The whole church reaching the whole world.
Our 360° Vision
We can point to eight areas influencing a society.
In the popular movie “Chariots of Fire,” Eric Liddell’s sister reprimands the Olympic champion for running instead of working as a missionary in China. Eric’s response: “I believe that God made me for a purpose. But He also made me fast, and when I run, I feel His pleasure.”
This attitude is central to how we do missions. When we talk about Christian vocation, we mean a person’s deep passion meeting the deep needs of the world. From educating children in Hungary to growing forests in Madagascar, our missionaries’ unique gifts collide with their sincere faith, creating shalom all across the world.
That’s because we don’t ask our interested missionaries to fit the mold of what they think a missionary should be. We ask them what they love, what they would do if they could pick any kind of work. Once they have identified an area where God has gifted them, we send them to be effective agents of change for the gospel.
We’ve identified eight societal inroads for influence: the arts, media, education, church outreach, family and medicine, science and agriculture, business, and government. From this framework, we strategize how to engage these areas with Christ’s love. It requires the widest range of skills and talents from our missionaries.
When we speak of the “Arts”, we are using it in a wide, inclusive sense. All the skills and mediums of both expression and creation that communicate for entertainment, education, or influence fit into our boundaries of the arts. We can break up our list into a few categories that follow: drama, fashion, literature and writing, music, and the visual arts.
Media is pervasive. Even in a rural village in Africa, you can find cell phones charged with car batteries. God’s purpose for the sphere of media is the transfer of wisdom and the promotion of healthy relationships. Using media for Christ is not new, nor is it new in missions. However, in this world of communications revolutions, media is no longer a side strategy in missions, but a primary player in moving the gospel forward in any city or region.
When we enter another community and plant churches, education often follows as a natural next step. We’ve seen how education transforms not only individuals, but entire communities. As people learn more about the world and gain the skills necessary to succeed in it, we also want to educate their souls.
The picture of the early church in Acts models what we’d like our churches to emulate. When believers gather to learn and worship—helping each other in times of need—the gospel becomes the central part of community. From evangelism and Bible translation, to leadership training and campus ministry, we make Christ known, while also helping others grow in their faith.
Part of our mission in reaching the “Uns” involves the unwanted or marginalized peoples of the world. In our desire to imitate Christ the healer, we give these people the medical and emotional care necessary to be healthy individuals—body, mind, and soul.
One of the central aspects of people’s lives is their work. We believe that God intends men and women be engaged in productive, dignified jobs. We know that gainful employment produces much good, such as increased self-worth, better health and education for kids, stronger families and communities, more local stability and peace, and stronger local institutions.
God has appointed government in order to safeguard justice and defend peace within the nation. Rulers exercise delegated authority in order to serve the citizens whom they govern. Psalm 33:12 says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD.” We need to work so that every nation on earth might know this blessing.
Part of our calling as stewards of the earth means we desire the environment and the people living in it to thrive in every way. This drives our investment in water, solar, and restoration projects, as well as self-sustaining communities.