Joshua Project uses the terms "unreached" and "least-reached" to mean the same thing. The terms are used interchangeably. An unreached or least-reached people are a people group among which there is no indigenous community of believing Christians with adequate numbers and resources to evangelize this people group.
Ralph Winter words this definition a little different and I quote him for clarification: “Unreached peoples: a group among which there is no indigenous community of believing Christians able to evangelize this people group.” (Unreached Peoples: The Development of the Concept, International Journal of Frontier Missions, Vol. 1, No. 2, 1984).
While these and other definitions are not complete in themselves, they give us a framework in which to position our efforts so that such people might be reached. As this ministry (NFI) moves forward in 2015, our objective is to effectively impact church plant and church renewal so there is a fresh moving of the Holy Spirit through individuals in the church that carries the gospel to the unengaged and unreached people groups of the world. Paul’s ministry was toward that end so that “the word of the Lord sounded out from you” (1 Thessalonians 1:8). When individuals are spiritually mature (healthy), so will be the church. Then expansion of the gospel will be spontaneous!
"The trouble with the average church is that the cart is put before the horse and then the pastor is told to get on the seat and drive, and of course he finds the going hard. If only we would reverse the order and accept God's plan, we would get somewhere and the going would be easy. Seek first the extension of God's kingdom world-wide, and all things will be added. God's program never fails!"
By Oswald J. Smith (The Challenge of Missions, page 24).
"The supreme task of the church is the evangelization of the world."
Oswald J. Smith (The Challenge of Missions, page 15).
Are you involved?
Please Pray: (October 3 – November 10)
1) Teaching Church Leaders using the Burmese God’s Plan for His Church in Yangon – October 27- November 7
2) Launch the new Karen God’s Plan for His Church in Maw Day Musekee – October 17-19
3) Teaching Bethany College students God’s Plan for His Church in Chiang ai - October 13-24
4) Synergy Meeting with Vietnamese Leaders in Bangkok - October 6-10
5) Strategic Planning for the Khmer God’s Plan for His Church in training Cambodian Leaders – November 1-3
6) Launch the new Vietnamese God’s Plan for His Church in Saigon – October 13 – 24
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving, pray also for us, (Tim and Sherman):
1) That God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ Col 4:2-3
2) That words may be given to us in opening our mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel Eph 6:19
3) That the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored 2 Thess 3:1 (ESV)
4) That we may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding Col 1:9
5) That we be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might Col 1:11
Below is a testimony received from a group of Lahu disciples we trained last fall using illustrations from the new revised God's Plan for His Church.
Our teaching consisted of showing them how the Gospel spread from Jerusalem (Pentecost) to the world. This is what happens when disciples, with childlike faith, take seriously the Holy Spirit and Christ, the Living Word. We have seen this happen over and over again throughout the world.
“After teaching the book of Acts, the Pastors are so happy to go out to share the Good News with the people. We dedicated the 9th daughter church on March 15, 2014. Members of the new church are from Ah Kha tribe. Your teaching is so effective. Thank God for that.”
Here is a current testimony of what is happening when believers use God’s Plan for His Church manual to get them back into the Scriptures as their sole guide for personal walk, the family and the church.
“I was urgently invited to Ghana to attend the International Missions Leaders Workshop in Kumasi Ghana. The Theme for the Workshop was “MOVING FORWARD”. The director for Baptist Foreign Missions Rev. Phil Knott shared with us the Mission’s Vision and goals that is to multiply disciples, leaders, Churches and ministries that are reproducible and sustainable.
The Workshop was held because many of churches were relying on foreign support and when that supports ceased, the church fell or pastors moved to other ministry that will support him. So we were called and encourage that our churches should be self-sustainable and focus on God and the direction of the Holy Spirit.
