Despite the fact that we Americans are such gung-ho result producers and that God has used the sons and daughters of the American church quite effectively for over a century in so many parts of the world, the challenge is just too great for us to tackle by ourselves.
How well I remember the moment in our first itineration when I sensed God speaking to my heart to teach Missions when we got to the field of our calling. Also indelibly etched on my memory are the Misionologia classes I took with Floyd Woodworth in ISUM where an entire world opened up to me. The article he wrote for Conozca during those years is one I quote all the time: “Y su Dios no sabe hablar mi idioma? No quiero escuchar palabras de amor en este castellano, la lengua de mis opresores.” What a pungent, well-written article calling us to teach not just one course on Missions as was the case at the time in the Plan Basico but various courses.
We were traveling as a family again on itineration in 1993 when Instituto de Educacion Teologica por Extension asked me to write the course on Missions. That was two years before internet access became available, so I wrote the course on a laptop as Sherry, my wife, drove to the next church. We sent that entire book by FAX one chapter at a time. God has used the book to motivate and inform and inspire hundreds who had never heard about Missions. In 1994, 3300 students took the course. Every four years since, there have been thousands who have become acquainted with Missions. Who would have dreamed of something like that? IETE now has 8,000 students and the next time the course will be taught is (((((((((.
As we think of the challenge ahead, let me share thoughts that various leaders, missionaries and educators sent me for the upcoming issue of our magazine, Edifiquemos. I have obtained permission from each of them to quote them for this article also.
First, from a true friend of ministerial training in Latin America and the Caribbean, Dick Nicholson:
“Missions in a Globalized World
We live in a world that is smaller every day. The migration of great sectors of the population of the world seeking to improve their lives economically, educationally or to escape political or religious persecution are all legitimate reasons for people to move. It’s nothing new. In the century between 1815 and 1914 more than 60 million Europeans left Europe to move to other countries of the world, taking their culture and religion with them.
Today the world is at our doorstep also, and it is obvious that the command “Go into all the world” is not unique. But we obey the Great commission of Jesus Crhsit because our purpose is to make disciples of every nation. There is no higher motivation.
There are more than 8,200 missionaries sent by the Assemblies of God by their national churches to 214 countries of the world to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, including 982 sent from Latin America and the Caribbean.
Today there is a clamor that we Latins come shoulder to shoulder alongside the missionaries in places such as China, with its one billion unconverted, Europe with 250,000 towns and cities without an Evangelical church and Eurasia, a world of Islam with its thousands of communities and unreached people groups.
Let’s respond the way the ancient prophet did: “Here am I, send me.”
Here is a quote of 201 words from a colleague who has had much to do with spreading the passion for Missions. God has given him a prophetic word time and again concerning our responsibility as a Church.
Brad Walz: “In this globalized world, we must remember three things:
1. The Great Commission never was something just for Europe and the USA, but today with the large churches that God has raised up in the “global south,” (as is said now) it is more obvious tan ever that the Great Commission is for THE CHURCH, not for a section of the World, the West, the U.S. or Europe.
2. The eleventh hour harvest (Matthew 20) requires a quantity of workers that is impossible for just a few nations to supply. (Luke 10:2: “The harvest is great, the workers are few.”) When the Iron Curtain opened in 1989, forty nations opened up and the U.S. and Europe were not able to adequately supply the need of workers to respond to the great challenges. Fort he Islamic Curtain, that must open before the Second Coming of Jesus (Matthew 24:14), God has prepared workers from dozens of countries and it will so be the final harvest on a magnitude never before seen.
3. It is necessary that along with the training of these workers, the Lord prepare a church willing to send them, with a full and mature missionary visión. We have come a long way, but there still is a challenge before us.
Presidente, DNM, Argentina
Chairman, Latin America Missions Network
Chairman, Missions Commission, World Assemblies of God Fellowship
Quentin McGee answered the query concerning Missions in a Globalized world with the following: “7 Reasons Why Tens of Thousands Study The Faith & Action Series
1. Faith & Action books are Pentecostal. Many scholars do not believe in spiritual gifts or spiritual warfare. But the Faith & Action Series is fully Pentecostal.
2. Faith & Action books are Practical. Textbooks can be too theoretical,, but common people want help with their problems. Our students need truth, training, and skills that transfer from the classroom to the local church. Students want material to preach, teach, counsel, lead, and equip. F&A books equip students to minister today.
3. Faith & Action books are Formational. Many books provide information but ignore formation. Bible Schools need books that shape a student’s character, attitudes, and values. F&A books include stories, illustrations, and statistics. These move truth from the head to the heart. Educators call this vital part of learning “the affective domain.” Jesus called it discipleship.
