In the spring of 2010 I took a class that dramatically shifted my perspective on everything. It was a class called Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, and the new fall classes are about to start! It took more than one person to convince me to finally take the class (who wants to take another class post-college?), so I’m sort of just hoping this post is just the final nudge you needed.
Perspectives is a class through a ministry of the US Center for World Mission, a “non-denominational ministry that exists to enhance the effectiveness of the mission movement among the world’s least reached peoples.” (From the About page on their site) The class is 15 weeks long, led by volunteer coordinators nationwide, offered at churches all over, and with guest speakers from various ends of the missions spectrum.
Complete with textbook and even homework (if you so choose), the course explores several perspectives on missions: Biblical, Historical, Cultural, and Strategic. Read more about the lesson overviews here. The book contains a selection of articles from John Piper, Ralph D. Winter, Stephen Hawthorne, and many other experts in applicable fields.
While studying the Biblical section, I finally put together that the idea of “missions” did not begin in Matthew 28. God had a master plan dating back to Genesis 12. Paul writes in Ephesians 3 of the mystery finally revealed to him, “that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.” (eph. 3:6; emphasis mine)
The number of “Ohhh. I had no idea!” moments I had while studying up for this class, or sitting furiously taking notes during a guest speaker are far too many to count. More than ever before, I want to be part of a greater story. He invites us in.
I would recommend taking Perspectives to the following people:
- The senior in college with some extra time on his hands passionate about the nations
- The stay at home mom eager to get involved with Kingdom work worldwide
- The single recent college grad trying to figure out how to use her gifts for the Lord
- The engaged couple wondering if the Lord is calling them to full time missions
- The established professional wanting to study the Bible in a deeper way
- The bored, restless Christian wondering why what he’s been chasing isn’t fulfilling
Maybe that’s you, and maybe it isn’t. Maybe it is something you keep in mind for later. Just remember, every life stage is busy. Now might actually be the best time! The class is not free, nor is it really cheap, so this is not something to take lightly. Also, bear in mind that my best friend Jen is the one who convinced me to enroll. She now lives in Thailand.
This class will change your life. It is impossible for me to view the world and the Bible the same as I did before.
A few weeks ago I was sitting in Dairy Queen (I know), and beside me a dad was treating his teenage kids to some frozen goodness. I heard him telling them about Perspectives, and how much he would love to take it. He mentioned that this semester would be a perfect opportunity, since son A didn’t have any more games on Monday nights, but it was expensive, so he had not yet decided. When his daughter asked more about it, here was his description:
“It’s like the best Bible study you’ve ever taken. But way, way better. You get to learn about the Bible, and missions, and the history of the church, and people in the world.. It just looks awesome.”
I love that. And I love that I’m suddenly the person who “sits in Dairy Queen.”
Pray about it. I cannot recommend it enough. See if there’s a class near you.