“Do you have a favorite Bible verse?” Bob Creson, President/CEO of Wycliffe Bible Translators asked the TWR staff in Cary, N.C., on Thursday, June 6. “Mine has become Luke chapter 15. If you know Luke 15, you know that Jesus tells three stories… the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son. I love those stories because it talks about the extent to which God will go for the one.”
From June 6-7, TWR had the unique opportunity to host representatives of multiple organizations involved with Table 71, an association of Christian agencies with a mission to work together in order to reach the unreachable- to reach “the one.” The following organizations participated in Table 71: from Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ), The Christian & Missionary Alliance, Global DAWN Peoples Network, International Orality Network, Issachar Initiative, The JESUS Film Project, National Christian Foundation, SBC International Mission Board, SIL International, The Seed Company, Transform World, TWR, Walk Thru the Bible, Wycliffe Bible Translators and Youth with a Mission.
Table 71 was established when a group of ministry leaders came together at a table numbered “71” at the strategy sessions at the Billy Graham Conference on Evangelism in Amsterdam in the fall of 2000. After asking one another the big question of what they could do to help finish reaching all the remaining unreached people groups, they realized they could achieve more goals by working together more closely. Orality was introduced to this association when they learned that 70 percent of unengaged and unreached people groups (UUPGs) are oral learners. UUPGs mean that there is no church, mission agency or any one person sharing Christ in their culture.
The strategy of story-telling was clearly evident in the meeting on Thursday, June 6, as Bob Creson and Paul Eshleman, vice president of Cru, shared their message through stories. “The Scriptures tell us that Jesus always used stories when he was speaking,” Creson said. “In fact, he didn’t teach without telling stories.” Many communities still today are preliterate, and it is through story-telling that cultures that do not yet value literacy are able to be lead to greater things. Creson advised that God has given missions technology for the purpose of sharing the Gospel. Through the growth of media, mission organizations have been able to go farther and share Christ’s story to more lost people. Though more people groups have been reached over the past few years, the story does not end there.
Eshleman spoke to the attendees about the Finishing the Task movement. As of today, there are 533 UUPGs with populations exceeding 25,000. Through a global network of local churches, denominations, church planters and mission agencies working together, their vision is to see every people group in the world engaged with an indigenously lead church. Eshleman solidified the fact that this goal may seem impossible to one human, but by gaining a new perspective through repentance and a new vision with eyes of faith, God’s solution is possible. “It is our job to make the decision,” Eshleman said. “It is God’s job to solve the problem.” Through several stories, he was able to tell of miracles that can only be done by the work of God.
“Don’t limit your vision to what you can humanly accomplish,” Eshleman insisted. “…You don’t have to be a spectacular person as long as you’re serving a spectacular God.”