A complete mission education and involvement package for your church!
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A Vision for the Nations!
The Incredible Secret Movement!
Something astonishing is happening all over the world that is kept a secret by most of the news media. If you were to ask believers what the most powerful movement is the world was, few would answer: missions. Yet because of the courage and determination, faith and skill of thousands of missionaries, there are thousands of Spirit-fanned “forest fires” going on around the world.
In China there are now about 70,000,000 evangelical believers—growing at rate five times the general population.
In Brazil, there are 30,000,000 evangelical believers with 5,000 new churches each year.
In Korea, millions of Buddhists have come to Christ and the country is now 25% Christian.
In Africa the church is on fire. It’s the first continent to become majority Christian in a single century.
In Nepal, the world’s only official Hindu country, over 100,000 Hindus have met the savior in the last two decades.
In a six year period in one Muslim country two, million Muslims came to Christ, and small churches of former Muslims are being planted by missionaries in dozens of Muslim people groups worldwide.
Finishing the Great Commission: 2 Billion Still Urgently Need Our Help
Tremendous momentum has been achieved in the mission’s movement. In the 14,000 people groups or biblically defined nations where missionaries have planted the church, it is exploding. However, there are an estimated 10,000 (NOTE: This number is expected to be an estimated 8,000 by mid-1997) unreached people groups which still need missionaries to plant Christ’s Church among them. Over two billion people live in these groups and every day 50,000 of them perish without Christ.
The good news is that the Lord Jesus has given his church more than 100 times the resources—in personnel and finances—need to reach these remaining groups. Many mission leaders and strategies feel that these 10,000 groups can actually be reached by the year 2000. In fact, over 2000 denominations and mission agencies worldwide prayerfully have made strategic plans toward this goal. It can be done!
What’s missing? A Vision for the Nations!
Many people aren’t excited about or involved in missions simple because they don’t understand it. A poll revealed recently that 3 out of 4 born-again believers don’t know what the Great Commission is. Not in the past century has the Church in the United States been more desperately need for serious vision-giving and vision building mission education. That is why Vision for the Nations was created.
Introduction to the Leader’s Guide
Missions is not a simple task! The great advances being made on the mission field today are partly the result of diligent study by missiologists in the area of biblical theology, history, anthropology, linguistics, and other social and physical sciences. But don’t get scared. We’ve Taken state-of-the-art missiology and made it understandable for ordinary believers.
One of our primary goals is that each student end up with a clear understanding of two main ideas:
What remains to be done to reach all nations for Christ?
How the Church can do it as soon as possible, even by the year 2000!
We want to give each class member,
1) A solid foundation in what the Bible says must be done,
2) A knowledge of where we are in that task,
3) How missionaries communicate the gospel to other cultures,
4) Key strategies in church planting among unreached peoples, and,
5) How your church or fellowship can become vitally involved in helping to finish the Great Commission.
Once a believer has a biblical, historical, cultural, and strategic understanding of missions, it becomes incredibly fulfilling to work together with the Lord and his Church to reach people who have never had a chance to hear of Christ. Most of the students who have taken this course have ended up with a dramatic new purpose and excitement in their Christian experience, as they join with the global Body of Christ which is seeking to complete the remaining task.
A Simple Format—Let the Experts Do the Teaching . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Each lesson consists of:
A video, approximately 20-25 minutes long, taught by an instructor who is recognized as an expert in his or her field of study and designed to effectively communicate one or two main ideas.
Easy to lead classroom activities and group discussions which reinforce the main ideas.
Step-by-Step Directions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Each lesson is clearly laid out for the class leader and includes the biblical basis for each lesson, lesson objectives, a materials checklist, and all the necessary preparation before the class session. In addition to these, the leader is strongly encouraged to read not only the weekly readings but also the overviews on various key mobilization tools, ministries and networks (found more thoroughly explained in the Mission Mobilizer’s Handbook provided in the Vision for the Nations package). The reason for placing these throughout lessons 1-13 is to allow the leader time to digest each item. It is our intention that over a three-month period leaders will steadily grow in a knowledge of and appreciation
The Vision for the Nations curriculum is based upon the highly acclaimed college-level course Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, which has been a transforming experience in the lives of over 28,000 men and women in the United States, and a similar number in other countries and languages other than English. It has given them a clear understanding of what the Bible teaches is God’s purpose in history and how they can be a part of it. Recently Billy Graham endorsed Perspective on the World Christian Movement with the following quote:
“There is no course of which I know that will inform, inspire, and motivate Christians for world evangelization like the Perspective course. It is written by some of the leading misisologists and missionaries of the world. It will stretch your mind, warm your heart and stir your will.”
Essentially Vision for the Nation is a Sunday school format of the Perspective course, utilizing, on video, some of the best professors that Perspectives has to offer.
Vision for the Nation Views Missions from Four Perspectives
- Biblical Is the Bible simply a collection of topics for our blessing? Or does God have a central purpose that unfolds consistently throughout the book? The Bible takes on breathtaking new meaning as we see that from the time of Abraham until now, God has blessed his people so that through them all the nations of the world can be similarly blessed.
- Historical History finally begins to make sense as we view it as God does. Learn how God does. Learn how God has shaped kingdoms and boundaries, war and peace to enable the gospel of his Son to reach all nations.
- Cultural Hear the exciting story of how God has prepared other cultures to understand the gospel. Learn how missionaries “unlock” languages and worldviews to make the gospel understood.
- Strategic Discover how missionaries daringly plant churches within peoples who live in so-called closed countries. Find out how your church or Sunday school can strategically partner with your denomination or mission agency to help complete task by “adopting” an unreached people group.
It is our prayer that you, your family and your church will find your specific roles in the Great Commission and in doing so fine tremendous joy and daily fulfillment in knowing that your lives are making an eternal difference to those nations currently cut off from the light of the gospel.
Modifying the Lesson Schedule
Two Six-Week Modules
If a church is operating on a six week Sunday school elective format it is suggested that VFN be broken into two six-week sections. This would necessitate the removal of Lesson #5— Four Men, Three Eras, which is briefly covered again in Lesson #6—The Final Frontiers. (Students can easily combine the reading from Lesson #5 with the reading in Lesson #6)
Note: Different “ingredients” are contained in the first half and second half of Vision for the Nations, therefore, consider the following:
The First 6-week study covers mostly the Biblical & Historical elements of World Mission.
The Second 6-week study covers the Cultural & Strategic elements.
It is not recommended that students participate in only one of the two six-week sessions as there are essential elements in each six-week session that a student cannot bypass without significantly diminishing the impact of the course.
Eight– Week Format
Some churches have discovered that the attention span for some people cannot be sustained for as long as 13 weeks. Therefore an eight– week modification has been designed to cover the most essential elements of the VFN study. As suggested above, Lesson#5—Four Men, Three Eras has been removed because its material is briefly covered again in Lesson #6—Final Frontiers.
Follow Lesson #6 with:
Lesson #9—Finishing the Tasks: The Big Picture in World Evangelization
Lesson #12—World Christian Discipleship
Lesson #13—Important Steps for your Church to Take Now!
Nine Week Format
Follow the Eight– Week Course strategy but add Lesson #8—The World Prepared for the Gospel after lesson #6.
For some of what God has been raising up over the last few decades to combat the mission ignorance and apathy that currently plagues the Church in the United States. Ultimately this knowledge should increase your ability to further mobilize within the context of your church, fellowship, or even other churches. When this material is used as a Sunday school elective the leader (s) will need to determine how best to introduce various parts of the material.
Classroom Activities and Group Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Classroom activities and group discussions are designed to clearly reinforce the main ideas of the videos and to stimulate class members to apply the ideas to their personal lives and to the life of their church. We think you’ll find the activities and discussions easy and even enjoyable for you to lead. Groups that meet for an hour and a half can obviously choose to spend more time on discussion questions than groups meeting for an hour or less. Again, be careful to read over and think through the directions before the session.
A Participant’s Reader . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
A participant’s reader has been created to provide the following activities for each lesson:
1) A reflections worksheet, providing questions to answer and topics for discussion,
2) Weekly readings (one or more) that correspond to the video topic, and,
3) Highlights on key mission mobilization resources, ministries and networks. NOTE: These are found in the participant’s reader, usually at the end of the lesson. YOU WILL NEED TO MAKE COPIES OF THÉSE if the participant’s don’t purchase the reader.
Note: It is recommended that you strongly encourage the students to faithfully read their assignments since without these readings students will possibly full to get enough in their “diet” to propel them into life-long involvement in world evangelization.
Additional Materials Included . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The following are additional materials that have been included in the Vision for the Nations package:
A Mission Mobilizer’s Handbook-Some of this material will be found in the Participant’s Reader (see “mobilization highlights “mentioned earlier). The Handbook has been included in its entirety in order to further assist groups that are exploring how to follow through with their new or expanded mission vision.
A sample of the Global Prayer Digest-the GPD is a “generic” devotional and prayer tool that is increasingly being used worldwide in the Adopt-A-People movement. While this tool will be introduced officially in the fifth week of class, you may introduce it and use it for praying for the unreached people group listed on the top of each page. It is also strongly recommended that a bulk order be placed each month for the duration of the class so that each student can get accustomed to using it day by day, month by month. At the end of Vision for the Nations the class will be instructed to utilize it as a helpful tool for daily sustaining their mission vision as well as providing fuel for praying for world evangelization. At that time the class may choose to send in a group subscription. (See the “order information” sheet for details on ordering.)
A sample of Mission Frontiers magazine-the trans-denominational bulletin of the U.S. Center for World Mission in Pasadena, CA, and also the bulletin of the AD2000 and Beyond Movement. A sign-up sheet for your class is included in the Vision for the Nations package. Note: Please sign up only those students who express a desire to receive MF.
After the Class . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
In the appendix at the end of this guide we have provided helpful tips on how to spread the impact of this course to other small groups within your church (or within the influence of your fellowship). Also included is a list of activity suggestions for a monthly mission fellowship.
A Sober Warning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
It would be unfair to those of you who will lead a Vision for the Nations class not to warn you about the spiritual warfare that will likely occur as a result of holding this class. Satan knows well that the disciplining of all nations will bring an end to his kingdom on earth (Matthew 24:14) and it is without question that he puts significant amounts of time and energy into keeping the Church from effective involvement in reaching the remaining unreached peoples.
With this in mind, we urge you to cover in prayer every stage of development of this class. Gather mature believers for prayer from the group to whom you will present it, or find at least one other person with whom you can partner. Pray before the video series is started, during the thirteen weeks it is presented, and after the class is over-when all of you are deciding what to do in response to the vision.
Finally . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
This body of information and inspiration already has a proven track record of seeing thousands of lives filled with a fresh passion and zeal for the Lord and for his worldwide purposes, so be filled with faith. And remember how well our God is able to take what little (or much) we have to offer and multiply it to feed the nations. Blessings!
Meeting Basic . . .
Wherever you meet—in homes, in Sunday school classes, during church training hours-there are some helpful hints in making the most of the session. Below, you will find information that fits different styles of meeting. Some meet for fifty minutes, some for an hour and a half. Whatever the length, focus on catching the vision of God’s purpose through course material and the relationships you have with the participants.
While large groups can readily participate in Vision for the Nations, some of the main learning will occur during activities geared primarily to small groups of three to four. Encourage your participants to break into the same basic groups each time—while incorporating newcomers—to build these vital relationships of encouragement and accountability.
You can facilitate the switching between whole-group and small-group activities by arranging seating in horseshoe-shaped groupings of 3-4 chairs each. (See diagram below.) Participants can view a video, tum their attention to a small group discussion, or give the session leader their attention by simply turning their heads.
The Fifty-Minute Sunday school Format
The Leader’s Guide for each session has a brief inset suggesting a fifty-minute format. Generally, these can only include viewing the video and the discussion of one, or perhaps two, of the activities. If you have opted to utilize the Vision for the Nations Reader, you should end each session with prayer and a strong encouragement to read the articles corresponding to each week’s class.
However, reading through the following 90-minute format may help you to incorporate other possible.
The Ninety-Minute Format
What follows is a basic meeting plan to maximize the effectiveness of Vision for the Nations. Follow or modify it as you deem best. You will have to work hard to keep the meeting down to an hour and a half!
- The Opening (5minutes)
¨ Singing and Welcome
Gather with one or two songs, appropriate to the group.
As you welcome newcomers ,always take time to reiterate the purpose of Vision for the Nations: to lean what God is doing and to cooperate with him and others to establish “A Church for Every People by the Year 2000!”
Each time, briefly declare how the session fits into that purpose as a biblical, historical, cultural or strategic part of the vision.
- The Lesson (40-50 minutes)
If you have not provided Vision for the Nations Readers, you’ll need to photocopy enough of the Activity Sheets for your expected attendance each session. Specific instructions for this segment appear in the Leaders Guide. Learning activities sometimes alternate between whole-group and small-group exercises. Adapt the suggested learning activities to your group and time structure.
III. Response (20-30 minutes)
¨ Responding to the Lesson
As a whole group or in small groups, share responses to what has been covered in the lesson period. Emphasize application of insights.
¨ Responding to God’s Global Work
One of our responses to what God is doing is to learn more. By the second session, direct a participant to highlight a particular country listed in Operation World (choose a country that has at least some unreached people groups listed). Do the same for the third session and by the fourth session direct a participant to read from the appropriate entry in the Global Prayer Digest.
At subsequent sessions, a volunteer can report from Operation World on the home country of the people featured in the Global Prayer Digest on that session’s date. Your group will then turn to small groups to read through that date’s Global Prayer Digest entry.
¨ Responding in prayer
In these small groups, you’ll spend time in prayer for:
- a) The unreached people group featured in the Global Prayer Digest,
- b) An adopted people group, and
- c) Growth in mission awareness and involvement.
¨ Responding in giving
A key response of obedience and worship to the Lord is financial giving. While the whole group sings a song of victory and celebration, you’ll collect a Loose Change Offering for your group’s (or church’s) use in frontier missions.
These proceeds can be used to purchase materials such as the Global Prayer Digest, to fund special frontier mission projects and ultimately-for some churches -to support a team to your adopted people group. Be sure to follow your church or fellowship guidelines on taking offerings.
- Organization (2-3 minutes)
To conserve time and thus interest, most of your Vision for the Nations course details should be handled outside the session time.
In-session organizational activities might involve:
- assigning next session’s Operation World report
- assigning a volunteer to read an excerpt from Operation World or a missions book during a church service sometime this month
- making any necessary announcements,
asking for volunteers to help with set up, refreshments, songs, clean up, etc.
- discussion and “voting on” group project
(Details of the projects should be discussed outside the session.)
- passing out that month’s Global Prayer
Digest. Everyone takes it home as a personal and family guide to praying for the unreached peoples.
- Sharing (10 minutes minimum)
This final time for accountability is a critical element for the success of Vision for the Nations. Using the small group format, participants will commit themselves to be accountable to each other throughout the Vision for the Nations course. Direct them to share and pray for each other’s roles in fulfilling God’s program of making disciples of all the peoples of the earth. You might set up a “buddy” system and have them contact each other weekly to encourage accountability in prayer, mission reading giving to frontier missions. and collecting loose change for giving to frontier missions.