We are a planet on the move. More people are moving to more places, more rapidly than at any time in human history. With rapid transportation available to increasing numbers of people, the unreached peoples of the world many times are moving in next door to us. How well equipped are we to disciple anyone, not to mention going cross-culturally to do so?
Peoples on the Move
This Month's Articles
At present there are large numbers of unbelievers migrating to Western nations. Much of the Western church is fairly ignorant as to the numbers, cultures, and beliefs of such peoples though they are many of the world’s least-reached peoples. What if more kingdom citizens living in Western nations recognized the Great Commission opportunity set before them—that the Lord has moved the world into their neighborhoods so that such peoples may become his followers?
Europe is experiencing a “perfect storm” of negativity, defeat, destruction, and seemingly, a total disregard for the things of God. But Europe is also a new home for peoples coming from all nations. What better place can a follower of Christ invest his or her life than in the midst of this chaos?
To let our kids do more than observe and learn, we treated them, and our team mates treated them, like part of the tribe, as participants to whom and through whom God was able to speak. There were times when we would have turned and walked home, but they led us forward. And in doing so, they led forward the kingdom of God.
With gunfire cracking around him, David ran as fast as his nine-year-old legs would carry him. He was sure a soldier was right behind him, about to grab his shoulder, but he just kept running until his legs would no longer move. The raid had happened so quickly it seemed that no one else in his family had made it out of the village alive. David was all alone.
The iconic image of refugees is row upon row of white tents in a sprawling emergency camp, not a dingy apartment in a mega-city. But the reality is only one-third of the world’s 15.4 million refugees live in camps. Like most of the world’s population, refugees have steadily moved into cities and towns. Urban refugees are among the fastest-growing population segment globally and urban refugees’ present an opportunity to minister to “the nations” in our own backyard.
There are over 160 ethnolinguistic people groups considered “Least-Reached” who now call the U.S. home. God is bringing the nations into U.S. communities large and small, and the Mission America Coalition (MAC) is responding. Who are these peoples? Where are they located? What role do church leaders and mission mobilizers play? And, how do we reach them for Christ?
Groups, and the group process, are a strategic element of our strategy to plant the gospel all over the world. Underestimating the power of groups, and the importance of group process, is one of the biggest mistakes a gospel planter can make. How do we teach groups to study the Bible together, to discover what God says through His Word, to change their lives to obey God’s Word, and to share Bible passages with friends and family?
What would you do with 3,000 baptisms in a day? To what degree were the Apostles responsible before the Lord for the fledgling churches scattered across Jerusalem? A generation later how would Peter determine the necessary content of a letter addressed to churches scattered across Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia? By mapping generations a paradigm capable of reaching an entire population comes into view.
We estimate that more than 80% of the world’s unreached peoples are found in 117 least-reached People Clusters, with these 117 clusters grouped into 12 Affinity Blocs. The paradigm of Affinity Blocs and People Clusters is an attempt to build upon the strategic connections within and between peoples, not only in their homelands but also their diaspora populations. In November 2012 the spotlight falls on the peoples of the Arab world, with emphasis this month on the Church’s response to the “Arab Spring.” In December 2012 the spotlight shifts to Jewish peoples, including an update on outreach to Jews in Latin America. Our hope is that this new series will enable Mission Frontiers readers to better understand least-reached People Clusters and to discover new ways to faithfully represent Christ among them.
All too often, we prioritize a less clear teaching over very clear biblical truths. How we treat one another is talked about far more often in Scripture than some treasured theologies. That doesn’t make the theology wrong, but it must guide the way we deal with differences. Here are a few of the core principles that come to mind.