Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Greatest Missions Opportunity in the US?

The greatest missions opportunity in the US right now is perhaps the limited window Christians have to engage Saudi students with the gospel in our universities. Saudi students are the fastest growing international student population in the US. Last year alone, 66,000 Saudis studied in the US. Christians need to quickly respond to this opportunity to welcome and show Christ's love to people who are from a country that is rated #3 in the world in its oppression of Christians. See

A recent Wall Street Journal article, titled "Saudi Students Flood in as U.S. Reopens Door," by Ellen Knickmeyer, highlights the trend of Saudis in America. Here is an excerpt,

"In the years following the security crackdown on Arab travelers after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks—in which 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi Arabian—tough restrictions kept most Arab students away from the U.S. In 2004, only about 1,000 Saudis were studying in the U.S., according to the U.S. State Department.

This past school year, Saudi Arabia sent 66,000 students to U.S. universities, four times the number before the 2001 attacks and the fastest-growing source of foreign students in the U.S., ahead of China, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. The Saudi influx is part of a broader increase in international students in the U.S. as American universities seek to raise tuition revenues. Some 723,277 foreign students enrolled during the 2010-2011 school year, up 32% from a decade ago. 


Saudi Arabia's international scholarship program, launched when Saudi King Abdullah took the throne in 2005, is a key part of his efforts to equip future generations in handling the country's main challenges, including a fast-growing population and declining oil reserves. 

Since taking over, the Saudi king has emphasized scientific education and exposure to foreign countries as keys to combat religious extremism and transform Saudi Arabia into a modern state. This year, the scholarship program has about 130,000 young people studying around the world, at an estimated cost of at least $5 billion since the program began." 

The full article can be viewed at

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


By Global City Mission

Individuals learn to articulate truth "on the job" as they work out the content of their faith in the context of a small faith community. When church gatherings are participatory, worship and training overlap in significant ways. One believer in the Bronx once said: "It has actually empowered me to be able to instruct people, which I never thought I would be able to do. I didn't think I'd be able to do that for twenty years."

Group discussion nurtures accountability as different voices contribute to Biblical interpretation. Participation by each person encourages on-the-job training, and specialized teaching by includes conversation and dialog. Groups learn together through mutual sharing, inductive Bible discussions, and meaningful conversations. Essentially, participatory meetings emphasize formation and encourage a built-in accountability as each person learns and grows as an active part of a community of faith.

Going Into All the World... Locally

By Tiana Murray
adapted from Global City Mission newsletter 

The church has a habit of drawing people out of their spheres of influence. People commute twenty or more minutes away to service, are encouraged to get involved in this church ministry or that Bible study, and then spend the rest of their weeks in their respective neighborhoods, far from the church and the church community as a whole. The extraction of believers from their local communities waters down the potential influence churches and Christians could have in the places they work, live, and interact on a daily basis.

In the same vein, Christians have a habit of trying to draw people into the church to be saved rather than meeting non-believers where they are at. Rather than getting deeply involved in the communities in which they reside, surrounding themselves with the unreached people groups around them, Christians extract potential believers from their families and communities and bring them within the church walls. Of course, Christians should gather to worship together regularly, but far deeper ministry and relationships can be built directly within a person's immediate circle of influence.

Global City Mission aims to share the Gospel through individuals embedded in their communities, making "outposts of Kingdom life where people already live out their lives." Christians are not called to bring the world to them, but to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations. "All the world" starts in the communities in which we find ourselves, and in fact, New York has brought "all the world" to us.

The established community of many people groups is more important than the church realizes. These potential believers have to wrestle with the questions, "How will this affect my family? What will my Muslim/Hindu/Buddhist neighbors think? Will I still be accepted?" By not reaching out to people where they are at, the church misses out on the opportunity to reach out where the Gospel is the most relevant to their lives.

Furthermore, through reaching out to individuals in their communities, the Gospel is able to spread organically through new believers who come from cultures where the group dynamic is of the utmost importance. Global City Mission says, "Persons of peace are the gateway people through whom a new community of faith may emerge in a neighborhood and/or among a people group. Each person of peace represents the potential of a new church." By reaching out to individuals in their communities, whole people groups can have the opportunity to hear the Good News of Jesus. This is a key to sustainable church growth: the outsider steps back to let the Holy Spirit move through local, insider-individuals to reach whole communities.

As Christians, we must have a presence in our local communities, bringing the Gospel to the people we see daily, rather than relying on a church building to do the work for us. Only then will the Gospel become a part of the fabric of community life among the unreached peoples of New York.

