Author: globalgates2014

What an Opportunity!

It’s not often that we can claim to know what is in the minds of Muslim men and women in our communities; today we can be certain. After the deranged attack on two mosques in a New Zealand city called, ironically enough, Christchurch, Muslims around the world, particularly those in our own global gateway cities, are wondering: Are we next? Are our children safe? Why do they hate us? Perhaps these Muslim communities now view us with the same bewildering questions.

How are we as Christ followers to minister in such a damaged environment?

As always we find guidance from the example of Christ and within God’s Word. In the 9th chapter of John’s Gospel, when asked why a man born blind was so afflicted by such evil, Jesus flipped the situation over. He declared that the right perspective was to view the malady as an opportunity to glorify God. He then proceeded to draw close to the man, touching him, healing him, saving him.

We can follow Jesus’s example among our Muslim friends, men and women whom Christ loves and for whom Christ died, by touching them, comforting them, and loving them in Jesus’s name. Practically, I would encourage you to visit your local mosques and Islamic leaders — share with them your name and contact information — offer your solidarity and prayers, and pledge to stand by them should evil assault their community.

In this way, we just might learn that this tragic event, with its global ripples around the Muslim world, might fulfill the hope reflected in Gen. 50:20: “You planned evil against me; God planned it for good….”

DavidGarrison

Dr. David Garrison
Executive Director
Global Gates Network

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The Recovery of “Apostolic Mission”

I was pleased to read recently that Don Dent, a former IMB colleague, has been able to re-release his 2011 book The Ongoing Role of Apostles in Missions: The Forgotten Foundation, including on the Kindle platform. As a former pastor in Oklahoma, I made the same mistake for many years as others had done, concerning the use of ‘apostles’ in Ephesians 4:11, thinking it was referring only or primarily to the original apostles of Jesus in the first century. It was only after I had been serving cross-culturally in Russia a few years that I began to understand my mistake. This issue is strategically crucial in light of the fact that God continues to move the cosmic chess pieces of human history by relocating globally unreached people groups into North America, making our continent a mirror reflection of the dynamic that Paul described in Acts 17:26. God is bringing individuals from unreached people groups of the ends of the earth into our “Jerusalems”. That is forcing us to rethink our former assumptions. The issues surrounding immigrants/refugees in North America are not primarily political or social, but rather, missiological and theological. 

In North America, we live in such a pastor/theologian-centric worldview that practically speaking, much of what happens in ‘church’ and in ‘mission’ is pastor-centric and not apostle (missionary)-centric. Much of this is due to the effects of the Reformation in the 1500’s, which unfortunately did not adequately also address the need for reformation of apostolic mission and apostolic ecclesiology that is inherent within Ephesians 4:11. Don Dent, along with Alan Hirsch, Neil Cole, and several others, is to be commended for pointing us back to the apostolic worldview when it comes to cross-cultural mission. This is going to become increasingly important in North America, where USA culture is post-Christendom, reflecting rapid changes even in the evangelical strongholds of the deep South & South-Central parts of the country, and Canadian culture is decades ahead of USA culture in that Canadian culture is post-truth

If we are really serious about working with Jesus to build His kingdom in North America and globally, we must accept the necessary corrective of returning to an apostle-centered focus in the local church, and not cling merely to a pastor/theologian-centered paradigm. That paradigm is actually stifling the church from fulfilling her God-given mission via a false and unbiblical centralization of influence & pastoral gifting over-emphasis, instead of releasing all the saints into the global mission harvest with apostolic missionaries leading the way. God gives apostolic, cross-cultural missionaries as gifts to the church in order to equip the saints for the work of ministry to the ends of the earth that have now come to North America into our own “Jerusalems”. I do not believe it is an accident that Paul lists ‘apostles’ first in Ephesians 4:11.

