Frontier Mission Consortium Gears Up
PASADENA (CA) A modern "March of Coins," the Loose Change Frontier Fellowship, announced only in June has already become a movement with more than 5,000 members pledged. Dr. Ralph D. Winter, general director of the United States Center for World Mission headquartered here, said 40,000 members are sought by the end of 1981 and one million by the end of 1982, reached via a collaborating consortium of evangelical organizations.
Although the four year old center faces a financial crisis with possible loss of its 35 acre property, the USCWM requires nothing of the Loose Change Fellowship's receipts, Dr. Winter said.
Pastors and mission executives are endorsing the evangelical LCFF effort to reach the final frontiers 16, 750 people groups worldwide, still without an effective Christian witness.
Members are asked to daily pray, study and give. The giving involves daily collecting loose change from pocket or purse. An estimated 28 cents daily per member will average about $100 annually.
One million North American Christians participating in the LCFF would raise a hundred million "new' dollars annually, year after year, Dr. Winter believes. He said these funds would not be reinforcement of established mission work.
Rather, these loose coins would be collected in jars or other home containers and pooled with other members' accumulations. These funds would be designated exclusively toward reaching 16,750 frontier populations (over 2 billion people).
Despite gigantic Christian growth across the world, these billions of people found both at home and abroad are still walled off from the Gospel by language, culture or other barriers. The LCFF's objective is to establish a viable Christian witness within such groups where there is not yet an effective, functioning, evangelical congregation.
As proof that the Loose Change Frontier Fellowship is becoming a movement, Dr. Winter pointed to the new announcement of the United Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship to seek a goal (not yet pledged) of 100,000 Frontier Prayer Partners from United Presbyterian churches across the country.
The North Africa Mission, this year celebrating their Centennial of reaching Muslim North Africa, 6 Mission Frontiers/August 1981
has pledged 2,000 members. Another 1,000 member goal has been set by the Lutheran Bible Institute of Seattle.
Greg Livingston, U.S. director for North Africa Mission, declared: "We are most excited about the Frontier Fellowship plan." He added that he was encouraging other mission leaders to "throw their weight" behind the LCFF.
Dr. Winter stressed that although the Center does not require any part of the LCFF funds, most collaborating organizations to date have agreed to send the first $15 collected from each individual to aid the USCWM's founding budget.
"We are $300,000 behind in our payments and face foreclosure in 90 days," Dr. Winter said. He added, "Curiously, if the Frontier Prayer Fellowship moves rapidly forward and 40.000 Frontier Prayer Partners are pledged by a host of congregations and mission boards by October we may yet escape foreclosure."
Then, if enough LCFF Participants are reached by collaborating organizations to meet the million member goal, and each sent the first $15 collected, the Center's entire founding budget of $15 million could be met, while $85 million more would go to frontier mission work.
Joseph D. Bjordahl, director of public relations and a member of the administrative committee for the Lutheran Bible Institute of Seattle, told of his school's endorsement. He wrote:
"We believe that the daily discipline of prayer and giving suggested by the Loose Change Frontier Fellowship plan is the kind of radical effort that can awaken our Christian church to the cause of reaching the hidden peoples."
Dr. Paul A. Cedar, senior pastor at the large Lake Avenue Congregational Church in Pasadena, was among the first ministers to endorse the Loose Change project. He said, "I believe that your concept of Frontier Fellowship is right on target."
The idea for LCFF developed from a practice by Burma's Christians. Although poor, they daily set aside a handful of rice per family. The pooled rice is sold to support evangelistic outreach to a totally different tribal group.
Although the USCWM early got behind the idea of the Loose Change Frontier Fellowship, Dr. Winter stressed that the Center does not control the project. Rather, he said, the Center's purpose is only to help found and encourage the movement.
Individuals who are saving coins are already passing them on through their churches to mission agencies doing frontier work. This policy holds even in the midst of the Center's own financial predicament.
"We are convinced", the former missionary and seminary professor explained, "that God has a crisis."
The Center, founded four years ago, has always been operationally self supporting. Now the only indebtedness is half of the almost $20 million set of properties, including rental dwelling units and the campus. The hope remains that the crisis precipitated by the slowing of the $15 one time gifts will be dramatically reversed as the Frontier Fellowship takes off, and that this reversal will be possible whether or not every participating agency chooses to allot the first $15 per participant to the Center's need.
However, the main thing, Dr. Winter concluded, is to bring the cause of frontier missions home to one million North American Christians. The vision is spreading. The 'leftover' coins will help establish a viable church in every people group. Whether we at the USCWM survive or not is secondary to that. Our future as a Center is in God's hands."
Getting God's Global Perspective
Are you a college student seeking career foundations and perspectives in Christian mission? A layman desiring a knowledge of world mission that will enable you to be an effective "change agent" in your local church? The Institute of International Studies (IIS) may be your passport to a whole new understanding of God's global purposes.
August 31 through September 26, IIS students on the campus in Pasadena will attend daily morning classes and frequent evening case studies presented by a variety of visiting professors.
The course is also available on successive Tuesday evenings from September 1 to December 15, for those unable to attend the daytime classes.
Classroom experiences and readings will focus on Biblical, cultural, historical and strategic dimensions of world evangelization.
Topics will include the Student Volunteer Movement, language and cultural learning, community development, and the role of mission teams in churchplanting.
Another highlight of the experience will be an overview of mission needs and opportunities in Chinese, Muslim, Hindu and tribal worlds.
Semester or quarter units are available for successful completion of the course work. In addition to room and board costs for resident students, tuition varies from $100 to $240, depending on credit/audit, and workstudy/non work study status. Texts cost $20 25.
It's a small investment with prospects of eternal returns! For information, write IIS, 1539 E. Howard, Pasadena, CA, 91104 or call (213) 797-4605.