are considered unreached (most located in 10/40 window).
  • This 1/3 amount of people groups makes up 60% of the world population.
  • India alone contains 2,082 unreached people groups.
  • Of our mission personnel, 90% serve in regular missions while only 10% serve in frontier areas
  • Of our finances, 95% of our church dollars goes straight back to us, sending 5% out to missions outside of our country
    • Of that 5% missions budget, 90% goes to regular missions with only 10% going to frontier missions.
    • Totaled: 99.5% of our money goes to reached areas where people have access to the gospel while 0.5% goes to places that otherwise have no opportunity to hear.

I think the church needs to put a little more thought as to what missions is, and what our focus should be. Of course all of these areas are good targets for ministry, but if we are going to focus on missions lets truly and strategically put our efforts into completing the Great Commission. [Hint to part II].

I leave you with the words of the greatest missionary:

“thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, but as it is written, ‘Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.”
-Romans 15:20-21

Book Review: From Seed to Fruit (edited by J. Dudley Woodberry)

December 21, 2009

It is not often to come across a book that has breadth and depth at the same time, especially concerning missiological topics on Muslim peoples.  From Seed to Fruit: Global Trends, Fruitful Practices and Emerging Issues among Muslims is such a book.  This book has it all to me.  Various authors sharing their concentrations.  Different missionaries sharing their context-specific experiences.  Topics covering both macro and micro ideas for the missiologist (theorist) and missionary (practitioner).  It seemed like a great overview of the missiology I have been learning for the past five years.  The book is the result of research taken from field practitioner reports and attempts to analyze what practices lead most effectively to people movements.

Buy the Book HERE

Here are other reviews of the book:

Here is the Table of Contents to get a snap shot of the book:

Part I Global Trends: Soils, Seed, Sowers and First Fruits
Chapter 1 Look at the Fields: Survey of the Task – Patrick Johnstone
Chapter 2 Unplowed Ground: Engaging the Unreached – Jeff Liverman
Chapter 3 The Imperishable Seed: Toward Effective Sharing of Scripture – Andrea & Leith Gray
Chapter 4 Laborers from the Global South: Partnering in the Task – Greg Livingstone
Chapter 5 Sister Laborers: Partnering in the Task – Sue Eenigenburg
Chapter 6 First Fruits and Future Harvests – Jim Haney

Part II Fruitful Practices: Sowing, Watering, Gathering, Reproducing
Chapter 7 Eyes to See, Ears to Hear – Don Allen
Chapter 8 The Sowing of Witnessing – David Greenlee & Pam Wilson
Chapter 9 The Watering of Discipling – John Becker & Erik Simuyu
Chapter 10 The Gathering of Reproducing Fellowships – Eric and Laura Adams
Chapter 11 The Equipping of Leaders – Debora Viveza & Dwight Samuel
Chapter 12 The Gathering of Teams of Laborers – Andrew & Rachel Chard

Part III Emerging Issues in Fruitful Practices: Birds, Rocks, Sun, and Soil
Chapter 13 Factors Affecting the Identity that Jesus Followers Choose – John & Anna Travis with Phil Parshall
Chapter 14 Factors which Facilitate Fellowships becoming Movements – David Garrison & Seneca Garrison
Chapter 15 Bible Storying and Oral Use of the Scriptures – Jack Colgate
Chapter 16 Expatriates Empowering Indigenous Leaders – Abraham Durán, Michael Schuler, & Moses Sy
Chapter 17 Are We Nourishing or Choking Young Plants with Funds? – J. R. Meydan a& Ramsay Harris
Chapter 18 Relevant Responses to Folk Muslims – Caleb Chul-Soo Kim & John and Anna Travis
Chapter 19 Pre-Field Preparation to Sow – Don Allen & Abraham Durán

Part IV Emerging Issues in Global Trends: More Birds, Rocks, Sun, and Soil
Chapter 20 Islamism and Receptivity to Jesus – Moussa Bongoyok
Chapter 21 Toward Respectful Witness – Joseph Cumming
Chapter 22 Peacemaking and Church Formation – David Shenk & Ahmed Haile
Chapter 23 An Integrated Identity in a Globalized World – Patrick Lai & Rick Love
Chapter 24 Recapturing the Role of Suffering – Nik Ripken

Frontier vs. Regular Part 2

October 8, 2008

Last entry we worked through some definitions and gave some statistics. I wanted to lend my thoughts on the implications of Frontier vs. Regular and what missions means.

