In-house mission lingo unpacked

13 Apr 2015

Church planting movements (CPM)

Essentially, it’s a process of local churches multiplying—churches that are planting churches, which in turn plant churches. It all comes back to sharing the gospel with peoples of the world, with the aim of making disciples who make disciples.

Unreached people

An unreached people is a people group among which there is no community of local believers with enough people and resources to evangelise this people group.

Cross-cultural workers

Another way of referring to missionaries. And while we’re on that subject—mission is the whole task of the Church to reach out across geographical and/or cultural boundaries by sending cross-cultural workers/missionaries to share the gospel with people who have never heard or who have little opportunity to hear the life-transforming news.

Supporting / sending

Embracing the New Testament model of the Body of Christ sending out workers to share the good news of Jesus to those who haven’t heard. This ‘sending’ includes commitment to prayer, practical help and financial support.

This is well illustrated from the events of World War II: every American was mobilised for the war effort. Housewives collected frying pan oil, women went to work in factories for the first time. Each person had their own role to play in the fight against the Axis powers. But not everybody could go into the defence force, and not even all of them could go to the frontline. In the same way, every believer should be involved in global mission—but not every believer goes to the field. If you’re a sender, don’t believe for a second that you aren’t playing an enormously vital role!

Partnership development

AKA support-raising. It’s different to fundraising. Partnership is a picture of us doing something together, with each person having a different role to play. You may not be able to go overseas to introduce people to Jesus—but by praying for someone who is, and the people they are meeting, God can use you to soften people’s hearts. By financially supporting someone, you are working with them to see God’s love shared with people who have never heard it before.

“Missionaries, you have been called to leave your home and family and culture to go to far-off lands and serve in the name of Christ. That is a beautiful calling, and you should embrace it. The individuals who stay home and pray for your efforts and write cheques to support your work are equally called by God to play their role. God has called the missionary to go, and God has also called the supporters to remain home and make missions work possible. The calling is equal. Senders and goers are a team.” (Gospel Coalition)

Home assignment / deputation / furlough

Most cross-cultural workers spend roughly three years on the field, followed by a period of time in Australia (about six months, but it can be longer or shorter for various reasons). It’s a time for connecting with supporters—reporting back to those who have been partnering with them from here in Australia. Home assignment can be difficult for cross-cultural workers as they may experience reverse culture shock and a real lack of routine while they travel around Australia, visiting supporters.

Prayer cards

Designed to be a reminder for supporters to pray, a prayer card is usually a postcard-sized photo of a cross-cultural worker/couple/family, listing their names and country (or region) of ministry. Often found stuck to their supporters’ fridge door with a magnet!

Sensitive countries

Freedom of religion is not a given in all countries of the world. In some, it is dangerous to preach the gospel openly. Those countries are often called ‘sensitive countries.’ Political situations make these countries hostile to believers, so we can’t name the particular countries or the names of cross-cultural workers there.

Prayer letters / newsletters / prayer updates

Those semi-regular emails you receive from cross-cultural workers may just be more significant than you realised! Because global mission happens through a partnership, made up of senders and goers, a major responsibility of the goers is to provide the senders with everything they need to better pray for them and the people they serve.

“If missionaries aren’t sending out regular communication, they are not giving their supporters the choice to get more involved… when missionaries communicate what God is doing through the combined efforts of our team, the One who called us all gets the glory.” (Gospel Coalition)

Are there any words or phrases we’ve missed, that you’d love to be defined? Leave a comment below and let us know. We’ll have a go at unpacking it for you!


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