The vision that we work toward by any other name would be as important.
Have you BackRubbed anyone lately?
Odds are you have. BackRub was the name of the technology that went on to revolutionize search on the Internet. We call it Google today.
And while Google is now a household name, stop and think about it a minute. What on earth could that name possibly mean? (If you’re really curious, Google it.)
The more pertinent question is, was it the name that made Google successful? Of course we know it wasn’t the name that made Google the number one search engine in the world, but rather what they did and continue to do even better.
But it’s also not hard to see that the name Google put the company in a better position to tackle the worldwide market than the name BackRub.
That, in a nutshell, is why we’re changing our name.
Times Change; The Vision Endures
The vision of the founders of New Tribes Mission in 1942 is the same vision today.
Several important components of that vision were spelled out in the first issue of the mission’s magazine in May 1943:
“By unflinching determination we hazard our lives and gamble all for Christ until we have reached the last tribe regardless of where that tribe might be.”
Christ commands us, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you…” (Matthew 28:19-20). He has given that responsibility to His Church — to you and me.
That’s exactly what NTM is all about.
Positioning to Reach a Changing World
Just as we recognize that Google was a better name for a worldwide market, so also our new name is a name that puts us in a better position to reach our ever-changing world. How? By putting the focus on every people group.
From the beginning, New Tribes Mission worked with unreached people groups. Many were remote, but not all. Did you know that our mission at one point worked in Japan, and today works in towns and even small cities, in addition to the many isolated places that we’ve come to be associated with?
So just as the name New Tribes Mission became synonymous with reaching remote, isolated people groups, we’re hoping that our new name will become synonymous with establishing thriving churches for every people, wherever they are.
That includes countries we cannot enter in traditional fashion. It includes people groups in towns on major highways, in suburbs, in their own communities in cities. It may include refugee camps or nomads.
But it also includes remote, isolated people groups. That’s where so many of our missionaries minister, and there’s work to do there in years to come.
And this new name positions us to reach every people.
In 1948, the mission’s magazine took a humourous look at issues with the name New Tribes Mission. They came to this conclusion:
“While some may be confused by the name, I am sure that after we have had the opportunity to explain what our name means, they are made more conscious of the objective of missions than they ever were before.”
That’s my goal right now. Will you join me?
— Ian Fallis, Managing Editor