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EDITORIAL: Calling, Faithfulness, and Prayer

Hebrews 3:1-2 “Therefore holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest, whom we confess. He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house.”
Our God is a missionary. God can work independently, but works in cooperation with His people for the coming of His kingdom and for the accomplishment of His will, (Ex. 3:7-10) The writer of the Book of Hebrews wrote, “Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.”(Heb. 3:1) The Apostle Peter also wrote “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Pet. 2:9) God has called and is calling both men and women and clergy and lay people to work for the kingdom of God.
God gives authority and power to His servants as he calls them for mission. (Gen. 12:1-13; Matt. 10:1; 28:18-20) Therefore, people of God, who are called by God to do his will, ought to believe that God is faithful, is with them, protects them, and provides for all their needs. What God requires of those who are called for the kingdom of God and gospel is faithfulness.
Jesus was Faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. They accomplished the mission God entrusted in them. “Moses did everything just as the Lord commanded him” (Ex. 40:16). Jesus confessed, “I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.” (John 17:4). How could Moses and Jesus successfully accomplish their mission God gave them to do? It was through prayer and obedience.
Mark Chapter 1 verse 35 says, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Intimate fellowship with God through prayer was the secret of successful ministry.
Without discerning God’s will for our ministries, we cannot faithfully accomplish the mission God called us to do. True reformation, successful training of missionaries for the ministry in the creative access countries, successful support-raising, missiological research, and mission education cannot be done in the ways that pleases God. As we start a new year, let us remember that our God is a missionary God, that we are called to do His will, that he who called us for mission will provide resources, that we are required to be faithful, and that we can be faithful when we keep intimate fellowship with the Lord.

The Restoration of the Whole Gospel and the Contemporary Reformation

The year 2017 celebrated the 500th year anniversary of the Reformation. How can the spirit of the Reformation be restored in the Church of Korea which has become secularized and lost its life? The Reformation inspires us to return to the fundamentals of the gospel. We are going to look at the direction that a contemporary Reformation will need to go through an examination of what the whole gospel means.

The whole gospel does not mean to emphasize a particular section of the gospel, but includes all the contents of the gospel as recorded in the Scripture. So what is the gospel?

  1. Firstly, the whole of the Bible conveys the whole good news. God has revealed himself through the complex phenomenon of the Canon of Scripture. The gospel is to affect every dimension of creation, for it has all been ravaged by sin and evil.[1]
  2. The gospel announces as good news the historical events of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth (1 Cor 15:1-4). The gospel is the unchanging account of what God has done to save the world, supremely through the life, death, resurrection, and reign of Jesus Christ. The gospel is the good news in Christ.[2]
  3. The gospel includes the good news to restore life to the people through the power of the Holy Spirit who performs miraculous healing, does miracles, and casts out demons (Lk 4:14,19; Ac 10:38).[3]
  4. The gospel produces a redeemed and regenerated humanity, a single, unified family of God. It brings about the restoration of a community of love through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. This is not merely a by-product but lies at the very heart of the gospel itself (Eph 3:6).[4]
  5. The gospel is a message of the ethical transformation and justice. The radical change of one’s life accompanies true faith. The gospel is not just to be believed, but obeyed. The gospel is intrinsically ethical, a matter of obedience not just belief (1 Pe 4:17).[5]
  6. The gospel is the display of God’s transforming power on the universe. The gospel is the power of God at work in history and creation to bring redemption. The gospel is the saving power of God that is transforming history and redeeming creation.[6]
  7. The gospel is to be proclaimed. It is to be preached to all nations, for they are included in God’s promise to Abraham.[7]

Therefore The Cape Town Commitment states, “We love the whole gospel.” Jesus’ ministry contained every piece of the whole gospel.[8] He preached the gospel as the Word of God, worked in the power of the Holy Spirit, he became the head of the church community, he endeavored for justice for the poor, and he worked as a missionary preaching the gospel of the Kingdom. Therefore, the whole gospel is summed up as the Word of God, the power of the Holy Spirit, church as community, social justice, and missions. With this, as background, we are going to examine what a contemporary Reformation will look like.

The Word of God is the foundation of and final authority on all faith and practice. The Word of God is both the basis and the starting point of the whole gospel. The Bible takes precedence over church tradition, personal experience, and an individual’s vision. The church of Korea, which was founded on Calvinistic traditions including Sola scriptura, considers the Word of God as precious and of sound heritage.
Sola scriptura sees no other source as having the same authority as the Bible. Only the Bible is infallible. In this view, all secondary sources of authority are derived from the authority of the Scriptures and, therefore are subject to conform to the teachings of the Bible. The intention of the Reformation was to correct the errors of the Catholic Church by appealing to the uniqueness of the Bible’s textual authority. The Catholic doctrine comes from a mixture of Church tradition and Scripture. Sola scriptura meant rejecting the view that the interpretation of the Magisterium of Scripture and Church tradition was infallible. Luther elaborates:

The Holy Scripture is the queen which must rule over all and to which all must submit and obey. No one, no matter who he may be, is allowed to be the master and judge of the Scripture, rather all must be its witnesses, disciples, and confessors. The Scripture validates itself… The church’s decision is never under any circumstances an authority standing above the word of God but only beneath it. It is not the church which authorizes the Scripture, but quite the contrary: the Scripture validates the Church… The gospel is not believed because the church confirms it, but because one recognizes that it is God’s word.[9]

Calvin also criticized the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church, the Church’s council, and the dogmatic Bible interpretation of the pope:

A most pernicious error has very generally prevailed that Scripture is of importance only in so far as conceded to it by the suffrage of the Church; as if the eternal and inviolable truth of God could depend on the will of men… On the determination of the Church, therefore, it is said, depend both the reverence which is due to Scripture and the books which are to be admitted into the canon… Paul testifies that the Church is “built on the foundation of the apostle and prophets” (Eph 2:20). If the doctrine of the apostle and prophets is the foundation of the Church, the former must have had its certainty before the latter began to exist.[10]

In the view of Calvin, the Bible did not originate from men but is from God and makes us submissive beyond men’s reason and experience. It makes us wrestle with the secular ideology and ecclesiastical authority that challenge the authority of the Bible.
Today the authority of the Bible is threatened by those with liberal and syncretistic dispositions. The statement of faith and founding papers of World Council of Churches declare,

We are not to regard the Bible primarily as a standard to which we must confirm in all questions arising in our life… The Bible is not a norm imposed on us from outside… The Bible is not a patrimony from which we are free to select at will, nor is it just one source of inspiration among many.[11]

They view the authority of the Bible not as due to its inspiration but from the influence it holds in society. Consequently, they do not view the Bible as a norm for the faith and life.
The church of Korea on the whole firmly maintains the doctrine of the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible. Nevertheless, it’s weaknesses lie in the practice of the Word of God. The Korean church needs to thoroughly obey the Word of God by bringing it into practice in their lives. The urgent and serious problem of the contemporary church is orthopraxis which means to radically obey the Word of God and practice it in one’s daily life rather than orthodoxy which refers to the belief in the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible. The first element of the whole gospel is to believe the Bible as the inerrant Word of God and to thoroughly obey it.

Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Mt 1:18), by the Jordan river, received the baptism of and was filled with the Holy Spirit (Lk 3:21-22; 4:1), after forty days of prayer and fasting, Jesus received the power of the Holy Spirit (Lk 4:14, 19; Ac 10:38) and did all of his public ministry of teaching, healing the sick, casting out demons, and performing miracles by the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised that his disciples would receive this power and commanded them to preach the gospel to the ends of the earth only after they had received the power which comes on high (Lk 24:49; Ac 1:4-5,8).
The Christian movement deserving the closest attention from the last century is Pentecostalism. The denomination that has shown the greatest growth is Pentecostal denomination. In 1995 there were 217 million ‘Denominational Pentecostals’ throughout the world.[12] In 2011 there were an estimated 279 million classical Pentecostals, making 4 percent of the total world population and 12.8 percent of the world’s Christian population. The study found ‘historically Pentecostal denominations’ to be the largest Protestant denominational family.[13]
However, there is a serious problem to solve before we accept the worldwide Pentecostal phenomenon. The core dispute relating to pneumatology has always been the relationship between the regenerational work and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Here we will examine this dispute and its solution.

1. The evidence in the Bible
Jesus gave his disciples this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Ac. 1:4-5). In these verses ‘the gift my Father promised’ means ‘to be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ Luke refers to this earlier in Luke 24:48-49: “You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” In these verses ‘what my Father promised’ means ‘to be clothed with power on high.’ Comparing the two verses on the same topic, it is clear that ‘to be clothed with power from on high’ means ‘to be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ Through these Bible passages, therefore, the definition of the baptism of the Holy Spirit can be expressed as to receive power for the witness of the gospel.

2. Two kinds of the fullness of the Holy Spirit
In the Greek Bible two different terms are used to refer to what is called the fullness of the Holy Spirit: πλἠθηs πνεύμἀτοs άγιου and πλἠρηs πνεύμἀτοs άγιου. The first term plethes (πλἠθηs) refers to the baptism of the Holy Spirit as power. Meanwhile pleres (πλἠρηs) is the infilling in order to bear fruits and has no reference to power for ministry. Plethes is consistently used for the outer work of the Holy Spirit and usually refers to a brief, temporary filling. The inner work of the Holy Spirit is consistently referred to as pleres and usually refers to something that gets fuller over time until saturated. R. A. Torrey III calls pleres, the fruit of the Spirit, the internal workings of the Spirit in the believer and plethes the power that is the external, visible work of the Spirit.[14]
For instance, ‘the fullness’ in Act 4:8: “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people!” is written as pleres (πλἠρηs), and ‘fullness’ in Act 6:3: “Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them” is recorded as plethes (πλἠθηs).
In Act 4:8, when the priests arrest Peter to prevent him from the preaching of the gospel, he is filled with the Holy Spirit in that moment and boldly witnesses to them of Jesus Christ. The fullness of the Holy Spirit in this case is a brief, temporary filling. On the other hand, the fullness of wisdom and the Holy Spirit in Act 6:3 is different from that of Act 4:8. The wisdom and character of Stephen cannot be obtained in a moment for which the people gave him respect are only obtainable through long-term obedience and discipline.
In the two cases, the fullness of the Holy Spirit of Peter is not a personal thing but a temporary empowerment. Stephen’s fullness of the Holy Spirit is personal, internal and long-term. Therefore the fullness of the Holy Spirit marked as plethes (πλἠθηs) refers to the external and temporary power of the Holy Spirit.[15] The fullness of the Holy Spirit when referred to as pleres(πλἠρηs) is an internal and personal work on a long-term basis.[16] Andreas Kostenberger defines πίμπλημι and πληρόω such that the former is a special power to witness the gospel and the latter refers to being continuously ruled by the Spirit.[17]

3. The solution to the pneumatological dispute
Evangelical and Pentecostal understandings of the role of the baptism of the Holy Spirit come from different points of view. Evangelicals see it as the infilling which starts the process of regeneration and sanctification.[18] It can be called ‘the inner work’ of the Holy Spirit. Pentecostals restrict the baptism of the Holy Spirit to the initial experience of the power of the Spirit.[19] It can be called as ‘the outer work’ of the Holy Spirit. The use of the term ‘fullness of the Holy Spirit‘ can refer to both the temporary filling for an outer work of power and the long-term indwelling, inner work whose purpose is regeneration and sanctification. The theological emphasis of Evangelicals is on the inner work of the Spirit whereas the Pentecostal’s is on the outer. As a result, there are two seemingly conflicting definitions for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. As a result both emphasize only one aspect of the Holy Spirit’s work.
Regeneration and sanctification are tied directly to the inner work of the Holy Spirit, whereas the outer work empowers one for service and to be a witness. It is worthwhile to make a distinction between the inner and the outer workings of the Holy Spirit. It is necessary for Christians to receive both the fullness of the Holy Spirit as an outer work (Ac 2:4) and as an inner work (Eph 5:18).
Therefore, the definition the fullness of the Holy Spirit is ‘the first experience of the fullness of the Holy Spirit as outer work.’[20] The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the baptism of power. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is to be empowered with power of God for the service of God’s work and witness of the gospel.

4. The continuity of charismatic gifts as the power of the Holy Spirit

The work of the Holy Spirit entails more than regeneration and sanctification. It includes the power for service and to preach the gospel. Then we can be assured that the charismatic gifts, speaking tongues, prophecy, healing, and miracles, are well represented today.
Lloyd-Jones often mentioned that the gifts have been continuously present throughout church history including the present day.[21] The Reformed Church and traditional Evangelicals have had a tendency of ignoring the charismatic gifts. Reformed and Evangelical denominations need to recognize and seek the charismatic gifts, the power of the Holy Spirit, in order to have powerful ministries and missions.
Today is the time for Pentecostalism. The reason why churches in China and South America have experienced explosive growth is because they received the power of the Holy Spirit. The 1907 Pyongyang Revival in Korea was truly a work of the Holy Spirit like that of Pentecost to the early church and played a major role in supplying the power that propelled the growth of the Korean Church. Today the Korean Church puts special emphasis on the Word of God but pays little attention to the need for the power of the Holy Spirit. The church of Korea needs to receive both the inner and the outer work of the Holy Spirit and pursue a balanced spirituality that addresses both character and power. The power of the Holy Spirit is the second keyword of the whole gospel.

