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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Neal Pirolo :: Serving as Senders

Neal Pirolo :: Chapter Eight: Your Part in the Big Picture

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“Be strong and very courageous that you may do it!”Joshua 1:9

I returned to the major city, having just completed two successful weeks of training sessions in the back country. Eager students searched their Bibles and took notes for seven hours a day. We had returned a day early, so my reserved hotel room was not yet ready for me. No problem—I could go to the business center to check my emails. It was a very small room with a clerk’s desk and two computer terminals. I paid the fee and opened an email from my partner who was still in another country. He said it was too ‘hot’ to conduct the training in this city so I needed to get on a flight first thing in the morning. He gave me the name and number of the person who would pick me up. I was thanking the Lord that I had come in a day earlier than expected. Had I not come, I would have missed connecting with him in that new location.

While in that thankful mood, I realized the attendant had left the room. Strange, I thought. Then I began smelling an unusual smell. I looked under my table…over in the corner…under the attendant’s desk. Nothing. Then it struck me: I was the smell! I hadn’t had a shower for two weeks. For some reason, in the backcountry, they think that if you soak your feet in scalding hot water each night before going to bed, you are clean. Yes, you all sit on the porch, talking together and soaking your feet. And then, ‘Good night!’

Another friend helped me get on the correct flight the next morning. (Yes, I had taken a long, hot shower!) I arrived safely. However, there were no pay phones, nor did I have a cell phone. I looked around. ‘Here comes a gentleman. I am sure he speaks English and will let me use his phone. Just one quick call, please.’

I entered the number. The lady answered, ‘No, I will not pick you up.’ She gave me the name and number of another person. I had to ask the man to let me make another call. His taxi was waiting, but I had the phone. (Possession is nine-tenths of the law, isn’t it?) I called. ‘A van will be there in twenty minutes,’ I was told. Soon my partner arrived. We waited.

One hour and twenty minutes later, a van with black tint on all side and back windows, stopped. A window rolled down. A door opened. A voice from that interior blackness said, ‘Get in.’ We did. Only after we were down the road some distance did they introduce themselves in broken English. Our one or two words in their language could say no more than ‘hello’ and ‘thank you!’

We traveled in silence along a highway, then left onto a dirt road. We made a right turn some miles later onto a highway, zigzagging in generally one direction to a yet unknown destination.

“Next we left the highway onto a paved boulevard. The van slowed, turned off its lights and stopped. A voice in the dark said, ‘Get out here. Hide behind those bushes. Another van will come from the opposite direction. Its lights will be off. Get into that van.’ And they left!

For men, bushes can easily become a relief station. Thus relieved, we waited. And there it came—another van from the opposite direction. With its lights off. A window rolled down and a voice from that interior darkness said, ‘Get in!’ And we did.

Back on the highway, we zigzagged through the night countryside. Through villages, and now more narrow roads—some with drying crops covering half the width of the road. Then we traveled on dirt roads. The van ‘bottomed out’ a few times, but kept going.

Then we heard an excited conversation on a cell phone. We approached a high, solid corrugated iron double gate. The gates opened at the sound of the van. We drove in, then stayed in the van until the gates closed. As we get out, we were greeted by fifty pastors waiting to hear the Biblical principles of caring for the missionaries they are sending out to Middle Eastern countries.

A feast awaited us. No matter that it was midnight! Nor did it matter that the living quarters of this compound were the resting places for a cow, a sheep, several pigs and numerous chickens! A good night’s sleep and we were ready to share.

Little did it matter to anyone that my young lady translator was wearing a sweatshirt with a playboy bunny brazened across the front. Only our culture from the West (or in the metropolitan areas of this country) would know the significance of that symbol. Eager hearts were here to learn from the Word of God.

The week passed only too quickly. The iron gates opened into the night and we were on our way to another village area deemed safe enough for a couple of Western travelers.”

“Be strong and courageous!” Why is it so crucial that you and your fellowship be strong and courageous to serve as senders? Because God is orchestrating a concert of global activity in our times in which tens of thousands of new missionaries are going to every people, tribe, tongue and nation. And every goer needs a solid team of senders. You and your church could identify and send and care for teachers to countries like this one, preparing some of those nationals to go and some to serve as senders.