4. Faith & Action books are Cross-Cultural. Cities are a blend of young and old, rural and urban—a rainbow of colors and economic levels. So Bible Schools are asking for books to reach the spectrum. F&A books base every lesson on cross-cultural, biblical principles—timeless truths that apply anywhere, anytime, to anyone. These truths are the ABC’s of every lesson.
5. Faith & Action books are Affordable and Available. Imported books are often too costly to buy. Publisher profits, shipping and customs can inflate the cost of one book beyond what students can pay. But nations get F&A books on CD or via the internet. Then, they can print locally for $3–$7 per book.
6. Faith & Action books are Respectable. In the past 100 years, the AG has established more Bible Schools than any other group in missions. Strong National Churches want books that re thorough, up-to-date, written to facilitate transfer of credit, and endorsed by top Christian Educators.
7. Faith & Action books are Educationally Excellent. Each Course matches lessons with class hours. Each lesson has goals and interactive questions on content and application. Main points re stated as principles which are explained, illustrated, and applied. Additional helps for teachers include DVD’s and PowerPoints.”
Pretty telling and practical!
The concept of globalized world is no longer a theory but a reality today. The traditional limits that separated culturesy and communities previously have been overcome largly by modern advances an economic need. Although this village of a globalized world is something novel for some, it is one of the most basic concepts of our Christian fith and one that must continue to mark our lives at this time.
From the first message of the Apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost with a multitude of nations represented, the Church has always had the calling to see the world without boundaries. It is for this reason that the Gospel has been extended despite the obstacles that isolated those countries.
Now that it is considered normal to live in a globalized society, what should the implications be of that globalization for Missions? Will it be easier or more challenging to preach the Gospel? Is the church still relevant amidst all of these changes?
As Christians, we are the pioneers of the true globalization and we should not lose sight of that. If we did not permit geographic, economic or language barriers impede the preaching of the Gospel, how much more today! Missions in a globalied world must be the best moment to preach the Gospel. God has prepared this time in which we live, in which globalization may perhaps produce the greatest harvest in the history of humanity. We will surely face other obstacles on the way, but I cannot imagine a better moment to be part
of Missions than in this one that we get to live.
Brief considerations concerning globalization and Missions
By Virginia A. de Contreras
If there is something that characterizes the Gospel of Jesus Christi it is the fact that it is global. Since Genesis, specifically the promise given to Abraham (12:3) we observe that all the fammilies of the World are on God’s agenda. With greater specificity, we observe in Matthew 24:14 the promise concerning the preaching of the Gospel to all nations. It comes up, then, that all of the recipients of this blessing also have a responsibility, not only on the local level, but globally. Therefore, globlization of God’s Mission requires an articulated effort, an intentional, coordinated and transcultural solidarity of all of the Chrisitian community, spread throughout the World, but integrated, due to the phenomenon of globalization.
The Christian leaders of the XXI Century need to “think globally but act locally.” And that is, precisely the glocalization, that is tos ay, the significant integration of the efforts and resources (material and human), local and global, where the possibiity resides of fulfillling the Great Commission in this generation.
ThisTwentyfirst century presents us, almost without exception, societes full of fear, with uncertainty concerning the future, with constant expressions of immorality, slaves of consumerism, materialism and sensuality. On the other hand, there is a great searching, individually and collectively for meaning, of purpose, of solidarity and security.
The Bible records God acting in history. This globalized World is no exception. God continues to act. His Body, His Church (through its communities that establish healthy and healing relationships.) manifest the Kingdom of God that is among us. But what opportunity do the nations that do not have a Christian community established within them have to receive true meaning and security eternally?
If humanitarian organizations and even actors (many of them confessed atheists) practice transnational solidarity why do we, who are the embassadors of Christ and the givers of hope, not mobilize to fulfill the Great Commission in this kairos of God? This hyper-connected and hyper- technologically developed World presents a great challenge, but at the same time a great opportunity for us to take the Gospel to the ends of the World.
The reality is that we live in a globalized World. This is not something to lament since it affords us opportunities and also challenges in the Missionary task. An analysis of how to take full advantage of the advantages in the missionary context of today and how to minimize the obstacles is left for another occasion to discuss. However, according to my point of view, the barrier to World evangelization continues to ver the same: an introverted Church, willing to receive the blessings of the Gospel but not accept the responsibility to bless those who do not have access to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Too often the church is dominated and directed by the world’s agenda , not by obedience to the voice of its Lord and Savior. The answer is a church that i salive, guided and thrust forward by the Holy Spirit. An apostolic/missionary church, governed by the Spirit, sustained by the Spirit, propagated by the Spirit. A truly Pentecostal church is one that makes disciples of all nations in the power of the Holy Spirit in a globalized World.
Thanks to each person who participated in this mini-forum. Together, by God’s power, in conjunction with passionate and fully prepared missionaries from the nations we can reach the nations of the World!