Perspectives on the World Christian Movement (Perspectives) is a 15 weeks course about the global purpose of Christians, designed around four vantage points or “perspectives” – Biblical, Historical, Cultural and Strategic. The course has the objective of opening the eyes of Christians to the vision that God has a “world-size” role for every believer in His global mission. The point of this course is to simply show practical examples of how missions can be done wisely and well, against the background that God will fulfill His promises.
Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples! (Psalm 96:3).
I have embarked on the Independent Study Online format of the Perspectives study program and will periodically share a perspective on different lessons.
Lesson 15: World Christian Discipleship – In this the last of the 15 lessons I was challenged to go on from the course. Some questions were raised and answered, such as: What does it mean to be a World Christian? Why a “wartime” lifestyle? What qualities do I lack for missions work? and in pursuing missions should we start a new mission structure or formed a partnership. In general this lesson was about the vision that can integrate our lives with God’s global purpose.
There is the assumption that if we make do with less, then poor people somewhere else in the world will have more. This can be of particular interest because many nations who don’t have a church or haven’t yet heard the Word of God could be defined as poor. Persons who are Christian are in constant conflict against evil. In this war there is a preferred lifestyle for Believers. Ralph Winter (author in Perspectives on World Christian Movement) believes that ultimately, worthy “wartime lifestyles” are not built around deprivation in order to bring equality. Instead it is focused on better allocation of resources for God’s kingdom victory. The bonus he points to is living free from the “self-inflicted damage of traditional American lifestyles.” The “wartime lifestyle” is important in the life of a World Christian because World Christians are day-to-day disciples for whom Christ’s global cause has become their integrating, overriding priority. A World Christian lives a purpose-driven life that is concerned about the live of all people on earth including the poor.
What qualifications do I lack?
Greg Livingstone (author in Perspectives on World Christian Movement) posits that when people ask themselves the question: “What qualifications do I lack?” They could be falling into the all-or-nothing false dichotomy after all. If you think that you must be willing to live in poverty like Mother Teresa, or do exploits like an evangelical “India Jones,” you’ll likely disqualify yourself from being used as instruments of God. This mind set is distracting and unproductive. Livingstone instead recommend that we ask “What might I contribute to a church planting team?” Because it highlights God’s strength and not our weakness. He proposes this because he believes that it opens us to God showing how we can be part of enacting a new chapter in history among a people who still know nothing of Jesus. Also he explains that that great things can come about when average people combine what they have with others by asking not “What do I lack?” but, “What might I add to a team effort?”
Start a mission structure or form a partnership
George Miley (author in Perspectives on World Christian Movement) posit that “Churches who push on toward fruitful church planting do one of two things regarding structure.” They either started a new mission structure or formed a partnership with an existing mission structure. In either case, some organizational entity serves as conduit for the release of the church’s vision, energy and capacity. Mission to unreached peoples requires apostolic or sodality structures. Local church are primarily pastoral or modality structures designed to nurture its members avoiding risks in bringing its members to spiritual maturity. On the other hand an apostolic structure is designed to carry out the mission of extending the Kingdom. It focuses on initiating plans, taking risks and perseveres against great odds to extend God’s Kingdom. This means then that the local church would not be structurally ideal to take on mission work. Using a missionary focused structure would be more productive.
For me, this lesson taught that to push on toward fruitfully reaching the unreached we must: understand that “wartime lifestyle” is important in the life of a World Christian, highlight God’s strength and not our weakness, and either start a new mission structure or form a partnership with an existing mission structure.
My spiritual has been immensely enriched having gone through these 15 lessons. My positions as Husband, Father, Christian, Pastor and Missions Coordinator have certainly be strengthened having been exposed to this material. I strongly recommended this course to all Christians. You may not know where God will call you to serve in the future, but you can draw closer to Him. The better you know God the more in tune you will be to what He is doing and your place in that plan. God wants his name praised among all peoples of the earth.
“This Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations . . .” (Matthew 24:14; 28:19-20)
Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus
– Garfield Miller, Missionary Society (Jamaica)