Brother, what we have been studying from the training manual is exactly what is going on with so many pastors and churches here in Africa. We have been encourage that our churches should be self-sustaining; not money to be it lifeblood, because when money stop ministry stops. Thanks for the material that open our eyes and understanding. I took along the Training manual (GOD’S PLAN FOR HIS CHURCH), with me and I seized the opportunity to meet with pastors and church leaders from Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Mali, Togo and other African countries discussed with them the goodness and Biblical teaching of Planting and Church Renewal of the material. Having shared the introductory part of the manual many of them express their desire to be part of the study. While I was away the men studying with me in our church were busy in carrying on their studies and at times we shared our discussion on phone after our meeting.
I am going through the manual as well as a brother who has gone to Hungary with a copy of the manual. He will be back on the 26 of February, so that we can all do the completion of the material together.
It is our prayers that the Lord will give us strength and open our understanding as we study His Word to win souls for him.”
Yes my brother, there are so many adversaries which we are experiencing. We however thank God for all his promises. I want to tell you that it is not easy for these old churches to accept New Testament principals and come out of their traditions which are not found in the word of God. Some of the old churches adapt tradition, doctrines and church structures and their leaders have become owners of the churches, especially when a church is in the villages. But I thank God because his word is sharper than a double edged sword. Pray always for this new ministry we have on our shoulders. I am so glad because we are not only teaching the principles but the power of God is being demonstrated. I was asked to pray for the sick and God graciously gave them healing. I did not expect this to happen, but the church elder just stood up and asked me to pray for the sick. Brother, I don't understand how the Holy Spirit is working because l did not have this in my mind to pray for the sick. We really need your prayers. On Thursday this week we are going to two other churches and we are sure God wants us to go there, but we do not know what is ahead of us. This manual (God’s Plan for His church) is anointed!
As Tim prepares for his next trip to Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand, we want to give you a few details so you can be praying for each event. We feel very dependent on the Lord that He would go before us and provide a "wide open door for effective work" (1 Cor. 16:9).
July 24th - Leave Raleigh for Yangon, Myanmar (via Bangkok, Thailand). Pray for safe travel and rest in preparation for the conference in Yangon.
July 29th to Aug. 2nd - Through a Chin Brother originally from Myanmar (now living in Australia), there will be a week long conference teaching the manual, God's Plan for His Church. Those attending will be given GPHC on the 15th of July so they can prepare for the training. Please pray they will complete the preparation and that those called to be church planters and apostles like Paul will follow Paul as he followed Christ. This instruction and application helps to prepare "unstoppable church planters" in any culture, anytime, and under any circumstances.
August 3rd to August 17 - Training with leaders from Africa. Part of their learning process will take place as they help Tim do training with the Karen and Lahu people groups of Thailand (see below). Pray for the work and power of the Holy Spirit in these leaders.
August 18th to September 28th - Specific dates have not been set, but there will be instruction of ten Thai Karen evangelists who will work among many Karen people who have been displaced from Burma and are living in refugee camps. Our desire is that they will be equipped to eventually reach their own people in Myanmar and the other 55 unreached people groups.
In addition, there will be training with the Lahu people of Thailand with a goal that they evangelize the 82 unreached people groups. Please pray for God to give vision through His method they learned from Scripture.
We are providing 30 GPHC manuals to a Chinese Missions Training Center in Chiang Mai in preparation for instruction in May of next year. Please pray that these students will absorb the Scriptures and principles so they can be effective in ministry in China.
Tim returns by October 1st.
Here is an interesting comparison between Myanmar and Thailand:
Myanmar: Total People Groups = 155 Unreached = 55 Unengaged = 13
Thailand: Total people Groups = 112 Unreached = 82 Unengaged = 41
It is critical that we plant a biblical mindset in leaders so the task of reaching the unreached people groups with the gospel happens rapidly. We hope, Lord willing and through the work of the Holy Spirit, to challenge from the Word of God, that they consider reaching these unreached people groups, especially since the Karen and Lahu are primarily reached people groups, similar to churches in the US. Now that is not to say that we do not work with the existing church to strengthen through renewal, but we see from Acts that it was not either/or but both, working within the traditional establishment while sending and going to those who had never heard. But, it does seem the apostles number one focus in life and teaching was giving priority to those who had NEVER heard. Now I know not everyone is called to "go", but they are called to be "set apart" and be in one accord with the Holy Spirit in the mandate and commission given to His Church.
