Moving A Country— Region by Region
Is God moving, mobilizing the U.S. church to a destined role in helping establish a church for every people group? Do American believers have a vision of God’s purpose beyond having happier marriages, healthier families, and a more moral society? With all its resources and Biblical education, will the church in America mobilize to finish the task of the Great Commission?
In the lives of individual mission enthusiasts, of course, God has been moving for years toward such mobilization.
Linking Up with Others
“It began when I was seven years old,” says Gail Hasz of Denver. “We were asked to bring clothing to a children’s meeting for missions. The clothing was to be sent to the Navajo Indians of Arizona. Months later, a missionary to the Navajos came to the church and showed slides of his work.”
She finishes the story of why she’s involved with the Rocky Mountain Center of World Mission: “In one slide, there on a little Navajo girl was my very own red sweater. Something happened in my heart right then, and missions involvement was inevitable.”
Gail now serves on a committee to promote a women’s frontier mission fellowship founded in part by Theresa and Tom Craig, directors of the Rocky Mountain Center in Denver. Gail continues: “Last fall I knew the Lord was telling me to trim down my schedule to allow for something else. Then Theresa Craig called to say the Lord suggested to her that I help form a women’s group for missions, and I knew that that was it. So I’m active in the Denver Mission-Minded Women’s group with women from 13 different churches!”
Gail is only one of the thousands of mission-minded women and men across the U.S. who are linking with regional and local efforts to share God’s heart for the unreached.
Phone calls come into the USCWM Mobilization Division daily from Christians eager to mobilize their area's churches for the final task of missions. A woman calls from a small town in the southwest corner of Michigan: “My pastor and I are going from minister to minister in our town to share our vision. We hope to wake our whole town up!”
A pastor phones from Salem, Oregon: “We’re ready. This coming month I have the chance to start something like The Year of Vision with a small group from several local churches.”
A young lady from Atlanta is on a curriculum committee in her church education department: “I’m excited. I found a fellow mission radical in town who has the video I needed. Now I can convince the committee that it’s time we take a good hard look at our part in God’s global purpose.”
Charlie Powell reports from Washington, D.C., where he’s spearheading the establishment of a new Area Office for mission mobilization: “We’re in the final phases of setting up an actual office—if we could just dredge up a computer system to track what’s going on around the area! All of us shaping the Area Office work full-time elsewhere, of course, so the going is slow. But, Lord willing, we’ll have a functioning Area Office up and running by September.”
The D.C. office plans to offer Perspectives classes, coordinate Concerts of Prayer and the Adopt-A-People program, maintain a ministry to international students, provide frontier mission resources, and publish a newsletter to mobilize churches.
On the opposite coast in Pasadena, the U.S. Center’s Mobilization Division chairman, Wes Tullis, says that “the primary ministry in D.C. as well as every other region is earnest, consistent prayer. May we not be guilty of the serious indictment made by a believer in China, who, when asked what impressed him most about America, responded, ‘How much they can do without God.’
“The overall goal for our regional centers and area offices in the U.S.,” says Wes, “is to mobilize churches and student groups to a mission renewal movement across our nation which results in the establishing of a viable, indigenous, evangelizing church in each of the estimated 12,000 unreached people groups by the year 2000!”
But what, exactly, is a “mobilized church”? A “mobilized student group”?
Churches on the Move
Amy Duncan, administrator for the Raleigh, North Carolina regional office, reports progress and hope, setbacks and struggles in the efforts of this office.
Her definition of a “mobilized church” is one which:
- has a majority of the membership involved in active prayer for the unreached,
- has an ongoing Monthly Mission Fellowship,
- has informally or formally committed themselves to the Adopt-A-People strategy,
- maintains some form of frontier mission resource center,
- has established a mission education program for each age group in the church, a program which at the top end includes encouragement to take a Perspectives course,
- and has a functional mission policy and mission committee. Most of these characteristics, Amy says, apply equally to mobilized student fellowships.
Mobilized groups in Amy’s region are increasingly attempting to collaborate, she says, but efforts to jointly pray, network information, and offer structured resources such as Perspectives are often hampered. “Many churches fear losing their identity, being patronized by larger churches if they collaborate too closely. Also, they’re threatened by denominational and theological differences.”
The answer? “Dialogue,” says Amy, “and joint prayer. Functional unity for the cause of the Great Commission is inevitable when people are praying together.”
Cooperative prayer efforts figure largely into plans for the Southwest Region of the U.S. USCWM Mission Resource Center director Vern Dueck is helping plan regional mobilization strategies for Arizona, southern Nevada, and Southern California. The potential of the area is underscored by the more than 3000 mission activists already sharing their Great Commission vision on the grassroots level. Vern calls these mobilizers the Local Vision Network.
Direction to orchestrate this Local Vision Network in the Southwest, Vern feels, will come from structures already established in the region: “From Santa Barbara to San Diego, Yuma, Arizona to Las Vegas, Rollo Entz of the Association of Church Missions Committees (ACMC) has spent years forming groups of mission-minded men and women in most of our major cities. These groups can be rejuvenated by connecting them to all the resources and input of ACMC as well as of the U.S. Center.”
Sharing the Vision
But activating the American church to its role in the final era of mission isn’t a charted, systematized concoction of committees and organization. Sharing the vision of God’s purpose comes down to people impacting people.
Are you a Local Vision Networker? If not, why not? If so, what are you waiting for?
If there is an Area Office or Regional Center for World Mission near you, fulfill the desire God has put in your heart to do something about the 66,000 people who die every day without ever hearing about Christ’s offer of salvation. Link up with co-workers who can complement your gifts and help you to be more effective.
Or, if there's still no such area office or regional center in your part of the U.S., and if you'd like to be part of starting such a venture, write or call the U.S. Center's Mobilization Division. Staff members and volunteers there will be happy to provide you with guidelines.
Mobilize your heart. Mobilize your church. Finish the task.
Contact the USCWM Mobilization Division (818-398-2200) for information on how you can help mobilize churches and students for the global cause of Christ.