Dear Friends of The Antioch Partners (TAP),
Imagine – or better yet – dream with me for a moment that today every Christian in the world shared her or his faith in Jesus with everyone they know: family members, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. Given that there are presently 2.3 billion Christians in the world out of a global population of 7.3 billion (a ratio of approximately 1 Christian to every 2 non-Christians), it would be reasonable to expect that by the end of the day, everyone on the planet will have had the opportunity to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ! But the sad truth is that nearly 2 billion people would still be waiting to hear the Gospel. How is that possible? Because most of the people the 2.3 billion Christians know and interact with are already Christians (or are nominally so). And the remaining 2 billion people who never heard the Gospel do not have any contact with any Christians! They live in a place or culture isolated from a Christian witness. Which means they have no access to the Good News, and, therefore, no opportunity to know or follow Jesus.
Frontier Mission and TAP's Strategic Priority
Missiologists call the distinct religious, ethnic, linguistic, and cultural clusters in which these people live unreached people groups and efforts to establish a Christian witness within those groups frontier mission. If unreached peoples are ever going to have an opportunity to respond to Jesus’ invitation to “come and follow me,” someone will have to cross cultural barriers to share the Good News with them.
From the beginning, sending Partners to engage unreached people groups has been one of TAP’s strategic priorities. But even though we often encourage people inquiring about mission service with TAP to consider the needs and opportunities to serve the unreached, only about one-third of TAP Partners currently have a primary focus on frontier mission. Why is that? Many people who come to TAP already have a clear sense to where they are called often because of a short-term experience they have had previously. And where do most short-term mission experiences happen for US Christians? Mexico, Haiti, Latin America, or perhaps the “reached” parts of Africa. In contrast, the majority of the unreached people groups in the world live in the Middle East and Asia. Not only are the countries in these regions farther away, but they also are often less politically and socially stable and less welcoming to Christian missionaries. For many American Christians, these are strange and exotic, even “scary” places where only a super heroic or foolhardy missionary would consider going.
Partner Organizations' Short-Term Frontier Trips
Of course, we at TAP love and value equally all our Partners no matter where they serve. But we believe we can do a better job recruiting and sending more Partners to serve the unreached. One way we hope to do so is by highlighting frontier mission opportunities on our website. Because TAP has always focused first on the “who” (i.e. the person gifted and called by God to serve) rather than the “what” (i.e. a specific job that needs to be filled), we have in the past shied away from compiling and publishing lists of opportunities. But because it is hard for people to imagine what it would look like to serve among the unreached and what kind of positions are available, we hope that such a list will be used by God to help call more workers to the unreached harvest fields. Another way we hope to strategically plant seeds for frontier mission service is by promoting opportunities for short-term trips and service among unreached peoples. Our sister organizations Frontier Fellowship (www.frontierfellowship.com
), and The Outreach Foundation (www.theoutreachfoundation.org
) regularly conduct trips to frontier mission areas. As we encourage folks to join those trips, our prayer is that some who go will feel called by God to return for long-term service.
How Can You Promote Frontier Mission?
How can you help? Check out the list of frontier mission opportunities on our website (https://www.theantiochpartners.org/frontier-mission/). Share the list with mission leaders in your church and with people you know who are considering mission service. Tell others about Frontier Fellowship’s and The Outreach Foundation’s trips to the Middle East and Asia. Better yet, go on one and take some folks from your church to go with you! And join us in praying that the Lord of the harvest will send out workers into his unreached harvest fields.
Following Christ Together,
The Antioch Partners