Random thoughts raced through my mind as I stood on the curbside adjacent to the residence at 19 North Square in Boston Massachusetts. I retraced what I learned as a schoolboy about the events of a cold April night in 1775. You may know the event as the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere. I thought about the urgency and alarm that welled up within Revere, and the courage it took for him to ride into the darkness, warning many people of impeding danger.
Other thoughts of peril came to mind as visitors passed by this historic site –thoughts of long ago in Biblical times when Ezekiel told about the watchman on the wall; thoughts in recalling the pleas of the rich man in hell begging others to inform loved ones of unrelenting torment; David fleeing Saul as he was hunted down like an animal. Each of these incidents carried a sense of urgency.
I believe there was a deep sense of urgency when Jesus spoke His last words to the church, just before His ascension into Heaven. I can envision him in my mind’s eye calling out to those gathered around him “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Did the message sink in? Did the early believers grasp what He was saying? Do we grasp today what He said so long ago?
Reading the scriptures, I learned that the urgency of the mandate necessitated unbridled action. …And act they did! We see examples of increased witness from Jesus’ followers. The book of Acts gives us a focused perspective of their continued witness throughout Jerusalem, and then into Judea & Samaria. The Apostle Paul comes on the scene and takes things to the next level in going to the unreached world. The church now shared a deep sense of urgency in equipping and sending disciple makers throughout the world… and the church grew. —They got it.
The question arises, why is the leadership of churches not as concerned today about equipping and sending out those who will impact the nations with the gospel as they were in Paul’s day? Where did the shift in thinking begin —that of building empire churches with programs and passive voices as a substitute in place of passionate preaching to promote and do what Jesus told us to do? Why is this mindset taking precedence in the church today?
These are hard questions to ask but as we travel around America pleading for harvest workers to reach the lost we are finding the church [as a whole] to be more concerned with being culturally relevant rather than being Biblically-focused in doing what Jesus told us to do. We are finding that the oversight of global outreach ministries in many churches is handled by an appointed committee of people who seem to have a stronger focus on missions than that of the church leadership team. How do we assist church leaders in seeing the necessity to recognize and equip potential missionary laborers from within their own ranks –being senders as well as supporters rooted in prayer? …And are church leaders willing to allow those of us with the voice of experience and knowledge to come alongside them to assist them in embracing this need? These are our challenges as mobilizers.
Perhaps it comes down to the perspective of understanding the foundations necessary for church growth. Realistic church growth happens when the body of believers begins reaching the lost around them, not just garnering people from other churches. There is another element of growth and that is by the multiplication of souls reach for Christ by equipping and send missionaries to the unreached and unengaged peoples of the world. You see, the Church, the body of Christ, is much deeper than our individual site locations. Mission efforts contribute to the raising up of worshipers to surround God’s throne through our efforts in obeying Jesus last command… “Go an make disciples of all nations.”
Mobilization; it’s in our DNA…
Back in the early days of our on-field ministry we were confronted by lost tribesmen who had seen the life-change in other tribesmen who had embraced the gospel. They asked if they could have a missionary. We told them we had no one to give to them. A few weeks later they showed up again at our door… this time with a pig, wanting to ‘buy’ a missionary. We were so impacted by that incident that our furlough years became mobilization campaigns to find those willing to reach a tribe. Little did we realize that the Lord would use such motivations to place us on the Ethnos360 mobilization team at the time we moved state-side for Joyce to receive a kidney transplant.
What does it mean to mobilize? We define our mobilization efforts as ‘to make someone movable or capable of movement’ —what we call embracing God’s heart for the nations. That requires finding those God is moving out to serve. In some instances there are individuals who are unaware that God is orchestrating a heart change towards involvement in advancing the gospel globally. We come alongside such ones to specifically show them the biblical necessity of disciple making as well as expressing areas of need and what it takes to do the work. There are a number of requirements to be embraced; Bible education; missionary training, and language science as well as a variety of practical skills. Also limited medical training, literacy training, and Bible translation skills. Here are some of the foundations we’ve implemented in our mobilization efforts among individuals and churches:
1.) Highlight the needs
2.) Show how you can help
3.) Engage those who desire to be engaged
4.) Offer opportunities to serve
5.) Direct people to a specified focus
6.) Enable relationships/build confidence thru experience
7.) Express gratitude for their being involved
8.) Offer training
9.) Track results — what’s getting done
10.) Make people matter
11.) Celebrate success
12.) Motivate leaders
Right now we are desperate for church planting teams and the whole gamut of support role workers. We could immediately put more than 2,000 people to work with the number of people groups we are purposed to reach but of course we need to train them first. Pray for us as we seek to mobilize here in the Southwest… Pray for opportunities to cast the vision and for opened doors to bring believers into an awareness of the needs. This is an ongoing request.
Presently, we’ve got many teams doing discipleship with new believers; we’ve got several teams in the initial stages of chronological Bible teaching; we’ve got teams doing language & culture acquisition in new locations; we’ve got numerous teams working on Bible translation; and a handful of teams ready to pass the baton to local church leaders in overseeing tribal churches. It’s exciting to be a part of this effort. Who of your church’s young people could you encourage or be a part of their equipping in sending them to be trained by Ethnos360 to join in this work? Please contact us if we can assist you or those you know in seeking to serve.
Mobilize… it’s what we do.
Just as we realize it takes a team to plant a church, even so it takes a team to see God raise up those who will serve to declare the gospel among the lost people of our world. You are a valuable part of our team as we continue mobilizing in churches; among youth & college age; in small groups; in camps, etc. and anywhere the Lord opens a door for us to minister. Thank you for your prayers and for your practical gifts of support to empower us in this work.