The church is the family of God that was formed through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul said that the church is ‘the body of Christ’ and ‘the family of God’ (Eph 3:6; 1:22-23). He also emphasized a single community in Christ is the heart of the gospel itself (Eph 2:11-19). The essential quality of the church is defined as communio sanctorum (the communion of saints).[22] The communion of saints means being part of the community which makes up the body of Christ. The Reformers declared communio sanctorum was the very essence of the church.

1. Luther and communio sanctorum
Luther taught that communio sanctorum was integral to understanding the Apostles’ Creed which stood in opposition to the Roman Catholic Church doctrine.[23] Luther’s view of the church as communio sanctorum gave him reason to reject the pope and separate from the institutional Roman Catholic church. Luther said:

The church is the communio sanctorum. This is nothing else than the community or gathering of the saints and of the godly, believing men on earth which the Holy Spirit gathers, preserves, and rules… I believe that in this community of Christendom all things are common, that the goods of each one belongs to the other, and that no one possesses anything that is his own.[24]

Luther preferred not to use the term church but opted to use congregation, assembly, or Gemeine which means a practical community of people that hold everything in common.[25] Luther’s ecclesiology puts a strong emphasis on the communal spirit of the church.

2. Calvin and communio sanctorum
Calvin also emphasized the church as community but also spoke about the necessity of church as an institution. He said, “The church is our mother, insomuch as God has committed to her the kind office of bringing us up in the faith until we attain full age.”[26] Calvin defined church as the universal church and the communion of the saints according to the Apostles’ Creed.[27] On the fellowship of saints, Calvin stated that the communio sanctorum is appropriately expressing the nature of the church.[28] Discussing the communal aspect of the church he states:

Still a community is asserted, such as Luke describes when he says, “The multitudes of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul”(Ac 4:32); and Paul when he reminds the Ephesians, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling”(Eph 4:4). For if they are truly persuaded that God is the common Father of them all, and Christ common head, they cannot but be united together in brotherly love, and mutually impart their blessings to each other.[29]

Likewise the Reformers reemphasized that the church is essentially a community through the communio sanctorum, but the contemporary Church is generally weak in the communal spirit of the church. The concept of communio sanctorum as an essential quality of the church is headed in the right direction but a lot of problems were revealed in practice within the community.

3. The Anabaptists and communio sanctorum
The Anabaptists as the third major group coming out of the Reformation thoroughly practiced communio sanctorum through community life in church history. The central concern of the Anabaptists is an attempt to reinstitute the ‘true church,’ patterned after the lifestyle of the early church.[30] The Anabaptists’ community life is an expression of a brotherhood. The Anabaptist vision can never be lived individually, but must be lived within the context of a group. Robert Friedmann, an Anabaptist scholar, sees this as being most important.

Now then, the central idea of Anabaptism, the real dynamite in the age of Reformation, as I see it, was this, that one cannot find salvation without earning for his brother, that this ‘brother’ actually matters in the personal life… This interdependence of men gives life and salvation a new meaning. It is not ‘faith alone,’ which matters… but it is brotherhood, this intimate caring for each other, as it was commanded to the disciples of Christ as the way to God’s kingdom.[31]

Thus, the Anabaptists saw the essence of the church to be found within a community of believers. Zschäbitz sees the important fact of Anabaptism in its ‘coming together in communities’ outside of the established church.[32] Therefore the basic lifestyle of the Anabaptists is community life. Whereas the Hutterite strictly practiced the community of goods, the Amish and the Mennonites lived a voluntary communal life. The Anabaptists does not deal with the communio sanctorum in a conceptual dimension, but practically practiced the community of brotherly love and tried to establish the essential quality of the church as the communio sanctorum.
One of the problems of the contemporary church is that the community of love is just confined to a conceptual status. The community should be a practical family. Many Christians do not want the church to be just a religious society but need a real family of brotherly love. So they pursue the community as a loving family by sharing their possessions. This kind of enterprise is called as ‘Christian intentional community.’ The New Commandment that Jesus gave us is ‘loving one another’ (Jn 13:34). Loving one another can be realized through the practical community life.
Protestant church has lost the authentic communal spirit of brotherly love for many centuries and the contemporary church became ‘an individualistic Christianity.’ Moreover the church of Korea had been divided into so many denominations and the essence of the gospel as a body of Christ has severely been damaged. ‘The community of real love’ is core element to recover the whole gospel. The recovery of communal spirit of the church is a significant task to move forward to the essence of the church and the whole gospel.

Jesus told us that he had come to preach the gospel to the poor (Lk 4:17-19). The gospel and justice, and justice and poverty have a deep relationship with one another. Jesus was strongly concerned for justice. “Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith” (Mt 23:23).
Justice appears 1,060 times in the Bible. Most versions of the Bible translates tsedaqah as ‘righteous,’ and the King James Version translates mishpat as ‘judgement,’ so people do not see the Bible’s insistence on justice. Tsedaqah means delivering, community-restoring justice, and mishpat means judgment according to right or rights, and thus judgment that vindicates the right especially of the poor or powerless.[33]
Justice is one of the key characteristic of God’s kingdom. Justice has four dimensions: (1) deliverance of the poor and the powerless from the injustice that they regularly experience; (2) lifting the foot of domineering power off the neck of the dominated and the oppressed; (3) stopping the violence and establishing peace; and (4) restoring the outcasts, the excluded, the Gentiles, the exiles and the refugees to community.[34]
When Jesus received the fullness of the Holy Spirit, he declared, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor” (Lk 4:18). It means that the poor is a primary focus of his ministry. The poor in Greek is not the poor spiritually but the poor socio-economically (ptokos). Jesus’ vision statement is a declaration of the whole gospel. The gospel that Jesus preached was not just a spiritual gospel and also not just a social gospel. The gospel of Jesus is ‘the holistic gospel’ which includes spiritual and physical problems.[35]
In Jesus’ declaration of the holistic gospel, the Evangelical and Liberal are able to get joined together and the charismatic movement and social gospel movement can be matched together. There were no needy persons in the early church, because those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and shared it with the poor (Ac 4:34). Because the New Testament church is essentially the church to be with the poor, the preaching of the gospel and social justice together can be the elements of the whole gospel.
The Scripture teaches that injustice and oppression, not laziness, are the most fundamental causes of poverty, and that God acts in history to liberate the poor and the victims of injustice. Jesus especially singled out the religious leader and economic oppression of the poor (Mt 23:1-36; Mk 12:38-40; Lk 20:45-47). God’s people bear special responsibility for the poor. Jesus intervened to bring justice and righteousness to the poor. Jesus said, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Mt 25:40). And the church today, if truly righteous, should be concerned with justice for the poor.[36] The Cape Town Commitment proclaimed on the justice of the poor as follows:

All God’s people are commanded to reflect the love and justice of God in practical love and justice for the needy. Such love for the poor demands that we not only love mercy and deeds of compassion, but also that we do justice through exposing and opposing all that oppresses and exploits the poor. ‘We must not be afraid to denounce evil and injustice wherever they exist’… We give ourselves afresh to the promotion of justice, including solidarity and advocacy on behalf of the marginalized and oppressed.[37]

It is true that sharing life with the poor as practiced in the conservative Reformed and Evangelicals is relatively weaker than Liberals. This phenomenon is also similar in the church of Korea. If the conservative Reformed and Evangelical church which represent the value of the individualistic middle class are concerned about the poor and identify with them, it will be an obvious mark for the royalty of the kingdom of God and the stating point of fundamental reform. When the church becomes more of a church for the poor through voluntary sharing and serving, justice will practically be established and the kingdom of God will be strongly witnessed. Justice for the poor is the fourth theme of the whole gospel.

Jesus came to preach the gospel of the kingdom of God. The mission is the great commission that he imposed to his disciples (Mt 28:18-20; Mk 16:15), and the last ministry that the church should carry out.
It has often been pointed out that the Reformers were indifferent to mission. But Luther should be regarded as ‘a creative and original missionary thinker.’ He provided the church’s missionary enterprise with clear and important guidelines and principles.[38]
Luther’s metaphor of the gospel is like a stone thrown into the water – it produces ripples of circular waves that move out from the center until they reach the furthest shore. In a similar way the proclaimed word of God moves out to the ends of the earth. Throughout, the emphasis is on mission not being dependent on human efforts.[39]
Calvin was more explicit, particularly since his theology took the believers’ responsibility in the world more seriously than Luther’s. Calvin’s theology holds significant resources regarding mission theology. On the whole there can be little doubt that at least Luther and Calvin propounded an essentially missionary theology. In spite of what the scholars have identified as the fundamentally missionary thrust of the Reformers’ theology, very little happened by way of missionary outreach during the first two centuries following Reformation.[40]
But the Anabaptists were involved in a remarkable program of missionary outreach during the Reformation period. The Anabaptists accepted and then radicalized Luther’s idea of the universal priesthood of believers by jettisoning special and exclusive offices and limiting a person’s ministry to a given area. This enabled them to regard all of Germany as well as the surrounding countries as mission fields, without any consideration for boundaries of parishes and dioceses. Preachers were in fact, selected and systematically sent to many parts of Europe.[41]
The Anabaptists who had been misunderstood in its essence and identity were actively involved in missionary outreach during the Reformation period. The Anabaptists were at the vanguard of missions during the Reformation period. By the middle of the sixteenth century Anabaptist missionaries were preaching in every European state. The Anabaptists were among the first to make the Great Commission mandatory for all believers. The Anabaptists were the first pioneers of Protestant missions.[42]
What are the fundamental types of mission that the Bible teaches? Jesus described two forms of mission. The first is centripetal mission through the New Commandment of loving one another, and the other is centrifugal mission through the Great Commission of preaching the gospel to the ends of the world.

1. Centripetal mission
The word centripetal means moving or tending to move towards the center. Centripetal mission is the way of mission that attracts and wins people through sincere and mature life of the Christians. The idea of centripetal mission is “Come and see.”
One of the controlling features of the Old Testament’s concept of Israel’s mission to the world is centripetal. Christian mission should be primarily centripetal through a Christian’s attractive life. The quality of Christian life is attractive. They become the attractor – not attractors to themselves, but to the God they worship. Christians are the people who attract others to God. God’s people have the task of attracting others to God, to find his blessing and salvation.[43] Jesus mentioned centripetal mission that nonbelievers could believe Jesus by seeing Christians’ community life of love (Jn 13:34-35; 17:21). KÖstenberger and O’Brien (2001: 226) remark:

The church’s mission is not to be carried out as an individualistic enterprise. The mission should rather be undergirded by the corporate life of the community, as believers reflect God’s love and unity (cf. Jn 13:34-35; 15:12; 17:11, 20-26). Where direct proclamation of the word may initially fail to persuade, the more indirect approach of providing an example of loving, unified relationships may provide the needed corroboration for the mission to succeed. Conversion to Christ necessarily involves incorporation into a Christian community.[44]

Mission is a ministry of love. Mission without love is just religious activity. To practice the community of love and to be one in the body of Christ is the pathway to being a witness for Christ’s presence in the world. This is the biblical mandate of centripetal mission. Loving each other is the basis of mission. Lausanne Movement declares that loving each other is the very dynamics of mission:

As those, then, whom God has loved from eternity to eternity and throughout all our turbulent and rebellious history, we are commanded to love one another. For ‘since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another,’ and thereby ‘be imitators of God… and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.’ Love for one another in the family of God is not merely a desirable option but an inescapable command. Such love is the first evidence of obedience to the gospel, the necessary expression of our submission to Christ’s Lordship, and a potent engine of world mission.[45]

2. Centrifugal mission
The word centrifugal means moving or tending to move towards the outer. Centrifugal mission is the way of mission that with deliberate efforts to win people through proclamation and persuasion.[46] The key word of centrifugal mission is “Go and preach” (Mt 28:19-20; Mk 16:15; Rom 10:14-15).
Centrifugal mission includes the proclamation of the gospel. Proclamation is the act of communicating the gospel about Jesus and the gospel of Jesus. Mission includes verbal testimony, standing up to speak the truth about who is truly God and about what God has done through the Lord Jesus Christ, to bring salvation to the nations. Lausanne Covenant primarily emphesizes centrifugal mission by preaching gospel.

