To Every Tribe News

Interview with CPCP’s Jeremy Sanders: "We don’t see ourselves as exceptionally brave or courageous."

When missionary trainees enroll at the Center for Pioneer Church Planting, 40% of the training is on-the-job. Trainees spend a significant amount of time getting hands-on experience in the field. Jeremy Sanders is a second year student at the CPCP who plans, eventually, to take to the gospel to remote villages in Papua New Guinea. Jeremy, his wife, Kandy, and 3 children recently returned from a trip to PNG, and we asked him a few questions about their experience.

RA: Give us a brief description of your recently completed trip, complete with where you went, who you went with, and what you were hoping to accomplish.

JS: Our family visited Goroka, Papua New Guinea to spend four weeks with the Sisson family in preparation for our move to Goroka at the end of 2013. Our whole family was able to go including my wife, Kandy, and our children, Sam, Olivia, and Everett. The primary goals for the trip were to gather information related to our upcoming move and to spend time getting to know our future teammates.

RA: What was one surprising thing you learned about PNG (the country)?

JS: I don’t think there was very much we learned intellectually that was surprising about PNG. We have been learning about PNG for several years and were well prepared for what we encountered. There is a difference between knowing something intellectually and knowing it experientially though. An example of this is the cost of living in PNG. We already knew that it was expensive but the experience of buying groceries and supplies for the month that we were there opened our eyes to just how expensive it is.

RA: On your blog (Sanders, Party of Five) you used the word “strange” to describe their culture. I’m guessing that is meant as a comparison to our culture here in the United States. What makes it “strange”?

JS: We used the word “strange” to try to express all that is experienced when you have always lived in a modern Western culture and you visit a developing culture that is torn between traditional tribal living and the encroachment of modern amenities.

Everything is different and yet there are many similarities. The villages around Goroka have traditional housing constructed using bush materials. This typically means a thatch roof with pit-pit grass for the walls and floor. Most of the men are subsistence farmers but work hard so they can afford school fees to send their children to high school or college.

The speed of life is much slower and if something isn’t available in town, you can’t exactly order it from Amazon. It just isn’t available. So in this whirlwind of technological advancement, you meet people who live in a bush house with no electricity and running water, but they have cell phones with real-time access to Facebook and Twitter. It creates a very unique culture different from the one we have lived in all of our lives.

RA: When you think of PNG (the country) what’s the first word that comes to your head?

JS: Tribal

RA: Why?

JS: Because of the 820+ languages and so many of these are spoken in isolated groups of people.

RA: What will you be doing in PNG, eventually?

JS: There are two answers to that question. The short answer and the long answer.

The Short Answer – We will be church planting among an unreached people group with the goal of establishing a self-sustaining, self-led, self-theologizing, self-reproducing body of believers.

The Long Answer – We have identified four goals for our first term:

  1. Our primary goal will be to learn the culture and language. We will start out attending the Pacific Orientation Course in Madang, PNG for 13 weeks.
  2. Alex and I will take trips to unreached areas to research the possibility of our team church planting in particular unreached people groups. Once an initial area is identified in which to start church planting, we will continue to visit other areas to help identify additional unreached areas for future teams coming to PNG.
  3. Part of To Every Tribes strategy in PNG involves working with the national pastors of New Life Mission. I will be spending time with these pastors learning culture and language from them.
  4. We will also be assisting with the project management and construction of the next house at the New Life Mission Station in Goroka where we will be living. This will be necessary to provide living quarters for the next missionary to join us in Goroka.

RA: What excites you the most about the possibility (probability) of living and serving in PNG?

JS: We are excited that God is involving our family in His plan to take the Gospel to people that do not know Him.

RA: Now that you’ve seen the layout of the land (so to speak) and have a feel for potential ministry opportunities, what do you think is your biggest challenge?

JS: At this point our biggest challenge is getting to PNG. Once there our biggest challenge will be learning the language and getting integrated into the culture. The next foreseeable challenge will be making contact with various peoples and identifying where it is we will be church planting. It’s hard to say which of those is the biggest challenge since at each step of the way the challenge looming in front of you is the biggest at that point in time.

RA: What did you learn about yourself on this trip?

