Friday, October 01, 2004

LCWE update

On Thursday morning at the opening Convergence session, Dr. Paul Eschleman (JESUS film Project) identified four categories that each of the 31 Issue Groups fall into in their common call to advancing the gospel:
- Mobilizing the Church to
- Share a Clear and relevant Message
- Using a variety of Methods
- To reach the Most-neglected, resistant or distinct groups

Paul then identified 12 aspects of evangelism that are being addressed at the Forum that the Convergence group will monitor:
- Prioritizing the unreached people groups of the world.
- Accelerating church-planting initiatives in the most neglected areas.
- Emphasizing the building of prayer movements
- Developing new approaches to Bible translation – especially for oral learners.
- Increasing the use of media – and preparing the next generation to be “storytellers.”
- Translating training and discipleship materials.
- Creating micro-economic structures to ensure the church is financially independent everywhere.
- Accelerating the training of younger leaders and empowering women.
- Facilitating the Two-Third’s World vision of sending 100,000+ new missionaries to the world.
- Cooperating – especially in reaching the cities.
- Focusing on the most open people group – children and young people.
- Living and preaching a holistic gospel.

Wow. Is this stuff hot or what? I don't know about you, but reading about a delegation of 2000 people from around the world, to meet and create execution and implementation plans around these common goals and issues, that makes me get sweaty.
A few things come to mind as I think about this list. First, the idea of getting churchs to be financially independent is great. We have embraced the wrong idea about missions for too long - this idea that churches outside of the Western hemisphere need us for financial viability. Instead, we need to come alongside these churches with our mission trips, and help them build national, indigenous leaders and help them create cuturally relevant, viable processes and ministries. Many of our mission trips are building a financial dependency by accident. Second, I love this idea of using media for storytelling. Last weekend, two Jehovahs Witnesses stopped by our house. I don't know you feel about them, but when I have time, I enjoy engaging them, at least for a few minutes. However, I'm pretty careful to not invite them into my house. Somehow, when I was a high schooler and had just become a Christian, someone told me of the idea of not to invite evil into your house. Maybe that was just my imagination. Anyway, we talked for maybe 15 minutes. Most of the time, I was feeling like they were salespeople. They were not telling a story about God's glory, how God has this mission to make people whole, how God desires an intimate relationship. Of course, these are JWs. Instead, it seemed like a propoganda drive - let me give you this magazine and that handout. But to reach our culture today, with any kind of spirituality or religion, it's much different than a sales call. Finally, I love the whole notion of church planting. Most of you that read this know that I've been pondering the IMB Church Planting booklet a lot lately. And it just continues to remind me that the local church is the light of the world. The parachurch and community organizations are great, but it seems to me that the viability of affecting a community, culture and locality gets turbocharged when the local church becomes the light.

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