To evangelize is to spread the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead according to the Scriptures, and that as the reigning Lord he now offers the forgiveness of sins and the liberating gifts of the Spirit to all who repent and believe… We affirm that Christ sends his redeemed people into the world as the Father sent him, and that this calls for a similar deep and costly penetration of the world…World evangelization requires the whole Church to take the whole gospel to the whole world.[47]

There are the two billion people who may never have heard of Jesus as Savior, and are not within reach of Christians of their own people. There are some 2,000 peoples or ethnicities in which there is not yet a vital, indigenous church movement. Centrifugal mission means to go directly to the unreached peoples and proclaim that Jesus is the Savior.[48]

3. The problem of the contemporary mission
When we mention mission, the most cited Bible verse has been Matthew 28:19-20. The mission of the past has usually been confined to centrifugal mission. There has been a tendency only to send missionaries to the mission field abroad. But the contemporary definition of mission has been changed as this: “The mission field is everywhere, including your own street – wherever there is ignorance or rejection of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”[49] As mission was only confined to sending missionaries to cross cultural boundaries, there was the deficiency in training for missional life. That is, there was not much community of love by loving one another. David Bosch points out the problem of contemporary mission:

We may have been fairly good at orthodoxy, at ‘faith’, but we have been poor in respect of orthopraxis, of love… There has been countless councils on right believing; yet no council has ever been called to work out the implications of the greatest commandment – to love one another… The mission is the good news of God’s love, incarnated in the witness of a community, for the sake of the world.[50]

Seongho Kim pointed out that one of the most serious problems in Korean Mission today is the division and over-competition between denominations and the mission circles. Missionaries, mission agencies, and the churches are divided and perform very individualistic mission. The competition among 252 denominations is still related to mission fields and also caused division and the overlapped investments.[51]
Today the centripetal mission which preaches the gospel through a community of brotherly love as a body of Christ is urgently needed. A. T. Pierson mentioned that the mission of the united and associated Christians is the practical solution to the problem of mission.[52]
Therefore a balanced approach to mission is not just preaching the gospel cross-culturally but practicing centripetal mission according to the New Commandment of loving one another. The most desirable and balanced approach to mission is a combination of the centripetal mission practice of the New Commandment and the centrifugal mission practice of the Great Commission.[53]
It is a special blessing that the church of Korea has become a missional country for world evangelization. The church of Korea should actively participate to the overseas missions. But to perform more desirable mission, the church of Korea should overcome the phenomenon of severe division among denominations and mission agencies, and practice with balanced both centripetal mission and centrifugal mission.

When we examine the church of Korea in view of the whole gospel, it has a sound basis in the authority of the Word of God but it is weak in the practice of the Word of God. In the matter of pneumantology, the work of the Holy Spirit is biased toward regenerational and sanctifying inner work of the Holy Spirit while ignoring the power of the Spirit. As regards to community, the church is not a practical community and is in a status of conceptual community. The ministry of pursuing social justice is also very weak. In the matter of missions, overseas mission as centrifugal mission is overemphasized, but the centripetal mission as a community of love is still meager. Therefore, the church of Korea in general is severely unbalanced in view of the whole gospel.
In the church of Korea one denomination emphasizes the Word of God, another the power of the Holy Spirit, the next emphasizes community of love, a different one attaches importance to social justice, and others focus on world evangelization criticize and condemn the others. All these happen because they are sticking to just a part of the whole gospel. This is ‘the disaster of a fragmented gospel.’
A reformation is a movement to return to the fundamentals of the whole gospel. The whole gospel includes the Word of God, the power of the Holy Spirit, the community of love, and justice, and missions. All these elements of the whole gospel should be integrated into and practiced in balance in the church of Korea. In addition the church should totally be born again enough to reform the church and society. When the church of Korea sets aside individualism, narrow-mindedness, and division and starts to live out the whole gospel in balance, there will be a future of the church of Korea and the kingdom of God will be more soundly expanded on earth.

[1] Christopher Wright, “According to the Scriptures: The Whole Gospel in Biblical Revelation”, Evangelical Review of Theology Vol. 33-1(2009): 4.
[2]Lausanne Movement, The Cape Town Commitment. https://www.lausanne.org/content/ctc/ctcommitment#p1-8
[3]J. Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu, “Signs, Wonders, and Ministry: the Gospel in the Power of the Spirit”, Evangelical Review of Theology Vol. 33-1(2009): 32-46.
[4]Christopher Wright, The Mission of God’s People (Grand Rapid, MI: Zondervan, 2010), 191-92.
[5]Wright, The Mission of God’s People, 194-95.
[6]Wright, The Mission of God’s People, 197-98.
[7]Wright, “According to the Scriptures”, 18.
[9]Paul Althaus, The Theology of Martin Luther. trans. by Robert Schultz (Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press, 1966), 75.
[10] John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, trans. by Henry Beveridge (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1989), 68-69.
[11]Ellen Flesseman-van Leer, The Bible: Its Authority and Interpretation in the Ecumenical Movement (Geneva: World Council of Churches, 1980), 56.
[12]Vinson Synan, The Holiness-Pentecostal Tradition: Charismatic Movements in the Twentieth Century (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1997), 286.
[14]R. A. Torrey III, “A Study on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit”, in The Holy Spirit (Seoul, Youngsan Publishing House, 1981), 80-82.
[15]The instances of the fullness of the Holy Spirit recorded as πλἠθηs / πλἠθω /πίμπλημι: Ac 2:4; 4:8; 9:17; 13:9.
[16]The instances of the fullness of the Holy Spirit recorded as πλἠρηs /πληρόω: Ac 6:3; 6:8; 7:55; 11:24; 13:52; Eph 5:18.
[17]Andreas J. Kőstenberger, “What does it mean to be filled with the Spirit?: A Biblical Investigation”, JETS 40/2 (June 1997), 229–240.
[18]The Evangelical scholars such as John Stott, John Walvoord, and Donald Bridge insist that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the first indwelling of the Holy Spirit at the moment of regeneration. See John Stott, The Baptism and Fullness of the Holy Spirit (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 1964), 2; John Walvood, The Holy Spirit (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1954), 139-140; Donald Bridge and David Phyper, Spiritual Gifts and the Church (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 1973), 115.
As an evangelical Lloyd-Jones opposes the theory of John Stott on the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Martyn Lloyd Jones defines the baptism of the Holy Spirit as the baptism of power of the Holy Spirit for the special service. See Lloyd-Jones (1996:135). Long and Mcmurry as the Evangelicals, also support Lloyd-Jones’ pneumatology. See Zeb Bradford Long and Douglas Mcmurry, Receiving the power: Preparing the Way for the Holy Spirit (Grand Rapids, MI: Chosen Book, 1996), 79-106.
[19]Pentecostal scholars such as Rodman Williams, Don Basham, and Thomas Smail insist that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the first impartation of the supernatural power and gifts for the service of God’s work after regeneration. See Williams (1996:181-208); Don Basham, A Handbook on the Holy Spirit Baptism (Springdale, PA: Whitaker House,1969), 4 ; Thomas Smail, Reflected glory: the Holy Spirit in Christ and Christians (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1976), 143.
[20] Torrey III, “A study on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit”, 84.
[21]D. M. Lloyd-Jones, God the Holy Spirit (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1997), 370.
[22]Lewis Berkof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1983), 562-564.
[23]Althaus, The Theology of Martin Luther, 294.
[24]Althaus, The Theology of Martin Luther, 304.
[25]Althaus, The Theology of Martin Luther, 295, 296-7.
[26]Calvin, Institute of the Christian Religion, 279.
[27]Calvin, Institute of the Christian Religion, 281-82.
1[28]Calvin, Institute of the Christian Religion, 282.
[29]Calvin, Institute of the Christian Religion, 282-83.
[30]Franklin Littell, The Origins of Sectarian Protestantism: A Study of the Anabaptist View of the Church (New York: Macmillan Company, 1964), 151-152.
[31]Robert Friedmann, “On Mennonite Historiography and on Individualism and Brotherhood”, Mennonite Quarterly, Vol. 18 (1944), 121.
[32]Gerhard Zschäbitz, Zur Mitteldeutschen Wiedertäufer Bewegung nach dem Grossen Bauernkrieg. (Berlin: Rutten und Loening,1958), 76.
[33]Glen H. Satssen and David P. Gushee, Kingdom Ethics: Following Jesus in Contemporary Context (Downers Groves, IL: IVP, 2003), 345.
[34]Satssen and Gushee, Kingdom Ethics, 349.
[35]. Hyun-Jin Kim, A Theology of Community (Seoul: Jeyoung Publishing House, 1989), 325.
[36]Howard A. Snyder, Liberating the Church: The Ecology of Church and Kingdom (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 1983), 235-37.
1[38] David J. Bosch, Transforming Mission (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1991), 244.
[39]Bosch, Transforming Mission, 244-45.
[40]Bosch, Transforming Mission, 245-47.
[41]Wolfgang Schäufele, Das missionarische Bewusstsein und Wirken der Täufer (Neukirchen-Vluyn:Verlag des Erziehungsvereins, 1966), 74, 141-182.
[42]Hyun-Jin Kim, “A Study on the Missions of the Anabaptists of the Sixteenth Century”, The Korean Society of Mission Studies, 37(2014): 134.
[43]Wright, The Misison of God’s People, 128-129, 149.
[44]Anderas KÖstenberger and Peter O’Brien, Salvation to the Ends of the Earth: A Biblical Theology of Mission (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2001), 226.
[45] The Cape Town Commitment. https://www.lausanne.org/content/ctc/ctcommitment#p1-9
[46]Arthur Glasser & Donald McGavran, Contemporary Theology of Mission (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1978), 64.
[47] https://www.lausanne.org/content/covenant/lausanne-covenant.
[49]Wright, The Mission of God’s People, 27.
[50]Bosch, Transforming Mission, 519.
[51]Seongho Kim, “The Reform of Korean Mission and the Proposal”, The Korean Society of Mission Studies, the 9th Conference. 2017. 29.
[52] Dana L. Robert, Occupy Until I Come: A. T. Pierson and the Evangelization of the World (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2003), 71.
[53]Hyun-Jin Kim, A Theology of Community, 418-19.

Dr. Hyun-Jin Kim is the Professor of Missiology, Pierson Graduate School of Theology at Pyongyaek University, South Korea. He is also the Director of Koinonia Community in Tae-an.
He received Ph. D. from North West University.

Creative Access Mission – Indigenous Training in Chinese Church

According to Operation World edited by Patrick Johnstone and Jason Mandryk, Asia is still the most populous and the least-evangelized area of the world (2001:39-41). Among the East Asian countries, more than 80 percent of the population resides in creative-access regions (Prescott 2001:3-4). “Creative-access regions” are countries where there is a political barrier to missionary entry and missionary service. These governments seek to prevent or restrict efforts at evangelization from foreign support; in particular, they deny entry to those identified as missionaries. However, although creative-access regions may be closed to traditional forms of mission, they are rarely closed to all foreigners. Many Christian professionals have found ways to access these regions creatively as professionals in secular fields, such as English teachers or medical doctors. Though direct proclamation of the gospel in this context may not be possible, the way these Christian professionals live in a non-Christian world has a significant impact on non-Christians’ perception about the gospel of the kingdom. It is not by word or act alone but also by their presence; sometimes their presence is itself a threat to the government. Perhaps in these situations overt witness is severely limited and a witness by life becomes the primary means.
Christian professionals are on the missionary frontier in the twenty-first century creative-access mission. They have the primary responsibility to share the good news of the kingdom to the needy. Consequently, a widespread need for better formation of Christian professionals in the faith becomes increasingly clear in today’s churches. However, the complexity of today’s life in this world has made it difficult to design and establish an equipping ministry that is effective and manageable. This rapidly developing mission trend needs to be presented as both challenge and invitation to all Christian professionals as they begin to be equipped for mission.
In the Asian context, the spontaneous expansion of the Chinese church forces us to rethink the strategy of training next generation leaders. In the past, Chinese Church receives much help from the western missionaries. Today, many local pastors, with limited theological training, have taken major role in leading churches in Mainland China. These leaders also catch a vision to share the gospel cross-culturally within China and beyond. However, some church leaders argue that Chinese Christians do not need cross-cultural training in order to be missionaries in their home country. The church continues to send more and more workers to serve cross-culturally from Han to minority, but without sufficient training and preparation. The need for equipping these cross-cultural missionaries are urgent.
In the past, mission responsibility in the church has been limited to a small number of specially trained and specially “called” professional missionaries and/or ministers. The underlying mentality has rendered God’s people passive. For the rest of this paper, we attempt to unfold the difficulties in releasing the underdeveloped resource of laity in the Western church. The rapidly expansion of the Chinese church forces us to rethink the strategies for indigenous leadership training in a more relevant context. Instead of only sending the elite, the whole people of God should be actively involved with cross-cultural mission. Developing a conceptual framework for a more inclusive curricular design that is theologically rigorous and contextually appropriate for these cross-cultural workers who have a heart for the Great Commission is urgently needed in response to the rapidly developing creative-access mission in this century.

