Since our resources are limited, it is essential that we identify strategic priorities. The purpose of this strategy is to concentrate our efforts toward ministries that are critical to the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
Our strategy is to contribute to the completion of world evangelization (Matthew 28:19-20) through the ministry of intercession and through the wise and faithful investment of workers and finances. We have developed a detailed 30-page Missions Policy Book that sets forth this strategy and its implementation. You can download the policy manual for review or to print a copy.
Therefore, SGC will normally determine the priority of a proposed ministry endeavor by attempting to ascertain the degree to which it would facilitate the establishment of a mature and reproducing indigenous evangelical church movement in a particular people group(s). Normally, ministries to people groups with the least access to the gospel will be considered the highest priority (cf. Romans 15:20).
Roughly speaking, the world’s six billion people are evenly distributed into three broad categories. Below are descriptions and strategic priorities for these categories:
- UNREACHED PEOPLE GROUPS These have no viable indigenous evangelical church movement, although there may be a few individual Christians and several fledgling congregations. In some cases they have no potential access to the gospel whatsoever (no scripture in their language, no missionaries, etc.) Strategic Priorities: Outside involvement must focus directly on establishing a viable national church. Therefore the need is for evangelistic church-planting. Direct support ministries including Bible translation, medical work (in some places), radio, and a variety of logistical support roles (including home office) are indispensable.
- PARTIALLY REACHED PEOPLE GROUPS These have a viable and maturing indigenous evangelical church movement. Christians represent a small minority of the population and the rest of the population has potential access but little or no real access to the gospel. Strategic Priorities: Outside involvement must focus directly on the training of national workers and leaders. The need is for biblical and theological education, and pastoral and evangelism training. We should not send evangelists and church planters here because the nationals can do it better, but they need to be mobilized and trained to do it well. In these people groups, there are also some indispensable support roles (web-based training tools, literature production, etc.).
- REACHED PEOPLE GROUPS These have a relatively strong indigenous evangelical church movement that has existed for several generations. The majority of the population has real access to the gospel and everyone has potential access to the gospel. Strategic Priorities: Because the missionary task has been completed in these groups (this is not defined as everyone converted), a cross-cultural presence is usually redundant and keeps resources from being allocated to greater needs. We do recognize a unique responsibility to our own people group (Americans), even though it is categorized as reached. That’s why we have all of our regular outreach activities at SGC. Within that, we have a unique responsibility to minister to pockets of our population which are isolated from the ministry of the Church. Included are ministry to overseas military personnel, the inner city, and church-planting in geographic areas where there is no evangelical body.
We also recognize that the Great Commission defined in Matt. 28 is not the only mandate which applies to the Church. We are to work for social justice and be compassionate toward the needy without regard to their potential to become reproducing, missionary Christians.
Photo credit, M. Staub.