A Fresh “Macedonian Call”

– By Stan Parks and Dave Coles

What is the most strategic role you can imagine for a Jesus follower in the Western world who wants to see all peoples reached with the gospel as soon as possible? 

Today, God is rapidly advancing His Kingdom among unreached peoples through Church Planting Movements. These movements are indigenous and moving by the power of God’s Spirit, so they don’t need Westerners to build something from scratch or play a leading role. However, in the midst of the amazing explosion of disciples making new disciples, some movement leaders have given a fresh “Macedonian call” for disciples from the outside to “come over and help us.”  

A great many things need to be done, but they vary from one movement to another, and sometimes from one year to another within any given movement. Distant-culture workers can play a vital role in strengthening and deepening a movement, and/or in assisting a movement to expand and catalyze fresh movements among other UPGs. The key lies in a willingness to serve the needs being felt and expressed by movement leaders. They don’t need outsiders showing up with their own plans and ideas. They want people humble enough and flexible enough to do whatever needs to be done. 

In some cases, this might involve a specialized skill, but more often it involves applying a basic-level skill in an area of need. 

Possibilities include:

  • Communication 
  • Job and business training
  • Computer and technical support
  • Video/Audio recording and/or editing
  • Fundraising that does not create dependency
  • Social media
  • Prayer and mobilizing prayer
  • International networking
  • Hosting vision trips
  • Administration help
  • Hosting/Supervising outside interns
  • Disaster response services
  • Medical service and equipping medical response
  • Anything and everything needed

In many cases, the movements cannot give a specific job description, as their needs keep changing. Or they may start with a specific need, but circumstances change the needs. They want people who are willing to do whatever is needed. 

A Movement Servant will help increase the capacity of the movement to go further and faster, to become even more effective in advancing the movement(s) in which they are involved. 

Consider, for example, the kingdom impact of working with a movement of 8,000 churches that has minimal computerization. They need help setting up a computer system for tracking church health and distribution, which will also help them know which peoples and places are still untouched by the gospel. This assistance brings the potential to reach tens of thousands more people and plant thousands more churches within a few years.

We can share a few examples of people serving movements. For one large family of movements, some translation experts currently supply help from the outside for movements translating Scripture. These movements are in areas that an outsider cannot enter due to political or religious realities, but the service of technical and translation experts has been invaluable to help those in that area do a church-based, computer aided, expert assisted translation process. These professional translators have allowed God to change their paradigm from personally doing the translation to helping “amateurs” in the movement learn the skills and group processes that will produce an excellent translation.

In another movement with over 300,000 believers in a very large geographical area, some Westerners (who are not professionals) are helping with video editing. They work with movement leaders to produce short leadership training videos that can be shared from phone to phone. 

A third example comes from a Kingdom Business project where outsiders help movements identify near-culture gaps needing movements. They assist with business training, prayer and supplemental fundraising as movement families relocate and re-start businesses to sustain them long-term in reaching the new group. This has already resulted in reaching many new population segments.

What kind of people can fulfill the Movement Servant role? The essential qualifications, skills and experience include:

  • Follower of Jesus 
  • Trying to be a disciple maker
  • Advocate of CPM principles 
  • Good people skills
  • Willing to submit to non-Western leadership
  • Willing to learn local trade language (at an appropriate level)
  • Willing to learn and be sensitive to a new local culture(s)
  • Faithful to keep commitments; a person of honor and integrity
  • Willing to do whatever they can to serve the expansion of God’s kingdom

Jesus said, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant” (Matthew 20:26). What if the most effective thing you could do truly looked like being a servant? What if your best way to reach the unreached involved an assortment of jobs, chosen and assigned by someone from another culture? Would you be willing to lay down your life and some of your preferences in order to play a role in rapid kingdom multiplication among the unreached? Movements are already moving, and you’re invited to play a part in increasing their growth. 

If you’re interested, please contact us via this form. We already have relationships with networks of movements – in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. We cannot guarantee connection, but we will do everything we can to help you find a group who is looking for Movement Servants. 

Take a moment to thank God for what He is doing through movements in our day. Thank Him for the spontaneous multiplication of movements planting other movements among the unreached. Then ask Him what role He might want you to play. May the Lord guide you and use you for His glory, to the ends of the earth.

“That Was in My Dream!”

“That’s the same message someone told me in my dream!” *Sue’s Muslim friend, *Masha, exclaimed after Sue shared some verses from Philippians with her.

“Wow,” Masha marveled, “God truly does see everything!”

Sue felt encouraged. Earlier in the week, she had discussed those verses with her house church. One of the questions they always ask is, “Who does the Father want me to share this passage with?” When Sue pondered that question, God brought Masha to her mind.

