CPMM Series #3: Harvest Field Segments
Check out our CPMM infographic to see where this section fits into the big picture: Go to infographic
In Part Three of our CPMM Endvision series, we will discuss missiological principles that any church can use to reach their local community and/or city with the gospel. Issues of contextually appropriate evangelism tools will be presented later in the series when we talk about the Second Field of Multiplication: Effective Evangelism.
The Bible is crystal clear about how the end of the world is going to come about. Jesus tells us the future in Matthew 24:14, “This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations. And then the end will come.” (HCSB) The Gospel writer Mark wrote this same statement earlier, “And the good news must first be proclaimed to all nations.” (Mark 13:10 HCSB)
As we said before in CPMM Series #2: The Father’s Heart in this series, every church, denomination, and missions endeavor must be rooted in these verses and be seeking to intentionally contribute to all nations hearing a courageous, verbal proclamation of the gospel of God’s kingdom. Paul writes passionately about the zealous, evangelistic spirit that should pervade every missionary endeavor: “But how can they call on Him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about Him? And how can they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14 HCSB)
The key, however, to seeing all nations hearing the gospel is not more statistics on the unreached/unengaged people groups of the planet (Global People Groups). We don’t need more conferences, and we don’t need more meetings. We need radical obedience coupled with an effective strategy, and we believe God has exposed us to an incredible strategy that can be applied by anyone, anywhere, and to anyone.
Want to reach the world for Christ? Then learn about and put into practice the principles of the Strategic Affinity Wheel (SAW).
Veteran missionary Jeffrey Vann who has served with the International Mission Board for over 30 years introduced us to the Strategic Affinity Wheel earlier this year, and we are now using the same principles to reach Nashville, TN that career missionaries overseas are using to reach the hardest soil contexts in the 1040 window.
If you’re using the info graphic we developed to follow along, we are talking about the third section entitled “Harvest Field Segments.” Jesus explained the function of the relationship between the Holy Spirit and true Jesus followers in Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (HCSB) The function of the church is to go to “panta ta ethne,” or all ethnolinguistic people groups, with the gospel and present it in a way that they can understand it and receive it through repentance and faith. (Matthew 28:18-20)
The Strategic Affinity Wheel, or SAW, has three basic functions that help us understand how to strategically categorize and purposefully engage everyone in our “Jerusalem” with the gospel.
Each “Harvest Field Segment” contains a population segment of people. This can be as small as a neighborhood or apartment complex and as large as all people groups scattered throughout the earth. From our understanding, the International Mission Board has adopted this strategy to mobilize and send missionary teams to the nations by “affinity” rather than geo-political concentration.
For example, let’s say that you receive a call from God to go to the Japanese Buddhists with God’s kingdom gospel. Instead of sending you to Japan, the IMB might commission you to work in New York or Singapore where significant unreached population segments of Japanese Buddhists live. The “affinity” classification helps missiologists form Great Commission teams that reach people with similar worldviews that have formed affinity communities in different parts of the world. The benefit of forming global affinity mission teams is that missionaries working with the same people groups in different parts of the world can network together and share prayer requests and resources for effective evangelism tools.
In Nashville, TN, the Nashville Baptist Association has identified over 85 people groups that speak 130+ languages every day in our Metro area. We have around 1.5 million people living in Metro Nashville, and we are currently forming a comprehensive Strategic Affinity Leadership Team that will mobilize, equip, and empower Affinity Mission Teams to reach everyone in our city with God’s kingdom gospel.
Here’s the question we are asking at the city-wide missions strategy level: “What is our strategy to make disciples and plant churches that will sustain the spiritual health and apostolic mission of all 1.5 million people in Nashville?” Since over 85% of the people in Nashville are unchurched, and since we’ll never have enough money or land to make disciples of everyone in Nashville, let alone the other unreached cities of North America, then we have to take money and land completely out of our church planting strategy and practice. This decision still leaves us with plenty of places for everyone in Nashville to worship Jesus Christ and follow him through Great Commission obedience: people’s homes and businesses.
A New Testament church is simply a group of baptized believers who meet together regularly for prayer, Bible study, fellowship, and Great Commission equipping and exhortation. According to The Timothy Initiative (ttionline.org), the average church size in the world is around 15 Christians. Therefore, our mission strategy has to be prepared to facilitate the planting of 100,000 churches in Nashville in order to meet the spiritual needs of 1.5 million people.
Successful church planting multiplication always begins with fervent prayer and community gospel saturation as we search for Persons of Peace (POPs) and Homes of Peace (HOPs). (Luke 10) And in order to pray effectively for the harvest field and engage everyone within the harvest field with a contextually appropriate gospel presentation, we have to:
- Research the culture and language categories of our community
- Begin to pray intentionally for God to raise up indigenous harvest laborers from within each culture
- Find ways to verbally and visually present the gospel to each culture and language group
The best way to effectively complete this enormous task is the Strategic Affinity Wheel (SAW)
Here is what our Nashville SAW categories look like:
- Ethnic Christian
With the wisdom and counsel of Jeffrey Van, we are prayerfully preparing to form Mission Affinity Teams (MATs) in these eight categories. Each MAT has four basic functions:
With this SAW method for reaching all nations in our city with the gospel, we are able to form team “hubs” that will pray regularly and fervently, develop affinity-driven strategy, train every team member, and provide logistical coaching and accountability as these teams engage all people groups and population segments that fall within their affinity category.
Whether you feel called to reach your multi ethnic apartment complex or mega city for Christ, you can use these same principles to help you cultivate a comprehensive strategy for reaching all language and culture groups within the population segment in which God has planted you and has commissioned you to reach for Christ.
In conclusion, let us not forget that the eternal destination of souls are at stake. We can discuss missions strategy and concepts all day long, but the test of our commitment to Christ and his Great Commission is found in the extent of our dedication to harvest field segment prayer and engagement with God’s kingdom gospel.
Our God is a Father, “who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4 HCSB) Let us be Christian disciples who cultivate a lifestyle and church culture of Great Commission obedience.
For more resources on church planting movements and disciple making movements, check out the resource section of our website: www.citychurchwoodbine.org