Category Archives: Essay

Rapid vs Long-term

One of the shifts in movements is in ideas around the speed of discipleship. Westerners seem to equate “rapid expansion” with getting a person shallowly saved, and then moving on. But the reality on the ground – both in the … Continue reading

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Urbanization and measuring the remaining task

For a very long time, now, many missiologists have tended to measure ‘progress in the Great Commission’ (however that was defined) to some extent in the context of people groups, and how they are reached, evangelized, and/or Christianized. This thread … Continue reading

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Measuring

“Les chiffres sont les signes de Dieu”—Statistics are signs from God—is attributed to Prior Roger Schultz of Taize. It’s interesting that this is in the plural: a single number, existing on its own, does not tell us the whole story. … Continue reading

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4,141 provinces

There are 4,141 provinces in the world in my database. Of these, I estimate 166 are less than 0.1% Christian (Stage 0), and 454 are less than 2% Christian (Stage 1). We can call these the “unreached” provinces in the world. The typical definition of ‘unreached’ is <5% Christian and … Continue reading

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Growth leads to persecution

The success of movements will lead them into inevitable conflict with others. This kind of conflict cannot be resolved as a “we leave each other alone” sort of approach.

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Counting Missionaries

In the spring and fall, I frequently teach Lesson 9 of Perspectives. Whenever I do, the “Worldview Demonstration” is often a kind of audience participation feature that the hosts do either at the beginning of the session or at the … Continue reading

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Unreached is not unevangelized is not unengaged

We use terms to quantify the “remaining task”—words like “unreached,” “unevangelized,” “unengaged,” and “least-reached.” Often we use these words interchangeably. This can be quite dangerous, as they do not mean the same thing, and we may not be meaning the … Continue reading

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How movements count

Over 1,020 church planting movements (rapidly multiplying groups that have surpassed four generations of church planting in multiple streams) have been documented. Together, they comprise over 73 million believers in over 4.3 million churches. When people hear this fact, they … Continue reading

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The globalization of sending

I believe the Great Commission (as commonly interpreted from Matthew 28, etc) is a task that can be finished (based in part on Matthew 24:14 and Revelation 7:9). The primary reason the task has not been accomplished: Gospel witness requires … Continue reading

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Sustainable closure

“Closure” is the missiological technical term for “finishing the task.” “Closure” can mean different things to different people, since the “finish line” is often defined differently. Some examples: everyone has access to the Gospel, even if they haven’t specifically heard … Continue reading

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