Leaders ignite with vision
What will it take to inflame American churches with new missions passion and global perspective? The Christian Leaders Institute of International Studies (CLIIS) may be part of the answer.
The first Christian Leaders IIS was conducted on the USCWM campus on July 13 17, attended by 88 lay leaders and pastors. CLIIS sparked exciting new understanding and vision to help reach the thousands of untouched "hidden" people groups of the world.
A number of CLIIS delegates expressed their appreciation for the program. Some of their comments are printed here in italics.
CL IIS was the vehicle that the Lord used to stir up a desire with in my heart to "go for it" totally in sharing the vision with the rest of my church.
Each morning, Dr. Ralph Winter of the US Center challenged participants with the Biblical, historical, cultural, and strategic dimensions of world evangelization. These talks were followed by intensive morning and evening seminars focusing daily on one of the four major blocks of hidden peoples.
Abraham Pothen and four other visiting missionaries and national Christians from India and Bangladesh provided insight into the complexities of penetrating the mosaic of Hindu caste society with the Gospel.
Thailand '80 to Edinburgh '80
Thailand 180 is now history... Edinburgh '80 will soon convene
Now that the conference at Pattaya is over, perhaps it is time to remember just what is hoped for at the World Consultation on Frontier Missions at Edinburgh in October of this year. Both conferences had the same stated purpose: to deal with the issue of the Hidden Peoples of the world. Yet they are quite distinct:
Sponsor The Lausanne Committee on World Evangelization
Participants Scholars, church and mission leaders from around the world. Predominantly church leaders. All there by invitation of sponsor.
Results 1) An increased interest on the part of church leaders in the unreached frontiers of missions. 2) An increase in support for mission agencies doing the job. 3) An ongoing discussion of strategy, including clarification of terms like "peoples approach" to evangelism and definitions of Hidden People groups.
Sponsor An ad hoc committee of mission executives.
Participants Official delegates of mission agencies, both Western and non Western. Official observors: up to 300 student mission leaders meeting simultaneously.
Expected Results 1) Valuable in¬
terchange between Western and non Western mission society delegates to plan better training and supervision of missionary personnel and to set clear goals for penetration into specific Hidden People groups. 2) Interchange between mission society delegates and student mission leaders should help agencies recruit and supervise this generation's laborers. Students hope to come away with an international student movement for missions organized, ready to move.
Thailand '80 brought its participants a long way toward understanding the realities of the world's unreached billions. This was of inestimable value, especially to church leaders around the world. An answer to the question, "How can they hear without a preacher?" was begun at Pattaya.
Now that verse must be completed by mission executives from 160 agencies who will gather at Edinburgh. The question "Whom shall we send?" will be addressed for the first time in history by a significant number of African and Asian mission executives who will sit down together with Westerners, an accomplishment only possible in a consultation of this nature.
(Institute of Chinese Studies) and Danny Yu (Chinese World Mission Center) shared from their rich experience and knowledge of the Chinese world.
Alan Starling (Gospel Recordings), Ernie Heimbach (USCWM Strategy Division) and Don Richter (Regions Beyond Missionary Union) shared first hand accounts of the Gospel's entry into 3 of the world's 2,100 tribal groups; their evening program featured a reverse¬monolingual (translation) demonstration by Turner and Bethel Blant of Wycliffe Bible Translators.
Finally, through the heartfelt, sensitive, and graphic presentation of Don McCurry (Samuel Zwemer Institute), the cultural beauty and spiritual longings of the Muslim peoples became real.
The variety of presentations has made the week enjoyable on the intellectual level, and sorting that out will take time. The opening of my mind to the mosses that need to be reached has been the most important "happening" for me.
According to Len Bartlotti,
Director of the USCWM Mobilization Division, the unique international flavor of the CLIIS, its exclusive focus on the remaining frontiers in missions today, combined with its practical "how¬to" seminars, make the CLIIS a potentially powerful instrument for rebuilding the pioneer missions perspective and vision of the local church. V
The Leadership IIS exceeded my expectations and my expectations were high. I was particularly impressed by the real substance of all sessions and the quality of the speakers and films and the depth of the content. The message is clear and the test of our commitment will come as we return to our congregations and seek in the power of the Holy Spirit to awaken our memberships. Please pray for us!
Plans call for expansion of the CLIIS into churches via video, as well as area wide combined Missions Festivals and CLIIS's in the major cities of North America.
For information on upcoming CLIIS sessions, contact Mary Fran Redding at the USCWM. (Phone: 213 798 8936, 798 8937, 794 7155.)