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Missions Minute

Overhead Transparency Map Set

Leader's Guide

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Twelve maps and graphs designed for use in a "missions minute" in church services, Sunday schools, prayer groups, concerts of prayer, mission bulletin boards, college chapels, missions classes -- anywhere that prayer for global mission is being taught and encouraged.

The maps and graphs are snapshots of some of the most interesting and important information in the Operation World 2001 mission prayer guide. They cover a variety of prayer needs, mission issues and geographical regions so that they gradually broaden a congregation's vision for mission. With each map or graph is a short explanation for the leader including a prayer focus. In addition there is a reference to at least one passage in Operation World 2001 where more information can be found, a discussion question and an inset below each map or graph, any of which may be used if time allows. Each explanation is on a separate sheet so that the whole leader’s guide does not have to be passed around to the various individuals who may present one of the sheets.

Each map or graph topic is self-contained so maps may be used in any order or combination. We suggest using the set in one or more of the following ways:

· in one worship service per month for a year

· in one worship service per month from September through May plus three as a concentrated dose during a missions conference or missions emphasis Sunday.

· on a missions bulletin board, changing once a month

· in twelve consecutive weeks in a Sunday school class

· in twelve consecutive meetings of a prayer group

· in a concert of prayer for missions

The set includes black and white versions of each map or graph on paper because these photocopy better than the color overhead transparencies. Permission is granted to reproduce but not to sell the black and white versions.

Operation World 2001, the most widely used daily prayer guide for mission and evangelism, is available in print from many Christian bookstores or on CD-ROM at $17.99 plus shipping from Global Mapping International, 15435 Gleneagle Dr., Suite 100 Colorado Springs, CO 80921, fax (719) 548-7459, tel (719) 531-3599, e-mail <>. (GMI does NOT sell the printed version.) More information on Operation World 2001 is availavle at:

Note: Global Mapping International has several other map sets available, though this is the first one specifically prepared in a "Missions Minute" format. Write us for a free catalogue.

1. Systematic Church Planting

Issue: A coordinated strategy for "Discipling a Whole Nation" (D.A.W.N.)

Country and World Region: Philippines, East/Southeast Asia

Main map: The Philippines, showing % Protestant Christian in each province

Inset: Three-bar graph showing number of churches in 1979, actual number in 1990 and number projected for 2000.

Explanation of main map/graph: It is clear from the map that Protestant Christians are very unevenly distributed throughout the provinces of the Philippines. Why should some places be overlooked while others have many Christians? In 1974 a campaign called "Discipling a Whole Nation" (D.A.W.N.) was launched to unite Christians in order to work toward establishing at least one church in every one of the country's 42,000 barangays (neighborhoods or precincts) which did not have one. This meant raising the total number of churches from 5,000 in 1974 to 50,000 in 2000.

Prayer focus: Praise God that by 2000 there were nearly 40,000 evangelical congregations, eight times as many as in 1974! Pray that the barangays (neighborhoods) which still have no church of their own will also be reached.

Discussion question (optional, for use AFTER the map is shown): Has anyone in the group grown up "on the wrong side of the tracks"? Anyone whose childhood was spent in a neighborhood that others looked down on or anyone living there now? What did/does that feel like? (Allow discussion, then close with a point such as, ) "We must remember there is NO ‘wrong side of the tracks’ for evangelism. Jesus wants everyone and he has sent us everywhere, every neighborhood in the Philippines, every nook and cranny of every country."

Explanation of inset (optional): The graph shows that this plan which looked very idealistic in 1974 was nearly on schedule numerically in 1990 (most recent statistics we have). It was still true however that even the new churches were somewhat unevenly spread. Naturally it was easier to start them close to existing churches than in far-away areas which were mostly Muslim or animist. Rebel groups have also made travel and ministry difficult in some of the southern islands.

For more information see Operation World 2001, p. 521, Answers to Prayer 1.

2. End of a "Christian" Era

Issue: Nominal Catholicism losing out to secularism.

