17 Nov The Power of Mobilizing Others
The late Ralph Winter, missiologist, mission mobilizer, and the founder of the U.S. Center for World Mission once said, “People cannot respond to God on the basis of information they do not have.” It was this conviction that was at the core of his vision to launch a program in 1974 that would later be called Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. The program had the unique goal of increasing missions awareness among the global body of Christ. Winter realized that missionary sending would be extremely limited unless God’s people were educated about what missions is and what it is supposed to produce. Since 1974 the course has revolutionized mission work as we know it. From a few classes offered in Pasadena, California in the mid-70’s, Perspectives is now being taught in over 200 locations in the U.S. and around the world. Over 100,000 people have taken the course in the U.S. and it’s estimated that another 130,000 have taken the course abroad.
The results have been remarkable. Mission agencies working among the unreached, (the missions term for people groups with severely limited access to the gospel) have experienced a spike in their applications owing to the students coming out of Perspectives courses. Pastors have also seen incredible things in their congregations from partnering with the Perspectives Course. Consider the words of John Piper, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, “I’m enthusiastic about Perspectives because my life and our church are devoted to spreading a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ. God means to be known and enjoyed by every tribe tongue and nation (Rev. 5:9). Perspectives has been essential in mobilizing hundreds of lay people in our church to be World Christians.” Winters early conviction that churches needed a thoughtful and organized mission education program proved highly accurate.
Our team shares this same conviction. We are so thrilled to be working alongside great organizations like Perspectives and other mission mobilization groups to raise awareness in the body of Christ for the need to plant churches and launch evangelistic strategies among those with little to no access to the gospel. We are convinced that the gospel of Jesus Christ offers the greatest hope to renew hearts, overcome poverty, racism, and disease, and change society for good. Therefore, we are endeavoring to join the great cause of mobilizing the global body of Christ. We count it an honor to run alongside Perspectives, and others, to raise up and send a new mission force, emerging from Africa, Europe, Latin America and Asia to go and proclaim his message of hope all over the world, and especially to those for who have little to no access to Christ and his message.
Over the next couple of months, Storyline will be working on a Perspectives-based resource that we are calling The Storyline Study. This 7-Lesson, small group study will serve as a tool that many hundreds of pastors, evangelists, missionaries, and leaders will use to educate, train and equip their people to better understand cross-cultural mission. Not only is the emphasis to understand cross-cultural mission, but to discover practical ways to engage in mission, no matter what calling in life you might have. We are excited to have the opportunity to teach from this material as early as January. Winters conviction in fact is a timeless one. Gods people were made for a mission that is far greater than anything the earth can offer us. But, as the Scripture warns, “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint.” (Proverbs 29:18 ESV). Let us all aspire to be emissaries of the prophetic vision of building God’s Kingdom through the glorious call of making disciples of all nations! Our hope and prayer is that the Storyline curriculum will have some small part to play in this grand narrative of sending God’s people to restore and redeem the nations in our day!