Strategy to Finish the Job

A "strategy" is "a plan, method, or series of maneuvers or stratagems for obtaining a specific goal or result.*"  At Complete the Commission, the "specific goal" is fairly obvious - Jesus laid it out for us in Matthew 28:19 and Acts 1:8.  So how do we do what Jesus said?
  • How do we get God's message to every person on earth?
  • How do we plant a church in every neighborhood on earth?
  • How do we extend the love of Jesus to every needy person on earth?
Millions of people live apart from the Gospel - in fact, there are major people groups around the world that have little or no Christian presence at all.  We need a plan to jumpstart the planting of churches among these groups.

Here's our plan:

Complete the Commission is seeking to send out 1000 native church planters into the unreached villages of India - a nation currently experiencing great openness to the Gospel.  It is reasonable to assume, based on current ministry results, that these 1000 new leaders would plant more than 1000 village churches in a two year period - probably many more than that - and will be self-supported and self-sustaining from that point forward.  These churches, then, will likely become missions-minded themselves, seeking to reach neighboring villages, raising up new leaders, and launching care ministries for orphans, the poor and the sick.  Meanwhile, the church planters can either transition into long-term pastors for their infant congregations, or train others and then proceed to other unreached people groups.

This strategy could transform whole regions of India, sparking countless ministry works in places that have yet to hear the name of Jesus for the first time.  And, due to the location, population size, and growing economy of India, I see this nation soon becoming a "sender" into other 10/40 window countries - I have already heard reports of this trend beginning.  Reaching India (which still contains more unreached people groups than any other place on earth) could set in motion a chain of events that could transform the whole mission outlook in Asia.

THIS WILL SURPRISE YOU

What does it take, then, on our side, to send out one native church planter for two years?

$2400. 

You read that right.  Just $2400 (or $100 a month for the two years) fully supports the church planter, his family, and his ministry needs.  In the Indian economy, that "small" amount is full support for a church planter venturing out to the unreached villages.  And after the two year support - their planted churches will prayerfully begin supporting them, making our continued funding unnecessary.  (We can move on to other gospel tasks, and the work of these men will continue on!)

Initially, our strategy is simple: India Gospel League's President, Sam Stephens, has told me that they could field 1000 new church planters if they had the resources - maybe more.  Our aim then, as we seek to Complete the Commission, is to make this happen. 

Imagine: 1000 church planters sent and resourced - for just $2.4 million US dollars - less than what most American churches spend building a single facility.  On a personal level, imagine a village encountering the gospel for the first time - for less than the cost that some American Christians spend on their monthly phone or cable bill!

The reason I'm so excited about this strategy is that - well, it's not that far out of reach.  If just a few of us would sacrifice just a little, we could mount this massive missionary advance into the heart of the 10/40 window - and from there, who knows what God will do?

- Dan Jarvis

Strategy Explanation:

STRATEGY #1:  Local leaders, local churches.
As much good as outside groups or large umbrella organizations can do, they can't replace a local church - led by a native pastor.  Once an indigenous church forms among a given people group, it should take the lead on multiplying the gospel within its own culture.   As local churches develop and gain their own heart for missions, outside groups can help provide resources and training, but should never impose their styles or foreign traditions.  The book of Titus provides a biblical example of how a local church is grown and matured, how local leaders are selected, and how these new churches must keep the "main thing" the "main thing."  Also, developing native leaders can be more cost-effective than transplanting foreigners to do the work.

STRATEGY #2:  Focus on those receptive to the message.
If every community on earth is to share in the blessing of the Gospel, then eventually, even those difficult-to-reach, "closed" areas will need to be opened.  And it would seem, historically, that different people groups experience a great openness to the gospel at different times - and recognizing such divine opportunities is critical to our effectiveness. Of course, we must labor to make the Gospel available to all people, open or closed - but strategically, we believe the primary focus of our efforts should be toward those whose hearts are open - where God is already moving.  Jesus offered his disciples advice along these lines in Luke 10, and we see this dynamic strategy at play in Acts 14.

STRATEGY #3:  Multiplication, not just addition.
The only way we can reach every one of Earth's inhabitants with the Gospel in this generation is to multiply our message - not just "add" to our churches.  That's why church planting must be at the core of this mission strategy - how else will the work of God sustain and grow?  And where else, but local churches, will new leaders be trained to multiply the message even further?   As we evaluate opportunities to be involved in missionary work, we must embrace those with a proven track record of multiplying growth.