This is an article from the January-February 1991 issue: The State of the World

Action! 55 Action Steps for You and Your Fellowship!

Action! 55 Action Steps for You and Your Fellowship!

So you've caught a vision of God's heart for the nations. And you want to get into action. We'll list some possible action steps. But first let's think through some qualifiers.


An accurate, big-picture worldview integrates ministries; it doesn't eliminate them.

God didn't organize the Word into a solid section of study on His heart for blessing the nations; instead He integrated that unchangeable purpose into passages dealing with His character, with obedience and mystery, with the meaning of the Incarnation, with the growth of the Church and so on. The idea is this: Don't concentrate on your interest in, say, reaching the Bozos of Mali and conclude that the rest of the Church must then forget about discipling a younger brother and righting injustice and studying the Word and feeding the homeless.

God's great purpose incorporates every God-given discipline in your life, every ministry in the life of your church. Think about it:

God has gifted and interested several people in your fellowship to minister to the elderly shut-ins of your congregation. Rather than chastise such folk that they should instead be polishing pith helmets bound for Bhutan, think integration: God has blessed North American believers with a growing population of the very elderly. Why? Why hasn't He simply begun to take them home to heaven as He did during the first century when the average lifespan was 28? Clearly, God is blessing the elderly with time, with old age for His great, unchangeable purpose.

When your church's shut-in visitation team visits to share songs and hold hands and listen to reminiscences, they can bring specific prayer requests of the urgent needs of the unreached peoples of the world. They can school the elderly in how to pray against the strongholds of Satan over a particular people group your church and mission is targeting. They can infuse into each shut-in's remaining days the magic elixir of purpose--"You can spend time in prayer that we can't! You know more about the ups and downs of life than we do; you can pray specifically for the ups and downs of the mission team targeting this unreached group. You can help break open the way for the Gospel in this group as you pray against the principalities and powers that rule and blind them! We need you!" A church shut-in ministry can--and must--be incorporated into the vision of Christ's global cause.

You and/or others in your fellowship may be zealous in the movement against pornography. Does this effort fit into the parameters of God's commands to "put away evil from among you"? Of course. Does it fit into God's commands to uplift the character of His name among the nations? Of course. The Christian effort to abolish the abuse of women and children in pornography underscores the stand of God's people for holiness.

Since Western pornography is one of the most offensive reasons the earth's one billion Muslims scorn "Christianity," the fight against pornography is essential in proclaiming the excellencies of God's great name--His character--to reach every ethne, (people group, as in Matthew 28:19) including the thousands of Muslim people groups.

As a fellowship, list sometime all the various ministries going on in your church. Then think and pray through each one to determine just how that ministry can be imbued with the purpose of God's big picture. Every God-ordained ministry of the church can be expanded as it aligns its purposes with the great, unchangeable purpose of God.

Be Strategic

Some ministries are good. Some are critical. As you pray through your response over the coming years to a vision of God's heart for the remaining unreached peoples of the earth, get strategic.

You can do a lot of good as you work in various ministries. Or you can do a lot of strategic work by evaluating your efforts according to two criteria:

1) Does this effort indirectly or directly impact the final task of establishing a church movement among an unreached people group?

Use your head here: Praying for a professor in a Bible school ministering within a reached people group such as the Spanish-speaking population of Honduras might seem non-strategic. But as that professor plants the vision in his Honduran students to go to North Africa and reach Muslim people groups--as hundreds of Hondurans have already done-- your prayer efforts are absolutely strategic! Don't jump to conclusions when evaluating the critical impact of any ministry.

2) Does this effort seek closure?

The projected date of closure is arbitrary, but the concept is critical. Make sure you engage in a response to the vision in a way and with a group that intends to help get the job done. It's a good rule of thumb to gauge whether you in your personal plans or the organizations you link up with mean business: Does this effort further the completion of the Great Commission?

So get strategic. Do as Cameron Townsend, founder of Wycliffe Bible Translators advised: "Find something no one else is doing. Then do it!"

Build and Act on the Vision:
A To-Do List
Individual Action Steps

(Find many of the resources mentioned on pages 44-48 and order on page 47.)

Commit Yourself

  1. Write a letter to a distant friend telling of your commitment to the vision of God's great purpose on earth.
  2. Count your blessings. Your life is a big "reception": What do you have that you have not received? How can these blessings be channeled into God's unchangeable purpose?
  3. Explore your role as a "priest" (1 Peter 2: 9-10). What does a priest do? How can you literally or figuratively perform those services for the unreached peoples of the world?
  4. List activities you can do away with to better commit your time to God's purpose.
  5. Sign what is known as the "Caleb Declaration" of commitment:
    "Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, 'We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we shall surely overcome it'" (Numbers 13:30).
    By the grace of God and for His glory, I commit my entire life to obeying His commission of Matthew 28:18-20, wherever and however He leads me, giving priority to the peoples currently beyond the reach of the Gospel (Romans 15:20-21).
    As an expression of my commitment, I will attempt to fulfill the following:

    I will go to another culture or stay in this one, depending on the Lord's leading.
    I will share my vision with other Christians, recognizing that my local church or campus student group are the obvious places for me to begin.
    As others grow in commitment to Christ's global cause, I will trust that three of them will sign the Caleb Declaration.

