Send Workers afar to Neglected Fields
Yes, new worker with an apostlesâ€™ itchy feet, we will equip you and send you to take Christâ€™s salvation to a neglected people.
Yes, Lord Jesus, we will heed your Great Commission to disciple all peoples, not just those that are nearby and convenient. Grant us grace to bond with a people of different culture.
To heed our Lordâ€™s command, we must know what he meant by â€œnationsâ€ or people groups (ethne) characterized by distinct cultures, not political states. For the purpose of evangelism, consider a people group to beâ€¦
The largest number of people among whom the gospel can flow without running into insurmountable barriers of any kind.
Barriers can be politics, mountains, social status, race or religion, whatever effectively stifles the flow of the Good News. In some societies, economic disparity creates a more formidable barrier than race. Significantly, the gospel flows along the same lines as gossip.
God never intended to merge all cultures into one grey, featureless glob; variety beautifies the Bride of Christ. Just see the splendid variety in His creation! In Glory, all people groups are distinct and recognizable, joining in universal praise of their creator (Rev. 7:9-10). Attempts to start multi-cultural movements consistently fail. In cities where cultures are already merging, a cosmopolitan congregation can grow well among the small minority who enjoy cultural variety; they create a new, hybrid sub-culture, a new people group. In such churches, however, the most influential culture in the society from which the people come, usually the most affluent, still predominates.
To harvest effectively, many church planters step outside of their comfort zone to work with folk with whom theyâ€™ would not normally associate. Be ready to â€œshake the dustâ€ as Jesus said, to leave non-receptive folk. Look for those who seek change, and avoid trying to push camels through a needleâ€™s eye, as Jesus said, referring to contented, affluent people. Widespread movements in pioneer fields start among the working class; a generation later they spread to the middle class, as children of the first believers prosper.
Be ruthlessly honest. Unless your home church is part of a rapidly expanding movement multiplying through evangelism, the new churches will not have the same appearance and policies as your home church. Do not pass on defective DNA. Start by teaching folk to follow Jesusâ€™ commands and primitive apostolic practices, letting the Holy Spirit lead new
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churches to develop practices that fit their culture, economy and educational background.
It requires far less time, money, and formal education to start the kind of church that yields a movement in a pioneer field, than it does to start a typical Western church. Church planters with ample funds [and complicated methods] and expensive equipment make their “baton” too heavy for poorer workers to pass on. Let your baton include the Gospel, Jesusâ€™ basic commands and tasks that God requires of a church. If a new church is not grounded on Jesusâ€™ commands from the beginning, Satan will fill the authority gap with spiritual-sounding doctrines and rules that replace Jesus as the effectual, practical Head of the new church.
Movements in which flocks multiply happen when flocks pass on their God-given DNA to reproduce daughter churches. The apostlesâ€™ task groups started the first few churches in a region and then moved on, letting those churches finish the task in their area, starting daughter and granddaughter churches, and so on.
Jesus and His apostles worked in small bands. Anyone who works alone invites failure, discouragement, temptations and pride. New Testament task groups were temporary, made up of apprentices and new believers from local culture. Permanent teams that strive to build good relationships among team members tend to focus on each other instead of bonding with the people whom God sent them to serve. Consider a church-planting team to be like temporary scaffolding such as bricklayers use and remove when they finish a building.
When churches start to multiply, Satan always counterattacks. “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Thoroughly combine evangelism with healing and freeing folk from demonic oppression, as Jesus and His apostles did.
Avoid dependency on outside help, for such help invariably chokes a movement. This common error lures thousands of greedy believers to deceive and to manipulate affluent Westerners. Some have admitted, â€œI hate the cow but love the milk!â€
Never are there enough funds to sustain a rapidly spreading movement led only by paid clergy. At the cutting edge of a movement, a vast majority of shepherds remain volunteer â€œtentmakers.â€
If you start one congregation and spend a lot of time with it, it can easily assume it owns you and your time, and it will resent your work with other churches, later on. Also, a new flock in a pioneer field needs the warmth of sister churches and the identity that a movement offers. Otherwise, it can quickly becomes ingrown, as its isolation lures it into making its own rules, which leads to legalism. Loner churches do not cooperate in movements.
Resources For While You â€¦
Lay strategic foundations for global outreach:
Lay spiritual foundations for global outreach. Act out how God impelled His Church to launch missions to the nations. Join Saul when blinding light changed him forever, and God called the first New Testament missionary to gentiles:
Lay cultural foundations for global outreach. Learn to leap over cultural barriers. This manual covers basic, proven guidelines to multiply churches in different cultures:
In new fields, bond with the people and their culture:
Common Traps To Avoid
Accept accountability to a field director whom you do not know.
Workers that aim to start a movement often find their efforts blocked by traditionalist coworkers and field supervisors, resulting in discouragement and burnout.
Export home church practices to another culture.
This is one of the most common, destructive obstacles to starting a movement.
Be too generous with funds.
Inevitable dependency is sure to paralyze a movement.
Impose ordination requirements, from an educated society, on a less educated one.
Require only what Scripture requires to commission shepherds.
Rely on buildings, salaries, academic training or anything else that Jesus and His apostles did not explicitly require.
To lighten your baton, use the New Testament as a filter; avoid policies and practices that the NT does not explicitly command.
Pulpit monologues by immature preachers.
In pioneer fields, inexperienced leaders should not preach sermons lest they get proud and scold others. Let them share teaching responsibilities, by telling Bible stories and leading discussion.
Send workers to older agencies without a clear agreement on procedures.
Putting mission outreach into an institutional mold makes multiplication impossible. Few older agencies send true self-supporting workers that todayâ€™s restricted fields require; instead, they have workers raise full-time support and then pretend they are self-supported, which proves untrue and unhealthy.
Hanging around too long after planting a church, failing to leave new leaders in charge.
Send leaders of new churches away to Bible schools for training, leaving their flocks without local shepherds.
Mentor them on the job as Jesus and Paul did.
Implement Western doctrinal approaches to evangelism.
Simply relate Jesusâ€™ death, resurrection and power to save, healing in His name, as the apostles did.