•What is Missions?
•What is Orality?
•What does an MP3 player have to do with Pauline-type Missionaries?
•How can you be a part of the joy of the Mission of God?
Listen first hand to men who have been gripped by the glory of God and are being used to spread a passion for the worship of God in all tribes.
Click on the link to our YouTube site form the main blog page to see this DVD we took while we were in Kenya in March 2009.
Here is a link to the sermon notes that we put together on Romans 15 to also share about this trip to Kenya: Romans-15 Sermon – Samburu
What are Google News Alerts and HOW to use them in missions?
Google news alerts are a great way to send news stories to your email daily on specific areas of the world. As God lays on your heart unreached people groups to pray for, this is a great way to learn about them, learn about their culture, learn about all that is curent news for them, what they are talking about, events that they are processing, etc. As Pastor Simon and the GGFAN church in Nyahururu, Kenya are working to reach into the 16 unreached tribes of Kenya, this is a great way for us to know more of what is going on around them.
Here is what you do: Go to this link, http://www.google.com/alerts and type in a keyword (I did “Nyahururu, Kenya”). I chose “news” under Type but you certainly could do more including links to any blogs that mention Nyharuru. Then type in your email, and once a day I receive all news links to my email where an online newspaper mentions Nyahururu. Google will send you an email with a link then to verify that you want this alert to be started. If you are running a spam filer, make sure to allow email from Google.com to come into your in box. That’s it! Then as you get emails during the week, click on the link to read the rest of the story that has your keyword listed in it somewhere. This will help you know how to pray more for our brothers and sisters there as well as what questions to ask over email as well!
The Bottom Billion: Kyle McClellan of T4 Global taught a 5 session class on reaching the poorest of the poor with the Gospel at Lake Okoboji Bible Conference 2009. Here are the notes we took from the class. Quite honestly, it is life changing, category-altering topics making us think differently, practically and most importantly Biblically about missions. Click here for the notes: The Bottom Billion
“Make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted.”
DVD Summary: This is a story about how God in His sovereign grace used a diverse team made up of three main units to spread a passion for and enjoyment of His glory into the Samburu Tribe, an unreached tribe of central Kenya. In 2007-2009, this team was used by God to reach into the Samburu tribe with the gospel through an MP3 audio device, bringing God to them in their own language:
1. Pastor Simon Mwaura of Nyahururu, Kenya and his team of missions-minded pastors
2. Pastor Wilfred Lemiesemoi of the Samburu tribe and his team
3. T4Global from Lexington, Kentucky – project led by Kyle McClellan
In March of 2009, Eric and Jodi Blick had the privilege to travel to Kenya to speak to a couple of the banks, meet with bi-vocational elders / pastors about microfinance, and learn first-hand about how God had used these men to make known His wondrous deeds among the Samburu Tribe, bringing them into white-hot enjoyment of Himself.
Map of Kenya, East Africa:
- 38 million people, 140 different tribes / “peoples”
- Point A: Nairobi, capital city, 3 million people
- Point B: Nyahururu, 25,000 people
- Samburu Tribe: 191,000 people, nomadic herdsman; Nairobi to Samburu region: 8 hour drive on various roads
Key Terms in Understanding Missions: (source: http://www.joshua-project.org)
- People Group / Ethno-linguistic Group: For evangelization purposes, a people group is the largest group within which the Gospel can spread as a church planting movement without encountering barriers of understanding or acceptance. In many parts of the world lack of understandability serves as the main barrier and it is appropriate to define people group primarily by language with the possibility of sub-divisions based on dialect or cultural variations.
- Status as of July 2009: Total People Groups in the World: 16,309; Number of Unreached People Groups: 6,631; Percent Unreached People Groups: 40.7%
- Unreached People Group: Joshua Project uses the terms “unreached” and “least-reached” to mean the same thing and use the two terms interchangeably on this website (www.joshua-project.org). An unreached or least-reached people is a people group among which there is no indigenous community of believing Christians with adequate numbers and resources to evangelize this people group. The original Joshua Project editorial committee selected the criteria less than 2% Evangelical Christian and less than 5% Christian Adherents. While these percentage figures are somewhat arbitrary, there are some that suggest that the percentage of a population needed to be influenced to impact the whole group is 2%.
