What does pioneering mean for OMF today? OMF’s International Coordinator for Evangelization, Andy Smith, answers these questions below.
- What does “pioneering” mean to OMF? How do we define it?
One of OMF’s ministry priorities is pioneering. We share the good news of Jesus Christ with East Asians who have never heard it. We also aim to see an indigenous biblical church movement take place among East Asian people groups and population segments where a church does not exist.
- How does OMF decide where pioneering efforts are needed?
We look for people groups or population segments that are not yet served or are underserved. Sometimes a church or other Christian organization in a sending context or in an East Asian context expresses a desire to start work among such a people. We then consider entering into a partnership with them. We also benefit from the research done by like-minded organizations. Their findings can point us to people groups or population segments that are not yet served or are underserved.
- How does OMF begin pioneering in a certain area? What are the steps involved?
First, we pray and discover who we might be able to partner with. Then we learn all we can about the situation on the ground. Next, workers move in and take up longer-term residence among or near the people group. They honor the work and visa commitments made. They learn the language and culture of the people. Plus, they begin to share the good news of Jesus Christ in the context of their occupation and/or their discretionary time.
- How has OMF’s approach or attitude toward pioneering changed over time, even since the work of OMF’s founder, Hudson Taylor?
Hudson Taylor believed that we must be always advancing. On a regular basis, we prayerfully ask, “Who else needs to hear the good news of Jesus Christ? Who else lacks a church?” Then we undertake new initiatives to begin work among those peoples.
Perhaps the biggest change in our approach to pioneering over time is the increase in potential partners. We now serve alongside a mature or maturing church in most East Asian contexts. For this we rejoice!
Another change is that we can only enter some pioneering contexts as business people, community development workers, creation care workers, medical workers, students, teachers, and the like.