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IRAN: Former Taliban Executioner Finds Peace

Source: Mission Network News, September 12, 2018

Nazanin Baghestani, the program response supervisor for Mohabat TV, a ministry of Heart4Iran, shares how one night their team received a notable call. The man on the other end of the line wanted more information about Jesus. He told them he used to execute people as a member of the Taliban. He was restless and couldn’t sleep. He would wake with nightmares and couldn’t breathe.

“It took awhile for him to actually realize that Jesus could help him,” Baghestani explains. “This was hard for him to understand. So while we’d talked with him [and] counseled him [he needed more time]. And eventually one night, after we’d prayed and talked with him and read the Word, he slept. And that night he said ‘that was the first night I could sleep in peace.’ And so he found himself actually trying to forgive himself.”

The former Taliban member was excited and continued talking with the counselors and team members at Mohabat TV. Now Baghestani says he is a changed person. Thanks to Jesus’ redemptive work, this man is experiencing freedom in Christ and peace from his sins.

The story is incredible, but it is not the only one.

» Read more.

» See also a report from another broadcast ministry, SAT-7, telling the story of a transformed man, now a pastor, whom God has used to create their first discipleship series for Tajik viewers. (I like the part about the Korean Tae Kwando instructor!)

CHINA: Praying for the Uyghurs

Source: Frontiers USA, September 10, 2018

In August 2016, Xinjiang’s newly-appointed Communist party secretary began instituting hardline policies and passing regulations to strip Uyghurs of even the most basic religious rights and cultural freedoms. Long beards and face veils are now prohibited. Even the act of praying raises suspicion.

In recent crackdowns, as many as one million Uyghurs have been detained. They’re sent to mass internment camps—heavily guarded centers with fortified doors and barbed wire. Inside the internment camps, detainees must withstand unhealthy living conditions, poor nutrition, violence, and torture.

The Communist regime denies the existence of internment camps. Officials insist they’re political education centers, established to fight against religious extremism and terrorism.

Critics, however, say the camps reflect a state policy of cultural genocide and an attempt to erase the cultural identity of 12-15 million Uyghurs.

We praise God for the hundreds of Uyghurs who—in the midst of a living hell—have found eternal hope in Jesus Christ and have placed their faith in him. These faithful believers are suffering.

Please join us in praying for the Uyghurs.

» Read full story. Readers might also appreciate Bob Blincoe’s short but stirring article about what our Spanish-speaking friends call los pueblos abandonados, the abandoned (or unreached) peoples.

» Justin Long’s recent weekly roundups include many links to informative stories about events in China. Take a look.

INDIA: Hindu Extremists Accelerate Clampdown on Christians in Uttar Pradesh

Source: Morning Star News, September 17, 2018

Under the influence of Hindu extremists, police and media campaigns against Christians in Uttar Pradesh state, India has mushroomed since one such attack sent a pastor into hiding last month, sources said.

After false media reports of large-scale, fraudulent conversions of Hindus by pastor Durga Prasad Yadav in Jaunpur District went viral in July, followed by false police charges, there have been multiple area reports of disrupted worship meetings, pastors, and evangelists arrested, and Christian leaders fleeing their homes to avoid arrest.

At least 12 pastors have gone into hiding since [September 13]. Pastor Yadav also remains in hiding, but attendance at his church’s worship services has nearly doubled since Hindu extremists began targeting him and others using state and media machinery.

» Read full story.

EAST ASIA: A Short History of Sharing the Gospel through Medical Work

Source: OMF Billions, September 6, 2018

In the 1970s David, a former Malay soldier with leprosy, received care from an OMF nurse in Thailand [and later said,] “when Minka put my stinking foot on her lap to treat my ulcer, then I knew what the love of God was.”

Medical mission like this has always been part of OMF’s work. Founder James Hudson Taylor grew up working in his father’s chemist’s shop and later took medical training in preparation for service in China. There he found treating people physically also brought opportunities to share about Jesus, the healer of souls.

So in 1866 when the Lammermuir set sail, Hudson Taylor and the first China Inland Mission workers carried with them medicines and equipment so they could set up a hospital and dispensary.