Four difficulties in releasing the underdeveloped resource of Christian professionals have been identified in the Western church by Po (2004:59-60):

    1. Passivity of the laity. One of the regrettable characteristics of the church today is the passivity of the laity. Many Christians just let others take up responsibilities while they themselves remain passive and disinterested in church business. The pastors are hired to get certain jobs done in the church. Apparently this problem is widely recognized by pastors and acknowledged by the laity. There are many reasons for the passivity of the laity: hierarchical organization in church offices, domination by intellectual meritocracy, and common misunderstanding of Christian vocation in the church.
    2. Hierarchical organization. There has been a mounting criticism that the church has adopted hierarchical structures, similar to many secular organizations. Thus, there are some people who are perceived to be more important than others. This criticism is particularly true in the Chinese culture, where relationships such as teacher-student and employer-employee are hierarchical. The church will not get far in equipping the whole people of God for mission in such a hierarchical organization.
    3. Domination by intellectual meritocracy. The criticism that church leadership is dominated by intellectual meritocracy is more widely heard among laypersons than among the clergy. In many churches, status is earned by knowing. Ted W. Ward has rightly criticized the situation in most mainline denominational churches: “Once a magic bag of merit is in one’s possession, it can be traded for honor and prestige (plus a salary) at the friendly local church, and thus one maintains oneself – career and salary – more in terms of what one knows than what one is” (1996:29).

Misunderstanding of Christian vocation. Both the clergy and the laity tend to limit their understanding of Christian vocation as a call to the priesthood or religious life. In other words, pastors are called to full-time service in churches, and missionaries are called to serve cross-culturally. Ministry outside the church is rarely recognized and seldom rewarded. Ordinary Christians do not know or at least they are not taught that their daily work ought to be undertaken as a divine service to the glory of God. Consequently, the impact by the laity to witness for Christ at work is diminished.

In response to the trends of rapidly developing Chinese church, we need to rethink the strategies of training leaders in the new century. Unlike the leadership training in the West which is dominated by intellectual meritocracy, many church leaders in the Chinese church are from grass root. They have minimum education and limited theological training but they take up important role in leading the church. Many lay pastors work in the secular world and serve in the church. The theological understanding of Christian vocation and the meaning of “calling” need to be addressed in a cultural appropriate way. The rapid development of house church movement further flattens the hierarchical structure of the church. There is a great potential of releasing the underdeveloped resource of laity in the Chinese church. In the next section, we attempt to address several issues related to equipping lay leaders in the context of Chinese Church.

As Chinese Church plays an increasing role in cross-cultural mission, it is urgent to give attention to prepare the workers. A holistic equipping approach for kingdom workers requires an ongoing process of decision-making to keep the process theologically sound and contextually appropriate.
The purpose of indigenous cross-cultural training is the first question to be answered. The answer to the question of “why?” then becomes the principal guiding value along the way. The purpose of training cross-cultural missionaries in Chinese Church is to equip them for serving in creative-access regions. One of the main goals of leadership development is to multiply emergent spiritual leaders. As emphasized by the Apostle Paul in his second letter to Timothy, he committed to Timothy the task of entrusting what he had learned to faithful men who would teach others also (2 Ti. 2:2). Paul repeatedly demonstrated the importance of this expectation of leaders in his own ministry. Thus, the equipping of cross-cultural missionaries should focus not only on expanding God’s kingdom, but also on the lifelong development of individuals.
However, education is geared to the political and economic ends in Chinese culture. Individual needs are not regarded as an area of high priority. As pointed out by Daniel D. Pratt, for the Chinese, human rights are derived from the society; there can be no such thing as individuals claiming rights against the society (1991:294). Rights are presented as privileges that can be granted or withheld by the state, depending upon the political or economic conditions. In addition, the emphasis within China on superior-inferior relations, obedience and order, and the maintenance of stability at the expense of individual rights indicates a good deal of external control and sanction which affect people’s identity (1991:295). This is obviously different from the Western culture in the sense that education is the expression and cultivation of individuality. As a result, the Chinese education system is more rigid than the Western ones. The difference in the Chinese culture and the Western culture helps us to reexamine the aims of equipping next generation cross-cultural missionaries in Chinese Church.
Two types of people need to be identified in any training system, the trainees as well as the trainers. When applied to training cross-cultural missionaries, the learner selection functions as a confirmation of one’s calling. It is important for the leaders of the church to broaden their theological understanding of missionary calling, not only limited to a special group of professional missionaries doing church planting and direct evangelism, but also recognizing tent-makers teaching Chinese in the third world as bi-vocational missionaries of special calling and special training. These tent-makers have been welcomed by the government in creative-access regions as medical doctors, engineers, social workers, teachers, and others. They can make use of their natural abilities, acquired skills, and spiritual gifts to serve the local people in creative-access regions and can bring new opportunities for service to the kingdom. The role of Christian professionals in the marketplace will be strengthened if they reckon all gifts and talents to be blessings from God.
The rapidly growing Chinese church has forced the leaders to rethink the strategy for training lay pastors to serve cross-culturally. These lay pastors are called to follow Jesus and they may not have rigorous theological and/or cross-cultural training. Due to limited resource in the church, many lay pastors have to work in the business world (tentmaking) in order to reduce the financial burden of the church. Many of these lay pastors are called to serve cross-culturally, ministering from one province to another, from Han to minority people group.
Ideally the trainers also serve as mentors to their trainees. The trainers should have cross-cultural missionary experience so that they can empathize with their trainees and identify with the challenges and hardships their trainees will face. They should be healthy spiritual examples in faith, prayer, commitment to Christ and passion for cross-cultural mission. They will be seen as models by those they train. The trainees will tend to repeat their trainers’ views, reflect the trainers’ lifestyles, including spiritual, family and ministry.
The content of any Christian leadership training program is the whole gospel and the obedience it requires. The focus should be on the long-term effectiveness of the person who is serving rather than just a short-term engagement (Elliston 1999:247). In the creative-access context, three major areas of preparation are identified to equip cross-cultural missionaries in the Chinese Church.
(1) Work theology and job skills
For equipping cross-cultural workers, an often neglected area in the Chinese Church is the practice of the “cultural mandate.” The “cultural mandate” often refers to “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it,” recorded in Genesis 1:28. Many leaders of the Chinese Church assume that equipping their members is mainly a “spiritual” ministry. They have invested most of the resources in training Bible study and personal evangelism leaders; for example, though these areas should not be neglected. Facing the tremendous changes in the twenty-first century “creative-access” mission, the Chinese Church needs to reevaluate the feasibility and suitability of the current leadership training program. In particular, the training program must include a wide range of content, such as spiritual formation, development of relational skills, Christian vocation, theology of work, theology of presence, ethics in the workplace, lay leadership training, and spiritual gifts in order to address issues that have long been overlooked.
(2) Spiritual life and Christ-like character
If the missionary candidates have no healthy relationship with Jesus, it is difficult for them to convince others to put their faith in Jesus. If the missionary candidates do not learn and practice the total dependence on God and the power of the Holy Spirit while they are in the pre-field training whether in church or in the market place, it is difficult to project how they can cope with the challenges after being sent to the mission field.
The pre-field training should emphasize Christ-like character development of the missionary candidates. The spiritual qualities of an elder or deacon, recorded in the Pastoral Epistles, focus not on academic credentials or ministry skills (except the ability to teach), but on Christ-like character development. Paul had proved his courage to preach the gospel cross-culturally and Barnabas was well known as a good man who was able to encourage others. They were both regarded as trustworthy.
In the Mission history to China, some western missionaries tended to feel a sense of superiority. After two hundred years, the Chinese church is mature and is ready to send out missionaries to different parts of the world, but they tend to repeat the same mistakes that their western colleagues did. Han Chinese also tends to feel a sense of superiority towards the minority. They may not want to invest time to study the minority language with the misconception that Mandarin Chinese language is sufficient. Duane Elmer asked local Christians around the world what missionaries could do to more effectively minister the gospel in various cultures and the answer is that “they did not think they were so superior to us” (2006:15). Thus the character development of humility and self-awareness is vital in the pre-field training. David Harley summaries the main issues as:

“Many missionaries today, wherever they come from, show a desire to be in control, to want to introduce new programs, to tell the local people what they need and what they ought to do, to impose on them new ways of doing things, new patterns of worship, new styles of church leadership. This is just another form of imperialism, which militates against the growth of a healthy, mature, national church” (2009:74).

(3) Biblical, theological, and cross-cultural training
Church growth in contemporary China moves from rural to urban. In the past, local pastors from villages have minimum Bible training but they played a key role in leading the rural churches. Moving from rural to urban poses a big challenge to today’s Chinese churches. What types of training and/or education are needed in order for these pastors to be effectively ministered their own people – indigenous leadership development?
In my past fourteen years of cross-cultural training experience in China, one of the main challenges is that the trainees lack the ability to reflect missiologically. That is, the ability to reflect and learn from the past, either succeed or failure. If the next generation Chinese missionaries can learn from their predecessors, they will be able to repeat their success and avoid their mistakes.
Many missionary candidates do not know enough about the part of the world in which they are called to serve. For example, those who are called to serve the Muslim need to dedicate more time for Muslim ministry before heading to the mission field, love and care the Muslim neighbor, read books about Muslim by both Western and non-Western authors. The trainees need to develop their own theology of mission.
The delivery system provides the mechanism for conveying missiological education to the learners. To have an optimally effective delivery system, one needs to balance contextually three basic training modes[1] and to give attention to the educational media and technologies to be used. The delivery system also serves as a significant formational influence on the learner. Elliston suggests some variables of the delivery system that need to be tailored to the local context: (1) the balance between self-directed learning and teacher-directed learning, (2) the balance between extraction from the ministry setting and extension of the learning to it, and (3) the focus on the dominant learning styles of the students (1996:248).
The teacher-directed learning fits more for the traditional Chinese learning style especially the learners are from the grass root. Non-formal or informal training may be more appropriate. Moving from rural to urban, from grass root to intellectuals, if the learners participate in the design of the learning, they will learn to design. Upon receiving the calling from the Lord, these Christians become highly motivated and highly independent to learn, they should be able to learn by themselves with minimum supervision. Thus, incorporating some kind of self-directed studies into a formal training setting seems feasible to meet the needs of these Christians for their lifelong development. In addition, since the high-technology media is accessible to these Christians, they can complete the studies in the mission field without being extracted from the ministry. Finally, Christians need to break with their old passive learning styles and adapt themselves by seeking a more self-directed approach to equipping in response to their calling to serve in creative-access regions. It is a paradigm shift of training culture in the Chinese Church.
To optimize effectiveness, timing is an important issue to consider when designing training programs for Chinese cross-cultural workers. Flexibility in timing within the training programs reflects a contemporary value that affects virtually every dimension of modern life. In other words, how can the timing be adjusted to best accomplish the purpose, given the constraints of these other variables? (Elliston and Kauffman 1993:159-160)
The non-formal and the informal modes of training are typically more flexible and shorter in terms of individual learning segments. They often fit better with in-service training. This is perhaps the trend of training cross-cultural workers in the Chinese church. Many Chinese Church leaders even argue that there is no need for formal theological/missiologically training for their co-workers. However, Elliston rightly reminds us that the Apostle Paul’s formal education was put to a very good use for the strengthening of the church (1999:250). One should not, therefore, totally decry formal education. Sherwood Lingenfelter also suggests a way to return the university to the service of the Church and the kingdom by refocusing on mission (1999:123). In the Chinese Church tradition, many local pastors do not receive formal theological training, and thus they are considered to be the second class to a group of professional missionaries with special calling and special training. With flexible design in the training programs, these pastors can pursue formal training without interrupting their service in the mission field and the church.
Universities and seminaries should be able to make some significant timing adjustments, such as offering evening or weekend classes, one-week intensive courses, or self-directed learning programs, to allow students to complete a formal degree. Some degree programs even relax the residency requirement so that students can get the degree without coming to the campus. The training program, a combination of course work and fieldwork, structures the offering in such a way that students can complete the degree according to the individual’s time span.
The venue for equipping cross-cultural workers is the mission field, the community and the workplace. The general principle is that the venue where equipping is done should be as similar as possible to the projected ministry environment and the local people to be served (Elliston and Kauffman 1993:161-162). Flexibility and creativity with the venue may be fostered in many ways, including offering intensive courses, extension courses, and self-directed studies through the use of advanced telecommunications technologies. Many on-the-job training and/or internship are offered to equip these cross-cultural workers. The pressing need is the availability of the mentors with cross-cultural competency

