unreached people groups


Many years ago I became aware of unreached or least-reached people groups and it changed my whole view regarding my purpose and calling. I would like to share with you how this came about, but first let me give you a simple definition of the unreached (also called least-reached). According to Joshua Project and many others who have also embraced this definition, it is

“An unreached or least-reached people is a people group among which there is no indigenous community of believing Christians with adequate numbers and resources to evangelize this people group”.

Now a people group is simply a group of people who have a common affinity with one another in which the gospel can spread without encountering barriers of understanding and acceptance (also from Joshua Project).

I was serving as pastor of a small church that we planted in 1983 in West Chester, PA. After about five or six years we began to prepare ourselves and others in the congregation to take a team into inner city Philadelphia to plant a church in the Kensington/Northern Liberties area of Philly. I enrolled in the Center for Urban Theological Studies in Philly (part of Geneva College) to hopefully prepare me for the road ahead. I had always had an interest in missions, and it was during that time that I subscribed to Mission Frontiers magazine. One of the issues I received contained a chart of all the unreached people groups in the world. As I began to read the over 7,000 names of these people groups from nations around the world I began to weep and desired to know more about what it would take to reach these who know nothing about Jesus, and no one is going to them to tell them about Him. I also had “ears to hear” when I read Matthew 24:14 which says:

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (NIV)

It was not long after that that I received and invitation to go to Indonesia and serve in the development of a recently established indigenous bible school. My strategy to go to the inner city and plant a church became pointless since there are thousands of churches in Philly, but my heart was now consumed with the fact that there were over 7,000 people groups that had no gospel witness available to them in the form of a church in their own language and culture.

Within two years my family (my wife and four daughters) moved to Indonesia to serve for the primary purpose of assisting the students of that bible school to focus their efforts on those people groups in Indonesia and other nations who have no gospel witness. Our adventure in Southeast Asia began and continues on to this day even though we do not presently live there.

Over the years, we have found ourselves involved in ministries overseas as well as here in the states that have reaching the unreached as their primary task. But lately, another passion has developed while serving in Asia assisting others to reach the unreached; and that is, seeing the church function in a more simple, organic way that focuses on making disciples. While training workers to go into the unreached areas of Southeast Asia we had to first “un-train” them regarding how to do and be the church and learn how to make disciples in a simple, organic way that fit the culture and understanding of the people they were reaching.

Upon returning to the states, I was “ruined” for church as I had always known and even served as leadership in the past. I longed for a more simple, organic expression focusing on making disciples rather than all the other “stuff” churches find themselves invested in.  So I began to familiarize myself with those who are part of the simple, organic and house church movements here in the USA. What a blessing to meet those who had come to the same conclusions as I had regarding church. But something was lacking: the zeal and burden for the unreached. This new direction caused me to be involved with many who have no present tangible desire to reach the unreached. Fortunately, I had met a few who were personally sacrificing and doing what they could to reach unreached peoples in India, China, and other nations, but these individuals are few, and congregation and networks are hardly nowhere to be found although I am sure there are some out there.

This is why in 2007 we started House2Harvest Network to serve, network and assist simple, organic churches and house churches to do strategic missions in order to finish the task of reaching all peoples with the gospel. Needless to say, the results have been slow. Unfortunately I have not been able to devote as much time as needed to accomplish our goals, but we are praying that this will soon change. I am still deeply moved when I read the list of unreached people groups, and I pray that our role in the near future will become more productive in seeing hundreds of teams from the simple, organic, house church movements take the gospel to these pioneer regions and begin making disciples where there are no disciples.

You can find the most recent list at: Joshua Project’s Unreached Listing

Will you weep with me!

In the times that we live in, it is easy to drift away from the Lord and his direction in our life. We can get overcome by circumstances, disappointments and doubts. We can get caught up in theological debates, or trying to “do church” the right way, that we miss the basics. In our reaction against a system that can be abusive and controlling, we can easily enter into a state of self-centeredness and forget the call to reach those who have never heard the gospel, or have not heard the complete gospel of the Kingdom. The important thing is that we run and finish the race that our Lord has set before us.