In 1913 Canadian Jessie McDonald became the CIM’s first female doctor. She joined the veteran missionary doctor Whitfield Guinness at Keifeng hospital and served there for 26 years. The CIM hospital was the only medical facility in the area and patients traveled far to be treated. McDonald made a point of treating all patients equally, including in 1939 Japanese soldiers wounded when invading the city.

In 1956 the CIM opened Manorom Hospital, the first medical facility in Central Thailand. The hospital developed particular expertise in treating leprosy. This was widespread in the area and meant social isolation for the patients. However the hospital and its remote clinics welcomed them, even with their sores that no one else would touch, and so they began to feel valued and loved. Through the work the leprosy patients also heard about Jesus and soon a church was formed. In fact, this church was the very first in Central Thailand. Shortly after another church whose members were physically healthy developed. Despite fear of the disease initially separating the members, within a generation the two churches united, showing the reality of the gospel in their lives. Today several leaders of the united church are former leprosy patients.

Today there are around 100 OMF workers serving across East Asia as doctors, surgeons, dentists, and in a whole range of other medical roles. Praise God for the witness of medical mission past and present!

» Full story with pictures. Also read A Gospel-Driven Response to Disability, or check out another article taking a long look at history, this one from our friends at IMB: 10 Ways Missions Has Influenced Africa.

» Want to use your medical skills in missions? Visit MedicalMissions.com and consider attending the Global Missions Health Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, November 8-10. It’s an annual event.

USA: Social Justice and the Gospel

Sources: Various, via Pat Noble

Have you read the newly published statement Social Justice and the Gospel? More than 8,000 have signed it. Whether or not we agree or agree completely, I hope we can agree that the conversation is thought-provoking and necessary. Here are a few responses that made my short list of must-reads:

Also read Worship and Justice: Spirituality that Embodies and Mobilizes for Justice. Thanks to Global Christian Worship for pointing me to this. Check out an infographic from MissioNexus on networks. I thought it was very informative for making a case for the church being involved in social justice.

One more thing. I am presently in Florida waiting for my grandson to be born and had the opportunity to hang out at this cool place that’s all about fighting hunger. Have you heard of them?

New Flavors on Your Local College Campus | Practical Mobilization

New Flavors on Your Local College Campus

By Shane Bennett

In the US, where I live, as the first crisp mornings of autumn begin to dawn, so does the increasingly pervasive presence of pumpkin spice. I’m no historian, but I think this started with pumpkin pie, a yummy dessert that previously only showed its tasty face at Thanksgiving. Now pretty much anything that can be sold will come in a pumpkin-spice option between September and Christmas.

Autumn also brings spice of a different sort. International students from all over the planet bring flavor to our nation’s campuses. What a gift they are! A chance to connect with people from places we’ll never go. The opportunity to learn about cultures from insiders. Sometimes, deep conversations with people who have never met someone who loves Jesus.

Intrigued about reaching out to international students, but feel you have nothing to contribute? Consider this: You live somewhere, right? You speak the local language, right? You know where to get decent food for relatively cheap, right?

Those are the raw materials. Add some curiosity, compassion, and the most precious of all resources, time, and you’re ready to go.

Where to Look

It’s not like hunting mushrooms or good deals at the mall, but let’s face it: international students are probably not going to simply show up unbidden at your door. If they’ve come thousands of miles to our towns, though, a couple phone calls and a 20-minute car drive are probably not too much to ask of us.

Here are three ways to start:

1. International Students Incorporated.

Go to isionline.org to see if they have staff at a nearby school. These guys are great and may have set up connecting events you can attend. They may also be able to introduce you to people who’ve befriended students for years and are happy to welcome newbies to the work.

2. Christian student groups.

Check out campus fellowships like Cru and InterVarsity as well as churches near campus to see if they have connecting points.

3. Not-so-Christian groups.

Do what my friend Grace did. Show up at events sponsored by a school’s Muslim Student Association. This is gutsy, but odds are pretty good you’ll meet some Muslim students.

What to Do 1. Food.

