More than three billion people live in areas with few Bibles, Christians, churches, or people trying to reach them. Yet, only 3% of Christian workers and 1% of mission dollars focus on these unreached areas of the world.
We think this should be different.
That’s why 86% of our TTI's resources are devoted to these areas.
They’re unlikely to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ unless someone intentionally engages them.
Church planters with The Timothy Initiative are doing just that. Faithful disciples are proclaiming His name among 765 UPGs and 40 UUPGs. People are coming to Christ and becoming part of some of the first-known churches in their people group!
Christ’s Church of the Valley: https://ccv.church/
CCV Missions: www.ccv.church/missions
Let’s Go 360: letsgo360.org
Pastor Larrie Fraley: linkedin.com/in/larrie-fraley-53445032
Larrie: [00:01:14] Well, welcome to another episode of Let's Go 360. I'm so happy to have with us today John Carswell. He's a dear friend that well, I've known him for many, many years. I first met John back when we were working in Haiti with an organization called New Missions, and it was shortly after the disaster down there and was able to work with him to to to help the people down there and see Steve was behind them in such a big way. And we still support new missions today. Well, John has moved on and John has moved on now and is working with an organization called the Timothy Initiative. And as you know, CCV is going to be getting involved with unreached people, groups and church planting all around the world next year. And we're excited to actually perhaps even have a complete season 2 dedicated to unreached people groups. So we're going to have John here today sort of as a surprise visit. He just flew in and is on his way to California. And I just talked with him and he says, hey, I've got 20 minutes. And I said, well, hey, why don't we just squeeze in a podcast and see how it goes? So, John, welcome to the show.
John: [00:02:24] Thank you so much for having me.
Larrie: [00:02:26] Hey. Tell us a little bit about your story.
John: [00:02:29] Yeah, happy to. I've I was born and grew up in Texas in a Christian home, went off to college and like a lot of people, just kind of wasn't involved with the church as much. I was a young professional, working really, really hard, made more money than I ever thought and was miserable. And God used that time to really draw me back to his heart. And eventually, in a real strange way, he felt called to ministry. And so my wife and I wound up quitting our jobs, selling our house. We had a two and a half year old at the time. We moved up to the Dallas Fort Worth area to pursue some training and seminary and was on staff at a couple of large churches there in Texas. But in 2012, I felt like I just wasn't right on track with my calling and since then have been involved with missions. Shortly after that, you and I met and I've been involved with missions, primarily helping churches in the United States to engage in missions and been in a few different places, but just trying to share what God's doing around the world.
Larrie: [00:03:48] Yeah, So well, we briefly talked earlier today and we've talked, of course, in the last month or so, and what is happening with the Timothy Initiative and the organization that you're working with is just nothing short of amazing. And God is just all in this. Tell us a little bit about what the Timothy Initiative is all about.
John: [00:04:06] Yeah, the Timothy Initiative is relatively young. It started about 15 years ago, but God's blessed it in an amazing way. It primarily exists to help pastors primarily in unreached areas. About 85% of what we do is considered unreached areas, and it helps them to raise up disciple makers who will make disciple makers. And the result of that is little churches that then plant little churches. And so if we have a focus, it's really to find communities or villages that do not have churches and to eventually put a church in those in those areas.
Larrie: [00:04:46] Well, and that's what we're commanded to do. I mean, we know that Jesus spent 30 years here on Earth and his last three years with his disciples all kind of culminated at the end where he was crucified. And then during his last 40 days here, right before he went on to Heaven, and he basically gave us some last commands. And of course, there are five commandments in the scripture that we see that Jesus basically said, take the gospel to the rest of the world, to all nations. And so that's not countries. That is to people, groups, ethnos. And so that's what the Timothy initiatives is all about. Could you share with us maybe one country or a village or something where, this has actually happened?
John: [00:05:38] Oh, many places. We were heavy in Asia and Africa, but I'd like to share a story. I won't share any names, but we were discipling one of our Pauls. That's what we call pastors who are discipling church planters. And then the church planters, we call them Timothy's. And you know, it's a little messy at times overseas, but we have a young lady who was being discipled, and she had family members up the Himalayan mountains, far reaching areas where no one's going to go. And she would hike up those Himalayan trails and share the gospel with villagers. And she wound up leading her grandfather to the faith. He didn't know who Jesus was and wound up starting little fellowships along three villages high up in the Himalayan mountains, where the gospel, as far as we know, it, had never been. And just simply because she heard the message of Jesus, she believed it. She heard those great commissions and was compelled to go to an area that had not yet heard. And now there are many believers in those little villages up in those Himalayan mountains.
Larrie: [00:07:06] Well, I know you have stories like that. Well, just the numbers that you were sharing with us. Could you share some of those numbers?
