Creative Access Locations
“And how can they be sent unless they have a way to gain access?”
What does “Creative Access” mean?
Today's mission strategists use phrases like limited access, restricted access, or creative access areas to describe places that have legal obstacles for an expatriate (or foreign) missionary to get a Visa. Church activities may be greatly restricted, open evangelism by Christians unlawful or there might be great hostility towards Christianity - traditional ‘missionary work’ is not possible. Many of these places have Islamic or communist governments and are in the 10/40 window of unreached people. (See graphic above). Mission workers, therefore, need to be ‘creative’ in how they proclaim the liberating news of Jesus Christ.
“Creative Access” strategies are viable, God-given means for providing missions workers the opportunity and relational basis for effectively completing their main objective or mission.
While fulfilling the Great Commission in these places can be challenging, it is not impossible. Closed to missionaries does not mean closed to the gospel. That's where the use of the phrase "creative access" comes in. Because the Good News spreads most easily through relationships, the gospel can be shared by workers using skills in many areas, including business, education, healthcare, students studying abroad, sports developers, extended stay tourism, etc. Whatever their ‘job’ at home, with a bit of modification can probably be done in a "creative access" area.
Whatever the role, the aim is to be as intentional as possible – to have the name of Jesus Christ on their lips at all times. Whether it is buying bread for breakfast, meeting with a client to discuss business, dropping off children at school, or drinking tea with a friend, the intention is to always be ready to share the truth of the gospel.
Information gleaned from:
Plain Community Church supports missionaries monthly, through the regular offerings of our congregation, who live, work and serve in "Creative Access" locations full time . Additionally some of the PCC supported missionaries travel to "Creative Access" areas on a regular basis. Individuals may support these missionaries financially, by contacting the Deacon of Missions at firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information.
What does living and sharing the Gospel look like in a “Creative Access” location?
Courageous in Christ: Julie* lives in a creative access nation where almost the entire population are Muslim. Sharing the gospel in traditional ways is almost impossible. God is still at work through his disciples, Julie explains:
"I meet for fellowship regularly with a local sister who has been a believer for many years. She has a great knowledge of the Bible, especially Jesus’s words, and a determined conviction to live out these words. In her workplace, each day begins with some teaching from a local Muslim religious leader. My sister is very good at asking questions or making comments, and these have in the past caused disagreement with the lady who teaches. On a couple of occasions she has been banished from these classes for a few weeks.
Recently the lady stopped teaching. After some time, she approached my friend to discuss the fact that she had had a few dreams, some in which she was being told to stop teaching as she was not speaking the truth. My friend has delighted in speaking to and directing her colleague to Google certain phrases, which has led to her reading portions of Scripture of her own seeking, and returning to my friend with more questions." (https://eu.aimint.org/churchplantingsept2016/)
Cookie Giveaway: Another missionary shares how her family reaches out to their neighbors.
We live in a quiet neighborhood, and while people have waved and smiled, we realize that to actually get to know them we will need to be proactive in knocking on doors. So, after sending out texts to ask people to pray, we frequently head out the door to deliver homemade cookies. Sometimes no one answers the door, sometimes they smile and accept the cookies and close the door, but sometimes we get invited to sit and spend some time with them. We also use ‘real’ rather than paper or plastic plates to help instigate a cookie exchange. It’s those people who bring plates back that we really start to get to know. For example, one lady helped us go curtain material shopping and another helped us find our missing cat! Please ask that relationships in our neighborhood would develop in meaningful ways, and that we would be given courage to knock on more doors. https://eu.aimint.org/creativeaccessoctober2017/