November 15th, 2014 Christian Standard published an article entitled “How Are We Doing with Missions?” The publication asked five missions leaders in the Christian churches to answer several key questions about missions progress, obstacles, and opportunities.
Although not in the forum of mission leaders that were surveyed, Below you will find the questioned posed by Christian Standard and responses from Tom Kilian , the founder/ director of Mercy Partners, North Carolina that operates in South Sudan, Ethiopia and Uganda.
What are the most hopeful signs regarding international, cross-cultural evangelism you see in our movement today?
Tom Kilian : The fact that the United States is in a post Christian era has stretched our concept of missions. While cultures are rapidly homogenizing we are becoming aware that all Christians shoulder the responsibility to make disciples.This awareness brings hope of interdependent efforts to spread the gospel.
What problems, practices, or attitudes are the biggest barriers to missions breakthroughs?
Tom Kilian : Sustainability is great in concept, however, few missionaries and ministers can duplicate their life among the people they instruct. Paul’s occupational model of tent making provided an opportunity to assimilate with the people he had empowered while truly sustaining his life. Attitudes on engaging in empowering nationals needs an overhaul to the equality that we see in 2 Corinthians 8.
Do you still subscribe to an emphasis on concentrating missions work in the “10/40 Window.” Why or why not? Why has this idea become controversial?
Tom Kilian : No. never had emphasized the 10/40 window. Most of our work has been in an area designated as “Greater Middle East” by the State Department, yet, we had not educated anyone on that fact. Perhaps designations become controversial when they are used as a litmus test to fund missions.
How has the emphasis on “unreached people groups” advanced the cause of the gospel or confused our agenda for missions?
Tom Kilian : My response may seem blunt but I believe we have confused the agenda when we use a GPS to plant seeds. Our agenda should be the agenda given us to make disciples, not groups or calculate the harvest. The “unreached” we should reach are before us, wherever God leads. By making disciples, God will establish His kingdom.
Where are the greatest opportunities for evangelism and/or church planting in the world today? How are missionaries in our movement seizing these opportunities? What opportunities are we missing?
Tom Kilian : Suffering and persecution brings Kingdom growth. Emerging countries in turmoil that need social structure pose great opportunity for evangelism. The gospel brings unity and people in strife identify their need for unity.
We have seized the opportunity to present common language learning among 16 different displaced tribes that meet on Gods word as a foundation for communicating to one another.
Other opportunities are present among near cultures that have been evangelized ( and colonized ) for decades. Post-colonized countries need the simplistic and authentic teaching of New Testament Christianity to dispel confusion. Uganda abounds with opportunity.
How is missions support from Western Christians changing, and how has this affected missionaries’ work?
Tom Kilian : Western Christians are requiring more accountability for support. Large organizations with less personal contact may soon be waining as new church plants in the west perceive themselves as a better incubator for foreign engagement. Servants on the field will need to adapt to strategic partnerships and master communication in exchange for the dignity that was once a given.
What one question about missions would you like to ask the North American church?
Tom Kilian : • How does the North American church view their relationship with missionaries?
•Do you see missions as an extension of your ministry to engage globally or as a expense that is paid out to fulfill the great commission?
•Do you seek equal “ bang for buck” effect on domestic spending as you do world missions?
for the original article and responses : http://christianstandard.com/2014/11/how-are-we-doing-with-missions/
for information on Tom Kilian : http://www.mercy-partners.org
to respond to Tom with comments are questions : firstname.lastname@example.org