By now you should feel a renewed sense of purpose with a new perspective on your life. And a new perspective of God and His story.
Now that your eyes are open to new possibilities you have new responsibilities. This short course may be your first step in your missions learning. Taking the course Perspectives on the World Christian Movement will open your eyes further. In this course you will explore new ideas and be challenged by existing mission patterns.
God-given and guided strategic thinking is vital for completing the task of world evangelization. We must have a clear understanding of, and appreciation for, the nature of the task before us. Strategy helps us prioritize and allocate resources. It helps us know where we are going and how to get there. Put simply, it is good stewardship. Wealth and materialism can easily distract us from the Great Commission. A consecrated life is not only for missionaries but for all who are serious about being a World Christian. This may mean that anyone committed to the missionary task at home or on the mission field should consider a simple lifestyle. Much is required of those who have been blessed.
You can be obedient right where you are. Going to an unreached tribe is not necessary. World Christians help fulfill God's missionary plans anywhere they are fully using their God given gifts, skill and positions. Businessmen, doctors, students, housewives are a part of reaching the unreached peoples when every decision in life is influenced by a world Christian perspective.
Now that you have a new vision… you may want to run with it! Motivating your church to become involved in frontier missions is a great place to start. We learned that this mobilization role is just as important as a missionary. In fact if a lay person inspires and helps several missionaries get to the field this may be more important than going oneself.
In the same way a mission-minded pastor is as important as a missionary. He is in a position to motivate a whole church to pray and give to missions and eventually many may serve the mission cause. An individual or a small group can build mission awareness in their church. They can even help other churches in the area gain a mission vision. Mobilizing means getting others involved in mission and getting them involved strategically. This process can be done in many ways but it should include facilitating the teaching of the Biblical basis of missions combined with cultural and strategic insights.
It is doubtful if a church can sustain its prayer, giving and sending of missionaries without constant stimulation in the form of ongoing mission education. One proven method to help the church is to form a mission committee. This group can strive toward an ongoing mission education program for all age groups in the church. Even children should be taught about missions . Many famous missionaries felt called at a very young age as a result of reading mission biographies.
The pastor holds the key to missions involvement. He can help the church see their responsibility in the Great Commission. He can inspire them and teach them to pray, to give and to go as missionaries. The Church is not an end in itself but a means to an end. It is God's instrument to become a base for missions not a social organization for its own self improvement. To be used fully by God the church therefore needs to be infused with what it really means to worship God. Only then will effective prayer and a properly motivated outpouring of lives come forth for missions. John Piper's perspective:
"Missions is not the ultimate goal of the Church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn't. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides for ever.
"Worship, therefore, is the fuel and goal of missions. It's the goal of missions because in missions we simply aim to bring the nations into the white hot enjoyment of God's glory. The goal of missions is the gladness of the peoples in the greatness of God. "The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad!" (Ps 97:1). "Let the peoples praise thee, O God; let all the peoples praise thee! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy!" (Ps 67:3-4).
"But worship is also the fuel of missions. Passion for God in worship precedes the offer of God in preaching. You can't commend what you don't cherish. Missionaries will never call out, "Let the nations be glad!" who cannot say from the heart, "I rejoice in the Lord.I will be glad and exult in thee, I will sing praise to thy name, O Most High" (Ps 104:34; 9:2). Missions begins and ends in worship.
"If the pursuit of God's glory is not ordered above the pursuit of man's good in the affections of the heart and the priorities of the church, man will not be well served and God will not be duly honored. I am not pleading for a diminishing of missions but for a magnifying of God. When the flame of worship burns with the heat of God's true worth, the light of missions will shine to the darkest peoples on earth. And I long for that day to come!
"Where passion for God is weak, zeal for missions will be weak. Churches that are not centered on the exaltation of the majesty and beauty of God will scarcely kindle a fervent desire to "declare his glory among the nations" (Ps 96:3)"–John Piper
God does not want us to go blindly into missions. He has given us a history of hard facts and heroic deeds which few Christians look back upon to learn. World Christians cannot make good decisions without good information. They need to be constantly learning. Clearly defined goals and mission policies should be written to provide continuity, stability, priorities and direction so that the church is not wandering from project to project and making uninformed emotional decisions. This learning of missions must be an ongoing process. There are always new things to learn and new people who need discipling in missions.
The church should also look to the mission agency is a highly specialized task oriented organization. They have the expertise of coordinating missionaries, providing them with training and giving effective guidance. These tasks are usually beyond the abilities of the local church. To help the church maintain its mission zeal it is suggested that every church and organization form a "frontier fellowship" to meet monthly and learn about unreached people groups and discuss and pray effectively for them. These could be formed as youth groups, women's groups, groups within seminaries, family groups etc.
There is no greater and clearer truth from God's Word than the glorious truth that God desires men from every tribe tongue and nation and people to worship Him at the throne. From Genesis to Revelation, God demonstrates in the boldest and clearest terms that His passion and purpose is this end. This task is not busy work to fit into our spare time, rather it is a radical cause that demands a radical commitment. World Christian obedience means new attitudes, from being blessed to being a blessing. It means losing your life for His sake and seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness.
To whom much is given, much is required. God help you if you refuse to obey what you have learned. Our only choice is surrender to God without reservation or be left behind. When we do surrender, out of repentance and humility, God will do great and mighty things with even the weakest people. Eye has not seen and ear has not heard all that God has prepared for those who trust and obey Him. It is the potter who molds the vessels. We are to be willing carriers of the water of life. We are to pour ourselves out for Him. Our joy will be to hear him say. "Well done my good and faithful servant."
More exposure to cultural and strategic insights:
Subscribing to the periodicals mentioned in Lesson 8 is a great place to continue your missions learning. Taking other courses such as: Perspectives on the World Christian Movement and World Christian Foundations are critical foundational courses to thinking strategically. Write to the USCWM; 1605 Elizabeth St.; Pasadena CA 91104 or http://www.perspectives.org/.
The quote is taken from Piper's book Let the Nations be Glad, from Desiring God Ministries: http://www.desiringGOD.org or write: DGM 720 13th Ave. South, Minneapolis, MN 55415