Center for World Missions

Dr. Cox PresentationsMissions Seminar

For Elders and Missions Committees
Monte Cox Ph.D.

Lesson 4: WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

A. CHOOSING A FIELD: LEARNING TO LOOK AT A COUNTRY

1. People groups

a. Two types:

1) ethnolinguistic

2) sociologically defined

b. Most countries are actually mosaics comprised of many

different people groups. Example: Togo

c. Three levels of evangelism

1) E-1 = one member of same ethnic group to another.

2) E-2 = a member of one ethnic group to one in a different ethnic group, but within same language group.

3) E-3 = a member of one ethnolinguistic group to one outside that group.

d. High priority on "hidden people" groups: where E-3 evangelism is required, but not happening at the moment. How many are there?

2. Targeting people groups: theologically?

a. Matt. 28:18-20, “ta ethne”

b. Jesus' instructions: "to the Jews first . . ."

c. Rev. 5:9 "from every tribe and language"

3. Targeting people groups: practically?

a. Such "cultural specificity" leads to more long-term productivity because:

1) communication takes place in the heart language

2) indigenous leaders are raised up

4. On the other hand . . .

a. People group focus can lead to ungodly segregation if it continues too long.

b. People group approach is less suited to cities

B. URBAN MISSIONS

1. Shouldn't we target major cities assuming that influence flows from the city to rural areas, not vice versa?

a. Questioning the assumption.

b. Resolving the debate between urban or rural: we need both.

2. Strategizing for cities

a. Different types of city churches in the Southern Hemisphere:

1. City-center churches

2. Neighborhood churches

3. House churches

4. Ethnic churches

5. Rural churches

6. Street corner churches

b. Urban strategy must take into account five problems that complicate urban ministry in the South.

1. The fast pace of urbanization

2. Over-urbanization

3. Urban "schizophrenia"

4. Transient populations

5. Urban poverty

C. RECEPTIVITY AS A CRITERION FOR FIELD SELECTION

1. Different types of evangelism:

a. Presence: just Abe there@ doing good in Jesus= name

b. Proclamation: just scatter seed

c. Persuasion: make disciples

2. In the New Testament

a. Jesus' teaching

1) Matt. 9:35-38

2) John 4:34-38

3) Matt. 10:11-16

4) John 10:16, 25-27

b. Practice of the early evangelists

1) Acts 13:46-51

2) Acts 18:6

3) Acts 19:8-10

4) Acts 28:28

D. RECEPTIVITY INDICATORS

1. Sogaard's two-dimensional model

Fig. 3--Sogaard=s receptivity indicators

2. Other indicators.

a. Inadequate world view of the target culture, as indicated by:

1) culture in great transition

2) shifting political situation

3) recent actual church growth

b. Percentage of "unchurchedness" in population

1) low level of churchedness

2) recent actual church growth

c. High homogeneity

1) low mobility; high mobility leads to low homogeneity (exception: new permanent settlements)

d. Relative fit of Christianity with target culture

*Note: Sometimes, previous ineffective methods are to blame for an apparent lack of receptivity.

E. OTHER FIELD SELECTION CRITERIA

1. Restricted or unrestricted entry?

2. Construction or reconstruction?

3. Rural or urban?

4. Long or short term?

5. Livability?

6. Giftedness of workers?

F. RESOURCES FOR RESEARCH IN MISSIONS

1. Center for World Missions, Harding University. Check out the web page at harding.edu/missions.

2. Patrick J. Johnstone, Operation World (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2001). Brief, up to date articles and statistics on each nation of the world.

3. ATLA Religion Database on CD-Rom. Includes Religion Index One: Guide to Religious Periodicals. Articles on mission work in various countries of the world published in religious journals.

4. David B. Barrett, World Christian Encyclopedia. (Nairobi: Oxford University Press, 2000).

5. Information Please Almanac, Atlas, and Yearbook 1997 (Boston: Houghton/Mifflin Co., 1997).

6. Mac Lynn, Churches of Christ Around the World (Nashville: Gospel Advocate, 1990).

7. Restoration Serials Index, for information on specific mission works by churches of Christ in other nations.

8. Missionary newsletters. Call or e-mail the Missions Department of one of the Christian Universities.

 

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