Several years ago I heard this illustration (I forget the source, so I apologize if I get some of the details wrong.): During the Olympics in Mexico there was an amazing track and field event where a runner from Africa arrived to the finish line, which was in the stadium, long after the race was finished. He came limping into the stadium barely able to walk. He had fallen during the race and broken his leg. His arrival into the stadium was so late that everyone was packing up and cleaning. There were less than 1,000 folks left in the stands. The runner refused to stop and makes his last lap of the race around the stadium track. As he approaches the final turn, people stopped what they were doing and begin to applaud. Everyone left in the stadium gave him a standing ovation. Years later he was being interviewed about his experience in the Olympics. This runner, who was a poor farmer in Africa, was asked; “Why did you insist on doing that final lap around the stadium that day knowing that your leg was injured and you were the last to arrive, and it was very late? This humble African farmer answered; “My country did not send me to the Olympics to start and run a race, but to finish the race!”

Are we prepared to finish the race that the Lord has set before us? One of the portions of Scripture that speaks to me that helps me is that Psalm that is used many times in traditional services that speak a blessing over the congregation as a benediction. This is usually spoken at the end of a service, but it is really the Lords blessing over us as we are sent out with his blessing, his benediction! It reveals our Lord’s desire for his people.  In these short seven verses God reveals his heart for the nations and his desire to involve you in the process by blessing you.

Psalm 67.

v.1 May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us, Selah

The Lord give you grace and he blesses you like an affirming parent, looking at you with endearment. Why does he do this?

v.2 that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.

He blesses us so that His ways will be known on the earth, this includes all nations. The result of this promise or this blessing is found in verse 3.

v.3 May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you.

The nations will praise God because his kingdom has come to them. Will you reveal Jesus to them?

v.4 May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples justly and guide the nations of the earth.  Selah

v.5 May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you.

When this is happening, great things happen! Harvest will come!

v.6 Then the land will yield its harvest, and God, our God, will bless us.

v.7 God will bless us, and all the ends of the earth will fear him.

The race set before us is really the Lord’s race, and we run with Him to take his gospel to the nations and to our neighbors.  He blesses us to be a blessing to the world around us, not forgetting the nations. Are we willing to finish the race regardless of how we perceive our condition, or our position in the race? As a proponent of simple, organic church life, let us not forget our Lord’s purpose for blessing us.

What should we do? Where to do we begin? This is something we do together with those we fellowship and serve. Do you need help finishing the race? That is why we need one another, provoking one another in love to do the Lord’s will. If you or your fellowship needs some help in this area, I would be glad to correspond with you or come to your group and talk about it. May you be blessed to reach those who do not yet know Jesus! You can contact me at dondavis@house2harvest.org

Blessings to You!

Don

When Jeannie (my wife) and I came to the Lord in 1974 our decision was made with the confession, “if we are going to do this Christian thing, we are going to do it according to the Bible and not religion.” This has been true for most of my life, although there have been times that I preferred to go the way of the crowd. This confession has caused me to be a troublemaker, a rebel, a revolutionary, a dreamer and many times lonely. So I am going to share a few of those scriptures with you. Certainly we are to be led by all of God’s word, but here are a few that stand out.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not sharing these because I have mastered them and I have accomplished perfection, by no means. I must continually remind myself and correct myself. Many times I have found myself going “off the path”. Unfortunately I do not always listen. My point in sharing these is to hopefully challenge you as well as I am challenged.

Here are a few of those verses (from The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 . Zondervan: Grand Rapids):

1 Samuel 15:22-23 But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination (KJV says witchcraft), and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.

My goal is to ask the question before I do anything: “Do I do this because of obedience to the Lord or is it due to some religious or traditional obligation.” If don’t obey, then what I do has the potential of becoming a tool of Satan and is driven by the power of darkness no matter how “spiritual” or “Christian” it may seem. Any deviation from obedience is fertile ground for the enemy to deceive, manipulate and even blaspheme God’s intentions. Lord, help us obey your word!

2 Corinthians 5:17 – . “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come

I (and if you are in Christ – you) are no longer bound by the past. That means past sins, past nature, past generational curses, past anything. Therefore I remind myself that the power of Christ to bring victory in these areas has been accomplished and any religious practice, counseling technique, doctrine or spiritual experience that teaches otherwise is suspect of being from a source other than God.

