An Exciting Role for You
Harry Evans drummed his fingers impatiently on the steering wheel as he waited far the traffic light to change. It had been hectic Monday at the office, and he had to get home, eat, and spend some time with the kids and then drive to an appointment with a client later in the evening.
But Harry wasn't thinking about business or his family as he drove home from the office that evening. The thought that kept running through his mind was a statement made by one of the speakers at the church missionary conference this past weekend.
"Unless at least one million American evangelical Christians are awakened to the plight of 76, 750 people groups, containing over 2.5 billion people, the chances of our mounting o major missionary offensive to take the gospel to these groups is practically nil."
Harry had been active in his church and especially in the missions program since he and his wife, Arlene, hod joined the church six years ago. He hod been interested in missions since he served as missions chairman for his Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship back at State University, But he and Arlene both felt that God had not coiled them to go overseas as missionaries, or even as "tentmakers.
What Harry couldn't snake from his mind was the conviction that there was something more he and Arlene could do for the cause of the final frontiers of mission.
It wasn't as if they had been lust sitting still. They had heard about the new Frontier Fellowship campaign from o missionary speaker who had stayed in their home. They had begun soving their loose change at the end of every day, and had been reading the little Frontier Fellowship Daily Prayer Guide. This had been such a Easing to them that they had encouraged the formation of a Frontier Fellowship in their congregation. This group was growing each month. But surely there was something more that could be done.
There are thousands of earnest Christians like Harry and Arlene who have caught the vision of penetrating the final frontiers of the gospel and who are active in their local churches and Bible study groups in helping others catch the same vision. But they want to do something more to help others, in other churcl in other groups, catch this same vision.
Later that evening, after his appointment. Harry was looking over the day's mail. "There wasn't too much today," Arlene said, "but we did get that magazine from the U. S. Center for World Mission. There's an article in there I marked far you to lack at. It's the one about area representatives."
Harry quickly leafed through the Mission Frontiers to the page Arlene had marked. He began quickly to scan the article. .45 he read, his excitement grew. "Honey, this is exactly the kind of thing we've been looking for. I can see four or five things here that we might be able to do locally. Why don't you write the Center in Pasadena and tell them we'd like to help?"
People like Harry and Arlene who have wanted to do something more have often done so by serving as area representatives of the U. S. Center for World Mission in locations all over the United States.
Some of these have been pastors like Bernie Powell, pastor of the Community Church of Portage Lakes near Akron. Ohio. Others have been student workers like Rob Malone, a staff member of Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship In the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area.
But the vast majority of these concerned people have been Christian lay people. These are people like Bob and Irene Nance of Texas or Ed and Elizabeth Rice of western Washington. People who want to help in their own special way.
But hundreds more like these are needed to help alert other churches and Christians to the need for a general mobilization of the resources of the Church in a final thrust for penetrating these frontiers.
The USCWM and Area Centers
When Dr. Ralph Winter founded the U. S. Center for World Mission in 1976, his vision was to reach at least one million Christians with the challenge of the frontiers, and to stimulate them to a life long commitment to that cause.
Even the purchase of the former Pasadena Nazarene College campus in Pasadena as the site for the USCWM was part of the plan to make the evangelical community aware of the plight of what he had called the 'hidden peoples."
"I knew that it would be difficult for many to visualize the challenge of planting churches in the thousands of people groups where no church yet existed." he said. "But they could see and understand our struggle to purchase this property, and we could link the two challenges in their minds."
From the beginning one thing has been clear. There is great virtue in locating a number of the activities designed to mobilize a movement of Christians for frontier missions on a single campus. If for no other reason, it promotes efficiency and coordination. However, it has become just as obvious that certain functions can best be carried out in locations throughout the country.
Certain functions can best be carried out in locations throughout the country.
The purpose... twofold: "to make things available, arid to make things happen."
This is especially true in the area of mobilizing churches and other Christian groups to commit themselves to the prayer and financial support essential to complete this job.
Last year, through the generosity of some frontier minded people in eastern Pennsylvania, an extension center was established near Lancaster with three full time U.S. Center staff members located there. However, with the struggle to purchase the campus in Pasadena there have been neither staff nor funds available to establish other area centers across the country. Therefore, it has been necessary to rely entirely on volunteers. People like Harry and Arlene Evans who are interested in investing time each week in helping others catch and carry out a vision to see "a church for every people (group) by the year 2000" these are people just like you!
