Theology of World Missions - Lesson 9
Joanne Harding about the AIDs crisis in Africa. It is a tragedy and a major challenge for world missions. A panel of experienced missionaries discusses the calling to be a missionary and practical ways to prepare to be a missionary.
1. Lausanne Covenant
2. Joanne Harding
3. Panel discussion
A. Calling to be a missionary
B. Preparation to be a missionary
C. Importance of the local church in missions
D. How do you choose a mission field and a mission agency?
E. How do you fit into the context of the field to which you are going?
Dr. Kuzmic provides a framework for the class based on 6 specific statements about a theology of missions. Our theology determines our worldview. We must live as citizens of two kingdoms. We need a theologically grounded missiology and a missiological focused theology.
Dr. Kuzmic talks about how God saved him and about his cultural background in Eastern Europe.
Developing your spirituality and practicing prayer are important elements in achieving a well-balanced theology. The Creator of heaven and earth is Lord of the nations. God promised to bless the whole world through Abraham. Throughout history, different people have applied that promise as a right of privilege for themselves rather than a call to service to others. God calls people, then sends them.
The book of Psalms is one of the greatest missionary books in the world. Isaiah's description of Messianic fulfillment at the end of history is a reminder of the role of Messianic people within history, similar to the "already but not yet" of the "kingdom of God" in the New Testament. Quiz questions are included at the end to clarify what Dr. Kuzmic thinks are the important points and because he includes some commentary on central issues of missions.
Professor Doug Birdsall first discusses the work of the Church in Asia. He then talks about 3 aspects of missions work: 1. Forming partnerships, 2. Sending churches, 3. Funding. One of the fastest growing groups of the Church in China is composed of urban intellectuals. In India, Mongolia, Nepal and Cambodia, in addition to China, there are great opportunities as well as challenges.
Doug Birdsall continues by describing how to establish cross-cultural partnerships. Some of the most important considerations are determining what the needs are, selecting national leaders wisely, and planning for the national leaders to take complete control at some point.
80-2000 project The scope of the Great Commission includes both the nation of Israel and the whole world. Matthew chapters 9 and 10 describe people as lost (sheep without a shepherd) and valuable (the harvest is plentiful). Jesus saw and had compassion. The heart of missions is seeing people the way Jesus sees them and loving them the way Jesus loves them.
Discussion of the meaning and application of this key passage of Scripture.
Joanne Harding about the AIDs crisis in Africa. It is a tragedy and a major challenge for world missions. A panel of experienced missionaries discusses the calling to be a missionary and practical ways to prepare to be a missionary.
Dr David Hilborn, Head of Theology Evangelical Alliance in the UK, discusses the theological framework of universalism, its historical development and the impact that it has on missions.
The political and religious climate in Yugoslavia creates unique challenges for people who are preaching the gospel there.
Dr. Timothy Tennent points out that the spread of vibrant Christianity in areas of the world besides the west, and the clash of Christianity with major world religions outline the framework for the focus of world missions.
Dr. Timothy Tennent shows how Christianity compares to other world religions by citing case studies of discussions with individuals of Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. Evangelicals must engage more seriously and more profoundly in the thought world of other religions.
What does Christ have to do with culture and what does the Church have to do with the world? Isolationists separate themselves and cannot have a significant impact on the world around them. Secularists identify with the world by compromising core beliefs to match the culture and don't have an impact because they are no different from the people around them. The Church often evangelizes from a distance instead of entering into the lives of people.
People will often respond more positively to the Gospel if you first find common ground in practical areas and use culture as a bridge for the Gospel into the world. The Gospel has to be forwarded to a new address for every generation.
Chuck Davis from Africa Inland Mission describes mission work in Africa and his personal experiences in Congo, Chad and other African countries.
The Gospel is a message that addresses sin in the lives of individuals and transforms society in areas like justice and charity.
World missions is a fundamental theme throughout the Bible. The book "Christ and Culture" proposes four models to explain the relationship between the Church and the world. Some people emphasize scriptures that focus on evangelism and others emphasize scriptures that teach the importance of meeting peoples' physical needs.
Note: The David Bosch Grid and Hans Kung Paradigm chart may be posted in the future but are not available at this time.
The Lausanne Conference on World Evangelism provided a forum for Christian leaders from different countries and denominations to establish some common goals and principles for communicating the Gospel and caring for people all over the world.
Note: The David Bosch Grid and Hans Kung Paradigm chart may be posted in the future but is not available at this time.
Dr. Kuzmič provides a framework for a theology of world missions based on a biblical worldview. We must live as citizens of two kingdoms. Our missiology needs to be theologically grounded, and our theology, missiologically focused. The documents that were written by delegates at the Lausanne Conference on World Missions have had a significant influence in defining and encouraging the practical application of a biblical view of world missions.