- Orality: bringing the gospel and other training to cultures that mainly pass along traditions and education in an oral fashion; they have very little, if any, reading skills and / or a written language.
Four Observations and Challenges for Believers:
- Are we delighting in God? Are we living in the white-hot enjoyment of God ourselves? May we by God’s grace, out of our union with Christ, by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, and through His living Word delight in all that God is for us in Jesus, overflowing with love and joy (Psalm 37:4, 2 Cor 2:14).
- Are you a sender or a “go-er”? Or with the Web, a “Going-Sender”? Can we send missionaries in such a way that we actively participate in all the God is doing on the front lines through the web, e-mail, skyping, cell phones, etc.? Can we regularly go for short periods of time, build relationships, and engage in mutual encouragement over the miles through technology?
- Are we hoping in Christ? 1 Peter 3:15 says that we honor Christ’s name as holy by hoping in Him. Do we treasure Christ above all things and give evidence to this by the way we place our hopes in this life? Are our affections and hope firmly rooted in Him alone? This is mind-blowing in a culture where the poor are often considered the only ones that “need” God.
- Are you praying for and supporting Timothy-type missionaries and Paul-type missionaries? T4Global is a good 80/20 mix of Paul-type missions and Timothy-type. They are primarily focused on bringing the gospel to people groups that are still considered unreached. They do this primarily through partnering with indigenous pastors who are in churches geographically near an unreached people, ministering in these “sending” churches as well.
T4Global of Lexington, Kentucky facilitates “transformational training among the poorest, hardest-to-reach communities in the world; people who are dying because they can’t, don’t or won’t read and to see millions of individuals, families and communities transformed by Jesus in all areas of life.” Kyle McClellan serves as Vice President of Programs, overseeing projects similar to this Samburu project in a dozen or more places around the globe. For more information: http://www.t4global.org
DVD Produced by Eric Blick in teamwork with T4Global: Eric and Jodi Blick are graduates of Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois and have four children. Vocationally, Eric is called as a banker and serves at First National Nebraska, Inc. in Omaha, Nebraska, living to reflect back to God the glories of His many character qualities including order, mercy, wisdom, and planning. Eric serves as an elder of the Fremont Evangelical Free Church, Fremont, Nebraska. Many of his favorite authors include Jonathan Edwards, John Owen, John Calvin, John Piper, Mark Dever, D.A. Carson, Thomas Schreiner, and J.C. Ryle.
A Passion for the Supremacy of Christ—Where He Is Not Named
By John Piper November 3, 1996
…There are at least seven convictions that have driven our commitment in recent years. The leadership knows them and loves them. They shape all we do. If you are a part of Bethlehem, you need to know them too. May the Lord cause them to capture your heart, and fill you with fresh zeal for the greatest cause in the world. There are only three kinds of Christians when it comes to world missions: zealous goers, zealous senders, and disobedient. May God deliver us from disobedience!
Conviction #1: God is passionately committed to his fame. God’s ultimate goal is that his name be known and praised by all the peoples of the earth.
In Romans 9:17, Paul says that God’s goal in redeeming Israel “that [his] name may be proclaimed in all the earth.” In Isaiah 66:19, God promised that he would send messengers “to the coastlands afar off that have not heard my fame or seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the nations.” We believe that the central command of world missions is Isaiah 12:4, “Make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted.”
The apostle Paul said that his ministry as a missionary was “to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of [Christ’s] name among all the nations” (Romans 1:5). The apostle John said that missionaries are those who “have set out for the sake of the name” (3 John 7). James, the Lord’s brother, described missions as God’s “visiting the nations to take out of them a people for his name” (Acts 15:14). Jesus described missionaries as those who “leave houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake” (Matthew 19:29).
Back in the mid-eighties God drove home to many of us that a God-centered theology must be a missionary theology. If you say that you love the glory of God, the test of your authenticity is whether you love the spread of that glory among all the peoples of the world. Or another way to say it is that worship is the fuel and the goal of missions. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. God’s passion is to be known and honored and worshipped among all the peoples. To worship him is to share that passion for his supremacy among the nations.
