I just wanted to share with you a little Bible study that was enlightening to me. In reading through the book of Acts, I looked at the back story…not the leading characters who were “going” but the churches and believers who were literally behind the scenes. I then compiled all these “incidental” verses which survey what happened “Behind the Goers.” I thought there were some interesting things to be uncovered.
What did the church do? You will see it for yourself in these verses!
Examine for yourself the support and relationship that sending / receiving churches had in the story.
On October 9-10, 2013, Encompass hosted a 24 Hour Retreat for Mobilization/Mission Pastors in central Ohio. This gathering included leaders from five states. The retreat setting, campfire and all, created a flowing conversation ranging from short-term mission trips, to local church mission “successes” and even to how do churches create “pathways” to groom more cross-cultural workers.
The sharing of life, ministry, stories and principles invigorated everyone. At the conclusion, each leader was challenged to a four-step application process:
1) Think (spend some time working through all that was discussed)
2) Draw (put the current reality down on a piece of paper, and draw a future reality)
3) Communicate (figure out good ways to share mobilization with the church)
4) Experiment (try some innovative ideas to mobilize many into cross-cultural mission)
Here’s a list of some of the “recommended resources” that were shared over the 24 hours:
The latest Mission Frontiers. Available online. It’s free.
God is Doing Something Historic – David Garrison
Why Are Muslims Coming to Jesus Like Never Before? – Robby Butler
Start a Disciple-Making Movement Among Your Muslim Neighbors – Paul Bartlett, Robby Butler
Any-3: Lead Muslims to Christ Now! – Mike Shipman
Guide Muslims to the Bible – AJ Hague
A Novice’s Guide to Fielding Common Muslim Objections – Shane Bennett
Kingdom Kernels: CPM Essentials On a Napkin – Steve Smith
“My hope is that the leaders who read my book can keep their churches intact so that the grandma who doesn’t speak any English, her grandson who doesn’t speak any Spanish, and the father and mother who are bilingual can all fit under the same roof,” he says.
Discovered via @PlantLB » A Future For The Latino Church – Dr Daniel Rodriguez.
This post is a connection of 3 influential missiological thinkers in my life:
1) I saw this post on Kurt Miller’s blog (thechurchplanter) – @KurtMiller01 is my father-in-law and one of the sharpest thinkers about church planting in the USA.
2) Tom Julien wrote most of the content, and he is the Director Emeritus of my current agency Encompass World Partners. From the time we shared a meal at my parents home when I was a little boy, I’ve hung onto the wisdom he has spoken.
Those first two were plenty of reason to repost, but then as I did some more research, I realized that
3) missiologist J.D. Payne included this in his 2012 book Discovering Church Planting. I’ve learned from Payne in his merging of global mission & church planting over several years of collaborating with @CMAResources.
Sorry for the long intro, now to the content of “The Essence of the Church”:
“In his article, “The Essence of the Church,*” Tom Julien discussed the fact that many church planters often define the local church in terms of their cultural preference, which can lead to problems on the field. Julien admonished church-planting teams first to come to an agreement on what the local church is so they will know what they are planting.
“Our problem is that we identify the local church by her cultural and historic expression, more than by her biblical essence. To arrive at a clear definition of the local church we must make a distinction between the two. Sluggish thinking here will lead to differing assumptions in the church-planting team that will affect the basic principles of any church-planting ministry. The more focused we are on essence, the less attachment we will have to any particular cultural expression of the church. On the other hand, if the form or cultural expression of the church becomes our reference point, adapting to different cultural situations will create tension.
The New Testament reveals the church both in her essence and expression. With regard to the essence of the church, this revelation is given in images and presented as fact; with respect to the cultural expression of the church, this revelation is given as example and is descriptive rather than prescriptive…
Let us come back to our original question: “What is a local church?” We have said that a local church is a visible manifestation of the biblical essence. Most of us, however, need something more concrete to work with. It is crucial that every church-planting team agree on a working definition, in concrete terms, that grows out of essence, and not expression. This definition must include those elements that are indispensable to the identity of a church, and omit those that are not. This definition identifies the seed for church planting.
Here is an attempt at such a definition. Members of every church-planting team need to be unified with respect to what they are planting, even if it takes months of struggle to agree.