As Don Dent observes: “numerous trends are presently converging in ways that make this moment in mission history significant. These include the growth of short-term service, the multiplication of mission organizations (including Global Gates in Canada and USA), local churches sending missionaries without an agency, and the internationalization of missions. It is crucial in the midst of such change that we not lose connection with the New Testament model of the missionary apostles. Apostles, now commonly called missionaries, are God’s gift for the initial planting phase of the church among every people, to the end of the age. This unique church-planting role is the forgotten foundation of the church. Much of the ineffectiveness in missions is due to our attempts to build Christ’s church on a different foundation.”

Dent asks five crucial questions in his book:

1.Why are mission-minded evangelicals reluctant to identify missionaries as apostles, considering that the two words have the same root meaning?

2. How is the Greek word apostolos used in the Greek New Testament, and specifically, is it sometimes used as a designation for missionaries?

3. How should we conceptualize an ongoing role for missionary apostles that does not detract from the crucial, unique role of the original Apostles?

4. What ministry pattern does the New Testament record from the lives of the early missionary apostles?

5. How should awareness of missionary apostles guide our mission efforts today?

Globally, the USA now has the third-highest incidence of unreached people groups on her territory; Canada has the sixth-highest number of diaspora unreached people groups on her territory; the Greater Toronto Area is the most ethnically diverse population center in all of North America with at least 273 distinct ethnolinguistic people groups living here. Will you make yourself obediently available to Jesus to be a cross-cultural missionary (apostle) right where you live?  Will you get into the harvest and work with God to contribute in real space-time history to make Rev. 7:9-10 become an eternal reality?  Get Don Dent’s book and read it and start living it!

Dr. Chris Carr, Director, Global Gates Network of Canada, March 9, 2019

“Slip Sliding Away” John 3:16, Rom. 10:14-17

A few months ago, I was in a meeting with my friend Matthew Gibbins of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) for nearly four hours. During that meeting he made the comment that trying to figure out the best ways to connect with specific unreached people groups (UPGs) in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), who, for various reasons, overall typically do not consistently cluster together—“ghettoization”—like we see in so many other North American gateway areas, is like (in Matthew’s words) ‘sand slipping through your fingers.’

My mind has returned multiple times since then to that conversation. Whereas in most megacities, metropolitan areas, etc., in North America it is fairly normal to find significant clusters or pockets of specific ethnicities in certain geographic sections of a given city, that dynamic is largely missing in the Greater Toronto Area. There are some noticeable concentrations, for example, of Somali Muslims, or Afghan Muslims, in certain neighborhoods of Toronto. But, by and large, a ‘ghettoization’ phenomenon is not widespread across multiple UPGs in this part of North America. That is because at federal, provincial, and municipal levels in GTA, government officials have a proactive policy of housing new immigrants and refugees with an intentional intermixing of ethnicities to prevent the very ghettoization that has proven in many other North American locales to have significant negative results in multiple spheres.

Although the government officials’ efforts are laudable, they create a missional access dynamic that requires new thinking and new approaches for getting the gospel to wide geographic swaths of individual ethnic groups in GTA and other metro areas across Canada that have significant intermixed diaspora immigrant & refugee populations. This new missional situation has been described by some missiologists and researches as one of ‘hybridity’ that has created new challenges in helping significant numbers of people in many ethnolinguistic people groups to have access to the good news of Jesus in close time and geographic proximity.

Would you pray with us as we seek out how best to find, to encounter, and to cross-pollinate the gospel among people groups across GTA? We don’t want to see them, in the words of Paul Simon, ‘slip sliding away’ in their lives on this planet and in the afterlife, without knowing Jesus as King and being part of His kingdom.

Dr. Chris Carr

Global Gates Canada (www.globalgates.ca)

Jan. 24, 2019

Brampton, Canada

Most Significant Unreached People Group Communities in Metro NY

Some ethnic groups in North America have almost no exposure to the message of Jesus in a way they can understand. Nowhere is this reality more evident than in New York City, where the diversity and volume of peoples are overwhelming. Global Gates has recently updated a list of the people groups who are most in need of gospel witness in Metro New York. The group is prioritized based on the status of Christian witness among these people groups worldwide, the global significance of a people group’s presence in Metro New York, the amount of Jesus followers among a people group, etc. Some people groups on the list, such as Bangladeshis and Palestinian Arabs, will be familiar to most Christians. Other groups, such as Gorsky-Kavkazi Jews and Soninke Muslims, not as much! Which group appears #1 on the list? See https://globalgates.info/get-involved/prayer/people-groups/.

