New Era: Embracing a New Era in the Frontier Mission Movement
From the Editor
In 1976, a mild-mannered professor at Fuller’s School of World Mission named Ralph Winter launched a daring effort to change the world by purchasing a $15 million college campus in Pasadena, California. His goal was to foster a collaborative movement of mission agencies, churches and students to bring access to the gospel to the then estimated 16,500 “hidden peoples,” now referred to as unreached people groups. The impact of this effort has been nothing less than profound. Not only was he able to raise the money over 12 years to complete the purchase of the campus, but in the process, he was also able to raise the awareness of hundreds of thousands of believers to the need to reach the unreached peoples. New mission agencies like Frontiers, Pioneers and many more were founded with the purpose of going to these unreached peoples. These efforts led to a dramatic shift in the focus of the evangelical mission enterprise and the Frontier Mission Movement was born.
The generation of young people who surrounded and supported the Winters and their biblical vision of reaching the unreached peoples are now becoming grandparents. It is now time for succeeding generations of Jesus followers to get involved in proclaiming this biblical vision of spreading God’s glory and his gospel of salvation to all of the unreached peoples—now numbering around 7,000. We are retooling to equip ourselves to reach new generations of believers with this God-centered, biblical vision and to mobilize them into action.
With this latest issue of Mission Frontiers we are announcing and celebrating the birth of Frontier Ventures—from the legacy of the U.S. Center for World Mission. This is more than just a name change but also a significant reorganization of the various ministries and assets that the Frontier Mission Fellowship (FMF) represents. The FMF is the parent organization of both William Carey International University (WCIU), and the U.S. Center for World Mission (USCWM), with its various projects and initiatives, which includes Mission Frontiers. The FMF and the USCWM are now becoming known as Frontier Ventures. The former college campus in Pasadena, California, where Ralph Winter founded the USCWM and WCIU nearly 40 years ago, will now be called The Venture Center. All of this and more are explained in this issue of MF starting on page 6. We not only explain the changes but we also introduce you to a number of the ministries that Frontier Ventures represents. If you want to introduce your friends to Frontier Ventures, this is a great issue to hand to them.
With all of these changes, there are some things that are foundational to who we are. We are retooling to increase our effectiveness in carrying out our mission of establishing kingdom breakthroughs in every unreached people group, but the vision and values that we have grown up with will remain with us. Here are some things you can count on as we move forward.
From the founding of the U.S. Center for World Mission, we have been strong advocates for those “hidden” or unreached peoples that have no viable, indigenous movement to Christ. This focus is integral to our DNA as an organization and will not change. We are as committed as ever to seeing breakthroughs among the unreached peoples. For us the ultimate goal of the missionary task is about providing access to the gospel so that every person may have an opportunity to say “yes” to Jesus. The problem is that individuals are cut off from the gospel because they live within people groups that are unreached or unengaged. We will continue to mobilize the global church to initiate kingdom breakthroughs in every unreached people.
We Are About Kingdom Breakthroughs
While on earth, Jesus spoke most often about the kingdom of God. There is a lot of confusion about what this term means but at its heart it is about the rule and reign of Jesus in the hearts of his followers. When you have a growing number of Jesus followers in a particular people group or region faithfully making disciples and planting churches, it begins to have a transformative effect on all aspects of life and society. It brings about human flourishing under the Lordship of Jesus. We refer to this as a kingdom breakthrough. Overcoming the barriers to these kingdom breakthroughs and learning how to establish them in every unreached people group is our highest strategic priority as an organization.
If these kingdom breakthroughs are to develop and have their full potential impact, the body of Christ must learn how to make disciples who disciple others and establish reproducing churches within every people. It is only with this type of exponential multiplication of disciples and churches that everyone within every people group will have access to the gospel and God’s glory will be made known in all the earth.
Collaboration: It’s How We Do Our Mission
Ralph Winter’s vision for the Pasadena campus was always for it to be a place for collaboration to take place to reach unreached peoples. Collaboration is more necessary today than ever before. The task of establishing kingdom breakthroughs in each of the 7,000 unreached peoples is far too large for any one organization or denomination to accomplish. Our only hope is for the Body of Christ, in all of its various parts, to work together along the lines of its various ministry specialties to establish kingdom breakthroughs within each unreached people group. We are establishing the Ralph D. Winter Launch Lab here on our Venture Center campus for the purpose of fostering this type of collaboration and to bring various ministries together in new collaborative efforts. See page 20 for more on the Launch Lab. Frontier Ventures does not send out mission workers to the unreached. Our role is to be a catalytic force in the Body of Christ to bring people together on mission to reach the unreached. Collaboration is one major way that we fulfill this catalytic role.
Prayerfully Consider Your Part
We invite you to read through this issue of MF and to prayerfully consider what part that you can have in fostering kingdom breakthroughs among the unreached peoples. This issue is an open invitation to you to collaborate with us, and others, towards that end.
The Muslim World: Opportunity in the Midst of Crisis
With the rise of the virtual terror state of ISIS and the violent attacks by gunmen on the streets of Paris, radical Islamists have pushed their way to the forefront of the world’s attention. (Go to our Blog section at http://www.missionfrontiers.org for an interesting perspective on these latest events.) The world is struggling to know how to deal with this problem and even to know how to talk about it in helpful terms. Muslims themselves are struggling to make sense of it all since the majority of Muslims are peaceful and many of the victims of these atrocities are Muslims themselves. Since the attacks of 9-11, there have been many voices calling for moderate Muslims to speak out against the violent extremists in their midst. Few have spoken up, possibly fearing reprisals from the very extremists they might condemn. But in recent days this silence was broken in a very dramatic way.
On January 1st of 2015, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi gave a little-covered speech at Al-Azhar University in Cairo. This university is widely recognized as the world’s leading center for Islamic training. President Sisi spoke to a gathering of Islamic scholars calling for a “religious revolution” within Islam to drive violent jihadist thinking and teaching from its midst. The Egyptian president said, “You imams are responsible before Allah. The entire world—I say it again, the entire world—is waiting for your next move because this umma (Muslim world) is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost—and it is being lost by our own hands…. We have to think hard about what we are facing. It is inconceivable that the thinking that we hold most sacred should cause the entire Islamic world to be a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction for the rest of the world. Impossible.” Clearly, President Sisi recognizes that Islam itself has a vital role in confronting violent Islamist teachings in their midst.
I present all of this here to point out that we are in a God-ordained kairos moment in the history of missions to Muslims. God is shaking the “house of Islam” and we must be ready and equipped to present to Muslims a loving and culturally sensitive presentation of the “hope that lies within us.” More Muslims are coming to Christ now than at any time since Muhammad, and the number of movements to Christ is growing rapidly. You can follow the growth of these movements among Muslims on the pages of Dr. David Garrison’s book, A Wind in the House of Islam. Let’s equip ourselves for the kingdom breakthroughs in the Muslim world that God is preparing for us.
 The Washington Free Beacon, Egyptian President Call for “Religious Revolution” in Islam, by Abraham Rabinovich, January 4, 2015. http://freebeacon.com/national-security/egyptian-president-calls-for-religious-revolution-in-islam/