JS: We learned that we could survive at the mission station in Goroka which will be our home for the next few years. Life was very manageable there. Kandy was able to learn how she could cook, shop, do laundry, and continue homeschooling. I learned that I need to be in top physical shape to be able to go on jungle patrols to remote villages. Most importantly we learned that we will have to be totally dependent on Christ and his mercy and grace for our work there to be fruitful. As missionaries we have to remind ourselves of the Gospel daily and above all stay close to Christ.

RA: Why would a *family* leave life here in the United States and go to PNG? Isn’t this kind of remote and risky ministry just for singles?

JS: Our family has been captivated by God’s story of redemption that is woven throughout the fabric of Scripture. As we have learned more about what He has done and is doing to bring about the salvation of people from every tribe and tongue and nation we have grown in our desire to be part of this effort on the front lines.

Jeremy Sanders

There are two sides to the risk conversation, and one side of that conversation is taking an honest look at what risk there is here and what risk there is there. Our home city Birmingham has one of the highest crime rates in the country. So we definitely would not be in a protected bubble by staying in Birmingham. That is not to say there is not significant risk in living in a developing country on the other side of the world either, but often we relativize the risk that we encounter here because we have accepted the risk in our home communities and put it aside in order to live life without being in a constant state of stress about our personal safety.

The other side of this conversation has to do with our view of risk for the sake of the Gospel. There is a lot of sensationalism about laying it all on the line for the sake of the Gospel in the far flung places of the world. We don’t see ourselves as exceptionally brave or courageous. We are just attempting to live out our view of God and his mission in the world through the power of the Gospel in our own lives. I guess what I am saying is that when we come to terms with the things that God values and we attempt to adjust our values to reflect God’s values, we aren’t risking much at all. One could make the argument that to risk life and limb for things that aren’t valuable in God’s value system is a much riskier endeavor.

To quote someone who puts it much more eloquently than I can, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” – Jim Elliot

RA: What’s next for the Sanders?

JS: As of October of 2012, we have 8 months left at the To Every Tribe Center for Pioneer Church Planting (CPCP). We will graduate in May of 2013. After graduation, we plan to enroll in a five week missions launch course for the entire family in Colorado, called MTI, which will include pre-field training in the vitals of cross-cultural ministry and language acquisition techniques. Kandy will then spend two weeks receiving intense medical missions training at Equip International in North Carolina. Following this course, we will spend the next few months preparing for the move to PNG.

Our plan is to be in Papua, New Guinea by January of 2014 and start the Pacific Orientation Course (POC) in Madang, PNG. This course consists of 8 weeks of classroom time learning language and culture specific to PNG, and 5 weeks of village living. The remainder of our first term will be spent in Goroka, which is where other To Every Tribe missionaries are currently living. During this time, we will intentionally spend time learning more language and culture, building relationships with the nationals, and taking scouting trips into unreached villages. We pray that during this time we will receive an invitation to live in a tribal village. We hope to eventually build a bush house in that village, where we will live until we are able to build up and train national church leadership. Our first term will likely be 3 years and will end some time in 2017.

We hold these plans loosely, as we know that God can change any or all of them over the next few years. We will continue to rely on His Word and seek counsel from our pastors and leaders at To Every Tribe as we move along on this journey to the unreached.

RA: Thanks, Jeremy.

Continue to pray for the Sanders as they prepare to be Ekballoed (propelled, Matthew 9:38) into the harvest Christ has in Papua New Guinea. To Every Tribe exists to extend the worship of Christ among all peoples by mobilizing, training, and sending missionaries such as the Sanders to plant churches among the unreached. Our passion is getting the gospel to as many unengaged people groups as God enables us so that God is worshiped in the name of Jesus among every tribe and tongue.

There are 3 billion unreached people who will never hear the name of Jesus unless someone is sent to them. 3 billion unreached. 1 mission to proclaim Christ’s name to those who have not yet heard. 3 billion reasons to partner with us in the 1 mission. Will you join with the Sanders and the rest of the To Every Tribe family in mission?


The Ekballo Mission Conference 2012 Video and Audio

Grace Bible Church in Olive Branch, Mississippi has uploaded all of the video and audio from the recently concluded Ekballo Mission Conference 2012 held on the weekend of October 26-28. Speakers included To Every Tribe’s founder and president, David Sitton, TETM Mexico Field Director A.J. Gibson, Executive Director Ron Sanford, Center for Pioneer Church Planting Director Steve Best, and Scott Anderson, the Executive Director for Desiring God Ministries. Some of the slide presentations that were used in the conference are also available in the .pdf format.