I mentioned that the word missions is far too over used. I would go on to say that the word is so over used that it looses its meaning. No one is going to say that their mission is useless and no one is going to condemn another when the generalized term is used to gain approval. Using the previous definitions and the knowledge of the state of the world we must re-gain our focus and really do missions. All of those other “missions” are good, but in order to see that all peoples have a chance to hear and respond to the gospel, we must focus our efforts on those areas completely without access to the gospel.

The question is of strategy. Should we keep sending our resources (people, money, prayer, ect) to places where the gospel is planted and where individuals have an opportunity to explore the scriptures and have someone walk with them the path of faith, or would it be best to send these resources to places that have no witness at all? If I had a dirty house with 10 rooms would I get together all of my friends and spend all of my money just to clean 6 of those rooms over and over and over again, leaving the other 4 rooms dirty? NO, that would make me a bad steward of my house, and I wouldn’t be able to say the house as a whole was clean.

So too with missions. We put so many resources into certain areas, completely neglecting the need for Christ throughout the world. Evangelism is great. We are all supposed to be a part of it. There are not those who are called not to share their faith. Evangelism is not a special calling that you have but a gifting of the Holy Spirit from re-birth. Evangelism should not soften the word missions.

How many new followers to Christ are there everyday in America? In China, about 30,000 people are coming to Christ daily. Can you imagine the impact more resources would have on this place. There are still so many who have not been presented the gospel. Most people in America have heard the gospel, but world-wide, last year alone, 120 million people were presented the gospel for the first time ever. Can you believe that there are that many people today who have not heard the gospel, and that was just one year of first encounters with the Truth.

I hear all the time, “Our mission is right here in the U.S.” Let me preface the remainder of this discussion that God is God and He can call anyone to any task he has, no questions asked. Basically, God can call us to the U.S. for a purpose and that is fine. I think many people use that statement as an excuse. We are all called to witness where we are located, in the communities we are a part. The types of ministries we do here is a strategic choice based God’s gifts. We are not supposed to stay here because it is comfortable or because God has a special calling for us away from these unreached people groups. You can’t stay here unless you are willing to go, but you can’t go unless you are willing to stay. We are all to have a part in the Great Commission. It is a commission for all of us who given our lives to Christ. The question is not does God want me to be involved in spreading his Word throughout the world, but how does He want me to be involved?

So, is it bad for Christians to stay in America? NO, but even those who aren’t called to go overseas should be involved in the kingdom spreading to those who don’t have access to it. Those who stay aren’t doing something else, they are still focused on the unreached and having a huge part of the behind the scenes work. We’ve come up with a list of different roles on how to be involved with frontier missions, only 2 of the 11 are actually leaving the U.S.

I leave you again with the words of the greatest missionary:

For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’ But they have not all obeyed the gospel. “
-Romans 10:13-16

Frontier vs. Regular

January 6, 2008

Missions is a term that can be thrown around easily. Missions is now exchanged for the term “evangelism” and “outreach”. Missions is a budget in the church that goes far too wide and far too shallow. Missions is not just a sector or ministry in the church. Missions IS the purpose of the church. As the church universal we are commanded to take the gospel to where it is currently not. The reason for and the purpose of the church is to worship Christ with everything and bring more worshipers to Christ. It is out of God’s passion for His glory that missions exists (read John Piper’s “Let the Nations Be Glad.” )

A few years back I had thought the division was between lost and saved people here and around the world, and the church just gets people to come to Him wherever they are. The first time I heard about Christ was when I was 15. I knew where churches were, I just wasn’t interested to find out what they were all about. I thought that is how it is all over, churches out there but individuals decide to go or not.