It Starts Small

Big things, both good and bad, often start small.

Global Gates was born in a growing storm. The storm began several years ago with suspicious murmurs about immigrants: “Are they legal?” “Are they taking our jobs?” “Are they dangerous?” “Are they terrorists?”

What began as suspicions soon became a groundswell of opposition to the strangers in our midst. Caught up in the maelstrom were millions of legal immigrants who, like our own ancestors, came to America just seeking a better life as students, refugees, businesspersons, and a host of other legitimate immigration categories.

Many Christians, despite the assurance that “perfect love casts out all fear” (1 John 4:18), were being submerged in a rising tide of fear that threatened to drown what was left of their Christian witness.

Today, that tide may be turning. Growing numbers of Christians are hearkening back to the “still small voice” of Scripture, which reminds them:

  • “Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt” (Ex. 22:21).
  • “Do not oppress an alien; you yourselves know how it feels to be aliens, because you were aliens in Egypt” (Ex. 23:9).
  • “I was a father to the needy; I took up the case of the stranger” (Job 29:16).
  • “I was a stranger and you invited me in….I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me” (Matt. 25:35 & 45).

Over the weekend, I was in St. Louis helping my daughter move into an apartment as she prepares to enter a Masters program at Washington University’s Brown School of Social Work. My daughter’s roommate, Jacinta, is an international student who was invited to come to a “Free Furniture Giveaway” on campus.

International Furniture Giveaway
Intrigued, we joined Jacinta to try and collect some of the furnishings this “stranger from a strange land (Australia)” would need to begin her tenure in the heartland of America. We were amazed to find a university parking garage filled with hundreds of beds, tables, chairs, bookshelves, kitchen appliances, lamps, and countless other second-hand items; all free for international students to take back to their bare apartments.

Over a thousand students from every corner of the globe descended upon the parking garage. Dozens of volunteers from local churches–the same churches that annually donate these myriad household items–not only managed the affair, they also fed the students a free lunch, extended invitations to English Language Clubs, and afterwards spent hours loading trucks and vans to transport the furnishings to the apartments of the grateful students.

Who does this?? Christians. Christians who have chosen to replace fear with thoughtful acts of love. As they do so, they open doors of communication and relationship. One pastor observed, “We build a bridge of love, and Jesus crosses over it.”

I spoke with one of the women volunteers about this remarkable show of love. “How did this begin?” I asked.

“Well, it started small,” she said. “Twelve years ago, we barely had enough furniture to fill a single parking space. Now we have enough furnishings for every student to claim multiple items.”

As I surveyed the parking lot filled with gleeful students and joyful volunteers, I was struck by how every Christlike response to a turbulent world begins: It starts small.

DavidGarrison

David Garrison
Executive Director, Global Gates

 

“The Lord of the Dance”

Jesus is the Lord of the dance. That means He’s the dance instructor, DJ, has the first and last dance, and the authority and power to dance whenever, wherever, however, and with whomever He wants. He picks the music, can spontaneously drop some fresh beats, release a new hit remix or bust a breath-taking move at any time. The mission field is His dance floor, and we are the dancers.

Jesus did the perfect dance we all failed to do with His sinless life, sacrificial death, and resurrection. He died and rose again, so that people from every tongue, tribe and nation can join the dance and one day sing His praises before His throne (Revelation 7:9-10). This dance is sovereignly choreographed by heaven’s Composer, who is God over everyone and everything. He divinely wrote everyone’s story, mapped out all of their days (Psalm 139:16), and beautifully orchestrated the only path to salvation through His one and only Son Jesus Christ for all His elect before the beginning of time. He is so high above it all, which makes the fact that we are invited to join His dance so amazing.

