NOT EVERYTHING CALLED MISSIONS IS MISSIONS. My understanding of missionary work is formed by the Book of Acts. The clear pattern there is evangelism, discipleship, establishing churches, and training pastors / elders. When I came to my present pastorate I studied the list of supported missionaries and discovered that of 16 entities only two were on this program...
Modern believers have convinced themselves that spiritual maturity is based on information and that it takes a long time. However, if one follows the New Testament pattern, mature disciples were made in short order. They were tested by persecution and stood! The secret was the absolute insistence on personal obedience to the demands and expectations of Scripture. This is the forgotten side of the Great Commission in many churches today.
During the recent IBMGlobal Candidate Conference, Larry Clouse, the Director of IBMGlobal, shared the practical steps he used to plant churches in the South Pacific and in New England.
When we look in the New Testament, we see the ordinary practice of ordinary Christians planting ordinary churches.
The Church Planter's goal in leadership development is to see God-exalting independent Baptist churches with trained national leadership. This outcome is not realized by chance. The church planter must demonstrate openness, communicate, and have the humility to give and receive correction and criticism. (Phil. 2:1-18)
One mistake church planters make is not incorporating a comprehensive approach to discipleship from day 1 of the new church plant.
If the churches missionaries plant have terminal life, after ten years their field will have 100 churches. If the missionaries die or return home, the number of churches remains static, for they do not plant other churches. The same ten missionaries, by planting churches that have germinal life, will in ten years have 5,110 churches in their field. If the missionaries die or return home, the churches will continue to multiply, because they have germinal life.
It’s always been frustratingly difﬁcult to appraise missionary ventures. What if Adoniram Judson’s church had pulled him off the ﬁeld after nine years of what seemed to be fruitless work in Burma? It was the next twenty years that were so incredibly fruitful, and today there are hundreds of thousands of believers in Burma.
From the picturesque thatch-roofed villages to the bustling metropolises Africa is a study in contrasts. Africa is the continent where the number one killer is still mosquito-born malaria yet it is the place where the first heart-transplant was successfully carried out. Twenty-first century Africa is dominated by Islam in the north and Christianity across the central and southern regions yet African Traditional Religion remains the primary theological grid.