Category Archives: Mission Experiences

At the Top of the World

Church planters in training, all from one congregation.

Church planters in training, all from just one congregation.

The church is growing faster in Nepal than in any other country in the world right now. Don’t get me wrong, there is so much that still needs to be done. With approximately 2% Christian in the country, most have still never heard of Jesus. However, true multiplication is happening with astounding effectiveness among believers there. Three primary reasons account for this phenomenon:

  1. God has chosen to bless this nation and work in rare ways in these days.
  2. Believers are reading the Word and doing what it says. In contrast to a predominantly knowledge-based discipleship in the US, the churches in Nepal function under an obedience-based discipleship model. By the way, so did Jesus.
  3. Good and godly leaders are setting the pace. Apostolic-type leaders are committed, intentional and focused to get done what Jesus told us to get done–make disciples.

It’s a tremendous privilege for Converge to be deeply engaged in the movement among these amazing people. Within our network, 856 house churches have been started in the past 18 months. I’m confident the numbers will only get bigger and harvest greater. To God be the glory!

Bullseye!

Imagine never hearing the name of Jesus. In your whole life!

0707152319This was what Susan and I, and our team of “scouts” found in a remote region of Indonesia recently. Our group of six traveled two hours down the coast from a fair-sized city and then seven kilometers (five miles) from the beach into the mountains. Our target was a village which was the doorway to an unengaged people group. (Unengaged means that they have not heard the gospel in a credible way and no-one is intentionally trying to reach them.) What we found amazed us.

This small village of around 200 people was filled with warmconversations welcoming inhabitants. Inquisitive people kept coming out their homes to see something they had never seen before: foreigners. Even the oldest man in the village (maybe around 80 years old) said that a foreigner had never visited before. And they treated us like royalty. Two of our team were very fluent in Bahasa (Indonesian), so we learned so much about their lives, village, and demeanor. From the youngest child to the oldest woman, people loved on us and honored us. Completely Muslim in belief, they fed us fresh coconuts even though they couldn’t partake because of Ramadan.

0707152347b~2But here’s what grips me: They have never heard of Jesus. And they seem so open. And no-one is there to tell them.

This people group, like 10 others in that region, have absolutely no access to the gospel. They’re lost and they have no idea! And no-one is attempting to bring the gospel to these eleven unengaged people groups.

Until now.

Converge is taking on this region of Indonesia with the commitment to help these lost people groups know Jesus for the first time in history. This is the BULLSEYE of God’s passion for the lost. Jesus said, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world, as a testimony to all the nations (ethnic groups) and then the end will come,” Matthew 24:14. God has such a determination that all hear and respond that He is delaying His return until all the people groups know of Jesus.

  • Pray for this important mission.
  • Join us in this huge task. We ARE better together.
  • Write to me @ ivanv@converge.org
  • Check out our link at http://www.convergeworldwide.org/

 

 

So Many Good Things…

Encouraging/teaching church planters in Nepal.

Encouraging/teaching church planters in Nepal.

So many good things are happening in Converge International Ministries these days. Consider the following realities…

  • We are experiencing a noticeable spirit of positivity among our global partners all over the world. We know what God has called us to do, clarified that with specificity, and have a pathway to see us succeed in this Great Cause endeavor.
  • We are developing transformational leaders in foreign places to send trained pastors/missionaries to go places westerners cannot go. We are multiplying our influence, incorporating wise missiology, and are seeing significant impact through these strategies.
  • We are helping to plant thousands of indigenous led church plants among least reached people groups. Just in the first part of 2014, we are helping to start 2000 churches in some very difficult places in Asia.
  • Continue to assess, appoint, and send well qualified, clearly called, culturally prepared missionaries to strategic places in the world. Just last week, seven more were recommended after thorough assessment–all who hold great promise for God-honoring influence.
  • Engaging more and more churches to partner in our global initiatives. More churches than ever are recognizing God’s hand upon us and the strategic opportunities before us.
  • Church driven missions are happening very effectively by many of our Converge churches. International Ministries is coming alongside a number of these to see catalytic influence happen in big ways.
  • New opportunities stand before us – possible new ministries in Muldova, Poland, Nepal, Sierra Leone, and Indonesia.

