I’m fascinated by the “miracle” of compounding interest. Albert Einstein called it one of the greatest mathematical concepts of our time. And for good reason. When each year’s harvest (the gain, or interest earned) becomes the seed (the principle) of next season’s planting, the miracle of multiplication happens. Ten seeds become a hundred, become a thousand, become ten thousand, and so on.
The miracle of compound interest has been illustrated with this question: Would you rather receive $10,000.00 cash today, or would you rather invest a penny today, but with the promise that your penny investment will be doubled (through interest) every year for the next thirty years? You may want to make a few calculations before you answer. At the end of ten years your penny has only multiplied to $5.12. After twenty years of investment you still only have $5,242.88. But, after thirty years, (assuming all of the seed principle and interest are reinvested every year), your penny investment, multiplying at 100% interest annually, would earn over $5,000,000.00. One penny earning five million fold?
Jesus, the creative genius of compound interest, intended that the Great Commission be fulfilled following the same strategic principle. He entrusted eleven men, (His original seed or principle, which He called His church), with the seemingly impossible task of taking His gospel to the entire world. But He didn’t expect one church to run this distance alone. He didn’t intend that one congregation organize worldwide evangelistic campaigns sufficient to reach the world’s countless masses. He didn’t intend that they fixate on big numbers at all.
What Jesus did expect of them was that they get down to the more quiet and covert business of making disciples and establishing local churches (groups of disciples) who would evangelize and establish other local churches until the whole world is saturated with the gospel. The early church began this process (just read the book of Acts) and the church of today continues it. Jesus has commissioned the church to work the miracle of “compounding missions”.
What then is the purpose of missions?
In his book, The Great Omission, missionary Steve Saint offers this simple but profound insight: “The purpose of missions is not to evangelize the world. Christ gave that commission to eleven simple but dedicated men who represented the church. The commission of the church is to evangelize the world. The purpose of missions is to plant the church where it doesn’t exist so it can evangelize the world ”
All the para-church missions agencies in the world put together can’t make a dent in the spiritual, social and economic needs around the world. But in every city and village, dessert and rainforest, wilderness and jungle in which a church has been planted there you will find the body of Jesus carrying out His redemptive work—preaching the gospel to the poor, healing the brokenhearted, proclaiming liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, setting at liberty those who are oppressed, and proclaiming the year of the Lord’s acceptance (Luke 4:18-19)!
Steve Saint offers these two instructive analogies as well: “Missions is like scaffolding that is used to erect a building. It is just temporary until the structure can stand on its own. Then it is pulled away and moved to another location where it is needed. Evangelizing the world is like a relay race. In areas where there is no church, missionaries run the first lap. Then we should hand off to the local believers to finish the race. Just like Paul, and just like us, they don’t have to be superstars, just obedient; they don’t make the seed grow, they just plant and water.” I find these insights extremely helpful.
Think about the potential of compounding missions.
Allow me use one of our spiritual Overseers in the Philippines, Bro. David Yucaddi, as an example. God has entrusted Bro. David with a vision to reach one million souls for Christ; a vision given to him after a time of intense seeking after God. Now, we Americans have so overused the term “vision” that when we hear the term we tend to be dismissive. Perhaps David is only a dreamer. But I believe this vision is a promise God has made and will fulfill by His grace through the obedience of His servants.
After two decades of investment in training and church planting there are now forty full-time Gospel Light pastors. If each of these men and women were to establish 20,000 disciples each they still wouldn’t come close to fulfilling the vision of one million souls.
But as each of Gospel Light workers continues the process of evangelism, discipleship and church planting the “miracle” will happen. 40 pastors training only 12 disciples each in their lifetime would multiply to 480 disciples. Following the same pattern the second generation of disciples could multiply to 5,760, the third generation to 69,120, the fourth generation to 829,440, and the fifth generation of disciples could multiply to almost 10,000,000 million disciples. And this is not a dream. This is the miracle of compounding missions.
This is what gets me up in the morning! This is ministry our Lord Jesus has called us to. This is how His church will accomplish the task of world evangelism.
Bible Methodist Missions is investing its resources in training and equipping national Christian workers, and in local church planting and church strengthening because we believe in the miracle of compounding missions. Also, our commitment to the cultivation of an indigenous general church abroad—one that is self-supporting, self-governing and self-propagating—reflects our conviction that the Holy Spirit is raising up men and women of integrity and faith in every culture, and that He is giving them the wisdom to lead their own people into righteousness and mobilize them for gospel proclamation.
- There are 6,839 unreached people groups in the world today, representing 4.2 billion souls.
- Tribal peoples as well as the Tibetans are counted among them.
- Of these unreached, 3,064 remain unengaged, representing 215 million souls.
An “unengaged” people group is one in which there is no church planting strategy underway consistent with the evangelical faith.*
By the grace of God we must be united in the purpose of planting the church where it doesn’t exist so it can continue the work of evangelism and discipleship.
In this vision, faith is our greatest ally and unbelief, our greatest adversary!
With this purpose in mind here are some specific goals:
- We must pray more fervently for Christian workers.
- We must pray God’s word over the nations.
- We must especially pray fervently for our missionaries and national pastors and leaders (please use the prayer guide provided in this publication).
- Wednesday is our BMM prayer and fasting day, both at home and around the world.
- Will you please help me revitalize this prayer and fasting day this year?
Let’s see the great things God will do through our united prayer.
- We must focus even more on biblical discipleship and theological training toward the goal of church planting.
- We must support our training institutions.
- We must love and nurture national workers (partners in ministry) by responding to their crisis needs, sharing with their families and bearing their burdens in ways which will meet needs and cultivate relationships but not create dependency.
- We must aid the national church in church planting by promoting pioneer pastor’s support and sharing in church construction projects.
- We must cultivate a culture of missions in our homes and local churches. I urge you to use every means possible to cultivate mission-mindedness.
Some Practical things you may do:
- Read missionary books.
- Keep the spiritual and financial needs of our fields before your people.
- Print newsletters.
- Talk about the news.
- Share redemption stories for your family and congregation.
- Do a live Skype or FaceTime call or even a simple phone call with our missionaries (or myself) during a service and pray specifically over them and the needs they share.
- Take on a project as a family or congregation.
- Organize a “Missions Weekend” and invite a special missionary speaker.
- Take a trip if the Lord so leads.
- Lead a class or small group through Steve Saint’s Missions Dilemma video series (While I do not endorse everything in this series I find it an excellent resource for helping us think about missions in the 21st century). These are just a few ideas.
We must proactively plan for reaching the unreached as God increases our faith and opens doors.
We must sacrificially send out Christian missionaries both to the reached and to the unreached.
We must pursue these goals for the glory of God alone and in the strength which He provides.
Please check out www.peoplegroups.org for more helpful and challenging information regarding unreached and unengaged people groups.