Just A Bit Off To The Side

By Wednesday, May 12, 2010 9 0

God is so funny. When @NationsBeGlad tweeted “Where in the world does God want you – somewhere on this map?” with the above link, I realized He has made our calling the same way He’s made my life. I know that God created me a little bit “off to the side.” You see, our calling is just NW of the 10-40 Window. Spain actually falls within the 10-40 window, but resources never include it in the list of unreached countries. Considering Spain’s Christian history, I can see why it’s not considered “unreached,” but Spain definitely needs to be reached. By percentage of believers, it fits.

I understand the focus on the 10-40 window. Famous missionaries of old have been known to say, “No one has the right to hear the gospel twice, while there remains someone who has not heard it once” (Oswald Smith), and that fuels the desire of some to take the Gospel to the 10-40 window, where many have not yet heard it. Praise the LORD for these folks.

I do find it sad that we had to develop with model for missions centered on the 10-40 window. Was the church not trusting God to call the right number of people to the right places to share the Gospel at the right time? Do you know the story of Hudson Taylor? He so desired to see all of China reached in his lifetime that he would pray for God to send a specific number of missionaries. Taylor once prayed for 70 missionaries and God sent 76 on the next boat to China. So Taylor prayed for 100 and God sent 149. This is a tiny example of the great faith that Taylor had in God (his missionaries didn’t raise funds but trusted the Lord to provide)!

God is sovereign. He knows which countries need missionaries, and He will call people according to His knowledge of their heart, abilities, personalities and the needs of people. My prayer is that this emphasis on the 10-40 window is not blocking the call elsewhere for some. Let us not make potential missionaries feel guilty that they might be called to live in a tourist town, a modern city, or a temperate climate. This will lead to unsent missionaries, or worse, missionaries misinformed at best and guilt-tripped at worst into serving somewhere they’ll be totally ineffective.

I fear that emphasis on the 10-40 window has actually expanded the window. The nations that once sent missionaries are suffering in their own way now, and one day I believe South America, Africa and especially China will be desperately sending missionaries back to England, Rome and Paris. They may not fall into the category of “never hearing the Gospel,” but the Gospel they know is not the Gospel of the Bible, and I don’t see how that is any better.

What I desire is that every Christian would hear Jesus’ words to Peter in John 21: “…what is that to you? As for you, follow me.”

Peter turned around and saw behind them the disciple Jesus loved—the one who had leaned over to Jesus during supper and asked, “Lord, who will betray you?” 21 Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?”   22 Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.”

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  • I’m sorry you’re getting feedback about your missions that’s anything less than positive. I guess people think that missions are only missions if you’re knee deep in the brush de-fleaing Aborigines or something.

    You know what matters, and what your calling is. I always think it’s interesting that people have expectations that everyone should be a certain way. Thank goodness that there are all types of people to fulfill all types of needs, or nothing would get done, religious or otherwise.

    • Yikes! I didn’t mean to give the impression I was getting negative feedback… more like my field is being ignored. It was supposed to just be general commentary on the stance the church has on missions.

      • Ah okay, that makes sense. I was like, “Who the heck is telling her that her work is unnecessary? JERKS!” LOL

  • Katie

    Interesting, I’d never heard of the 10-40 window until just now.

    I get post from an organisation called France Mission, that intends to bring the whole of France to Christ (pretty much). Half of the vision is about getting English people to pray for France as a way of breaking down hundreds of years of hatred between the two countries. The other half of the vision is about church planting. The most recent letter says: Loches is at the centre of an area coverng the southern part of the Loire valley. There are currently no evangelical churches witnessing to the 40 000 inhabitants of this region.

    Aside from the use of evangelical to mean evangelistic, that’s a point worth taking note of. 40 000 people in one town and noone to tell them about Jesus :(. When I first heard about France Mission I was under the common misconception that France is a Catholic country. Turns out they are not, they are very paganistic :(.

    All of that simply to say that I agree with you. There is a lot of need in places that its not so obvious.

    Also as a complete aside but may be a fact worth your consideration, France Mission reckon that once they have a church for every 10 000 of the population they will then have enough Christians to successfully continue evangelising to the rest of France by only french people. But this figure of 1 church per 10 000 people – will that be useful to you in relation to Spain and praying for Spain?

    • France Mission sounds awesome!!! Good for you. Keep praying! Spain is VERY similar to France, except that while France’s immigrants are from the Middle East, Spain’s are Romanian.

  • Katie

    Just another quick point: I clicked on the map for further information and was FLABBERGASTED to see how little of the world has the bible in its own language 🙁

    • really? Maybe it is just the American church that emphasizes it. That’s not good either!

      • argh – I meant this as a reply to your comment that you’d never heard of the 10/40 window.

      • Katie

        Well I know (of) missionaries that go to India and Afghanistan, which are both in the window, but I’d never heard of it -as- the 10-40 window. It just doesn’t seem like the sort of thing people round here would regulate that tightly. On another note, I have already met a Chinese missionary to Britain :/