By now, I imagine many of you have heard New Tribes Mission has changed names. (If not, it would be understandable if you were confused by the new logo on this blog post!) We now operate as Ethnos360 – the same organization, but with a new label.
Actually, it’s just NTM USA which has changed – many of the worldwide agencies affiliated with New Tribes have long operated under different names, from SE Africa’s Visão Integral and Mexico’s Misión Pro-Indígena to Australia’s CrossView and Iglesia Cristiana Nuevos Horizontes in Colombia. Others, such as NTM Canada, continue to use the New Tribes name – though some of these others may also change in the near future. The decision is made independently in each mission field, by their respective leadership teams.
What’s in a name? Why is NTM is walking away from the label it’s used for 75 years of ministry? This isn’t the type of decision which should be made spur-of-the moment – nor was it in this case; our executive board has prayerfully discussed and considered this change for several years.
To begin, each of the words in the old name presents difficulties in a modern ministry context:
- Calling something New can be problematic in areas where other organizations or churches have previously worked, or among people who already consider themselves to be Christian. Our People Group Assessment process identifies ethnic groups without a functioning church or a clear Gospel understanding – yet arriving under the New Tribes name risks alienating others by appearing to disregard prior church influence.
- The word Tribes today communicates negative stereotypes foreign to the founders of NTM. To us, it means a people group with its own unique ethnic identity, culture, and language! Yet as that meaning has changed – not only in a Western context, but in some of the places where we plant churches – it makes no sense to offend the very people we work to reach by using a label they dislike.
- Finally, Mission has already been replaced in the titles of most missionary sending agencies. Many countries are wary of religious organizations, and the word ‘mission’ invites barriers to access which have already been a problem in recent years.
Our new name – Ethnos360 – continues our focus on the same vision God gave us from the beginning, which is to go and make disciples of Jesus Christ among all people groups in the world.
- Ethnos is the Greek word used in Matthew 28:19 and Luke 24:47, describing the ‘nations’ to which Jesus sends us to proclaim forgiveness of sin in His name. They are the vast multitudes from every nation, tribe, people, and language referenced in Revelation 7:9 – who one day will gather together before God’s throne, praising Him for that very salvation!
- 360 refers to the whole earth, represented in 360 degrees of direction on the globe. The vision of the Great Commission is all nations, not just some – and as part of our name, reminds us of the entire scope of our mission.
In the end, the name of our organization has changed… but Ethnos360 remains committed to the same vision: establishing a thriving church for every people, with God’s Word communicated in their own language, no matter where they live or how hard it is to reach them. Similarly, our family’s ministry remains the same: working to see Christ proclaimed, an indigenous church planted, and disciples growing among the Nahuatl people of Mexico.
Ultimately, the name which matters most is the one which will never change – Jesus, who one day all will confess as Lord (Philippians 2:9-11). We thank you for working alongside us to make His name great among all the ethnos of the world, and look forward together to that great ‘some day’ of fellowship and praise with Nahuatl believers before the throne of our Creator!
We are so grateful for your continued prayer on behalf of our family. The news promised in our last update is still coming, but the news of Ethnos360’s new name just couldn’t wait! Our old blog address, emails, and giving methods still work – but we’ll make sure you hear if and when those details change. Should you have any questions about the logistics of our new name, please feel free to contact us!