A New Harvest Force

“The harvest is great; the laborers are few.” Luke 10:2

Worldwide, the harvest team is growing—particularly in the Two-Thirds World. (Two-Thirds World describes two-thirds of the world’s population living on two-thirds of the earth’s surface. And these countries now form more than two-thirds of the global Body of Christ.) Mission is now from everywhere to everywhere:

• A church in Mongolia was birthed in 1990. Within five years they sent their first two missionaries to India. Soon, several Mongolian congregations were sending missionaries into China, and around the globe on Operation Mobilization’s Doulos and Logos, their floating evangelistic bookstores. Now the Church of hundreds of congregations in Mongolia continues to send workers into His harvest fields. (OM’s lead vessel is now Logos Hope. Keep up with this fabulous ministry at www.omships.org.)

• One of Christendom’s most unique missionary teams is a Filipino couple sent under a Singapore mission agency, supported by Indonesian churches to minister to Indians in Paraguay, South America.

• In 2005, the Nigerian Church through NEMA launched a Vision 50:15 strategy to aggressively send out 50,000 missionaries by the year 2020. The project seeks to include the entirety of North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula until the Gospel gets back to where it came from—Jerusalem. It is their desire to meet the Chinese there as the massive Church in China has also launched an initiative to see the Gospel sweep across the Middle Eastern countries, reaching to Jerusalem. The NEMA Executive Director stated: “Hundreds of churches have adopted the vision. Whole denominations have established weekly prayer for each of the eighteen nations we have entered. Many have adapted the book, Serving As Senders, as a manual for their members to provide appropriate support for their missionaries. Our first martyr was gunned down in 2010.” (www.nematoday.org)

• Though the challenge for the Nigerian Church is daunting, as they “advance on their knees” through Muslim and animistic territory, the task looming before the Chinese Church is even greater. Five thousand people groups in fifty countries span the region between China and Jerusalem. These lands also hold a trio of spiritual strongholds: Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam.

• The Back to Jerusalem Movement had its beginnings in the 1940s. Due to severe persecution in the 1950s, it went underground for many decades. However, today hundreds of Chinese families are relocating to unreached regions of China, planting new congregations. Church leaders are training and sending additional thousands west, believing God has given them the commission to complete the full circle of the Gospel around the globe.

• Korean churches, with a God-inspired zeal, continue to send missionaries to some of the hardest-to-evangelize corners of the world. Korea is the first non-Western nation to deploy such large numbers of missionaries. They are second only to the United States in the number they have on the field. Realize that less than one hundred fifty years ago, Koreans beheaded believers in Christ.

• An Armenian, whose Christian family had escaped from the Ottoman Empire three generations ago, was born in Nineveh, Iraq. In 1990, he found himself fighting for Saddam Hussein in Kuwait. He woke up one morning to realize that unless he got out of there, he would be killed. He walked 1500 miles to Turkey! He was shot at twice. At several borders, he was almost captured. He was able to receive political asylum through Turkey and he went to Sweden. He set up a business that became quite successful.

While in Malaysia, attending a conference related to his business, he vacationed briefly in Phuket. Walking along the ocean one day, his heart was stirred with compassion for the ladies who were parading their bodies for sale. He went home. His church could not envision a ministry to prostitutes. Garnering the support of several home groups, he returned to Malaysia. He and his wife (a woman whom he rescued from the “business”) continue to minister among these people.

• The Latin American Church as a whole has been awakened over the last decades to their responsibility to the world harvest. A number of years ago, I was asked to come to Chile. At the time, the Church represented between 18-20% of the population, a significant number. Yet church leaders were still standing at the door with their “hands out” when missionaries came, asking them to bring personnel, money and equipment. My assignment was to travel to five major speaking centers. The message they asked me to give: “It is time for you, pastors, to stop asking for help and start lifting up your eyes to the fields of the world.” Now, not only from Chile, but also from Brazil, Columbia and other Latin American nations, hundreds are responding to the call to go. Many are going to the Muslim world.

• A director of one Latin American ministry said it this way:

Reaching Muslims has been difficult for many traditional European and North American missionaries. Their blond, Caucasian looks, their cultural differences and their mission style have often been more of a hindrance than help.

Enter a new wave of modern missionaries, dark-skinned, soccer-loving Latin Americans who can more easily move among North African people and share an affinity with them and their culture. For historic and cultural reasons there are many similarities between Arab and Latin American cultures. For example, the way we use time, and our concept of friendship. In addition, we have been colonized just like the Arabs. They also don’t feel threatened by a Latin; they don’t think that he is a spy.

