Where does the North American Church fit in the Global Movement?

The following notes I took at an insightful couple of presentations by missiologist Paul Borthwick. This topic is addressed more fully in Borthwick’s new book: Western Christians in Global Mission: What’s the Role of the North American Church?   (See also My Highlights from the book)

Since they are notes, I haven’t made the attempt to write them as prose, but mere bullet points. Maybe this will be helpful to you. (download a PDF)

Connection Tour by Missio Nexus – Serving the Great Commission Community of North America with Paul Borthwick
Tuesday, May 28, 2013 @ US Center for World Mission

Topic of the Day: WHERE DO WE FIT? What is the role of the North American Church in the Global Mission Movement – Paul Borthwick

Truth be told, this book is full of anecdotal opinions – coming from his extensive work alongside indigenous leaders, not a “full scientific survey”

Does North America have a role in the future of global mission?
Paul’s answer is a firm — “It Depends” ☺

We must avoid both extremes of:
1) get out of the way of the Majority World Church (his preferred term for the Latin, African & Asian Church conglomerate)
2) continue to clamour for superiority in global mission

Some people use the “baton has been passed” to the Majority Church analogy
Fundamentally this is wrong because – we can’t leave/quit the race.

We do have something to offer the Majority World Mission Movement – We have a longer history and more mistakes made. They don’t have to make our mistakes again!…we need to pass them on.

We in North America are somebody else’s “ends of the earth”

Majority World churches asked a penetrating question, “ Will the North American Mission Movement march in the Global parade if we aren’t leading it?”

5 Tensions For North American Mission Agencies/Movement:

1) What does it mean to be an international agency?

  • a. How many Africians (internationals) do we have on our board?
  • b. What does it mean to be international …equal seat for everyone?
  • c. Where will we partner with national leaders?
  • d. Partnering with indigenous agencies?
  • Eldon Porter – help North American agencies via Missio Nexus

2) How elastic are we with theological tolerance?

  • – International theologizing (self-theologizing)
  • – Nigeria question – what do you think of Benny Hinn? (people were healed by touching their TV when he was preaching/healing
  • – “The rest of the world doesn’t know that the Book of Acts is over. They really believe that stuff.”
  • • Where do relatives fit in theology, “whole households” African and Asian questions are familial, not individual
  • • Do we have the capacity to suspend judgment on some theological issues?

3) What does Biblical Partnership look like?

  • a. What does it mean? Who is the PRINCIPAL partner?
  • b. Are we a Golf Team (bunch of individuals tabulating a group score) or a Rugby Team (everyone key and in the scrum)
  • c. Westerners think of partnerships in transactional terms – time ending,
  • d. Africans think of partnerships in family terms
  • i. Recommendations to do partnering without money
  • ii. Then after trust and relationship do small amounts of money, culturally appropriate
  • iii. Highly Recommend – Mary Leiderleitner’s book Cross-Cultural Partnerships : Money and Missions

4) What is the role for the North American church in pioneering and leaving?

  • Our greatest strengths
  • • Initiative
  • • Positivity
  • • Forward looking/ Future
  • ( sometimes its actually Naïve optimism )
  • We must Listen & ask questions (Facilitator’s)
  • Observe and listen 4Xs as much as we talk! (2 eyes & ears, 1 mouth)

Letters to Dear Dr. Robert A. Blincoe, in the book are insightful:
Western Christians in Global Mission: What’s the Role of the North American Church? (Kindle Location 2170). Kindle Edition.  

5) What is our role in globalizing the North American Church?

  • -The conviction “we have a story to take to the nations” is diminishing.
  • -Today it seems “Missional” just means my neighborhood
  • – Stop speaking mission-ese
  • Our churches role in the great commission –
  • “back translation” What do you think? 30% would be great(business mind)
  • 1040 Window (2 weeks before April 15th) ☺


Part/Session 2 – Where do we fit? (Geared to Local Churches / Mission Pastors)

We are in a time where Mission is From Every Nation To Every Nation!

