Global champions!

Ivan Veldhuizen

Vice President of International Ministries

Point Magazine // Winter 2017

Brian Spitzer, lead pastor of Grandview Baptist Church, Davenport, Iowa, heads a team of seven Converge churches in the Quad Cities committed to doing missions together. They have taken the Converge motto “Better together” and put feet to it. They realize that though it’s easier to do things solo, it’s rarely better. The Quad Cities pastors strive to make a significant impact in global missions. 

In the minutia of ministry, the priority of missions sometimes gets lost. Converge, however, is committed to being a vital player in seeing the Great Commission accomplished in our lifetime. For this to become a reality, we need to work together. We must reclaim a commitment to reach the lost peoples of the world. 

To help this happen, we are forging pathways of collaboration to reach those peoples with no access to the gospel. Two thousand years after Jesus told us to “disciple the ethne” (people groups), we can help his kingdom come and his will be done among the world’s least-reached peoples as they become children of the Living God. 

Become a Global Champion Church 

Across Converge, missionally minded churches are committing to being Global Champion Churches. This means they will:

  • Spearhead a cohort of eight to 12 Converge churches in their region that will spur on one another and collaborate for effective global influence.
  • Think Converge-first when doing missions.
  • Become hubs from which quality global workers can be sent to the least-reached peoples of the world.
  • Influence the culture of Converge, making wise global engagement a core value of what it means to be a Converge church. 

A few initial goals for our Champion Church Network: 

  • Establish 25 Champion Churches across the U.S. — at least two in each of our 11 districts.
  • Identify an enthusiastic point person to lead this emphasis in each Champion Church.
  • Encourage each Champion Church to develop a cohort of eight to 12 Converge churches in some proximity to them.
  • Meet for cohort roundtable discussions at least three times a year, maybe over a lunch together or whatever works for the group.
  • Meet for cohort roundtable discussions at least three times a year, maybe over a lunch together or whatever works for the group.
  • Collaborate in mission engagements and identify global workers who can be sent to the least-reached peoples of the world. 

Jeff MacLurg, lead pastor of Our Savior’s Baptist Church, Federal Way, Washington, has taken on the challenge. He states, “My hope is that we church missions leaders can meet three times a year to learn what each is doing, who we are reaching and what our plans, successes and frustrations are, so that we might all do missions better. Perhaps we will discover a joint venture or new possibilities or learn how to do what previously we’ve not known to do. Maybe we will find ways to develop a deeper church-wide interest in missions, which has faded over the years.” 

Upon receiving an invitation to become a Champion Church, Kathleen Sherman, outreach director of The Rock Southwest, Littleton, Colorado, responded, “We are excited about the direction Converge is taking. The Rock would be honored to be a Global Champion Church.” 

“I love what Converge is doing for missions in our movement,” stated Nate Hettinga, lead pastor of Cascade Church, Monroe, Washington, our newest Champion Church. “Knowing your courage and faith is carving a new path for us is hugely encouraging to me.” 

Why we are doing this 

Converge is called to be a significant player in seeing the Great Commission accomplished in the next couple of decades. With 6600 unreached people groups (2 percent or less evangelical) and 1300 unengaged unreached people groups (no known believers and no one currently working among them), there is more collaboration among mission organizations today than ever in history. I am privileged to work with mission leaders around the world to strategize about how we can reach every people group in the near future. 

In the past 30 months Converge has engaged 179 unreached people groups we’ve never ministered to before. In the past six months, with our close ministry partner The Timothy Initiative, we have engaged 16 unengaged people groups, erasing them from the global UUPG list. 

Some notable results that could come about through our Champion Church Network: 

  • Around 250 Converge churches encouraged, resourced and networked to increase their global impact.
  • One least-reached people group adopted by each cohort, who works with Converge International Ministries to get the job done.
  • Ninety percent of our Converge global workers deployed to least-reached groups, far surpassing the current worldwide church’s 10 percent of workers targeting least-reached groups. 

We have an incredibly timely and historic privilege these days. It will take all of us working together to make the significant global impact God has entrusted to our Converge movement. 

What’s the return on investment? 

Someday there will be “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb’” (Rev. 7:9-10). We will know we had a vital part in seeing this happen because we have been faithful today. 

We are better together. I’m so grateful for our Global Champion Churches already on board. We need more, so contact me at if you want to increase your global influence in the years ahead. 

Ivan Veldhuizen, Vice President of International Ministries

Ivan Veldhuizen has served as Vice President of International Ministries since January 2012. With missionaries and ministry partnerships around the world, Ivan’s goal is to lead initiatives that will move us toward fulfilling the Great Commission in his lifetime. Ivan served as a field associate with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association for five years (1991-1996), bringing Dr. Graham’s vision for evangelism to 24 countries. He is a graduate of Bethel Seminary and formerly served as a Converge pastor for 28 years.

Additional articles by Ivan Veldhuizen