Sue has known Masha since first moving to her Middle Eastern home. She has shared Bible stories with her and has interceded for her many times. Masha had always been polite but never very interested, so Sue felt a bit nervous to share with her again.

“I thought I was just being obedient,” Sue says, “which is worthwhile, since I want to sow lots of seeds to find people open to the gospel. But this really motivates me to ask the Father with whom He wants me to share.” 

Pray for encouragement  for our field workers as they seek the Father’s guidance in everything they do. Pray they will be reminded daily that their role is to faithfully obey; God’s role is to bring in the harvest! 

*pseudonyms

What Has God Done in YOUR Life?

Our Tibetan-Himalayan team practices 30-second testimonies. They train and model this tool for the followers they disciple. This simple and reproducible evangelism tool can easily transition into spiritual conversations with lost people. Their teammate *Priscilla shared the following example:

I was stuck in India’s very strict lockdown. God had provided temporary housing for my family, but my children were at school in another district, and it was illegal to cross district lines without specific permission. But I found a willing taxi driver and set out to get my kids. 

We passed through checkpoint after checkpoint, arguing our way through each time. As we approached the big district border, I became nervous and began to pray. “God, please help me through the border to pick up my children. Please close the eyes of the policemen.” 

Minutes before we reached the border, the wind began to howl, and a heavy monsoon rain pounded the earth. The policemen ran for shelter and did not stop our taxi again! God had answered my prayer.

After sharing a testimony like this, disciples ask, “Would you like to learn more about the God who answers prayers? Would your family and friends like to hear about this God too?”

What has God done in your life? What story could you share at the grocery store, the ballpark, or in your neighborhood?


*pseudonym

Movements Start Movements in the Middle East

– By “Harold” and William J. Dubois –

When the encrypted message came across my phone, I was stunned by its simplicity and boldness and humbled again by the words of “Harold,” my dear friend and partner in the Middle East. Though a former Imam, Al Qaeda terrorist and Taliban leader, his character has been radically transformed by the forgiving power of Jesus. I trust Harold unconditionally. Together we lead a network of house church movements in 100+ countries called the Antioch Family of Churches.

The day before I had asked if any of our former Muslim, now Jesus-following brothers and sisters would help rescue Yazidis. He replied:

“Brother, God has already been speaking to us about this from Hebrews 13:3 (NLT) ‘Remember… those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.’  Are you willing to stand with us in rescuing persecuted Christians and Yazidi minorities from ISIS?”

What could I say? We have a deep bond to walk the same path with Jesus. Together, we train leaders who multiply our passionate surrender to Jesus, carrying His message of love to the nations. Now Harold was asking me to step deeper into rescuing people from slavery to sin and the horrific crimes of ISIS.

“Yes, Brother, I am ready. Let’s see what God will do.”

Within hours, teams of trained, experienced local church planters from the Middle East volunteered to do whatever it would take to rescue people from ISIS. What we discovered changed our hearts forever.

God was already at work! Broken by the demonic, barbaric actions of ISIS terrorists, Yazidis began pouring into our “Community of Hope Refugee Camps.” We mobilized local Jesus-followers to provide free medical care, trauma counseling, fresh water, shelter and protection. One movement of Jesus-following house churches lived out their faith to impact another people. 

We also discovered that the best workers came from nearby house churches. They knew the language and culture and had the heartbeat of evangelism and church planting. While other NGOs had to restrict their faith message, our non-formal church-based efforts were filled with prayers, Scripture readings, healings, love and care! And because our team leaders had been lavishly forgiven by Jesus, they lived completely surrendered and filled with courageous boldness. 

Letters began to pour in:

I am Yazidi. For a long time the condition of my country has been bad because of war. But now it is worse because of ISIS.

Last month they attacked our village. They killed many and kidnapped me along with other girls. Many raped me, treated me like an animal and beat me when I didn’t obey their orders. I begged them, “Please don’t do this to me,” but they smiled and said, “You are our slave.” They killed and tortured many people in front of me.

One day they took me away to sell me. My hands were tied. I yelled and cried as we walked away from the men who sold me. After 30 minutes, the buyers said, “Dear Sister, God sent us to rescue Yazidi girls from these bad people.” They had purchased 18 girls.

When we arrived in the Community of Hope camp, we understood that God sent His people to save us. We learned that the wives of these men gave up their gold jewelry and paid for us to be free. Now we are safe, learning about God, and have a good life.

(From a leader of one of our Community of Hope Refugee Camps.)

Many Yazidi families have accepted Jesus Christ and have joined in serving their own people. This is very good because they can share in their own cultural way. We are praying for the affected people that God will provide for their needs and protect them from the Islamic fighters. Please join us in prayer. 

A miracle had begun. A movement of surrendered Jesus-followers from nearby nations – all formerly trapped by Islam – had been freed from sin to live for Jesus. They were giving their lives to save others. Now, a second movement of Jesus-followers has begun among Yazidis. 