Country and World Region: Spain, Europe

Main map/graph: Graph of religious change in Spain

Inset: Graph of annual membership decline in Spain, Germany, United Kingdom and Italy

Explanation of main map/graph: When Spanish colonizers controlled much of the world, Spanish Catholic missionaries were the ones who brought the name and the story of Christ to many peoples who had never heard. For several centuries virtually 100% of the Spanish people belonged to the Catholic Church. The graph shows that things have changed in Spain and the "Christian" era is ending. In the last 30 years huge numbers of young nominal Catholics have abandoned their church. The youth take a "Been there, done that" attitude to Christianity without ever knowing what real Christianity is. Today's spiritual vacuum is being filled by drugs, gambling (11% of private spending) and foreign cults such as Mormons.

Prayer focus: Pray that the revival of a living biblical faith which is going on among Catholics in some countries such as Tanzania and Brazil will also take place in Spain, where the Catholic Church looks like the valley of dry bones (Ezekiel 37). Can these bones live? Pray for an act of God to revive them. Pray also for the growth of the tiny evangelical churches.

Discussion question (optional, for use BEFORE showing the graph): If you only knew of one Christian church in your town and it showed no signs of life and many signs of death, and if all you knew of Christianity was that church, would you stay with it because your family had always belonged to it? Would you leave it? How would you decide?

Explanation of inset (optional): The list of percentages on the inset shows that the situation of Spain is fairly typical of European countries. The historic state churches are losing members almost everywhere. Evangelicals are tiny groups growing slowly. There are now more evangelicals on the island of Madagascar (population 16 million) than in Spain and France together (combined population 100 million).There are an estimated 438 evangelicals in China for every one evangelical in Spain! There is a lot of Christianity in the history of Spain but very little in the life of Spain today.

For more information see Operation World 2001, p. 584, Challenges for Prayer 2, 3 and 4.

3. The Mission Competition

Issue: Like Christians, Muslims are actively involved in spreading their faith

Country and World Region: Uzbekistan and four neighbors, Central Asia (former Soviet Union)

Main map/graph: Political borders and capitals of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, with two wide arrows from Saudi and Iran pointing to Tashkent and smaller arrows from Tashkent pointing to the other four "stans".

Inset: Five-bar graph for the five ". . . stans", each bar divided into three sections for % Muslim, % non-religious, % other (mostly Orthodox, Catholic and a very few evangelicals).

Explanation of main map/graph: The arrows show that Saudi Arabia and Iran, considering themselves the heartland of true Islam, are sending missionaries to other countries where many Muslims are only nominal or cultural Muslims (as in some countries many people are only nominal or cultural Christians). Wealth from oil enables many Saudis and Iranians to contribute to sending missionaries to promote Islamic faith, build mosques and teach the Quran to a new generation. Much of their aid is channeled through the city of Tashkent, which is the center of Islamic influence in the whole region. From there it is spread to the neighboring countries (as shown by the small green arrows).

Prayer focus: Pray for conversions like Saul on the road to Damascus (now a Muslim city) -- a leader of the opposition is transformed into a leading Christian missionary. Pray that those who are zealous now for spreading Islam will transfer that zeal to spreading the good news of Jesus.

Discussion question (optional to be used BEFORE showing the map): Which country has more people, Canada or Uzbekistan? (Answer: Canada, but not by much. 31 million to 24 million. The five countries on the map you are about to see, though you may hardly have heard of any of them, together have twice as many people as Canada and about the same number as Great Britain or France.) They were five of the "republics" in the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).

Explanation of inset (optional): To our eyes these bar graphs look like these five countries are very Islamic, but to the eyes of a Saudi or Iranian Muslim they are not nearly Islamic enough.

For more information see Operation World 2001, p. 667, Challenges for Prayer 4.

4. Coming to Christ in Droves

Issue: The global shift from animism to Christianity.

Country and World Region: Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire), Africa

Main map/graph: Graph of religious change in Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire)

Inset: two- column table, % animist of six largest countries in Africa in 1900 and 2000.

