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Cape Town 2010 Advance Paper

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Missing Peoples: The Unserved "One-Fourth" World: Especially Buddhists, Hindus & Muslims

Author: S. Kent Parks and John Scott
Date: 05.07.2010
Category: World Faiths

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Originally Posted in English

Editor’s Note: This Cape Town 2010 Advance Paper has been written by S. Kent Parks (1) and John Scott as an overview of the topic to be discussed at the Multiplex session on “Missing Peoples: The Unserved ‘One-Fourth’ World.” Responses to this paper through the Lausanne Global Conversation will be fed back to the authors and others to help shape their final presentations at the Congress.

LOST SHEEP, LOST COINS, LOST PEOPLES

One day Jesus’ companions, the tax collectors and sinners, crowd around him to listen: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them… Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one…” (Luke 15). This crowd doesn’t have any trouble understanding Jesus. They know what it means to be lost.

Years later, in stunning visions revealed to him on the island of Patmos, the Apostle John sees a Lamb, looking as if it has been slain, standing in the center of the throne in heaven.  Spontaneous worship breaks out: “You were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5).

The purchase price of blood has been paid, and in the heavenly vision Jesus is receiving the worship due him. The work is already done. Or is it?

How did Jesus intend for all these lost people, from every tribe, language, people and nation, to discover that He has already paid the price for them? In his stories about lost sheep and lost coins, Jesus reminds us that the most natural thing to do when something is lost is to go looking for it. Even if, in the case of sheep, it means leaving ninety-nine others behind to find the missing one.  Jesus even tells us that the Shepherd is “happier about the one than about the 99 that have not strayed” (Matthew 18:13). Has that truth really gripped us?

The diversity of peoples around the heavenly throne in Revelation 5 compels us to ask:

  • If such rich diversity is the Church’s destiny in eternity, how is it that so many peoples are still missing from the picture John saw in his vision?
  • What impact does their absence have on the rest of us? Have we ever stopped to wonder what we in the global church are missing because they are missing?

When Jesus’ priorities for the lost and marginalized are ignored by His church, so are almost two billion people. Who is this forgotten fourth of the world’s population?

HIDDEN PEOPLES – THE FORGOTTEN FOURTH

At the historic 1974 Lausanne Congress, Ralph Winter shook the evangelical world by bringing the plight of “Hidden Peoples” to their attention:

Our exaltation about the fact that every country of the world has been penetrated has allowed many to suppose that every culture has by now been penetrated. This misunderstanding is a malady so widespread that it deserves a special name. Let us call it “people blindness”—that is, blindness to the existence of separate peoples within countries. (2)

Keywords: Missing peoples, hidden peoples, Ralph Winter, orality, Bible poverty, isolation, culture, resources, ethne, Matthew 24:14, discipleship, church planting, transformation, injustice

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PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down gwu_stevens (1)
United States

I find it interesting to hear the various stories coming from the Muslim world where so many seem to be getting the Good News of Jesus through dreams.  If you hear those stories from one or maybe two people, you can often discount them, but it seems that the stories are coming in from several places around the Muslim world.  Perhaps the Holy Spirit is working in places where believers simply cannot go due to the overwhelming persecution.


04.11.2011
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down TomTharpGW (3)
United States
@ gwu_stevens:

The barriers are not insurmountable which is a wonderful thing.  These people need Jesus just as much as we do if not more and I am gladdenned to hear plans on how best to approach this problem.  I enjoyed hearing from a person at Sat 7 who broadcasts the Gospel message into Muslim countries from beyond their borders.  This ministry is a blessing and can operate by bypassing the barrier of geography.  Jesus speaking in dreams without our aid just tells us that we need to be at the ready when these people seek our help in understanding the message.  


21.11.2011
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down gwu_stevens (1)
United States
@ TomTharpGW:

These closed countries are doing more and more to stamp out efforts to spread the Gospel via technology.  Pakistan recently created a list of obscene words that cannot be sent via text message to or within the country; one of the terms was Jesus Christ.  Obviously this is not an obscene word, so the only reason to outlaw it is to stop Christian mission work from being done.


But we have to take heart and remember that every time the world closes a door on the Gospel, the Holy Spirit opens up another door that we have to be looking out for.


21.11.2011
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down TomTharpGW (3)
United States
@ gwu_stevens:

No matter how Orwelian they try to become they can’t stop single individuals from sharing the Gospel with each other.  Even when the punishment is Death by punji stick people will still spread the word by mouth.  We need to be making and equiping disciples to go into all these places where we are not welcome.  People of the ethnicity and dialect who will be able to move uninhibited.  


