Mobilizing for effective missions in the post-pandemic era

September 6, 2022 by Dr. David Lim, Contributing Author

Can we finally fulfill the Great Commission in our generation? As we begin the endemic phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and face the “better normal” for the next 20 years of the 21st century, we can look forward to better mobilization for more effective missions through kingdom movements (KMs) that were refined during the pandemic.

The 24:14 network that has been promoting and monitoring kingdom movements (KMs) has reported that there are about 8,000 teams today out of the estimated 40,000 teams needed to target the remaining major unreached people groups (UPGs) across the world, especially in India, Middle East and northern Africa (that’s estimated 3.2 billion or 40% of world population). Can we beat the date of AD2033, the 2,000th anniversary of Easter?

Our Mission. Anyone with global perspective for a realistic strategy to “be Christ’s witnesses to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8) should be a stakeholder-partner in this mission mobilization ministry.

The huge challenge remains formidable and daunting, but we can look forward to better and more opportunities to mobilize and train more harvesters who can effectively catalyze KMs among the UPGs in cities and villages of Asia (esp. India) and beyond. Only KMs can realistically have the Christian population have better growth rates than their local population.

With Christian presence in all countries in the world today, we just need to send mobilization teams that are experts in equipping and empowering Christians to multiply disciples in their local communities and workplaces, just like what Paul did from Ephesus in two years: “all in Asia (Minor), both Jews and Greeks heard the word of God” (Acts 19:1-10). Each KM will have multiplied to at least four generations of disciples making their own disciples (cf. 2 Tim. 2:2).

Our Vision. Those who are in persecuted contexts like in China have the advantage of already-mobilized believers who are actually multiplying disciple-makers underground in their localities, perhaps still out of necessity rather than strategy. We just need some mobilizers to train and empower them to do incarnational and non-extractive KM (1 Cor. 7:19-24) intentionally.

Their resulting Christ-centered communities will be contextualized and look more like sects of their dominant religion(s), like the Jewish background believers of “the Way” in the earliest church. These local disciple-makers will manifest kindness, honesty and diligence as well as expertise or entrepreneurship – all valuable assets in any culture – and rise to become servant-leaders in their communities and professions, without the need to build their own religious structures.

Our Strategy. Thus, we just need a three-pronged strategy. First, overall our mobilization teams need to just stay long enough to find local “persons of peace” who can lead the KM in their region or people group. As these local believers become leaders of disciple multiplication from their neighborhoods and workplaces, they will organically rise to be “elders” of their communities and networks.

At the same time, out of their networks will rise natural leaders with organizing and managerial talents to get the households, villages and cities transformed into Christ-centered sustainable communities from the bottom up.

Second, if we need to send some mobilizers to do this cross-culturally, they just need to enroll in a graduate program, work at an expatriate job or start a business in a foreign context (with student, work or business visa) – opportunities which will continue to abound in our post-pandemic era. If properly trained, they will have accomplished their purpose of equipping a local team of “persons of peace” who will become “elders” of the local, regional or national KMs.

And thirdly, there are already many diaspora Christians in the cities of many non-Christian majority populations, especially in the Muslim, Communist and Buddhist nations.  Their second generations are bi-lingual and bi-cultural (they’re McGavran’s “bridges of God”).

If our mobilizers can train them to be “cross-cultural disciple-makers” among the locals, we can easily add tens of thousands of disciple-makers among these unevangelized peoples in the world today – at minimal overhead missionary-sending cost!

Our Challenge:  The harvest is still plentiful, yet the workers are still few; so we must pray and work to send out more workers into God’s harvest (Matt. 9:37-38).  We need to mobilize more KM workers to places where Christ is not known yet (cf. Rom.15:18-20)!

Yet today about 86% of non-Christians still do not have Christian friends. Our challenge is to mobilize as many believers as possible to do “friendship evangelism” to as many acquaintances as possible, and then to disciple each convert to evangelize and disciple their acquaintances to do likewise.

Let’s raise the standard high.  I’ve long insisted that “We should not send harvesters who will just slow down God’s work in China (or anywhere).”  We already have the training programs in place for those who want to be equipped to become effective mission mobilizers.

Actually, many of us have been doing this with huge success. My humble mission agency has sent more than a hundred mobilizers to plant KMs in China. Our best national mobilizer recruited professional TESOL teachers to train ordinary college graduates (from various professions) to catalyze KMs as English teachers (salaried by the universities) in the gateway cities of China.

During this pandemic, more opportunities arose for us to multiply our efforts by just “working from home” through building relationships online globally through group chats in social media, like Facebook Messenger, Viber, Telegram, Signal, WhatsApp, etc. I have formed new friendships with potential English-speaking mobilizers globally through social media and turned them into best friends as I discipled them personally to become “persons of peace” and “elders of communities or networks” in their contexts and beyond.

Recently a Korean mobilizer told me that his two underground training centers in China went online in 2018, and almost all students and alumni have seen exponential growth in their respective house church networks during the pandemic.

It’s now from anyone to everyone we know anywhere. May God raise thousands of mobilizers through you and your disciple-making disciples!

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