When I first suggested Celebrating Global Mission to Kent Groethe as the working title for this new project last year, it was rooted in the Biblical truth at the heart of the three parables Jesus told about lostness in Luke 15 – the lost coin, the lost sheep, the lost son:
“I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”
— Luke 15:7, NIV
Our purpose is two-fold.
First, to celebrate the diligent, faithful, long term global mission work carried out by Lutheran agencies and churches who are answering God’s call to the nations. We are excited to commend to you in this issue the articles from our partners: Friends of Madagascar Mission (FOMM), Lutheran Bible Translators (LBT), World Mission Prayer League (WMPL), and Awakening Lives to World Missions (ALWM), as well as from Ascension Lutheran in Ames, Iowa – each give a window into their respective global outreach work!
Second, and even more important, CGM exists to rejoice in the fruit of that mission work: as more people come to know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord “from every nation and tribe and people and tongue” (Revelation 7:9)!
That is still the overarching Global Mission assignment given to His Church by our Lord Jesus Christ: to go and make disciples of all the nations (ethne) (Matthew 28:19-20)! The collective focus of Lutheran synodical bodies in the U.S. a generation or so ago included, and rightfully so, “pioneer evangelism,” i.e., bringing the Gospel to those who had never heard it. So, if your only frame of reference for global missions is the past generation during the synodical decline in global mission, and the increasing focus on the “accompaniment” mission model, it might surprise you to learn, for example, that more Lutheran missionaries have been sent to China (including Hong Kong and Taiwan) and India since 1842 than any other countries!
un • reached |adj.|
Not yet reached or contacted, especially by people seeking to convert others to Christianity.
As I wrote in my article in the first issue of CGM on unreached people groups, this term – unreached peoples – the term for where this pioneer evangelism is still needed – has been used frequently in evangelical global mission prayer and planning for nearly 50 years, even though you may have not heard it before.
A Lutheran national leader wrote recently and said, “I have been having Unreached People Groups come across my path through a member of my congregation … who is on staff with Frontiers. So, it was good to hear it being addressed in a publication designed with the Lutheran Family in mind.” Why? One simple answer is that we don’t know what we don’t know, so at times new facts – new truths – break in and change how we view life and ministry.
I was in the Midwest a few years ago, leading our Harvest Connection Seminar at a Lutheran congregation. One of the participants approached me afterward, surprised by the news that there were over 3 billion people in more than 7,400 unreached people groups! She said:
“I thought every country had the Gospel by now!”
I came across an interesting quote in an old, out of print story of three early Lutheran Missionary pioneers who served in China, India and Africa in the late 19th and early 20th century. I had read the book and forgot about this particular idea.
Rev. August Carlson, missionary to India from 1878-1882 died there at age 36. He pleaded regularly with the synod for help, famously saying before his departure in 1878 that: “If I die, don’t mourn for me, but let the memorial be to send hundreds more missionaries!”
What he said then is still timely for CGM today. Rev. Carlson advocated having:
“a periodical devoted wholly to missions, expressing the fear that missionary information might otherwise eventually come to be relegated to a less important place and missions itself come to be looked upon as secondary in importance.”
I say AMEN!
He was right, on and that’s the state of things today. We carry that mantle with CGM!
We have added an important new resource to CGM to assist your global mission growth. Scroll to the footer to see the Unreached of the Day widget. This will help put faces and content, over time, to the meaning of “nation and tribe and people and tongue.” This is still all about lost sheep, one by one, coming home. Scroll to the footer for more information about the people group featured each day, an opportunity to learn and pray. In addition, if you want help with other resources that will help you and your congregation integrate this vital concept into your global mission worldview, write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out the
of the Day
widget in the footer!
I am delighted to share with you this issue of CGM! I encourage you to read the articles, and to share them with friends and congregational leaders at your church. Like us on Facebook and Instagram! Help get the word out about this tool to help us share in the “rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents”!