Timberline Church recently helped host a fifteen-week course that opens the eyes of participants to see their part in God’s bigger purpose for the world through missions. We asked the main organizer, Glenn Gilbert, to share a few key lessons from this last session. (Stay tuned for information about another course in 2017! You can learn more about Perspectives from their website- www.perspectives.org.)
One of the most influential Christian educational courses I’ve ever taken is Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. It’s a fifteen-week course held at local churches, hosted by lay volunteers, and taught by expert instructors- pastors, missionaries, mobilizers and professors, from four “perspectives”: Biblical, historical, cultural and strategic. Its principal focus is helping people find their place in God’s global purpose of being loved by every people.
One of the fundamental lessons taught in the course is from the Great Commission, Matthew 28:18-20: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The word “nations” in this verse is the Greek word ethnos which could be understood as “peoples” from an ethno-linguistic point of view rather than “nations” from geo-political. This has huge significance in understanding Jesus’ mandate of making disciples of all of them. Christian organizations have identified 24,000 of these peoples with 6,000 of them not having a replicating church within their cultural boundaries. How are they going to hear of God’s love for them?
Another great teaching of Perspectives is that although not everyone “goes” to the nations as a missionary, everyone has a place and calling in God’s global purpose. One might be a sender or “servicer” by praying or providing financial resources. Anyone can also be involved by becoming better informed. Who are these unreached people groups? How could we go to them? Who is available to go and how could we come along side of them to help? When is Mission’s Week at Timberline? There are a lot of exciting possibilities for everyone to do something.