The Local Church and Pioneer Missions (Part 2)

 All Nations

            I am firmly convinced that local churches who have taken the Lord’s Great Commission (summed up in the words win, build and send) as their daily marching orders are uniquely equipped to bear fruit in the unreached nations of the world. I am also certain that congregations who have seen the wisdom of this simple vision by walking in it will not stray far from it, and that fact will ensure our fruitfulness. It is not in the realm of getting off course that such churches have the potential for missing our destiny, but in not recognizing the scope of the Great Commission. These congregations are firmly rooted in the labor of that commission, but we must pay attention to the territory where that labor is to be spent as well. We are to “go and make disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey all that He has commanded us.”
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The Local Church and Pioneer Missions (Part 1)

In this three part series of posts we will look at the task and the scope of the Great Commission. Special attention will be paid to the role of local churches in fulfilling that commission. These posts were originally written for the fellowship of churches I am a part of. I have attempted to adjust them in order to make them applicable to all local churches that are involved in radical evangelism, personal discipleship and church planting. I am afraid that I was not able make successfully expand all of the examples, so some of them will only apply to a small percentage of local churches. But I think the posts are food for thought nonetheless, so I have decided to post them anyway. I hope they help spur you and your church towards fulfilling the Great Commission.

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Defining Missions – A Tibetan Testimony (Illustrating the 10/40 Window)

I had spent the summer of 1995 in Hong Kong smuggling Bibles and other teaching materials across the Chinese border where they were placed in the hands of the Chinese underground Church. From that time on I made a determined effort to finish my schooling as soon as possible so I could return to China as a missionary. By January 1998 I had finished my career as a student and was ready to begin life on the mission field. During this season in my life I was not closely connected with any church but had joined a mission organization based out of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Through this organization I received some basic orientation about living in China and a position as an English teacher in a Chinese university in southwest China. I arrived in the city of Chongqing only one month after graduating college at the ripe old age of 21.

During the year and a half that I lived in Chongqing I learned Chinese while teaching English at the university. Being young and single I didn’t require much in terms of support. My position as a teacher provided me with $175 a month and an apartment to live in. I should note that when someone does overseas ministry through a mission organization, that organization doesn’t generally provide any support. In fact one must pay the organization for the services it provides such as training and counsel. Since I wasn’t closely connected with any church this $175 was my monthly lot while I lived in Chongqing. Since I was young, and my daily expenses consisted of only a few simple meals, plus the added luxuries of an occasional can of Coca-Cola and a package of Oreo cookies, I got along just fine!

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Defining Missions – Where are the Unreached?

In the previous couple posts we began talking about unreached people groups. We tried to demonstrate that these groups have a distinct urgency in the mission that the Church is called to fulfill. This urgency stems from the fact that they have not heard the Gospel, and unless they are intentionally targeted by the Church of Jesus Christ they never will. This dire condition gives them a special place in the heart of God. These are the lost sheep of the Lord’s parable. God surely cares for the ninety-nine sheep that have access to the green grass of the Gospel. He surely wants His people to “care for His sheep” and “feed His lambs.” Domestic and foreign missions must never be put on the back burner or considered something less important than pioneer missions, but the Lord has made clear to us that He feels a special urgency for His lost sheep that have no access to the Gospel. In this post we want to discuss the “highways and byways” in which these lost sheep find themselves. We want to ask the question, “Where are these lost sheep?” We are not now discussing the condition of the world’s unreached peoples, but we want to focus on the territories and countries in which they reside.
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A Turkish Testimony (Illustrating Pioneer Missions)

In this post I want to share the salvation testimony of a Central Asian Muslim in order to illustrate my last post concerning Unreached People Groups. Due to the sensitive political and religious nature of the country this brother lives in I have changed his name and left his location unspecified for his safety.

 Soon after Esther and I were married I had a chance to take a trip to Central Asia. We were living in China at the time and had met some leaders of a short-term mission organization. They were interested in expanding their ministry into a particular country in that region. Since I had been living in Asia for several years and was familiar with the customs of that region, our new friends asked me to come along and help them get around.
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Defining Missions – What is Pioneer Missions?

In the last few posts I made a distinction between foreign and domestic missions. I have tried to argue that the two have more in common than we usually think. Whether you define preaching the Gospel in Mexico missions or not, really depends on whether you are from Mexico or another country. If you are an American pastoring a church in Mexico City you would be colloquially referred to as a missionary working on the mission field. On the other hand if you were born and raised in Mexico you would simply be called a pastor. I contend that in either case you would be involved in the Great Commission and could be biblically classed as a missionary. Since you are working to fulfill the mission given to us by the Lord, you are a missionary.
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