John: [00:07:14] Yeah. Right now, as we speak, we're training about 130,000 Timothys Now, not all thoseTimothys will plant churches, but we have many, many Pauls, pastors, thousands training 130,000 Timothys. Our Pauls disciple, about 18 Timothys apiece, just depending on the country. Last year, and these numbers are going to sound crazy, but last year we planted just over 26,000 churches.
Larrie: [00:07:50] Stop now 26,000 churches? What's the definition of a church?
John: [00:07:54] Yeah, so we would say a church is a group of believers that gathers regularly, and when they do, they praise the Father, they study the scriptures, they pray, they fellowship as they come to understand it. They participate in the ordinances and they are sent out into their community to make disciples under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, the head of the Church, and under the leadership of biblically qualified, trained leaders. Now, what I didn't say is we're building buildings or sending them to seminary or we're paying salaries. Now. All those things I value, but you don't need them to make disciples in these countries. So a lot of our churches are house churches or mud huts or under trees or caves. They mature to about 20-25 people. But if you'll accept that definition, last year, just over 26,000 churches in some very difficult places.
Larrie: [00:08:49] Well, as you was describing those definitions, I was kind of thinking about CCV and as you was going through each one of those criteria, as I said. Yep, yep, yep, yep. And so the definition that you described fits the definition that we have here at CCV. Now, we obviously do open buildings and plant churches and different campuses, of course, but a lot of these churches that you've described may later go on and do that very thing as well, correct?
John: [00:09:19] Oh, that's absolutely right. Some of the places it's just not safe. And so to build a building, it's probably not going to be there very long. But in other places where they're not under so much persecution, we do have buildings. And so I've been I was in Tanzania and I saw a couple of robust buildings and several young churches that were mud huts, fairly primitive, but they did have a church building.
Larrie: [00:09:49] Yeah. Yeah. So it's just amazing that you are actually fulfilling the Great Commission through the model that you've got. What, are some ways that CCV could engage with the Timothy Initiative?
John: [00:10:04] Well, the number one thing we need is prayer. We're in places like Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, which is a very messy right now, Ethiopia, where there is a civil war. And in many, many other areas, many of our Pauls and Timothys are being arrested or persecuted. We need your prayers. You can even go on line at our website tti.org and sign up to be part of one of our prayer partners. It really is probably our number one ask. We really need prayer. It's one of our core values and obviously we need support. It's amazing every because we don't build buildings, we don't pay for salaries and we don't send people to seminary. Again, I have all those things. So I'm not saying we don't value those things, but because of those we can keep the cost of discipling and training very, very low. So every $400 will actually result in a local church, which is just hard to think of in our context, but in that context much more common.
Larrie: [00:11:17] Yeah, well, I see the continents that you're working in, and those are continents that CCV is very much involved in. So I look forward to kind of sitting down with you and identifying some areas that we can focus on and how CCV can come alongside you and and partner with you. And I look forward to traveling with you again in the future. We we've traveled some some places together, some not so safe places, I'd say. But, you know, God has always provided and safe travel for us and it's always been a great delight. So I look forward to having you back on the show, maybe sometime in the future as we identify some of these people groups that we want to partner with you on, and then we can share exactly what God is doing through that partnership.
John: [00:12:03] I'll look forward to traveling again. Can't wait. We've always had fun. It'll be great.
Larrie: [00:12:07] Yeah. You know what we'll do, John, is make sure that your website and information that we've shared here today will be in our show notes so that our listeners can actually go and click on the website. It's a great website. You can see where they are working their missions and values. You can actually meet the team, you know, on on their website, look at some of the resources that's available as they go and try to basically reach a third of the population of the world in in the great Commission efforts. Well, John, is what is the in closing here? How can we pray for you?
John: [00:12:44] Yes, we're embarking on a large new project in India. It's going to be a major, major effort. So if you all would pray for that and particularly what's on my heart is kind of the difficulties in Sri Lanka and in Ethiopia. I was just there and we couldn't make one of the visits because of the danger with the violence from the Civil War. And I just think about our people on the ground that are there. So of all the countries, maybe we you all could lift up India, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, you could go on our website and see the map and pray for all those countries. But in particular, I just hear a lot about those countries, if you all would pray for them.
Larrie: [00:13:27] Well, we certainly will. And what we'll do, we really haven't promoted it that much here on Let's Go 360. But there is a website called prayercast.com and that is a prayer website that has some very specific targeted areas. And I know that those three countries and continents that you mentioned, their l is on there. So we'll also include those in our show notes that so our listeners can learn a little bit more about the conditions there and how they can pray for the people who live there. Well, John, thank you for joining us today. I know it was a quick podcast throw together, but I think it's it's been great to meet you and have our listeners hear about what God is doing through the Timothy initiative. And I look forward to having you back.
John: [00:14:15] Awesome. Larrie. Thank you.