Matthew 16:17-18“Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hadeswill not overcome it.”

The only one who has the authority to build the church of Jesus Christ is Jesus. There is no “my, your, or our” church. It is his church. There is his church in many locations, and there are people who are part of his church who gather together in the name of another entity, organization, institution, or incorporation, but it is not Jesus’ church, but contains members of his church. The rock upon which Christ’s church is built is a revelation that comes from the Father and not from man’s attempt to educate, propagate or dictate! That revelation is simple and comes from the Father. (I’m not going to tell you what that is – ask the Father J )

Matthew 18:20For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”

When we gather in Jesus’ name (and no other) he will be with us. Why? Jesus is talking about the administration of his authority, his kingdom, his will, doing his business and even getting answers to prayer. Why is it that we relegate the actual presence of our Lord to another person when we gather? If Jesus is truly with us when we gather in his name, then let him lead! If we ignore his presence and lead in his stead, what does that say about our obedience to him, or should I say rebellion against him. We have already stated where that leads! This is why the world does not believe us when we say he is with us in our gatherings; we don’t act like it. It also reveals that there is a sickness in the body of Christ, it does not have a real, experiential connection with the head of the church – Jesus. We focus on figureheads and not the real head. Can you imagine a wife only paying attention to the self-appointed representative of her husband and not him when the husband is right there with her?! Absurd? Yes! Then why do we do it to our Lord Jesus? The activity of the church gathered then becomes a parody of the real thing, and it is not funny.

Ephesians 4:14-16 –“Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

So much here, but my main point in this portion is that Christ is the head. We grow up “into Him.” The mature are those who acknowledge Jesus as the head, walks in love and does their part. It has nothing to do with submitting to a person who is functioning in place of Jesus, nor does it include aspiring to be in a position like that. But it does include living a life that acknowledges Christ has the head. If there is another head there is chaos, immaturity and lead captive by “the teaching and the cunning craftiness of men.” Unfortunately we have taught that one form of maturity is to lead as the head (senior pastor) a congregation. That is the far from the truth.

1 Corinthians 14:26What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.”

When I come together with other believers in any context, my goal is that we fulfill this verse. It is the only verse in the New Testament that gives us an idea of what we should do when we gather. They key here is that everyone has a chance to share, and all of these are done. But as we know, most of them time these are put off in place of a performance and spectator format. Those on the platform do and the others watch and receive. The only giving that is expected from the audience is a monetary offering or volunteering for things such as nursery of parking lot duty. But the problem is that we cannot do this if our meetings are too large. Everyone cannot participate. That is why organizations have been deceived to believe that the bigger the meeting, the better. Church growth is being measured by the number of attendees to a meeting and not the number of disciples obeying Christ. Some congregations have tried to solve this with small groups. But if they do not consider these small groups an expression of church, and do not allow Christ to be head of these small gatherings then they are falling short of what God desires.

Matthew 28:18-20 – “Then Jesus came to them and said, “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.”

Why are we here? Why don’t we just get translated into heaven when we get saved? Jesus has called us to go and make disciples of all nations. These nations are not political nations, but all ethnic/people groups. I am compelled to examine the ministry I do and if it is not making disciples, if it is not teaching others to obey Jesus, if folks are not getting baptized then I must be doing my own thing no matter how religious or “Christian” it may seem. Note that he did not say go and plant, start, or establish churches. That’s what Jesus does. I constantly fight the battle of losing my first love of telling others about Jesus. But it is more than just getting a “decision for Christ.” Discipleship means we walk together, following Christ together and help one another along the way know what Jesus is saying.

Matthew 24:14 – “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

Much of my live has been devoted to missions. That is because this verse challenged me when I was a young pastor who had planted a church and served as its pastor for nine years. I soon resigned and moved my family to Southeast Asia to encourage others to reach those who have not yet heard the gospel of the Kingdom. Over 6000 ethnic/people groups are still in darkness and have no one telling them about Jesus and the gospel of the Kingdom. This dilemma that faces the church today is what drives me go, serve, compel others to go to these people groups and preach the gospel of the kingdom to them – as a testimony (a life).

John 5:19 – Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.