3 Trends in the Local Church Mission Action
1) Same Old, Same Old Group
(Just keep doing it the same way)

2) Heck with Mission Agencies, Let’s Do it Our Own Way
(streamlined, but a little dangerous & no collaboration)

3) Let’s Stay Home
(fix America first, the Majority World has more converts than us)

5 Challenges in Local Church Global Mission Engagement
1) Under 30 challenge

  • a. People don’t give in the same way
  • b. People don’t go in the same way
  • c. Do they have a long enough attention span to do pioneer mission?
  • d. Unreached people groups are long, hard work

2) Global Local Challenge

  • a. Across the street, across the ocean
  • b. World religions are here, not an exotic something from over there.
  • c. Here and There
  • i. Offer an introduction on talking to ethnic people, other religions, help give people practical tips
  • ii. Call on Mission Agency for help
  • iii. The first 5 questions you ask your Hindu neighbor, or an Islamic person, or Buddist…

3) Partnership Challenge

  • a. What are other people doing?
  • b. Intentional Reciprocity – are we going and what do they have to teach us (Co-equal partners)
  • c. Is their anything we can do to serve what God is already doing?
  • d. Take Listening trips…really listen…
  • e. Why is partnership a one-way street? Don’t treat it like a franchise, or a subsidiary!
  • i. Here’s what we have to offer…do you need this?
  • ii. Here’s what we would like to learn…
  • • Partnership is not based on transactional things (MOU’s) but on relationships
  • • Secondary Impact Partnerships
  • o Work with people who can go places that you can’t go… Latinos to Islamic pockets
  • o The Multi-Cultural face of our North American church is key to reaching our “global” world.

4) Short-term Mission Challenge

  • a. Lots of benefits, Lots of critiques
  • b. “Short-term missions is the first time in Christian Mission History when the missionary is the primary beneficiary.”
  • c. How do we link with locals?
  • d. Short-term mission trips, with a long-term effect.
  • e. Freak-show Missions – Draw a crowd and it can be used.
  • f. Poverty-voyeurs, pigeonaries (fly in crap all over everything and leave)
  • g. Please stop sending us your children – Mexico
  • i. Could not see poverty at home unless they go to Mexico and see people in a village in poverty
  • ii. What is the cost of short-term missions? What is the cost of NOT doing short-term missions?

5) North American Comfort Zone Challenge

  • a. Re-evaluate our lifestyles
  • b. Affluence comes naturally
  • c. How do we prepare people to downsize their lifestyle, living more simply
  • d. Example of MoveIn – commitment to be incarnational people in apartment, low-income housing
  • e. We have an addiction to stuff
  • f. Progress Paradox – Why does the richest place on earth have the most, mood altering, drug use, choices, different bottles of water?
  • Middleclass Americans actually are the Top 1% of the rich people who have lived in all of human history

Download/Print PDF of these Notes

See also My Highlights from the book

May E-newsletter from @MikeJentes | Mobilizing the church for the sake of the unreached

A Time of Incremental Progress

Thanks for your prayers for 3 solid coalitions to be in formation by this month. This is coming into reality!

I had the privilege of sharing our progress with the Global Leadership Team of Encompass at the end of April. It was very affirming and sharpening as well.

Since that time, we are praying and working toward a strong and effective coalition for each region of our world – Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and North America!

The highest-profile, most-time sensitive one I’ll highlight for you. We have approached the leaders of the Brasilian Grace Brethren Churches with an opportunity to have a coalition for the World Cup. We seek to come alongside them for outreach, discipleship and church planting around arguably the largest world-wide event!Your prayers are needed for the Spirit to direct the Brasilian Church as to how He wants them to seize this opportunity. Although the World Cup isn’t until June – July of next year, the time is short to pull this off.  Would you pray for great progress in the coming weeks?

Read the Rest of the MAY  E-newsletter from Mike Jentes.

