To Know Him and to Make Him Known
“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things!”—Romans 10:14-15
The Whole Truth’s aim of teaching and encouraging anyone who has a sincere desire to learn more about living by Biblical principles extends to our brothers and sisters in foreign countries. Jesus tells us in the Great Commission to “Go...and teach all nations...teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).
There are literally hundreds of millions of yet unreached peoples who still have no access to the Gospel. Many of them live in a region commonly known as the 10/40 Window, an area between the 10th and 40th latitudes north of the equator and stretching from North Africa to East Asia. More than 80% of the world’s poorest people, and more than two billion people who practice Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Atheism, and various other religions, live in this region. We must be ready to offer help where it’s needed most and to go and teach and train laborers where they will be the most effective.
Each one of us has a unique calling. God calls some people to leave their homeland and go into foreign countries to teach and encourage; and God calls others to stay and be a witness to their own people. Ephesians 2:10 says, “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” God created each of us differently and His call to each of us is just as unique. He will use our experiences; our upbringing; our culture and our environment, to shape us and mold us into a tool that He can use to accomplish His goals and vision.
The Whole Truth supports indigenous missions. “Indigenous” is defined by Webster as “existing, growing, or produced naturally in a region or country; belonging to, as a native...” Therefore, when we apply this definition to missions, it means that a mission or body of believers should grow up and exist in their own environment. They should be able to express the love of Christ within their own culture and not be unnecessarily influenced or controlled by someone outside of their culture.
It only makes sense for native missionaries to minister to their own people. Natives are familiar with their own customs and culture and are naturally sensitive to reaching their own people. Since they are natural born citizens, they have rights and privileges that might not be extended to foreigners, and they don’t have to worry about entry visas or being deported. Also, they don’t need to spend years learning a new language in order to communicate and they are adjusted to the climate and living conditions of the area. In many areas of the world, a native missionary can live on $30-$50 a month as compared to a foreign missionary family living on $35,000-$50,000 a year. More than 80% of world evangelization is being done by nationals reaching their own lands for Christ.
American missionaries have made many sacrifices to go to foreign countries, determined that every people group will have an opportunity to hear and respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Not only have they baptized many believers but they have provided food, medical aid and equipment and other help. But too often, western missionaries have tried to change the culture of the people. By opposing some of the customs of the people, they are building barriers that will prevent Christ’s message from being heard.
We need to look at the life of Jesus and the example He set for us. Jesus ministered to the needs of the people. He came along side of them and walked with them and met them where they were in life. Jesus didn't try to change their culture or their way of life - only their heart. He worked with them - teaching them, mentoring them, encouraging them, challenging them - until they were able to minister to their own people. Then He left them to carry on His work.
Native missionaries willingly sacrifice everything to preach the Gospel. Often they face incredible opposition. They baptize hundreds of new believers and plant dozens of new churches over the course of their ministry. These churches produce new churches and are self-governing and self-supporting. They should not be dependent upon support from non-natives.
The Whole Truth supports several missionary agencies in the United States who serve as a bridge between native missionaries and churches in North America. We have also spent time on foreign soil preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and teaching and encouraging native pastors. When we have the opportunity to travel overseas to work with and encourage indigenous missionaries, we come back with a greater commitment to world missions and a desire to learn more about our brothers and sisters and how we can better serve them.
Are You a Missionary or a Mission Field?
Each Christian is a “native missionary.” Each of us can witness the love of Christ right where we are—to our own families, neighbors and the people we come in contact with.
Missionaries realize that most conversions will come through establishing personal relationships with people in their field and gradually leading the person to desire an intimacy with God through His Son. These relationships take time to build and even when the relationship is already established, it may take a long time for spiritual things to come to the surface since this is often the most private, vulnerable area of a person’s life. We must look at making disciples as a long-term investment that must be cultivated and nurtured. We are admonished not to grow weary in well-doing. The harvest is worth more than anyone can tell. Christians try to be a good witness by showing love and being a good testimony in their actions and lives. This is so important in witnessing through relationships! However, loving actions alone will never bring someone to Jesus. Pray that the Lord will give you an opportunity each day to verbally share Christ with someone whom you have a relationship with.
Evangelism is another aspect of making disciples. Most Christians will never find themselves in front of a congregation sharing their hearts and giving an altar call. However, we can all be evangelists in our own country. Pray about how God would have you reach the masses.
Be a televangelist! When a solicitor calls you, turn the tables on them and tell them you will be happy to listen to their pitch after they answer two questions for you: 1) “If for some reason you were to die today, would you go to heaven or to hell?” 2) “If you were to go to heaven and stand before God and He were to ask you ‘Why should I let you into My heaven?’ what would you say?” At this point, the caller will either attempt to end the call or will be open to hearing more. We have shared scripture many times in this way and we always give our name and phone number to the telemarketer to call us back if they need to talk more.
Cybervangelism can also be rewarding. With all the e-mail you send, why not include an e-tract at the bottom. This will allow anyone who receives your e-mail to consider the possibility of trusting Christ in the privacy of their own home.
Tracts are another easy way of doing mass evangelism. We like to leave them everywhere, in bathrooms, with the tip on the restaurant table, on windshields in busy parking lots, under the handle of the gas pump for the next person to read while they are filling up, put them in the envelope with your check when paying bills. The possibilities are endless.
Biblically based websites and radio programs are powerful ways to share your faith. When you hear a program or visit a site that relates to a topic you have recently discussed or know your friend is interested in, refer them to the web site or radio program or order a resource pertaining to the subject. This is a good way to let your friend hear the gospel message from a different source, reinforcing what you have already shared with them.
There are countless ways to be a missionary in your own country. The key is to begin thinking of yourself as a missionary in the field and looking and praying for opportunities to help someone grow in their faith. “Lo, the fields are white for the harvest.”
God is calling every Christian to be a witness right where He has placed them. God is calling—will you answer?