A Vision to Mobilize
By Cathy Ketcher
Sept. 2, 2012
Every week, 1,200 people gather to worship at International Christian Assembly in Surabaya, Indonesia. Since missionaries Jeff and Liz Hartensveld planted ICA 16 years ago, the church has expanded to two locations and is heavily engaged in reaching those who have little or no gospel witness.
Taking the gospel to unreached areas has always been a passion for the Hartensvelds. Assemblies of God missionaries to Indonesia since 1990, they planted eight churches during their first 10 years there.
“We went from city to city focusing exclusively on places where there was very little gospel witness,” says Jeff. “In some cases there was none at all. We eventually settled in Surabaya to make it our base — like an Antioch in the Book of Acts. Pastoring helped us expand the church planting ministry on a district level.”
Just last month, the Hartensveld family moved to Springfield, Missouri, as Jeff takes on a new challenge: director of AGWM Mobilization. Formerly U.S. Relations, the new department name reflects a redefinition and expansion of the department’s primary purpose: helping missionaries raise their budgets to reach the places and ministries of their callings.
For the past 12 years, former U.S. Relations Director David Lee provided committed and resourceful leadership, building strong relationships between missionaries, district leaders and churches. AGWM Mobilization will accelerate this effort by helping new and veteran missionaries — and now also career missionary associates — in the growing challenge of raising their budgets in a changing culture and uncertain economy.
Jeff’s experience as a missionary, pastor and field moderator for Indonesia has prepared him well to serve the entire AGWM missionary family.
“Jeff is a proven pastor, a proven missionary and a proven leader who has a passion to get the gospel out,” says Greg Mundis, executive director of AGWM. “He not only pastored a growing church in Indonesia, but he also went anywhere he had the opportunity to share the gospel. That kind of passion is what we need in AGWM Mobilization to infuse candidate and veteran missionaries with our purpose: reaching people with the gospel of Christ.”
From the earliest days of ICA, Jeff stressed the need for believers to reach people where they are. The church initiated several local ministries, including outreaches at a Surabaya garbage dump and an orphanage. Every Saturday, church members touch the lives of more than 300 children from poor families by providing food, health care, educational help and a clear message of the gospel.
ICA is also working toward a goal of building 100 churches across Indonesia in the next 15 years.
“The plan is to build seven churches in Central Kalimantan province, provide scholarships so 12 young people can be trained for ministry, and establish a strong church in the provincial capital,” says Jeff. “In addition, ICA is partnering with AGWM to plant six new works among a large unreached people group. Last year ICA gave $191,000 to missions as a testimony of its commitment.”
While field moderator for Indonesia, Jeff encouraged missionaries and the national church to greatly increase their focus on unreached people groups and church planting. He urged every missionary to adopt an unreached people group, and challenged national pastors to become more aware of the needs of the unreached and what they can do to share the gospel.
“Last year the national church developed a five-year plan, and planting house churches among unreached people groups was a stated goal,” says Jeff.
“In all the years I’ve known Jeff, he has been responsive to great needs and challenges,” says AGWM Communications Director Randy Hurst. “When the tsunami struck off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, in 2004, Jeff was pastoring a large church and directing ministries to unreached people groups. Still, he commuted regularly between Surabaya and Banda Aceh, a distance of nearly 1,500 miles, to reach the hardest hit area. He led the initial relief efforts and organized recovery and rebuilding projects for two years. Teams that Jeff mobilized built 67 public school buildings and made an unprecedented physical and spiritual impact in that area.”
As director of AGWM Mobilization, Jeff will continue promoting his passion for church planting in unreached areas.
“There are reasons why unreached people groups are unreached,” Jeff says. “The easy places have been taken. The difficult places remain and are calling to us for a witness.”
Getting new missionaries to hard-to-reach places is a top priority in AGWM.
“We are especially focusing on people who have limited access to the gospel,” says Greg Mundis. “Jeff has worked and used his influence to help missionaries in Indonesia understand their responsibility to reach out, pray for and find ways to preach the gospel to the unreached. We see God’s hand orchestrating his coming to direct AGWM Mobilization.”
Jeff’s passion for reaching the lost remains uppermost as he assumes his new responsibilities.
“My vision is to launch workers into the harvest as quickly as possible so that all people everywhere will hear the good news,” says Jeff. “The very nature of the missionary calling is going where no one has gone with the message people have not heard. There are many methods of sharing our faith, but nothing is better than true incarnational ministry — living among the people we are trying to reach. What a privilege it is to help send those who are called to complete the task the Lord left for us to do.”
CATHY KETCHER is editorial coordinator for AGWM Communications.
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