Some time ago, a school near us had a focus on recruiting students from Turkey. We connected with a couple of them and invited them over for dinner. Mulling over the menu, we settled on Turkish food. On the one hand, who does this? Makes someone their own kind of food? It will never be as good as their mom’s version! On the other hand, they hadn’t had it for several months. Maybe anything that comes close would be nice. Not a morsel remained at the end of the meal!

Feeding people is such a broad avenue to their hearts. Any kind of food. A little time on Google will help you avoid what isn’t kosher in their culture. You can do this. And if you can’t, Appleby’s or Cracker Barrel probably can!

2. Fun.

Because conversation may be awkward in the early stages, I like to have something fun to occupy the initial weird spaces. Pick an activity you do not excel at (and for me that list is long). Miniature golf and bowling are two that provide little windows for conversation and ample opportunities for people to laugh at me. A visit to nearby natural beauty spots can work as well.

3. Photos.

“Can you show me pictures of where you live?” demonstrates your curiosity and care. Showing true interest in someone’s life is an amazing way to bless them. Start with questions that are easy to answer, and if you have the time and common language, aim for deeper topics. You probably know this, but asking questions that can’t be answered with yes, no, or a list will elicit longer and more narrative answers. We want to hear their story and share ours.

What to Watch Out for 1. Messiness.

Whenever people from different cultures try to interact, there’s bound to be misunderstanding. And not just language. We approach some of the basic aspects of life differently: time, money, relationships, and more. Below the surface stuff gets crazy. This is all complicated by the varying status roles of student and host and by the fact that each person is trying to adjust to the other while the other is trying to adjust to them. (Maybe it’s better to just stay home and watch TV?)

2. Busyness.

If you initiate a relationship with an international student, be prepared for them to be very busy. This might be because they’re crazy smart, pursuing two master’s degrees simultaneously, and carrying the weight of their family’s hopes and dreams in their book bag.

On the other hand, they might not yet believe you really want them to hang out and busyness is the safest excuse. In many cultures normal people refuse the first one or two invitations out of politeness and accepted protocol.

Don’t give up too soon. This is a bit of a dance and varies according to at least eighteen invisible factors. Our only hope is practice and the Holy Spirit.

But let’s say you’ve met a friend and set a time for them to come to your house. You’re golden—right up until you’re not. You still need to watch out for a few more things:

3. No shows.

Maybe your friend panicked. Maybe they told you “no” in ways that for all the world sounded like “yes” to you. Maybe they just forgot. Say a prayer, eat the food, lick your wounds, and try again.

4. Bonus shows.

Your wife sends you to pick up your two international student friends for dinner at your house. You arrive to see five—no, six—guys standing at the curb! You brought the Suburban, so you’re good to go. Discreetly text your wife and ask her to super-size the rice!

5. Picky eaters.

You know the rules, right? Eat what’s set before you. That’s what sharp cross-cultural people do. We can’t really enforce that in the other direction. Sometimes there are doubts, concerns, and issues that can’t be spoken which will cause people not to eat your food. And though this is hard to believe, maybe pumpkin spice just doesn’t work for them!


If all this sounds like kindergarten to you, great! Could I encourage you to advocate for international student outreach at your church, with your home group or Bible study? We’ve been given a rare and wonderful gift. We have a chance to act like Jesus and provide acceptance, care, and grace to people who are outsiders in our midst. Let’s not miss it.

Subversive Mobilization: A Sneak Peek at October

Jeannie Marie, a friend and colleague, has written a wonderful and winsome book called Across the Street and Around the World. Next month I’ll interview Jeannie and invite you to get your hands on this great new resource.

Before its official launch on October 2, however, you can pre-order the book, get some cool bonus material, and begin to scheme with me about how we might use it.

Jeannie’s the real deal. And if you’ve chosen to read more than one Missions Catalyst article, you’re probably going to love this book.

MUSIC: Urbana 2018 Master Song List

Source: Urbana Student Missions Conference

If you’re an American reader of Missions Catalyst, chances are good you have happy memories of something God did through an Urbana Student Missions Conference. The tagline for this year’s event, to be held in Saint Louis, MO, December 27-31, is “discern your place in God’s global mission.”

Worship leaders put together a playlist of music for this year’s event. Want to listen? Warning: You may have to get up and dance…

» Listen to the music on Spotify or learn more about Urbana. See also Songs That Sustain Mission and click on the links throughout the article (International Mission Board).

