Lots of people talk about what’s an acceptable mission strategy, lists, how to decide where to put your strategic focus, etc.
Let’s for a moment reduce “strategy” to its simplest, most bare-bones level.
The basic idea of the cross-cultural missionary task is this: a believer who commits to go to a place where there is no witness, inculturate into that place (learning language, culture, and establishing a moderately long-term sustainable presence) for the purpose of being the “city on a hill,” salt-and-light in the culture, until in that spot new disciples are made and an inculturated Gospel presence is established.
Therefore, the goal for “closure” is that every place in the world has a Gospel presence “within range.” That is, every person in the place will “most likely” hear the Gospel at least once during their lifetime (and ideally, far more than that) from a Gospel presence within a certain range.
Now, to “armchair general” the missionary task, just start looking for all the places where there is no Gospel presence. The presence could be a tentmaker, a classical missionary, a church, an immigrant, whatever. The kind of presence or platform used matters less than the length of time the Gospel will be present for: if it is to reach multiple generations, then a Gospel presence must endure throughout multiple generations.
If you can’t find any Gospel presence in a place, it needs one.
The big challenges:
- to define the “radius” of a Gospel presence – e.g. is 1 per city enough (perhaps in a place of 5,000, but is it enough in a city 50,000, or 500,000, or 5 million?)
- to define whether the presence of one flavor of Christianity represents an “authentic” Gospel presence
- to define the level of difficulty that you or your group can accept. Not everyone is going to have the capacity to go to the hardest-of-hard places.