I never realized that there were whole groups of people separated from God, who have no access to His gospel. I found out that there were places where there were no churches. That there were places that people didn’t have the bible translated in their language, places where people are actively searching for someone to tell them the greatest story told, but no one has ever told them. This changed everything.

Missiologists have termed it reached and unreached. Come to find out there are whole sectors of culture termed people groups that are characterized by this reached and unreached zones.

Based on this, here are some definitions:
“missions” that is within our country is called evangelism
“missions” outside our country that is among reached peoples is regular missions
“missions” outside our country that is among unreached peoples is frontier missions

Here are some statistics to make things more real:

  • There are an estimated 24,000 people groups
  • 10,000 of these are considered unreached (most located in 10/40 window)
  • Of our mission personnel, 85% serve in regular missions while only 15% serve in frontier areas
  • Of our finances, 95% of our church dollars goes straight back to us, sending 5% out to missions out side of our country
    • of our missions budget, 90% goes to regular missions with only 10% going to frontier missions
    • Totaled: 99.5% of our money goes to reached areas where people have access to the gospel while 0.5% goes to places that otherwise have no opportunity to hear

I think the church needs to put a little more thought as to what missions is, and what our focus should be. Of course all of these areas are good targets for ministry, but if we are going to focus on missions lets truely and strategically put our efforts into completing the Great Commission.

I leave you with the words of the greatest missionary:

thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, but as it is written, ‘Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.”
-Romans 15:20-21

Going Cross-Cultural: Durham

April 19, 2007

So over the past two years the Lord has shown me ever increasingly how much he cares for people. Different personalities, colors, nations, he is just in love with his creation, and wants them to reciprocate that love back on Him. Hence we read in his word to go out and tell people all the amazing things He has done in our lives and wants to do in yours. Evangelism is easy. Tell some who looks like you, acts like you and speaks like you about Jesus and you can get your message across. Cross-cultural evangelism and then frontier missions (telling people who haven’t had an opportunity to hear) is hard.

The small group I am involved in is participating in Hope for Durham. We have decided to work in a halfway house in downtown that focuses on getting drug addicts to be full hearted submitters to Christ instead of the chains of the drug life. Thier director had asked us to come in and help them fill out applications and talk about interveiws. The first night, the four of us (Hoplers and Hoffmans) got our material and walked to the place, ready to impart our knowledge. When we got there, they were moving the girls house, so there would be no teaching tonight. So we did what thought natural and volunteered to help them move, thinking this would give us an opportunity to build relationships.

Through this cross-cultural experience, I was kicked in the face spiritually. I walked away with a changed attitude:

We are no better than they. Just because I look like I have things together doesn’t mean jack. I’m a sinner, their a sinner, God sees no difference. I walked in thinking that I was better than them, because I have a job, and I go to a church, and I look like I know what I am doing. Through them God brought out my fear, the desperateness at the bottom of my heart that I am in need of a savior. I thought I was going to teach them about how to apply for a job, they taught me about life.

I told one guy, “I love Durham”, citing the catchy phrase around the Summit Church. He laughed in my face. I was so offended, but he showed me I love Durham because I know the middle class Durham. Durham to me is my friends and my church. He, who has lived in Durham, in its ghettos for 45 years, told me all the stories I like to forget about: crime, drugs, violence. He told me how Durham is a trap that you can’t get out of. Durham is despair, darkness, sin.

I was humbled that night, and later excited. Durham is a hopeless place, without Christ. Durham is a dark and dirty place, without Christ. Durham redeemed under Christ looks a lot more like how Jesus described his kingdom. And He has called us to redeem Durham. This cross-cultural experience taught me to depend on God, and see these people I will share with as He sees them, no worse than me, but as people who need to know of Christ’s love.  I am excited to see what God will do. Though I have a little part in changing Durham, I serve a big God who wants it changed.