I hope you get the idea that significant and good things are happening at Converge International Ministries. We are experiencing God’s leading, blessing, and power. To God be the glory!

 

Why “Multiplying Transformational Churches?”

A house church in Assam, India.

A house church in Assam, India.

On a recent trip to India, a team of us had the privilege of encouraging, equipping, and challenging leaders of tribes spread across the northeast portion of this nation. One of our goals was to get them interested–even engaged in–our church multiplication strategy in that part of the world. They listened with interest, but with reservations–until one of their own testified.

One of their pastors had been involved for two years with our close partner in church planting, TTI. He shared how he had tried to plant churches for years with very little success. Since aligning with TTI, he has helped start seven churches (in two years) and has personally baptized over 80 new believers. These were impressive results–far superior than anything any of the others had been a part of. Suddenly, interest was at a fever pitch.

Why is Converge International Ministries determined to “multiply transformational churches?” Why are we eager to be a catalyst for what we pray will become church planting movements?

An Indian from the state of Madhya Pradesh helps us understand better:

“I came to Jesus in the late 1980s. Not long afterwards, I experienced a large evanglsitic crusade in a city. Impressed, I returned to my village and organized similar crusades there and in the surrounding villages for years. Thousands came, and everyone liked it. The crusades were so successful that even the lame could walk again–and walk away never to return; the blind could see–and they never looked back.” (from India: 3,000 House Churches Planted in Madhya Predesh Since 1994, Victor Choudhrie, p.38)

This evangelist goes on to describe how he became committed to church planting because it was in the context of community that true disciples were developed.

David Garrison, author of Church Planting Movements, describes the need of the church well when he states that:

  • (A) salvation is preferable to lostness
  • (B) growth in Christlikeness is preferable to simple salvation
  • (C) so churches which foster and nurture growth in Christlikeness are preferable to individual or even mass evangelism.

Just a few more reasons that we’re committed to “multiplying transformational churches” through Converge Worldwide.

A Ripe Harvest Requires Action!

“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest,” Luke 10:2 ESV

rooftop teaching

Teaching church planters on a rooftop.

I saw a ripe harvest field in Nepal recently. Susan and I had the privilege of meeting with 1100 Nepalese church planters in Kathmandu early in February — most are intending to plant their churches in villages that have never had a Christian witness before! Of all the countries in the world, Christianity is growing the fastest in Nepal.

Susan washing feet.

Susan washing feet.

We could feel God’s presence in this place.

We saw God’s hand at work.

We witnessed the hunger of these leaders intent on helping others know about salvation through Christ.

We are soberly aware of how big the harvest field is in Nepal.

In the last few years, Christianity has grown from 0.1% Christian to about 3% right now. That’s impressive, but it also compels us to reach the 97% who are still unreached. With Converge Worldwide’s close partner in ministry, The Timothy Initiative (TTI), a goal of 100,000 new churches in the next ten years has been stated. It’s a huge field that’s very ripe. We just need harvesters.

Jesus’ statement reminds me of a few important biblical principles:

  • Jesus sees the harvest and longs for the harvest to be brought in.
  • Jesus tells us to pray that He would send workers into the harvest. It’s not our primary job to send, but it is our primary job to pray. This comes first.
  • Jesus tells us to pray earnestly. This is not an afterthought type of praying that Jesus compels us to engage in.
  • Jesus compares this situation to a harvest. In the agricultural world, everyone knows that a harvest season is always frighteningly finite in time. You work as hard and as fast as possible to bring the harvest in while the harvest is still available. Urgency is stressed for the task at hand.

What action can be taken to be an integral part of reaping the harvest in Nepal?

  1. Pray for workers and pray about your part.
  2. Contact us about adopting a people group in Nepal or about helping to plant a church or churches. A $300 one-time investment will plant an indigenous led self-sustaining church in this part of the world. That’s an out-of-this-world investment! Write to us at missions@convergeww.org