Explanation of main map/graph: Animism is the belief that life is dominated by various spirits and forces which are greater than human but less than God. It is the traditional belief of many indigenous peoples worldwide and is being revived in various forms as part of the New Age Movement.

The graph shows the huge decrease in numbers of animists and the increase in numbers of Christians in the Democratic Republic of Congo in this century. This is true in many countries of Africa south of the Sahara Desert.

Prayer focus: Praise God for the vast numbers of people He is bringing to Himself as faithful African Christians share the gospel with their neighbors, especially during times of suffering. In 1900 who would have believed that Congo (Zaire) would grow from 1.4% Christian then to 95% Christian today (at least on paper)? Pray for the converts as Christ sets them free from generations of fear of spirits so they can live new lives of power, love and joy. Pray for the churches as they integrate floods of new converts especially since 1991.

Discussion question (optional, for use AFTER the graph is shown): What must it feel like to live in a country where all churches are packed to overflowing, new converts are coming every week, and virtually everyone you see claims to be a Christian? How does that compare or contrast with the situation in our country?

Explanation of inset (optional): Congo (Zaire) is typical of many African countries, as is shown by the inset listing the six most populous countries in Africa. In every case but Egypt (0% animist) the animist population has been greatly reduced since 1900 because of conversions to Christianity and (in smaller numbers) to Islam.

For more information see Operation World 2001, p. 198, Answers to Prayer 2 and 3.

5. Top Secret

Issue: Finding "creative access" when evangelism is illegal

Country and World Region: Islamic world, communist world

Main map/graph: "CLASSIFIED -- TOP SECRET" (faint words in Russian in the background)

Inset: Missionary family prayer card with the eyes of everyone blacked out; caption: pray for Jim and Ellen, your missionaries to a Muslim country

Explanation of main map/graph: God has his ways of getting the gospel into the regions that used to be the most tightly closed, such as Albania (atheistic dictatorship), Nepal (Hindu republic), Mongolia (communist, anti-Western) and of course the former Soviet Union. Now there are increasing reports of miracles and conversions in many Islamic countries and of more evangelism within communist China than anywhere else in the world. Mission agencies often do not write or talk publicly about these things because publicity may endanger the evangelism which is going on. They may simply say something about missionaries working in "creative access" situations and leave you guessing about the details.

Prayer focus: Praise God for the many countries which have opened up in the last twenty years. Pray that these countries would be swept by the Christian gospel and not the gospel of materialism and the culture of Hollywood, which are also pouring in. Pray for the many countries (mostly Islamic) which still prohibit any attempt to persuade people to convert to any religion except the dominant one. Pray for the foreign Christians who in response to God's call are working in "top secret" ways and places.

Explanation of inset (optional): Missionaries do a wide variety of non-missionary jobs in order to get access to countries which prohibit full-time evangelists. Teaching English is one common method but there are many others. Once in the country, they need your prayers but also your caution. Remember this inset picture with the censor bars over the eyes.

Discussion question (optional, for use AFTER explanation of the inset picture): What missionaries do you know who always omit their last name from their prayer letters, or omit the name of the country where they work, or send you e-mail under the name "John Smith", or tell you not to use certain words like "Jesus" and "church" when you write to them? What kinds of prayers are you praying for them?

For more information see Operation World 2001, p. 409, 427, 557 (Libya, Maldives, Saudi Arabia).

6. Secularism Dying, Islam and Christianity Growing

Issue: Losing faith in secularism

Country and World Region: Albania, Eastern Europe

Main map/graph: Graph of religious change in Albania

Inset: A question: "Who is the most famous Albanian in recent history?"

Explanation of main map/graph: Disillusioned and bankrupted first by communism and now by a few years of capitalism (the collapse of massive pyramid schemes), Albanians are giving up on both of those secular systems. The influx of Albanian refugees coming "home" to Albania from neighboring Kosovo reminds them how uncertain their world is.

