We all have points of view about the world we live in, based on our life experience and theology and what we learned as we grew up and moved out into the world. Parents and family, teachers, coaches, small group and Sunday School leaders, professors, and arts and media all help shape our perceptions of the world and the people in it. For many of us, our unique viewpoint is strongest in the area of faith and religion – so those things impact greatly what we think about other people groups and others’ faiths.
Informing Your Perspective
As we grow older, those “perspectives” become entrenched. We stop seeking better understanding of the world we live in and our role in God’s plan for it.
That is one reason why the primary purpose of the EF team at Watermark is to “equip the saints” for ministry, as Paul talks about in Ephesians 4. We want to provide a biblical point of view of missions to our body. From blogs, to brown bags, to Act to Impact, to our Modern Day Samaritan class, to Discipleship trips overseas, we are always looking for new ways to share God’s plan for telling the world His story.
This fall, that equipping opportunity will come in the form of the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement class. It’s a weekly class designed to make you think differently about the world, God’s plan for it, and your role in that plan.
My New Perspective
I took the Perspectives class two years ago. I’d heard about it from a number of Watermark folks who took the class in the past at other churches.
So, I expected it to be impactful – and it was. There were three primary takeaways for me from the class that impacted or changed my view of how Christ followers today should answer His call to follow Christ and be “fishers of men” (Matt.4:19).
1. There are two parts to being on mission as Christ-followers.
First, we need to help folks understand the gospel in such a way that Christ’s unique plan for salvation is clear. “How do I become a Christian?” is the question we’re trying to answer for others.
Second, the gospel should be presented in way that those who hear and receive it begin to follow Christ. “What does it look like to live as a Christian?”
My view for many years was focused on #1 to the exclusion of #2.
2. Although we don’t realize it, we all play a role in the spread of the gospel.
By that, I don’t mean we’re all called to move to the other side of the world as foreign missionaries. But we all should be involved in the spread of the gospel. For the vast majority of us, our primary “mission field” is our neighborhood, school, and/or workplace. However, as I learned, we also have a secondary call to help the message and mission reach the unreached (people groups that don’t yet have a sustaining faith community).
In places like DFW, the unreached have come to us. So with a little effort, being an international missionary requires nothing more than a 10-minute car ride. But our prayer and support for those going overseas is also a big part of God’s plan for those who do go.
3. The old international missions model is fading into the past.
The world is “shrinking.”
Because of technology, folks everywhere have cell phones and internet access, so they see the outside world and know more of what other cultures look like. Demographically, the world is shrinking as large cities – not rural communities – become the home to most of the world’s population. By 2030, 80% of the world will live near large cities, not in rural areas.
These changes (and many others) mean international missions will look different for most than it did a generation ago.
Join Us for Perspectives Class
Every fall, we plan to help provide a North Dallas class of Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, either at Watermark or at a partner church. Other classes are offered elsewhere in Dallas throughout the year. To find out more and sign up for a future class, visit this page.