The video and audio can be downloaded or simply played from the Grace Bible Church website here: Ekballo Mission Conference 2012.

Here are the titles of the sessions:

Ekballo: Expel the Church; Harvest the Nations
Speaker: David Sitton – President, To Every Tribe Ministries (TETM)

Sacrificial Mission Senders: Missionary Martyrs Need Sending Martyrs
Speaker: A. J. Gibson – Mexico Field Director, TETM

The Sending Church: Moving Beyond the “Pray and Pay” Mentality
Workshop Speaker: Ron Sanford – Executive Director, TETM

Don’t Complicate the Missionary Call
Workshop Speakers: Ron Sanford – Executive Director, TETM
Steve Best – Director, Center for Pioneer Church Planting, TETM

Ekballo Prayer: The Essential Nature of Prayer in the Gospel Mission
Speaker: Scott Anderson – Executive Director, Desiring God

Unreached Peoples: Who and Where They Are, How and Why We Should Reach Them
Speaker: Ron Sanford – Executive Director, TETM

Violent Faith Glorifies God Advances the Kingdom
Speaker: David Sitton – President, To Every Tribe Ministries TETM

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The Ekballo Initiative

A Glory-of-God-Centered

Theologically Reformed Missionary Movement

David Sitton, President, To Every Tribe


Ekballo in Greek means to “forcibly expel”; “to thrust out violently”; “to fling.”  Ekballo is to “send out” (workers) in Matthew 9:38 and “drive out” (demons) in Matthew 10:1.  It is a spiritually violent and authoritative word.  When Jesus, prompted by our prayer, says, “Go!,” demons vacate and missionaries relocate.

Ekballo Vision

God’s name will be made known among the most neglected, hostile, hard-to-get-to ethnicities remaining without a credible gospel witness within their language and culture.[1]

These people groups will be lovingly targeted through a strategic, God-centered, evangelistic, church planting initiative.

Ekballo Distinctives

Ekballo is unique in its combined commitment to:

  • Biblical Theology — do mission from a theologically Reformed understanding of Scripture.
  • Unreached Peoples — focus new mission efforts and finances on the remaining unreached/unengaged people groups of the world.[2]
  • Church Planting — evangelize and establish self-led, self-sustaining, self-reproducing, evangelical churches.

Ekballo Goals

1. Call the church to repentance and re-focus upon the mission of engaging all remaining unreached people groups with a church planting effort.

2. Stimulate worship, prayer and fasting on behalf of specific unreached people groups.

3. Educate the Christian community about the people groups of the world who have no access to the evangelical gospel through:

  • Unreached People Profiles that will inform the church of the remaining need;
  • Promoting ethno-theological [3] training as a necessity for effective cross-cultural ministry;
  • Developing partnerships among churches, organizations, and individuals for the purpose of learning from one another, praying together, and formulating strategies to adopt and engage these target peoples.

4. Ekballo Mission Conferences to identify potential missionaries and sending partners who will then be networked and resourced to more quickly get the gospel to unreached regions.

Inform  –  Pray  –  Adopt  –  Prepare  –  Give  –  Send  –  Go  –  Multiply  –  Finish the Mission


Ekballo (Immediate) Objectives

1. Develop an Ekballo Leadership Team who will commit themselves to the Ekballo vision.

2. Initiate a movement of prayer and fasting which is focused upon unreached peoples.

3. Host an annual Ekballo Mission Conference.

4. Develop a network of speakers and leaders who will provide teaching and practical training for veteran and aspiring missionaries, sending churches, and mission agencies.

5. Develop a media presence and website designed to promote the vision of Ekballo.

Ekballo Mission Conferences

Characteristics of Ekballo Mission Conferences:

  • Annual
  • Regional – strategically held in different regions of the country each year so that Ekballo is a movement larger than any single ministry or church, thus providing the body of Christ with a continuous mission emphasis throughout the various regions of North America.
  • Tunnel-visioned intentionally upon the task of reaching unreached people groups.

Ekballo Mission Conferences will endeavor to serve the body of Christ with exhortation, up-to-date mission information, and practical mobilization through plenary teaching sessions, targeted break-out seminars, and conference-wide worship and concerts of prayer.

