From The Coordinator
As I come to the end of my tenure as coordinator of Mission to the World, I have thought about many things. I am confronted by how short the life God gives us on this earth is. I am more aware of the fact that my successes and even my failures seem to have been providentially guided. I am now almost as thankful for plans that did not work out as I am for the things that did. I have made a number of transitions over my 70 years, and when I consider them I realize that like Abraham I was leaving one place not knowing exactly where I was going or what was in store for me.
In Scripture we see the importance of transitions in the life of Christ. For example, the Gospel records are often divided into two periods—Jesus' private ministry, and His transition into public ministry. In speaking about His departure from this earth, Jesus tells His disciples that they will be blessed with the Holy Spirit when He leaves. The transition of the Ascension was supremely important in God's plan for the Church.
As I look back over transitions in my own life, I realize how important it is to trust God. I have left positions others told me not to leave and I have gone to places friends told me would be a mistake. At times we even have to ignore our own hearts and minds because God has a plan for our lives that will only make sense after we follow in obedience, and sometimes only when we look back from eternity.
Transitions are just as important for the ministry or position left behind. Nothing remains the same in this world. Only God remains the same yesterday, today, and forever. As things change, a new person or persons are needed that God has uniquely equipped to move His kingdom work forward. A transition at the age of 70 is certainly different from one at 40. I would expect it to be slower. Maybe less stressful. But who knows? Transitions are planned by God just as much as conversions. Looking back, I am thankful again that our heavenly Father is in charge of change. To embrace this reality causes me to look forward with anticipation to where God will take me.
MTW is a worldwide missional community and, through our love for the gospel of grace,
we collaborate in transformative church-planting and renewal movements.
Worldwide: As a family within the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), MTW has the joy and privilege to be involved in over 80 nations, with some 640 long-term missionaries, laboring in partnership with almost twice that number of international colleagues, together with many stateside churches and national staff. Gratefully, the phrase “from everywhere, to everywhere” is taking ever deeper root among us and we’re learning how to more broadly collaborate where God is advancing His kingdom while remaining faithful to our Reformed and covenantal convictions.
Missional: Missional is a purposeful word, a word of movement, growth, and expansion locally, nationally, and globally. As a family, MTW has embraced God’s passion for the increase of his kingdom rule and reign. We are committed to actively seeking first God’s kingdom and His righteousness among the nations with the confidence that, “of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.” Since the mission is God’s mission, its promised fulfillment is not founded upon our strength, planning or prowess, but upon our surety, Christ Jesus. God’s mission gathers His people from every tongue, tribe, and nation and, as we pray “thy kingdom come and thy will be done,” Isaiah assures us, “the zeal of the Lord of Hosts will do this.”
Community: Christian community is a gift of God’s grace, rooted in the finished work of Christ, and nourished by the Holy Spirit. We are a missional community, a worldwide family if you will, through Jesus Christ; and in Jesus Christ called to serve at His initiative and command. We strive to do due diligence to serve our colleagues, our church networks, and our denomination faithfully and responsibly with respect to the mobilization of workers, training, administration, and finance; yet we desire to do so not as a mere business but as a family born and sustained by the love of the Father, the saving work of the Lord Jesus, and the communion of the Holy Spirit. Such a community life, while corporately and fiscally responsible, will foster loving, interdependent relationships of mutual respect, solidarity, freedom, and friendship as we serve with our international and local partners. As biblical Christians, we believe that the truth and power of the gospel is best displayed in the love and unity we have for one another as we worship together, learn together, repent together, and serve together.
Our love for the gospel of grace: As a community, we seek to live humbly and authentically before God and man, exemplifying integrity and accountability, dependent upon Christ, our only hope and help. The gospel of grace is the wind in our sails, the engine of the organization, and the source and foundation of our ministry that empowers everything we do. All the missional movement and transformation in our lives and labors flow from God’s grace. The MTW family has experienced how the gospel of grace has led us to depend more deeply and intimately on the Holy Spirit, to pray more together, and to work together from a posture that freely recognizes our weakness while embracing God’s strength and provision. Our love for the gospel of grace and a Reformed and covenantal understanding of Scripture is a beautiful and much needed-gift that MTW can bring to the Great Commission. The gospel of grace is a beacon of light that we freely offer to those who share our commitment to the expansion of God’s kingdom.