The dance isn’t something our Instructor wants us to keep secret to ourselves. No, Jesus wants His dance floor to be filled by people from all over the world. As I previously alluded to, His song of salvation is for all peoples. The gospel is for everyone, which is why Jesus told us to go make disciples of every nation (Matthew 28:18-20).We don’t just do it because Christ commanded us to, but also because He did everything necessary to save us. When Jesus saved us He made us into new creations and gave us a new identity as ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17-21). The Apostle Paul tells us that when Christ reconciled us to Himself He gave us the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18). The ministry of reconciliation is a message, and that message is the gospel. The gospel is only advanced by people when they obediently follow Christ’s command to go and tell.

I saw God’s redemptive plan to reconcile lost people at work in New York City when six folks from Mercy Church and myself partnered with an organization called Global Gates for one of its sifting weeks.

Some things that were abundantly clear during the course of the trip are: God is sovereign, Jesus saves, God wants and deserves all of the glory, Jesus is Lord of the dance, and God wants people to accept His invitation to join His dance. These things were manifested in the five salvation stories God in His grace and kindness let us be a part of. He did all the saving, while we acted as beggars helping other hungry and thirsty beggars find the bread of life (John 6:35) and living water (John 4:10, 13-14).

Global Gates gave us a list of addresses for homes to visit as we sifted for persons of peace. More importantly, though, we were told to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit, go wherever He tells us to go and do whatever He tells us to do. Initially, our evangelistic efforts were largely met with rejection as we canvassed the designated addresses we were assigned. I believe this was God’s way of showing us that salvation is out of our control, because it belongs to the Lord and to Him alone. It forced us to lean into Him in dependence and prayer. John 15 tells us that apart from Him we can do nothing.

We then saw the power of the Holy Spirit to draw lost people to Christ in repentance and faith. It started on a sidewalk in Jamaica Queens when one of our team members approached a couple, Jerry and Marie, and their little girl, Sinara. He began by telling Jerry that his little girl was cute. That built instant rapport, and naturally led to a conversation. He told him, “We love this city, and that we are caring for the community by praying for people. We’d love to pray for you. Is there anything you need prayer for?” Jerry said yes, so we prayed for him right then and there. We then asked him if he felt near to God or far from God. Jerry said he had not been to church in a long time. We told him God still loved him, and proceeded to share the gospel with him and Marie. We told them what we just shared is the gospel, which means good news. It’s good news, because there’s bad news. We explained how sin separates us from God and condemns us to hell, how Jesus did everything necessary to save us and how God desires for us to be reconciled back to Himself. He wants to know us, be in relationship with us, and have us spend eternity with Him in heaven. We asked Jerry and Marie if they wanted that. They said yes. I was floored! So, we led them in a simple prayer as they gave their lives to Jesus.

After that it was time for dinner. We thought we were taking a respite, but the Lord of the harvest wasn’t ready for us to leave the field. We had some laboring left to do. Our team stopped by a restaurant called Mac Shack. It was evident our server, Christy, was struggling, lonely, overwhelmed by her circumstances and lost. One of the guys in our group shared the gospel with her. She prayed to receive Christ as Her Lord and Savior. When we checked on her the next day Christy said she was feeling more peace, and was thrilled when we later connected her with two women from a local church to begin her journey in getting discipled.

The message we were proclaiming was rejected the rest of the week until our final day in the city. Some of us had discussed the possibility of going to watch the New York Yankees play the Tampa Bay Rays, but we realized how little sleep we would get if we made the trip from our hotel in Queens to The Bronx for the baseball and back. Also, much to our surprise greater things were at stake in Brooklyn, where God had a divine appointment scheduled for us that we didn’t know of until we encountered it. We spent the afternoon in Manhattan bored to tears at The Museum of Modern Art. I’m convinced God was pacing us before He blew us away that night.

Our team enjoyed some authentic Italian cuisine for dinner at Juliana’s Pizza in Brooklyn. After we finished our meal it was dark, so we figured let’s check out a nearby pier close to the water, then go back to our hotel in Queens to get some sleep before we leave early the next morning. We thought our trip was over, but God had other plans.