A local church is an organized body of baptized believers, led by a spiritually qualified shepherd, affirming their relationship to the Lord and to each other by regular observance of the Lord’s Supper, committed to the authority of the Word of God, gathering regularly for worship and the study of the Word, and turned outward to the world in witness.”
Questions to Consider:
- What do you think Julien meant by “If the form or cultural expression of the church becomes our reference point, adapting to different cultural situations will create tension”? Can you give an example of such tension?
- Do you agree or disagree with Julien’s definition of the local church?
- Have you and your church-planting team taken the time to agree on a biblical definition of the local church? f not, why not? How do you know you are all on the same page when you talk about church planting?
*Taken from Tom Julien, “The Essence of the Church,” Evangelical Missions Quarterly (April 1998): 148-149, 152.”
I like to describe our church @LosAltosGrace as having a “conventional church skin” and an “organic church soul.” Yes we have a Sunday Morning Worship Service, Sunday School, Youth Groups, and even a Christian School. To the casual observer, we have a very conventional church. But the Biblical principles which are foundational for how our church truly functions are much more organic than conventional. This kind of “animal” can be difficult for some to understand.
One of the things that we have been moving into for the past ten years is seeing the “groupings” of our church family as “mini-churches” or actual “organic expressions of the church.” Those groupings are adult Sunday School classes, young adult ministry, and even our choir! A couple of my friends, Phil Helfer (one of our pastors) along with organic church leader Neil Cole co-authored an excellent book called Church Transfusion which deals with this very topic.
Well, last weekend our church had a family meeting…just like all families do. We talked about what has gone on in the life and ministry of our church in the recent past. We also talked about money and about how God has provided and what it seems He is leading us to do. One of the things that members of our family have started doing is saving towards buying new carpet for the auditorium. We actually took this as an indication that we could invite others to save for that too, and when it’s fully funded, we can do the work. (There are a few other things that we itemized to help upgrade our facility, primarily in the auditorium)
In honest questioning, a very faithful and active member of our spiritual family asked, “If the new normal for our church is “organic” and with churches in homes, why are we renovating the auditorium? You can’t have it both ways!”
Wow, what a great question! A very important question! A question I wrestled with and prayed about for much of the week. I finally was able to string together my thoughts and sent the following response:
I’ve thought and prayed about how to respond to your email. I didn’t want to do so with haste, and I hope that my delay hasn’t offended you.
In short, I do think you can have it both ways. Our facility is merely a facility, but it gets A LOT of use. It houses a preschool and an elementary school whose ministry is important and needs these upgrades as well. Our auditorium is used by our church family at least 52 times each year on Sunday mornings. That is a value for us as a family. It’s a touchpoint for our family — a time touch base each week and do some important things together: worship together with other saints, expose ourselves to the Scripture, connect with others in our family relationally and provide an entry point for others who are looking to find God or a spiritual family. Some people can make it each week, some can’t. It is a gathering time that is an important value. It isn’t the sum total of who we are as a spiritual family though. Our Los Altos Grace family is scattered throughout Southern California. Each of them would know that right now the time when they can connect with the largest percentage of our family would be a Sunday morning.
Families have this same phenomenon. Mealtime for example. Supper maybe served at 5:30 or 6pm each night. Everyone in our family knows that, but sometimes Mindi can’t make it because she has class, or one of the kids have a ball game. We have a rhythm and a habit as a family. We set the table, pray, eat, talk about our days, laugh and we clean up after. When someone isn’t at the table we miss them. We don’t doubt their part in our family nor do we think they are being rebellious. We trust that as they can, they will be at the table with us. We like the gathering of our family. It’s a habit, a rhythm, but it doesn’t define our family. Our kids are part of our family when gathered, or when scattered!
I’d suggest that the church is the same…scattered and gathered. Not one or the other. There are thousands and thousands, make that millions of people in Southern California who will never come to our Sunday gathering. Our charge is to go and make disciples…so we are seeking to do that. To “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” and not to forsake the assembling of yourselves together (Hebrews 10). We want to be all things to all men so that by all possible means God might save some. We don’t do this perfectly, or maybe even that well. But it is our calling as disciples, and as a church. Some of our gatherings will be in homes, or parks or schools. We will probably always have a Sunday morning gathering at our humble facility at 6565 Stearns Street.
