This is an article from the March-April 2000 issue: The African American & Missions

MF Behind the Scenes

African Americans: Reclaiming Their Missions Heritage

MF Behind the Scenes

African Americans and tragedy have too often traveled the roads of history together. This issue tells the tragic tale of the African American Church which started out well in missions in the 18th Century but because of political and social discrimination in the 20th Century were largely forced from the mission field and the vision of missions and world evangelization was largely lost in the African American community.

Their rich history of involvement in missions is almost unknown today even within the African-American community. In this issue we have worked to change that for all of us.

The good news is that this is a new day for African Americans. They now have unprecedented opportunities for service and leadership in missions. Mission agencies are eagerly seeking out African American candidates. We present in this issue some current day mission heroes who are making a real contribution.

The real question is whether the African American Church with its new-found opportunities and wealth will catch the vision of how God can use them in reaching the unreached peoples. There are promising signs of change with an increasing number of African American churches being actively involved in missions. But these are still the exception and not the rule. There is much work left to be done.

There are a number of new organizations like COMINAD (See page 19) that are actively working to mobilize African Americans for missions. A small but growing number of African Americans are catching the vision for mobilizing their community.

One of these new mobilizers was, Marilyn Lewis, who we want to honor for her wonderful contribution as guest editor for this issue. Just before going to press we were shocked by the tragic news that she had died from a heart attack. She had the heart of a historian and a mobilizer. Her passion was for African Americans to know their heritage in missions and to recapture their forefather's vision for missions. You can see our tribute to her. She was very excited about this issue of MF and its potential impact on the African American church. We will miss her.

It is my personal hope and prayer that Marilyn's passion and commitment will inspire other African Americans to rise up and take her place in mobilizing their community with a passion for the unreached peoples. I invite you to join me in that prayer.

Church Planting Movements

It's highly unusual, it's almost unheard of, that we should dedicate such a large portion of our magazine to reprinting someone else's booklet. But this is no ordinary booklet. See the Introduction.

Here at Mission Frontiers we are big supporters of the idea of establishing indigenous Church Planting Movements within every people on earth. We are already convinced of their power and potential to make the Gospel available to large numbers of people in each people group in a very short period of time.

What is remarkable is that this booklet presents strong evidence, from on-the-field experience, of how these movements develop and how they can be extinguished or prevented from developing. All in one place you can find out what the Southern Baptists have learned and the conclusions they have come to from their research and analysis. This is a precious gem that all of us would do well to study, learn from and experiment with on the field. We need to be ready to learn from each other's efforts so that there will be as few "blind spots" as possible hindering our collective efforts at world evangelization. I encourage you to read each of the "chapters" in this section and let us know your thoughts. Extra copies of this booklet are available at no cost upon request. If your mission has some experience with Church Planting Movements, please feel free to share those with us and any common elements that you have seen.

"Failure Is Not an Option!"

This familiar line from the movie, Apollo 13, also reflects out commitment at Mission Frontiers that this be the year that we cover all of our costs. You can see our seriousness by the addition of the response card on the cover to help us clean up our mailing list and the envelope for sending in a donation. To cover our costs we must make sure that our list is clean and that all of our readers who believe in what we are doing send in a donation. If you enjoy reading MF but cannot afford $15, please accept MF as our gift. But if you are able to send in $15 or more, please do so now, we need your help.

We have reached the breaking point. I am sorry to say that 11,000 Christian leaders in 160 countries are not getting this latest issue of MF because we cannot afford to send it to them. This breaks my heart because these are key people who need the strategic information and vision contained in MF, but are often unable to pay for it.

We are evangelists for the vision of reaching the unreached peoples and completing world evangelization. But we cannot continue to share this vision without your help. Please send in a donation today if you can. If God has blessed you financially, please consider a gift of $155 to allow us to send MF to 70 new people. Mail to:

Mission Frontiers
1605 E. Elizabeth St
Pasadena, CA 91104

If we are to meet the increasing demand for MF from around the world, we will need your help. The vision must go forth. The task must be completed. "Failure is not an option!


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