This has been my greatest challenge of all. It goes against my ambition, my initiative, my “get r done” attitude, my pragmatism, and yes, my flesh. My desire is to see what the father is doing and only do that. But what happens is, there is an increased amount of time that you may do nothing until you learn to see what the father is doing. There are scores of individuals with good intentions who want to tell me what the father is doing, but my responsibility is to learn it from the father first hand. I don’t want to follow retail truth, I want wholesale truth. Not milk, but meat. This is where I am now learning to follow only what the father is doing. I wish I had started with this one!

There are a few more versus and I am sure there will be more as I grow. But for now I will leave these with you to ponder.

Blessings!

Don

[For the sake of full disclosure, I have a selfish motive regarding this subject, I am involved in missions work traveling to Asia from time to time. My wife and I plan to do this in a greater capacity as soon as possible, therefore we are seeking more funding than we presently receive.]

Now with that out of the way, I want to share with you some of my observations regarding missions, money and simple church. (When I speak of simple church, that also includes organic and house churches in varying degrees) ].

One of the factors that convinced us to be more simple in our way of being the Church is that we do not have to raise funds to pay for buildings, big shots, programs, staff or parking lots. What a freedom to be relieved of these burdens. Of course most of our local mission to make disciples takes very little money at all; the cost of a cup of coffee, a meal, or just doing life together. The funds that are now available to us are certainly greater than before and we can be a blessing and help those who are normally forgotten, and left out of typical “church budgets.” Our income that is available in our simple churches and networks can do great things with just a handful of folks who give sacrificially, cheerfully and generously. (see the article: “Assessing The State Of Simple Churches In The USA Regarding Releasing Resources Toward Finishing The Great Commission” by Steve Lyzenga for a thorough look at this subject). So what do we do with our money now? We certainly have needs that arise within our simple church or network that needs attention. I am making the assumption that you are already making sure that no one in your simple church lacks and that you are following the pattern we see in Acts when a need arises. Mission also includes taking the gospel to all nations (people groups), and some of these groups still have no access to the gospel. How do we fund these efforts to reach the nations?

Here are a few questions to ask yourselves as you seek the Lord’s leading in these areas:

In your simple/organic church how are you doing missions?

  • What about those who are connected with folks in the church who have not yet become believers but have material needs, how are you meeting those needs?
  • Are you seeking the Lord regarding how you can now use the funds you have to minister to those in the “household of faith” so that none among you lack?
  • What about the unreached, or out of reach nations? There are over 6000 nations (ethnic or people groups) who are out of reach and have no opportunity to hear about the gospel of the Kingdom. (For more information and statistics about unreached people groups go to: http://www.joshuaproject.net )
  • Since we no longer have up to 90% of our budgets going to serve ourselves, are we supporting apostolic servants of the Lord who have been called to these unreached groups?
  • Are we sending financial support to those who are training others who live near these people groups to reach them?
  • Are we funding apostolic leaders and teams to go into an area to make disciples of a few new believers in an unreached area that will train them to be disciple makers seeing churches planted among their own people?
  • Who is better equipped to go and make a handful of disciples in an unreached area and prepare these disciples to go and make disciples seeing churches planted? I believe it is those who are now function as part of a simple, organic church are prepared for this hour to reach the most difficult nations (people groups) around us. Are you seeking the Lord as to how He would have you do this?
  • Is your network ready to prepare a team to go to these unreached areas and send them with the proper funding, prayer and training?
  • Are you part of a regional network that can link together in order to accomplish more than one single simple church could? If not, are you willing to be a part of one and if there is not one to be the catalyst to start one?
  • If you are already sending teams to the unreached nations and/or serving the needy in your community, are you willing to share your story with others?

I challenge all who are involved in simple, organic churches and networks to seek the Lord regarding what you should be doing regarding taking the gospel of the Kingdom to the unreached nations as well as to those in need around you. Remember, Jesus said: “This gospel of the Kingdom will be preached to the whole world as a testimony to all nations (people groups), and then the end will come.” Matt 24:14. Let’s remember that the purpose of the church is not for our needs, what we can get out it, but to reach out and serve the lost and fallen world around us. We exist for others, not for ourselves.