Looking toward for the trend of leadership development in Asia in the twenty-first century, the laity becomes the mission frontier. The equipping of Christian professionals from the West requires a paradigm shift in order to release the full potential of the laity in the church. In the context of Chinese house church movement, the tremendous church growth requires rapid multiplication of leaders and mutual equipping. However, this shift from authoritarian to shared participation may be threatening to the existing leadership hierarchy in the Chinese culture. It challenges the leaders’ spiritual authority. Though the mission tasks are many, the following recommendations center on the people to be developed.
Develop An Integrated and Lifelong Learning Perspective
Acknowledging the difference between Chinese and Western culture, the leaders of the Chinese Church must place greater emphasis on the lifelong development of cross-cultural workers according to an individual’s potential. Not only does this help with sharpening individual’s ministry skills, but also enable individual to do more missiological reflection in order to reduce the failure rate in the mission field.
Implement Self-Directed Formal Training
Self-directed formal training is desirable for lifelong development of cross-cultural workers. They can receive a formal training in intercultural studies in a self-directed learning mode in a few years while serving in the mission field. This approach to learning combines the advantages of the other two training modes—informal and non-formal; namely, practicality and flexibility. It helps to raise the competency of the cross-cultural workers.
Exercise Mutual Equipping and Empowerment in a Cultural Appropriate Way
Empowering others requires working beside them without holding them back. The Biblical leadership figure is Barnabas. When Barnabas and Paul went to Cyprus, the people observed that Barnabas was in charge (cf. Ac. 13:1–13). After leaving, Barnabas continued his growth-encouraging role by following Paul. Barnabas empowered Paul and was not afraid to see Paul lead. No longer were they referred to as “Barnabas and Saul,” but now as “Paul and Barnabas” (Ac. 15:36). More spiritual mentors like Barnabas are needed in today’s Chinese Church.
<strong>Undertake Research and Development in Creative-Access Mission
The Chinese church needs to invest more resources towards research and development in creative-access mission so that it will not establish a long term dependency from the West. The commitment is high, as much as the commitment to take up the cross and follow Jesus Christ.

Reference cited:
Elliston, Edgar J.
1996. “Moving Forward from Where We Are in Missiological Education.” In Missiological Education for the 21st Century. J. Dudley Woodberry, Charles Van Engen, and Edgar J. Elliston, ed. Pp. 232-256. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books.
1999. “Moving Forward In Missiological Education.” In Teaching Them Obedience In All Things: Equipping for the 21st Century, Evangelical Missiological Society Series. Number 7. Edgar J. Elliston, ed. Pp.240-278.
Elliston, Edgar J., and J. Timothy Kauffman
1993. Developing Leaders for Urban Ministries. New York: Peter Lang.
Elmer, Duane
2006. Cross-cultural Servanthood. Downers, IL: IVP.
Harley, David
2009. Training Asian Missionaries. In “A Legacy Continues – In Appreciation of James Hudson Taylor III 1929 – 2009, Hong Kong, China Alliance Press.
Johnstone, Patrick, and Jason Mandryk
2001. Operation World: When We Pray God Works. 6th edition. Bethany House.
Lingenfelter, Sherwood
1999. “University and Church: Prisoners of Culture or Partners for the Great Commission?” In Teaching Them Obedience In All Things: Equipping for the 21st Century, Evangelical Missiological Society Series. Number 7. Edgar J. Elliston, ed. Pp. 111-143.
Po, Ming Suen
2004. “God’s Creative Mission for Lay Professionals.” Missiology: An International Review. Vol. XXXII. No. 1. Pp.57-69.
Pratt, Daniel D.
1991. “Conceptions of Self Within China and the United States: Contrasting Foundations for Adult Education.” International Journal of Intercultural Relations 15:285-310.
Prescott, Ian Charles Herbert
2001. “Creative Access Mission in East Asia.” D. Miss. dissertation. Pasadena, CA: School of World Mission, Fuller Theology of Seminary.
Ward, Ted W.
1996. “Servants, Leaders, and Tyrants.” In With an Eye on the Future. Duane H. Elmer and Lois Mc Kinnney, eds. Pp. 27-42. Monrovia, CA: MARC.

* This paper was presented at the Group Session of the AMA Convention in Manila, 2016.

[1] Available online at http://conversation.lausanne.org/en/home/diaspora (accessed July 6, 2015).

Dr. Hau-Ming Lewis Chau received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from University of California at Los Angeles (1989) and Ph.D. in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary (2002). He has been serving in China since 2002. He is actively partnering with a network of local churches for leadership development. His vision is to see the local church in China actively involve with cross-cultural mission.

Five Keys to Personal Support Raising

“I want to serve God and be obedient to His leading in my life, but I don’t want to RAISE SUPPORT.”

IF YOU’VE SAID OR THOUGHT THESE WORDS, YOU’RE NOT ALONE. In Fact, most People living a donor-supported lifestyle will admit that, at one time or another, they’ve probably had feelings much like this. Growing up the son of a businessman, I was taught to work hard to achieve financial security on my own merits. But after coming to Christ, I felt a strong calling to full-time ministry that would require me to raise my personal support. I then faced the question, “Will I be obedient to the call I feel toward ministry, or will I turn my back on it because of what I perceive is an insurmountable obstacle of raising support?”
As you can guess, I said “yes” to the Lord, and “no” to my fears and father’s expectations. After taking stock of my belongings, I realized I only had enough money to support my pregnant wife, three kids, and myself for six weeks. I was overwhelmed by the reality. But if you feel strongly enough about anything and are prepared to trust God completely, you will find a way to accomplish it. Thus was born an overwhelming urgency to build our support team.
But first, I had to overcome my mindset that asking for support was simply disguised begging that resulted only in underfunded Christian workers who, to me, seemed like impoverished nomads. After seeking out what Scripture said, I realized support raising was an honorable thing — a biblical calling to invite and involve others in the expansion of the kingdom of God.

Many of the doubts and fears I had associated with support raising were relieved when I stopped thinking of it as the “Steve Ask” and started thinking of it as the “God Ask,” a perspective originally shared with me by Tom Stickney, a missionary in Kenya. He helped me to realize that in support raising, our job is only to be faithful to the Ask. The responsibility of procuring the funds lies with God.
In every Ask, there are three persons present: you, your potential supporter, and God. Instead of thinking of the Ask horizontally — you to supporter — think vertically. Our calling and all resources belong to God. Your job as a support raiser is to ask God for provision and trust that where God guides, He’ll provide. After talking to God, invite potential donors to seek His guidance on where to invest. There’s no reason to feel rejected if the person does not give, because the process is never about you asking for money. It is about God’s sovereign will and allocation of funds to support His ministry plans. The Lord is fully capable of providing what you need, when you need it.
You might be praying about the best way to fund your ministry. Should you be a “tentmaker” and work a job while ministering? Or should you raise personal support? Both are biblical, but if you’re going to raise support, you’ll probably have some doubts, fears, and questions. Despite the stresses and pressures involved in maintaining a personal support team, I would not want to live any other way!
The bonds I’ve formed over the years with our supporters are priceless. The stories of God building my faith during difficult times could fill a book. And, most of all, when I report to that ministry assignment fully funded, there’s a sense of destiny and authority there. The following are fi ve essential keys to begin building your support team. With a little prayer and education, you’ll be prepared to answer your calling, no matter what that process looks like.

STUDY THE SCRIPTURES AND LEARN EXACTLY WHAT GOD THINKS ABOUT ASKING OTHERS to give to you and your ministry. Some Christian workers choose to just pray and trust God to bring in their funds. But it is just as biblical and requires as much or more faith to personally invite others to invest. Either way, we have to understand that God is the source of our funds — not the donors, nor our plans, or our hard work. In the book, The God Ask, I unpack many verses regarding asking for support, but here are five examples and teachings from the Old and New Testaments about the validity of God’s ministers being supported by others:

  • The example of the Levites (Numbers 18:24) The Jews gave their tithe to the priests for support.
  • The example of Jesus (Luke 8:2-3) Many people supported Jesus and the disciples.
  • The teaching of Jesus (Matthew 10:9-10) A kingdom worker is worthy of his support.
  • The example of Paul (Acts 18:4-5) He stopped tentmaking to preach full-time on support.
  • The teaching of Paul (1 Corinthians 9:1-18) He had the right to be supported by the churches.

When you have a full understanding of God’s provision for Christian workers, it’s much easier to rely on Him for support. Remember, we are simply stewards of His resources. As you move forward in raising support, simply ask each potential supporter to seek the Lord’s guidance in whether they should invest those resources in your ministry. Once you have a biblical perspective on the topic of asking for and living on the support of others, you need to evaluate one more thing — your own giving! Before you can ask anyone else to give, you have to be committed to sacrificially investing in kingdom work on a regular basis. Let’s practice what we preach.

REMEMBER THE 12 HEBREW SPIES WHO WENT INTO THE PROMISED LAND TO TAKE A look before the whole nation was to enter and claim what God had given them? Only Joshua and Caleb came back ready to invade. The other 10 spies were so terrified of the giants they saw in the land that they confessed, “We became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight” (Exodus 13:33). Instead of trusting God and moving out with courage, they let fear paralyze them. How they viewed themselves affected how the giants viewed them. It’s the same way in support raising. The confidence level that we have in our God, our vision, and ourselves can make us or break us. All of us have different giants in our own minds that will keep us from beginning and persevering in the process of assembling our full support team. Some common giants to conquer include:

  • You or your family might think support raising is really just begging.
  • You might not believe you’re a worthy investment.
  • You might view support raising as a necessary evil that must be endured.
  • You might feel people are rejecting you or your ministry if they say no.

You must kill these giants one at a time as you fi ll your mind with Scripture. Just as God prepared the land for the Israelites, you need to believe that God has prepared the hearts of your potential donors. Believe what God has said about you and your calling and walk boldly in faith as you ask others to invest in you and your vision. Trust that God will lead you to those He has called to financially support your ministry.

Author S.D. Gordon said it well, “Prayer is the real work of the ministry. Service is just gathering in the results of prayer.” We need to bathe ourselves and our donors in prayer before, during, and after our support raising journey. God will go before you. He will also build a love for your donors as you pray for them individually.
Include everything you need to thrive in ministry – your personal needs, giving, savings, and ministry expenses. Seek to balance a lifestyle that will allow you to maximize your effectiveness with the group you’re reaching, but also be above reproach with your donors on the stewardship of your finances. If you have school debt, simply include the required monthly amount owed and keep going. Your donors will admire you for keeping your promise to pay it back. Plan on and commit to raising at least 100% of your budget before you even report to your assignment. Have a “When I Raise My Support” attitude, not an “If I Raise My Support” attitude.
Now that you have turned the whole process over to God, you are ready to begin your planning. Write down every person you have ever known during your lifetime. Pray that God would bring people to mind. Don’t play Holy Spirit by saying, “Oh, that person would never give.” You’ll be surprised by a few that will give and by a few that don’t! Also, think of people who have a heart for student work, missions, or whatever group or area you are targeting. List churches, Sunday school classes, foundations, and corporations you are acquainted with. The bulk of your support, though, will come from the individuals with whom you’ve met over the years.
Divide up all the names according to the cities they live in. Evaluate your list and rate your prospects as “hot,” “medium,” or “cold” based upon your perception of how likely they are to give. Remember that you should not pre-judge if they will give, but it is okay to prioritize who you will speak to sooner rather than later. Next, pray and seek God as to how much (or a range) He would have you ask each donor to consider giving. Don’t use a one-size-fi ts-all plan; instead, base the amount on what you perceive they are able and willing to give, along with the kind of relationship you have with them. Either way, know that the tendency for most support raisers is to ask for too little rather than too much. Suggesting a range gives your donor options and helps them see there is fl exibility in your request. Remember, there is no cash fl ow problem in heaven. Americans give billions of dollars to charity each year. I believe God has instilled in every person a desire to give and you are simply helping them to invest in eternal things, and thus build up their treasure in heaven.
Figure out which cities you will travel to and when. Schedule it on your calendar. Send a letter or email in advance briefly explaining your vision and that you will soon be calling. It’s important to call each person in advance of the trip in order to verify the appointment. During the call, don’t let them say yes or no to giving — your only objective is to get an appointment with them. There are six great opportunities during the day for meetings: 1) breakfast near someone’s workplace, 2) mid-morning, 3) lunch, 4) mid-afternoon for professionals or stay-at-home moms who can take a break to meet with you, 5) dinner, and 6) after dinner, which is sometimes good for parents with young kids or people who stay up late.