We collaborate: We don’t need to lead, get credit for, or control what God and local Christian communities are doing. In each situation, God directs His people to bring their resources and lay them on the altar of service for the glory of Christ and the good of His body. We will rejoice equally when the Lord places us alongside others or under their direction and supervision. Or, in the absence of local leadership and communities of faith, we will ask the Lord of the Harvest to join us with local believers so that, together, we may serve as a catalyst for beginning new churches in unreached areas. Grace empowers collaboration—locally, nationally, and globally—and forms loving, interdependent relationships that promote a growing wisdom in missional community, foster a posture of humility, encourages innovation, and give us all the freedom to fail.
Transformative: Jesus came to save and change the world. Thus, our commitment to these communities of faith and the focus of these movements will be to keep both the proclamation of grace and the doing of justice woven together in our collective hearts and labors. Embracing the proclamation of grace and the doing of justice means that we see the gospel not only bringing personal forgiveness and justification, but also bringing forth a new community, a kingdom community, that seeks to lead all of life—spiritual, material, systemic, private, and public—under the lordship of Jesus Christ. God’s passion for the “increase of His government and of His peace” weaves together His passion for justice and righteousness with a deep work of the gospel that powerfully addresses the areas of poverty, hunger, global sickness, disease, and injustice. Christ-centered churches are transformative in the localities in which they are planted.
Church-planting movements: Church-planting movements are God-glorifying, God-centered works of His grace whereby the Holy Spirit empowers local leaders to plant churches, or clusters of churches, with a common vision and a desire to reproduce themselves. These churches would be, first and foremost, about the glory of God and committed to walking with Him in the extension of His kingdom in and through individuals, communities, people groups, and nations. Such movements will embrace orthodoxy, unity, and liberty; and will be built upon local structures and institutions, with local resources and culturally-appropriate worship.
Renewal movements: God has graciously promised to build His Church and assured us that the gates of hell will never prevail against it. One remarkable way that He is doing that today is through renewal and reformation of churches and denominations worldwide. It is deeply gratifying to see the gospel of grace infuse new life into old wineskins, many of those beyond the pale of the Reformed tradition. If we believe that God is working in a special way in these churches, movements, or denominations, we will prayerfully seek His direction as to our involvement and look to Him for resources to respond. We are open to partnering with these groups but only through prayerful dependence upon the leading of God’s Spirit and the freedom to bring our love for grace and our Reformed understanding to the context.
A Synopsis of the Beliefs of the Presbyterian Church in America
As an agency of the Presbyterian Church in America, we hold to our denominational tenets. Following is a synopsis of the beliefs of the PCA:
- The Bible is the inspired and inerrant Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice.
There is one God, eternal and self-existing in three persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) who are to be equally loved, honored, and adored.
- All mankind participated in Adam's fall from his original sinless state and is thus lost in sin and totally helpless.
- The Sovereign God, for no other reason than His own unfathomable love and mercy, has chosen lost sinners from every nation to be redeemed by the quickening power of the Holy Spirit and through the atoning death and resurrection of His son, Jesus Christ.
- Those sinners whom the Spirit quickens, come to believe in Christ as Savior by the Word of God, are born again, become sons of God, and will persevere to the end.
- Justification is by faith and through it the undeserving sinner is clothed with the righteousness of Christ.
- The goal of God's salvation in the life of the Christian is holiness, good works, and service for the glory of God.
- At death the Christian's soul passes immediately into the presence of God and the unbeliever's soul is eternally separated from God unto condemnation.
- Baptism is a sign of God's covenant and is properly administered to children of believers in their infancy as well as to those who come as adults to trust in Christ.
- Jesus Christ will return to earth, visibly and bodily, at a time when He is not expected, to consummate history and the eternal plan of God.
- The gospel of God's salvation in Jesus Christ must be published to all the world as a witness before Jesus Christ returns.
Our Operational Values
God's grace, the foundation of our ministry and empowers everything that we do.
Transformative, Christ-centered churches that incorporate justice, mercy, and walking in humble dependence with God.
Community that flows from the love of the Father, the saving work of the Lord Jesus, and communion of the Holy Spirit.
Loving, interdependent relationships that foster mutual respect, solidarity, freedom, and friendship as we serve with our international and local partners.
A learning environment that:
- Promotes a growing wisdom in missional community
- Fosters a posture of humility
- Encourages innovation
- Gives freedom to fail
Broad collaboration where God is advancing His kingdom while remaining faithful to our Reformed and covenantal convictions.