• A Brazilian brother enlarges on this new Harvest Force. Drawing on history, he talks about the coming of the “Third Church” of the third world in the Third Millennium. The “first church” was in the Mediterranean region led by Christ’s early century followers. The “second church” was the development of the Western European and North American Church. While Christianity in much of North America and Europe stagnates, vibrant new churches are taking root around the globe. Since the 1970s, the emergence of the “third church” among countries of the Southern Hemisphere (Latin America, Africa, Asia and Oceania) have been increasingly providing the next generation of cross-cultural workers. (Google Unleashing the Brazilian Evangelical Missionary Force.)

A North American reader, at this point could say, “Good, the opportunity for my involvement is past. I hand the ‘Torch’ to the Third Church of the third world.” Not so, says the Scripture! Just because God is raising up new believers who are hearing the Voice of their Master, “Go! Preach! Go! Teach!”, the North American Church—more personally, you, the reader—cannot deny His clarion call to all true believers: some to go; some to serve as senders.

A few examples:

A Western missionary, who had learned how to relate with Muslims, went to Georgia (not USA) to train local Christian leaders to do summer camps for Muslim children. Impressionable and eager to understand purpose in life, a nine-year-old chose to sit and read about Jesus (because her parents would not have allowed her to have that book in their home) rather than play games with the others.

A Western missionary, who had worked with Latin American Christians, now lives in Spain where he is giving advanced training to Latinos crossing into North Africa. He comments: “Latinos are tough! They have paid a high price, showing a deep commitment to the Lord, passionate love for the lost, and admirable perseverance under difficult circumstances.”

A Western missionary, who has a grasp on the basic principles of spiritual warfare, goes to Asian, European and Latin American countries to help prepare field workers being sent out from those countries.

A Western missionary, who has a heart for the Bibleless peoples, went to Papua New Guinea to train nationals in Bible translation.

A Western missionary, who had prepared himself and his family, goes to the Bushmen of the Kalahari to lead to Christ those from this people group who will join in the singing of praise unto our King.

A Western missionary, maybe one you know, is developing a partnership team. And he is looking for you! But regardless of how many (from the East, West, North or South) commit to missions in the 21st Century, this new harvest force won’t go (or worse, will go and not be as effective) unless they are sent.

In secular war, there is an acknowledged ratio of support personnel to frontline soldiers. In World War II, the military ratio was generally 15 to one. In more recent conflicts, that ratio was expanded to 50 support workers per frontline soldier.

Spiritual warfare, which encompasses all true missionary work, demands no less an emphasis on support personnel. In the 1700s, the Moravians of Central Europe enlisted four senders for each goer. In the Student Volunteer Movement, a massive army of 20,000 frontline missionaries was sent out. But in that same God-inspired movement, there were 80,000 committed to care for those who went. In 2004, at the first Guatemala National Missions Conference, hundreds stepped forward to respond to the call to go. A greater number, remaining in the audience, stood and moved forward to declare their willingness to serve as senders. Since the 21st-century harvest force is growing by thousands of new missionaries, the sending force must grow proportionately by tens of thousands.

Look What God Is Doing in His Harvest Field Today

“Look among the nations and watch. Be utterly astounded! For I will do a work in your day which you would not believe, though it were told you.” Habakkuk 1:5

To understand the significance of a sending ministry, we need to see how it fits into the big picture of what God is doing. The message of the Gospel never changes, but the “all things to all men so that by all means…” (1 Corinthians 9:22) does change. For example, the following factors are affecting the methods God is using to reap a 21st-century harvest:

• Restricted-access countries are increasing in number. This requires using more creative ways to gain entrance to that country. For instance, a Filipina taught English at a university. The program was structured so that she followed her students through their four years. Due to her witness, when the 34 students graduated, 27 were true followers of Jesus. Some four years later, she returned to visit several of them. One is now leading a group of 20 single business people. Another is teaching University students. Another has opened a club for mothers, where they are learning parenting and family relationship skills, to stem the tide of divorce that is sweeping that country. These nationals are now using these means to reach and disciple others. (www.missionfinder.org/tesol.html)

• Business As Mission has become a viable option. Timothy, born to aristocracy, lost everything but his life in the collapse of his country. When released from prison, he found a job loading boxes at a warehouse. His entrepreneurial skills, using Business As Mission principles, have transformed not only his life, but for that of a large segment of his once decimated tribe. (www.mybusiness-mymission.com)