I would love to hear about what you are doing or plan to do as well as how you are processing some of these questions so that we can learn from your experience. One way you can do this is to go to www.house2harvest.com and then click on the “Relationship Room” link and sign up to be a part of a network of folks who are simple church folks interested in doing mission and tell your story. Or you could just send me an email and tell me your story (dondavis@house2harvest.org ) I have a feeling that more is going on than we know.

….oh, and by the way, regarding my selfish motives – if you want to partner with my wife and I or want to know more about what we are doing let me know and I would love to share with you what we are doing and what our needs are. Send me an email at dondavis@house2harvest.org or you can comment here.

A few months ago we (several of us in Hampton Roads) held a forum on “Loving Muslims” which became a catalyst for trainings regarding reaching our Muslim neighbors. We then held a training on “Understanding the Muslim Worldview” where over fifty were in attendance. This led us to consider – what’s next? In the scriptures, Jesus gave us some basic instructions; love God with all your heart mind and soul, love your neighbor as yourself and go and make disciples. This includes the thousands of Muslims which are now living in neighborhoods and working all around us.
How do we go about building bridges into the Muslim community and revealing to them the love of Jesus and the relationship that they can have with God the father? No one has all the answers, but we can find out those answers together. So we propose to the body of Christ in Hampton Roads to connect together for this purpose. We can simply develop a “missional community” made up of believers from different congregations for the purpose of developing community so that we can ask questions, share our vision, needs and ideas regarding reaching our Muslim friends. This will allow us to avail ourselves to corporate prayer and missional action in our daily life.

Therefore if you live in the region, we will be having our first meeting on Monday June 20th at 7:00 pm. We will meet at Renaissance Community Church’s facility in their café’ located at 5045 Indian River Road, Virginia Beach, VA. We would hope that this would be a monthly gathering every 3rd Monday night. Our preliminary agenda will be to pray and discuss what the Lord is leading each of us to do in regards to reaching our Muslim neighbors.

Now let me give some clarification regarding what this is, and what this is not:
• This is not a program of one local church or one missions organization. In fact it is not a program at all.
• This is a cooperative effort of believers in our region who want to put action to their burden and call to love the Muslim community in Hampton Roads.
• This is not a program or method, nor will it become focused on some technique or merchandised plan.
• This will emerge out of the daily life of all those who desire participate in this “missional community”.

What is a “missional community”? “A Missional Community is a group of people who have united, in the name of Jesus, around a common service and witness to a particular context.” (Mike Breen and Alex Absalom in their new book, Launching Missional Communities: A Field Guide – p. 124). Lately there have been many articles and even books written to clarify what missional is and how churches and small groups are seeing these groups develop for specific missional purposes. Being missional is not something we add to our life and practice. It is not a department or program of a church. It is a lifestyle that is founded on the understanding that we are here for the purpose of making disciples and demonstrating the gospel of the Kingdom. A missional community is a group of believers who are working in concert together to accomplish God’s mission. Our focus of course will be God’s mission to reach the Muslims of Hampton Roads. For a more complete description of being missional you can find further information at http://www.missionalmanifesto.net/ ,and http:/www.friendofmissional.org/.

This by no means is in competition with individual local congregations, but will compliment and equip those who want to focus on reaching Muslims. So why do something separate? It is not separate, but it is the body of Christ in our region working together for a common cause. It will facilitate those involved to mature, be equipped and reach out into areas of life where a formal church program would not be welcomed. Instead we will be doing this as followers of Jesus and not representatives of a religious organization.
Once we gather we will focus in the major infinity groups within the Muslim community in our region such as international students, refugees and prisoners. We will also plan further trainings which may include some mission trips that will be equipping in nature.

If you are interested and need more information you can contact me at dr@goasianetwork.org or you may also contact:
Jerry Smith at jerrys@aims.org ; Steve Lyzenga (on the Peninsula) at mt2414@gmail.com or Doug Chandler at dougchandler1@gmail.com

God is up to something, and we hope to see you there on June 20th so that we can learn and walk together!

For the past twenty years, Jeannie and I have made missions a large part of our lives. We served in Southeast Asia for several years in several capacities. We returned from the field in 2003 and I have been returning about once or twice times a year, and when possible Jeannie is able to go with me.