NYC Missionary Training School

Introduction to NYC-MTS
NYC Missionary Training School (NYC-MTS) is an August-May training program led by a multi-agency team of believers who are committed to starting churches among the unreached people groups of the world.  Over the past few years we have seen many come to Christ and have seen churches started in least evangelized countries as a result of our ministries.  Thousands of internationals from least evangelized countries come to New York City every year. These internationals represent the influential thinkers and policy makers of their nations.  Being away from home, many are more receptive to the Gospel message. Our focus is on making disciples among these people and training them to start reproducible churches here and when they return to their home country.  Ultimately, our desire is to see movements of national led churches established throughout the darkest corners of the world. NYC-MTS is cross cultural church planting training.  This program enables individuals to learn about the DNA of reproducible church planting, cross-cultural ministry, and the Gospel while working alongside experienced church planters. They will have opportunity to start discovery Bible studies and house churches among internationals or unreached people groups within New York City.

What will the year look like?

Dates:  Partcipants will need to arrive in NYC by August 1st, 2013 and the program runs through the
end of May…although people are more than welcome to stay indefinitely!

Orientation will last for approximately 4 weeks and involve trainings such as:
-Living in NYC
-Effective Team
-Church Planting Mentality
-Dealing with Theological Differences
-Philosophy of Ministry

Training throughout the year will include:
-Filling the Earth Seminar
-Reaching Internationals to Reach the World
-Discovery Bible Study Method
-Making Reproducible Disciples
-Evangelism with Muslims and Contextualization
-Chronological Bible Storying and Worldview Based Church Planting
- Strategy Coordinator Training
-Training for Trainers
-Coaching and Mentoring Workshop

Books and Articles: Throughout the year each participant will also read five to seven books and various articles, discussing how they relate to ministry and/or CPM. In addition to the above trainings, as mentioned earlier, additional Biblical coursework is offered to those who need to fulfill academic

House Church 
-Involvement in a house church community including: discipleship, leading meetings, ministering
within the community.
-Initiating house churches among internationals and/or unreached people groups within the city.

International Student Ministry 
-Leading 2-3 English groups on a university campus
-Leading 3-4 discovery Bible studies with international students
-Meet one-on-one with students for relational evangelism

Muslim Ministry
-Conduct and implement a strategic field survey of a Muslim neighborhood
-Develop a plan for reaching this Muslim community
-Build relationships within this community
-Start discovery Bible studies

For more information and flyer click here or contact Chris Clayman at or Brad Wall at

The Core of Discipleship

By Tiana Murray; adapted from Global City Missions

Too many church services have ended with an altar call, a "repeat-after-me" prayer, and a tally of new converts. And then... nothing. People become members, sit in the pews on Sunday mornings, and maybe even read their Bibles a few times a week and join a Bible study. But we should start to question whether Jesus is satisfied with this.

The God of the Bible isn't interested in the number of members in a church or Bible study, or how many hands are raised in a service. He isn't interested in converts, but disciples. The God of the Bible is interested in people who drop everything to follow Him wherever, whenever. The God of the Bible is interested in the transformation of the individual, the community, the world. He is a God who makes all things new.

Sometimes we want people to know Jesus so badly we are willing to compromise the  message of Gospel just so that they don't feel threatened or walk away. Instead of training disciples and entering joyfully into sanctification, we promote, perhaps unintentionally, a message of partial obedience. It's the idea that church attendance and a "please save me" prayer is enough, or that certain pet sins can be ignored, because true discipleship is a hard sell and people might walk away. We don't preach that God demands perfection because, well, who would sign up for that? But the truth is that being a Christian does mean being perfect, or at least  striving for the perfection Jesus attained for us by His power and strength (see Matthew 5:48, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect,”  and Philippians 3:12, ” Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ  Jesus took hold of me.”) It does mean changing everything, down to the very core of who we are. Jesus isn’t just an idea to try, hoping  it works out but always holding onto the option of bailing if things don’t “work for you.” He is the truth. When we water down the Gospel, or only look at church attendance, the truth of the Gospel is not heard nor spread; we promote a counterfeit Gospel.

Global City Missions summarizes the focus of true missions and discipleship, in this way: "Church planting occurs as an outcome of making disciples who in turn make other disciples and form Christian community wherever they are. Social justice occurs when we make disciples who are imitating the compassion of Jesus. Transformation of cities and communities becomes possible as transformation begins in individual households, and they too become agents of transformation. Evangelism occurs as new disciples become witnesses of what they have seen and heard -- and then teach others to do the same. Family restoration occurs as making disciples brings the ministry of reconciliation into households. Like the parable of the mustard seed, focusing on making disciples of Jesus often begins small and slow but makes a deep and far-reaching impact. It is a seed of transformation that ultimately embodies the mission of God." God isn't interested in how many people raise their hands in a service. He is interested in a body of people who have been transformed, and are transforming the world around them, both locally and globally, as a result. Discipleship transforms everything.