» Another student missions event is coming up January 2-5 in Louisville, Kentucky. It’s more focused and is meant for 18-25-year-olds and their leaders. Learn about the CROSS Conference.

DEVOTIONS: YouVersion Reading Plans

Source: YouVersion

Looking for devotional material or Bible studies for your mission team? Here’s a free and easy alternative to creating or purchasing them. The YouVersion Bible app offers hundreds of daily reading plans for your phone or mobile device, some with daily devotionals from a variety of ministries and organizations. You should be able to find one that is the right length and focus for you or your group. A few caught my eye:

  • Discover Your Role in God’s Mission (7 days, Southeast Christian Church). Discover God’s heart for the nations and your role in helping finish the task of global evangelism.
  • God Use Me—Devotions for Your Mission Trip (10 days, Compassion International). Use this plan as your pre-trip planning and post-trip debrief. You’ll find helpful Scripture, insightful commentary from experienced trip leaders, and thought-provoking prayers. Use journaling and discussion questions to dig deeper.
  • Helping without Hurting: The Bible and the Poor (10 days, The Chalmers Center). Explore the depth of God’s concern for the poor and what it might look like for you to answer that call in your own life.

You’ll have to download the app, set up an account, and be logged in to browse the plans. Readers, what other plans would you suggest?

» Comment on this article on our website or Facebook page.

TRAINING: What US Colleges Teach Missions?

Source: Cappex, via Brigada Today

Cappex.com did a study of 137 schools [colleges and universities] in the US offering missions classes and a missiology major. You can filter results by tuition costs, college type, and state (location). You can see stats about the number of students, campus life, and even your chances of getting admitted. In many cases, there are personal reviews and even tweets and pictures. You can also see if the college is affiliated with a certain denomination and, in most cases, start your application directly from the listings. And in some cases, Cappex has negotiated scholarships with the college if you apply through the Cappex site.

» Learn more. Thanks, Cappex and Brigada! The August 12 edition of Brigada Today highlighted a number of resources worth knowing about.

» Editor’s note: Mission training may take many forms. Don’t dismiss the value of more secular degrees and/or experiential training.

DOCUMENTARY: Our Man in Tehran

Source: PBS Frontline

Iran watchers might be interested in this: Thomas Erdbrink is one of the last Western journalists living in Iran. In this two-part series, he takes viewers on a rare journey into a private Iran often at odds with its conservative clerics and leaders. Iranians share their stories, hopes, and fears with him over the course of four years of filming.

I haven’t watched this yet, but a like-minded friend raves, “This was SO good! You will laugh and you will cry, but most of all, it will make you fall in love with the wonderful people of Iran!”

You may be able to watch the documentary online or on your local PBS station/app if you’re in the US. Available on DVD in October.

» Learn more.

» Readers, what other cultural films and documentaries (from a Christian perspective or otherwise) do you recommend? Comment on this article on our website or Facebook page.

EVENTS: Coming up in September

Source: Missions Catalyst Events Calendar

September 3-14, Great Commission Leadership Institute (Chiang Mai, Thailand). Provided by SVM2.

September 3-16, ORIENT (Joplin, MO, USA). Missionary training.

September 3 to January 6, Perspectives on the World Christian Movement (online). New classes start nearly every month.

September 6, A Missionary Pipeline for your Church (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus.

September 6-8, Multiply: Disciple-making Movements Summit (Wheaton, IL, USA). Organized by the Ephesus Partnership.

September 10-14, Global Member Care Network Conference (Quito, Ecuador). Bilingual in English and Spanish.

September 10 to October 6, COMPASS Prefield Training (Palmer Lake, CO, USA). Provided by Missionary Training International multiple times a year.

September 10 to December 9, Encountering the World of Islam (online).

September 13, Spirituality in Cross-Cultural Mission (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus.

September 13-14, Support Raising Bootcamp (Vancouver, WA, USA). Provided by Support Raising Solutions.

September 13 to October 11, Foundations of Media Strategy (online). Mentored course on using social media for deeper conversations and disciple-making, from Mission Media U.

