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For the past decade and a half,  we have sought to establish a new, more Biblical paradigm and strategy in order to accomplish our calling to spread the Gospel of grace to the world.  We’ve realized that it is the responsibility of the Local Church to reach the world for Christ.  God has not ordained an organization to accomplish world evangelization, God has ordained an organism…the Local Church.  It is from this realization that we’ve developed the concept that we call, “Local Church World Evangelization”.  It is the effort of each local church to effectively spread the Gospel of grace both locally and cross-culturally.

The Traditional Approach

The Traditional Approach to World Missions has taken two forms: “denominational” and “faith missions”.  Denominational Missions is a very impersonal method of getting people to a specific field of ministry and is normally restricted to the denominational walls.  Faith Missions has fairly deteriorated over the past 20 years, as local churches have not kept up with the rising costs of missions.  Jerry Kroll has written, “With all the advantages of the faith system, churches have not kept up with the support needs of missionaries in the contemporary world.  The average Baptist church supports missionaries at $50 per month per family.  This has produced a system of 50 to 100 supporting churches per missionary” (Dr. Jerry Kroll, Developing a World Missions Church, presented at ABWE Consultation on World Evangelization, italics added).  While Denominational Missions is much more strategic in its planning, faith missions often neglects any kind of planning.

Local Church World Evangelization

While not a new paradigm, Local Church World Evangelization (LCWE) has seen resurgence in recent years.  In LCWE, the local church realizes its calling and responsibility to spread the Gospel of grace.  The local church takes this calling seriously and therefore prays and plans strategically in order to accomplish a very specific goal.

Comparison

A comparison of the paradigms is in order.  Much of the information included below has been gleaned from Dr. Jerry Kroll’s seminar Developing a World Missions Church, this talk was presented at the 2004 ABWE Pastor’s Consultation on World Evangelization in Harrisburg, PA.

Category

Traditional

Local Church World Evangelization

Approach This approach is very “REACTIVE”.  In this approach most everything is left to the individual. 

> He receives the call

> Determines the field

> Selects an agency

> Enlists support from churches and individuals

> The local church and pastor are often the LAST LINK in the chain.

This approach is very “PROACTIVE”.   A Biblically-centered approach: Acts 8:14; 11:22; 13:2; 15:22; 18:22.  Consists of prayer and fasting within the church, seeking as a church to determine where God is working, sending out leaders and preparing leaders to make field decisions.  In this approach the agency assists the local church.
Support Support is usually garnered from individuals, approximately 75%.  The “101 supporting church syndrome”!  These churches (and many individuals) are often disconnected from the day-to-day ministry. Support comes from two fronts:  the sending church and supporting churches.  The sending church takes on a significant percentage of the family need, often as much as 50% or more.  Supporting churches come alongside of the sending church as partners in ministry, committing both financial and prayer support.
Selection Proliferation is key.  “Come one, come all”.  There is very little discernment in the selection process.  In the Traditional paradigm a church seeks to support missionaries from all over the world, from Bangkok to Bar Harbor—a few dollars a month and perhaps a few prayers a year. Discrimination is key.  A sending church may go through the following process: 

Call

Appointment with pastoral staff

Discussions with Elder Board and Missions Team

Mutual agreement and affirmation regarding the call and determination of field

Mutual selection of assisting agency

Prayer and fasting to determine support amount

Assist to garner supporting churches

Commissioning by sending and supporting churches

Accountability to sending church, partnering churches, and assisting agency.

A supporting church may go through the following process:

Contact from sending church

Preliminary application

Missions Team discussion and presentation

Pastoral staff and Elder Board discussion

Church body affirmation

Prayer and fasting to determine support level

Accountability through sending church

Placement Random placement with very little thought to strategy. Strategic placement—aggressive targeting of people groups and types of ministry[1]

 

Relationship Sporatic contact mainly through individuals and on deputation—one service every four years! Maturing and mutual relationship for the purpose of expanding ministry both at home and abroad.
Accountability “Lone Ranger”—my work, my ministry, form letters, don’t ask, don’t tell Team approach—Accountability to sending church.  Personal letters, email, calls, visits.  Assist in decision-making and prayer burdens.  Sending church maintains contact with supporting churches/individuals.
Motivation/Education Token involvement.  Relegated to Missions Conference and occasional visit. Passionate involvement that is motivated by sincere burdens, and consistent vision-casting.
Ministry Philosophy Monument-driven, independent, God-honoring, Christ-centered, Spirit-empowered, People-driven

[1] Least Reached People Groups:  3,800 Muslim People Groups with 1,279,000,000 people; 2,700 Tribal People Groups with 176,000,000 people; 1,800 Hindu People Groups with 820,000,000 people; 900 Unreligious People Groups with 938,000,000 people; 900 Buddhist People Groups with 783,000,000 people.

Ministry Types: “Paul-type”(Pioneer church-planter); “Timothy-type”(Infant church trainer and discipler); “Epaphroditus-type” (Support/Encourage/Assistance ministry)