Theology of World Missions
Dr. Peter Kuzmič
We will stay for another few minutes in Africa because. We have an expertise here in Graham Harding. Jim's wife, Joanne, has been writing on AIDS, and I think you'll share about that. Yes, The education and the prevention. Mm hmm. Take time for that. This is a major African tragedy and a major global challenge. Two world missions. So we'll take a few more minutes on that, and then we will have our panel interactive. So immediately, when John Harding finishes, we are going to the panel. Without me having to especially invite you people here, I think we've got two, three, four, five, six. Yeah. We will then resume. Come to these chairs. In the meantime, let me pass around the Lausanne Covenant. I promise that I would provide that for the class. There are two pages of this. If some of you can help me distribute that. This is a model theological document with a mycological focus coming out of the Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization. The chair of the drafting committee was John Stott. You studied his book the first week for this class. John Start, who is a senior leader in the evangelical world, but also a senior theological thinker, and he really is the chief drafter of the Lausanne Covenant. I'm giving you this because next week you have a reading week and I hope you will work on your own missionary cradle. Please don't copy the Lausanne Covenant. It's a model, but it's not a document. You copy? You may want to look at the Apostolic Creed and the Nicene Creed and some other confessions, but come up with your own, based on your own readings, your own studies of scripture, your own convictions, incorporating what you hear here. When you hear about AIDS.
And if you're not moved by compassion in solidarity, you know, the solidarity is the secular synonym for love. If you are not moved in that Christian solidarity, love and compassion and you hear about this tragedy of Africa, you either have no heart or the Lord hasn't touched your life yet, then you may you may need to undergo a conversion or another conversion. What I'm saying here not is to say that when you work on your own missionary credo, incorporate some of your conviction, okay? Not just your knowledge, but your conviction, your true living globally, engaging biblical faith that expresses your own personal vision and conviction. Listen, Covenant, make sure that everyone gets it. Joanne Harding and Jim. Jim is the one that was asking you all those questions. That is a resounding voice and a white beard. So they respect him. In Africa, if you're not an elder and if you do have a white beard, that helps, doesn't it? Now, how they treat women in Africa. When you are a learned woman as you are and you write for them and teach them, you may want to shout a little bit of that, too. Now, hold this mic a little closer. I'll put it on here. Yeah. And this is the for the class. Oh, yeah, This is for the recording. Okay. All right. Thank you. Good. Thank you very, very much. I wanted to talk to you a little bit about the video clips you just saw, because no matter where a person works in Africa as a missionary, AIDS impacts you because it impacts everyone in Africa. It impacts people because they have relatives that are dying. It impacts people because what are they going to do with those children? Remembering the video, they were saying something about grandmothers taking the children in.
Do you recall that? Why didn't the brothers or sisters take the children in? They're gone, too. That's exactly right. And in some places, that's all that's left. Just children and grandmothers are the only ones. And these grandmothers are just overwhelmed because in Africa they have high birthrates. And so there might be five children from one family and seven from another and ten from another. How can that grandmother take care of all those children? It's impossible. It's such a serious thing. And traditionally, Africans have always been proud to take care of their own people. They don't want to be British as on the dole. They don't want to be beggars asking for help. And there's been resistance to asking for help from the outside. We Americans come in, we say, Oh, let's build orphanages, let's take care of that. You know, it's really a sensitive issue with Africans. They don't want foreigners raising their children. And yet now they they realize that they're faced with such a huge crisis. How how can they cope without help? There have been many strategies devised by many missions, some to build homes for the children, some to help the grandmothers to take care of the children by supporting them with meals or with school fees. And this is the way it's being started to be done. Now, you know how long we've had the AIDS epidemic. How many years has it been about? Okay. About 20 to 30 years. Yes. And do you know that in some places in Africa, people really don't know about how AIDS has passed? They don't know the transmission of AIDS. And there are all these myths surrounding AIDS. One of which is if you have AIDS and you have sex with a virgin, you'll be cured.
Oh, that helps. I'm a nurse. I worked at Rift Valley Academy School for missionaries, children. And one time when we were at a seminar regarding AIDS, the Lord convicted me and asked me, What am I doing to spread the word about AIDS? I said, nothing. I was involved in the school, and besides that, I was teaching Bible in the Kenyan schools at the time and coordinating Bible clubs. And yet the Lord kept giving me this burden. I couldn't get rid of it. What am I going to do? And so I kept saying to the Lord, but, Lord, I don't know what to do. I don't know how to write. I don't know. I don't even know how people have sex in Kenya. You know, they don't have apartments. They don't have cars. I, I, I don't know. I mean, I know, but, you know, I don't know the circumstances. And so the Lord helped me. That's all I can say. He said. Your artwork isn't the greatest, but just give it to me and let me use it. And so he helped me with my friends, David and Penina. We wrote a story about AIDS. It's called Jeffrey Story. And that's a common girl's name in our part of Kenya. But it can be changed to whatever name you want. And this story. Remember that in Africa, information can often be best given if it's given through a story. And so that's why the Lord gave me that idea. And it's a story of a young Christian girl who gets entrapped, has sex with a guy who's unemployed and five years later finds out she has AIDS. She decides she's going to commit suicide. You know, that's what people really do when they found out, find out they have AIDS, they either become so depressed that they want to commit suicide right away or they want to be so promiscuous because they're so angry at getting AIDS.
They just want to infect everybody else that they can possibly infect. Anyway, her attempt at suicide was unsuccessful. Her pastor and Christian mom came to her bedside and she confessed what had happened and repented and turned to the Lord. And then God gave her a wonderful hope. And then then in the story we tell boys and girls or whoever hears this story, how they too can have hope in the Lord Jesus Christ. There hasn't been any wonderful thing happening through the AIDS epidemic except probably this one thing, and that is that people are faced with the fact that eternity is right around the corner for them and they need to be prepared for it. Just like that guy John, you saw in the video who wanted tablets and malaria and medicine for his AIDS. He needs he needs more than medicine, even when we can supply the medicine. He still needs hope and Christ for eternity. There's so much more I can say, but I think I'll just probably leave it there. And then later on, if you have any questions, when we have the panel, we'll try to answer them. Now, we are not really technologically equipped for this. So we would need a different kind of. Mike, let me see if this moves around. Let me start basically with a very basic question. We have been looking at the biblical basis for missions. Okay. This is an evangelical seminary. We believe that the Bible is the authority for our doctrines and for our practice, for our lifestyles. Now, most of North Americans, if they have traveled abroad, most of them have not. If they have, they've been off to Canada or some down to Mexico. But you have traveled because you have become global citizens through your mission engagement.