Albanians are looking for something that will not let them down the way they have been let down by secularism (the belief that there are no sacred powers or beings above humans). Many are returning to the religion of their grandparents and great-grandparents, whether Islam, Catholicism or Orthodoxy. Many are also turning to evangelical Christianity as a new hope in their turmoil.

Discussion question: if your country were hit by a decade of economic and political upheaval that included a huge influx of refugees, massive unemployment, bankruptcy for millions and the collapse of the whole business and banking community, do you think people would be more open or less open to hearing the gospel than they are today? Why? If such trauma would advance the gospel, are you prepared to call it down upon your country for the next ten years?

Explanation of inset (optional): Answer: Mother Teresa, a Catholic missionary from Albania who worked in India. Albania is 17% Catholic.

Prayer focus: Pray that the new converts may grow into mature Christians and form lasting evangelical congregations. Much of the evangelism over the last ten years seems to be an example of the seed falling in shallow soil, springing up, then withering. Pray that the Catholic and Orthodox churches will also be revived through this time of national suffering.

For more information see Operation World 2001, p. 64-65, Answers to Prayer 1-3 and Challenges for Prayer 1, 2, 4, and 6.

7. Home-Grown Churches

Issue: Many churches founded by local people are outgrowing the churches founded by missionaries

Country and World Region: Brazil, South America

Main map/graph: List of largest Protestant and independent churches in Brazil

Inset: % evangelical in South America by country

Explanation of main map/graph: Brazil, which has a population of more than half that of the United States, has had huge religious changes in the past fifty years. Evangelicals are now 13% of the population, up from 5% in 1960. By far the largest evangelical church is the Assemblies of God, founded by North American missionaries, but four of the seven largest churches were founded by Brazilians. The vision for evangelism has passed to these home-grown churches, now spreading so rapidly that leadership development and Christian education can hardly keep up. The problems are complicated because many of their converts come from either a nominal Catholic background or from one of the many spiritist, idolatrous movements such as Umbanda, based on African religion which slaves brought with them.

Discussion question (optional; for use BEFORE showing the graph): List some of the "growing pains" that a congregation or denomination could expect if many new converts were coming all the time who had little previous knowledge of the Bible.

Explanation of inset (optional): Evangelicals are unevenly spread among South American countries, but they are growing fast in nearly all countries. Most are charismatic.

Prayer focus: Pray for the new converts to mature and make a complete break with spiritism. Pray for the many unprepared people who are thrust into church leadership positions simply because their churches are growing so fast. Pray that the church will not compromise its witness like the Corinthians did long ago, full of spiritual power and gifts but also full of factions for ungodly reasons. Pray for the continued development of Brazil as a missionary-sending country.

For more information see Operation World 2001, p. 120-121, Answers to Prayer 1 and Challenges for Prayer 3 and 4.

8. Out of Control, Politically

Issue: Government attempts to keep local churches under control

Country and World Region: China, Asia

Main map/graph: Percent Christian by province

Inset: Largest Chinese and US church groupings

Explanation of main map/graph: In 1950 when the Chinese government expelled all foreign missionaries, it wanted to show the world who is in control of China. It has! Registered Protestant churches grew from 1.27 million adherents in 1949 to 17 million in 2000. Unregistered churches now have another 45 million adherents (est.), which means that, "The Church of the Lord Jesus [in China] is larger than the Communist Party of China" (161; there are only 60 million Party members). Johnstone says this amount and rate of growth "has no parallels in history" (161). The map shows that the percentage of Christians is unevenly spread around the country, but is greatest in the heavily populated eastern regions.

The government has not yet given up its futile attempt to control God's work and his people. "Increasing pressure since 1989 is a measure of the fear of the Communists of such a large movement [unregistered house churches] they do not control. Their aim is subjugation or elimination of this threat" (163). Their law says that all churches must register, and they set conditions such as: "no children's or youth work, avoid preaching on the Lord's return and on creation, a ban on healing or exorcism, and limited evangelism" (162).

