Of the various reports of Church Planting Movements around the world, very few have occurred in what we might term the “
All of this poses a problem for those of us who have felt God’s leading to work in those areas of the world where the comparatively wealthy and highly educated make up a significant majority of the population. There is some consolation in that Jesus, after saying what he did about the spiritual difficulty of working with the rich, adds: “what is impossible with men is possible with God.”
Among the various ministries and efforts working towards Church Planting Movements in a “
On the Next 1000 blog, there are two posts entitled respectively A church planting movement stalls and A church planting movement stalls—why?, in which Addison comments on the observations of British missiologist and author Martin Robinson on “the rise and decline of the British church planting movement in the late 80s and 90s.”
Among the six reasons given by Robinson analyzing the “stalling” of the originally “promising” Church Planting Movement in
2. Those who were setting the goals usually had little or no capacity for committing their denomination to action. These individuals were often enthusiasts for church planting rather than representatives of their denominations.
3. The issue of the contextualization of the DAWN Strategy had not been faced. A strategy birthed in the
needed to be adapted for Philippines . Britain
First off, my comments on reason #3: In my opinion, DAWN strategy, in and of itself, is a very good thing. Some have pointed out a bit of a difference between DAWN strategy and CPM strategy, as voiced by David Garrison, et al (see especially Neill Mims’s and mr. t’s insightful comments on this post). However, any strategy that was birthed in a place like the
Many of the prime models for CPMs have taken place in places like
In general, I would go so far as to say that missionary work in the so-called “First World” countries is about as far removed from missionary work in the “Third World” as it is from church planting ministry in the States, if not more so. Churches in the States and new missionary appointees often make the mistake of grouping all “foreign mission” work together in their minds. There may be some general principles that cross-over, but, by and large, I believe those who come to Europe with the idea that it is going to be like a previous experience they may have had in Asia or Latin America are going to need to unlearn a lot of things before beginning to learn how to do missions here.
Next, my comments on reason #2: As I have been contending in recent posts here, national believers and church leaders, though potentially having a few blind spots of their own, are going to be able to evaluate the cultural nuances of their own people, and the best ways to reach them with the gospel, than we, as foreign missions “experts” will ever be able to do. This does not mean that we will not be able to expose them to some good resources, and help them to think more impartially on certain things, adding insights that outsiders might happen to see a little better.
I cannot comment on those in other countries, but my personal impression of Spanish denominational and inter-denominational leaders, by in large, is that they are good students of their own culture, and are not so far grounded in evangelical “sub-culture” as they are sometimes made out to be. They are many times just as missiologically savvy as many missionaries, and just as spiritually mature and sensitive as well. My suspicion is the same thing may well be true in many other countries also.
David Garrison, in the “Church Planting Movements” booklet, writes the following:
I do not disagree with anything Garrison says here. In addition, I recognize that some union leaders may indeed have a “need for control” that exceeds their “vision for church multiplication.” However, I am firmly convinced that, among the majority of the Baptist unions around the world, as well as in many other national denominations and “GCC groups,” God has his choice servants, whom we cannot afford to bypass, as we dream and strategize about how to reach their people with the gospel.
2. What is the place of Baptist unions and conventions?
Baptist unions and conventions hold great potential as partners in fulfilling the Great Commission. Sharing a common commitment to Christ, they should be natural allies. However, commitment to initiating and nurturing a Church Planting Movement requires vision. When union leaders have a vision for church multiplication that exceeds their need for control, they can greatly facilitate the movement. Missionaries can help to impart this vision through dialogue, education and modeling.
It is also important for missionaries to recognize that their role is different than that of denominational leaders. The unique role of the missionary is to continually push to the edge of lostness, to the unreached, and introduce them to the gospel. Denominational leaders have a much broader responsibility, which the missionaries can bless and encourage, but should not try to duplicate or control.