And I would like to hear from you biblically. What has moved you biblically? What's your biblical conviction that made you a missionary, made you leave your church and your homeland? You could be in a more comfortable position pastoring at home or being a seminary president or a seminary professor. I know a number of you are in leadership positions in your teaching abroad, and I know that you are all superbly qualified. So you could have a wonderful, safe position and not deal with different cultures and languages and so on. So what was the motivation and the biblical conviction that made you a missionary? And if you have a if you have a favorite mission scripture there, share that with us briefly. Maybe starting here with Steve and then going around. I need to have 80 pages written on this by next June. So basically the thing that motivated myself and my wife biblically was just the fact that there's a heaven, there's a hell, and the Bible's very clear those that do not hear and respond to Christ have no other option except for that of an eternity spent away from Christ. And so that really was the main biblical thing that we saw. We saw throughout scriptures that the main thing about scriptures, this is God calling a people unto himself. And for some reason he's chosen to allow us to help him to do that. But basically the lawlessness of the last was what drove us. Okay, The call of God was very important to me. Matthew 2818 to 20. God said, Go. I know that's open to theological questioning, whether it meant go or going or what have you, but back when I was younger it was go, and that's what God said.
More recently, one of the things that God has impressed me with is just his love for the nations, his love for people, his love for the lost, his love for the people who are poor, whose love for the people, who are the aliens, for the widows, for the orphans that love that he has, has just really motivated me to do various things. And one of the things that happened was we got involved with street kids because of just the command of Scripture. That man shall live not by bread alone, but by every word that proceeded out of the mouth of God. And my addition to is it that includes street kids. So just those motivations. I can remember when I had told the Lord that I would serve him wherever. And when Jim, my new husband, asked me, Well, what about going to Africa, honey? Oh, I didn't want to go. By that time, he was in graduate school and we were. We had two little babies and I was nesting and I didn't want to go to Africa. And Jim said, Well, what about in the Bible? He must have been listening to you. Do you see anything in the word honey that will tell you to go to Africa? I said, no. Where does it say Joann Hard and go to Africa? It was a nice, smart move. But as I said to the Lord, I got honest with him and I said, Lord, I don't know if we should be going to Africa or not. Is this just my own will or what? Or is it Jim's will? If you want us to go there, will you show us in some definite ways that I can understand? And we met with a mission rep like we are now.
And God showed us in three definite ways that it was for us to go to Africa. And then after that, that's when I got the biblical confirmation. All those verses about going into the world and preaching the gospel to every person, and the word about Watchmen standing on the wall and warning people of the wrath to come. That's when I began to see those verses in the Bible. I think my theology of missions is a bit progressive. It took a while. Initially, it probably was not a biblical sense of understanding, but just the understanding that there were missionaries in my home constantly from the time I was so small that I couldn't even talk. And to me, missions was a viable, normal way of life. And that was the first thing that got impressed on me. As a teenager, I came to that point in my life where I realized that God was calling me to himself, and that meant wherever. And so I took that step. As I look at it theologically, I think that it goes right back to the Old Testament that God promises to bless his people, not because they're so wonderful, not because I'm so wonderful, but so that in us, the nations of the world may be blessed. And I think that is the underlying thing which keeps me going, that it's not me. It's what God's purposes for the world. My background and Liz's are very similar in that we had constantly missionaries in our home. Fact Sunday night was a kind of retro night for me. 60th anniversary of World Missions Conference at my home church, and I realized it was 40 years earlier that at that conference that I went forward and publicly declared to my home church that I sense God's call in my life for missions.
But it didn't begin. There began, as I've been able to put it back together as early as four years of age. Even before I knew Christ as my personal savior, I was in a wedding of a couple that were getting married to be missionaries. They were going to go off and be missionaries, and I thought, You get married to become a missionary. That was how early in my and concept of missions that that was part of it. But there was a very specific moment in it's almost story to tell it best. I was in a sixth grade public school social studies starting the country of Mexico, and I'd been reading stories of Daniel was going to Mexico out of the back to the Bible Youth series. Some of you might know something about that. It's another generation ago. But that was intriguing to me. And I remember studying this country and we had a class project building a little plaza. And this doesn't sound biblical, but wait, it's coming in one day at recess. I didn't go out to play. I was always the last kid picked for the ball team. Anyway, most missionaries are misfits. They don't go anywhere, fit anywhere at home, so they go somewhere else. And so I started that way in sixth grade. And there alone in that classroom, it's audible as if it were my own father saying was, David, there are all those people in Mexico and they do not know Jesus like you do. I accepted Christ as my savior at about almost six years of age by my father to me. Later on, they built a closet where my bed was in that room. So I called my prayer closet to this day, still there, that reality that I was lost.
