Posts Tagged ‘Unreached People Groups’

Videos about Unreached People Groups

November 6, 2010

Here are a few videos about unreached people groups.

 

Here is Dr. Winter, talking about unreached peoples and talking about how we need to focus beyond the concept.

From John Piper – how we were made to engage

From an agency, Mission to Unreached Peoples. The video has some good stats but is tilted to use scare tactics a tad too much.


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Review of 1040 Documentary

October 17, 2010

Last night I had the opportunity to watch a documentary called 1040: Christianity in the New Asia. Here is the official website. Here are some clips from YouTube.

It wasn’t at all what I expected, but I did enjoy it. I don’t know about you, but when I hear 1040 and when it is explained in mission circles, I automatically think about unreached peoples. However, this documentary was not about the lack of faith or the need for workers to go to these places. It was about the faith that was there and growing in geographical boundaries of the 10/40 window.

It was interesting to see stories of how God is working across the continent of Asia. The documentary is structured around a trip across Asia that Jaeson Ma made. He visits about half a dozen cities and interviews people there to ask about their story, hoping that story could be representative of the general population. The message the documentary is trying to give is that we are entering the last days and its Asia’s turn to stand up for Christ. The people interviewed seemed confident that faith in their country was growing faster and deeper than in the West. While I don’t completely disagree with these claims, I think they were stated in biased and non-representative terms.

While I enjoyed the documentary, I thought there were some major short falls. The documentary focused on Jaeson Ma and his travels with his friends in Asia. Jaeson uses his relational connections in the global hip-hop industry as a gateway into these cities. These upper class, famous entertainers and followers of Christ speak for the movements to Christ in their countries. There are no interviews from “ordinary” followers. Another blatant omission is that there was nothing from India, another part of Asia with vast influence. I had questions on some of the missiology it was promoting as well but don’t have the space to go into that here.

I would categorize this under more of a mobilization tool to be used to get people excited about missions. It is a good conversation starter, so it might be a good idea to get a group together to watch it and then discuss it.

PS Jaeson Ma was the right hand man of rapper/pastor MC Hammer. Pastor Hammer is interviewed throughout the documentary.

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

The Flying Man Pt 4: How to Best Help China by Dr. Winter

December 23, 2008

(Read the original article published in the Nov/Dec edition of Mission Frontiers magazine)

Some of the themes discussed in my the last post will be repeated and elaborated on here. Again it is interesting to read Dr. Winter’s writings as he usually talks out the issues he writes about to our staff on Friday mornings. I remember him bringing up some of these issues and am learning his primary worldview.

Winter contrasts the lives and ministries of two China heroes. One is the famous missionary to China, Hudson Taylor, his less known contemporary is Timothy Richard.

First the similarities, both were evangelical in tradition and culturally sensitive (wore Chinese clothes and learned Chinese language.) Both were visionaries and pioneered organizations. Both also had a love for China, and devoted their lives to serving the Chinese people.

Since much is written about Taylor, Dr. Winter spends most of the article describing Richard and contrasting with known facts / practices of Taylor. Winter cited a history of missions book with information on both missionaries called These Sought a Country by Kenneth Scott Latourette.

The main dividing line concerns the issue of what do to on the field? Is it just service (a recent trend in developing organizations and the focus of North American people [read previous blog concerning these stats.]) Is it just evangelism and focusing on “the spiritual?” Or is it a combination of the two?

Taylor vehemently evangelized and concentrated all his eggs in this basket. He told his team members to not worry about planting churches, but only preach and evangelize. He strictly followed the Mark version of the Great Commission but seemingly neglected Matthew’s Great Commission covenant.

Richard on the other hand focused on evangelism with helping the people. Naming eliminating the horrible practice of foot-binding and developing nation-wide education. His strategy was to evangelize and sow widely, but focus and disciple those that favored the message. He developed leadership within the church structure and gained acceptance by community leadership and authority.

I have the utmost respect for Hudson Taylor and the things he did for China and the rest of the world. When it comes to strategy though, I am inclined to agree with Richard and have workers follow the more holistic model. To Taylor, I use him as an example of sacrifice and commitment to the task through his example. I also see him as an amazing mobilizer, getting more people to his go to China through his agency than all others.

What do you think? What are your impressions on both of these men and their strategies?

Create International

December 15, 2008

Today we had the opportunity to hear from the founders/International Directors of Create International.  About 20 years ago they were on our campus, and are graduated through the University we are attached to.  We were so jazzed to hear about the ministry of this organization.