How could this happen? As D.L. Moody wrote: “The world has yet to see what God can do with a man fully consecrated to him. By God’s help, I aim to be that man.” 

“Harold” was born into an Islamic family, raised and schooled to be a radical jihadist and Imam.  After his radical conversion to Jesus, Harold used his education, influence and leadership capacity to grow a movement of Jesus Followers.   Now, 20+ years later, Harold helps to mentor and lead a network of house church movements among unreached peoples. 

“William J Dubois” works in highly sensitive areas in which the gospel is spreading powerfully. He and his wife have spent the last 25+ years training new believers from the harvest to grow in their leadership capacity and multiply house churches among unreached people.

This is article has been edited with permission and was first published in the January-February 2018 issue of Mission Frontiers, www.mission frontiers.org, and published in the book 24:14 – A Testimony to All Peoples, available from 24:14 or Amazon..

“I am not Christian. I’m Thai!”

Last year, Dean* took his son, Andy*, to the international school every morning. Each day before Andy entered his classroom, they would stop to pray.

One morning, Andy’s Thai friend, Bun Ma*, came by just as they were about to pray, and Andy invited her to join them.

“What’s [prayer]?” Bun Ma asked.

Dean explained that they prayed to Jesus and asked for His blessing over their day and to help them be kind.

“Oh,” Bun Ma replied, “I’m not Christian; I’m Thai.”

Dean shared her response with his wife. This new cultural insight shook them.

Bun Ma did not say that she was a Buddhist or give any reference to religion. Rather, she verbalized that if she were a Christian, she would not be Thai. At seven years old, she already “understood” that she could not be both. 

This type of “understanding” is true of many peoples around the world. They associate their ethnic or national heritage exclusively with one religion. The two are inseparably tied together. Pray as our field workers live out a shema lifestyle — one where speaking about spiritual matters is a natural and regular habit. Pray they find many who are willing to listen and share what they learn within their relational networks.

*pseudonym

The Spiritual Warfare Increased

Continued from last week . . . Frank and Helen encouraged Gabriella. They cast a vision for the importance of groups, generational growth, and multiplication. Gabriella’s excitement reignited. She wanted to re-start the meals and add a new group for women. She met right away with another woman from her people group. This woman loved hearing the story of Ruth and wanted to study more with Gabriella! 

Then spiritual warfare increased.     

Gabriella had a major panic attack. She wasn’t able to breathe or sleep. It seemed as though an inescapable storm had suddenly arisen. It subsided two days later but left Gabriella worried and anxious. 

At the same time, police raided her church again. This time the interrogations were much more severe. Police told the elders to leave the city, which they did. Before leaving, they informed Gabriella that the government had her name; they were watching. 

*Gabriella emailed Frank and Helen, saying she needed to lay low and not proceed with their coaching sessions or re-starting the groups. She said she would delete her email account. In the future, she would find a different way to connect with them. 

Through this tumultuous season, Frank and Helen remain confident in God’s vision for Gabriella. They believe He will bring it to fruition. 

Join us in praying for Gabriella’s protection and for the government to overlook her. Pray she would know Jesus is walking with her and she would have peace. Pray Gabriella would be filled with the Spirit and walk courageously toward the Father. Frank and Helen prayed for six years before seeing answers; let’s join them in asking God to bring forth His vision through Gabriella’s obedience to His call. 

*pseudonym

Read last week’s story. Read another story about Gabriella: House Parties Building Kingdom Relationships

House Raids and Interrogations

*Gabriella is the first known disciple from her West Asian unreached people group in the city where Frank and Helen minister. She has grown in the Lord but hasn’t wanted to share her faith, especially with her own Muslim people group. For years, Frank and Helen have been praying that God would give her a heart for her people. 

Then Gabriella had a vision! In it, she led her people in praising and worshipping before God’s throne, using their traditional dances and singing style. As they danced, her people led other nations to faith, and they began to worship too. 

After that, Gabriella opened her home and prepared traditional meals for seekers from her people group. They came to fellowship and to discuss the Bible stories she prepared. 

But she has faced many challenges. In February, police raided the house church Gabriella attended and interrogated the elders, who then asked her to stay away for her safety. Then she experienced financial issues. She could no longer provide meals and had to stop hosting the group. 

Frank and Helen encouraged Gabriella. They cast a vision for the importance of groups, generational growth, and multiplication. Gabriella’s excitement reignited. She wanted to re-start the meals and add a new group for women. She met right away with another woman from her people group. This woman loved hearing the story of Ruth and wanted to study more with Gabriella! 

Then spiritual warfare increased. . . Don’t miss next week’s issue to learn what happened next.

*pseudonym

Read another story about Gabriella: House Parties Building Kingdom Relationships