As I reflect on what we do as a mission, I am reminded of some of the historical ways our founder Ralph Winter influenced the mission world.
In my opinion, Ralph D. Winter was a leader who sought to intersect movements in order to shift trajectories for the sake of seeing greater Kingdom breakthrough among unreached people groups.
His burden was for those who still lived essentially sealed off from any witness of the Gospel. These people groups are sealed off from the Gospel because there still remained the need for a viable indigenous movement to Jesus among them.
So Winter didn’t seek to start movements, but to join into what God was already doing and be an influence for the sake of seeing greater Kingdom breakthrough take place.
He is well known for intersecting the Urbana Student Missions Conference in 1973. His desire was to influence students who were sensing a call to cross cultural service but weren’t sure how to move forward.
Out of this intersection came the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement study course, which has impacted hundreds of thousands of people to date. Tens of thousands of missionaries serving on the field have credited at least a part of their decision to serve to what they learned through the course.
Winter intersected Billy Graham’s Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization in 1974. He humbly demonstrated to global mission leaders that the Great Commission was far from being complete. At that time there were still over 16,000 unreached people groups with little to no access to the Gospel.
Our of this intersection came the beginning of a new era in global missions.
Forty years later, there are just over 7,000 unreached people groups remaining, approximately 3,000 of which are still unengaged- which means they have no known people trying to bring the Gospel to them.
Many more examples could be cited as to how Winter intersected movements and trajectories, but these are two of the most well known.
The missionary Order that Winter founded, the Frontier Mission Fellowship, and the initiative he is most well known for, the U.S. Center for World Mission, continue in these traditions in a variety of ways.
40 years later, there are now many different projects and initiatives that serve the mission movement. As members of the ministries he started, we continue to enter into the legacy and approach of Ralph Winter.
In my next post, I’ll give a few updates from the most recent influential gatherings I’ve attended as well as give you a little update on a major project that I’ve been working on for the last year and a half.