By Mike Chase

“For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place Your faith in God has gone forth . . .” I Thessalonians 1:5
Last month I gave an overview of the missions mobilization course that is being offered in Spokane and North Idaho. Perspectives on the World Christian Movement will begin in mid-January (see details at the end of this article).
In Part II, I will share a sampling of the responses that participants have had to this 15- week course that was designed in the mid-1970’s and brought to our area in the early 1990’s.
I am on a short-term trip in a closed country as I prepare this article. While here, I asked a missions worker if he knew of the Perspectives course. He not only knew about it, but had taken the course, and said Perspectives was extremely valuable and had served a confirming role for him that he was on the right path. He went on to give the course the highest praise and described how his home church in Texas expected that all its people should take the course. His missions-minded church uses Perspectives as a tool to mobilize its people to become increasingly committed to and effective in sending out the Gospel in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (I Thess 1:8 and Acts 1:8).
Perspectives - A Course for All of The People:
Pastor Dan Scott of The Valley Cathedral in Phoenix, Arizona, resonates with the emphasis of that Texas church in his desire to have all of the people involved in Perspectives. He describes it this way: “I watched this class transform our leaders. Not only did we have an explosion of ministry, but the evangelism efforts of our people went into overdrive!” This idea of all of the people taking this particular missions course is echoed over and over again by Christian leaders. Consider this statement by Jeffery S. Johnson, Communications Director for Asian Access: “I know of no other program that can more radically and fundamentally change a church’s inward focus into a missions-driven focus, resulting in scores of people mobilized into missions and prayer for missions. In my opinion, Perspectives should be mandatory for every pastor and everyone planning to go into ministry. In fact, it’s great for every church member everywhere.” A similar sentiment about the course is expressed by John Zumwalt, founder of Heart of God Ministries (notice the theme of a course for every Christian in his last sentence): “This course is dramatically life changing and eye opening! As I took Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, I found myself falling deeper in love with our Savior and invigorated for service. Perspectives has given the church of Jesus a common vocabulary and united vision for finishing the Great Commission at home and abroad! This is a crucial course for every Christian to take in order to know Jesus’s message and His methods in Kingdom expansion today!” Or how about this one-sentence declaration by C. Peter Wagner, Founder and Executive Director of Global Harvest Ministries, expressing the same idea: “If I had my way, every believer would take this course.”
All of the quotes so far have emphasized the importance of everyone in the church taking the course. What about its value to missionaries who receive other training along the way in missions strategy?. Here is what Brian Hogan, the YWAM church planting coach who coordinated the planting of the first church in Mongolia says about Perspectives: “It is the most important single training anyone should get before going to the field! We had to train our colleagues on the field because they had never been exposed to Perspectives! Our Perspectives-trained team was the first to successfully plant a church and give the leadership to the Mongolians!”
If you are a regular reader of Good News Northwest you have no doubt read John Piper’s articles and know of the themes that stir his heart. Here is what he says about the impact of Perspectives on his life and the people of Bethlehem Baptist Church which he pastors there in Minneapolis, MN: “I’m enthusiastic about Perspectives because my life and our church are devoted to spreading a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ. God means to be known and enjoyed by every tribe, tongue and nation (Rev. 5:9). Perspectives has been essential in mobilizing hundreds of lay people in our church to be World Christians.”
And finally, one of my favorite quotes endorsing Perspectives is from Floyd McClung, International Director of All Nations Training Center. He says, paradoxically, “Take Perspectives—it’ll ruin you for the ordinary!”

Ruined for the Ordinary
I have had a chance to read and hear the testimonies of many who have completed the course here in our area and can say that being ruined for the ordinary is a theme that is echoed over and over again.
Here is how Tommie Kessler who took the course in 2011 expressed it: “Perspectives has changed my life in so many ways. Since I took my first class, I have been to Uganda and Haiti to work with individuals with disabilities and hope to go on many more trips. I pray for the unreached and those who are going to them with the Gospel. I also partner financially with those who are sharing Christ with the most vulnerable and marginalized globally.”
Tommie challenges others to take the course: “Perspectives is a valuable course for anyone who wants to know God better because it reveals His heart. It is also good for anyone who wants to know what their purpose is and how to live strategically for the Lord. We all have a part to play in God’s cosmic symphony, come learn how to play yours.”
Celia and Keith Sogge completed the course in 2012 and also experienced being ruined for the ordinary. They were so enthusiastic about the course that they were part of the coordinating team the following year. This gave them a chance to solidify their learning through hearing most of the 15 presentations a second time. Since then they have seen the Lord enlarge their lives and ministries. Celia says it “caused me to be more intentional about giving to missions and helping mobilize workers to the field.” She had this to say to those considering taking the course, “…make the investment because it will impact your lives in a significant way. You will get a major clue as to how God has wired you and you will come out with a more focused purpose in life.”
Another couple, Donny and Lauri Ledbeter, can testify to the “ruining” effect of the course. Because of their involvement in a missions-minded church, the Biblical basis of world missions in the initial classes was familiar territory to them. In later classes where they encountered concepts that were less familiar, they appreciated a chance to deepen their understanding of unreached people groups and strategies for reaching them. In one of the classes the instructor introduced the idea that missions did not always involve going where the lost were, but that God could also do it the other way around -- bring the lost to where the missionary was. That was a revolutionary idea to the Ledbeters. During the course they learned about opportunities to engage with international students and refugees coming to Spokane. Just months later the Lord initiated that missionary work with students and refugees the Lord brought to Spokane. By “staying in Jerusalem,” so to speak, they continue to have opportunity to share with people who come from the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). This past year Lauri went to Guatemala as part of a surgical team, employing a blend of the concepts from class #11, “Building Bridges of Love” and class #12, “Christian Community Development”. I have been “ruined for the ordinary” by Perspectives. Although I have a long-standing involvement in missions, it is through the topics in the course related to strategy (especially lesson #15, World Christian Partnership) and the role that short-term workers can play that I have gotten a clearer sense of how the Lord can use me in a closed country, in spite of the challenges.
A final note about the instructors for the various classes: They all have a passion for seeing God glorified among the nations (Psalm 1 and Rev. 5:9), experience in missions, and expertise to share with those taking the course. You will be blessed and edified to encounter all of them over the 15 weeks of the course.
How can you learn more about the Perspectives course? If you live in North Idaho, check out the dates and course details at Give Nels Pitotti, the coordinator of the North Idaho class, a call if you have questions, (208) 610-5359. If you live in Spokane or one of the communities surrounding Spokane, check out Give Chris Sheeran a call if you have questions, (509) 868-3334.