• A commodities trader on the New York Stock Exchange found that he was able to use his years of experience to make a difference with small businesses in Ecuador. He says that integrating his faith and passion for business will only continue. (www.businessasmission.com)

• Finishers Project is a service that helps adult Christians discover short-term, part-time, or second-career ministry opportunities. The president of Finishers Project says, “The fact that there are 78 million Boomers in the United States looking for ways to invest their experience and resources to make a difference, has not caught God by surprise. He has been preparing a unique generation for significant Kingdom expansion.” A “twice-retired, still on fire” pharmaceutical manufacturer, at age 70 returned to seminary for his MA in Religion, to prepare him for ministry “until He comes.” (www.finishers.org)

• A ministry in Egypt is filming simultaneously in four studios daily. They send the teachings to Europe, where they are beamed back to the Middle East. Follow up has a whole staff of people answering questions and sending out literature.

• A pastor in Turkey has an Internet ministry, developing a relationship with hundreds of Muslims who are interested in Isa (Jesus).

• Foundational to every Church Planting Movement (CPM) are intentional methods and strategies that have captured the imagination and drive of hundreds of networking missionaries around the globe. They follow a Biblical model of leaving culturally-relevant, reproducing churches, allowing them to move on to another location. (www.churchplantingmovements.com) Watchman Nee said that missionaries, at best, should see themselves as scaffolding. When the church is built up (not referring to the building, but the people), the “scaffolding” should come down, packed up on a truck and moved to another location.

• Since the origin of the caste system some 3000 years ago, the Dalits have lived in bondage to the Hindu code. There are approximately 300 million people who are deemed “untouchable.” In 2001, they rose up to declare their freedom from the system. But what “religion” would guarantee this freedom? Organizations like Gospel for Asia, YWAM and OM rallied to the cause. Through education—Christian education—hundreds of thousands are being touched with the Gospel. Classes of Christian men and women (no longer ‘crushed’) are graduating and entering the mainstream of Indian life. (www.gfa.org/dalit; www.ywam.org; www.om.org)

• Many short-term missions efforts are being integrated carefully into long-term strategies on the field. For example, a missionary in a restrictive country had tried without success for five years to meet the leaders of his target city. When he hosted for just one week a team of professionals from his home country, the leaders of the city openly welcomed them. As the missionary followed up on the group’s contact, he exclaimed, “This team opened more doors in one week than I had opened in five years!”

• Mission organizations are accepting more “imperfect” laborers. Many are finding it easier to break through the cultural and personal barriers of the people among whom they minister because they have “been there.” Thus, a single American mother is effectively ministering to single moms in Indonesia. A recovered alcoholic is a missionary to alcoholics in Russia. An ex-prostitute is leading women out of the “trade” and into a productive life for the Lord. A blind man is serving well as the Field Personnel Director for an agency. God is releasing non-traditional workers into His harvest!

• The harvest field isn’t primarily rural anymore. Over 50% of the world’s population now lives in cities. Disenchanted in their search for the “good life” the city was to bring, many are open to the good life in Christ.

• The world is teeming with displaced people. Escaping war, famine, natural disaster or persecution, they are more open to the Gospel than when they lived in their homelands.

• One of the most strategic global outreach efforts is found in the internationals who live among us. It has become a mission field of gigantic proportion. International Students, Incorporated (ISI) has introduced thousands of university students to the One who has broken down the middle wall of separation. (Ephesians 2:14) Opportunities to minister to other nations’ potential leadership range from welcoming them at the airport to hosting them in your home. A powerful ministry, indeed! (www.isionline.org)

• International business people, relocated refugees, ethnic enclaves, illegal aliens, and even international visitors are receptive to friendship evangelism. My wife and I were at the beach watching the seals with a friend from England. A Chinese woman approached me, asking me for the name of the big birds perched here and there. I responded, helping her teach that English word to her two children. My wife was then impressed to talk with her. ‘How long have you been here?’ ‘Almost a month.’ ‘Where are you from?’ ‘Beijing.’ ‘Have you been in an American home?’ ‘No.’ ‘Would you like to visit one?’ She jumped at the chance! We had a typical American dinner of baked potato and meatloaf, salad and vegetables. We all held hands as I offered a prayer. She had never eaten a baked potato! She devoured hers, and asked if it would be okay for her to eat the half of her son’s that he didn’t eat! An invitation for our granddaughter to come and stay with her in China was given. Just three extra places at a meal table and seeds of the Gospel were sown. That’s all it takes. (Order a series of twelve essays, Internationals Who Live Among Us, available at www.eri.org.)

