The United States Center for World Mission
It could be mistaken for the Pentagon.
Generals are pouring over the latest reports flowing in from all parts of the world, revealing the advancement on enemy lands. Several strategy divisions are working into the early morning hours plotting the decline of enemy controlled territories, while hundreds are being trained with the necessary skills and tasks to advance swiftly and decisively on the enemy's strongholds. And the building is overrun with people who, although itching to get to the front lines, have decided to stay home temporarily to recruit hundreds of thousands more front liners to go with them.
But this is not the Pentagon. This is the United States Center for World Mission.
The battlefield is the over 17,000 distinct people groups that are still completely separated from the Gospel. Over three bitlion people over half the world's population are found in these groups. This battle is being fought, not to take away lands or win political allegiances, but rather to set people free, to wrest them from Satan's hand and give them life.
Love for Christ and for those who don't know Him is what compels the more than 300 work.. from 64 mission agencies, student organizations, and denominations to band together on this 35 acre base of operations. They are unified in purpose; a single, burning desire to help all Christians become involved in the great adventure of bringing the Gospel to the ends of the earth, All are moved to action by God's command that He be made known in every tribe, tongue and nation.In 1976, Ralph and Roberta Winter, former missionaries so Guatemala, together with a few no-name seminary students jumped to the opportunity: a college campus in Pasadena, California, was for sale. They believed this would be the ideal base of operation to bring together men and women with the purpose of reaching the unreached.
The cost: $15 million. They had $100 between them.
These people believed God would supply the funds to buy this campus. The plan was and still is-to find one million Christians to give $15.00 each The gilt was to be received only after the donors signed a document stating that they understood the vision of the Center. In this manner, not only would the campus be purchased, but a million Christians would gain an education in frontier missions. The United States Center for World Mission (USCWM) was born.
So far the Lord has supplied miraculously The final balloon payment to purchase the entire campus is due this September. The amount is o million. No new fund raising strategy has been employed. In Winter's words. "If God wants so use this campus. He will pay for it."'
Today the USCWM is a beehive of energy, forging links between three major segments of the Body of Christ: the mission agencies, the churches, and the students. Each segment has a vital part to play: the Center hopes to encourage and strengthen them in their parts.
If these forces in the Body can be linked together in unity and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Center leaders claim that the task of world evangelization is within our grasp, even by the year 2000.
Helping Mission Agencies
Mission agencies today are often seeing unprecedented harvests resulting from past labors. Everywhere they turn, the Gospel is advancing.
The natural result of these great successes is that agencies have their hands lull. raring for the training, nurturing, discipling needs of young churches on every continent, Center leaders believe these agencies need to be served by special research and strategy groups in order to find the people still unreached and develop strategies for reaching them.
Several of the groups located on the campus of the USCWM help in this way The Institute of Chinese Studies tracks the mosaic of the Chinese world, searching both for resources for evangelization and for the peoples still out of linguistic or cultural range of the Gospel. The Samuel Zwerner Institute studies the complex Muslim world similarly, working at new strategies for presenting the Gospel. In the same way, the Institute of Hindu Studies seeks to define the estimated 2.900 sash unpenetrated castes and tribes of India, while the concern of the Institute of Tribal Studies spans the globe to help identify the small, often endangered tribes without the Gospel.Helping Churches
The fact that only 2% of the 300,000 churches in the United States have mission committees is cited by USCWM leaders as testimony to the difficulty of the challenge of mobilizing churches to mission action.
A number of the groups on the USCWM campus are busy trying to lift the hidden, uoreached peoples into view for the churches. They are helping churches become an integral part of God's global plans. The campus boasts organizations like the United Presbyterian Center for Mission Studies, the Episcopal Church Missionary Community, and Lutherans for World Evangelization.
These groups all work together as well, Each is helping to introduce their denomination to a Daily Prayer Guide for the Unreached Peoples, produced by the Frontier Fellowship office no the campus. By providing a tool with which a pastor can help his people pray each day for the unreached world, these mobilization groups desire to gradually, day by day, foster a knowledge of and a love for she unreached people the hope is to see one million evangelicals homed together each day in believing prayer for the unreached.
The ultimate goal; that at least 17,000 churches will each "adopt" one of the 17,000 unreached people groups, providing resources, people, and prayers until the people group has a vital, healthy, growing daughter church?
Center leaders feel that ultimately, the success of the mission movement hinges on its challenge to students. Young people, deciding now on the direction of their lives, hold the key to the success or failure of world evangelization for this generation. They claim that over 200,000 new missionaries, with millions more equally dedicated people backing them, are needed to deal seriously and faithfully with the unfinished task. With this in mind, some groups at the USCWM offer an impressive array of resources designed to help students discover how their talents can contribute specifically and significantly to world evangelization.Graduate studies are offered and intertwined into a wide range of research opportunities designed to lay the foundation for work among an unreached people group.
For those still in school, the Center offers a credit transferable course throughout the year, "Perspectives on the World Chris tian Movement." This allows the student to explore the world as he lays plans for his life.
And for those who believe God wanes them to stay in this country, there is a group on campus that offers a radical plan so participate deeply in the task of world evangelization, The Order for World Evangelization points out that if every family decided so live as if they were missionaries, se., at a level which missionaries from their own church would be living on in their city, then literally billions of dollars from salaries shove that level would be freed up for massive new mission efforts.
Center staff believe (and are backing up that belief) that every Christian on earth could become a vital part of the ongoing, exciting activity of finishing the task Christians were given, introducing ALL nations to God's wonder and beauty.
The United States Center for World Mission has been variously described as a collection of fanatics, a cooperative consortium, an endangered species (with $6 million due in a few months, a visionary university, a soapbox for the unreached peoples, a research force, an Ezekiel to the churches, an iron rod by which students may measure their lives and future plans.
InterVarsity's Missions Specialist. David Bryant, has compared it to the town, Rivendahe, in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings: the place where visions can be born, where fragile dreams can become reality, where battle plans can be laid for great battles ahead, and faith renewed in ultimate, inevitable success.