Conviction #2: God’s passion to be known and praised by all the peoples of the earth is not selfish, but loving.
God is the one being in the universe for whom self-exaltation is the ultimately loving act. And the reason is easy to see. The one and only Reality in the universe that can fully and eternally satisfy the human heart is the glory of God—the beauty of all that God is for us in Jesus. Therefore God would not be loving unless he upholds and displays and magnifies that glory for our everlasting enjoyment. If God were to forsake or dishonor or disregard the infinite worth of his own glory he would be unloving in the same way that a husband is unloving who commits suicide.
Perhaps the best way to see that God’s passion for his fame is an expression of his love is to notice that God’s mercy is the pinnacle of his glory. This is what he wants to be honored for above all else. You can see this in Romans 15:9 where Paul says that the reason Christ came into the world was so “that the nations might glorify God for his mercy.”
Do you see how conviction #1 and #2 come together in that little phrase: “glorify God for his mercy”? God gets the glory, we get the mercy. God is praised, we are saved. God gets the honor, we get the joy. God is glorified for his fullness, we are satisfied with his mercy.
So to sum up convictions #1 and #2: there are two basic problems in the universe: God is profaned and people are perishing. Conviction #1 says that God will not suffer his name to be dishonored indefinitely, but will act mightily to vindicate his name and glorify himself among the nations. Conviction #2 says that God has planned a way to do this by saving the perishing through the death of his Son, Jesus, and making them a worshipping people who enjoy his glory. In the sacrifice of his own son for the sake of the nations, God reveals the pinnacle of his glory—his mercy. So the salvation of the nations and the glorification of God happen together in missions. They are not at odds. It is a loving thing for God to pursue his glory like this.
Conviction #3: God’s purpose to be praised among all the nations cannot fail. It is an absolutely certain promise. It is going to happen.
When Jesus gave the great commission in Matthew 28:19, he gave it a massive foundation of certainty. He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore . . .” In other words, nothing can stop him: “I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations; and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).
When I was at Wheaton last weekend I said to the students gathered for the World Christian Fellowship that there are four reasons we can be absolutely sure that the mission of God will triumph in the world. First, the word of Jesus is more sure than the heavens and the earth (Matthew 24:35). Second, the ransom has already been paid for all God’s elect, and God did not spill the blood of his Son in vain (Revelation 5:9). Third, the glory of God is at stake and in the end he will not share his glory with another (Isaiah 48:9-11). Fourth, God is sovereign and can do all things and no purpose of his can be thwarted (Job 42:2).
In the September 16, 1996, issue of Christianity Today (p. 25) Steve Saint, whose dad, Nate Saint, was martyred in Ecuador in 1956 by the Auca Indians, wrote an article about new discoveries made about the tribal intrigue behind the slayings of Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, Roger Youderian, Ed McCully and Pete Fleming. He wrote one of the most amazing sentences on the sovereignty I have ever read from the son of a slain missionary:
As [the killers] described their recollections it occurred to me how incredibly unlikely it was that the Palm Beach killing took place at all; it is an anomaly that I cannot explain outside of divine intervention. (italics and bold added)
There is only one explanation for why these five young men died. God intervened. This is the kind of sovereignty I mean when I say no one, absolutely no one, can frustrate the designs of God to fulfill his missionary plans for the nations. In the darkest moments of our pain God is hiding his explosives behind enemy lines.
Conviction #4: Domestic ministries are the goal of frontier missions.
This conviction addresses the tension that develops in a mission-driven church between those who have a passion for ministering here to our own desperately needy culture, and the radical advocates of taking the gospel where they don’t even have access to the Source of any ministry at all.
By domestic ministries I mean all the ministries that we should do among the people in our own culture. For example, ministries relating to evangelism, poverty, medical care, unemployment, hunger, abortion, crisis pregnancy, runaway kids, pornography, family disintegration, child abuse, divorce, hygiene, education at all levels, drug abuse and alcoholism, environmental concerns, terrorism, prison reform, moral abuses in the media and business and politics, etc., etc.
Frontier missions, on the other hand, is the effort of the church to penetrate an unreached people group with the gospel and establish there an ongoing, indigenous, ministering church.