Now we have come to a major decision. Our calling and vision has been to help, train, equip and mobilize the Body of Christ to reach those who are presently out of reach. These “out of reach” are over 6000 nations – people groups who have no witness or testimony of the gospel in their own culture. These people groups are many times referred to as unreached people groups. Most of these groups are in Asia. We cannot continue to wait on the sidelines any more. Now is the time to return more diligently to the work the Lord has called us to do.

Therefore we have decided to return to more full time role in missions and follow the Lord’s call! This will not be exactly as before, but much of our focus will be the same. We would split our time between the work in Asia and our work in the USA. Our plan is as follows:

In Asia we would:
• Develop and expand the training ministry we have been a part of for many years. This is the training we do for church planters among the unreached. We want to develop other locations to do the training on a more practical level.
• Development of ministry centers in strategic locations of the 10/40 window. These would be “forward operating bases” for those serving in difficult regions amongst those who are out of reach. We would recruit teams and entrepreneurs to run these centers in major cities.
• Conduct strategic trainings in Asia for the purpose of mobilization and reaching the unreached. This would include continuing to teach in regions of Asia where we have established a working relationship.
• Recruit workers to go to were these out of reach peoples live. “How can they hear unless someone is sent?”
• Host Short-Term trips for teams from the USA focusing on the needs of those people groups who are out of reach (UPG’s.).

In the USA we would:
• Develop and expand House2Harvest Network (www.house2harvest.org ) beyond where it is now. Equipping, mobilizing and helping other missionaries get to the field. This would also include reaching the “mission field” that has moved to our doorsteps from other nations.
• Recruit workers to go to were these out of reach peoples live. “How can they hear unless someone is sent?”
• Hold strategic trainings in churches, and house church networks regarding strategic missions (reaching UPG’s).
• Raise funds for specific projects that focus on reaching UPG’s.
• Administrate exposure trips to areas of Asia where the unreached live.

Luke 14:28 says, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?” Therefore Jeannie and I are in the planning and estimating stage of this process. We will need to have enough support to do the work the Lord has called us to do in Asia as well as the USA. Most likely we will not need to set up a household in Asia. Once our support is up to the level we need we will then be able to devote our time fully to the work at hand. In the meantime, Jeannie and I will still be taking strategic trips to Asia as often as possible. Our task at hand is to increase our supporters so that we can devote ourselves full time to the field and also assist with several projects.

Would you be willing to partner with us on a regular basis? Simply, we need several folks to support us at $10, $20, $50 a month or more. Our timetable is to be funded as soon as possible. If you are interested in partnering with us let me know. Also if you would like to receive our regular email newsletter please let me know. You can contact me at dr@goasianetwork.org.

Please keep us in prayer as we take this step of faith.

God Bless,
Don & Jeannie Davis

For Email Newsletters you can trust

[I thought I would go ahead and post the remainder of the article rather than break up up any further. This makes it a little longer, so take a few minutes to read it all.]

Can a simple, organic, house church do missions? Can our Lord raise up apostolic teams and send them to the nations out of our house churches and networks? The answer is yes! But, there needs to be some changes in the way we think and approach missions or we will fall into the same traps that plague the institutional missions effort. This is the reason for the series of articles. Hopefully it will spawn some discussion, but most of all spur us all to take the gospel of the Kingdom into the regions of our world where there is no witness, no preaching and no church. Basically to those who are out of reach. “How will they hear unless someone is sent?” (Romans 10:14-15)

A SIMPLE PROCESS:
• Study God’s Word (see Part 2)
• Pray for the Nations (see Part 3)
• Find a “Champion” (see Part 3)
• Pray for harvest, and opportunity for all to participate in that harvest (see Part 3)
• Seek the Lord for His Plan (see Part 4)
Follow the Plan (See Parts 5-10)

Follow the Plan – Continued . . .

• Training Opportunities.
As your network extends out, reaching folks form other cultures, you will realize the need for further training if you are going to effectively reach an unreached people group. Continue to read books, attended a local World Christian Perspectives Course, (For more information go to www.perspectives.org) and availed yourselves to every avenue of learning they could find to equip themselves to be effective cross-cultural servants.

One of the hidden benefits of reaching out to other cultures in your region is that you will discover that several individuals and couples have the gift to minister cross culturally. This will confirm their call to other peoples. From this discovery within your church and network, you will have the beginnings of an apostolic team of cross cultural workers who would now be ready to plan to go to the nations!