    To help me follow through with my commitment, I will "report" to someone--perhaps my pastor--monthly on how I am building and acting on this vision to reach every nation.
    Signature___________________________ Date______________
    (Consider photocopying this declaration and posting it where you'll see it often.)
  6. Find one or two friends who will meet with you on a regular basis(weekly? bi-weekly? monthly?) to build your vision. As you develop as a small group, hold each other accountable for Bible study, prayer and giving. Encourage each other with global breakthroughs.
  7. Set up a monthly global awareness book table such as the World Christian Display Table in your church narthex once a month to encourage others to catch the vision.
  8. Subscribe to the Global Prayer Digest for daily unreached people prayer points.
  9. Get the book Operation World: A Day-to-Day Guide to Praying for the World by Patrick Johnstone to further guide your prayers for the unreached peoples of the earth.
  10. Set up your own system to remind you to pray for unreached peoples. Perhaps post a GPD page or a card listing an unreached people group to prod your prayers while you are doing dishes, taking a shower, jogging.
  11. Put a sticky label-dot on your watch, your clock at home or work and/or your car's rearview mirror to remind you to pray for the Lord of the harvest to thrust forth laborers.
  12. Send letters to your church, denominational mission department or the mission agency you support stating your commitment to pray for frontier mission efforts.
  13. Once a month pray for all the people groups God has impressed on you, finding their locations on a world map. Perhaps "tithe" a Sunday and spend one-tenth of your day in prayer for the nations.
  14. Attend a "Concert of Prayer" with your family or a group of friends. These area-wide prayer gatherings concentrate on revival, leading to "fullness"--God's blessing on us His people--and "fulfillment"--His blessing on every people. Contact the US national office of Concerts of Prayer for locations near you: Concerts of Prayer, Pentagon Towers, P. O. Box 36008, Minneapolis, MN 55435. Study
  15. Evaluate your personal study Bible--how many of the passages you have underlined refer to God's blessing the nations and how many refer to God's blessing you?
  16. Buy a new Bible and underline the passages that specifically refer to God's blessing for the nations.
  17. Review your understanding of the vision of "A Church for Every People by the Year 2000." Order the basic Catch the Vision brochure or the meaty Perspectives Reader and Perspectives Study Guide.
  18. Take the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement course which extensively covers the biblical, historical, cultural and strategic aspects of God's plan to reach every people, tribe, tongue and nation. Extension classes are offered throughout the world, and the course can be taken by correspondence. Contact the Perspectives Study Program, 1605 Elizabeth St., Pasadena CA 91104 USA.
  19. Subscribe to a dozen or more mission magazines and newsletters.
  20. Every week, read a large metropolitan Sunday newspaper to notice what God is doing through even problems and the wrath of men to accomplish His great purpose.
  21. Study the book Serve As A Sender, a surprising, step-by-step approach to being a fully equipped sender to your missionaries. Order ($4.85 + $1 for tax & postage) from Emmaus Road International, 7150 Tanner Court, San Diego CA 92111 (619/292-7020).
  22. Compile a cassette library of missiological tapes that focus on the task of the Great Commission. As if you're on a self-study course and are cramming for a final exam, listen to these tapes while driving, jogging or doing house or yard work. Such tapes are available from William Carey Library.
  23. Read and jot findings in books that focus on unreached peoples and finishing the task. An excellent basic library of these types of books is The World Christian Bookshelf, with twelve basic books to study.
  24. Go to school. For information on one of the world's most strategic graduate study programs, write: President's Office, M.A. Program, 1539 E. Howard, Pasadena CA 91104 USA. For information on mission offerings from other schools, send for a copy of this year's Great Commission Handbook (SMS Publications, 1418 Lake St., Evanston IL 60201 USA; 708/328-3386) or the Evangelical Missions Quarterly Guide to Continuing Education (Box 794, Wheaton IL 60189).
  25. Evaluate the Christian records and books you own. How many of them are about God's blessing of you and how many on blessing other people groups? Work toward a balance in the input you and your family get from the music and literature in your home.
  26. Shop carefully for any item. Find the lowest price and give what you save to frontier mission efforts!
  27. Collect your loose change daily, count it monthly and deposit it. Then send a check for that amount to an unreached peoples project championed by your mission agency.
  28. Find out the average salary of a minister in your denomination. If it is lower than your salary, adjust to it over a period of months or years. Perhaps cut $100 out of your budget each month or every two months until your level of living matches that average ministerial salary. Give what you save to your selected unreached peoples mission effort!
