This is an article from the July-August 1997 issue: The Southern Baptist “Transformation”

You CAN Make a Difference!

You CAN Make a Difference!

You probably know the figures: On average, U.S. believers spend less time praying for missions each year than they do watching the commercials in a single hour-long TV show; and they give less to missions each year than the cost of a single ice cream cone. Worse yet, only a small fraction of the time and money dedicated to all mission efforts goes toward reaching the unreached. Of course, there is no “average believer.” You probably do a lot more than the average. Most believers simply do nothing for the unreached. One amazing reality in missions is how much God continues to accomplish through the few who sacrificially share His love with the nations. The more you already do personally, the more likely you are to be asking, “What could I do to make a bigger difference?” Maybe you can’t relocate. Maybe you can’t leave your job. Were you stirred by Dr. Winter’s editorial? Here are four steps you can take:

Model Wartime Stewardship

Are you living to please your commanding officer (2 Tim 2:4)? Or are you fitting in comfortably with your peers? Work, give and pray all you can to multiply the “obedience of faith” among the nations. Live on the same salary as a missionary you support, and give the rest of your salary to advance God’s kingdom.

Multiply Yourself

Imagine the prayer and giving which could be released if every MF reader reproduced frontier mission vision in just one other person. Are your believing friends and family plugged into God’s purpose? Help them grow in understanding and advancing God’s purpose. Start a frontier missions prayer/accountability group.

Act Strategically

Study the points listed for identifying strategic service, and the mobilization model of the Student Volunteer Movement. “Behind the scenes” workers provide an essential link between untapped resources at home and the unreached people groups still waiting in darkness. These part and full-time servants (salaried, self-funded or supported) play a critical role in the completion of God’s purpose in our day.

Pray for and support others in strategic behind-the-scenes activity. And ask God to place you in a strategic role. Support workers whose strategic role may not be widely recognized.

Join a Team

Work and pray with others to multiply your impact and protect yourself from distraction. Focus is hard to maintain on your own. To discuss your options for linking with us, call (626) 398-2266 x266.

Seven Principles for Identifying Strategic Service

  1. Look for the least known, least understood tasks. They are more likely to need your help than tasks that have already gained widespread backing.
  2. Look for multiplying ministry. Agencies which mobilize believers with new vision and excitement make it easier for everyone to raise funds and personnel for the missionary task. Mission agencies which develop national leaders are more essential than ministries which primarily solicit funding for the leaders generated by other ministries.
  3. Look for efforts which have not become popular. Don’t go to Russia just because others are. Even the “10-40 Window” doesn’t contain all the unreached peoples. Concentrate on those groups which are not that well-publicized.
  4. Be cautious about the new idea which sounds like a brilliant short-cut. Check it out. Don’t be fast and loose with your evaluation and expect God to make up the difference.
  5. Realize that location does not determine value. Mobilizing efforts are not second priority, or “not really missions,” just because they aren’t out in the jungle somewhere.
  6. Recognize the need for many different kinds of behind-the-scenes effort. Front line activity suffers if the supply line is not kept in good shape. Consider serving in a mobilization ministry or mission agency home office.
  7. Look for essential tasks that are not attractive. Others are more likely to tackle the attractive tasks.

Mobilization in Motion: The Model of the Student Volunteer Movement

One hundred years ago, the Student Volunteer Movement enlisted 100,000 young men and women in a commitment to carry the message of God’s love to peoples lost in darkness. Only 20,000 made it to the field, but as the Spirit of God annointed their efforts, the remaining missionary task began a rapid drop from an estimated 40,000 unreached groups in 1900 to about 8,000 today. Most of these 8,000 are already targeted by one or more mission agencies, making this remaining task very “doable.”

That army of 20,000 frontline soldiers was like the tip of an iceberg. What long stymied student leaders was the fact that for every volunteer who made it to the field four were “hindered,” mainly by lack of mobilization of the home church. (Today, an estimated 40,000 have volunteered to go, but will likely never make it for a similar lack of churches willing to send them.)

Unfortunately, most of the young Student Volunteers who could not get to the field did not themselves turn to strategic mobilization of the home base. Only a few key people recognized the importance of staying and mobilizing so that multiplied others could go. Some of these key people became leaders in the Laymen’s Missionary Movement; this finally emerged to provide the essential prayer and financial support base which enabled even the 20,000 to get to the field and to become effective.


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