From Mission Field To Mission Force
While we need to continue sending missionaries overseas, that traditional model is not keeping pace with population growth. We need other ways to complete the Great Commission. This is why we encourage groups who were once the recipients of missionary work to do cross-cultural missions themselves or changing the mission field to become a mission force. This includes America’s urban poor, prisoners, and people from unreached areas of Asia, Africa, and Latin America -- many of whom have come to the U.S. as immigrants, international students, or refugees. We pray and mobilize because Jesus said the harvest is great, but the laborers are few (Mt. 9:37-38).
It’s thrilling to hear stories about these new kinds of workers: Filipino believers moving to the Middle East as domestic workers, Koreans moving to Houston to plant churches among Latin Americans, American prisoners deported to their Asian homelands and are making disciples, young urban leaders in Los Angeles ministering to second-generation immigrants, and Zoom calls from Dallas to develop pastors in Africa. Missions is no longer limited to sending a Western missionary from here to there—ministry is happening from everywhere to everywhere.
On a recent Zoom call one leader said: “There is more being done by migrants right now than by traditional missionaries. And the US is no longer the leader—the Global South is now doing the bulk of the work; marginalized people who understand weakness as the way of the cross rather than reliance on business strategies. Their vitality is re-energizing the Church on every continent, with no signs of abating.” This is the movement of God that we are trying to fan into flame.
One way we do this is by equipping prisoners for ministry in three dimensions. Some will be incarcerated for life but are effective disciple-makers with prisoners from other cultures. Others get released to use their cross-cultural skills to reach the diaspora in our cities. A third group gets deported to plant churches in their homelands. Just this month, Cathy helped one of these men connect with a church in Central America.
This month, please pray for Cathy in her effort to advance this three-part mobilization strategy, specifically that formal ministry training for prisoners can begin in the 38 US states where no such training has started.
Click below to listen to parts 1,2 of the podcast we did recently on prison ministry and pray this month for prisoner ministry training to start in all 50 remaining states.