Monday, February 25, 2013

Changes in Missions: Taking the Gospel to Each Ethnic Group

By Dr. Jerry Rankin
I can recall world maps distributed by the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention posted on bulletin boards in churches. Countries were colored red where missionaries were serving, leaving the impression that that country was now being evangelized because there was a missionary presence. There was a display at mission headquarters that highlighted new fields entered each year.
Following World War II there was a vast expansion of new countries and nations colored on the map, but vast areas of the world were still white. Missionaries were restricted to countries that were open to a Christian witness, so that left many others untouched in the communist block of Eastern Europe and those predominantly Muslim. In order to reach the whole world, creative access strategies have emerged that are bringing down those barriers, but that is another topic.
Missionaries of my generation realized deploying a handful of personnel to a new nation was far from evangelizing populations numbering in the millions. But that carried the conviction that once the gospel was planted, believers and churches would eventually multiply to touch the whole country.


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