At the heart of the organization is contextualization.  They take it to the next level though.  Create’s goal and focus is to provide up to date resources for missionaries.  They specialize in providing contextualized multimedia for people working in unreached people groups.

They travel around the globe filming and recording films, music videos, short stories, bible storying and distribute what they make for free.  They are connected with Youth With a Mission (YWAM) but want to partner with many agencies.

Today they were showing us videos and demonstrating how they distribute this media to teams around the world to utilize.  Workers download the media on their iPods, cell phones, computers and take them around with them (most young adults carry these things with them all the time).  These tools are great for short term teams who rarely know the language or the culture.  Once they begin conversations and gather people’s attention, they can share these videos that describe the gospel relevantly in the heart language of the people.  How amazing!  Long-term teams can use these to accompany the outreach they are doing as well.  Often natives don’t want the foreign man’s religion.  However, when they see someone who looks like them and talks like them attesting to the goodness of God in thier own heart language, they begin to listen and understand how the gospel applies to their lives.

Are you overseas, do you know someone going short term or long term?  Easily equip them to be effective as they share the message of Hope and give them a tool to do so in a culturally contextualized manner.  Go to the site and find a video that is culturally contextuallized to the people you (or your friends) are working with.

Praise be to God that He commands us to use “all means” in sharing our faith!

Reflections from Buddhist Temples

December 7, 2008

Yesterday we went to two different Buddhist temples on an INSIGHT field trip. Since INSIGHT is a one-year global studies program, we really like to get the students interacting with different places of worship as well as real people who hold those beliefs.  Of the 10,000 or so Unreached People Groups in the world, about 1,000 of those are Buddhists, making up roughly 225 million people.  For more research and details, go to the Joshua Project.

We went to a Thai Buddhist temple in N. Hollywood (Theravada Buddhism) and a Chinese Buddhist temple in Hacienda Heights (Mahayana Buddhism).

Both temples were very ornate and beautiful to see.  They were located in neighborhoods just like churches would be, but looked like you were in Asia when you stepped on the campuses.  The first temple we were able to talk directly to a monk there.  They set up a mic for him that drowned him out more than amplified him, we really didn’t hear what he said.  The second temple we were taken on a tour by a volunteer.  This guy was just a volunteer and was Caucasian as well.  It was very interesting hearing from the official monk at one temple and a lay member at the other.

The thing running through my head the most while interacting with these people is the conversation of Grace based religion and Works based religion, as my pastor, JD Greear says, “there are two basic types of religion one is spelled D-O.  Christianity is the only religion spelled D-O-N-E.”  The basic belief system of Buddhism is that this world we live in is full of suffering and the possibility of escaping it (nirvana) is only on us (through enlightenment).  I wondered, at what point does one feel tired of the constant striving only to hope to be reincarnated in a better life next time.  At what point does hopelessness settle in and the felt need of a Saviour become embraced.

Buddhist people are difficult for Westerners to share the gospel because of the stark difference in worldviews.  Westerners (in general) run off logic, which Easterners flip on their heads with their cyclical thinking.  People working in that world must strip themselves of their cultural background and adapt to the host culture’s way of understanding things to have a chance at explaining the gospel in a relevant way.  Christianity has a sustainable answer to the problem of suffering and evil.  Most Buddhists realize they are not good enough to enter into heaven (reach nirvana), they just feel that the responsibility is their own and eventually they will get there.

Let us remember in prayer our brothers and sisters from Buddhist backgrounds.  Let us pray for their ability to sense the hopelessness of doing it on their own.  Pray for missionaries working in those places to show the love of Christ that will draw men and women into a knowledge that He alone can cover their sins.

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

Veiws on Calling and God’s Will

August 30, 2007

… A continued conversation from JD Greear’s Blog, Entry entitled “How Do You Know What You are ‘Called’ to as a Christian?”

I agree wholeheartedly with JD & yucko. This issue is very pervasive in college. Kids are asking all the time the question “what has God called me to?” There are constant fears of falling in line with “the one life trajectory that God has for us.” The more I think about it, the more that statement puts God in box, saying that basically we can so easily mess up God’s Will.

An analogy we encourage those making major life decisions is instead of asking, “What does God have for me to do,” ask, “What is God already doing in the world, and how has he gifted me to be a part of it.” We need to take the focus off ourselves and see our role in line with the big picture: It’s all about knowing God and making Him known. We give the challenge as JD does. There are pockets of people who don’t have access to the gospel (10,000 unreached people groups). We know God has said that he will redeem “panta ta ethne” (all the families/people groups of the world.) Why not be involved there?