Now stop and think about that. What this means is that frontier missions is the exportation of the possibility and practice of domestic ministries in the name of Jesus to unreached people groups.
Why should there be tension between these two groups of people? The frontier people honor the domestic people by agreeing that their work is worth exporting. The domestic people honor the frontier people by insisting that what they export is worth doing here.
Conviction #5: The missionary task is focused on peoples, not just individual people, and is therefore finishable.
Many of us used to have the vague notion that missions was simply winning to Christ as many individuals as possible in other places. But now we have come to see that the unique task of missions, as opposed to evangelism, is to plant the church among people groups where it doesn’t exist.
Revelation 5:9 is a picture of how Christ’s death relates to missions: “Worthy art thou to take the scroll and to open its seals for thou wast slain and didst ransom men for God from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” When the church has been planted in all the people groups of the earth, and the elect have been gathered in from all the “tribes and tongues and nations,” then the great commission will be complete. Missions will be over. The task of missions is planting the church among all the peoples, not necessarily winning all the people.
Conviction #6: The need of the hour is for thousands of new Paul-type missionaries—a fact which is sometimes obscured by the quantity of Timothy-type missionaries.
Timothy left Lystra, his hometown (Acts 16:1), and became a church worker (a Timothy-type missionary) in a foreign place, Ephesus, (1 Timothy 1:3) which had its own elders (Acts 20:17) and outreach (Acts 19:10). This is the model of a Timothy-type missionary: going far away to do Christian work where the church is fairly well established. It has Biblical precedent and it is a good thing to do, if God calls you.
But that’s not what Paul was called to do. His passion was to make God’s name known in all the unreached peoples of the world. He said that he made it his ambition “to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named” (Romans 15:20). One of the most stunning things Paul ever said is in Romans 15:19, 23: “From Jerusalem and as far round as Illyricum I have fulfilled the gospel of Christ. . . . I no longer have any room for work in these regions.” This stunned me, when I finally saw its implications.
No room for work between Jerusalem and northern Greece! His work there is done in spite of all the unbelievers that remain! He is now moving on to Spain. How could he say this? The answer is that he was a frontier missionary, not just a cross-cultural missionary. He was called to reach the unreached peoples, where there is no church to evangelize its own people.
What most Christians don’t know today is that there are probably ten times more Timothy-type missionaries in the world than there are Paul-type missionaries. And yet there are still thousands of people groups—especially Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and tribal peoples—who have no access to a gospel-preaching church in their own culture.
Therefore my prayer for our church is that we put a very high priority on raising up and sending frontier missionaries—Paul-type missionaries. Not that we diminish the sacrifice and preciousness of the Timothy-type missionaries, but that we realize what the utterly critical, uniquely missionary need is in the world, namely, there are thousands of groups with no access to the saving knowledge of Jesus. Only Paul-type missionaries can reach them. That must be a huge priority for us. Without the gospel everything is in vain.
Conviction #7: God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him; and our satisfaction in him is greatest when it expands to embrace others.
It is amazing how those who have suffered most in the missionary cause speak in the most lavish terms of the blessing and the joy of it all. Start with Jesus: “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it” (Mark 8:34-35). We save our lives by giving them away in the cause of the gospel. This is what Paul meant when he said, “This slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17). And: “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).
Samuel Zwemer—after fifty years of missions labor (including the loss of two young children in North Africa)—said, “The sheer joy of it all comes back. Gladly would I do it all over again.” And both Hudson Taylor and David Livingston, after lives of extraordinary hardship and loss said, “I never made a sacrifice.”
When people who have suffered much speak like this, their God is magnified. If God can so satisfy their souls that even their sufferings are experienced as steps into deeper joy with him, then he must be far more wonderful than all that the earth has to offer. Psalm 63:3 must really be true: “The steadfast love of the Lord is better than life.”
These are our driving missions convictions at Bethlehem. If God opens your heart, you will see that there is no better way to live than in the wartime lifestyle that maximizes all you are and all you have for the sake of finishing the great commission. Because in this way God is magnified; we are satisfied; and the nations are loved.
When it comes to world missions, there are only three kinds of Christians: zealous goers, zealous senders, and disobedient. Which will you be?
© Desiring God – By John Piper. Website: desiringGod.org Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction.