The 2012 World Evangelization Conference was lead by guest speaker and former DTS professor Dr. Alvin Low. Dr. Low received his Master’s in Theology (Th.M.) and Doctor of Theology (Th.D.) from DTS. He has spoken in conferences and taught in seminaries in more than 40 countries. He is the author of 16 books, which have been translated into various languages. He now serves as president of ACTS International where his calling is to advance the training of indigenous missionaries for effective ministry and church-planting among the unreached peoples of Asia.
Part 1: Missions as the Mission of the Church
In part one of the 2012 World Evangelization Conference, Dr. Alvin Low defines modern missions by describing its core problem and asking the questions, "What is missons? What are the components of missions?" The world population is currently 55% Asian and in Asia there are at least 6900 unreached people groups, mostly in India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal. In these areas there is no access to a Christian church and there are groups of people as large 56 million that have never heard the Gospel.
What should the missions agenda be in a world where one quarter of the population is unreached with the Gospel? Dr. Low suggests we look at the pages of Scripture and ask ourselves “What did the apostles of Jesus Christ do?” and “What does God want us to do?”
3 Key Components of Missions
- Evangelizing the unreached – One quarter of the world is unreached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Focus missions efforts and resources toward these unreached people groups.
- Equipping the disciples of Jesus Christ – Be involved in training indigenous missionaries who know the culture and language and can gain access to places where other missionaries cannot go.
- Establishing the Church – Every Christian has an important role to play in building up the body of Jesus Christ worldwide. Therefore, we should endeavor to plant churches among unreached people groups.
Part 2: Missions in the Mission Statement
In part two of this series, Dr. Alvin Low explains that God's mission in the world is that people from every nation and tongue will bow in worship before Jesus Christ. Since it is the responsibility of the local church to be about the work of the Lord until He comes again, we need to evaluate current church efforts and set a goal to focus more resources on missions to unreached people groups. A church mission statement that doesn’t include missions is incomplete.
Impact unreached people groups around the world:
5 helpful tips for your church
- Re-examine the church mission statement – What is the mission and core purpose of your church? What are you seeking to accomplish? Does the mission statement include the goal of reaching people in the world who have never heard the Good News?
- Adopt an unreached people group – The Joshua Project has identified 30 different unreached people groups in the world. Pray and then choose an area of the world to focus your evangelization efforts.
- Develop partnerships in foreign countries – Equal partnerships between western churches and indigenous missions efforts is essential. Effective partnerships require trust and willingness to learn from your foreign missions partners.
- Review your short-term missions – Many churches have short-term missions, some are good and some are just a waste of money. What is the purpose of your short term missions program? Find a way to increase the amount of your church budget dedicated to reaching unreached peoples and develop long term strategies for short term missions so it will accomplish the goal God has in mind.
- Pray for God’s purpose and calling in your missions efforts
Part 3: Missions at the Doorstep of the Church
In part 3, Dr. Low points out that at the day of Pentecost recorded in Acts 2, God brought people from every ethnic group to Jerusalem to witness the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and hear the Gospel preached through Simon Peter. Today, God has brought representatives of the unreached people before the doorsteps of the American church. How will the American church respond when God provides an opportunity to reach foreign visitors with the Gospel?
5 potentially unreached groups in your neighborhood
- International visitors – Everyday thousands of students, tourists, and business people come to America. How can your church reach these visitors with the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
- Foreign trainees in the U.S. for internships – When they return to their home country will they take Christ’s message with them?
- International Students – At least one million international students are studying in the U.S. right now. Over 50% of international students are from just five countries: China, India, South Korea, Canada, and Taiwan. These are the future leaders of the world and more than 80% return to their home country without ever hearing the Gospel.
- U.S. Immigrants – Over the last decade millions of people have entered the U.S. as legal immigrants.
- Foreign Refugees – There are displaced people living in communities throughout America, many of them from countries where the Gospel has not taken root.
Part 4: Missions to the Ends of the Earth
In his concluding message, Dr. Low conveys the staggering statistic that there are 5.5 billion lost people in the world represented in about 16,700 different people groups. Over the past fifty years there has been a rise in the number of indigenous Asian, Africa and Latin American missionaries, but the work of reaching the world with the Gospel is not finished.
What are some considerations that affect the goal of missions work today?
- The challenge of the multitudes – With such a large number of unreached people living in closed countries it becomes difficult for missionaries to engage them. Only about 1 in 10 cross-cultural foreign missionaries minister among unreached people groups.
- The compassion of God – God has told us in James 1:27 that pure religion in His sight is caring for orphans and widows. 163,000,000 children in the world are orphans in need of compassion and the saving power of Jesus.
- The condition of mankind – Human trafficking, the AIDS epidemic, Genocide, these are the results of sin and the curse. Pray for workers to go into God’s field and bring the light of the Gospel to hurting people.