THIS IS THE KEY. JAMES 4:2 SAYS, “WE HAVE NOT BECAUSE WE ASK NOT.” The word ask is used in the gospels 113 times. God wants to teach us about asking Him and asking others. I have looked at surveys as to why people give and the number one reason is always because someone asked them. It’s not unspiritual or fl eshly to ask. It is good, biblical, and faith-building to ask. Let’s not hide behind our fears. Let’s walk toward them and render them powerless! The worst thing anyone can say is, “No.” And if they do, it’s between them and God.
If instead you choose to cut corners, take the quick, easy route and just send out a financial request letter or email or make a group presentation, you might have a 10% response rate. If you send a letter/email followed by a phone call asking for support, you might get 25% of people to say yes. But, if you are willing to sit down eyeball-to-eyeball with others and lay out the incredible ministry vision God has called you to, usually more than 50% of your potential supporters will join you as ministry partners! This approach takes time, money, and courage, but it communicates to the donor that they, and your vision, are so important to you that you are willing to go above and beyond normal fundraising methods.
Don’t be fooled. How you go about securing their commitment will determine the amount, consistency, and longevity of their giving. My research shows that ministries that train their staff to ask for the gift in person raise their full budget in half the time of groups who simply share the need, but don’t ask. We have not because we ask not. Sound familiar?

DON’T THINK OF THIS JOURNEY AS FUNDRAISING, BUT AS FRIEND-RAISING. Not as support raising, but as supporter raising! You can have an incredible ministry in their lives. And you might be their only connection to Jesus Christ or the Great Commission when you are faithful to God’s call to ask. There are several ways to ensure a long and fruitful relationship with your supporters.

  • Consider tithing your ministry time to your support team: pray for, write to, call, and minister to your supporters.
  • Thank before you bank. When a new person or gift comes in, be prompt in sending them a handwritten thank you note or phone call.
  • Regularly send well-written newsletters, both email and, at least a few times a year, in print. Share how the investments of your supporters are paying off, along with some specific prayer requests. Occasional postcards, phone calls, and visits are great too. While you may share some about your personal life or family, 75% of the focus should be on ministry efforts that cast vision and show God’s fruit, as that is what they are investing in. Beware: The main reason people drop off of support teams is due to a lack of communication from their missionary.

Win, keep, and lift. When you win a supporter, they are now on your team. Keep them on the team by caring for and cultivating them. Periodically, ask them to prayerfully consider lifting (increasing) their monthly or annual gift to you. Years ago, Campus Crusade had a campaign asking people to give 1 million dollars to their ministry. Almost 250 people said yes. Research showed, though, that the average fi first gift of these donors had been a mere $10! Their devotion to this ministry was because someone took the time to win, keep, and lift them over the years.
People will stick with you for life if you will appreciate them and keep them informed. View them as vital partners in your ministry and you will gain not only lifelong supporters, but friends, too. One day you will turn around and realize how blessed you have been and that you, too, would not want to live any other way. Trust God and begin this exciting adventure today. You will never regret it!
* Published with permission.
Dr. Steve Shadrach is the Executive Director of the Center for Mission Mobilization, which sponsors the SRS Bootcamps and Support Raising Solutions resources. He has trained many Christian workers from more than 500 organizations around the world how to launch their personal ministries and raise their support. He also served as Director of Mobilization for the U.S. Center for World Mission. A former pastor and missionary himself, he has a D.Min. in Church and Para-Church Executive Leadership. For support raising training and resources go to
www.supportraisingsolutions.org. To order Steve’s latest book, The God Ask, on how to raise support, go to www.amazon.com

Inter-Disciplinary and Integrative Missiological Research: The “What,” “Why” and “How”

This paper will begin with defining key terms, followed by explanation of the “what,” “why” and “how” of inter-disciplinary and integrative missiological research. Hopefully Christian scholars of multiple disciplines will collaborate in conducting research and Christian leaders will become better stewards of resources and opportunities by making informed decision based on validly collected data through research.
To avoid complication, only five branches of missiological studies (i.e. theory, theology, history, anthropology and strategy of Christian mission) are being included in Figure 1.


  • “Missiological research” — “systematic and academic study (e.g. theory, theology, history, anthropology(intercultural studies), strategy of Christian mission) to continue on and carry out the missio Dei of the Triune Go, including investigation and interdisciplinary research.[1]
  • “Mission” — “is the endeavor of both individual Christians and organized congregations to continue on and carry out the missio Dei of the Triune God at both micro and macro levels, spiritually (saving souls) and socially (ushering in shalom),[2] for redemption, reconciliation and transformation.”
  • “Inter-disciplinary research” — “academic and systematic study conducted by using elements (e.g. theory, methodology, etc.) from one or more disciplines in the attempt to achieve a high degree of coherence or unity.”[3]
  • “Integrative research” — “research that is by design to be theoretically coherent, thematically consistent, methodologically complimentary and structurally unified.”
  • “Research Methodology” — “ways and approaches employed in academic and systematic study.”[4]


There are seven socio-cultural phenomena of negative nature due to the outcome educational goal of producing “specialist” and the resultant “disciplinary myopia”:

  • absence of the cultivation of the whole person with holistic perspective and healthy temperament (e.g. curricular problems of the public school system);
  • being succumbed to technological domination (e.g. biological engineering over ethics; population control over human values);
  • cultural irrelevance of scholarship: (e.g. training of expert instead of cultivation of personhood and holistic learning);
  • disciplinary rivalry (e.g. sciences vs. humanities);
  • ethical confusion: scientific accomplishment in science and technology (such as organ transplant, cloning, etc.) surpasses ethical formulation;
  • fragmentation of knowledge (e.g. modern specialist vs. traditional scholars, technocrat vs. administrator) with a distorted view of reality (i.e. compartmentalized mindset, tunnel vision, etc.);
  • giving into the dehumanizing and depersonalizing forces of contemporary society (e.g. the critique of the Marxist, feminist, liberation theologians, etc.).

There are seven kinds of challenges Christians face in the 21st century that would call for evangelical cooperative inter-disciplinary research. The first five are external factors and the last two are internal factors:

  • postmodernist orientation & the tyranny of the “tolerance principle;”
  • pluralistic landscape & anti-Christian / anti-establishment sentiment;
  • popularity of “hard sciences” at the expense of the traditional studies, e.g. humanities, theological studies, etc.)
  • promising bio-medical engineering, run-away technological advancement, and rapid socio-cultural changes;
  • powerful and pervasive forces such as New Age Movement, gay & lesbian movement, environmental activist groups, Easternization (e.g. the increasing popularity of homeopathic medicine and acupuncture), etc.;
  • polarization of evangelical scholars: the great divide of liberal vs. conservative (e.g. the “wider mercy of God”) / charismatic vs. “frozen chosen,” the inerrancy debate, the “millenarian fever,” “the third wave,” (including debates on “spiritual warfare” mentality, the merits of “territorial spirits” approach),etc.;
  • power struggle among the intellectual elites of evangelical scholarship that are polarized by disciplinary differences, denominational division, etc. that would prevent genuine cooperation and collaboration of the best scholarship from various disciplines.

Organizations such as ETS and EMS are the ideal venues for inter-disciplinary cooperative efforts of evangelical scholars/researchers to demonstrate the spirit of unity and to make significant contributions in the “kairos” moment of human history.

To not make things too complicated, we shall explain the importance and significance of missiological research by selectively choosing only five branches of missiological study as shown in Table 1.

Table 1 Importance and Significance of Missiological Research[7], [8], [9], [10]

Inter-disciplinary research in missiology combines and integrates biblical study, theology, anthropology, demographic, statistic, etc., in order to achieve a high degree of coherence or unity in research and for the practice of Christian mission. As evangelical, we are not to be sold out to the newest theory and pragmatic efficiency.[11] Nor should we engage in unreserved contextualization,[12] such as multiple forms of liberation theology (e.g. feminist theology of the west, “minjung theology of Korea,” C.S. Song’s “third eye theology”)
The diagrams below emerged from personal research, professional publication and two-decade-long coaching doctoral dissertation. If inter-disciplinary research in missiological studies is conducted by following the five-step according to priority, then it will be characteristically evangelical, doctrinally sound and theologically grounded.

Table 2 Wan’s Way of Integrative Research (“STARS”)[13]

Listed below are simple explanations of each of the five points in Table 2.

  1. Scripturally sound: As evangelical, Scripture is to be the basis and guide of Christian faith and practice. It is axiomatic for evangelical Protestant based on the conviction of “sola scriptura.”
  2. Theologically Supported: Just based on pragmatism/expedience is insufficient; but sound theology is essential and required.
  3. Analytically Coherent: Not to be self-contradictory; but to be both consistent and coherent
  4. Relevantly contextual: Not to be out of place; but it is to be required to be fitting for the context.
  5. Strategically practical: It is good to have scriptural/theological support with coherent theory and cultural relevance; but can be strategically put into practice.

Table 3 Comparisons Between “Biblical” and Scriptural”[14]

The Bible is full of “description” (#1 in the figure above) of behavior and practice of major figures in biblical times; but not “prescription” for us nowadays. For example, the Bible recorded/reported patriarch Abraham and King David as polygamist; but is prescriptive for us to be monogamist by the teaching of Jesus (Mt 19; Mk 10; Lk 16) and consistent teaching (Gen 1:14; Deut 24:13; Mal 2:15).
Let us use another example to illustrate this point. The selection of a substitute for Judas after his suicide was by “casting lots” (Acts 1) so this way of selecting a leader is merely “biblical” (#2 in the Table 2). Should the Christian church follow that manner in identification and selection of leaders nowadays? In other words, casting lot as a form of decision-making as recorded/reported in Acts 1 is “biblically accurate” but not “scripturally binding” for us to follow today.
There is a popular Christian hymn based on Ps 51:10-11, the psalm of confession written by King David after his adultery relationship with Bathsheba. However, though the hymn is “biblical” (based on Ps 51:10-11), it is theologically incorrect and inapplicable to us. The reason is that David’s confession is “particular” and being “time and place specific” (#3 of the figure above); but is not “universally” applicable to us because Jesus had promised that the Holy Spirit will “be with you forever” (Jn 14:16). King David’s confession and the hymn based on Ps 51 though being “biblical” but is not “scriptural.” The ceremonial law and sacrificial system of the OT is “biblical” as revealed by God in the OT and taught in the Pentateuch. The writer of Hebrews expounded the “scriptural meaning” of the old covenant and related Jewish traditions (#4 the Table above) for us – the NT Christians. The “scriptural teaching” of Hebrew is binding for all people at all times.

Figure 1 Directional Understanding of Being “Biblical” and “Scriptural”

Note: Not all men are husbands; but within thecontext of “traditional Christian marriage,” all husbands are men.
Likewise, whatever is “biblical” is not necessarily “scriptural;” but whatever is “scriptural” should also be “biblical.” Not only “biblical” and “scriptural” are different in meaning and usage, the proper order and the correct direction are also important. For example, when Jesus was tempted, Satan quoted verses from the OT so He is no doubt being “biblical.” However, his use of the Scripture is not “scriptural” at all. Jesus responded to Satan also by quoting verses from the OT (being “biblical”); but his usage is very different from that of Satan because He is both “biblical” and “scriptural” at the same time.
To illustrate the significance and importance of the sequential order of the five elements in “Wan’s Way of Integrative Research,” the mistake of reversing the order will be explained first, followed by the example of the proper sequential order. The use of terrorist means by “Jihad Muslims” to propagate their faith may be practically effective and expediently feasible (point #5 in Table 2). However, the “terrorist way” cannot be used as evangelical Christians in their statements of mission, vision, core values, and strategic goals. It cannot be an option for evangelical Christians for several reasons:

  • The message of their gospel is “God so love the world” according to the Scripture – point #1 in Table 2;
  • The God they proclaim is the “God of love” theologically – point #2;
  • The Christian faith and practice is to be consistently and coherently characterized by “love” – the Great Commandment of “love God” and “love thy neighbor” – point #3 in Table 2.

The “Gospel of wealth and health” and “the positive thinking” approach are popular these days because of “cultural relevance” of our time (point #4 in Table 2) and expedient/practical (point #5 in Table 2) with desirable outcomes quantitatively. However, evangelical Christians cannot ignore the importance of points 1, 2 and 3 in Table 2 and should not “conform to this world” (Ro 12: 1-2). No statements of mission, vision, core values, and strategic goals of evangelical Christians should be embraced if they only measure up to points 4 and 5 but failed in 1, 2 and 3 of in Table 2.

Challenges of Inter-disciplinary Research Methodology
As much as one is committed to inter-disciplinary research methodology, if not done properly it will cause the following problems:

  • theoretical incoherence
  • When not well integrated it could lead to eclectic staggering of elements that are not dynamically connected and synthetically interacting.
  • methodological imbalance
  • The discipline with better development and more powerful approaches may absorb the others without true dynamic interaction and coherent integration.
  • practical difficulty
  • In the long path towards genuine inter-disciplinary research, practical problems such as mutual suspicions, disciplinary rivalry, methodological contention, etc. will prevent true integration.

