What's In This Course?
The course is designed around four vantage points of "perspectives"-Biblical, Historical Cultural and Strategic. Each one highlights different aspects of God's global purpose.
The Biblical and Historical sections reveal why our confidence is based on the historic fact of God's relentless work from the dawn of history until this day. That's why the essence of this course is the record of what God has been unfolding for thousands of years toward a certain, and perhaps soon-coming, culmination. As we wind our way through history, we will meet the largest and longest-running movement ever in history- the World Christian Movement. You will find that virtually every innovative approach you can think of has been attempted by those who have gone before us. We are in league with the most substantial movement of creative and self-sacrificing people the world has ever seen.
The Cultural and Strategic sections underscore that we are in the midst of a costly, but very "do-able" task, confirming the Biblical and Historical hope.
The Biblical Perspective
1. The Living God is a Missionary God
God's purpose is three-fold: against evil-kingdom victory; for the nations-redemption and blessing; and for God-global glory in worship. God's purpose revealed in promise to Abraham. Exploring God's purpose for the nations: Blessing to the nations described.
2. The Story of His Glory
Exploring God's purpose for Himself: How God has been steadily unfolding a plan throughout all nations and generations to bring about His greater glory, ultimately drawing to Himself the worship of all the peoples. Passion and prayer for God's glory.
3. Your Kingdom Come
Exploring God's purpose regarding evil: How God has accomplished a defeat of evil powers in order to open a season of history in which the nations can freely follow Christ. The kingdom of God as the destiny of all history. Christ's mission seeks a hindering of evil to bring about a sign of the coming peace of the kingdom of God. Our prayers contend with evil in order to bring about the transformation of society with Christ's kingdom in view.
4. Mandate for the Nations
Jesus shows great strategic interest in Gentiles; wise strategic focus by initiating a global mission on a few disciples among the Hebrew people. The Great Commission and the ways of God's sending in relational power. Dealing with the ideas of pluralism (all religions the same) and universalism (all persons saved).
5. Unleashing the Gospel
The first followers of Jesus: obedient in costly, foundational ways. The climactic act of book of Acts is the freeing of the gospel to be followed by Gentiles without Jewish traditions as a requirement. A foundational act of God which speaks to the situations where the gospel is hindered today. Strategic suffering and apostolic passion.
The Historical Perspective
6. The Expansion of the Christian Movement
The story of God's purpose continues relentlessly from Abraham's day until the present moment. An
overview of the largest and the longest-running movement ever in history-the world Christian movement. How the gospel surged through the peoples and places of the world. Important insights for our own day.
7. Eras of Mission History
The most greatest explosion of growth ever has taken place in last 200 years in three "bursts" of activity. Why we could be in the final era of missions. The global harvest force comprised increasingly of non- Western missionaries.
8. Pioneers of the World Christian Movement
Today we anchor the race by continuing what others have begun. It's a day of finishing. All the more reason to learn the wisdom and the heart of ordinary people who did extraordinary things in earlier generations. Reading the writings of William Carey and other leaders to discern what these people have left to us. Exploring the contribution of women in missions throughout the centuries.
9. The Task Remaining
God's pressed His purpose forward until the present hour of amazing opportunity. Understanding the concept of "unreached peoples" to assess the remaining task. Recognizing the imbalance of mission resources shapes strategic priorities. The basic minimal missiological achievement in every people group opens the way for working with God against every kind of evil so that the gospel of the kingdom is declared and displayed with clarity and power. The need and opportunity of urban mission.
The Cultural Perspective
10. How Shall They Hear?
Culture and intercultural communication of the gospel. Communicating the gospel with relevance at the worldview level helps avoid syncretism (blending of cultural error with God's truth) and also enables powerful movements of the gospel. Sensitive missionaries will look for ways that God has preserved or prepared people to hear the gospel, often finding redemptive analogies for God's truth.
11. Building Bridges of Love
The incarnation as a model of missionary humility. How missionaries can enter appropriate roles in order to form relationships of trust and respect to develop a sense of belonging, and thus to communicate with credibility for understanding. Recognizing the dynamics of social structure in order to initiate growing movements of ongoing communication throughout the society.
The Strategic Perspective
12. Christian Community Development
A survey of world need. Dynamic balance of evangelism and social action. Hope for significant transformation as a sign of Christ' s Lordship by Christian community development. Exploring the charge that missionaries destroy instead of serve cultures. Healing the wounds of the world between the peoples.
13. Spontaneous Multiplication of Churches
Church planting which saturates and moves throughout a people group as a people movement is anything but happenstance. Missionaries can plant multiplying churches that reach entire families and communities. The vision for saturation church planting.
14. Pioneer Church Planting
The hope of planting churches among unreached peoples. How the breakthrough of the gospel in an unreached people requires that the gospel be "de- Westernized." The difference of contextualizing the message, the messenger and the movement.
15. World Christian Partnership
What it means to integrate life for Christ's global purpose. Developing a war-time lifestyle. Exploring the roles of going, and sending. Mobilization as a strategic aspect of the most effective sending. Wisdom in pursuing partnerships with local churches, mission agencies, non-Western missions and more. Seeking and knowing God's will with matters of cause vs. career. Doing our utmost and seeking His highest. Practical hope and wisdom to live for God's global purpose.