Dear Bible Giver,
I have been taking the Perspectives Course on Global Missions this summer. It’s been a ton of lectures and reading, but it has been a great course to understand where we are at in bringing the Gospel to every ethnic people group in the world. The progress made in just the last 50 years is incredible. The remaining work to do is also very large, but we desire as Bible-givers to support these efforts greatly.
It is easy to lose sight of the fact that God is actively working today to draw people to himself. One lecturer talked about two colleagues ordered to leave a Muslim country. They packed up their meager belongings and two boxes of Bibles and began the dangerous drive out of the country. Their car broke down on a narrow mountain road and they were stuck. Within minutes, a man started banging on their car windows, asking if they were the ones bringing the information.
Two nights before, the Muslim man had a dream about Jesus. The next morning, he discovered everyone in his village had the same dream. That night he prayed, asking how he could learn more about Jesus, and in his dreams, Jesus told him men would bring him information the next day on the road below his mountain village. The man waited all morning on the road and had seen their car abruptly stop directly below the village. They indeed were the men bringing information about Jesus.
Last month we looked at the “4 Alls” of the Great Commission. Now let’s look at how mission organizations evaluate the difficulty to reach all Ethnic groups in the world.
The E-scale helps us evaluate how much effort is required to bring the Good News of the Gospel to a people. E-0 is the easiest. It is really just spiritual renewal. A person is in a church and just not mature in their faith. Mechanisms are already in place in the life of the church for this person. Your Bible Study handles this area, and hence very few IBG Bibles go to E-0 because there is not a great need.
E-1 is to someone outside the church, but in a community with at least one culturally-relevant church. Many Bibles IBG gives to street ministries and recovery ministries go into these E-1 evangelism efforts.
E-2 involves two major hurdles to bring the gospel to a people. There is no existing church connection, and there is also no culturally relevant church available in the area. There is the “stain-glass divide” plus a cultural divide. Some IBG Bibles go to E2. Outreaches to Reservations, inner city immigrant groups who don’t have Christian churches within their culture, and some prison Bibles where there is no active Christian community are E-2 Bible giving opportunities.
E-3 involves going into foreign cultures. E-3 has the “Stain-Glass” divide and lack of cultural witness as in E-2, plus a third barrier which is typically language. If there is no Bible translation in the local language, E-2 becomes an E-3 effort. Very few IBG Bibles go into E-3 efforts, although E-3 is the hardest part of the Great Commission to accomplish and is also where the greatest need for God’s Word is.
The 200 Bibles we just sent to the Oromo People Group in Ethiopia is an example of IBG doing E-3 mission work. Our “Persecuted Church” Bibles are probably a combination of E-1 (to bring new believers into existing house-churches), E-2 (establishing house churches in new places), and E-3 where the Bible translation we are doing is critical.
Which one is most important? Trick question! Every person is EQUALLY important to God, whether their evangelism gap is E-0 or E-3. We must be sensitive to all opportunities. Most IBG Bibles go into E-1 and E-2. When I reflect on our prayer over the years asking God to open up Bible-giving opportunities into hard places, we are praying for God to open up more E-3 opportunities. We will not abandon any existing efforts we currently support. Those Bible receivers desperately need God’s Word, too. I do want us to pray that God would both:
- Grow IBGs capacity to give more Bibles, and
- Open more doors to hard E-3 places.
Pray with me!
Give Hope. Give Life. Give Bibles! CJH