With this latest issue of Mission Frontiers we are announcing and celebrating the birth of Frontier Ventures—from the legacy of the U.S. Center for World Mission. This is more than just a name change but also a significant reorganization of the various ministries and assets that the Frontier Mission Fellowship (FMF) represents.
In this issue, we hope that you will gain a little insight into the thoughts behind our organizational changes, what values and aims remain constant for us, where we see ourselves headed, and what we are hoping to see happen in the days to come. Each of our subsidiaries will share a report about their own progress as well. One thing is certain: we are more convinced than ever that the greatest priority in mission today must be a concerted effort to see the kingdom of God breakthrough where it is not, among the last remaining unreached people groups of the world.
Having worked here since 1982, including 27 years with Ralph Winter, I, and others with me, feel a strong sense that we are stewards of his legacy. As a result, we considered how to further Ralph’s exceptional insights on the task and how it could be better understood and acted upon. We are also looking for those who are currently speaking into issues of kingdom advance.
One of the specific ways Frontier Ventures is seeking to catalyze breakthrough is by creating a collaborative environment that encourages creativity in several key areas of mission activity—in prayer, research and strategy, innovation, media, mobilization, training and education. This campus, originally purchased for the U.S. Center for World Mission, is now known as the Venture Center and its purpose is being made more explicit for a new generation and a new era.
When the leadership of the Frontier Mission Fellowship and the US Center for World Mission decided to rebrand the organizations together, a discovery was made. The rebranding did not fully embrace a key aspect of the spirit of Ralph Winter. He created new ministries and looked for the missing pieces in our efforts to fulfill the Great Commission. The Ralph D. Winter Launch Lab was then proposed to fill this need.
Today, we have an unprecedented opportunity for collaboration within the body of Christ to help accelerate breakthroughs in our cities and around the world among the remaining 7,000+ unreached people groups. We believe God is preparing the way to accelerate the work he wants to do in the world through us, his people. What we need is a paradigm for collaboration that provides the what and the how of collaboration for believers from all backgrounds, professions, and generations. We need a paradigm that moves us from the desire for collaboration to the reality of collaboration on a broader level.
There is a generation of North Americans who have not yet been discipled as global hearted/minded Christians. They do not understand the narratives related to the mission of God, the biblical mandate for cross-cultural missions, the end vision of God’s glory among all peoples or nations, or their unique part in the plan of God for their generation. Many local churches have abandoned their global missions giving in favor of more of a focus at home; something Pastor Rick Warren recently referred to as “localism.”
Statistics show that missionaries usually return from the field because they are unable to get along with other missionaries or they have burned out from overwork. In many cases this can come as a result of unresolved personal issues and an overall lack of self-care. It has only been recently that we at Frontier Ventures have sensed the sacred responsibility to help our staff develop self-awareness to endure for the long haul and help them bring personal authenticity to their ministries. Yes, The Great Commission is still our utmost objective. But our journey for getting there is currently being defined differently.
In elementary school I went on my first cross-cultural mission trip to serve the poor in Mexico. During middle school I travelled to Ghana (West Africa) in the summer and then to Uruguay (South America) in the winter. In high school I travelled to Mexico, Colombia, Nigeria, and Benin. By sixteen years of age I had graduated from high school and traveled to over a half dozen nations. Though my early experience of international travel and mission work might be rare to some, modern technology has provided the millennial generation (Gen Y) with international exposure surpassing every previous generation.
The longevity and impact of the Perspectives Course is nothing short of miraculous. Who knew that a mobilization movement would still be going strong 40 years after Ralph Winter gathered a small number of Urbana Mission Conference students at Wheaton College in 1974?
An obvious part of the legacy of Ralph Winter was his belief in influencing others through publication and education. What may not be as obvious to the outsider is how much he also valued collaboration. Although he was not involved personally in developing Perspectives Global, our whole approach was a natural progression from what we had learned from him.
During the early years of the U.S. Center for World Mission, Dr. Winter was wisely hesitant to promote a specific people group list. Rounded guestimates were used when referring to people group counts. With the dramatic changes in technology, interconnectivity and data gathering capabilities, that reality has changed. Joshua Project seeks to fill that need for a specific, accurate and comprehensive people group list to support Dr. Winter’s 1974 Lausanne focus.
Three months after Ralph and Roberta Winter founded the USCWM they established the William Carey International University (WCIU), which is a part of the larger Frontier Ventures family of ministries. Ralph Winter had seen the need for men and women around the world to have acceptable credentials in order to gain respect—especially outside church circles. Ultimately, WCIU’s PhD program was planned so that non-Western leaders could establish their own universities and begin to grant their own degrees—lowering dependence on the West for education and credentialing.
A few months ago, a recent INSIGHT alum named Megan was a part of a team that was spending time in Lebanon to refresh missionaries and to reach out to Syrian refugees. On one of their visits to a makeshift refugee camp, she joined a couple of missionaries to meet with a group of women. While the missionaries were trying to describe the kingdom of God, Megan noticed one refugee woman interspersing the English words “Plato” and “perfect forms” among her use of Arabic. Megan soon realized she was talking about Plato’s theory of the forms...
When the Global Prayer Digest started in 1982, no one anticipated the opportunities that could come our way. The goal then and now is to fill up the bowls of incense (see Rev. 5:8-10) for the unreached people groups (UPGs). In the years to come we have the opportunity to fill the bowls much faster than ever before.
Just as the world was reeling from the 9-11 tragedy, Ralph D. Winter was reeling from a tragedy of his own: watching Roberta—his wife and companion of 50 years—slowly fade out of this world due to terminal cancer. In her honor—and because he came to view disease eradication as a crucial new way to glorify God—Winter officially established the Roberta Winter Institute.
Today we live in a world where many of the different peoples and cultures are now here in America. These people groups are known by many as the diaspora, which means “dispersed.” It used to be that frontier mission was only understood through the paradigm of people going overseas. Today many of the unreached peoples of the world have come to us. As John Orr, of the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at USC said, “Los Angeles is the most religiously diverse city in the world.”
Our work at William Carey Library Publishers is not to just build an audience, but to engage communities around our brand and content. Our priority is to offer books that catalyze breakthroughs among the unreached—primarily Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu worlds.