God loved the world so much that he gave. His son became very intense at a very early age. But more recently as an adult, verse 17 is the verse I think we've forgotten for God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world. So I had grown up on how wicked and how evil and how awful and how lost they all were, that I've got to go out and save them, you know? No, we got it wrong. I am so evil, so lost that I had been saved. And what I have received is so wonderful. I can't keep quiet. I've got to go and let others know it's for them, too. And that's my biblical basis for missions. Thank you. That is the calling or the motivation. Now let's address the issue of preparation. Is enthusiasm enough? Is loving the heathen enough? What preparation would be ideal for a missionary? What? As you look back, what would you have done differently in preparing to go to the mission field in terms of specific training, cross-cultural training? You may want to address the question of the language. It's just a preparation so that you are an effective missionary educationally and maybe in some other ways to prepare. Is a short term a good way to prepare? All right. Just from your own experience, your own perspective, what do you think is the best preparation? What would you do differently if you were here in this classroom and you were preparing for missions, then What you have done? Looking back with many decades of senior missionary experience here, I came rather through quite a security route to where I'm at today. But I think one of the most important things in preparation for missions is two things.
One is just the personal aspect. My own relationship with Christ and my growing there is Christ real to me every day. But then the other thing is you kind of have to ask, what do I want to be doing on the other end? So I want to teach in a seminary. Then I may need a Ph.D. If I want to be doing agricultural work, then it could well be that I need to go to a state school, get a degree in agriculture, maybe even work for two or three years. So a lot of your training is going to depend on what you want to do. And it's really helpful if you know that most all missions require at least a year of Bible. And so, again, let's say you're going to a state school and you're going to pick up agriculture there. Well, maybe before you do that, you'd want to go to a Bible school and pick up just a year or two of Bible and then continue on. But a lot of it depends where you're going. The main thing that we're doing when we're out there is sharing our lives with others. And and I know that for some people that's much easier than others. Some people are people, people and others are much more secluded. But one of the things we have to do is to begin to develop people skills, be able to share our faith in a way that's meaningful. And again, these are things that sometimes you can gain through a course, but oftentimes are life skills that you have to pick up, maybe a mentor or something along that line. I guess I would say two things. One, live your life with the experiences that you have because God will use them.
I moved furniture for four summers and I use that. I worked my way through college building houses. I used that. There were so many things that I had in my experiences that God used. That's the first thing I would say. The second thing in this will sound like a plug for our mission organization. But Joan and I visited a team called Timo. And Timo is a two year training experience for new missionaries. And when we came away from it, we both said if we were starting over again, that would be the route to go. In looking back, I wish that my walk with the Lord had been stronger when we went to the field and that I knew how to dig out of God's Word sustenance for my soul every day. I relied on devotional books, and when my devotional books were gone on the field, then, oh, I guess I'm going to have to actually read the Bible alone every day. And, you know, when we talk with a lot of young people today, as we talk seriously about where they are in their relationship with the Lord, I wasn't an unusual case. A lot of you maybe are in that same predicament. And I would challenge you to read the Bible for yourself and get sustenance from God and and strength in your prayer life, in praying for other missionaries. And and the practical note. I wish that I knew how to cook before I went to the fields. I did not even know how to make popcorn. I know you say. Oh, yeah, you put it in the microwave. No, I mean real. I didn't know how to make anything, really. And oh, like I said, I learned. But I wish I had done that.
I think I would say on the positive side that a foundational biblical education has never, ever been wasted. And there's so many times and missions when you get called on to teach something or do something, and that's not the time to start learning how to do it. That's the time to just reach in your back pocket and say, okay, I can pull this together. I know that passage of Scripture and I know what tools to use if I need to learn more. Short term experience is great. I was fortunate in my college years to be able to spend a summer in the Philippines shadowing a missionary. Basically, there wasn't much in the way of formal short term experience, and I kind of weaseled my way into a short term because the mission really couldn't figure out what they do with me. But my parents were going and I said, Well, you know, I'll carry their bags. But it was a great summer because I learned a lot by just hanging out with missionaries. I think the one thing that I know I needed more was when you land in a mission situation, and particularly as we did in a urban, wealthy suburb. I needed to know more how to party with non-Christians. So much of my life I had spent in nice Christian settings socializing with Christians and my social skills for just sitting down over a glass of iced tea or in a party and making small talk. I wasn't very good at that. Fortunately, I married my husband that build me out of a lot, but I should have spent more time just socializing with unbelievers. So I knew how they thought and how they talked. I don't know if you have any idea how much stress it puts on to be on the last one.
You know, they've covered they've covered all the things, but I hope you're ready for what I'm about to share with you. I'm dead serious. But I wish I had been warned. More of the pitfalls of sexual impurity. Now. I was a good little boy. I never did any of that stuff. And I always thought it was girls who got in trouble. I never wanted to have girls. They were hard to. They'd be impossible, you know? How do you miss girls that got in trouble? They're the ones who got pregnant. No one ever taught me that. It's guys that caused it. Yeah, I know. Girls today anyway are liberated. You know, they can do whatever they want with their bodies. And. And if something happens, it's not a good thing. End it now. But the impact that the why I'm saying that is because we have just gone through an incredibly hard experience with our closest missionary couple family that we went through college with. And for 35 years I knew this guy. He introduced me to the photo darkroom and got me interested in the darkroom side of photography. I'd played with photography as a kid, and it was one of the reasons why I want to be a missionary, because I know I could never afford coming from a poor family. Go all the countries in the world. If I were a missionary, maybe I could get there and see all those things. And I love photography. And now God used that tool as one of my tools for evangelism, actually. But I knew this guy for so many years and he even deceived his wife for all those years. And I just saw him again at homecoming on Saturday. And this guy is his basket case.