Unless hindrances (e.g. barriers and divisions) are removed and problems solved; practical difficulty will hinder the process and pursuit of cooperative inter-disciplinary research.

Advantages of Inter-disciplinary Research Methodology
There can be three advantages to the use of inter-disciplinary research methodology:

  • Disciplinary Synergism: It integrates into a macro-paradigm what otherwise is a set of independent disciplines of study. The researcher is enabled to widen the scope of knowledge and is opened to see the whole in which the parts interact together for a more holistic understanding of reality and better theoretical formulations about that reality.
  • Mutual Enrichment: There is potential for mutual enrichment among the disciplines which enter in a dynamic interaction. This enrichment would eventually mean mutual borrowing, questioning, and reformulating of what constituted an individual discipline method before entering into dynamic interaction. This process sharpens the precision of a research undertaking, thus securing results that are more systematic and closer to the reality of the subject matter under research.
  • Research Advancement: This integrated inter-disciplinary approach in research processes, would also secure the right adjustments to problem solving and theoretical proposals for the explanation of phenomena under research. This in turn will increase the acuteness of implementing new paradigms into particular fields of practice or knowledge. In addition, the reality of the vastness of the created order, the diversity of human culture, the complexity of life, etc. requires that comprehensive and coherent understanding be informed by the findings of multiple disciplines and various fields.

Challenges of Integrative Research
As stated previously, the definition of “Integrative research” is “research that is by design to be theoretically coherent, thematically consistent, methodologically complimentary and structurally unified.” There are many factors that prevent a study from being integrative at multiple levels: theoretical, thematic and methodological. Listed below are some possible causes:

  • Disciplinary divide and extreme specialization – no integration: The trend of academic development and advancement is specialization personally and professionally. As long as the honor and compensation accorded to specialist continue to increase, there is the trendy tendency and personal preference to excel in a narrow field of study and smaller scope for research. Consequently the disciplinary divide increases and extreme specialization became prevalent.
  • Academic incompetence and careless attempt in integration – low integration: If the point above is about “no integration,” here the concern is “low integration.” Integration research includes multiple dimensions: theoretical, thematic and methodological aspects. There are people with low standard for integration or with inadequate understanding of integration. They aim low and/or are simply incompetent, ending up with poor integration.
  • Methodological fossilization – incomplete integration: Research process is to be dynamic and flexible in order to cope with unforeseen circumstances and even disastrous emergency. If a researcher believes a certain methodology and is too confident in the research design, he might suffer from methodological fossilization. One can start on the course of integration; but unable to make new adjustment in order to reach the finish line with consistent integration. If not consistently well integrated thought out the entire process, it will prevent one to reach dynamically the destination with thorough integration.

Advantages of Integrative Research
There can be advantages in integrative research and Table 2 shows the five desirable traits (i.e. “STARS”). Listed below are some possibilities:

    • Theoretical synthesis: An integrative research should demonstratively achieve theoretical synthesis. The author has had first hand experience as reported in summary format below. I spent years studying the doctrine of “The Trinity” and developed a “Trinitarian paradigm” that was the theoretical framework of all my publications on the topic of contextual theology for the Chinese (i.e. Sino-theology). For detail listing, on contextual theology for the Chinese and Sino-theology, see Appendix 1. For decades, I utilized “Trinitarian paradigm” to teach and coach doctoral dissertation such as: Hedinger, Mark R., “Towards a Paradigm of Integrated Missionary Training.” Unpublished dissertation. Western Seminary. Portland, 2006. Also with the use of “Trinitarian paradigm,” I practiced academic mentoring resulted in co-authorship with a student in article (i.e. Enoch Wan & Mark Hedinger, “Understanding “Relationality” From A Trinitarian Perspective,” Published in Global Missiology, Trinitarian Studies, January 2006, www.globalmissiology.org) and book (i.e. Enoch Wan & Mark Hedinger , Relational Missionary Training: Theology, Theory & Practice. CA: Urban Loft Publishers, 2017.
    • Pioneering new field of study: Integration at multiple-level will include theoretical synthesis, methodological complementation, inter-disciplinary perspective, structural coherence and organizational unity. The author spent about two decades to develop “diaspora missiology” as a new missiological paradigm with theoretical formulation, methodological proposition and practical application. For detail listing of publications on “diaspora missiology” and inter-disciplinary methodology in diaspora missiology, see Appendix 2.
    • Academic responsibility/integrity: Researchers benefit from the fruitful hard labors of those who preceded them, contributed to them by laying the groundwork or research foundation for them. These privileges enjoyed by latecomers to research bring with them academic responsibility to the scholarly community at large. Integrative researchers are to maintain academic integrity and in their turns to carry out their academic responsibility to fellow researchers and those of the new generation.
    • Scholarly collaboration: In addition to the benefits of inter-disciplinary research, collaboration of scholars from different fields will surely be the best use of resources, reduce time, avoid redundancy, expedite research process/agenda and bearing fruitful outcomes. During my last sabbatical at Yale Divinity School, I discovered that there is not a “relational paradigm” in philosophy nor theology so I spent more than a decade to conduct research on the topic and sought scholarly collaboration from fellow researchers. Subsequently I was able to publish and produce with more frequency and higher quality articles/books on “relational paradigm.” For detail listing of publications on “relational paradigm” and inter-disciplinary methodology for research on “relational paradigm,” see Appendix 3.
    • Enduring contribution: Integrative research that is of high quality and with the traits of “STARS” (Table 2), then the research findings should be scripturally sound, theologically grounded, analytically coherent, cross-culturally relevant, and practically applicable. Therefore, researchers can make enduring contributions; instead of chasing after façade.

There are three types of basis for the cooperation and collaboration of evangelical scholars in inter-disciplinary research, i.e. motivation, means and motto: (3 + 3 +3)

      • In terms of motivation, evangelical scholars share in common: “the cultural mandate (general),” the Great Commission (specific), and “the cultural war” (as illustrated by the works of Dockery 1995, Huntington 1996, Woodhouse 1996).
      • There are three means for cooperation and collaboration: inter-disciplinary exploration, inter-institutional cooperation, long-term research project and publication.
      • There are three mottoes for cooperation and collaboration: to the glory of the Father, in the name of the Son and by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, and on the foundation of God’s Word – the Bible.


Table 4 Insights for Stewardship of Christian Leaders

Contemporary Christian churches have the tendency of being obsessed with efficiency and dismissing research to be unnecessary and a waste of time/energy. At the leadership, sometimes may even make uninformed decision, i.e. without knowing the hard facts to be gathered by research. Missiological research is an essential part of healthy stewardship and godly leadership. For example, the LCWE movement (Lausanne Congress of World Evangelization) has formed committees to conduct research on holistic mission, BAM (business as mission), diaspora missiology, etc. In addition, there are other missiological research groups, e.g. the “Center of the Study of Global Christianity” at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Joshua Project[18] of Frontier Ventures, and Global Research of IMB[19] (International Mission Board) of Southern Baptist Convention.

In this paper, we began with definition of key terms, then use diagrams to explain the importance and significance of missiological research, proceed to explain the “what,” “why” and “how” of inter-disciplinary and integrative missiological research. Examples are given to illustrate the points practically.

Five Tables on Interdisciplinary Study of “Diaspora Missiology”

Table 5 Integration Theories Across Disciplines
(Wan 2014:153)[20]

Table 6 Interdisciplinary Research Methodology –
“Missions to the Diaspora” [21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29]
(Wan 2014:154)

Table 7 Interdisciplinary research methodology: for
“Missions through the Diaspora”[30][31]
(Wan 2014:155)

Table 8 Interdisciplinary Research Methodology: For “Missions By and Beyond the Diaspora”[32][33][34]
(Wan 2014:156)

Table 9 Interdisciplinary Research Methodology: For “Missions With the Diaspora”[35][36][37][38][39][40][41][42][43]
(Wan 2014:157)

Table 10 Approaches in Ministry:
Programmatic, Managerial and Relational
(Wan 2017”133)

Table 11 Programmatic/Managerial/Entrepreneur and Relational Approaches in Discipleship (Individual) and Pastoral (Institutional) Levels
(Wan 2017, 135):


[1] See earlier publication — “Christian engaging in research —— following the will of God or man?” Pastoral Sharing. 2005. November: 2-6. (in Chinese)
[2] “Shalom” – The opposite of “shalom” is described in John 12:31; 1 John 3:8; 5:19 and Jesus had overcome the world and the evil one who is its ruler (1 John 2:13-14; 5:4). Shalom is a Hebrew word with connotations of peace, wholeness, and wellness in the context of right relationships with God, people, and nature (Jer 33:8-9; Job 5:24; Ps 30:11; Isa 11:6, 9; 53:5). Enoch Wan, “’Mission’ and Missio Dei: Response to Charles Van Engen’s ‘Mission defined and described’” IN Missionshift: Global Mission Issues in the Third Millennium, Edited by David J. Hesselgrave and Ed Stetzer. 2010:41-50.
[3] Enoch Wan, “The Paradigm & Pressing Issues of Inter-Disciplinary Research Methodology,” Published in Global Missiology, Research Methodology, January 2005, www.globalmissiology.net. 2005:2.
[4] Enoch Wan, “The Paradigm & Pressing Issues of Inter-Disciplinary Research Methodology,” Published in Global Missiology, Research Methodology, January 2005, www.globalmissiology.net. 2005:2
[5] The seven points of this section is taken from (pages 3-4) the article listed in footnote #6.
[6] The seven points of this section is taken from (pages 5-6) the article listed in footnote #6.
[7] Enoch Wan, Diaspora Missiology: Theory, Methodology, and Practice. IDS-USA, 2012; Yaw Attah Edu-Bekoe, Enoch Wan, Scattered Africans Keep Coming: A Case Study of Diaspora Missiology on Ghanaian Diaspora and Congregations in the USA. IDS-USA, 2013.
[8] Enoch Wan, “The Paradigm of ‘Relational Realism.’” EMS Occasional Bulletin 19:2 (Spring 2006):1-4.
______. “Relational Theology and Relational Missiology.” Occasional Bulletin 21:1 (Winter 2007): 1-7.
_______. “A Missio-Relational Reading of Romans: A Complementary Study to Current Approaches.” EMS Occasional Bulletin, Vol. 23 No. 1 (Winter 2010e):1-8. Also in Global Missiology (April 1, 2010e). Available at www.GlobalMissiology.org/
_______ & Narry Santos, “Missio-relational Reading of Mark,” Evangelical Missiological Society Occasional Bulletin, Volume 24, #2 – Spring, 2011
___________ “Relational Tree,” Published in “Relational Study”
www.GlobalMissiology.org Jan. 2011.
[9] “Church growth theory” of Donald McGavran, including “HUP” – Homogeneous Unit Principle)
[10]  Religious syncretism is a taboo for evangelical practitioner due to unreserved accommodation!
[11] 即圖二第五項,便是本末倒置。有關功能論的評估,參下列兩篇專文: Enoch Wan, “Critique of Functional Missionary Anthropology” His Dominion, Canadian Theological Seminary, Canada. 1982.
[12] 即圖二第四項
[13] Enoch Wan, “Core Values of Mission Organization in the Cultural Context of the 21st Century,” Published in www.GlobalMissiology.org “Featured Article” January 2009.
[14] Enoch Wan, “Core Values of Mission Organization in the Cultural Context of the 21st Century,” Published in www.GlobalMissiology.org “Featured Article” January 2009:6-7.
[15] This section is derived from an early work: Enoch Wan, “The Paradigm & Pressing Issues of Inter-Disciplinary Research Methodology,” Published in Global Missiology, Research Methodology, January 2005, www.globalmissiology.net, p. 4-6.
[16] This section is derived from an early work: Enoch Wan & Mabiala Kenzo, “Evangelical theology, post-modernity, and the promise of inter-disciplinarity,” Global Missiology, January 2006, www.globalmissiology.org
[17] Enoch Wan, “The Paradigm & Pressing Issues of Inter-Disciplinary Research Methodology,” Published in Global Missiology, Research Methodology, January 2005, www.globalmissiology.net. P.13-14.
[18] See info @ http://joshuaproject.net/get_involved/with_joshua_project.
[19] See info @ http://public.imb.org/globalresearch/Pages/References.aspx
[20]  Enoch Wan and Thanh Trung Le. Mobilizing Vietnamese Diaspora for the Kingdom. (forth coming, Spring 2014)
[21] Amador A. Remigio, Jr., “A Demographic Survey of the Filipino Diaspora,” in Scattered: The Filipino Global Presence, eds. Luis Pantoja, Jr., Sadiri Joy Tira, and Enoch Wan (Manila: Life Change Publishing, 2004), 5-36.
[22] Amador A. Remigio, Jr., “Global Migration and Diasporas: A Geographical Perspective.” in The Human Tidal Wave, by Sadiri Joy Tira. Manila: Lifechange Publishing, Inc., 2013.
[23]Yaw Attah Edu-Bekoe and Enoch Wan. Scattered Africans Keep Coming. 2013 (www.amazon.com)
[24]Miriam Adeney, “Colorful Initiatives: North American Diasporas in Mission.” in The Human Tidal Wave, by Sadiri Joy Tira. Manila: Lifechange Publishing, Inc., 2013
[25]Charlene de Haan, A Canadian Case Study in Diaspora Missiology, accessed September 23, 2009; available at http://www.lausanneworldpulse.com/perspectives.php.
[26]Enoch Wan, The Chinese Diaspora – A Case Study of Migration & Mission,” Missiology. 31, no. 1: 35. Pasadena, CA, 2003a. Accessed January 31, 2011; available at http://www.missiology.org/new/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/ChineseDiaspora-Missiology.pdf
[27] Brian Seim, “Diaspora and the Megacities: A Narrative Mode.” in The Human Tidal Wave, by Sadiri Joy Tira. Manila: Lifechange Publishing, Inc., 2013
[28] Yeong Ae Kim, “Ammi Mission Fellowship” in 21C New Nomad Era and Migrant Mission ed. Chan-Sik Park and Noah Jung (Seoul, Korea: Christianity and Industrial Society Research Institute, 2010), 217-224.
[29] Young-Sang Ro, “The Ecclesiastical Approach for the Integration of Multicultural Society: Intercultural ‘Unity in Diversity’ in the Multiethnic Ministry, ” in 21C New Nomad Era and Migrant Mission. Seoul: Christianity and Industrial Society Research Institute, by Park, Chan-Sit and Noah Jung, eds.2010, 123-148.
[30] Enoch Wan & Linda Gross, “Christian Missions to Diaspora Groups: A Diachronic General Overview and Synchronic Study of Contemporary U.S.” Global Missiology vol. 3, no. 2 (2008). Available at www.GlobalMissiology.org
[31] Thomas Alan Harvey, “Pluralism, Multiculturalism, and the Diaspora Mission: Discovering the Relevance of Apostolic Mission Today.” in The Human Tidal Wave, by Sadiri Joy Tira. Manila: Lifechange Publishing, Inc., 2013.
[32] Thanh Trung Le, “A Missiological Study of Vietnamese Diaspora,” Unpublished dissertation, Western Seminary, 2013, chapter 3.
[33] Sidiri Joy Tira, “The Floating Communities,” http://conversation lausanne.org/en/ conversations/detail/10178 (accessed 2.13.11)
[34] Sidiri Joy Tira, “Diaspora Missiology: An Ethnographic Study of Filipino Kingdom Workers, An Enthographic Study,” Unpublished dissertation, Western Seminary, 2008.
[35] Adapted from dissertation in progress: Jacques Hebért, A New Strategy for Sending Exogenous Missionaries to the Arab Muslim Context: A Diaspora Model, Western Seminary. For detailed discussion on the “with” strategy in Chapter 8 as presented by Jacques Hebért
[36] Steven A. Camarota, Immigrants from the Middle East: A Profile of the Foreign-born Population from Pakistan to Morocco. Washington D. C.: Center for Immigration Studies, 2002.
[37]  Amador A. Remigio, Jr., “A Demographic Survey of the Filipino Diaspora,” in Scattered: The Filipino Global Presence, eds. Luis Pantoja, Jr., Sadiri Joy Tira, and Enoch Wan (Manila: Life Change Publishing, 2004), 5-36.
[38]  Elizabeth Boosahda, Arab-American Faces and Voices: The Origins of an Immigrant Community. Austin: The University of Texas Press, 2003.
[39] Raphael Patai, The Arab Mind. Rev. ed. Tucson: Recovery Resources Press, 2007.
[40] Miriam Cooke, and Bruce B Lawrence, Muslim Networks: from Hajj to Hip Hop. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2005.
[41] Phil Parshall, Muslim Evangelism: Contemporary Approaches to Contextualization. Rev. Ed. Colorado Spring: Biblica, 2003.
[42] Sidiri Joy Tira, “Diaspora Missiology: An Ethnographic Study of Filipino Kingdom Workers, An Enthographic Study,” Unpublished dissertation, Western Seminary, 2008.
[43] Thanh Trung Le, “A Missiological Study of Vietnamese diaspora,” Unpublished dissertation, Western Seminary, 2013, chapter 3.