As we approached the pier we discovered there was a “silent-disco party” taking place, so some of our folks started doing “the floss.” For those of you who might not know what the floss is, it’s a dance. Their flossing attracted the attention of two young women named Leanna and Natalie.

After everyone finished dancing, Leanna and Natalie wanted to know who we were and what we were doing in Brooklyn. When we told them we were on a mission trip to care for the community by praying for people we immediately had their attention. We told them we’d love to pray for them, and asked them if they needed prayer for anything. They said yes, so like we did with the others we prayed with them right then and there, and after we prayed we asked them if they felt near to God or far from God. It was clear they were lost and separated from their Creator, who wanted to be their Father too, so we shared the gospel with them.

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I could tell they were searching. The Holy Spirit impressed upon me a sense of urgency to go after them. I remembered one of our pastors asking our congregation, “When is the last time you begged someone to give their life to Jesus?” Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:20, “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

We applied this verse to a real life situation. As ambassadors for Christ, God was making His appeal to Leanna and Natalie through us, as we implored them on behalf of Christ to be reconciled to God.

I told them God made them, wants to know them, has done everything through Jesus to save them, that He’s calling them, and I don’t know when they will ever get another opportunity like this again. So they surrendered to Christ right then and there with the silent disco in the background. We led them in a prayer as they asked Jesus to come into their lives and save them from their sins.

Leanna and Natalie came to dance, and we introduced them to the Lord of the dance. Salvation is beautiful, and it’s a miracle that should make us marvel in awe at the saving power and love of our risen Savior. Jesus is alive, and He saves. God can do anything, and use whoever and whatever He wants to accomplish His perfect sovereign plan – even a few people doing the floss. Jesus is calling, so join the dance and enter the mission field. The harvest is waiting, and the Lord is with you always, to the end of the age.

Hallelujah! All glory to God! For He alone is worthy!

– Ben, a Sifting Week Volunteer

If you’d like to be part of a Global Gates Sifting Week, send us an email at: admin@globalgates.info.

“What do you weep for?”

Stephen Davey, a pastor in Wake Forest, a small town outside Raleigh, NC once preached a sermon where he asked, “What do you weep for?”

Christian, I want to ask you that same question … What do you weep for? What do you weep for? What breaks your heart? Or, to be more direct and specific, when is the last time you were moved to tears over someone’s lostness and where they are going to spend eternity if they don’t surrender to Christ and trust Him as Lord and Savior?

Psalm 126:5-6 says, “Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.”

I along with six other people from Mercy Church in Charlotte, NC recently returned from a short-term mission trip to New York City for a Sifting Week with Global Gates. Our team was in Jamaica Queens, which is among the most diverse places in the country when it comes to the vast array of nationalities, ethnicities, cultures and religions represented. God has brought the nations there, including a slew of unreached people groups.

The highlights of the week were how He so graciously let us be a part of five salvation stories. Yes, we saw five people give their lives to Jesus and go from death to life! Many other gospel seeds were planted. We’re trusting God to provide other laborers to water those seeds and continue the discipleship process with the new believers. As the Apostle Paul makes clear in 1 Corinthians 3:5-9, Only God can give the growth, and only He has the power to save. It’s our job to pray to the Lord of the harvest and to labor (See Luke 10:1-12). So, we had shouts of joy as we came home with our sheaves.

At the same time, it was the stories of rejection, lostness and separation from God that I can’t get out of my mind and weigh heavy on my heart. One in particular has brought me to tears multiple times while we were in NYC and since we have gotten back to Charlotte.

Early in the week we met a Muslim family. It was the month of Ramadan, so they were fasting from food and drink during the day and could only eat at night after the sun had set. They invited us into their home. We shared the Gospel with them, and then they had us break fast with them. This was a huge deal. We were complete strangers, and they had us join them for something that was sacred and intimate for them as a Muslim family. That’s true hospitality and kindness. It was a sacrifice for them to do that, especially with people they had just met.

