Shifts In Christian Missions

Since every nation and every tribe has not heard the good news, the mission of God presses forward with our approaches and methods to Christian Missions under careful evaluation. 
February 6, 2023

Change of Direction 

  • Mission was thought of as something done by those from the West hoping to reach the rest – Unidirectional Approach. 
    •  “From here to there.”
  • As the church grew in other parts of the world, it was clear that mission must be to, in, and from all corners of the world. – Multidirectional Approach.
    • “From everywhere to everywhere.” – Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali
  • The work of the Great Commission is not limited to a few skilled elites, rather it is the task of every person who claims to be a follower of Jesus. 

Change of Approach 

  • As the spread of Christianity continued to expand to new places, missionaries faced challenges such as languages, cultures, and access. 
  • Culture is “the total way of life of a people, composed of their learned and shared behavior patterns, values, norms, and material objects.” [Steinfatt and Rogers p. 266] 
    • In basic terms, culture is the rules of life for a people group.
  • Contextualization – Process and practice of expressing the gospel and living out the life of the church in a new cultural context.
  • Being able to communicate the gospel in the heart language of a person is critical to effective evangelism and discipleship. 
  • Identifying and empowering local partners who will advance the work is critical to ensuring that the missionary task moves forward. 

Change of Focus 

  • Emphasis was given to reaching those who have never heard the gospel before.
    • Total People Groups – 12,010 
    • UUPG – Unreached Unengaged People Groups – 7,221
    • UPG – Unreached People Groups – 3,148
  • The 10/40 Window is the rectangular area of North Africa, the Middle East and Asia approximately between 10 degrees north and 40 degrees north latitude.
    • 5.27 Billion people live within the 10/40 window.
    • 62% of the population live among UPG’s with limited to no access to the gospel.
  • As people began to move from rural villages to cities, urbanization began to affect historical missiological approaches.
    • At the start of the 20th Century, 86% of the population lived in rural areas.
    • By 2050, 65% of the population will live in urban centers.