How Living and Working in Minneapolis Relate to the Sending Goals of “2000 by 2000”

Background

On December 4, 1990, the Council of Deacons voted to recommend to the church that we endorse the vision of 2000 by 2000 and that we adopt the Maninka People as a special object of focused love and mission. 2000 by 2000 includes sending 2000 and harvesting 2000.

Sending:

230

career

1200

short-term

200

pastoral ministry

40

para-church full time

300

in three church-planting efforts

30

trained and returning internationals

Harvesting:

Winning 2000 people to Christ through the direct ministry of our members and regular attendees. We pray that at least half of these will become part of our fellowship while others go to other churches. Some will fall away and prove unreal.

Why?

  1. Jesus commanded us to disciple the nations.
  2. Love longs to see people in the greatest darkness receive the light.
  3. The glory of God will shine brighter as more and more peoples receive the gospel
  4. We will “hasten the day of the Lord.”
  5. Our church will be healthier and stronger as we give ourselves away for the unreached in this way.

The Question

How Do Living and Working in Minneapolis Relate to the Sending Goals of 2000 By 2000?

The following points are intended to give a sense of global significance to staying at home, working for a living, and seeing all of life as a witness to the truth and worth of Jesus.

1. Christian living and working from home provides authentication and credibility for frontier missions.

Ralph Winter said to me in my kitchen in the fall of 1983, “You know, the best thing you might be able to do for frontier missions is to remake Minneapolis.” If the gospel is not effective in making people better here in Minneapolis, how will we have credibility in commending it to other cultures?

In spite of all the emphasis we are putting on frontier missions (Paul-type missionaries), the New Testament assumes that most Christian converts will stay in the jobs they had when converted, and that most believers will stay at home and work for a living.

Only, let everyone lead the life which the Lord has assigned to him, and in which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. So, brethren, in whatever state each was called, there let him remain with God. (1 Cor. 7:17, 24)

For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: If anyone will not work, let him not eat. For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work in quietness and to earn their own living. (2 Thess. 3:10-12)

Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his hands, so that he may be able to give to those in need. (Eph. 4:28)

Aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we charged you; so that you may command the respect of outsiders, and be dependent on nobody. (1 Thess. 4:11-12)

One of the reasons for believers staying in the trades and professions that make the world run is to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. This adorns and commends the truth of Jesus and authenticates the wider mission of the church to spread the faith to other peoples.

Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good deeds and give glory to your Father in Heaven. (Matt. 5:16)

Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world . (Phil. 2:14-15)

[To slaves, but in principle to all employees] They are not to pilfer, but to show entire and true fidelity, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior. (Titus 2:10)

In other words being the light of Christ in structures of society in Minneapolis is an adornment to the truth of our message. It authenticates it and commends the message both here and around the world. The mission of the Church overseas is jeopardized to the degree that we are not accomplishing here at home the very thing we are trying to export to other peoples. Most are called to stay and pursue this authenticating ministry for Christ and His kingdom.

2. Christian living and working at home provides personnel and training for frontier missions.

Usefulness in frontier missions does not come out of nowhere. It is born and bred and nurtured and trained right here in the real world of Minneapolis—our homes, our church, our ministries, our workplaces. There would be no frontier missions personnel if there were no devoted groups of people at home ministering in all the ways we hope people will come to minister to unreached peoples.

For example, where do missionaries like Barnabas—the one who went with Paul on his first missionary journey—come from? He starts off as a generous layman who gives sacrificially to the cause of Christ (Acts 5:37). Then he exerts his trusted influence to commend the endangered Paul to the apostles in Jerusalem (Acts 9:27). Then he is tapped for a special mission to Antioch where his goodness and his faith and his spiritual fullness resulted in great growth (Acts 22:23-24). And so step-by-step the church discovered his gifts and calling through the ministries of Jerusalem and then Antioch , and finally sent him on a frontier journey with Paul (Acts. 13:2).

So domestic ministries (in home, school, church, workplace, etc.) are essential because they provide the personnel and training—a proving and preparation ground—for frontier missions.

3. Christian living and working at home provide funding for frontier missions.

Paul made it clear that one way that God commends for missionary service is for the missionary to be supported financially by the existing churches.

Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Who tends a flock without getting some of the milk? … The Lord commands that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel. (1 Cor. 9:7, 14)

[So he writes to the Romans and says] I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain, and to be sped on my journey there by you, once I have enjoyed your company for a little. ( Rom. 15:24)

[This phrase “be sped on my journey” in Rom. 15:24 is used again and clearly includes financial support] Do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they lack nothing. (Titus 3:13)

Also Paul shows that he valued the financial support he got from the church in Philippi (Phil. 1:5, 2:25, 4:14-19).

Where was this money to come from? It could only come from a great reservoir of hard-working saints who stayed in their vocations and earned a living for themselves and for those who looked to them for support.

Summary

There are at least three ways that living and working in Minneapolis relate to the sending goals of 2000 by 2000.

  • by providing authentication and credibility as the light shines in this darkness here in all the ways we hope it will someday shine in the darkness of the unreached peoples.
  • by providing personnel and training for those whom God will raise up and call. Missionaries are not born and nurtured and trained in a vacuum. They are the product of the power and love and vision of those who are ministering at home.
  • by providing funding. They money that it will take to nurture, train and send all the missionaries of 2000 by 2000 will come from Christians who remain here and work to support themselves and others.

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