NOT SUBTERFUGE JUST COMMON SENSE Second edition published May 1996 The subtitle of this publication is "Ideas on how to act in a secure way in the Arab World." It is specially written for tentmakers. The issues are examined in depth and practical guidelines set out to help establish an appropriate lifestyle without causing additional stress. Although written specifically for the Arab World the general principles set out in this booklet apply to all closed countries. It is designed to be a useful resource for all who work in the area but also those who communicate with them. It is specially written without reference to any particular group or individual so that it can be used by every one. It is available in two formats as a booklet or as a Windows Help file.Available from KFS Consultants Ltd. P O Box 7186, Lykavitos, 1642 NICOSIA, Cyprus. Fax: 357-2-368596 Price: US$10 per copy incl. postage etc. Cheques made payable to KFS Consultants Ltd. (We can accept cheques for the equivalent value in any major currency. )

QUESTION From: Ed Snyder <> We have been supporting missionaries for some time but this year we need to evaluate a couple families who are serving as "tentmakers" (professionals) in closed (to the Gospel) countries. They aren't serving in the "normal" (my apologies to any missionaries reading this) missionary roles and so don't fit into our "normal" missionary evaluation...

ANSWER From: Frank Tichy <> You have a wonderful opportunity to strengthen your tentmakers by asking them to participate in whatever research you are doing to evaluate any of your missionaries.

  1. Unreached People Ministry. In our church, this has a high placement in the grid we set up to evaluate who should serve through us and what amounts we should contribute. I assume they are serving in a limited access country otherwise they would probably have associated themselves with a mission agency. Perhaps they are in such a relationship as many agencies now incorporate tentmakers in their recruitment and shepherding. This would certainly make it easier for your people to recognize them as "bone fide missionaries."
  2. What is the nature of their contacts and ministry to the people they are attempting to reach? Is it only their "influences" on the job, or are they using their homes as witness and discipling centers?
  3. Are they networking with other Christians, both missionaries and nationals to help with strategy and planning?
  4. How do they keep in touch with your committee? Do they faithfully supply reports and requests for prayer, as would any other missionaries?
  5. Do they see themselves as missionaries or primarily workers in another culture?
  6. Have they had significant missionary training before they went, or are they willing to obtain this on what leaves they might have. I am thinking of their active participation in a PERSPECTIVES course, as a minimum preparation. We took the course after 21 wonderful years in West Africa, 17 of them as "tentmakers". Both my wife and I are convinced we would have provide even greater service had we experienced the class prior to going overseas. Needless to say, I firmly believe "tentmakers" can be effective missionaries, and models for an alternate approach to missions ministry, something your young people, and others in your church need to affirm.

ANSWER From: Scott Wood <> You might want to get some feedback from "Intent." They are a group organized to facilitate, train etc. tentmakers. They can be reached at <>. They are headed up by Carol Davis, missions pastor at Church on Brady (in L.A.) among others.

TMR Research, 312 Melcanyon Road, Duarte CA 91010 USA puts out a profile/diagnostic self-test for tentmakers that's pretty helpful for assessing goer qualifications. It's called the Tentmaker Research Evaluation Profile.


1. We can't assume that having a missionary among the unreached equals effective ministry among the unreached. (placement does not neccesarily result in engagement)

2. For the least evangelized peoples to be reached, the birth and growth of an indigenous self-propogating church needs to be the central goal and every ministry be evaluated in light of it's contribution toward this goal.

3. Valid roles among the unreached seem to fall into the following categories: a) ministry via English (usually evangelism) b) facilitative work: tentmaking for entry or Christian aid for preevangelism c) specialized ministries: translation, radio, literature, Bible training institutes, research d) direct church planting

4. Though there are many valid roles in work among the unreached, the direct role of church planting seems to be often the least pursued and least successfully fulfilled. For this reason, mobilizers need to advocate for that role, suggesting candidates consider it for themselves. And missionary sending structures need to work with their church planter candidates to maximize their effective fulfillment of that role.

5. In a pioneer setting that requires creative entry, language learning is especially difficult and few seem to be successful. (This is especially true for mothers, and those with immediate supervisory responsibility.)

6. Partnership--inter national, inter agency, and inter denominational, is increasingly the norm. Those who feel they can't work with others will be at a major disadvantage.

7. People who don't have church planting as their stated goal probably won't do it. Those who come to fill a facilitative role hoping to do some ministry probably won't do church planting.

8. Before a long-term assignment among an unreached people, today's candidates need a successful team/community experience. Ideally where they've been actively discipled in team relationships.

9. A pioneer setting is not normally the place to deal with serious personal/spiritual struggles. Those with a call/burden to work among the unreached who lack the personal/spiritual maturity should be directed to some type of experience and training to equip them.

10. Bible and missions education is very good, but ministry experience is just as valuable. Those with successful ministry experience tend to be more successful on the field, particularly if it is in the same type of ministry. Another way to say this is that people don't struggle to succeed in church planting because they don't know the concept. It is that they struggle to implement concepts in this new setting.

11. People who go to the field without a clear call, commitment and vision, or without solid relational/logistical support, tend to not stay long term.

12. Very few agencies both 1) focus on church planting among the unreached/least evangelized, as well as 2) relate well to boomers and Gen X.

13. People who have taken the Perspectives on The World Christian Movement course or something similar seem to come with a perspective/expectations that enable them to be successful in the first stages of work among unreached (i.e. language and culture learning, strategic thinking). They seem to understand the big picture, how their work relates to it, and aren't afraid to jump in.

14. It's very effective to link those who already have a general missions interest to specific unreached peoples/missionaries. Find ways to get them networked with regular sources of info and prayer requests.

15. Where and what kind of short-term a person does is important in the mobilization process. Anything cross-cultural is good, but those who've been exposed to church planting in an unreached setting seem to be way ahead in the beginning stages of knowing what to do and doing it well.