Reaching the Lost in a Changing World
Texts: Matt. 9:35-38, John 4:34-38
by Bob Young

I fear our awareness, vision, and commitment to missions is too little. I am not certain why this is, but to make clear the challenge I share some thoughts and make some suggestions.

Biblical Foundations
We must begin in the Bible. The Bible does record, Jesus did say, did he not, Matt. 9:35-38; John 4:34-38. Certainly we could find many more verses to accentuate evangelism--Light to Gentiles, Great Commission, example of early church, letters of Paul, etc. Today want to personalize these two passages, just a few verses.

Our World Needs the Gospel
Our world is ripe for the harvest. I know this from my own experiences and firsthand observations. Consider these examples of fields with great need.

We are training too many who go to work in fields already worked and potentially overharvested. We are not using wisdom. We are not sending to receptive areas; we are not touching urban areas. We are not establishing self-supporting, self-governing, self-propagating churches. In most parts of our mission world, we are not reaching the population who can sustain the church.

The Lack of Workers
Why do we not send more workers to the real fields? There are not enough workers! We are not committed to sending workers. Regarding US workers, we "use up" 3 or 4 preachers per congregation in larger churches, and 100s of smaller churches go without a preacher. Further, what these preachers are doing in the local churches is often everything but evangelism. We are often sending the wrong kind of workers and are not economically wise. We can send those culturally and linguistically ready.

Identifying the Reasons for the Problem
No problem can be solved until we know the reasons for the problem. There are several reasons that can be suggested to explain this problem.

So there are not enough workers in foreign fields. Doors have opened and closed while we sit idly by and share only a pittance of our resources for missions and genuine outreach.

Humbly suggest this is not too hard to understand, nor is missions or evangelism something that is hard to do. Is not hard to double a church in 10 years although that is considered fantastic growth rate by students of church growth. Go into congregation of 175, teach others to teach gospel, have PE training series, get involved in community, involve the church, baptize 243 in 11 1/2 years, will have 350.
Or again, go into congregation of 200, have PE training series, involve self in community, serve, teach, love, care, involve the church, share a dream, in 8 years have 275 (~50% growth rate), and then with I CARE-WE CARE campaign, baptize 45 more next year. From 200 to 325 in 9 years = 62% in 9 years.
Wish I could tell you that these have continued to grow, but Satan is alive and well, and we too readily allow him to get in our way. Churches have problems, divide, diminish, regroup, continue to grow, in unique path of ups and downs.

We Can Do Differently
I ask you today to consider with me, (1) what must be our goals in order to accomplish an effective missions work in a changing world, (2) what is the essence of Xnity, and (3) What must be our strategies.

If this is true, the acceptance of the same principles from Scripture may cause one to end up with different values or actions because of the intercultural nature of our world. Example: right now there is a cultural conflict in Costa Rica because of the influx of Nicaraguans after Hurricane Mitch. In the church, the Nicaraguan approach to evangelism has been bombastic, many of the Central America peoples are uneducated, passive, can be convinced withthis kind of preaching. But, Costa Rica is a more developed country, probably the most developed of Central America. It has a definite 2nd world feel to it, perhaps in ways approaching first world. The Costa Ricans wish a different approach in worship. What are we to do? Put together a Nicaraguan church and a Costa Rican church? Is the most effective missions strategy, or is the answer to rethink the nature of the assembly, the nature of the church, and to ask how these two different cultural views can exist side by side to the glory of God.

Suggest several things which we must consider as we seek to renew the church.

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Last updated October 2, 2010.