What Should Be our Priorities in Making Disciples of All Nations

Okay, I want to be simple here. First, super grateful for your prayers. I thought there would be no way for me to finish this paper - to stay awake. I even got in bed.  But as I started reading, my energy was renewed. Twenty pages finished. The paper?

"World Evangelization in the 21st Century: Prioritizing the Essential Elements of the Great Commission" by Paul Eshleman on behalf of the Lausanne Strategy Working Group (LSWG).

The paper is simple and crucial. It seeks to say to the Global Church, "As we look at the work of mission in the world today, here are the things that should be our top priorities." It is specific, Biblical, and compelling.  I read it with the eyes of a pastor, church planter, missionary, and ministry leader.  If you find yourself occupying one of those roles, read this paper.  If you are a disciple of Jesus concerned about the Great Commission, read it.

There is a lot I could say here and there in response to the LSWG paper.  However, I want to limit my comments to several specific questions that came to my mind as I thought through these priorities and specific calls.  I kept asking how this related to Trinity International Baptist Mission.  What is God saying to us?  I am expecting God to speak in powerful ways to me and to my context of ministry.  So, it is important that I bring my ministry and every component of it to the table.  I challenge you to do the same with your church or ministry as you read the LSWG paper.  Here are the questions I am beginning to ask (note: TIBM refers to Trinity International Baptist Mission and all our related ministries):

1. Can TIBM recruit and deploy one team tasked to produce an "Oral Story Bible" for one of the 2,252 language groups that still do not have one verse of Scripture in their language?

2. Can TIBM drastically increase our intentional and strategic distribution and use of the Scripture?

3. Can TIBM recruit and deploy one full-time worker to go to one of the 2,365 people groups (with populations over 5,000) that are totally unengaged with the Gospel?

4. Can TIBM launch a new ministry focused on reaching out to members of a major religious group that we aren't currently engaging?

5. Can I effectively teach effective Bible storying and narrative preaching to those I lead and mentor?

6. Can the entire TIBM team get trained in orality ministry?

7. Can TIBM start more churches where there are actual needs?

8. Can TIBM become a "house of prayer for the nations" - developing a 24/7 missional prayer ministry?

9. Can TIBM form new boundary-crossing partnerships that result in extending God's Kingdom?

10. Can TIBM become for faithfully mobilized in compassion ministry?

11. Can TIBM be renewed and refilled by the Holy Spirit?

12. Can TIBM become more effective and intentional in mobilizing followers of Christ to pray, give, and go for God's global mission?

13. Can TIBM become thoroughly and constantly informed as to the status of God's mission in the world?  Can we increase our access to and use of resources like Christian World Encyclopedia, Operation World, Ethnologue, Joshua Project, People Groups, and more?

14. Can TIBM conduct regular research and produce reliable results that are helpful to the Body of Christ?

And that's it. I am particularly looking forward to the plenary session on this topic and the interaction around the tables.  Let's pray that God will give us very clear direction.

1 comment:

  1. Here are some of my thoughts after having read the LSWG paper and after looking at your questions.

    I certainly hope and pray that TIBM can be renewed and refilled by the Holy Spirit. If not, there doesn't seem to be much of a point in the rest.

    I think a good first step for several of these issues would be regular and persistent intentional prayer (as individuals and also as a church/ministry team). Specifically, I believe we should pray for those without Scripture (Wycliffe has that priority list) and for those considered UPGs.

    Related to this, I think it would be a good investment for us to buy the new Operation World. There is a professional edition eBook DVD-ROM thing with some reproducing rights that could be useful for church, Sunday School, youth group, and other discipleship settings. This would be a good tool to help inform our prayers and to mobilize others to pray.

    Also, I don't know that TIBM church/ministry team could become a 24/7 house of prayer for the nations all by ourselves, but we could try having a regularly scheduled prayer meeting devoted specifically to praying for the nations. I think in the not so distant future we could be part of an almost 1/7 house of prayer with the bigger TIBM sphere (Tensae, KBC, TPM, etc.)

    For Oral Story Bible/orality: I think we should all get trained. By we, I mean TIBM-ers and leaders/committed others from Tensae, KBC and TPM. I think this would be tremendously helpful in many settings.

    For finances: We can be more intentional about getting Scripture to those who need it and moving toward new works. We could tweak the TIBM budget and/or hold regular offerings (or maybe Cape-Town-Carl-it) to set aside the money.