Jesus chose His words carefully.
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14, italics mine).
In the tightly packed discourse surrounding verse 14, Jesus answers His disciples’ questions regarding the end of the age. Alternating His prophecy between the end of Jerusalem and the end of history itself, Jesus was encouraging His followers, then and now, to be prepared for hardship, false prophets, and lawlessness. But, He was also preparing them, and us, for ministry beyond cultural borders. Jesus promised that before His return, the gospel would be proclaimed in every place around the world and to every nation (ethnicity = Gr: ethnos) on earth.
Jesus must have known how strange this proclamation would have sounded to His disciples. Their questions reflect an honest confusion at His prediction of a destroyed Temple (24:1–3). But Jesus was calling them to focus upon Him, not the Temple. He was also calling His disciples to be a significant part of the promised fulfillment to preach the gospel globally and cross-culturally.
When Carl Gordon and Bo Barredo founded Advancing Native Missions in 1992, they did so with the return of Christ foremost on their minds and hearts. Therefore, sharing the story of Jesus with all people everywhere in fulfillment of Matthew 24:14, and doing so through native missionaries, became the driving force behind the fledgling ministry’s earliest efforts. And it is still the same today. The biblical connection between reaching all ethnicities with the gospel and the return of Christ continues to undergird every strategic decision at ANM. This connection directs our choice of native partners and our manner of communicating ANM’s vision and mission to the world.
Following His example in Matthew 24, ANM seeks to keep the focus on Jesus Himself. He is the hero of the stories we tell. His native missionaries from the 351 local ministries that we support in 115 countries are the ones proclaiming the gospel to the world. It is our calling to walk beside these faithful, fruitful ministry partners so that all people everywhere will know the story of Jesus before He returns.