Prayer focus: Pray for the Christians who risk (or who have already lost) their freedom, their property and their future by evangelizing and assembling illegally. And pray that the Chinese government will recognize that Christianity is not a Western religion it must "control" but one that is good for this great Eastern nation.

Discussion question (optional; for use BEFORE the map is shown): Suppose a tyrannical New World Order was set up and laws made that greatly restricted the evangelism Christians could do in their own countries. Do you think there would be more, fewer or about the same number of Christians in the world ten years later? Why do you think so?

Explanation of inset (optional): Though the US still has a much higher percentage of Christians than China, because China has 4 to 5 times the US population there are now nearly as many Chinese in a church service on Sunday as there are Americans. One estimate (not Johnstone's but another source we trust) is that the Chinese house churches in mid-2001 were making about one million converts per month. Move over American Christians. Make room in the Body of Christ. China is coming through.

For more information see Operation World2001, p. 163.

9. Indigenous Missionaries

Issue: The word "missionaries" does not automatically mean "Westerners" any more

Country and World Region: India, South Asia

Main map/graph: Four-bar graph based on p. 314, Challenges for Prayer 6, paragraph 1.

Inset: Table of top four non-Western missionary-sending countries, showing number of missionaries

Explanation of main map/graph: More than a generation ago the Indian government stopped issuing visas for new foreign missionaries to India. Since then the number of Indian missionaries has multiplied to more than 105 times what it was. About half of these Indian missionaries are working in their home language and culture; the other half are working in a language and culture very different than their own (there are over 4600 different people groups in India and at least 1600 different languages among them). As Christians from one group go to evangelize in another group, they find that the food, customs, houses, and laws are all different. It is almost as foreign to them as Brazil is to a Frenchman or Japan to a South African. For example, a weekly prayer bulletin of the India Missions Association once requested prayer for a number of missionaries who were suffering because of the snow and cold in the Himalayan foothill region. The suffering missionaries were from south India, where 60 degrees (15C) is considered frigid.

Prayer focus: Pray for the recruiting, training, sending and support of Indian missionaries by the hundreds of Indian mission organizations. Pray for these Indian missionaries as they learn new languages, make cultural and dietary adjustments, sow the seeds of the gospel, and in some cases risk and lose their lives because of Hindu or other opposition to the gospel.

Discussion question (optional): What difficulties would a black missionary couple from New York City encounter if they went to a Navajo reservation in Arizona to plant a church? What adjustments would a white couple from Montana have to make in order to evangelize in a Cuban neighborhood in Miami? These are the kinds of cultural distances that Indian missionaries have to cross when they leave their home areas to evangelize in other parts of India.

Explanation of inset (optional): As we see on the inset, India is not the only country sending missionaries. South Korea, Brazil and Nigeria have become increasingly active, and in those cases the missionaries are often sent to other countries. Increasingly it is becoming true that mission means "the whole church taking the whole gospel to the whole world."

For more information see Operation World 2001, p. 314, Challenges for Prayer 6.

10. Twice Removed from the Gospel

Issue: Indigenous ethnic minorities in anti-Christian countries

Country and World Region: Iran, Middle East

Main map/graph: language polygon map of Iran with five ethnic minority groups over two million labeled

Inset: Table of the five largest unreached groups in restricted countries, with population in millions

Explanation of main map/graph: Within many officially anti-Christian countries like Iran, there are large ethnic minority groups which have their own home territories, languages and cultures. These peoples are doubly insulated from the gospel, first at the national level by the government and second by their own language, which may have no Christian literature of any kind. They may have their own traditional religion which they practice instead of Islam or mix with Islam in various ways. Humanly speaking, their chances of ever hearing the gospel are very poor.

Prayer focus: Pray for God to do his work in places where human strategies seem puny. Double insulation is not thick enough to keep out the wind of the Spirit once it starts to blow. Pray that members of these doubly-insulated groups who travel abroad to work or study will meet Jesus on the trip and take him home with them.