He's now has Parkinson's disease, too. And my heart is aches and breaks. But that was the same guy that I'm moving into. Our first minister, Simon, after language school arrived to help us move in. We were like brother and sister on the field and we had a conflict over plumbing. I knew nothing about how you put zinc pipes together. I knew about sweat souring copper pipes. Building trades are always a good thing to learn. You get called in all kinds of stuff you never thought you'd have to do. But. But I remember saying like I know nothing about, but let me just measured the pieces and then I can go to the plumbing store and I'll measure and I know I've got the right one, right? No, no, no. This is a nominal this and this is a normal that and this is a bushing that this is a nib that, you know, he had it all figured out and we went to the store, bought all the pieces. It was to our trip to come back and got them and the pieces didn't fit. And I remembered Missions 101. The major problem in the mission field is missionaries getting along with missionaries. And I'm following this guy and I'm about to blow up and clobber him. And I said, okay, God, I'm going to love you. I'm going to love this guy no matter how obnoxious he's going to be. And so for 20 years, I was blind to what was going on in his life. But the thing that I think and I look back in my own life and experience the thing that drains more people from effective ministry no matter where they are, whether you're in a pasture or Christian education or whatever, is pornography.
Is letting your mind run in the free moments where you're doing nothing else. And just I mean, somebody asked the question, well, what really is sex? I said, men and women in the same classroom. That's sex. It exists. It's there. Be aware of it. And every culture is a little different. We hide it and bury this AIDS situation. Wow. And we were among Filipinos who grew up in a little, little one room house and a girl. I actually interviewed a girl in our Bible study group that did the little that actually was a tricycle. Driver said, Do you know how babies are made? She didn't know. And a family of eight kids and parents that honestly did not know. And he says while show you. And she got pregnant. So to save the embarrassment of the family, she just moved into the city with another family member to raise that child. And there was she lived this lie that she was raising her nephew until one day in a Bible study just doing inductive Bible study, which I was told didn't work with Filipinos, that they were you know, you had to, you know, tell them everything. It said. They couldn't find it on their own. I was told I said, no, I'm a try it this way. I was a young whippersnapper missionary and we tried differently and we just read through the book of classes to start every Bible study and then start with the first verse and start working through. Never got to chapter three, but at the end of that retreat, she came to me and asked if she could talk to me. She read Colossians three nine, which I never got to. Which says do not lie to one another.
And God so convicted her heart of living a lie that she was raising this nephew that was her own child that was born out of wedlock from a tricycle driver. And she wanted to confess it and get her life cleaned up. And that girl who was morose, sad, awful looking. It was an insurance office, noon time class I thought turned into the brightest cheeriest, beautiful girl after she confessed that sin and went on with her life. I think this is an area we don't talk enough about the church. Just. We're mum about it. Guys don't talk to guys about what they're going through. They don't even tell the girls what they're doing to them. It's an embarrassment to talk about those things, but that's why I say don't be surprised. I think that's an area I wish I had been told as a younger person. I look back to my own missionary career and I probably gone too far on this already. But this other good friend of mine arrived on the field a year before me, and the week he arrived was to do an orientation trip where that man's ministry was and it was canceled very suddenly, found out later that he had had a moral for moral failure, got involved with a teacher. He was studying German for theology courses, got involved with that person. He was dismissed and removed from the field. And this man's response by his own testimony to me was, Oh, if I get caught, that's what happens. And began a life of deceit, of hiding what he was struggling with. Never talked to anybody about it, never confessed to struggle, that he could have gotten help right then. A year later, I came on the field and I suddenly realized the temptations were even greater overseas because exposure, tropics, less clothes, all those issues and I didn't know how to deal with.
I thought it'd be easier being overseas for some reason. I thought it would be easier after I got married. You know, that just made it even more so. And and I remember sitting down with, well, actually, our personal personnel director. I wanted to talk to him about it before I went to the field and know I'm coming back to the U.S. office to work. And now I'm going to work with him and he'll know about this. And now I didn't want to talk to him. So I went to the field and about a year later, in just a casual conversation with one of our team members, he mentioned something about the temptations that face the missionary on the field, particularly the men and how he dealt with it. And I thought, Oh, I can talk about this. And I remember our sharing together and what an encouragement that was for me. He was elected to be our general director, and I worked with him in our home office for the last 25 year, 22 years, you know? You know, we should be ashamed to deal with the honesty of the situation and confess our faults one to another, James says, And to deal with them. And we get strength from doing that. It doesn't weaken us. It makes us stronger. God given us a ministry together as husband and wife of dealing with that issue of sexual purity in ministry. And that's been something that's just been recent in our lives too, largely because of the failure of our friends. This is the Gordon Cornwall World Emissions Roundtable. We probably have about 100 years of emissions experience around this table. We are talking with Stephen Varner, who has worked for many years in missions in Africa, in Senegal.