Read the April 2013 e-newsletter 

5 Practical Ideas to Eat – Josh Reeves | @VergeNetwork

We often speak of living out our gospel identity in everyday rhythms of life (know the story, listen, bless, celebrate & suffer, eat, rest & work). In fact, much of what we do is not meant to add things to the schedule, but bring intentionality to the things we are already doing.

The following lists are a few practical examples of simple things you can begin doing to bring gospel intentionality to your schedule. Hopefully as you are reading through these examples it will spark ideas for your own life.


  • Start a monthly dinner night at your house that has an open invitation for anyone that wants to to join and bring people.
  • Find people in your church community who love cooking and get them to help others grow in their appreciation for fine food.
  • Set a goal to have more meals with neighbors/coworkers than you are currently having. Talk it out with your MC and get advice one what is a good starting point.
  • Make a schedule each month with the nights you want to host people for meals. Prayerfully consider who you will share a table with (neighbors/co-workers/MC family).
  • Start a supper club with people in your neighborhood or network of relationships. Have each person in the club signup to host a night. Have the host share the recipe with the rest of the group when they come over. Spend time during the meal sharing things you are thankful for building in a rhythm of intentionality into your meals together.

CONSIDER – LEVITICUS 23, MATTHEW 6:11, 26:17-30, ACTS 2:46-47, ROMANS 12:13


5 Practical Ideas to Eat – Josh Reeves | Verge Network.

Metaphors and the Church by Dave Guiles

Dave Guiles

Encompass World Partners director, Dave Guiles, has been doing some intriguing study and work on “Conceptual Metaphors” and how they play a significant part in developing concepts and behavior.

Dave’s research shows that real change takes place when we are successfully introduced to new metaphors. This is true because:

1) Metaphors organize the way we think,
2) Metaphors enable us to gain new insights,
3) Metaphors create identity, and,
4) Metaphors serve as a guide to future actions.

To help illustrate this important truth, Dave explored how the self-concept of the early church was formed through the introduction of three important conceptual metaphors:


“The success of the early Apostles in establishing churches in the diverse cultural soils of their world was directly related to their ability to lead new congregations into a clear understanding and acceptance of these metaphors. Because of their importance in revealing the true nature of the church, these can be referred to as ‘essence metaphors.”

Praying for the “New America”

On this eve of the “National Day of Prayer,” I wrote a little ditty for @LosAltosGrace and compelled folks to actually pray on this day… and even tried to create some white space to help it happen.

Then I was scrolling through my email and came across a forward article about our nation from a patriot in our @LosAltosGrace Church family.  The title of the email article was “We Are Not Coming Back.” It caught my attention because it was written by a Rabbi…

It was written originally in the days following the 2012 Presidential Election (Read it on his blog here). It certainly talked about politics and was very insightful. The part that grabbed me was this paragraph:

Obama also knows that the electorate has changed – that whites will soon be a minority in America (they’re already a minority in California) and that the new immigrants to the US are primarily from the Third World and do not share the traditional American values that attracted immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries. It is a different world, and a different America . Obama is part of that different America , knows it, and knows how to tap into it. That is why he won.

The bigger question for me is not how the elections will go in this different and new America, but how can we see the Gospel and disciples of Jesus penetrate this different…and new America.  This “new America” has long been rooted in our urban areas. I saw it for 8 years as I lived in downtown Columbus, Ohio.  And now I’m living in one of the largest urban areas in the world…I’m still praying and wrestling with what is it gonna take?

This different or “new America” provides us with great challenges and opportunities for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Let’s take our energy, prayers and creativity and leverage them toward seeing our Jesus draw many to Himself!

Many prayers in the next 24 hours will be made for “revival” and I’m in favor of that.  But what about our prayers for the thousands of people in our country who have never had a “__vival”; that is a “first life with Christ”, been “born again” nor even known about Jesus. We must pray for these and for the church and Jesus’ disciples to sow the Good News!

We see the fields white for harvest. Isn’t that what we should see in this different and new America?  God is bringing the world to us and let’s see Jesus bring the world to Himself through US.


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