• Technology is being used as never before. The JESUS Film, a drama portraying the events of the Gospel of Luke, has been viewed by more than 5 billion people in 1114 languages. Through this film alone, it is reported, millions have come to faith in Christ! (www.jesusfilm.org)

• A man whose heart is for the Triqui people in Mexico, puts Christian music and Scripture on “throw-away” SanDisk micro chips. He distributes them as follow up to his ministry among these farm workers.

• Bible studies are being shipped or carried into access-restricted countries on Mp3 players. Airwaves are carrying untold millions of Gospel messages via email and the Internet. Mass media blankets huge population areas. Communication technology has truly connected the world into a global village!

And we see only the tip of the iceberg of our Heavenly Father’s business these days. His perspective is infinitely deeper and broader. Beyond human technology, God is showing Himself real to people through dreams and visions. Stories proliferate of Muslims coming to Christ through dreams. (www.answering-islam.org/testimonies)

To better understand and find our part as senders in this awesome task of world evangelization, we must continue to look at the bigger picture of God’s purpose on earth in terms of bridging cultural distinctives and establishing strong, evangelizing churches where “Christ has not yet been preached.” (Romans 15:20) We must ask, “What is the remaining task? What is the status of the Great Commission in today’s world?”

The World for Whom Christ Died

“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because You were slain, and with Your blood You purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation (ethné).” Revelation 5:9

Missiologists have researched and determined approximately 24,000 people groups in the world. Some of these nations and languages and peoples have heard the Gospel. Some haven’t. There are about 16,000 people groups who have embraced the Gospel, resulting in strong churches led by national (non-missionary) leaders with a serious commitment to finish evangelizing the rest of their people. Somewhat over half of the world’s population lives in these people groups (ethné). This does not mean all these individuals are Christians; it simply means they live in people groups where it’s possible for them to respond to a clear presentation of the Gospel from within their own culture in their own language. But it does point to some good news.

With media focusing on the negative and the evil of the world, it is refreshing to look at these statistics:

It is estimated that by the year 100 A.D., there was only one believer among every 360 people. By 1000 A.D. the ratio had been reduced to 1:270; by 1500, 1:85; by 1900, 1:21; 1970, 1:13. And in the year 2010, there was one Bible-believing, Christ honoring Christian among every 7.3 people. That is good news, indeed!

However, the other half of our planet’s residents live in about 8,000 “unreached” people groups. This does not mean that there are no Christians living in these areas. It does mean that there is not a viable, Bible-believing, reproducing church.

While some of these unreached groups are scattered among various world cultures, the majority of them are in five major cultural blocs: 3,300 Muslim people groups; 1200 tribal groups; 2,400 Hindu groups; 100 non-religious groups; and 700 Buddhist groups.

These unreached groups are primarily located geographically in what has come to be called “The 10/40 Window”—from West Africa across Asia between the latitudes of ten degrees north and forty degrees north.

Within this 10/40 window are:

• Most of the world’s unreached peoples;

• Two-thirds of the world’s population, although it is only one-third of the earth’s land area;

• The heart of Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism;

• Eight out of ten of the poorest of the world’s poor, enduring the world’s lowest quality of living.

Mission statesman Luis Bush, who called Christendom’s attention to this region, also points out that the 10/40 Window “is a stronghold of satan.”

Children in Crisis

“Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, because the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Mark 10:14

The spiritual need staring at us from the 10/40 Window is staggering. Yet, more recently, Luis Bush has brought another “window” into sharp focus: The “4/14 Window.”

The 4/14 Window, first introduced in 1996 by Dan Brewster, refers to the world of children between the ages of four and fourteen years old. Dr Bryant Myers’ research showed that 85% of those who become Christians do so between the ages of four and fourteen. Children and teenagers make up half of the world’s population. They are vulnerable, impressionable, receptive to what this world is all about. 70% of these children live in the 10/40 Window.

• One/third of the world’s population is under the age of 15. This is approximately 2.3 billion children. Every week 2,684,934 more children are born into this world. (That’s 140,000,000 a year. Over one billion, four hundred million in a ten-year period!) And the numbers grow exponentially. These numbers are difficult to comprehend. Where are these children?

• Two hundred fifty million of these children are working to provide survival-level income for their families.

• One hundred thirty-four million have no access to education.