Also we hope that our spiritual family will become scattered and decentralized, much in the same way as our kids grow up and move away. They start families of their own. This is true of you as your children are scattered from your dinner table now. It is a maturity thing, and we want to see God continue to scatter our spiritual family as well.
I value your investment and leadership in our church family. I’ve learned much from you as you faithfully love our Lord and do His work… Thanks for your desire to call our spiritual family to a heart-felt and obedient worship of our amazing Jesus. I hope that is helpful for you and I’d love to buy you a cup of coffee and talk about this more if you want to.
What do you think?
Thirteen people gather in a modest living room in central China. Their huge task is to reach and disciple an unreached people of several million. Thinking about this brave small group, we might be reminded of the boy’s bread and fish in John 6: “…how far will they go among so many?” But that small lunch was enough because Jesus brought the divine multiplier factor.
Does God have a divine multiplier factor for that team of 13 in China?
Yes, because they aren’t a team of just 13 people. One church in North America has told them: “In reality, you have 3,013 members on your team because every person in our congregation is a part of your team too. Whatever you need, ask for it from a member who is back here in our church. We’re in this together!”
The local church is God’s multiplier factor for missions today! Individuals can make a tremendous contribution to missions. Technology can have a great impact too. But the multiplier factor only comes into play when we engage the local church. Why?
1. The power multiplier
“I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it,” Jesus declared. It is the church to whom Jesus promises success as she assaults the forces of evil.
We are in a cosmic spiritual battle. Paul called the Ephesian church to stand with him in the fearless proclamation of the gospel with “all kinds of prayers” because the struggle is against the powers of darkness (Eph. 6:18-19). If the Apostle Paul was dependent on the engagement of the church, who are we to think we can go it alone?
Winning is not dependent on technology, education, political power, or money. But it is dependent on a powerful team fighting on their knees. One pastor told me with joy that when his congregation came face to face with the desperate needs of the unreached, they began to pray “BIG prayers.” Big prayers impact the church itself, the community, and yes, the ends of the earth. Only the deeply engaged local church has the potential to exponentially multiply the prayer power. Only that prayer power will go far enough, deep enough, and last long enough.
2. The leadership multiplier
Saul was a “Type A” entrepreneur, gifted and passionate to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. But in Acts 13:1-3, God pushed the pause button. In essence He said, “Wait! I want the local church, especially the leaders of the local church, to be the engine of the missions process.” The Holy Spirit speaks to the leaders of the Antioch church, “You send Paul and Barnabas.”
In the 21st century, the local church continues to be the best engine for missions engagement. Here’s what happened when one church responded:
“Our elders identified people in our church who were seriously involved in ministry and who they felt might be gifted to serve cross-culturally,” an elder in a local church in Pennsylvania explains. “We developed a two-year class, and eventually from that group, we sent a team to Cambodia. Each member struggled at times with the decision to move ahead, but they kept coming back to this fact: This isn’t an individual goal nor a decision made hastily. This is the vision of my church, and we have the full confidence of our church leaders.”
God continues to call the church to prepare and send some of its best today. But will our generation complete the Great Commission? We can’t be sure. So the local church must also, right now, be raising up tomorrow’s missions leaders. How? By involving members of every age in Acts 1:8 efforts. Missions is caught better than taught, and the church is where those with powerful vision should be incubating it!
3. The resources multiplier
My life changed when a man in our congregation said to me, “This is the first time in decades of running a business that I ever saw any way take what I’ve learned and use it for God.”
At the time, I was directing missions in my local church and had just recruited this businessman to be part of a short-term team offering business seminars in Eastern Europe. Suddenly I realized that our church was full of people who had all different types of expertise—professional, business, hobbies, sports, etc.—that was being wasted. And most of them were not uninvolved because they were resistant. They were uninvolved because they didn’t know they were needed and they had never been asked.
To stake Jesus’ claim over every inch of this planet requires the full engagement of every member of the church. God has already built the vast variety of abilities needed into what He describes as His Body—a complex organism with an amazing variety of distinct parts. These parts are designed to work in tandem to reach common goals (Eph. 4:16).
