A few Sundays ago, in our church service, our pastor did a Bible quiz game-show type thing. To make it more interesting, the participants were playing for money; actually, donations to one of the ministries our church sponsors. There were several that I would say most of our church recognized and then there was this one that I wondered if anyone knew what it was.
It was Ethnos360.
Now don’t get me wrong, our church knows us, the Potters. They know Joel and Bethany, Bethany’s mom, Lynn and our kids, Jack, Owen, and Kate, but if you asked most of them what Ethnos360 is, I think the answers would be quite vague if they even tried to answer.
Now, I’ll admit that it is entirely on us to remedy. And when we first moved to the area, we felt it was important that our church-body get to know us personally, simply as partners (that’s what our church calls ‘members’) before we introduced them to our ministry.
Ethnos360 is the organization we, the Potters, chose to team up with. Early in our adult lives, we both learned about huge numbers of people who have lived and died for generations without access to God’s Word in their language and no chance to know the Creator. That reality broke our hearts and caused us to feel a sense of accountability to be a part of the solution.
And when we learned that Ethnos360 (it was named New Tribes Mission from 1942 to 2017) was reaching these people groups sustainably and sensitively, we chose to “throw our lot in” with this team. It is an organization made up of about 3500 people from the USA who all work full-time to see thriving churches among every people group around the world. We partner with like-minded ‘Global Partner’ ministries as a part of a network of believers all around the world, using our hearts and minds, our talent and experience, our love for the Creator of the world, to see those who were beyond the reach of the gospel, brought into reach.
Here’s what we like about how Ethnos360 works:
- The Great Commission was given to the whole Church and so we are committed to working with the church as a partner and not leap-frogging over it.
- We are committed to working in the heart language of a people group. That means we devote years to culture and language study as well as solid Bible translation methods.
- We believe that people with no concept of God learn best when taught foundationally. So we teach the Bible chronologically, following the natural order a story is told. We start before even the creation of the world.
- We are committed to seeing thriving – self-sustaining – churches planted. That means we don’t leave right after the church is born. We stick around and work to disciple the church to a point where it’s leading itself and reaching out on its own.
That’s who Ethnos360 is. But in the end, it’s not about the organization you work with, it’s about the God that we serve.