• One hundred sixty-three million children in our world are orphans. Some of the fortunate ones are in an orphanage. (www.missionfinder.org/orphanages.htm) There are organizations working with orphanages to reunite children with their families. (www.orphancareresources.org)

• One Cairo newspaper declares that Egypt’s street kids are victims, not criminals. Between 600,000 and a million children and youth fend for themselves on Cairo streets, alone. About 86% of street children have identified violence as a major problem in their life, while 50% stated that they had been exposed to sexual molestation or rape.

• Not limited to Egypt, child exploitation for sex, labor, or house slaves is endemic the world over. In Bangkok, Thailand, a city carrying the inglorious title of “child sex capital of the world,” thousands of children are “bought” from hill country families with the promise of educating and training them for good positions, only to be sold to wicked and evil people with the sole purpose of exploiting them. Next to drug trafficking, the sex trade has the highest financial stakes in the world.

• “Throw-away” kids roam the streets, looking for something to eat, keeping a sharp eye out for a safe place to sleep—tonight. They are abused, neglected, exposed to criminal and gang activity, suffer poor health due to their lifestyles and exposure to harsh environments, drug and substance abuse and to STDs.

• Village children walk miles to the city each evening, sleeping in a train station or Christian shelter to avoid being kidnapped and sold into slavery. One gentleman wrote: “We met the slave traders in the open countryside. We negotiated a price with them. We were able to buy most of the children back.”

• But what of the generation of children who have the “good life?” The “connected generation” being influenced by the Internet, through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and scores of other social networking sites? Children who spend their time digitally manipulating characters on the screen whose purpose is to kill and destroy? In 2011, the most popular online game in the world was World of WarCraft. In addition, every day, the children of the world watch 200,000,000 YouTube videos. The connected generation connects, thinks and acts—differently. The Internet is discipling the youth of the world. (www.4to14window.com)

These children are this world’s future. The decade represented by the 4/14 Window is the most critical period in terms of human development. During these years, the perspectives of children are profoundly shaped—either positively or negatively. What one generation allows, the next generation embraces.

God is at Work through His Faithful Followers

“Pray to the Lord of the Harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His Harvest.” Matthew 9:38

As in New Testament times, today there are “Pauls” and “Timothys.” Though fewer in number, there are those who follow Paul’s example of “going where Christ is not named.” They have set bold, adventurous, aggressive goals to penetrate the final frontiers. “I have fully preached the Gospel in these parts…; I’m going to Spain”—which, in Paul’s day, was the end of the earth! (Romans 15)

These 21st-century, forward-thinking missionaries are taking the Mark 16 aspect of the Great Commission: Go! Preach! to every person who has not heard the Good News in a culturally relevant context.

On the other hand, there is a second army of cross-cultural workers whose giftings lead them to follow the Matthew 28 command of the Great Commission: Go! Teach! Where daring evangelists of previous generations preached the Gospel of Peace there are today literally thousands of new “Macedonians” standing on the shores of their nations calling, “Come over and help us. Teach us the Word in such a way that we can teach others.” (Acts 16:9 and 2 Timothy 2:2) It was Timothy, Titus, Erastus and others that Paul sent to “set in order the things that need attention and appoint elders in every city.” (Titus 1:5)

The answer today is two-fold:

1) To identify, challenge and mobilize bold, Pauline-thinking, world-class teams to go directly to the unreached groups of the world, and

2) To increase the number of “Timothys” who will train Two-Thirds World nationals. They will then go to unreached people groups who are more open to them than to Westerners.

Whether your friend is a “Paul” or a “Timothy”, whether he joins a pioneer church-planting team, reaches out to the Christian leaders of the Two-Thirds World or works with children in crisis in Thailand, he needs a strong, as-enthusiastic-as-he-is team of senders—partners in the Gospel, as Paul called the Christians in Philippi.

God will accomplish His historic purpose to “make disciples of all the nations”—the people groups of the world. (Matthew 28:19) At the end of time Christ will be exalted with the song: “By Your blood You have purchased for God men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” (Revelation 5:9) No man knows that day or hour of that fulfillment, but we live in exciting times of opportunity.

Today there are nearly two billion worldwide who claim to follow Jesus Christ. Out of these, about 800,000,000 are committed, true believers. Clustered into congregations of about 80—the average size of the world’s local church—it’s obvious that the Body of Christ now has millions of congregations to impact their own cultures, reach the unreached and serve churches in other cultures.

