Campus Crusade and the Nazarenes working together… Partnering for the New Millennium
It was a fine spring day in Chicago as we talked about how to best accomplish the Evangelization of planet earth. David Barrett, author of the World Christian Encyclopedia, was there, as was futurologist Tom Sine, author of The Mustard Seed Conspiracy. We concluded that meeting of the Midwest Fellowship of Professors of Mission with a call for churches and mission agencies to work together in evangelizing the world.
That meeting, and many others like it in the ensuing years, has resulted in a new era of cooperation in missions today. Churches and mission agencies are linking arms as never before as we move into the third millennium. The Holy Spirit is breaking down walls between organizations. Partnership and cooperation are essential if we are to reach the unreached. This realization is key to a recent agreement forged between Campus Crusade's JESUS Film Project and the Church of the Nazarene.
The agreement calls for the Nazarenes to form 200 teams to show the JESUS film to an estimated 100 million people in 100 nations. It is estimated that 10 million (10%) will accept Christ and 3 million will be discipled in local churches. Campus Crusade is donating $1 million dollars of equipment (copies of the film and projectors), as well as training for the teams.
The partnership resulted from Nazarene laypersons who were active in Campus Crusade intersecting with Dr. Louie Bustle's evangelistic vision. Bustle, who is Director of the World Mission Division of the Church of the Nazarene, was a key player in quickly mobilizing the denomination for this effort.
Nazarene laypersons are contributing millions of dollars for the formation of film teams. Teams will soon number 250, exceeding the original goal. Thousands of Nazarenes have already committed to over a million hours of prayer for the project in 1999 alone.
Initial reports indicate that the results of this partnership are exceeding expectations. Through January 1, 1999, Nazarenes had shown the film to 164,000 people; of these, nearly 37,000 (23 percent) had accepted Christ and over 9,000 (25 percent) of those had responded to follow-up. "We originally thought that we could do this on our own," said Dr. Paul Eshleman, director of the JESUS film project for Campus Crusade. "But we were wrong! We now know we need denominational help with this project, and we are excited about this agreement with the Church of the Nazarene."
The JESUS film is the most-watched full length feature film in history. More people have seen it than Gone with the Wind. More than Titanic. More than 1.5 billion people have seen it (nearly one quarter of the entire population of planet earth). It has been translated into more than 450 languages, with another 220 in process.
Dr. Bustle, who had already had good results with the "Each One, Win One" global evangelistic thrust, says: "We are thrilled with the cooperative agreement with Campus Crusade. The JESUS film is one of the most effective evangelistic tools ever developed, and the Church of the Nazarene stands poised to reach millions of people with the gospel message through the showing of this film."
Already the film is being used by the Church of the Nazarene in such widely disparate nations as Cote d'Ivoire, Madagascar, Fiji, and Bulgaria, as well as in a number of creative access countries. Nazarene missionary Christian Sarmiento tells of an 85 year old agnostic who had spent a lifetime rejecting all religion. But, after seeing the JESUS film, he made a decision to follow Christ and prayed to receive Him.
The Nazarene Program Director reported: "The goal of the partnership between the Church of the Nazarene and Campus Crusade is to reach the lost! It is what we live and breathe."
Now a new development has surfaced. The cooperation and commitment of mission agency and denomination has come to the attention of a Christian foundation. The foundation said, "This is the kind of Christian liaison we would like to support!" As a result, The Foundation is anonymously giving over $500,000 to the project. This grant will be shared by the Church (to finance thirty-five new film teams), and Campus Crusade (to purchase the necessary equipment).
These three organizations: Church, Mission Agency, and Foundation, working together, characterize the new mood in missions today. All of those calls for cooperation have not been in vain. The Nazarene Program Director summed up what will happen as churches and agencies link together for the new millennium: "We can do more together than we could ever do separately."
Dr. Chuck Gailey is Professor of Missiology and Director, School of World Mission and Evangelism, Nazarene Theological Seminary, Kansas City. He has also served as President of the Midwest Fellowship of Professors of Mission. [email protected]