by Cody Watson, Associate Director
Perspectives is the most dynamic, important missions curriculum I’ve encountered. Back in 1985, I had lunch with Dr. Ralph Winter, missiologist and co-founder of Perspectives (and founder of Frontier Fellowship). At the time, I was pastoring in South Carolina, and he challenged me to come to the other SC, Southern California. That was the last thing on my mind (I was trying to get back to South Korea), but 11 months later I moved to Pasadena. I left South Carolina with tears; my six years there was the longest I’d ever lived in one place, and I’d put down some roots.
The first thing I did in Pasadena was sign up for the Perspectives course. The first or second week of the class I remember thinking, this alone was worth uprooting from South Carolina. I already had a mission vision from the three years I’d spent serving in South Korea. But I basically only saw mission as a New Testament imperative. When Dr. Winter made the connection of Matthew 28:18–20 to Genesis 28:13–15, I got excited! The Great Commission wasn’t first introduced by Jesus. He amplified God’s initial covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob by enlarging the calling to include Gentiles (non-Jews) and empowering His followers with the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Perspectives galvanized my mission vision. It taught me that the Bible is a missionary book from cover to cover, from Genesis to Revelation. The Living God is a missionary God. And to me, the Abrahamic covenant (Genesis 12:1–3) is the theme of Scripture: that God’s people are blessed to be a blessing. This Biblical perspective makes the course invaluable.
But there’s more! There are historical, cultural and strategic insights. From the Westminster Shorter Catechism, we know that the chief end of humankind is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Perspectives puts a fire under that statement. Speakers like Don Richardson, author of Peace Child; J. Dudley Woodberry, scholar on the Muslim world; Sam Moffett, scholar on Christian history in Asia and Dennis Cochrane with Wycliffe Bible Translators opened my eyes to what God is doing in the world. Now there is a newer contingent of speakers sharing from the front lines of missions. Perspectives offers a wealth of material. It helped me discover anthropology, what God is doing behind the scenes and how He wants His people to be involved.
Years later in Alabama, I became a coordinator for Perspectives. Coordinating kept my vision sharp. It will sharpen yours, too. And we need it. I recently learned 51% of Christians in the US aren’t familiar with the term “Great Commission.” That stunned and reminded me that there’s more work ahead to mobilize the Western Church to reach the 2+ billion people still waiting for access to the Gospel.
God invites you and me to be a part of making Him known to all peoples of the earth. I encourage you to consider Perspectives as fuel for your mission engagement. You’ll be blessed, and you’ll be equipped to bless others who are waiting to hear Jesus’ Good News.
Visit Perspectives to learn more or find a class near you.
Adapted from an article originally written for First Presbyterian Church of Gainesville, Georgia