September 17-18, International Orality Network Annual Conference (Orlando, FL, USA). Followed by Simply the Story Orality Training.

September 19-20, Standards Introductory Workshop (Orlando, FL, USA). Presented by Standards of Excellence in Short-term Missions.

September 19-25, Traction (Wilderswil, Switzerland). Renewal conference for men serving cross-culturally.

September 19 to October 17, Introduction to Story in Ministry (online). Mentored course to better communicate the message of Christ (oral, written, or filmed), from Mission Media U.

September 20-22, Missio Nexus Annual Conference (Orlando, FL, USA). Includes lots of side meetings this time; check it out.

September 21-23, Business as Mission Conference (Philadelphia, PA, USA).

September 28-29, People Raising Conference (Oak Brook, IL, USA). Be equipped for raising personal support.

» View the complete calendar. Please let us know about mistakes or omissions. For more details, contact the event organizers.

Can they find freedom in Christ? | World News Briefs

Will you join 100,000 believers from around the world for three days of prayer and fasting (August 19-21) for the 2+ million Muslims on Hajj (August 19-24)?


Before our next edition of news briefs, the annual hajj pilgrimage will have come and gone, so I don’t want to miss this opportunity to offer you fuel for prayer for the pilgrims and for ministry to Muslims in general.

For a good introduction, see First Friday Prayer for the Muslim World: Hajj and the Festival of Sacrifice (SEND International). SEND is one of some 180 mission agencies banding together to ask God to draw 10 percent of the world’s Muslims to himself in the next ten years. Will you pray with them?





MUSLIM WORLD: Freedom in Christ

Source: Bridging the Divide, July 27, 2018

Last month over forty of us gathered to discuss various facets of freedom in Christ, especially as they relate to those coming to faith in him from a Muslim background. We had a substantial and informative time together, in some cases finding more agreement than we had expected. A summary of our interaction can be found on our Core Documents page, and many of the pre-readings and presentations can be found on the BtD 2018 page. Other readings and presentations cannot be shared publicly, but we trust the Lord will use this treasure chest of information for bringing spiritual freedom to many more, for his glory.

» Read full story. I’d love to see someone use the five affirmations in the conclusion of the report to create some prayer points for the whole church. Any takers?

NIGERIA: Behind the Fulani Herdsmen-Farmers Conflict

Source: World Watch Monitor, August 9, 2018

The ongoing deadly clashes between the nomadic, mainly Muslim Fulani herdsmen and the predominantly Christian farming communities of Nigeria’s Middle Belt are often referred to in the mainstream media as “farmer-herder clashes.” The Middle Belt is a farming region, and the advancing Fulani-owned herds have increasingly encroached on croplands.

However, attacks by herder militia now occur with such frequency and apparent organization that the characterization as “communal clashes” no longer seems adequate.

Human rights groups have accused Nigeria’s government and its president, Muhammadu Buhari, of failing to deal with the conflict. An International Crisis Group report has pointed out impunity as one of the root causes of the continuing violence.

Here, World Watch Monitor explains the history of the conflict and why, in recent years, the herders, who once lived peacefully alongside their Christian neighbors, have been responsible for more bloodshed than Boko Haram.

» Read full story and watch the six-minute video.

» Also: Could the Fulani Herdsmen and Boko Haram Be Related? (Mission Network News) and Boko Haram Horror Leads to Life (Assembly of God).

PHILIPPINES: A Sharia State for Mindanao

Source: Barnabas Fund, July 31, 2018

The government of the Philippines is to push ahead with the formal creation of a fully-autonomous region in Muslim-dominated Mindanao, which will include allowing elements of sharia (Islamic) law.

President Duterte is expected to sign the Bangsamoro [Organic] Law later this week. The law, which has been in discussions since 2014, will establish an autonomous region on the southern island of Mindanao. Elements of sharia law are to be incorporated into the justice system.

The Bangsamoro area has a sizeable non-Muslim population. Although it is claimed sharia law elements are expected to only be applicable to Muslims, its incorporation effectively creates an Islamic sub-state within a secular, pluralistic and mainly-Christian country.

