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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

A Leader of Principle and Passion

Greg Mundis and I were both commissioned as Assemblies of God missionaries in 1978. Twenty years later we both joined the World Missions Executive Committee, he as Europe regional director and I as communications director.

Soon after joining the committee, we made a trip to Europe to produce two World Missions issues of the Pentecostal Evangel, one focusing on Austria, Greece, Czech Republic and Belgium, and the other a groundbreaking issue on Bosnia.

In subsequent years we have traveled several times together in Europe and spent many hours in World Missions Executive Committee meetings. I’ve come to know Greg’s many outstanding qualities. Two predominate: his principles and his passion.

His principles are reflected in a decision-making style that demonstrates impeccable integrity. His passion is evidenced by a tender heart for missionaries and those in need, and a compelling desire for the lost to know Jesus. These qualities have remained constant in all the years I’ve known him.

As Greg assumes the responsibility of serving our Fellowship as executive director of World Missions, he brings a wealth of experience, understanding and perspective. In recent years, he initiated a new emphasis on reaching culturally diverse communities due to the huge numbers of people immigrating to Europe from Africa, Asia and Latin America. He has a global perspective and a vision of ministry that especially prepares him to lead our missionary enterprise for the whole world.

The following brief interview affords Evangel readers just a glimpse of Greg’s thinking and heart …

Randy Hurst: What are some of your thoughts as you begin this responsibility?

Greg Mundis: The value of our missionary body is rooted deep in not only my heart, but in the heart of every Executive Committee member. I have enormous respect for our veteran missionaries who have remained committed for many years. I also respect the people coming in as new missionary candidates for their willingness to go through the process to become world missionaries. They are willing to leave the U.S. and go where they will have to adapt to new cultures, languages, customs and ministries. They must be, in a sense, pioneers and fit into our synergetic mission, whether in the role of evangelism, church planting, teaching in a Bible school, training ministry or serving in a compassion ministry.

As with Aaron and Hur, I want to lift up their hands and help facilitate the whole calling and preparation process, help sustain them on the field, and provide as many resources as we can. In this way they will be more effectively equipped to be all that God wants them to be.

RH: What are some of the most critical new challenges we face?

GM: I am burdened with the need for AGWM and its partners to more effectively and efficiently leverage networking by empowering one another, communicating and breaking down barriers in our infrastructures and relationships with national churches and other evangelical organizations. This involves more than just saying we network; we need to put our words into action. Such a process will involve leveraging all creativity and resources within our AGWM family, our partner districts and churches in the U.S., and among the worldwide AG and other evangelical entities.

We are a 360-degree mission. God so loved the whole world that He gave His only begotten Son. We must go to Jerusalem, Samaria, Judea and the uttermost parts of the earth. God calls us to reach into unreached people groups and pockets of people who have not heard or not understood the gospel. This mandate is reflected in our mission statement of reaching the lost, planting churches, training national believers, and touching the poor and suffering.

RH: What about the next generation in missions?

GM: We dare not let the Pentecostal outpouring that we have experienced go unheeded. The historical ramifications of growing from a tiny band of people at Azusa Street to the founding of the Assemblies of God in 1914 to a present-day movement of around 64 million AG believers worldwide is astounding. Some sources place the number of Pentecostals and charismatics at hundreds of millions worldwide. Clearly, God is doing something wonderful, and we need to ride the wave of this Pentecostal outpouring. Our spiritual ears must be fine-tuned to hear what the Spirit is saying as we look forward, always thinking, What does the Lord want to do? How can we put things in place so that our generation and the coming generation can do the work of God?

I’m reminded of the biblical example from 1 Chronicles 17. King David wanted to build a house for the Lord, but because he was a man of war he was not given permission to do so. Instead he prepared all the materials, finances and infrastructure so that when Solomon came along he could do the work in one fell swoop. My hope is that my generation will help prepare the way for the next wave of ministers and missionaries. A generation of young people is emerging with enormous capability. I want to connect with these passionate and skilled young people and be ready to network, mentor, coach and provide resources so they can do even more than my generation has.

RH: What is distinctive about AG World Missions?

GM: We are committed to the indigenous church and the partnership we share with national fellowships worldwide. In the early 1900s, God led our Assemblies of God forefathers as they developed our missiology, indigenous church principles and the framework for partnership. I believe that today there are many more ways that we can explore partnership for even greater effectiveness.

Teamwork and consensus are vitally important. When Paul was supernaturally called to Macedonia, Luke wrote, “We got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them” (Acts 16:10, NIV). I believe in that kind of supernatural vision and team concept. The “we” and “us” is important in this verse. The fact that Paul’s team concluded that Paul’s vision was of God and joined him in this new outreach. There are still frontiers in missions that we as AGWM are equipped and empowered by the Holy Spirit to reach with the gospel.

RH: Can you describe your leadership style for those who don’t know you?

GM: I don’t always have the giftings, resources and knowledge I need to make critical decisions. I want help from a team of people who can advise and counsel me, who have the heart of the Kingdom in mind, and are true to our mission and values. My dream and my hope is that I can emulate Jesus Christ, who “did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28, NIV). I believe I can best serve our constituency by serving the World Missions Executive Committee and Board, the Executive and General presbyteries, and the missionary family with excellence. I commit myself to trusting the Lord, following the Spirit’s leading, and receiving wise counsel in order to do that.

God has entrusted AGWM missionaries with the sacred task of preaching the gospel of Christ around the world. As I interact with them, I want to operate in a sense of humility and collegiality, realizing that the Lord is using each one of us. In order to move forward into the future, all of us must work together — AGWM, churches and pastors, people in the pews, and friends of the AG who financially support our missionary family. It is a sacred endeavor that comes about because we are being obedient to what God has told us to do in the Great Commission.

RH:  Go back to your first comments. What is the missionary’s priority in the scope of our whole missions vision?

GM: An expression we hear often is “boots on the ground.” Missionaries in another culture, context and language group are winning the trust of their neighborhood and providing credibility. They are modern-day examples of a letter “known and read by everyone” (2 Corinthians 3:2). Many places around the world do not have a strong witness or openness to the claims of Jesus Christ. Without a missionary in place, we don’t have the eyes, ears or heart to know what is really happening within a people group or country.

We need missionaries on the ground for several reasons. First, we can partner in the most fruitful ways possible to share the gospel in a particular environment. Second, we need their input so we can pray about needs more effectively. Spiritual warfare precedes spiritual victories. Sharing their struggles, victories and dreams allows us to know better how to help them win battles through prayer.

We also have ministries and missionaries who serve as tremendous supports to missionaries and national churches overseas. Missions is not an either/or effort. The goal of our entire missionary body is to manifest the gospel of Christ. A well-equipped missionary force is absolutely critical for us to complete the mandate that has been given by the Holy Spirit. Through these partnerships, we have greater credibility.

RH: Any closing thoughts?

GM: The Great Commission is not completed as long as there are people in the world who haven’t heard about Christ and been in a position to accept him as their Savior. We can’t be lulled into a lukewarm attitude and say that world missions is not our responsibility. We can’t sit back and decide that we’ve done our part because we have sent our young people overseas for nearly 100 years.

We dare not say, “We’ve provided finances up to this point; now it’s somebody else’s job.” No, Jesus’ command remains the same: The whole gospel to the whole world from the whole church. That includes all of us.

Our responsibility is to do the work of the Kingdom and preach the gospel to the whole world until Christ comes. We dare not slack off or be lulled and deceived into thinking that our responsibility ends as other countries and other movements take on more responsibility. We must continue to fulfill our responsibility in the body of Christ in the work that God has called us to do.

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