22.11.2011
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down skpeap (0)  
United States
@ gwu_stevens:

We join you in praising God that He does indeed continue to give dreams and visions to Muslims -- and people of other religions.  In the vast majority of the stories from around the world, God seems to be sticking to His main plan - He sends someone to interpret those dreams.  As we train cross-cultural witnesses to go, we train them to know they will face persecution.  God’s Word tells us that fact.  So, yes, the Holy Spirit is working now as he has forever by both sending visions followed by sending people to interpret God and His dreams in places that are very challenging.  In fact, if we believe the Holy Spirit, there are no places His followers cannot go -- only prices we may disobediently refuse to pay.  So, let’s celebrate the dreams and visions -- and those who obey God by being like Daniel by "showing up" in spite of danger to tell people what these visions mean -- and who Jesus is.


15.06.2012
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down TomTharpGW (3)
United States

As far as unreached and hidden people are concerned I like what Lesslie Newbegin said in the book The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, "Christian Churches have taken to fighting over the remaining athiests and agnostics instead of attempting to convert those of other faiths."  If this is true then it is a huge loss for us as Christians and for the people we should be converting.  The problem that Newbegin says is that the Christians are often not nearly as devout or good as those of the other religions in their neighborhoods.  So, before we can reach others we have to take back Christians and get them to stand up for Christ as much as Buddhists are standing up for Buddha.  The we can approach the missing fourth with some hope of success.


21.11.2011
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down gwu_stevens (1)
United States

To call these people the ignored peoples is a challenging statement because it recognizes how we have put our monies and energies into less important ’projects’ instead of focusing on God’s Mission.  95% of the churches’ money goes to the church while only 1% is spent on making disciples of the quarter of the world that has never heard the name of Jesus??  Wow.  We have to be better stewards.


04.10.2011
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Charlie_Fletcher (0)  
Australia

Thank you for this challenging paper. The lack of progress since 1974 and the lack of Christian resources being spent to take the gospel to those who have never heard it are cause for corporate repentance. I hope that we may hear more at Cape Town 2010 about the strategies that have been proving fruitful among unreached peoples recently, as well as ideas about how to encourage individual Christians, churches and missionary organizations reach out to those who are currently beyond the reach of the gospel. For the sake of clarity, what do the 1% of Christian and 2-4% of missionaries include? Do they represent all Christian money worldwide and all cross-cultural missionaries world-wide? For example, would they include the work of India Inland Mission, which sends thousands of Indian missionaries to do pioneer work amongst unreached Hindus in the north of India?


13.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down justinlong (4)  
United States
@ Charlie_Fletcher:

Once you get down to that level of granularity it becomes a little problematic for the accuracy of what are essentially global statistics. The case of the Indian missionaries would "depend." If they are working cross-culturally, then yes, they would be included in that general stat. If they are not working cross-culturally, then no, they would not. But those kinds of estimates are generally made at a national level and then aggregated to regional/global.


13.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Charlie_Fletcher (0)  
Australia
@ justinlong:

Thanks for your reply Justin. I’m just getting around to some post-congress replies. I agree that we can’t expect compete accuracy in every detail of these lists, given the complexity and dynamic nature of the task. At the same time, the devil’s in the detail, as the saying goes. If we can’t be confident about the accuracy of the research at the granular level, it’s difficult to affirm the global estimates. With the benefit of hindsight after the CT2010 session on unreached and unengaged people groups, hearing that more than 100 updates and corrections were offered to make the list more accurate, I was left wondering how the list initially presented at the congress was researched. On a more positive note, it was marvellous that so much additional information could be collected at the congress, and hopefully, as one of the fruits of gathering leaders representing the whole church, the partnerships and contacts arising from CT2010 will help provide a clearer picture with regard to unreached and unengaged people groups. I hope the updated list will be made available soon.


24.11.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Dan_P (0)
United States

Thanks for this paper.  We need to be continually reminded of this until they are no longer lost.  Early in the Lausanne movement, there was much contrition and repentance over the fact that so few resources and effort was going into reaching the missing peoples, an example would be LOP 4 on Muslim Evangeliziation.  Since then there has been an increased effort in some areas but your paper still points to the reality of huge imbalances and people not being reached, or even trying to be reached.

Guilt is not a good motivator but we must still be called to repentance over the situation until we examine our priorities and make the adjustments to reach them.

Jesus is worthy.


17.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Suhail (0)
Jordan

I am intrigued about the fact that 95% of our giving goes to church internally while we should be focusing on external work of the Church and believers. I think it’s a big challenge to make a paradigm shift in many concepts: giving, looikng at scattered groups, development of evangelistic methods. Great article.