We are talking with Jim and Joanna Harding, who have worked all over Africa, mostly mostly in Kenya. So we have a strong representation here from the continent of Africa. Send international Sauti Sam and Africa Inland Mission. And then we are talking with Elizabeth and David Givens, who have been missionaries, the Philippines and now. And China. Hong Kong. And now working out of the central office here of Send International. There are para church missionary agencies and there are denominational agencies. It seems to me all of your missions are more or less para church and faith missions. Okay. Elizabeth, in your exposition on Titus, you mentioned the importance of the local church. And I want you to reflect for a minute or two, each one of you about the local church that is a mission agency that sends you. But there are local churches that actually send you through that mission agency. The mission agency is a facilitator. Okay. It's a clearinghouse. An important one. And yet the basic sending agency, supportive agency, prayer, etc., is the local church. Tell us about local church, how you view it, the role it plays and how they support you. Okay. So the local church and missions and how do you link because all of you come from a local church. You are involved in missions. What's happening in that relationship between the missionary, the mission field and the sending local congregation? We will start with you, David, now, so you will have no excuse that you are lost or to bring up a controversial, painful topic. This is so appropriate because we were recruited specifically to go to the Philippines to become saturated in church planting. Our mission exists to start churches through evangelism, nurturing disciples, developing leaders. We're strong on the leadership development with lots of seminary and training institutions that have been established around the world.
And today that is a greater call with churches that already exist. They're asking for help in that area. On the goal of starting churches, the front and the back end kind of do it all. There's such a gamut of discipleship and evangelism type of work. It's just impossible to identify all those kinds of roles. But that's how it's done. What was really special was sitting in the language school one day and writing a little thesis of my own. I guess on this is what church planning is. I wrote it as if I were back home in my home church where we were sent from. If that church were to look around the congregation and say, You know, this man is gifted in evangelism and this one is gifted in teaching. If we all give a portion of our income to take care of their housing costs, their food costs, their transportation costs, and some spending money for fun. And we're just going to take care of all of that for them so they can give their lives completely to go down over here to this neighborhood that doesn't have a church and no gospel witness and start sharing the gospel and start having Bible study. And I began seeing all this in very practical, simple terms. That's what they just did. They sent us all the way to the Philippines to discover that. To think that the church has the financial resources to release people from having the obligation of saying, well, where am I going to get my next dollar for food? Where am I going to, you know, get the money to travel, where I'm going with the money for literature? You know? And they are providing that to set us free to do what God has laid on our heart to do.
And how much better if the church had that vision right up front rather than the missionary coming in and telling them, this is what we did with your dollars that you gave? Really, the church needs to be more active. And we see it as a triangle that the church is God's ordained instrument. The missionary is kind of the one who gets it moving. And the agency is an enabler to make that happen. The church in my Bible is God's ordained organization, and I heard a preacher recent on the radio and say, You're wrong, you're wrong, you're wrong. That verse, this is I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail. And good old King James prevail doesn't mean that the church is not going to collapse under the attack of the evil one. It means that the evil one, Satan will not stand up under the attack of the church. It's the church that will be built and Satan will not resist it. It doesn't say the church won't collapse. It says Satan will collapse. Most missionaries have multiple churches that provide their support. Those of us that are with non-denominational agencies generally have a real collection of churches, and we sometimes jokingly say if the folks from this church in New Jersey had to be put in the same room with this church in New Hampshire, they might not get along with each other, but we get along with all of them. The missionaries relationship to the church, there's just a couple of things. Let me just say briefly. I think missionaries always are saying we don't get enough communication from the church, and the churches are always saying we don't get enough communication from the missionary. And that's just a bottom line problem.
It's easier today with email, but it still is difficult to keep that amount of communication going. We appreciate churches that ask us for accountability, that send us a forum once a year and ask us to fill out. What were your goals for this year? What are your goals for next year? How did you accomplish them? That's a very important thing for churches to do with their missionaries in terms of amounts of support. Most missionaries with agencies find that about half of their support is coming from churches and half is coming from individuals. Although many of the individuals that support us were at one time in one of our supporting churches and then moved away. And the reason they support us independently is they're not in that local body anymore. So those are things to think about to. I thought you were going to talk a little longer so I could think a little more. Okay. We're in that situation. We have a number of churches that support us. And down through the years, I have to say that the thing that was terribly important to us as a family, we have four children. Was that one of those churches provided a home for us when we came back from the field, a missionary house that many of the missionaries from that church would use for the year. It was stocked with everything dish towels to furniture, to everything. And when we would be ready to go back from Africa to come to America, we would be talking it up with our kids and getting more excited. And then we would say things like, Oh, I wonder what's in the missionary house and what it's looking like these days, you know? And so we'd all run into the missionary house and run down into the cellar and see either skate still, there is a snowboard still there.
They run up into the closets upstairs and see is that big ole Snoopy dog stuffed animal about this high? Is he still there? You know, it just gave a wonderful sense of continuity to be able to be in that one place. We really thank the Lord for the vision of that church, my home church, to do that for their missionaries. And there are many other creative ways that churches have of keeping that relationship alive, of praying and actually asking you questions about your prayer request. Whoa. That tells us they've really been praying. Also, you were saying, Elizabeth, about accountability. We've been to many, many missionary committee meetings and it's really just kind of a nod and a smile kind of thing. But we wish they would ask us some accountability questions. It would be good for us if they did that. I think that we started 13 and we found that the church is a sending body. I don't know what is the chicken and which is the egg. But somewhere along the line, either mission organizations took over that responsibility and the churches gave it up or the churches gave it up and the mission agencies took over that responsibility. But I think that the paradigm now, how's that for a big word? This is a little country kid who. But the paradigm now, I think is among especially among mission agencies, is to make sure that we recognize and that we give the church back the responsibility that is their God given responsibility. And so that's one of the things that is happening, I think, in many mission organizations. I'm sure all of us would say that's one of the things that is happening. A second thing that the church does for us, that to me is critically important.