If some will go. If some will serve as senders.

(Many statistics and opportunities for involvement have been shared in this section. Because of God’s fast-paced thrust in this 21st century, “numbers” are quickly outdated. For current information about these unreached peoples, the countries they live in and the global efforts to bring the Gospel to them, and other exciting advances in the world of missions, go to the Internet. Look at the websites I have given. Do a simple Google search in any of the areas we have discussed. It will offer all the information for prayer and consideration you need.)

Full Circle

The Great Commission will be fulfilled. Jesus Christ will offer the blessing of redemption to every nation. From every people group there will be those discipled in Christ’s commandments. And to accomplish His historic purpose, God will use a huge harvest force of goers and senders. As Mordecai said to Esther, “Who knows but that you have been brought to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14) Thus, we also, have the privilege to participate in this hour of opportunity.

This challenging scenario—participating in His Great Plan of the Ages—brings us full circle back to you. You are as excited about “a church for every people” as any mission strategist who theorizes that it can be done. You are as zealous for a thriving reproducing church in your adopted people group as the most ardent frontier missionary. You are as passionate as the most effective fulltime evangelist about seeing the lost from every tongue and tribe find new life in Christ. You are as diligent to see God’s people discipled in Christian living as any teacher of the Word. But your zeal and passion have been tempered with the knowledge from God that, at least for now, you are to stay right where you are, actively functioning in your local fellowship.

In this chapter we have focused much of our attention on the critical strategy of reaching the unreached. Let’s superimpose this plan of “going where the Gospel has not been preached” over the grid of the six sending responsibilities of a support team. What additional opportunities for your involvement will this thrust provide for you?

Moral Support: Learn all you can about unreached people groups—whether the 10/40 or 4/14 Window. Keep abreast of what is being done to develop and deploy the teams needed. When you hear of a person interested in going to the mission field, encourage him to focus on one of the two thrusts of cross-cultural ministry: training Two-Thirds World nationals to reach the unreached (a “Timothy”) or taking the bold drive to “Spain”—to the ends of the earth, with “Paul”!

Read Joshua 1. Listen to God’s continual encouragement to Joshua to “be strong and of a good courage.” (Joshua 1:6) Again, “Be strong and very courageous…” (Joshua 1:7) Yet again, “Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be discouraged…” (Joshua 1:9) And then, as the people followed God’s example (Joshua 1:18), you shout the encouragement, “Be strong and of a good courage!” This is moral support at its best!

Logistics Support: If you hold some position (formal or informal) to influence the decision-makers of your church, encourage them to establish corporate mission policies that reflect the two-pronged thrust for training Two-Thirds World nationals and frontier-focused teams. This can be done most directly through the kinds of cross-cultural workers and types of missions with which your church will partner.

When missionary candidates come before your leadership seeking support, discern whether they are part of either a Pauline church-planting team ministry to an unreached people or a Timothy, teaching the Word to national leadership so they may go out to teach others or develop their church as a sending center. Better yet, look among your Body for the cross-cultural “parts” and mobilize them to become part of reaching the unreached.

Prominently display literature and posters that encourage reaching the unreached. Focus on the children. On your church’s map of the world, trace the 10/40 Window. Highlight any missionaries you have working in that area or that are training Two-Thirds World nationals to go to that area. Place a small mirror in one of the oceans. Caption it with, “Where in the world do I belong?”

Financial Support: Until you have a specific friend moving into this type of cross-cultural ministry that you can financially support, consider directing your missionary offerings to organizations that are focusing on this massive plan of reaching the unreached. You can begin putting into practice the principles of “living more with less.” You can submit yourself to the discipline of wartime austerity. You can encourage others to join you. These ideas can work on both a personal and church level.

Prayer Support: Stretch your intercession to include this awesome task; prayerfully adopt an unreached people group. Learn about the people. Understand their lifestyle. Become aware of their religious practices. Pray knowledgeably for them. Gather a group around you for corporate prayer for the people, for the organization that will target the group, for the specific team that will enter that group and for the churches that will mobilize, send and support the whole team.

Pray for the mission leaders who are challenging the Body of Christ worldwide to participate in this task of world evangelization. Pray for the several thousand organizations that already have a program focused on the unreached.