The proposal for an autonomous region was included in a peace deal agreed between the government and Muslim rebel groups in 2013, but its implementation has been delayed by successive governments.

» Read full story.

» This bill was indeed signed, though—as a more positive report on this topic points out—the road ahead may be a tough one (Al Jazeera). World Watch Monitor reports some of the responses of Christians.

INDIA: Anti-Conversion Laws Could Be Repealed

Source: Global Christian News, July 18, 2018

Decades-old anti-conversion laws which were targeted against Christians could be repealed in the north Indian State of Arunachal Pradesh.

The state’s Chief Minister, Pema Khandu, told journalists that the legislation “could undermine secularism and is probably targeted towards Christians.”

The law, officially called the Arunachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, was introduced in Arunachal Pradesh in 1978. It imposed a fine of 10,000 Rupees and potential one-year jail term for those who converted or attempted to convert a person through “force or by inducement or by any fraudulent means.” Although the law was aimed to prevent what is known as “forced conversion,” it has been used to target Christian evangelists seeking to share their faith.

The welcome announcement from the Arunachal Pradesh government is a marked contrast to what is happening in other Indian states, where several regional governments have either introduced or are planning introduce similar anti-conversion laws.

» Read full story.

» See also reports of Christians in Uttar Pradesh arrested during prayer after their Hindu neighbors, whose daughter was healed by such prayers, converted to Christianity (Morning Star News). Anti-conversion laws are expected to go into effect in Nepal this month, as well.

USA: Teen Rescued from Trafficking by Postal Worker

Source: Christian Headlines, August 7, 2018

Crystal Allen was found by a postal worker [in Sacramento, California] when she escaped her trafficker’s vehicle on June 8. The 16-year-old was found hiding behind a bush, sobbing, according to Ivan Crisostomo:

“I hear this crying, this really bad crying. So, I went around behind this large, bush-like thing, [a] large tree, and saw this young lady,” he told KCRA 3 [a local television station]. “The girl kept saying, ‘They are coming to get me. They are coming to get me.’ I said, ‘Don’t worry, nobody is going to get you. I’m here for you.’”

Allen was reportedly lured from her group home by a friend into the hands of the captors. KCRA 3 reports, “She was held captive for three months. During that time, she was drugged, beaten, and sexually assaulted.” Allen had been unable to escape, stating that she was often tied to chairs and that there were guard dogs on the premises and people who prevented her (and others) from leaving.

When she was found by Crisostomo, Allen was “in a panic,” according to the postal worker. He eventually persuaded Allen to call her mother and tell her she was all right:

“She was frantic. I didn’t know what was going on,” Allen’s mother said, “I couldn’t even understand her she was so upset and that’s when I told her she had to reach out to someone for safety and she gave the phone to Ivan and he instantly kicked into gear and told me that he would save my daughter.”

» Read full story and pray for this young woman and others like her.

» Did you know Sunday, September 23 is Anti-Human Trafficking Day of Prayer? Learn more or download materials (Salvation Army of Canada).

» See also Is Tbilisi the New Capital for Iranian Sex Workers? (Iran Wire).

Encouraging Developments | Practical Mobilization


Solomon says good news from a far-off land is like water to a weary soul (Proverbs 25). Could you use some? Me too.

This month I want to share with you some developments my friend Robby Butler is seeing as he looks at God’s work around the planet. Robby has spent decades studying the promises of God’s Word, looking at the ways those promises are being fulfilled, and calling believers to participate in fulfilling the Great Commission.

Read on to see why Robby thinks we have reason for great hope in these days.

Give your soul a drink!

Encouraging Developments

By Robby Butler

Behind the global turmoil that preoccupies so much of the world’s attention, God is quietly reaping the greatest spiritual harvest in history, while preparing an even greater harvest.

And at the center of this global outpouring is prayer, along with the intentional pursuit of movements, empowered by the Holy Spirit, to motivate and equip disciples and small churches to reproduce rather than just gather believers to receive ministry.

Following are the most significant developments I have seen over the past year in this global revolution with links to related resources. Suggestions for improving or expanding this list are welcome.