John mentioned it and that is prayer. For me, that is the most essential thing that you can do. For me, your money is important, but that's God's money and that's God's cows that are going to take care of me. And if you don't give a cow, God's got plenty other cows out there to take care of me. So. So I'm not terribly worried about that. Sometimes I do. But the thing that is my concern and what I believe is the responsibility of the church in the sending is that you pray, you go to Acts 13 there and you'll see before they sent, they prayed, they prayed when they made the selection and they prayed when they sent them. That's what I would say is what we're looking for from the church is a church that will pray for us and pray for us personally, individually. And if you're going to pray for us, then you need to get interested in what's happening and what God is doing and what are our needs. We'd prefer that you send cash over cows, although if you want to buy a cow and I literally mean that we have a steer program in the Midwest where you can actually purchase cows, and when they're sold, the profits come to the mission. But. But you don't get any byproducts. Naturally. That's true. Oh, I think they're pretty well said. Everything's going to the major things that need to be said. Back to the original question. The view of the church, I think. Yeah, what if the church isn't because of the fact that, no, we're not a denomination. Something that we don't talk about is in the Bible. There's really only one church, there's multiple assemblies, but there is only one church.
And so it always kind of perplexes me when churches say, we're the church, you're an agency and you're wrong or right. I always kind of thought there was one church, there's a local assembly. We are an agency. That's true. But we're part of the church, too, and I think we need to really put that ahead of ourselves. I do think that historically, and this was mentioned a bit, that agencies tended to break the ice, so to speak. If you look historically, almost all of the churches that are involved in missions today, their mission agencies or agencies are joined. First, were people going out on their own because they had a conviction, they saw a need and they moved out when the church wasn't quite ready. And that's okay. And agencies today are trying to respond to churches because churches are saying we want to be more involved. And that comes in a variety of ways. Some good, some not so good. And agencies are doing some do a good job at responding and others don't. One of the things that is kind of new in the last ten, 15 years that's been provided a lot by churches is that of kind of pastoral care for their missionaries oftentimes on the field. And oftentimes when people come home, churches are really feeling much more of a responsibility to help watch over and take care of their missionaries in this area. And that's a very, very positive thing. And one of the reasons that so positive is that the people that we send out today. Right across the board. Their life skills are very different than what they were 50, 75 years ago. And people just have more needs for pastoral care. And that's something that really is important with churches today.
I'm not sure if we've answered your questions at all or. Well, I know we would need several more hours to explore the complexity of the relationships between the local assemblies and the church, universal between the churches, denominations, parish church agencies and of course, then the relationship between the ascending church and the receiving churches, the younger, the older and the younger church. And as you've mentioned, several of you did. The center of gravity of Christian faith is moving from north to south. And we have the most vibrant churches now, not in North America, certainly not in Western Europe, but in the missionary fields where you labor, whether it's Philippines or, you know, Kenya or other nations that are represented here. We don't have that time to explore all of that. There will be opportunity for at least some of the students. Many of them are busy during the day, but maybe they can come by your boat and pick up the information back out and ask some personal or write to you on email. I do want, however, for a few minutes to open this up to you as a class. If you have a question or two, this is the time to ask them. Feel free. Just jump up and ask your question and we'll see who gives the best answer. Yes, please. We will repeat the question here. So for us, what you would take. Okay. The question is, if one is interested or wants to explore missions, how to go about selecting the agency or even the field. Right. Okay. What to get the information orientation for somebody who is at the initial point of interest of inquiry. I'm glad I get this first and then you can fill a time afterwards. Christian Missions dot net.
I've mentioned that a number of times is a great place to lead that Christian mission starting out. It is on the card back there. We get letters almost every week. Their email from people that have said, I'm with people, Group X or Mission X. I'd never heard of them before, but I found them on there. And we're just thrilled that people are going with other groups that can do that. I mean, we love to have people come with us, but that's a great place to start. Operation World is a wonderful place to start. Also looking through that. Learning about the countries. Another thing that's awfully important is to personally get to know some people within a mission. All the missions here are good. We all have a little different flavor and you need to really sit there and say, Is this a group I feel comfortable with? And if you don't feel comfortable with them, then go on to somebody else. But a great place to look is right there on the Internet. And there's a lot of other resources that can get you to places you'd never find on your own. I mean, we don't need everybody answering it If you think you did a pretty good job. I just want to say Urbana is a great place to find me this year. This year. I think it's really important to start praying for missionaries and you have to pick which ones you want to pray for or else get in touch with a couple of agencies and ask if they have a prayer calendar. There are people in missions today because they started praying and in the course of praying they saw needs and they thought, Oh, gee, I could do that. Maybe I better call.
And I thought she was going to mention there's a folder which we failed to bring on this trip called Choosing a Mission. It's an objective kind of piece. I think we borrowed it from some other missions publication. We all share those things. You got it from us, I think. I know one we borrowed from you is how to get from here to there. And that outlines kind of the steps that are typical of moving from an interest to ultimately serving overseas. Do we have more? One more question. Yes. Talked about attending church in a local church, but you go, all right, how do you fit into the context where you are, whether it's a receiving church, they are receiving church if you go to them, although many of the receiving churches are becoming ascending churches now, and you have missionaries from Brazil and Korea and you have many missionaries from Philippines and now you have missionaries from Ukraine and so on going to other nations and even other continents. But when you arrive on the mission field, how do you connect to a local church That I that's the question. I was going to answer this one. When you look at the brothers and sisters beside us whose missions went into Inland Africa, there was no local church to connect with. And traditionally in pioneer missions, you're not going to a place where there's any church. If you're going to an unreached people group, there is no church. And so that's different. There's no church to connect with. When you move into countries where there is an established church, it's very important that you pick an organization that has a strong working relationship with the national church and that they understand each other's roles and that you can work together in many parts of the world today.