16.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Christine_Tennant (3)  
United States

I am so grateful for the way you have articulated the lessons you have learned when it comes to the work of reaching the world’s unreached peoples. While I am sure they still work at times, I have grown increasingly frustrated by the old ways that are still presented as models for missions to unreached peoples. Much of the training I received in preparation for spending a summer teaching EFL at a college in an unreached nation was unhelpful. (For a great explanation of some of the changes in missionary models, I suggest Fritz Kling’s book, “The Meeting of the Waters...”, which came out in the last year.)

One key you mentioned here in the lessons you’ve learned is so important: “Disciple to conversion, not convert to make disciples.” Yes! This is so important. It means that we teach people what it means to be a Christian, even before they have been born again or made a decision for Christ. It means letting go of the agenda to get people to “pray the sinner’s prayer,” and instead, invest time in modeling and exploring Kingdom values and traits.

Of course, this requires more time than handing out a tract and inviting someone to pray. It requires months and sometimes years of investment in genuine friendship. It requires us to take time and become known for our love, compassion, patience, joy, etc. And it probably means that we do not have large numbers to report as our trophies of the mission field. Yet it is the way. As you said, “No mass evangelism so the masses will hear,” and, “A new/inexperienced insider is more effective than a highly trained, mature outsider.” This is counter-intuitive to our usual models of missions and evangelism, but it is, I think, more effective today.

Thank you for the great paper. I’m looking forward to hearing more and learning from others at Lausanne!


16.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Prayman (2)  
United States

Kudos for a powerfully written piece on this essential topic.  As we are together in Cape Town, may God pour out on us a spirit of repentance that we may weep between the altar and the courts.  May we not finish weeping until our rebellion is purged and there is no more fight left in us to focus on ourselves.


15.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Sarah_Breuel (0)  
Italy

Thank you for such a thoughtful and passionate paper!

I would encourage to also add something of the "missing peoples" who come to "Christian" nation to study as an international student or as a refugee. As a Brazilian missionary serving in Italy (supposed to be a "Christian" nation), I have been finding wonderful possibilities to share the gospel with international students and refugees from the "missing people." They might come back to their country as a much more equipped missionary (knowing language and culture) than I would ever be there.

Blessings!


13.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down justinlong (4)  
United States
@ Sarah_Breuel:

Thanks Sarah. You’re absolutely right: reaching out to "diasporas" (Google for diaspora missiology, and you’ll get a lot of links) is a critical part of reaching unreached peoples. In fact (not to toot my own horn--grin) but I recently talked with a guy who’s doing ministries to refugees from unreached countries in this interview: http://www.justinlong.org/2010/09/2010-podcast-no-8-trent-deloach-and-ministries-to-refugees/. Many European countries are gaining large populations of immigrants & refugees, all of whom come from these kinds of situations. It’s a growing opportunity to bless people!


13.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down justinlong (4)  
United States

On behalf of the authors of the paper, thank you to each of you for taking the time to respond to this paper. We look forward to seeing you in Cape Town and continuing our prayer, discussion, and strategy development there! See you in just a few days!


11.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Jetteke_N (0)  
Netherlands

This paper is a right challenge to the Church, to Christians, to me. Thank you! It also brings sadness, for it seems so hard to get people interested in others other than themselves. There so often are so many ’excuses’ of things not quite right yet, to reach out to others that do not know Jesus as their Savior and Lord. And then, in several countries, there’s the effects of tolerance. Binding people, keeping them quiet. How do people fall in love with Jesus again? And then stand up and speak out.

Thank you for the encouragement of all the examples. It encourages to pray and praise God.


07.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Carlos_Alberto_M (0)  
Mexico

Mes siento muy retado a ver mi compromiso y mi respuesta hacia la proclamación del evangelio. Sobre todo porque muchas veces se nos olvida la razón de compartir..."Debemos discipular a las naciones porque Jesús es digno de recibir la honra, la gloria y la alabanza de ellas"


05.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down loosa2 (0)
United States

This paper is so challenging. We are in a world where everything is so centered around ourselves, including the church and missions. It makes me so sad to see these statistics of how few of our resources and finances are going towards the unreached-- this should be the place where MOST of our resources are going! We need to be reminded that reaching lost people is GOD’S mission and priority. If we really love God with all our heart, it will be our priority and mission too. It is so true that the greatest reason to seek and save the lost is because Jesus is worthy to recieve the WHOLE world’s praise! That is something I need to remember.  

I love the emphasis of making disciples, not just converts. Missions is not limited to simply proclamation, improving living conditions, or social justice. These things are good and are a part of mission, but I think the greatest priority needs to be making followers of Jesus who have a personal faith and will be able to share and spread that faith in their own worlds-- disciples, who make disciples... The Spiritual injustice in the world is more critical than the social injustice. The greatest change occurs by the work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus Himself sent us to "make disciples of all nations." He, who is our Lord and greatest Love, should be our motive and source of bringing the lost to Him.