Discussion question (optional; for use BEFORE showing the map): What is Mazanderani?

(Answer: b, as we will see on the map)

Explanation of inset (optional): Note that these "minorities" are not always small groups tucked away in a mountain valley somewhere. The groups in the list of "World's Largest Minorities" are larger than the whole population of most European countries. Note that all five listed are in India, which has about 100 different "minority" groups with over one million in each group!  

For more information see Operation World 2001, p. 667, Challenges for Prayer 4.

11. Minorities as a majority

Issue: Crossing social barriers with the gospel

Country and World Region: USA, North America

Main map/graph: USA map with 50 cities labeled that had a majority of minorities by 2000

Inset: Table of the growth of ethnic minority Southern Baptist congregations in the US

Explanation of main map/graph: In American rural areas, towns, small cities, and suburbs, Christianity is strong and ethnic minorities are few. In American urban areas, ethnic minorities abound. These include many Afro-American Christians (usually Protestant), many Hispanic Christians (usually Catholic), and millions of more recent immigrants (mostly Asian). As they go about their ordinary lives and work, Christians from the whiter areas of America rarely encounter any of these urban minorities.

Prayer focus: Pray that the racism which has often been linked to America's "Bible-believing churches" would be replaced with new inter-racial and intercultural friendships and partnerships. Pray that more of the white American churches will deliberately cross the social barriers and become good news as they represent Christ to ethnic minorities.

Discussion question (optional): If we are all one in Christ, why are we still uncomfortable around Christians of other ethnic groups? What kinds of experiences might gradually help us get over this difficulty (or are we already over it)?

Explanation of inset (optional): In urban areas recent immigrants form neighborhoods where it is possible to live ones entire life speaking only or primarily the home language. In a few cases there are newspapers and even television stations in languages such as Korean. The Southern Baptists have taken the lead in a nation-wide effort to plant churches among immigrant groups. The number of congregations has nearly quadrupled in the last seventeen years. There are now Southern Baptist worship services in over 100 languages in the US..

For more information see Operation World 2001, p. 661, Challenges for Prayer 9.

12. Fishing Where the Fish Are

Issue: The "Hindu Belt" across India

Country and World Region: India, South Asia

Main map/graph: Map of India showing % Hindu by state, plus the Ganges River and the four holiest Hindu sites on or near it.

Inset: List of world's sixteen most populous countries and Indian states with population in millions.

Explanation of main map/graph: Hinduism is a religion in which holy places are of great importance, especially the Ganges River which flows from west to east across north India. The four holiest cities in Hinduism are shown on or near that holy river. Note how heavily the central states are Hindu. "Hinduism" is literally "Indian-ism" and many in the Hindu heartland believe that it is un-Indian to belong to any other religion. The map shows that at the north, south and east corners of India the Hindu percentage is lower and the percentage of Muslims and/or Christians is relatively higher. These other religions are literally and figuratively marginal in India. Evangelization of the Hindu belt of India may be the greatest single challenge in world evangelization today.

Prayer focus: If a fisherman ever came upon a pool in a trout stream with as huge a concentration of fish as the Hindu belt has of unevangelized people, he would forget about the rest of the stream and fish right there no matter how slippery the bank, how thick the mosquitoes, how heavy the undergrowth, or how snake-infested the shore. Pray for more fishermen with that kind of dedication to fishing for people in central and north India.

Discussion question (optional): How would your life be different if you thought that everything that happened to you was a just reward or punishment for an action you had taken in a previous life, and every action you take in this life will lead to a reward or punishment in another life to come? That is the law of karma, one of the central pillars of Hindu belief.

Explanation of inset (optional): It is almost impossible to imagine how vast the population of India is. It is roughly four times the United States and twenty times the United Kingdom. As the list in the inset shows, if the individual states of India were considered separate countries, three of them would rank among the world's sixteen largest countries.

For more information see Operation World 2001, p. 311, Answers to Prayer 1-3 and 312-313 Challenges for Prayer 2 and 4.

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