Missionaries are working there at the invitation of the local church and being given their job description by the local church. If you can't handle that, don't go there. The thing that I would say is the mindset that you carry is very important. We from the West always go as teachers. But Jesus came to be a teacher. But he came and he made himself of no reputation. And he made himself one of us. So the best minds said, if you're going to go to another church is to go as a learner and instead of as little expression that we have. Let me tell you, try changing it to tell me more, tell me more. And eventually that will qualify you to be able to become a teacher. And you'll teach wisely. But when your relationship with the church is you go and you begin your relationship as a learner. Well, let me conclude here. As the church has grown around the world, and that is a result of missions, the great century of Christian expansion. As LaTourette tells us in his multi-volume history of missions, the great century was the 19th century. We have entered the 21st century in the 19th century. It was missionaries from the West going to the east, missionaries from the north going to south. The question is the question was, how do we evangelize them? How do we teach them? How do we help them? Educate them? And so on. I think now that the church around the world is growing in numbers and maturity, the question has to change. It's not what we can do for them. It's not what we give and receive. It's what we and they all members of the same body can do together. And so the word I think the key word here is partnership.
Whether it's the church in Yemen or Japan and the church in North America or Great Britain. We are one body. The church is one that's underlined that globally serving under the same Lord. And they have something to teach us. They have something to give that we may not be able to give to them. And they have something to give to the church in the West also. Let me not go further here, because this is the end of our roundtable. Why don't we have one of three of you pray for Asia and one of our Asian mission leaders pray for Africa? Okay. Can we do that? And this is the way we will conclude this class. Our father, we've heard tonight tremendous, tremendous needs in Africa. But, Lord, tonight I want to lay before you the Church of Jesus Christ, which is advancing in Africa. I would ask that your Holy Spirit would empower them, that you would mobilize them to reach their world, but to reach around the world. Father, As I visited Kenya, it seemed like every turn I made, I met another Christian mobilized that church to evangelize the lost. First in their home, then in neighboring countries, in the continent of Africa and around the world. I pray that you would move the church outward and every ministry, every outreach. I think of Senegal, the invasion of the Muslim world from the North. Father God, I pray that you would stumble up the advance of the Muslim world, that you would crack them open to the truth and the liberating freedom of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That you would break down strongholds. That you would raise up your church in those hard places. Dear God, I'd pray that you would just move Africa.
Having once been the dark continent where the light of the Gospel has been taken and is shining brightly, but that it would shine even more bright, that I praise you for what's happened in turning around in Uganda. Lord, I pray that there would be a great impact of committed Christians in ministering to the people, the tremendous suffering of the AIDS issue. Lord That the church would truly prevail against the evil one, that it would knock down those gates of hell and bring the gospel to them, the freedom, the eternal life that comes, the hope that comes. I pray that you would bring it there in Jesus name and. Your fathers would come before you. We thank you for the marvelous things that you're doing in Asia. Lord, we think of the last 50 years of the millions upon millions that have come to know you in China. We think how every day, thousands upon thousands new commit themselves to you, to father. We think of other countries that are still closed. We think of Tibet and Nepal. And Lord, we would ask that you would open these countries. Lord, we'd ask that the fledgling churches that are there might grow and that you would blow strong against those embers and they would turn into like bright flames. We think of other parts of Southeast Asia and Thailand and Vietnam and those areas. Lord And there's still such a need for the gospel there. So many groups still that do not have churches that can sustain themselves, that are reaching out. And yet, Lord, we would ask that you would move there to Father as you move to Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world. Lord We would ask that you would break the power of Islam.
We know, Lord, there are many, many there that name your name, and we would ask especially that you would strengthen them, would ask Lord that they would be given a special understanding of your presence, Lord, that they would not live in fear. Your Father, We would ask that you would open the eyes of the Muslims there, that they might see you were moved to the Philippines. Lord and Lord, there are so many churches there. And and for many, Christianity is is almost bound with the culture that to be Filipino and their areas to be Christian. Lord, we ask that your spirit move upon them. We'd ask Lord that they would see that their need to understand, to know and to love you and you alone to father would think of the southern Philippines and the troubles that are there with Islam. And Lord, we'd ask that you would bring peace to that area. But most of all, Lord, we'd ask that you would break the back of Islam with your love, that people would see that it is only through you that they can have eternal life. It is only through you, the Prince of Peace, that they can have real peace. Dear Father, we would ask that you would continue to work in Asia, that you would bring many more to you, that the church there would not only grow and multiply, but that it would reach out to many other countries. We'd ask these things in Jesus precious name, Amen. Amen. Amen. I know this is not common in theological classrooms, at least at the seminary, but let us say thank you to our excellent missionary representatives by giving them a good. Yes. Thank you. You haven't reached our class by your reflection, your experience, your wisdom.
Thank you for taking the time. And you would be available for students that may want to follow up sometime tomorrow or even tonight if some of you are not rushing home.