Jesus had the biggest heart for people of anyone that ever lived, but his interactions with people often look different from ours. Jesus doesn’t beg for  followers or lower his standards when he sees he’s losing someone. Jesus says blunt, harsh things like, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is  fit for service in the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). Other times, when people walk away from him in contempt or confusion, he simply says, “He who has ears to  hear, let him hear” (Mark 4:9). Jesus is more interested in a few follow-you-to-the-end-of-the-earth disciples than a large number of bargainers masquerading as believers.

In Luke 18, A rich ruler, compelled by the buzz regarding this strange, amazing man, approaches Jesus and asks what he must do to inherit eternal life. I  imagine he played over the conversation in his mind and rehearsed his lines so that, when the moment came, it would be everything he hoped for. After the  ruler assured Jesus he had kept the ten commandmants, Jesus’ reply was as simple as it was brutal.
“One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

And here the story comes to a climax; the tension is palpable. I see the man’s sweaty palms and quickened pulse next to Jesus’ calm composure. I see the  man’s shifty eyes, looking for a way out or a loophole or a “just kidding!” next to Jesus’ direct gaze. The man takes a breath, time stops, and everything in  me as an onlooker hopes for the best… and slowly, horrifyingly, the man walks away. Almost as horrifying, Jesus lets him.

Jesus wants disciples. It's time we started to make them.

The Helps and Hurts of Short-Term Missions

By Tiana Murray; adapted from Global City Missions

Short term missions has been on the rise in recent years, primarily among younger generations. Seemingly every youth, college, and young adult group takes at least one a year, if not more. Both local and global missions is at the forefront of Christian culture-- from the inner city ghetto to India-- and Christians are signing up in droves for a week-or-two experience on the field.

This sounds positive, and for good reason. The increased concern for those who do not know the Lord and the ability to think outside of one's own bubble are certainly admirable, but there is a danger in the short-term missions trend.

I remember being in India for an internship and seeing this danger first-hand. I was there for several months working with a local church plant in the slums of Calcutta, and mid-way through my internship we had a high school group come through to help. As excited as I was by their arrival, within a few days I wanted to put them on the next plane back home. They were culturally insensitive, obnoxious, and unaware of their surroundings (in short, they were the stereotype many other cultures have regarding Americans). They took no interest in working alongside of the local church, but rather in doing their own thing. They didn't try to speak the language or learn the local customs. Several times, they took students out of VBS to take pictures with them in the hallways. I was furious by their lack of understanding. But more than anything, I was furious because I knew they were going to go back to their nice hotel that night and debrief about "how much God was doing" and "what an amazing day of ministry" they had had, when in reality they had offended more people than they had shown Christ to. I knew because I had been in groups like that all too often.

The short term missions trend can be dangerous when it is not done in unison with an established, long-term church or missions movement. It is dangerous when missions becomes more about a fun or dangerous experience rather than a lifestyle of commitment that spreads the Kingdom of God. It is dangerous when we bring our American bubble with us rather than present the Gospel in a way that makes sense culturally. It is dangerous when it becomes about taking pictures of the little brown babies to put on facebook rather than truly making disciples of all nations.

Short term mission trips are helpful when, as Global City Missions says, there is a "disciple-making movement and abundant Gospel sowing, [when] they serve compassionately and verbally scatter the seeds of the Gospel with cultural sensitivity. Abundant Gospel sowing through these volunteers multiplies the opportunities to find that one gateway person who is a doorway for the Gospel into a new community of people." In short, mission trips are helpful when the focus remains on God, when the culture is respected and worked within, and when hearts of compassion, service, and boldness spread the Kingdom message in a way that opens doors that have remained closed for too long.

The prayer we must pray is one for workers. As Luke 10:2 says, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Pray, therefore, to the Lord of the harvest to send out more workers." Long term workers who will be there after the short-term trip is over are needed to see that discipleship and indigenous church growth is sustained. Short term workers, with hearts of service and cultural awareness, are needed to come alongside of local churches and complement their ongoing ministry.

People of all nations are waiting to hear the good news. May God move the hearts of His people to serve in whatever capacity they can to bring His Kingdom to the city.

The Authority of Scripture in Missions

By Tiana Murray; adapted from Global City Missions

A major flaw in missions today is a lack of importance placed on Scripture. Of course, we say that we put the authority of Scripture above all else and quote it eloquently when evangelizing, but whether or not Scripture has come to a true place of authority in our personal lives is debatable. Too often we rely on our own efforts and plans instead of learning to discern the whisper of the Holy Spirit. Without the Word in its rightful place in our lives, we miss out on hearing from God in ways that not only transform our lives, but the lives of those we minister to.