1. Focused Prayer

In May of 2017, global prayer network leaders met with mission leaders to focus prayer on the remaining missionary task. This has birthed a growing global focus on prayer for movements to complete the Great Commission. Watch an inspiring video.

2. Closure Focus

Shortly after this focus on prayer, the 24:14 Coalition formed—dedicated to pursuing movements of rapidly multiplying small churches and disciples in every remaining unreached people and place by 2025. Read about the coalition or watch a video update.

3. New Awareness

The trust environment created by formation of the 24:14 Coalition led many movement leaders to share with each other what God was doing. This jumped the April 2017 estimate (162 movements with 20 million new disciples) to a 2017 year-end confidence of nearly 650 movements with 50 million new disciples. (I detailed this new awareness in a Mar/Apr 2018 Mission Frontiers article, which I later revised and posted here.)

4. Rediscovery of Movements Strategy

The July/August 2018 Mission Frontiers is dedicated to revealing the pivotal relevance to movement practitioners of the parable Jesus himself entitled “The Parable of the Sower” (Matthew 13:18). We have often misunderstood and misapplied this parable to be teaching us what kind of soil or seed we should be, when in fact it points to the strategy Jesus modeled as a sower. Read the articles.

5. Refugee Dynamics

God is using the global refugee crisis to bring blessing to peoples that were previously isolated from the gospel. (Read observations from our 2017 participation in refugee ministry in Europe).

6. Family Blessing

Movements—the Word of God blessing families and other relational networks—are an important corrective to the tendency of most evangelism and church planting efforts to focus on individuals without regard for their family relationships. I excerpted two books on this for the Mar/Apr 2016 Mission Frontiers. My friend Chuck White drafted an article correcting a common misuse of scripture to win individuals away from their families. I hope to have this expanded to a clarification that God’s intent to bless families is the foundation for discipling nations.

7. Fear Exposed

Satan’s hold over most unreached peoples is partly through their fear that Christianity will tear apart their families and communities. Evangelism that pulls individuals away from their families compounds this fear. Movements correct this problem by blessing families. At the September 2017 meeting of the International Society of Frontier Missiology, I presented an adaptation of McGavran’s article explaining this dynamic. Read an updated version.

8. Disparity Recognized

India has long received only the prayer and laborers proportionate to its classification as a country, while in fact India has a larger population and more complexity than most continents. While most countries receive an average of one missionary for every thousand people in their unreached people groups, India receives only one missionary per 46,000. India is home to nearly half the population of all unreached people groups and has more complexity and need than all of Africa. Awareness of this disparity of needs and resources is stimulating increased prayer and efforts toward starting movements on the Indian subcontinent (India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh). Here’s the data.

9. Frontier People Groups

In early 2018, the concept of frontier people groups (less than one Christian family of any kind per 1,000 families) brought fresh clarity to the remaining task. Read about frontier people groups.

10. Prayer Focus Continued

God continues stirring global prayer for movements among the largest remaining frontier people groups. A small team of global prayer network leaders has pulled together a 31-day prayer guide for the largest frontier people groups (revision in process).

11. Reliance on the Holy Spirit

Steve Smith’s Spirit Walk: The Extraordinary Power of Acts for Ordinary People reintroduces the ancient fruitfulness of following the Holy Spirit’s leading in the pursuit of movements.

12. Movement Training Hubs

The 24:14 Coalition update in the July/Aug 2018 Mission Frontiers reports on the significant development of intentional movement training hubs to accelerate the equipping of more disciples to start movements among peoples that most need them.

13. Annual Increase of Believers

If the data I am now studying is correct, for the first time in history the annual population increase of believers will soon surpass the annual increase of non-believers, and shortly thereafter the number of non-believers in the world will start decreasing. See my draft chapter for an upcoming book on the 24:14 Coalition.

Never in history has the Holy Spirit prompted such global collaboration in focused prayer and labor toward biblical, multiplying discipleship among the peoples and places still waiting in darkness.

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus (Revelation 22:20).

Again, I welcome your suggestions for improving or expanding this list.

Thank you, Robby, for this great list. And thank you, God, for the way you are at work in our day bringing the abundant life of Jesus to all peoples.

Adapted from Extraordinary Global Kingdom Developments, June 24, 2018.