The advantage of our training center in Chiang Mai is that these leaders learn in a setting free from distractions and where fellowship strengthens their learning. It has proven cost effective and the effectiveness of this one-on-one mentoring, as Paul did with Timothy and others, is undeniable. Please pray for God's continual direction as we use this facility.
We continually thank the Lord for "your partnership in the Gospel" (Phil. 1:5) through faithful praying and support. Our only desire is "that we should go and bear fruit and that our fruit should abide (remain) for the Father's glory! (John 15:8, 16).
Here is the testimony of someone from Myanmar who recently went through God’s Plan for His Church training. “By taking GPHC training in Chiang Mai, I learned your heart for His kingdom, your teaching style one by one, your desire for the family of Christian leaders, your perspective on the life of Paul and the methods of Paul for imparting to present day church planters.”
Tim and I are home and very thankful to see our wives and families. Picking up from our last letter, on May 14, we spent four days in Phnom Penh, Cambodia training a church planter among the Khmer people. He is unique as he seeks to following Paul's example of working to provide for his own needs. To accomplish this, several helped purchase a Tuk Tuk which he will use for income and transportation. His vision is to train other "Timothy's" with GPHC and help them start a business that will provide their income. He clearly has a heart for living and duplicating the Early Church model.
Tim and I left on the 19th; Tim to Laos to deliver Bibles which had been provided by Wake Christian Academy, Raleigh, NC and others here at home. I proceeded to Chiang Mai to start training a pastor from Pakistan. Tim arrived a few days later and we focused on one-on-one training him and then two other men from Myanmar for the next three weeks using God's Plan for His Church manual. We are convinced of the effectiveness of this method! The personal interaction, valuable discussion and fellowship over how the biblical principles work out in each culture brought inspiration and a fresh appreciation of Scripture in their setting. With a few, time was taken to complete the "pre-assigned" work, but these brothers were diligent and hard-working so that each one completed the final project, developing their own strategy for ministry in their setting with the principles they learned. These men represent the Karen, Chin, Katchin, Burmese, and Naga people groups of Myanmar and the Karen in Thailand. Translation work is already in progress for these languages.
Let me summarize how the Lord has led us to this point in our ministry. Having taught the manual in conferences for many years and seen little multiplication from this venue, we felt that Paul's method of mentoring Timothy was more effective and would multiply much faster. After much prayer and searching for about a year, Tim found a Christian couple in Chiang Mai who would rent us a four bedroom house with a kitchen and sitting area for a very reasonable price.
Paul said in I Corinthians 16:8 that he would “stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a wide door for effective work has opened for me.” God has opened many doors for us, but like Paul, we desired to enter this “effective” opened door. It allows us to train one-on-one, face-to-face, where persons are away from the responsibilities of ministry, culture and family in a quite neighborhood, yet within walking distance of village stores for food and necessities. The owners are convinced this is the purpose God has for this place and are fully behind us.
While we were there, God opened another door through the owners. Here is a comment from them: "A new teaching team from the United States viz., Pastors Tim Bunn and Sherman Driver of Go-Reconcile, will train our evangelists in August; and our regular mentor Rev. Dr. Tan Wai Choon in November." This training will be with the Lahu people group in Thailand.
We praise the Lord as we share this with you. Please continue to pray for us that we remain sensitive to the Holy Spirit for His "effective work", humble in spirit, and physically able to meet the demands. Also pray that God will raise up Timothy's who God will call to this work. Tim will be returning to Burma/Myanmar at the end of July for a conference in Yangon. From there, he will return to Chiang Mai, Thailand to train leaders from Africa and the Thailand Karen and Lahu. Pray that each of these open doors will turn out to be God's "effective work" for His glory!
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