Defining our Terms
The USCWM has never developed a complete "package" or 'program" to establish area representatives or area offices or area centers. But it does recognize the need to help volunteers become effective in their ministry. Initial efforts have demonstrated the importance of equipping highly motivated people to mobilize others for frontier missionary outreach.
There have been a number of different terms used to describe the ministry of missionary mobilization in a geographic area, or throughout a certain denomination or other Christian group: regional center, extension center. Frontier Fellowship Center, walk in center, etc. We have chosen the terms area representative, area office and area center as those most accurately reflecting the specific task to be undertaken in other locations.
Area Representatives are individuals. couples, or "teams" who are active themselves in the cause of frontier missions, and who desire to help other become active in the same cause. An area office is a private location available to the representative (a) where frontier mission resources can be stored for distribution. An area center is a public location staffed 6 knowledgeable volunteers to make frontier resources available to the evangelical community in that area.
The purpose of this extension ministry of the USCWM is twofold: "to make things available, and to make things happen."
"Making things Available"
1. Material Resources
Through the U. S. Center for World Mission and other frontier mobilizers a constant stream of books, papers, magazines, cassette tapes, video cassettes and other materials become available to help stimulate Christians to reach out to penetrate the frontiers. Because of the special focus of these materials, most are not available through regular Christian bookstores and other normal distribution channels. This means that most of these materials are available only through mail order.
Although this is one way to get materials out, many prospective readers and users are just not aware of what is available. If these materials were available locally, many more might be persuaded to buy, use and share the materials and the vision.
It is, not necessary that the materials be permanently displayed" in a showroom, if such space is not available. Just having the materials available in the area can be most helpful especially when a mission committee chairman is looking for resource material for a presentation next week?
But where display space is available, it is particularly helpful. Some have displayed these materials in their garage, or basement, in a separate room, or just in a corner of a room regularly used for some other purpose. Churches have offered unused classrooms for use In this way. It would be perfectly possible for a camper or motor home to be set up as a portable display center which could travel from place to place in the area. For a general mobilization of evangelical resources to penetrate the final frontiers, there is a need to establish these frontier resource depots in all of the cities and towns of this country.
2. Personnel Resources
Another kind of resource in each area is the people who are available to help others catch, keep and share their frontier vision.
Each area representative can develop a file of local people who are especially qualified as experts in some aspect of the frontier cause. These may include local pastors who have special training or experience; furloughing, retired or returned missionaries; professors in various social sciences related to frontier missions, and others able to share the vision; and highly motivated lay persons competent to share the frontiers effectively.
The IJSCWM will make its own list of any local resource personnel available to each area representative as a start in building his own file.
3. Frontier Fellowship Resources
One kind of resource each frontier mission center should distribute is the Daily Prayer Guide
published monthly by the Frontier Fellowship. Since the prayer guide is designed to be the foundation of a local group meeting in each church, it is especially helpful for the Frontier Fellowship to have personal contact with each
There is a need to establish these Frontier Resource Depots in all of the cities and towns of this country.
church each month. An area representative who would personally deliver the prayer guides to participating churches would be able to gain valuable information and insights concerning both the problems and success of the campaign in each church,
"Making things Happen"
Moving beyond resources, some area representatives will want to take a more active role in influenc and persuading others to become involved in the movement.
Here are a number of ideas which any individual, couple, or group active in promoting the frontier mission cause might want to consider in helping to make things happen. Also, you will find information on where to get more help:
1. Publish a monthly newsletter with information on what others in your area are doing to promote the cause of the frontiers. (Send for a sample copy of "Frontier Update" published for the Inland Empire area of Southern California. Address inquiries to 3586 Marshall Street, Riverside, CA 925Q4).
2. Set a goal for a specific number of Frontier Fellowship groups to be established In area churches. Research strategies for getting these groups started. The National Coordinating Office of the Frontier Fellowship (P.O. Box 90970, Pasadena, CA 91104) can help an area representative discover other Frontier Fellowship groups already in his or her area, as well as refer inquiries for follow up.