* This paper was originally published in Chinese. Engaging in Global Mission(往普天下去). A quarterly publication of Hong Kong Association of Christian Mission. January to March, 2014.
* Published with permission.
Dr. Enoch Wan is the Director of Doctor of Intercultural Studies Program, Western Seminary, USA. Former President, Evangelical Missiological Society of US & Canada.


MINISTRY REPORT: Frontiers Philippines


God’s work for us today is towards the many, large people’s groups who are still unengaged (a population where there is no viable, sustainable gospel witness in their midst) because very few are willing to go and proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God. Thirty five years ago, Frontiers became one of the first international organizations solely focused on sharing the love of Jesus to unengaged Muslims. Frontiers Philippines (started in 2002), currently has more than twenty five frontiers workers serving in Indonesia, Thailand, and Pakistan. We serve together with Filipino churches by mobilizing, training, sending, and equipping teams of ordinary men and women, with extraordinary passion for sharing God’s love to Muslims. Starting 2016 we aim for “555” before 2018 ends. That is, mobilizing Filipino communities to send 5 couples, 5 singles to at least 5 unengaged people groups in our three focused countries, adding India and the Middle East.
Three commitments need to be prioritized: #1: followers of Jesus committing to persistent prayers for the “unengaged,”#2: followers of Jesus obeying Him to disciple people groups, and #3: Christ-communities coming alongside each other to send and sustain teams of disciplemakers.
In over twelve years of our participation in God’s frontiers, we could share stories of families who have become followers of the mighty-to-save God: in remote mud-houses in Central Asia, in pleasant villages of Southeast Asia, even in marginalized barangays in our own country. Stories of unheralded Christ-followers blossoming and blessing, these call for joyful thanksgiving!
But alongside these, we ought to remain focused and resilient in heeding this command: “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain (1st Corinthians 15:58).”
Following Jesus’ example of doing God’s work, He never stopped proclaiming God’s Kingdom as Good News to the nearby towns and the nexts (Mark 1:38, Luke 4:34). Even when He was rejected in His own hometown, He never lost sight or wane the clear purpose and passion to bless people’s lives for God’s glory. What He calls us to do, He does with us by His Spirit. And so we are called to be His teams and communities of faith that could thrive amidst rapidly changing global scenarios. Steadily taking the Good News with our lives to those who are not members (yet). As what William Temple (theologian in 1940’s) said: “The church is the only institution that exists primarily for the benefit of those who are not its members.” Intentionally reaching out to draw people in, passionately sharing rather than hoarding this Good News with which we have been entrusted. This is the Church Jesus has started and keeps on building.
The resurrected Jesus’ last command before His ascension to heaven (Matthew 28:18-20): “Go and make disciples of all nations…” was and remains to be our most important, most urgent Great Commission. As Jesus was leaving the disciples, He did not engage in a group hug, rather He commanded them to go out and God draws others in (Mark 1:17, Luke 5:10, Matthew 4:19). He promises to come back after all His followers through generational “disciplemaking” are gathered, then we shall all be with Him forever (John 17:6-24, 1st Thessalonians 4:13-17, Revelation 5:9).
One of God’s prophets Malachi (3:16, 17a) ended his recorded discourse with these instructive and inspiring words: “Those who had respect for the Lord talked with one another. And the Lord heard them. A list of people and what they did was written in a book in front of him. It included the names of those who respected the Lord and honored Him. ‘The day is coming when I will judge,’ says the Lord who rules over all. ‘On that day they will be my special treasure.’”

Frontiers is an international, nonprofit organization with a passion to glorify God among the Muslims by sharing the Good News, discipling and forming self-sustaining communities, that will lead to growth and reproduction. Our purpose is “With love and respect, inviting all Muslims to follow Jesus.”
Our vision is to inspire transformational movements within unengaged Muslim communities by sending teams to catalyze change, because even the most uncharted frontiers need Jesus as Saviour and Lord.

Simply put, because it’s their turn now! There is one Muslim out of almost four persons in the world (23.4%, according to Joshua Project). Yet there are less than 1% of Christ-followers living among Muslims to testify of Him. There are fewer than four cross-cultural workers for every one million Muslims. Many Muslims have neither met a Christ-follower nor heard of the Good News in Jesus – His life, death and resurrection.
Frontiers’ founder, Greg Livingstone saw it not just a quantitative challenge but also a heart’s issue. Greg realized that there was no agency intentional enough on making Christ’ disciples and communities among our world’s major unreached, unengaged people groups. Now over 1.7 billion Muslims, with 3,001 unreached people groups need to hear, respond and follow Jesus for their blessing. So Greg and Frontiers see the need for exclusive focus till now.

In obedience to God’s calling and in partnership with communities and individuals, Frontiers members are committed to live and serve among unengaged Muslim people groups. We engage in business, community development and other service capacities. Whatever needs to be done, whatever it takes to be Christ’ witnesses. By leveraging our experience and the leaders we’ve recruited, trained and sent, we are seeing dramatic transformations within Muslim communities. To date, Frontiers’ teams have a presence among specific Muslim people groups. There is a significant reduction in the number of unreached and unengaged Muslim people groups in our time, but there is still much work to be done. Because God is moving and blessing, momentum is building! Yet it’s too soon to celebrate, and too soon to quit.
Why Share Jesus with all peoples, including Muslims? Here are some initial reasons:

  • For we have experience peace with God — the forgiveness of our sins, and the hope of eternal life through the sinless life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
  • It is our delight to share the good news with all peoples of the world because our Lord Jesus commanded us to do so.
  • We seek to live in the world as peacemakers, inviting men and women everywhere to be reconciled to God and to one another.
  • We offer the message of peace to all peoples in love, with respect and cultural sensitivity.
  • We believe that only God can change people, from within, through Jesus. We rejoice when the Good News brings inward change to Christ-followers who will then be instruments of transformation to their communities.


  • Intercede for Muslims to know Jesus. We have weekly prayer digest via SMS, quarterly prayer letter and updates via e-mail, we also have Frontiers FB page and group “With Love and Respect.”
  • Invite Frontiers to share cross-cultural works and training with your community. We have Advocates for Missions (AIM), Groundbreaking workshop (GB), Local to Cross-Cultural Discipleship (LCD), Crossing Boarders (CB, for Overseas Filipino Workers training), and fieldworkers’ short-term and long-term training courses.
  • Invest by giving financial support to see communities of Jesus’ followers among Muslim people groups. To facilitate this, please e-mail: peacemakers@philsb.org
  • Intern with Frontiers by using your time and skills to mobilize communities, form teams, send and care for workers, engage with Muslims near and far.</li>

The frontiers are to found and reached, Christ’ Church needs to be ready to send more workers. May more churches be found ready to prepare, equip and empower their peoples to serve and work in the hard places where God has called them. The task is huge as there are still billions of people who need to hear the Good News. Great harvests are still waiting. It is time for many churches to wake up and work with our Savior Lord who said: “ As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world. (John 9:4-5).”
We are different unique “brushes” God uses in the His “canvass” of history in displaying and demonstrating His multi-wisdom and power of His Good News to all! Some “brushes” will be labeled “Goers” to nearby towns or to far frontiers, some brushes will be “Welcomers” as more of the frontiers folks migrate or visit our communities, cities or countries, others will be called by hybrids of “Senders, Supporters, Carers, Equippers.” Surely all will have significant roles in teams, partnerships and networks.
But again there is an urgent, balancing act to tap, train and send more Frontiers workers who will, so to speak, “go to great unseen distances from our shores, launch into great unfathomed deeps, cooperatively, courageously, and expectantly casting nets to catch great varieties of fish!” 200O years ago, Jesus prayed and unceasingly prays for us that THRU US His other “sheep scattered to the ends of the earth will be found and gathered into one fold,” before the end will come (John 10:16, Matthew 24:14).
God’s love brushes away our multitudes of sin and shame… too long still multitudes of peoples and places, have not been shared with the clear, true, unchanging message of forgiveness and acceptance of God for all. Let all in our nearby towns and in the frontiers be given opportunity to personally know and obediently trust and hope on God’s Messiah: the Anointed Sent One, as Jesus: “He shall save people from sin.”
In Luke 2:32 Jesus is “a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” Let this be proclaimed, be heard, and be understood by all peoples in all generations. May we all be like Paul in Acts 26:22 “To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”


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