One of the most powerful tools for mobilizing missions from the West in the 20th century and beyond has been the Perspectives course.
Have you ever heard about it?
The course was founded by Dr. Ralph Winter of the US Center for World Mission as a way to help college students wanting to get into missions take the next steps and really understand they “whys” of mission.
Since that time it has become something much larger in scope than this original purpose.
It is now a movement of God’s people throughout the world finding their unique place in God’s overall purpose to bless the nations through Jesus Christ.
Here are some of the most impressive stats from Perspectives:
Since 1974, Perspectives has trained:
- Over 100,000 people in the US alone!
- Over 30,000 people overseas and growing
- South Korea and Nigeria are the largest overseas courses
- Each year over 200 classes take place led by 200 coordinators
- More than 1,200 missions hearted instructors teach the classes each year
- More than 1,500 local church volunteers are involved in running the classes
- The Perspectives Reader is the most widely used missions course book in seminaries
- Many courses have been spun off from it and used to train people for missions engagement
Perspectives is a city wide engagement of churches who want to understand God’s global purposes and how they can personally play their part in the mission of God. It has moved from simply being a course to being a movement!
One model American city running Perspectives has been Austin, TX. In the past 5 years Perspectives Austin has trained
- 1,150 Perspectives students
- From 120 Austin area churches
- Representing 11 diverse evangelical groups
That’s pretty awesome.
I was personally mobilized in a round about way through Perspectives. My unreached people group focus in missions came about through a “chance” encounter I had in Okinawa Japan with an Air Force couple who picked me up from church. We met after I called a random church in the phone book to pick me and my buddies up for service one night while we were docked in port.
They felt led to give me the Perspectives book and a few other books about unreached people groups.
Even though I had never taken the Perspectives course or ever even heard about it, the book itself was enough to stir my heart and set my course for the next sixteen plus years until I entered an unreached people group as a missionary myself.
I later found out, through another recent “chance” encounter, that this couple eventually joined the staff of the US Center for World Mission for many years and are now serving as missionaries in a Central Asian republic among a remote unreached people group.
God is always full of surprises. Awesome.
I would like to see the Perspectives course into the churches and networks that I am affiliated with and help them see God’s larger global plan and how they fit into it personally. I working on some ways of doing that even now as doors open.
Stay tuned to the next post as I talk about the Frontier Mission Fellowship, the covering org for the Perspectives course, and how its mission relates to two critical defining words God spoke to my wife and I about our future ministry right after we were married.
Until then, look up Perspectives in your own area and see when the next course is due, then join it!