No individual and no other organization on earth can get the job done. God has called the church to the task because no lesser institution can be successful. The local church is God’s multiplier factor. What’s God calling your church to do?
Ellen Livingood is the coordinator of All Means (www.AllMeans.org) and the president of Catalyst Services (www.CatalystServices.org). Both efforts are dedicated to multiplying the global impact of local churches.
All of the following are direct quotes from the book by Paul Borthwick Western Christians in Global Mission: What’s the Role of the North American Church?
Miriam Adeney echoes the same call: “Our music and our worship must be multicultural, not simply because our society is multicultural, but because the future from which God is calling us is multicultural…. Not just so that those from other cultures may feel at home among us but also so that we may feel at home in God’s future.”
I believe that we in North America must take initiative in becoming more intentionally international and intercultural.Consider four actions: get to know the world, develop multicultural fellowships, view business as kingdom work and get connected to the global church.
“With two eyes and two ears and one mouth, try to observe and listen four times as much as you speak.”
…I have not yet heard any leader say, “Well, you really set the pace in teaching us how to be servants.” We in North America know how to be in control, but do we know how to follow the orders of those who will lead Christendom through this century?”
“For us in Africa, we think from a family paradigm. When we come together in partnership, it’s a partnership based on relationships (not tasks), and we stay partners for life.”
In a relational view of partnerships, I don’t need to have all the answers, all the money or all the ideas. We come together as family to chart the way forward. We need each other, as Andrew Walls suggests: “Crossing cultural frontiers constantly brings Christ into contact with new areas of human thought and experience. All of these, converted, become part of the functioning body of Christ. The full stature of Christ depends on all of them together.”
The greatest challenge in building effective partnerships between Westerners and non-Westerners is control.
Unfortunately, for the most part, the North American mission force talks a great game about partnership, but paternalism and colonial patterns still predominate. My sense is that the global church would love to partner but isn’t interested in the strings that are attached or the models of ministry we bring. Rather, they are looking for friends who model Christlike family…
“we who live middle-class lives in North America or Europe are living a lifestyle that is, materially speaking, “better than 99 percent of all the people who have ever lived in human history.”
On the one hand, we might raise and spend more money on short-term mission airline tickets than the annual budget of our host church; on the other, many in North America cannot grasp the reality of the poorer world without a firsthand visit. There is simply no substitute for going and visiting our Majority World coworkers in the kingdom where they live and serve.
The North American church must move
- from being primarily doers to primarily equippers
- from being in charge to being equal partners
- from ownership and control to “We own nothing, control nothing and count nothing as our own”
- from Western missionaries to global missionaries
- from unhealthy dependencies to indigenous self-sufficiency and the promotion of dignity
- from competition to cooperation (from an emphasis on “my” brand to a focus on “his” brand)•from agency-based missions to church-agency synergy
Faith in God is so important. Am I letting him direct my steps? Westerners (and I include myself here) are such driven people. We rely on statistics, we rely on technology, we rely on news and we rely on our experiences and gifts. But we are not always good at learning to wait on the will of God. I have learned and seen true faith in some of these leaders who are being persecuted and have nothing. They truly understand Paul when he writes, “I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil 3:8).
It takes everyone to accomplish the mission, and the body is better because of that.
One of our slogans is this: “Building crosscultural relationships is easier if we accept the fact that 40 percent of the time we will have no idea what’s going on.”
The key issue, as we’ll see later under the topic of partnership, is building relational trust as we grow as a family. And just like a family, when one of us needs money, we might ask a brother or sister for help. But even if that brother or sister cannot respond, we’re still family!
Being in reciprocal relationship with brothers and sisters will force us to focus first on relationships rather than the creation of global strategies.
We need to learn to receive as well as give….we, the rich, go to help you, the poor, or that we, the educated, go to help you, the illiterate. We think that the word resource means money first and education second. Reciprocity teaches us that our brothers and sisters are rich in many other ways.
