As followers of Christ we have been called to make disciples and to bring life and hope to a world of decay, disease and death. The New Testament is a wonderful example to us of the kind of disciples that are needed for our world. As we read the Sermon on the Mount and follow the ministry of Jesus, we cannot escape what He did and how He engaged the poor and hurting while, at the same time, dealt with the rich and religiously pious. Jesus engaged the whole person and all of society.
If we focus on societal transformation, converts are a must; they are essential. However, now we are also defining their focus and their drive. This is how the early church operated in Antioch. This is also how the church in history grew, as it would work where there were tragedies and issues to be confronted. If we truly care about our communities and care that all domains of society are impacted by the church, then it should lead us to active engagement of churches within their community and in the world at large.
What exactly does that look like? One can start churches, build buildings, see baptisms, start programs, do mission work and still see your community degenerate. If, on the other hand, you want to see radical transformation, then the church must be active. The primary place of ministry becomes the domains in society, rather than the church on the corner. Engaging the world is the Father’s comprehensive response to a lost world. When that happens, we are connected with God at a deep level in terms of His will, His mission, and His passion. He begins to multiply that which He wants and he does so incredibly quickly. We need to plant churches that see what the Father sees, and watch as those churches are going to explode.
CHURCH PLANTING BEYOND OURSELVES
When we start a church, we are not just starting a church for that community; we are starting a church for the world that is based in our community. Every church that you plant, you are planting for the world.
The great tragedy of American church planting is that it has become about us, our location, and our community. Local churches, having been given the Great Commission, have become the epitome of religious institutional consumerism. The multiplying gene of a new church is not just one of mathematics, but also one of comprehensiveness that moves into the whole will of God, the whole realm of society, and the whole span of the globe. In other words, it’s a church that is focused beyond itself. This is a DNA that moves out. This is the reason, at GlocalNet, that we expect a church, within its first-year of existence, to help sponsor a new church plant. This is not because it is going to provide much in terms of people or money, but rather because we are defining the DNA of that new church. We also require our new churches to adopt a nation and begin working there. All they may do in the first year of working in that nation is pray and send their pastor and a layperson.
PLANTING GLOCAL CHURCHES WORKS!
A glocal church is one that is planting churches locally and globally. The action takes place simultaneously. It is not a church that only focuses on one and then the other. However, it is critical to realize that each culture, as Chuck Kraft has written, represents a different pot where the seed of the gospel is planted. Therefore, planting methodologies and approaches need to be driven from the field—not the West.
Frankly, we have much more to learn from the rest of the world than they have to learn from us. When you can partner with churches around the world, that is always a good thing. However, be sure that they are genuine partners and they are the ones driving the church planting strategy in their part of the world.
In some places you cannot plant the church legally, but the church in the West does not need to worry about that. What happened at Antioch has been happening again and again and again since the first Antioch happened. It will not happen from outsiders; only insiders who grab the initiative and run with it. When the seed of the gospel is planted in someone, you already have a church planter. The gospel takes root and goes beyond anything that books write about and church expansion happens.
A glocal church is one that sees the church as the missionary and each of the disciples as the missionaries. For this to work, you have to raise up disciples that live it, love it, spread it, and share it. When this happens, you end up with the whole church involved in the game. Just like Antioch, it is not driven by preachers but by people who are following Jesus.
A glocal church is one that engages the whole of society. It doesn’t just focus on religious work. It goes back to starting with the society and engaging domains of society as opposed to starting with religious work.
A glocal church is one that makes a long-term transformational commitment to a specific place in the world until that specific place also becomes a sending place. This is the point of greatest challenge. The truth of the matter is that the American church has spent billions of dollars on her mission trips, bee-bopped around the globe, and has very little to show for it. Only when we take the time, intensifying our focus and spend time investing will we make a significant impact.
Ending with Paul’s words in Colossians 1: 19-20 (ESV) : “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”
We are called to something far greater than maintaining institutional structures, church buildings or committees. We are called to work toward the redemption and reconciliation of the whole world. That will only be possible when the church takes the whole gospel to everyone, everywhere.
>>If you have an interest in being trained by GlocalNet and support for your church or church plant, go to glocal.net/learn for your first step in understanding our KingdomDNA.