By Mark Ellis
In the late 1960’s, only eight known believers could be identified in the entire country of Turkey. Even though it was once home to the seven churches of the Book of Revelation, the church had long since faded in the face of Islam’s advance.
But the merger of two organizations with a heart to reach Turkic people will bring greater impact for God’s kingdom in this strategic country. Last March, Crossover and Turkish World Outreach (TWO) joined forces after a year of prayerful planning.
“We had been partnering and we felt we could do more together,” says Shawn Gardner, executive director of TWO. “We had a lot of experience with Turkic people,” he notes. “Crossover has a cohesive strategy for multiplying disciples and churches. It was a good fit.”
Gardner believes the current instability of the region brings opportunities for the Gospel. “There is a shake-up going on,” he observes. Recent protests, police beatings, and the arrest of lawyers in Turkey have increased volatility.
“This creates opportunities for the Spirit of the Gospel,” he says. “The Gospel is a proclamation that Jesus is Lord over all the Earth – He is King. Only He can bring peace to this situation.”
Steve Hagerman, the founder of TWO, developed a creative approach to reach Muslims living in Turkey. Using addresses collected from phone books, he had volunteers send letters to individual families explaining the Gospel. By 2012, TWO had placed 32 Christian workers among Turkic people.
Crossover has an intense passion to expand God’s kingdom among the least reached people of the world. From bases in the U.S., Australia, Brazil, Moldova and New Zealand, they have planted 189 churches among unreached people groups. Their ultimate goal is to plant 2000 churches by 2020.
“We have the opportunity to inspire Turkic people to faith,” Gardner says. The merger draws inspiration from Ecclesiastes 4:9, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor.”
“Please pray this merger results in thousands of Turkic people coming to Christ and hundreds of churches planted for His glory.”