Mission Partnerships are essential for reaching the nations for Jesus.  The following groups of people represent the broad spectrum of participants we hope to serve through the Ekballo Initiative:

1. Radical Goers:

  • Aspiring Missionaries — Ekballo leadership will prepare a Basic Things Seminar to answer the most common questions and practical concerns new missionaries typically encounter
  • Veteran Missionaries — Ekballo will arrange  specific topical seminars on subjects such as ministry burnout, single women missionaries, spiritual warfare, financial issues, family and marriage issues, danger and persecution, resolving team conflict, mission strategy, etc. to purposefully encourage missionary families and/or individuals.

2. Radical Senders:   Ekballo will challenge non-going believers to give as sacrificially of their financial resources as going believers give of their lives.  Both sacrificial going and sending glorify God.

3. Radical Intercessors:  Ekballo will seek to foster a growing movement of intercessory prayer and fasting for the speedier advance of the gospel among the unreached.

4. Local Churches and Mission Agencies:  Ekballo will prepare practical seminars to equip local churches and sending agencies on how to better care for their missionaries and navigate the relationship between missionaries, local churches, and mission agencies.

[1] Ekballo targets people groups who have no access to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  2.8 billion individuals (1/3 of the world’s population) presently reside within more than 6,900 unreached people groups around the world.  Malachi 1:11; Habakkuk 2:14; Romans 15:20-21.

[2] 97% of the world’s missionaries are working in places where the gospel is already well established.  Consequently, less than 0.01% of every dollar given to “mission” actually goes towards truly unreached peoples.

[3] Theology explains what the bible means; ethno-theology enables one to explain what the bible means cross-culturally.


To Every Tribe Adopts a New People Group in Oaxaca

David Sitton and AJ Gibson sign the “People Q” Adoption Covenant

Guest Post by Chris Johnson

To Every Tribe did an awesome and weighty thing on January 14!  During our 2012 Open House, To Every Tribe adopted an unreached people group in the mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico.  We first came into contact with this people group (named People Q for security reasons) during a 2011 scouting trip conducted by To Every Tribe missionaries. These same missionaries are now focusing on the People Q as the location for a church planting team.

People Q is the second group To Every Tribe has adopted in Oaxaca.  A To Every Tribe church planting team now lives in a village of the first people group. That team is in the process of learning both Spanish and the Indian dialect of the people, as well as acquiring cultural understanding.

During the adoption ceremony, a formal letter of commitment was signed by the President of To Every Tribe, David Sitton, and our Mexico Field Director, AJ Gibson.  AJ began the ceremony with an explanation of the people group adoption process.   Missionary Chris Johnson then explained how To Every Tribe came to discover and begin to develop relationships with People Q.  The ceremony ended with a wonderful time of prayer for People Q, for a team to go and give their lives to bring them the Gospel, and, no matter what the cost, for a church to be planted in this region of spiritual darkness.

To Every Tribe will continue get to know the People Q better through medical clinics we are planning for the village.   We pray for the People Q regularly: for God to open their eyes and save them, and to build His church in that mountainous area.  The formation of a team to reach the People Q is already in process.  Please pray for a team of church planters to become well-formed and quickly deployed to the village, for the glory of God and the advance of the gospel of Christ into this unreached region.

To Every Tribe did an awesome and weighty thing on January 14!  During our 2012 Open House, To Every Tribe adopted an unreached people group in the mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico!  This people group, named People Q for security reasons, was found by To Every Tribe missionaries during a scouting trip in 2011.  These same missionaries are now focusing on the People Q as the location for a church planting team.  This is the second people group To Every Tribe has adopted in Oaxaca, Mexico.  A team is already working in the first people group.
During the adoption ceremony, a formal letter of commitment was signed by the President of To Every Tribe, David Sitton, and our Mexico Field Director, AJ Gibson.  AJ began the ceremony with an explanation of adopting people groups.  Chris Johnson then explained how To Every Tribe came to find and begin to develop relationships with the village.  The ceremony ended with a wonderful time of prayer for People Q, for a team to go and give their lives to bring them Gospel, and, no matter what the cost, for a church to be planted in this region of spiritual darkness.
To Every Tribe will be getting to know the People Q better through medical clinics we plan and run in the area.  We also are praying for People Q regularly: for God to open their eyes and save them, and to build His church in that area.  The formation of a team to reach the People Q is already in process.  Please pray for a team to be fully formed, for work to begin in the village, and the door to be open for the team who goes to live among them.
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