Learn more about praying for unreached people groups through Operation World, Operation China and the Global Prayer Digest. These, and possibly your denomination’s prayer guide, will help you focus your prayers on the unreached. (www.missionbooks.org)

Spend an evening at your local library or browse the Internet (or find a teenager who can surf the ‘Net’ for you) to look up information on the people group your missionary is working among—not just the political country he is in. Jot down findings that are significant to that group’s needs, spiritual bondage and possible openings to the Gospel. If the group is one that is already reached and your missionary is equipping them for growth, find out how you can pray that they will become a strong sending center for their own missionaries!

Pray for your church to act more aggressively upon the challenge of reaching the unreached.

Communication Support: If you do not know any missionaries, contact your denomination’s missions division or any one of the mission agencies referred to in this chapter. Express your desire to develop a supporting relationship with someone in a ministry in the area of the world (or people group) or type of ministry (evangelism, Bible translation, etc.) that the Lord has placed on your heart.

Don’t forget the children. Develop an email/Skype relationship with the children of missionaries who are living and ministering among the peoples of the world.

Reentry Support: Review our last chapter and remind yourself of the critical needs of missionaries returning from other cultures. Remember that this area of care is the least talked about and thus the most easily ignored, yet it is one of the most critical. Unreached ethnic groups are especially different from Western culture, so reentry stress is likely to be accentuated in these frontier mission workers. Be an active listener as they process all they experienced.

The experience they’ve gained and the unique information they’ve learned is particularly important for the home church—for intelligent prayer and strategic planning. Welcome these returning workers into your home and your life. Let them share what they have been learning—in your home group or at your church. Get them on a radio or TV talk show. Have their story written up in your local secular or Christian newspaper. Have them share at the schools and civic organizations. Give them that opportunity for debriefing their personal issues as well as spreading the news of what God is doing in these awesome hours of history!

For Your Personal Involvement

• Read the story of Esther—it’s just a short book. Pay particular attention to Mordecai’s challenge to her when she was hesitant about going in to the king. (Esther 4:13-14) As history records, Esther fit into God’s plan and purpose for her. She truly was called to the kingdom for such a time as that. Throughout the Word, men and women fulfilled His will for their lives and found their place in God’s Hall of Faith. (Hebrews 11) Mordecai’s question, reverberating down through the corridors of time, heard clearly by some generations, ignored by others, is sounding a challenge to you today—a challenge to recognize that you have been called to the Kingdom for a time such as this! It is time to give serious, prayerful consideration: Has God placed a call on your life to serve as a sender?

• Reaching the unreached is such a fast-paced move of God that it is making yesterday’s headlines look like ancient history. Because of this, contact some of the organizations whose websites have been listed above to get current information on global breakthroughs among unreached peoples. Be prepared to share those highlights with your fellowship group. If not already, become “Internet-literate” for up-to-date information.

Action Steps

This is it! A decision for personal involvement cannot be put off any longer! By the time you have read Chapter Eight, completed the For Your Personal Involvement section and participated in a discussion group, you should…

• Be able to decide if serving as a sender is the part of the Body of Christ that God has divinely established for you for right now. You might remember that in the very beginning we did say that if not serving as a sender is what God shows you by having read and studied this book, that is a good decision. Move on now to find and actively involve yourself in those “good deeds that He beforehand has determined for you to walk in, for you are His most finely crafted work of art created in Christ Jesus” for that purpose. (Ephesians 2:10)

• If you do sense God’s calling on your life to serve as a sender but still have not decided on one or another of the six sending responsibilities—or if you would like to do everything, go back over the For Your Personal Involvement sections to review each chapter. Find someone who knows you well with whom you can talk, particularly about the giftings and abilities that seem to be the qualifications for each category. Be sure it will be someone who will give you an honest appraisal of your possession of those giftings and abilities!

• If you have heard His confirmation and have found the one or more areas in which to serve as a sender, actively, aggressively pursue and develop this calling. Begin with the ideas given in this book, but don’t be limited by them. Be creative. Expand your capacity to serve. Allow His genius to surge through you for, after all, “we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:16)

• Go back to the For Your Personal Involvement section of Chapter One. If, when you were considering that chapter, you were not able to fill in the statement of the vitality of serving as a sender, reread those Scriptures and prayerfully complete it now.

• Multiply yourself. Having a clear purpose in your own heart and mind, actively seek others in your fellowship who will bind themselves with you in the task of serving as senders. Look for vibrant Christians who have not found their place of ministry yet. It is quite possible they are looking for an opportunity like this. Share the six sending responsibilities with them.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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