The GlobaLocal Church

© 2002, Global Spectrum, carol bower davis and paul kaak

The 1st Century church was a globalocal church.  Their mandate was global, their base of operations local.  They were expecting Christ back in their lifetime and busy about the business of their King in their neighborhoods and the nations.  From their local base, they were teaching and loving and preparing a counter-culture people to be sent out each week into their worlds and others to the surrounding nations. Everywhere they went, the transformational nature of their work & witness was upsetting the status quo so much that they were dragged to the authorities and accused of turning the world upside down!

GlobaLocal churches today are the 21st Century expression of the missional passion that unleashes a transformational people into a society that knows not God. Their impact at home and abroad is disproportionate to the degree of their expertise - or the size of their membership or their bank account. Whether the church is large or small; 'this' brand or 'that' brand; in urban or rural settings; a traditional or contemporary model; casual style or dressy style, they are led by pastors who describe a point or a process that led to a ‘pastoral conversion to the unrelenting purposes of God for every tribe, tongue and nation.' 

For these congregations, their purposes are not many or few. For this re-emerging church, their one purpose and passion is to please the King so that Jesus Christ will be known and worshipped among all peoples of the earth. Their identity is clear: they are the ambassadorial community of the King, bringing him glory in the whole earth. 

Their distinctiveness flows from the growing alignment of their structures, systems and processes with that one purpose. Out of that clarity and focus is forged a passionate missional ethos experienced by all who come near:

  • Members that intentionally explore ways for their careers and employment capacity to be used by God for His purposes both here and abroad
  • Children knowledgeable & passionate in prayer for unreached peoples and their next door neighbors
  • Congregational planning processes directed toward one outcome
  • Budgets and calendars reflecting the mission of Jesus in the use of every dollar and every day
  • Small groups, serving as laboratories of both spiritual maturity and training for life in the marketplace from the moment of conversion
  • Men’s groups that find ways to model and mentor the next generation – that they too will have a heart for God and a concern to declare his name & glory to the ends of the earth
  • Women attentive to the many kingdom opportunities each day as they juggle complex schedules, shuttle children, listen to the pain of a friend or work in the corporate world
  • Youth ministering together in teams with dreams of transforming the world through service to the poor and issues of justice. Many also plan for careers that will connect them to the nations

These congregations are not perfect places, or are they fully where they want to be. They are, however, marked by energy, synergy, passion, learning, risk, struggles, movement, joy, commitment, sacrifice, in spite of their imperfections. They continually reveal their ardent determination to be God’s people on mission with a constant eye towards the harvest fields at home and abroad, faithful to the King of all nations – Jesus.

The churches mandate is global first and local always. For a globalocal church, stewarding that mandate becomes local and personal. There is intentionality in not separating local evangelism ‘here’ and global missions ‘there’. One dynamic that makes these congregations effective at home and abroad is the connection between the two. God’s voice, they feel, has greater clarity for their work at home once they can understand what He is doing historically & globally in this generation. They are very aware that if they are not being effective at home, they have little to take to the world – so the local laboratory is a base for equipping a transformational people to turn the world upside down, both ‘here’ and ‘there’.

One network of globalocal congregations is working among the young tattooed, pierced, urban and postmodern crowd as well as on University campuses. They understand that they are reaching a globally mobile culture. These are the ones who wander, travel, hang out and work in the nations of the world. Reaching them for Christ, teaching them to study and obey God’s Word, is one of their ways to disciple the nations. Once gripped by God, their wanderings become intentionally Kingdom in purpose.

Another congregation, located in a neighborhood with a steady stream of new immigrants from Latin America would only see the deprived, undernourished, poorly dressed children as objects of ministry if they did not have the bigger picture. In God’s story – he is currently using Latinos to reach the Muslim world because of their strong culture and language connections. Therefore, this globalocal church sees clearly that God has brought these new immigrants to this neighborhood, readied to respond to his spirit through their experiences of displacement. The children are future pastors and missionaries to the Muslim world, to be invested in – not just a target for ministry.

Other congregations are located among the professional population segments. The nations are in the workplace and their workplace is the nations they travel to regularly. They see the secular corporation - universities full of internationals - and even corrupt governments that force people to flee from their homeland as agents of the King. It is the professionals - established and skilled in the marketplace - who possess the opportunity and expertise to make Kingdom differences where decisions are made and destinies determined.

GlobaLocal churches are always discovering new ways to join the King in his mission to the nations. They prepare their people to effectively respond and/or initiate in the workplace, the neighborhoods and the nations. Several dynamics have been observed among the kind of churches that equip and produce a higher percentage of transformational people, effectively on mission in their daily lives:

  • They equip each believer from the moment of conversion to grow into Christ-likeness for pleasing their King as well as for their roles in society and their works of service.
  • Though methodologies vary, the outcomes spawn the personal connections so that each person is able to find their own role in God’s grand eternal plan!
  • There is both modeling and expectation that ministry is an effective lifestyle in the world rather than an exalted position in the church.
  • Encouraging environments with high standards and multiple opportunities to access formal, non-formal and informal training is the base for producing a prepared people.
  • Relational & multi-gifted teams develop naturally around a passion or a cause.
  • There is a greater percentage of the ordinary Christian in the marketplace who is activated and sent to bless and build nations through use of their career expertise, training, connections & experience – giving access to places that would otherwise be difficult.
  • There is a higher value for locating, equipping & releasing those with the ‘missionary - church planting – apostolic - entrepreneurial’ gift than in many congregations.
  • A catalytic and sending-culture emerges from the conviction that a sending God is still assigning and sending His people into the world, at home and abroad.

The First Century church was a globalocal church. Today there are a growing number of churches who are stumbling toward a new expression of that 1st Century church’s missional passion that unleashed a transformational people into a society that knew not God. Today’s globalocal church has reconnected historically to God’s grand plan for His world and taken responsibility for the global task that comes straight from His heart for the nations. Their highest value is for Jesus to be glorified as King in each person, in their congregation, in all communities and in every country – to the ends of the earth (Psalm 67).