Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Ralph Winter on evangelism

“Evangelism is the highest priority, but it becomes weak and lacks credibility if it does not generate committed believers who will tackle the world’s problems. What is the use of evangelism if it produces Christians who don’t act, who don’t do, who don’t follow God’s will? All they do is sing in church. It is what happens in the world that is at least as important as what happens in church. We are getting fancier and fancier at church worship. We know how to do church, [but] we don’t know how to be the church.”

Ralph D. Winter, founder of the U.S. Center for World Mission speaking at the Korea World Mission Conference 2008 [, 7/30/08]

Who is Dr. Ralph D. Winter?

Time Magazine called Ralph Winter one of the 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America (Feb 7, 2005)
A Global Mission: "With his impassioned call in 1974['s Lausanne Congress] for Christians to serve the world's "unreached peoples" by looking beyond national borders, Ralph Winter revolutionized what remains (even today) the true lifeblood of Evangelicals—missionary work overseas. Even at 80, Winter generates new strategies from his California-based Frontier Mission Fellowship.

Trained as a civil engineer, linguist, cultural anthropologist and Presbyterian minister, he describes himself as a "Christian social engineer." Working through the William Carey International University and the U.S. Center for World Mission, which he founded, he is producing a new generation of Christian message carriers, some native, ready to venture out to places with such ready-to-be-ministered flocks as Muslim converts to Christianity and African Christians with heretical beliefs. Says Winter: "It's this movement, not the formal Christian church, that's growing. That's our frontier."

PERSONALLY: I met Dr. Winter at Urbana 93 missions conference, and he invited me to do an internship at the US Center for World Mission. I ended up living three years at the "Center," and getting a master of arts in intercultural studies at Fuller Theological Seminary.