  29. Consult a financial planner and get help setting a specific plan to decrease debt and increase your giving to the frontier mission efforts of your church or mission agency.
  30. Sell your house and give the money to a team reaching an unreached people group you've been particularly burdened for.
  31. Write to missionaries working on the front lines. Get personal in your news of the homefront. Send Sunday funny papers. Encourage. Don't expect an answer. Be cautious in writing any missionary working in restricted-access countries (check with your mission agency for guidelines).
  32. Connect with a mission agency wanting to learn more about a particular unreached group and clip newspaper and magazine references about that people and its geographical area. Don't forget that many if not most mission groups don't share much information, and breakthroughs reported in one denominational newsletter might be exactly the information another denominational mission department desperately needs! Be the information link for your agency!
  33. Volunteer five hours weekly to your church or mission agency in some effort to reach unreached peoples--regardless of how indirectly.
  34. Visit your nearest Christian radio station and encourage their airing of unreached peoples-focused mission programs such as "Around the World" with News Service 2000; "World Prayer 2000" with Jack McAlister; and Global Prayer Digest Radio Spots sponsored by Far East Broadcasting Corporation's Mission Vision Network, Box 1, La Mirada CA 90637
  35. Volunteer to help in your local or regional international student ministry. Shock foreign students by being interested in not only what political country they are from but what people they are from. If you find students who are from people groups which have no strong Christian witness, relay this information to the international student organization headquarters, your mission agency and the Adopt- A-People Clearinghouse (1539 E. Howard St., Pasadena CA 90114 USA).
    You just may be hosting an international student who could be the first one of his or her people to come to Christ! Mission groups targeting that people group will be more than interested to follow up on that individual as they can, here at home, learn language nuances, customs and other valuable "inside" information. And perhaps that one student will be the key, the evangelist who will plant a church and foster a movement to Christ in that people group!
    You can help these internationals as they get used to English by getting them copies of The All Nations English Dictionary--35,000 words including Christian and Biblical concepts; $5.00 plus $1.50 p. &h. from All Nations, P.O. Box 41540, Pasadena CA 91114 USA (1-800- 755-WORD).
  36. Find out if there are internationals from unreached people groups working or living in your community. Remember that individuals from most Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist people will be from unreached groups. Start up relationships with these internationals, realizing again that they may be precisely the one family God has ordained to carry the Gospel back to their homeland! Contact Doorstep Opportunities for ideas on how to best minister cross-culturally in your area; write Doorstep Opportunities, 1605 Elizabeth St., Pasadena CA 91104 USA.
  37. Use your vacation time to help research an unreached people group or assist in pre-evangelism (relief work, literature distribution, etc.) in a major city with unreached people communities or overseas. Contact your unreached peoples-focused mission agency for opportunities. Get a clear idea of short-term opportunities in Stepping Out: A Guide to Short-Term Missions available through William Carey Library, address above.
  38. Help with research. Link up with your mission agency or a group such as the Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse (see Step #35 for address) and find out what they need to find out about a particular people group. You'll be amazed at how much strategic research needed by the mission community has already been done in decades' worth of sociological and anthropological studies just sitting in your nearest university library! (See "How to Find Hidden Peoples in Your Library" under "Resources" for specific research ideas.)
  39. Draw a timeline of your life from birth to death. Consider tithing a tenth of your "expected" lifetime to be involved fulltime in sending or giving.
  40. Contact a mission agency targeting unreached peoples and start corresponding about possible short-term and career assignments.
  41. Research the possibilities of becoming a part-time or fulltime mission mobilizer in your area. Learn how to share the vision with groups. Encourage prayer, giving and activism on behalf of the unreached. Contact your mission agency for ideas. Or, to become a "generic" mission mobilizer representing all evangelical mission groups, write Regional Office Coordinator of the US Center for World Mission for information on serving in your area. Also, the Mobilization Division of the US Center for World Mission can equip you with materials to encourage churches to "adopt" an unreached people group. Write and ask for an Adopt-A-People Advocate Kit. The US Center address is 1605 Elizabeth St., Pasadena CA 91104 USA.