“Too often, we who go to serve on crosscultural short-term missions practice self-congratulatory servanthood. We live in the hut, eat the local food, endure the heat and use the squat toilet, all the time quietly congratulating ourselves on our willingness to serve.The irony is this: I might be feeling proud as I “sacrifice” my North American comforts to be with my Majority World family, but they don’t necessarily see me as a servant. They welcome me as a guest, but to them, I am just living the way they do all day every day, fifty-two weeks a year. I am not acting as a servant; I am simply a new member of their family.True servanthood is serving people in a way that they interpret as servanthood.”
Christian missionaries actually helped to preserve cultures and languages. According to Sanneh, rather than serving as a tool for Western cultural domination, the translation efforts of European and North American missionaries provoked: (1) vernacular revitalization: the preservation of specific cultures by preserving their language; (2) religious change: people were attracted to Christianity and a “God who speaks my language” over Islam, which is fundamentally not translatable; and (3) social transformation: the dignity associated with God speaking indigenous languages revitalized societies and laid the foundation for the eventual ousting of colonial powers.
…to grow as the global body of Christ characterized by
- interdependence rather than independence and individualism
- reciprocity, by which all members contribute to the benefit of the others (and all members realize that everyone else has something to offer)
- humility, equality and mutual respect, with a stress on honoring the less significant-seeming parts of the body
- learning and discovery together.
The common thread is this: God’s people, relying on God’s power and presence, go out and look for opportunities to share and demonstrate the love of Jesus to all peoples everywhere.
Jesus says to his followers “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you,” he affirms the same truth (Jn 20:21). We don’t need to ask if we are sent; Jesus says we are. What we need to ask is where and to whom.
In one respect, the big question is not “Where do we fit?” but “What is God doing?” Joining God in his global eternal mission is our first priority.
What’s the first small step of intentionality that you need to take to start expanding your global vision?
The common theme is this: intentionality. Without intentional efforts to build our diversity, we will find ourselves in isolated, monocultural churches and fellowship groups.
We in our peaceful North American surroundings often forget that sixty-five of the sixty-six books of the Bible were written either from or to a context of uncertainty, political violence, oppression, poverty, exile and military force.
Until the Western church can learn what it is like in the rest of the world, it can only be a spectator, not a participant.
Those of us who want to interact globally will have to suspend some of our theological judgments and listen to how someone from another land is hearing the Scriptures, experiencing the power of God or applying the Bible to daily life.
“Missions is now mutual exchange among multiple centers of influence and learning and resources traveling all directions, not only from here to there.”
Does the church in America have the humility to learn from us, or do they consider themselves to be the world’s teacher? Does the American church have the magnanimous spirit to work alongside us in genuine partnership that is based upon mutual respect and shared resources, or do they simply see us as their “partners” to fulfill their plans in our countries?
Even though the Western world has dominated Christianity for much of Christian history, Christianity is now primarily a nonwhite, non-Western, nonwealthy religion….Some estimate that 70 percent of the world’s Bible-believing Christians (as opposed to nominal or cultural Christians) now live in the Majority World.
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
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 CHURCH IS THE FAMILY OF GOD
THE CHURCH IS THE BODY OF CHRIST
THE CHURCH IS THE TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
“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.”
“The Gospel is like a seed and you have to sow it. When you sow the seed of the Gospel in Palestine, a plant that can be called Palestinian Christianity grows. When you sow it in Rome, a plant of Roman Christianity grows. You sow the Gospel in Great Britain and you get British Christianity. The seed of the Gospel is later brought to America, and a plant grows of American Christianity. Now, when missionaries came to our lands they brought not only the seed of the gospel, but their own plant of Christianity, flower not included! So, what we have to do is to break the flower pot, take out the seed of the gospel, sow it in our own cultural soil, and let our own version of Christianity grow.”
-D. T. Niles ( from Sri Lanka)
“I simply argue that the cross should be raised at the center of the marketplace as well as on the steeple of the church. I am recovering the claim that Jesus was not crucified in a cathedral between two candles, but on a cross between two thieves; on the town’s garbage heap; at a crossroad so cosmopolitan that they had to write His title in Hebrew and Latin and Greek … at the kind of place where cynics talk smut, and thieves curse, and soldiers gamble. Because that is where He died. And that is what He died for. And that is what He died about. That is where church-men ought to be and what church-men ought to be about.”
George Macleod, founder of the Iona Community in Scotland