New Titles Reduce ‘Fallout’
Students interested in frontier missions have typically fought for the survival of their vision. Dreams are dreamt. Decisions are made. But commitment gets flooded by reality. Plans are laid aside. When diagnosed, the problem seems common: starvation.
The lack of vital, practical, inspiring information has caused a severe drop out rate in prospective frontier missionaries. Until last month, the only things on the market dealing with the process of "world Christian" development were a few pamphlets and leaflets. But all of a sudden this meager diet has been supplemented by a smorgasbord of new titles.
Practical Mini Course
For the student struggling to gain a perspective on how to implement his or her vision for the world, Dave Bryant's In the Gap What it Means to be a World Christian is probably the only practical guide in print in book form. Originally published as a brief handbook called The Emerging Marks of World Christian Discipleship" its 272 pages give the fruition of fifteen years of struggle on Bryant's part to help students work through their "pea sized" Christianity. "My hope", he says, "is that as a framework and springboard, it will lead to the creative, wideopen redirection of many Christians toward the uttermost parts of the earth in the 1980's."
Designed almost as a minicourse on world missions, Bryant says "it will give a biblical, historical and contemporary analysis of how a movement of World Christians could release the bottled up resources of American evangelicalism."
Those students already pursuing the possibility of "non professional" missions will be greatly assisted by J. Christy Wilson's new book called Today's Tent makers Born out of Wilson's experience as a "self supporting" missionary to Afghanistan, the
A book presents an alternative model for reaching into countries officially closed to missionary outreach.
He develops his model, unlike so many others, in the context of present mission structures. "If tentmakers are to be effective in reaching the unreached crossculturally for Christ," he says, "they too must be associated with some sort of mission agency." He believes the experienced missionary, open to new ideas, "can guide newcomers and help them to avoid serious blunders."
Both Bryant and Wilson point to the Student Volunteer Movement of the last century as a period when their concerns were actually being accomplished. Another recent publication has reprinted the proceedings of the Student Volunteer Movement's First International Convention entitled Student Mission Power. Wilson, who pulled together the first Urbana Conference, held in Toronto in 1946, says: "This 1891 missionary conference became the model for the IV Urbana Convention and the Campus Crusade for Christ Explo's and Christmas conferences." This inspiring material, having motivated 100,000 U.S. college students when the student population was 1/37th the size of today, is "just as up todate, just as applicable as anything one could find in 1979 on the subject," states Dave Bliss, mission leader with African Enterprise.
New Student Magazine
The present gulf of student mission publications, once filled by hundreds of SVM periodicals, will also be partially filled by the appearance of a full color magazine called Today's Mission Dave Dolan, publisher of the magazine, says that it is founded to motivate, educate and direct Christian college students towards involvement in crosscultural ministry. Accompanied by a monthly newsletter called Ventures and Visions this organ seems to be the only interstudent¬movement periodical devoted exclusively to crucial issues in student missions.
Each of these publications is indicative of the developing interest in student missions. What has been slowly surfacing in the 1970's could be the infrastructure necessary for frontier mission outreach in the 1980's.
A community health course has been added to the basic core of IIS studies in order to provide a better understanding of how development ties in with the frontier mission effort. "We're seeking to provide an understanding of total health care needs and fundamental prevention problems in a developing region," states Bob Coleman, chairman of the USCWM Training Division. While not ignoring the presentday crisis of refugee flight and famine relief, Coleman says this course will primarily cover development areas such as nutrition, sanitation, food production and medical care.
This course will be an excellent starting point for nurses enrolling in the nurse practitioner program already set up at the university.
Articles to Look For
Moody Monthly December 1979
World Evangelism by 2000 AD
Can It Be Done? by Ralph D. Winter