3. Sponsor a Student Conference on World Evangelization (SCOWE) for high school and college students in your area. Write to the Student Mobilization office at the USCWM for information on how to arrange one of these inspiring conferences (lasting from three hours to a full weekend).4. Set up area or denominational pastors' meetings for speakers from the USCWM and other agencies when they are in your area. Ralph Winter. Don Richardson, Greg Livingstone, Don McCurry and others are continually "on the move" across the country, and welcome the opportunity to meet pastors and other Christian leaders to share the exciting things happening around the world. Area representatives can receive advance notice when a USCWM speaker will be in their area,
4. Set up a display for the Frontier Fellowship at local Sunday School or Christian Education conferences. (Contact the Frontier Fellowship National Coordinating Office for information on how to do this.)
5. Sponsor a local course in "Perspectives on the World Christian Movement" with credit available through a local college or university. (If possible, plan to send an alumnus of the course to Pasadena for one week of intensive training as a coordinator. Contact Steve Holloway at IIS Extension, USCWM in Pasadena.)
7. Assist local churches in planning a special frontier missions emphasis in their regular missionary program or conference. The "Hidden Peoples Sunday" kit and other tools are available for this.
8. Trust the Holy Spirit to give you other creative ways of effectively mobilizing the resources of the Christian community in this greatest of all challenges.
Perhaps your interest has been prodded by this article. If you are interested in this concept, read the following page. It attempts to explain different ways in which one might become involved. It should give you concrete examples of specific tasks that need to be accomplished in local areas all over the country. Consider the role you might have whether you have two hours per week or large amounts of "free" time.
How Might You Fit In?
Now that you've read about our desire to have area representatives, perhaps you're ready to fit in. The next question you probably have is, "How do I fit in?" "Is there something I can do with only three hours a week? Or "I've been sharing your vision in a small way; what is the next step?"
The first step is to read and study this page. Pray about it. Carefully seek to determine if you might serve the Lord in this way.
Remember, the GENERAL PURPOSE of an area representative is to make things available. . and . . . to make things happen.
Listed here are different LEVELS They are suggestions as to specific areas in which you could serve. Different area representatives may only be able to do one or two TASKS within a particular level, or they may be able to be involved in more than one level. Each LEVEL builds upon the previous level to some degree.
Examine the different LEVELS and the TASKS in each of those levels.
Level 1 "Materials"
In this role you will keep a basic stockpile of the materials needed for churches and individuals in your area. This includes many exciting materials about the frontiers, like Frontier Fellowship publications (e.g. Daily Prayer Guide and Five Global Facts.!! etc.), USCWM publications hike the new brochure on pages 12 C 13, Mission Frontiers and many others), as well as other helpful tools.
In this role you will develop the above items at well as others, into a "showroom" or resource depot you might carry items you see the need for, like films, slide shows, video cassettes, cassette tapes, as well as others.
Level 2 "Information"
In this role you will have available materials and resources as necessary but would focus more of your time in the area of personal contacts You might phone people in your area who have previously contacted the U.S. Center. Or you may receive calls from others in your area whom the U.S. Center has directed to you.
In addition to the role A in this level, you would arrange and be involved in public speaking. You would set up the showing of a film or video. You would also keep a file of other resource people in your area.
Level 3 "Initiative"
In this role you will do the above as necessary (on less there is more than one area representative in that area) but you will go a step further. You will compile a list of churches in that area. You would seek to contact people at those churches to spread vision in various ways. You would strive to set up Frontier Fellowship campaigns in as many churches as possible.
In this role you will move beyond the contacts with in rote A. You would give presentations to groups or be a coordinator for a "Perspectives" course (see page 20). Perhaps you could set up speaking engagements for other qualified Frontier Missions speakers and Center staff, Another idea is to have a one day seminar with some exciting video tapes and other activities that would stimulate group discussion.
Just reading all the possibilities is exciting. They seem endless, and indeed they are only limited by the people and the gifts the Lord gives. Please consider how you might have a part in the growing movement of Frontier Missions that is spreading across the country. Remember, no single person or location can do all the work. But many of you can see that this would truly be...
An Exciting Role for You!
Enlist! After considering what way you might serve, sign up to be an Area Representative on page 23 of this issue of MF.