That was a divine appointment, and by God’s grace He gave us the boldness to wade into it and we went after them with the love of Christ that compels us to pursue the lost. Like Pastor Rashard Barnes said several weeks ago during Mercy Church’s “Getting Started” series in his sermon on missions, sharing the Gospel is done by proclamation and demonstration. We proclaim by verbally telling others the Gospel message, and we demonstrate by living sacrificially and putting the needs of others before our own. They need to work in tandem.

We went back to that family’s home two more times. We listened to them share about Islam, and we read Gospel accounts to them from Mark and Luke. We did what friends do – spent time together. For our last meeting, we took them a gift and a letter to express our appreciation for their kindness and generosity. One of the family members even asked how he could repent and be saved, but wasn’t ready to believe when we told Him that Jesus is the only way to God (John 14:6). It was heartbreaking to not only see the lostness of our new friend and his family, but it was even more painful when he rejected the message that can save his life. The word of the cross, which is God’s power to us, was folly to him. I was moved to tears after we departed, but have hope that God isn’t finished writing my friend’s story. So, I’m going to believe God, who is able to do far more than I could ever ask or imagine, for my friend’s salvation.

Last week reminded me and the rest of our team that laboring is hard, but Christ is worth it. Pastor and theologian John Piper said, “Missions exists because worship does not.” Jesus is only worthy of our worship, because He has done everything necessary to save us through His perfect sinless life, death and resurrection. God offers salvation to all who accept the perfect gift of His Son.

Jesus commanded us to go and tell this good news and to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:16-20). We do that not only because Jesus commands us to do so, but also because He made us into new creations and when He did that we became ambassadors of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17-21). That means we take Jesus to whoever we meet and wherever we go. It’s our calling, because Jesus made it our identity when He purchased us with His finished work on the cross.

God made people, and He wants to know them. We were made to be in relationship with our Creator. The Gospel is for all peoples, and it should break our hearts when people don’t know Jesus or reject Him.

So, Christian, what do you weep for? The thought of lost people should break your heart. The harvest is great, but the laborers are few (Luke 10:2). We don’t have a harvest problem. We have a labor problem, and if you’re an ambassador of Christ that means you’re called to be a laborer, too. So, pray to the Lord of the harvest, and join His mission. The field is waiting.

Global Gates Sifting Volunteer

Timothy George Interviews David Garrison

What is Global Gates all about? Dr. Timothy George, Founding Dean of Beeson Divinity School, interviewed Global Gates Executive Director, David Garrison, last month about Global Gates and the Great Commission challenge to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to every nation, tribe, and tongue. Listen to this exciting interview on the Beeson Divinity School website here.

 

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Superplan: a journey into God’s story

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In a 21st century pilgrim’s progress, Chris Clayman takes us on a journey into God’s
Superplan. An encounter with Jesus propels Clayman from his American Christian middle-class lifestyle into an adventure with God that leads him from Texas to Cambridge University to Muslim West Africa, eventually leading him to discover God’s global gateways to the ends of the earth through New York City. Clayman’s journey of faith will challenge readers to live for God’s story instead of their own, and experience for themselves how God uses ordinary disciples to accomplish the extraordinary.

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Chris Clayman is the Co-Founder of Global Gates (www.globalgates.info), a mission organization focused on reaching the ends of the earth through global gateway cities. He has been    involved in pioneer church planting in urban and rural West Africa and New York City among unreached Muslim peoples. Chris is also the author of ethNYcity: The Nations, Tongues, and Faiths of Metropolitan New York (unreachednewyork.com). Chris lives with his wife Nichole and three children in New York City.

For more information about the book, visit thesuperplan.com.
To purchase the book click here.
Click here for Kindle version.

Global Gates Houston

Houston is the fourth largest city in the United States with a combined population of 6.3 million residents in the Houston metropolitan area. With more than 90 languages spoken in Greater Houston, it is also one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities in the country. Global Gates is growing a team to serve the nations in Houston.