    Work with others, particularly the leadership of your church or fellowship group, to initiate the following educational steps in your group. Each of these resources is available through the US Center for World Mission or a cooperating mission organization. (For information on resources, contact the Mobilization Division, US Center for World Mission (see Step #41).
  42. Post Unreached Peoples Posters around your facility. These striking posters map out the details of the remaining task of reaching every people group for Christ.
  43. Set out Catch the Vision brochures. These comprehensive pamphlets overview the biblical and strategic vision of finishing the task of the Great Commission (available in 10-packs).
  44. Become world-wise. Get a feel for every country in the world and its people groups through the Passport to the World series of booklets. Each one is a 32-page quick reference guide. Your home and church library can have a complete set of Passports for strategic prayer. Contact World Population Study Center, 1605 Elizabeth Street, Pasadena, CA 91104 USA for subscription information.
  45. Use the Catch the Vision 2000 study course in adult Sunday School, in home-group Bible studies, at midweek services, or in Sunday evening sessions. The complete 12-session curriculum manual is available through William Carey Library, Box 40129, Pasadena CA 91114 USA.
  46. For an even more intensive study of God's unchangeable purpose to bless every people with His offer of salvation, study through the video-based course Destination 2000--a 12-session group study based on the book Destination 2000., available from Frontiers, P.O. Box 40159, Pasadena, CA 91114-7159 USA.
  47. Since as a group you're getting out of the pew and into the battlefield, study through the nine-session video course Spiritual Warfare available through Emmaus Road International (see Step #21 for address).
  48. Initiate a monthly mission fellowship in your church to study the implications of the biblical, historical, cultural and strategic aspects of God's global purpose. The Year of Vision program is geared for this, providing video-based teaching, guides for group discussion, instructions on how to pray daily for unreached peoples and a plan for actually "adopting" an unreached people group. These twelve 90-minute sessions form an entire year's worth of mission education! Send for your pilot version now.
  49. As a church, study your church's mission efforts:
    How can you better pray for and equip your missionaries among reached peoples as they encourage nationals to become sending churches--sending their own missionaries to unreached peoples?
    How can you better pray for and equip your missionaries working among unreached groups?
  50. Begin to amplify and expand on your fellowship's mission educational foundation by hosting incisive seminars on various aspects of reaching the unreached. Some basic seminars--ideal for inviting others to catch the foundational vision of God's global plan-- include:
    Catch the Vision 2000 Seminar
    Destination 2000 Seminar
    The 4,000-Year Connection Seminar
    A "Mini-Perspectives" Seminar
    Other more specific aspects of what God is doing today are presented in high-level seminars including:
    Muslim Awareness Seminars
    China Awareness Seminars
    An Introduction to Cross-Cultural Ministry Seminars
    Nothing Good Just Happens: How to Mobilize Your Church for Missions-- A Seminar Workshop for Church
    For Those Who Go: Getting Beyond Romanticism in Missions
    Serving As Senders: How to Support Your Missionaries While They Prepare to Go, While They Are on the Field and When They Return
    For information on booking any of the above seminars, contact the US Center for World Mission Mobilization Division, 1605 Elizabeth St., Pasadena CA 91104 USA who will put you in touch with the organizations offering each.
  51. Initiate the strategies and planning in special handbooks from the Association of Church Missions Committees (ACMC) (Box ACMC, Wheaton IL 60189-8000 USA). Some of these include Your Church Missions Policy Handbook, Cultivating a Missions-Active Church and Missions Conference Planner. For ongoing help in mobilizing your church, consider joining ACMC or the Association of International Mission Services organization for charismatically oriented congregations (AIMS, Box 60534, Virginia Beach VA 23464 USA).
  52. Take accountability to link with a mission agency targeting a specific people group; adopt a people! The varying degrees of responsibility your church can assume in this demanding enterprise are determined by you as a church and the agency. Contact your unreached-people-targeting mission agency or the Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse (see Step #35) for ideas on how to adopt an unreached group.
  53. Send your pastor(s) to the field. Nothing will infuse church leadership with a vision to help complete the Great Commission as firsthand experience in researching or working among an unreached group.
  54. Send your pastor or other church leader to a mission agency-- perhaps even to do clerical work! Nothing will help your church leadership sympathize more with the demands of mission work than seeing the support system operations at agency headquarters.
  55. Send your pastor to a Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. Intensive month-long courses are held each January and June on the campus of the US Center for World Mission in Pasadena, California. Extension courses are available at nearly 50 locations around the country. Contact the Perspectives Study Course offices at 1605 Elizabeth St., Pasadena CA 91104 USA for details.

What Will You Do?

If nothing else, do the foundational action step. Since you've had a chance to "look to the fields," get good at the basic response Jesus commanded: "Beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest" (Matthew 9:38). Pray!

Enough ideas to prod your thinking? Your own response to the vision of God's orchestration of world events to proclaim His character to every people, tribe, tongue and nation might never appear on such an action-step list. But since to whom much is given, much is required, your sense of that vision demands your response.


There are no comments for this entry yet.

Leave A Comment

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.