Without Scripture driving and fueling ministry, our efforts to further the Kingdom lack the vitality and life that show that our work is from God. We hold Bible studies and preach from the Word, but all of that simply covers up the fact that we fail to make time for it in our own lives. Our intentions are good, but we are weaker than we realize. We need Scripture just as much as the people we are discipling, and we need to pass the discipline of interacting with the Scriptures in a truly transforming way onto them.

Too often, missionaries keep new believers dependent on them when it comes to hearing from the Word. We train new believers to be far too reliant on missionaries and pastors when they should be given the opportunity to read the Word themselves and learn to discern the voice of the Spirit. Global City Mission says, "When there is no longer dependency on the missionary or similar figure, it increases the reproducibility of the church. New believers learn that they too can share the Word of God. Making new disciples simply requires faithfulness to the Word of God, wisdom to discern, and sensitivity to His Spirit."

Missions starts with being transformed by the Spirit of God, which we learn to hear through the Word. Our work must be founded on the primacy of Scripture in our own lives, which will then naturally pour out upon those we are discipling. We must teach believers to rely on the Spirit, not primarily on authority figures in the church. We must not hinder the depth of which a person can connect with God through the Word as a new believer.

As Global City Missions says, "When the authority of Scripture is the foundation for a process of discovering obedience to Christ, committed discipleship is the goal and the potential for reproducing disciples increases." Access to the Word of God spreads the Kingdom. And that is what missions is all about.

2012 Global Gates Volunteer Opportunities

Global Gates is a new mission organization formed to reach unreached peoples in cities—starting in Metro New York. The vision of Global Gates is the gathered of the world in cities spreading the light of the world to nations. The mission of Global Gates is to restore a broken world through ministry, missions mobilization, training, and church planting movements among unreached peoples in our cities.

Evangelism among South Asian Peoples.  Volunteers will come to New York and be trained in meeting people on the street, sharing their testimony and the gospel with them, and being able to tell if the person is a person of peace.  This is a very strategic role that you will play as we sift through many people in the city to find those the Holy Spirit is at work in.  These ‘Sifting Weeks’ are very strategic as we seek to bring the gospel to South Asian peoples here in the city.

Material Distribution.  Help us saturate Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist areas of the city with gospel literature.  Some will come to NYC to hand out materials.  Others can mobilize their churches back home to do a mail saturation campaign, as we seek to get truth into the homes.  Each piece of literature will have a contact number where seekers can reach field personnel.

Engage West African Muslims with the Gospel on the streets of Harlem and the Bronx. Volunteers will set up tables and/or walk the major streets of Harlem/Bronx and distribute Bible stories on CD, Jesus Film DVDs, and literature in native African languages. West African Muslims love to hear the Words of God, and the interaction on the streets provides a great opportunity to share the gospel and develop new relationships. Volunteers will need to have a strong emphasis on praying for the people around them, and will also be encouraged to prayerwalk around the neighborhood and interact with Africans in their stores, restaurants, etc.....all in the heart of North America's "Little Africa."

Prayer Coordinator for Unreached Peoples-  The Metro New York Unreached Peoples Prayer Coordinator will focus on mobilizing Christians in Metro New York and beyond to pray for unreached peoples located in Metro New York by disseminating information and resources, leading prayer groups, and starting initiatives to focus more prayer on the unreached.

Express His Love to Near Eastern Muslims- Commute to nearby Paterson, NJ and spend time in "Little Ramallah" seeking out Arab and Turkish Muslims whom God is beckoning to Himself among numerous, ethnic shops and restaurants. Learn about Muslim Americans and how to better share the good news of Jesus Christ with them. Distribute Christian films and literature to disseminate the Gospel throughout this unreached and isolated community, and help us to spread the word about the new Arab Friendship Center. Join us in prayer as we entreat the Lord to bring salvation to Arabs and Turks.

Costs of volunteer trips will vary depending on airfare, length of stay, and the project you are doing.  However, the following will give you an idea of costs.
Lodging:      $35/person per night
Food:        $25/person per day
Trans:        $30/person for a 1 week unlimited subway pass
Project Fee:    $50/person to cover materials, renting training spaces, etc.

Stay-at-Home Volunteering
Many of the needs we have in reaching unreached peoples in Metro New York can be met even if you can’t travel to NYC!!!  We need people to help with the following on an as needed basis from their own home or church:
    •    Web design
    •    Web management
    •    Graphic design
    •    Duplicating CDs and DVDs of gospel resources
    •    Administrative-type work

For information on any of these opportunities, or others among unreached people groups in Metro New York, please contact

This is Discipling

Watch this GREAT video that captures the essence of what many of us are trying to do among unreached people groups in the city as we seek to facilitate a reproducing movement of disciple-making all across the boroughs. If you would like to be trained in Training 4 Trainers (( let us know by emailing We have numerous groups starting.
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