• Expanding the Network.
The network should continue to do research regarding the unreached people group they have chosen. From this research you will find found out that there are several other groups and churches who have adopted the same unreached peoples. You may even discover that there is a regular gathering of those churches, and they come together to discuss how they can assist one another in reaching their adopted unreached people group.

• Sharing the Vision.
At this time the network should begin to share the vision to be apostolic and reach out to an unreached people group to the point that many of the believers within the network want to support the effort to reach the unreached people group with their finances and business skills. So the network “champions” seek the Lord for a plan to handle the funds, establish entrepreneurial opportunities and develop a preliminary budget based upon their research and the potential apostolic teams need for funding.

• Forming Partnerships.
After meeting with several of the other churches who have adopted the same group as your church or network, form a partnership with them to assist one another in the purpose of reaching this unreached people group. Out of this partnership the network could host an unreached people group consultation for other House Church Networks and churches that are willing to co-operate together for the purpose of reaching unreached people groups. As a result, prayer efforts for the unreached people groups increase and become more effective by the spread of information. The reality of a church being planted among these unreached people groups is now becoming more than a dream, but a reachable goal.

Through these partnerships the “champions” are able to assess the resources available. This is not only funding that is available, but human resources as well. This includes gifting, talents, life skills and availability of the potential apostolic team. Eventually there will be a clear understanding of the level of resources that are available to the degree in which each church or other networks could easily participate in support, prayer, administration and the like. As a result, the partnership will grow and then there is a clear network of believers and congregations that are now committed to reach the unreached people group!

As a result of research and networking, the network partnerships will discover and identify the believers in other nations who desire to reach the unreached. You will soon realize that there are total congregations and networks that want to do the same thing you have done. Out of this research, the churches outside of the United States became part of the network to reach the unreached people group. The network will grow and focus together on the goal of reaching the unreached. From this, several partnerships could be developed in order to accomplish actual tasks needed to be done to reach the adopted unreached people group. Some of these partners may focus on the humanitarian needs, some on developing the prayer network, some on training and assisting the apostolic teams that are gearing up to go to the unreached people group.

• Take a Research.
Trip While this is going on you could lead a group to the region where the unreached people group lives to pray for them and do research. This trip should include several of the members of the apostolic team. They can prepare the team and teach them how to do the research and other cross-cultural pointers they would need to know. If they are unable to train on these matters, there are others that can come along side your team and train them. (Contact dondavis@house2harvest.org for more information.)

When the team returns, and after much prayer, study, reviewing their research, and seeking God’s will; the apostolic team can then write out a strategic plan to reach their unreached people group. The team then comes into agreement with the network as to when they are ready to take the steps needed to be deployed to the region where the unreached people group lives.

• Developing a Support Plan for the Team.
The network can now develop a realistic support mechanism for the apostolic team. You can answer the question regarding what will work best in regards to entering this new culture. Should the main source of support be business? Then you need to find investors in that business. Is it raising funds to support the time outright? Or could it be a combination of both? This depends on many factors: Your team, the field, and the capacity of your network. Many times to start, the network will provide full financial support until the local business is making enough capital to fund the workers needs. This will also depend on whether the team is joining with an already established work that is already developed on the field.

This is why it is import to find other on the field who has adopted the same unreached people group. The apostolic team needs to deepen their research and gather more information regarding other missionaries and missions organizations that are targeting their group. They should also take the opportunity to learn about these other churches and ministries and see if there is an opportunity to network and partner with them.

• More Training.
The apostolic team should now become more intentional in their learning regarding how to be effective cross-cultural workers. They could take several courses and seminars on the subject and study everything they can find. Through the local cross-cultural ministry out of their church, there is also the opportunity for the apostolic team to work through certain skills that will allow them to function effectively as a church planting team.

The “champions” in your network should also meet together with the apostolic team and review their strategic plan and revise it according to what they have learned so far. This process will take many hours together in prayer as well as discussion regarding the will of the Lord. Throughout this process the apostolic team will not only be prepared, but was able to determine when and if they are ready to go. The network should search for the best opportunity for the apostolic team to be trained in the area of pre-field orientation to help them adjust to their new home.