I am definitely challenged to constantly keep my passion for missions of the unreached in line with the heart of Jesus!


04.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Marguerite_Evans (1)  
United States

Thank you for the paper! This so stirred my heart. Father give us understanding and revelation that we will grasp the situation.  We ask for strategies and blueprints from Heaven.  Father break our hearts for "missing people", show each one of us our part, in Jesus’ Name. Holy Spirit thank you that You are our Helper. I ask for a birthing of excitement to partner with Heaven.

Marguerite


03.10.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down danda (3)  
Australia

One point that we should not forget is that many of the unreached people live in the WEST. There is a huge opportunity and responsibility for the Christians in the West.

Perhaps it is easy to think that those in the West are minimal compared to the ones who are overseas; however, we should remember that each unreached person has family and friends overseas. These can be reached through the relatives who have immigrated.

Mission has now shifted from overseas to home and overseas.  However, the perception of most evangelicals is that the missionfield is only  overseas.

Another point is that a new phenomenon is happening....Millions of unreached people from Islamic background are leaving Islam and the majority are becoming Christians. There is a big need to disicple them and train them to be evangelists to others.

The unreached are becoming the evangelists and disciplers. It is no more us and them but it is TOGETHER in Christ.

The whole paradigm is changing and a new situation is developing globally. Churches and missions here and overseas should wake up and prepare to become welcomers, encouragers and disciplers.


28.09.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down ChloeRoberts (0)  
United Kingdom

SUCH a challenging paper...thank you. I would love us as the worldwide church to have much more regular education on this subject, leading to action of course. I share the suggestion that we perhpas need to become increasingly ’strategic’ in how we accomplish this.


21.09.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down JudithJ (2)  
Jamaica

Wow!  This presentation is a rallying point for some serious commitment.  Lost coin, lost sheep, missing people – why are we spending so much time on the 99?  Because we have been programmed to do so.  That’s what church with 4 walls and ministry schedules does.  Discipled differenetly we would respond differently.  Recognising the problem, how do we address it?  Does everyone suddenly get up and go find these people?  Certainly we can’t!  So how do we decide who does?  And, when that is decided - should we not support them by providing them with the resources they need, including the much needed prayer support? 

When we gather in a month’s time to share and reflect may God give us direction and infuse us with the spirit of wisdom so we may discern who should in fact “go!”.


17.09.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Bradford_Greer (1)  
United States

Excellent paper. Thank you for it. I wonder if one of the reasons why there are still hidden peoples-unreached peoples is that when we give our lives to Christ we are looking to him to make our lives happy and blessed. We are not necessarily entering into a love relationship where we want to learn what inspires and moves him. We don’t think about our hearts being shaped like his heart, his passions becoming our passions. Not everyone is wired to go to the hard places where a lot of these unreached are. However, I am sure there are many that are potentially wired that way, but they never thought about letting Jesus shape their hearts and their desires in his image. 


14.09.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Jeff_Korum (0)  
Ghana

Much thanks to the authors for this informative article that connected the start of the people-group movement to where we are today in relation to reaching those who have no access to the Gospel. God bless the writers for their thorough understanding of the subject.


13.09.2010
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 1 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Mere_B (4)  
United States

This has been the most challenging and stimulating advance paper I’ve read yet. I share your urgency about missing peoples, and appreciate the vigor with which you make the argument. 

I especially appreciate your point that Bible Study is about discovery and obedience, not preaching and knowledge. We must learn new paradigms in which we as missionaries stop "spoon-feeding" the "right" answers to indigenous believers. We must help them discover truth in Scripture for themselves, trusting the Holy Spirit in the process. This may lead to conclusions that are uncomfortable to our own sensibilities! We also must emphasize obedience - the living out of the mandates of Scripture - rather than simply collecting knowledge without transforming daily life and behavior. 

Letting the lost lead Bible Studies is a brilliant concept, and one that many might be uncomfortable with. But if we trust the Holy Spirit to draw seekers and enlighten truth, what better way to get people actively engaged? We must relinquish control. Our role should be that of prayer warrior, friend, and - here’s the key - good question-asker. When missing peoples begin engaging Jesus and the word, they will have questions. Rather than giving the answers ourselves, let’s ask them good questions in return - questions that point them back to the Scriptures and to Jesus himself! We can’t shortcut the process! 

I personally am excited to rise to the challenge of missing peoples - the vigorous challenge you present here. I am currently gathering a team of believers who will address that challenge amongst Arabic speakers. 


19.08.2010
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PhContributeBy Kent Parks 
 
Location: Plano, Texas
Country: United States

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