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February 1988


Editorial Comment

The Challenge of Mobilization


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The Challenge of Mobilization

—Wes Tullis

The mission movement has highlighted foreign and exotic places, the jungle and swamp tribes much more often than it has spoken impellingly about the crucial work of mission mobilization on the home front.

Fortunately, mobilizing organizations like ACMC (Association of Church Missions Committees), and AIMS (Association of International Mission Services) have come into being to help bring things into focus.

But now, gradually, a veritable network of would-be mobilizers is coming into being all across the country. We hope to see 35 local Vision Network offices in this country by the end of this year—offices focused on promoting the whole mission cause. Immediate means to that end are the ten Mobilization Workshops described on page 6.

What you will find in the following drawings and commentary by Wes Tullis is a graphic picture of the crucial mobilization scene here at home! Will you be part of it?

Read Wes’s article with care! —Ralph D. Winter

Let’s look together at the overall task of mobilization as it relates to seeing a mission renewal movement sweep our country.

First of all, what does “mobilization” refer to?

Mobilization—refers to any event by which God’s people are awakened and kept moving and growing until they find their place for strategic involvement in the task of completing world evangelization.

Key words in this sentence help us focus on what we are about as mobilizers.

“Any event”
We are dealing with a wide range of activities: speakers, musicians, conferences, etc.

A new discovery or revelation which shakes a person or fellowship into awareness and activity.

“Kept moving and growing”
This brings in the realities of discipleship and on-going care, the process of seeing people develop their World Christian convictions and work them out into practical areas of obedience.

“Until . . . strategic involvement”
The most demanding word in this definition is until. It requires sticking with someone or some fellowship group until that individual or group obtains a solid enough understanding of the task of world evangelization that results in specific steps into involvement with strategic impact on the overall cause of the Christian mission.

“Finds their place”
The last concern of a mission mobilizer is whether someone goes or sends. The key issue is that their lives are wrapped into a “first love” for Jesus and His global concern.

The diagram on the next page portrays the major GAP between the CHURCH and the WORLD to be reached. Between these two things are the forces in the overall process of mobilization.

The Forces in the Gap
l. The Church Congregation
The local church plays a most basic and essential role in the task of world evangelization. From it comes the prayer, manpower, and finances for missions. The job will get done only if there is dynamic teamwork between congregations of believers and mission agencies as they seek to fulfill the Great Commission.

2. Sent Ones and Senders
Every believer is called in either one of two ways to be involved in the task of world evangelization. Both of the callings require the same consecration to and confirma-tion of God’s leading. A sent one is a cross-cultural worker on the field. A sender is a Kingdom culture witness with a world vision on the home front.

3. Closure
Our common goal toward which the entire Body of Christ is to labor is the fulfillment of God’s climactic vision as revealed in Rev. 5:9 and Rev. 7:9.

Mental fortitude is needed to press us forward through trials and obstacles in finishing the task of world evangelization.

“I have glorified You down here on the earth by completing the work that You gave Me to do,” Jesus said in John l7:4. “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (Mt. l6:l8).

Jesus leads us on to complete the task of world evangelization.

4. Seven Years
This figure brings a sobering tone into our task of mobilizing. Just as the average span of time between the moment someone first gains a World Christian conviction and the moment that person ends up working within an Unreached People Group is seven years, so the time to initiate a mission movement in a fellowship, city and region may take 3-7 years. If we refuse to face this time factor realistically we may begin the race well but not develop, by God’s grace, the perserverance necessary to finish well.

The Four Phases of Mobilization
l. Motivation/Inspiration
The first time someone is impacted with God’s mandate to extend His blessing to all peoples, the first time he may come to understand his responsibility to the nations may be the result of something as simple as a friend asking: “You have accepted Jesus Christ; have you accepted His Great Commission?”

Or it could be the result of a quiet moment in the hushed crowd at an Urbana Convention. Either way, our budding World Christian disciple is on his way.

2. Preparation
Here we see many further steps of yielding and obedience, leading into new convictions as a World Christian and the deepening of one’s convictions. This phase is crucial if we are to see a person establish a World Christian lifestyle.

Normally these further steps of obedienceare facilitated by organized growth experiences such as a short term abroad, efforts to befriend international students, the development of a “wartime lifestyle,” time in a Bible college or seminary program, participation in a local mission fellowship, etc.

3. Training
Moving into specific mission training in more specialized areas of interest and study is eventually necessary for on-going growth and development, especially as a person gains a clearer understanding of his or her strategic place of long-term involvement in the cause.

For those who will be sent out as missionaries, this phase may take place in a general candidate training program like Wycliffe’s Summer Institute of Linguistics, the Toronto Institute of Linguistics, or the Missionary Intership program, or, more likely, in actual candidate training set up or prescribed by the mission agency under which the person will serve.

For those who are to be Senders, very little exists right now to adequately prepare them for their role in mobilization. An internship on the staff of the U.S. Center for World Mission is one way a person can become alert as a Sender.

4. Mission
Ultimately, everyone who moves through this process of mobilization becomes either a Sender, someone who serves as an agent in the church, or a Sent One, who serves with an agency to the Peoples.

Three Vital Issues
l. Germination is necessary

A key factor to make sure the motivational/inspirational phase does not lose its impact on someone's life is serious World Christian Bible Study and Discipleship. In the miracle of germination a creative explosion takes place which generates new life within the womb that moves on and grows until death. In the same way a person needs time to pursue God in depth in order to see deep convictions germinate in their being to enable them to make the long haul as a World Christian.

2. Abortion is Possible— Even Probable

If realistic evaluation and practical World Christian discipleship is not incorporated into peoples’ lives on a daily basis, the abortion of their vision and passion for a world with Christ will very probably take place.

3. Accountability is Key— Absolutely Essential

To make it in the long haul it is absolutely essential to link with others of like mind and heart to stay true to counter-cultural or cross-cultural avenues of service.

Looking over the overall Process of Mobilization helps us to evaluate

a) where we are in this process

b) who we can link up with who may labor in another phase of mobilization and would make our joint efforts more fruitful, and

c) whether our strategy of mobilization should change. 

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