• Moving to Region of the Unreached.
When this phase of training is finally complete, the apostolic team then moves to the region where the unreached live. This is now the beginning of a new phase for the network. The apostolic team has entered the process of ministry leading toward facilitating a church planting movement among the people group. (See www.house2harvest.org/docs/ChurchPlantingMovementsBk.pdf for more information)
The first order of business is to arrange for the teams language learning. It is imperative that they begin learning the language of the people they will be ministering to as well as the “trade” language of the region. After more time of study and observation, the apostolic team should then begin to form their strategy that sees a “Disciple Making Movement” among their people group. It is important to note that their strategic plan should not be finalized until after they have spent some time living among the culture. In fact, it may always be modified as understanding of the culture increases. It is important to remember that the church that is birthed among any people group must be grounded in the process of making disciples. Many times the term “church” paints an erroneous picture not only in the world of Christianity, but in other religions as well. That is why I prefer “Disciple Making Movement” over “Church Planting Movement.” The apostolic team should learn as much as they can about other Church Planting Movements and develop a specific plan for reaching their group. This will only come after many days of prayer, fasting and research.

• Disciple Making Begins.
After learning the basics of language to the point that the team can share their testimony and some simple Bible stories they can now locate some people and find that “person of peace” (Luke 10) and “partner” with them. The apostolic team will then initiate their disciple making movement strategic plan and continue to learn the language. The apostolic team should regularly communicate with the network to let them know their plans. This allows for the network to know the necessary resources that are needed to assist the apostolic team to accomplish their strategic plan. The network also should contact other networks to see where they can partner and assist the team.

After several months the apostolic team should be able to develop relationships with a few men and women of peace (see Kevin Greeson, Camel Training Manual Bangalore, India: WIGTake Resources, 2004, pgs 35-41.). The apostolic team then begins to meet on a regular basis with these new disciples in order to prepare them to be disciple makers among their own people. It is not long before these new believers are sent out to reach their own people and quickly led many to the Lord, disciple them and see churches planted among their own people group. These new churches will be discipling apostolic leaders to make disciples thus planting house churches. Throughout this process the disciple making movement begins with no control or personal involvement of the apostolic team or network from the USA. To do otherwise would stifle the growth of the churches.

• Don’t Rush the Process.
This process may take several years to accomplish, and it is time well spent. There will be churches being planted among the unreached people group who will be rapidly reproducing across their region wherever the unreached are found. The apostolic team needs to stay out of the way and serve as coaches to these new churches amongst this people group.

Conclusion: What can we learn from this?

A house church network can successfully do missions, not just any missions, but strategic missions reaching unreached people groups. Remember, “An unreached people group is a people group within which there is no viable indigenous church planting movement with sufficient strength, resources, and commitment to sustain and ensure the continuous multiplication of churches.”

Would you like to see to see a missions movement started and maintained to the point that they not only reach their “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and ends of the earth” but that they also become a model for other churches assisting them to do the same even to the point of providing a network of apostolic sending churches working together to reach the unreached? Can your house church be a mobilized apostolic church which has birthed a missions movement such as this?

How does this happen? Can this be done? Is the process I have described above impossible for the house church? Is it unrealistic to think that simple, organic, house churches can do this? It is God’s desire that every tribe, nation and tongue become part of his Church. If the house church movement is to be more than a movement or more than a method, it is to be at the center of what God is doing in His Church today. The house church movement will then be at the forefront in reaching the unreached fulfilling her apostolic mission.

Now, what are you going to do?

[Don is available to come to your area and share with your group or network to assist your church to reach the unreached. dondavis@house2harvest.org ]

Works Cited (Parts 1-10)
Accelerating International Missions Strategies. Steps Towards a Mature Missions Movement in the Local Church Seminar. Virginia Beach, VA: AIMS, 2007.
Accelerating International Missions Strategies. Harvest Connection Seminar. Virginia Beach, VA: AIMS, 2007.
Garrison, David. Church Planting Movements – How God is Redeeming a Lost World. Midlothian, VA: WIGTake Resources, 2004
Greeson, Kevin. Camel Training Manual. Bangalore, India: WIGTake Resources, 2004.
Hirsch, Allen. The Forgotten Ways, Reactivating the Missional Church. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2006.

Next Page »