leader> magazine ISSUE 02 | july 2011
“We are pleased to publish leader magazine to serve our Salt & Light international family of churches. Through it we aim to build family, spread news, sow vision and learn from each other! We would welcome your ideas, suggested articles or comments – please contact the editorial team.” Steve Thomas International Team leader Steve blogs at www.saltlight.org and on Facebook.
in this issuE ... 1 | I will build my church Ron MacLean introduces this edition of our magazine, and its theme. 2-9 | Crossing over (ancient paths, fresh adventures) – How should we ‘do church’? 2 Crossing over 3-4 Restoration theology 4-5 New shapes of church: how do we evaluate? 6 Church is going to be messy and chaotic 7 Redefining church in the West 8 Shaping church in the developing world 9 The empire strikes back! 10-12 | News from the nations We’re part of a glorious and diverse global family. These pages give you snapsnot of that family, as well as introducing our International Team.
I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH!
Welcome to the second issue of Leader Magazine. This issue highlights one of our Salt & Light family’s core values: that the local church is relational in nature, missional in purpose and revolutionary in impact. Christ, the Son of the Living God … Contrary to popular and historical flesh and blood did not reveal this you misconceptions, the church is not but My Father in heaven … upon this a building, not an organization rock …” and not ‘a bunch of hypocrites’. The 2. The church belongs to Jesus, it’s not church is the precious treasure of God man’s possession: v18 “My church”) (Deuteronomy 16:18), the blood-bought 3. The church is a divine work possession of the Savior (Acts 20:28) and in progress, built by Jesus in the literal ‘Body of Jesus Christ’ on planet co‑operation with His ministry gifts earth (1 Corinthians 12:27). (Ephesians 4:11-13): v18 “… I will build And the local church – where every my church …” follower of Christ can find a significant 4. The church is missional (on the and functioning place within the faith offense) and triumphant over every community – is God’s ordained vehicle for opposition: v18 “… the gates of hell advancing his kingdom and transforming will not prevail against it …”) cultures. As Barney has often said, ‘God Jesus is building His glorious church and does not have plan B’. We are it. Plan A, the He’s using you and me. What a privilege church. we have to love His people, serve His In his response to Peter’s confession purpose and partner with Him in filling the (Matthew 16:13-18), Jesus gave us 4 clear earth with His glory. truths about the church, irrespective of nation, language, culture or form: Ron MacLean is part of the S&L International 1. The church is people with a divine Team and leads the S&L North America team, from revelation that Jesus is the Christ, his base in Winnpeg, Canada. the Son of God: v16, 17 “… You are the
published by Salt & Light Ministries an international family of churches together on mission Editorial team Steve Thomas (UK), John Isaacs (USA/Canada), Stanley Mehta (India), Ngwiza Mnkandla (Africa) Editor Andy O’Connell email@example.com Editorial assistant Oliver Russell firstname.lastname@example.org www.saltlight.org email@example.com +44 (0)1865 297440
Check out our international website, giving easy access to the websites of the various parts of our family. You might be surprised where you will find our family! www.saltlight.org | 1
crossing over – ancient paths, fresh adventures
Each time in this section of our magazine we explore a current prophetic theme for our family of churches, asking what God is saying to us, and considering the impact on our values, what we do and how we walk together. In October 2010, key leaders from every part of our Salt & Light international family gathered together to pray, talk and hear God together for our future. During that time, Steve Thomas shared a very significant word from Joshua 3-4. Many of us will know what it feels like to be “living with” a word from the Lord. It permeates our personal devotions. We find ourself preaching regularly from the passage, with God unfolding fresh insights as we preach it again and again. Recently, I have found myself in one of these seasons, in Joshua 3-4, where we see the people of God “crossing over” into a new season in the Promised Land. God started speaking to me that the word was actually for S&L, as we “cross over” into all that God has for us in our new season. Around this time I had emailed Greg Burson (trusted prophetic leader and part of LinkNZ, our Salt & Light family in New Zealand) about a particular matter, without saying what the issue was. When he replied to me out of Joshua 3-4 I knew then that God was definitely getting my attention – and wants to get our attention!
God wants us to recognise a new season
For the people crossing the Jordan it was a new season of entering into their destiny in God. They were not being negative about what had gone before, but they recognised a new day coming. For us, this is another crossing over for 2 | www.saltlight.org
God’s people in Salt & Light. There have been other ‘crossings over’ in our, albeit short, history, but we are here again! Will we step out and put our foot in the water?
God wants us to know what we need to carry forward into this new season
Unnecessary baggage will encumber and burden us, but we must not leave aside the wrong stuff. What are we supposed to be carrying forward into our new season? • The presence of God • Spiritual fatherhood and family • Discipleship • Five-fold ministry and every member ministry • Mission God wants us to know what we need to do differently into this new season Joshua, although a spiritual son of Moses, and hugely loyal and honouring, was his own leader. God has given him a specific anointing and call – to “cross over” and take the people into the Land. I suspect it was very tempting for Joshua to ask “How would Moses have done this, yesterday?”, but God wanted him rather to ask “How does God want this done, today?”
We need to follow God’s presence, but be prepared to walk off the map! We need to step out and trusting God, before we see God acting. We need to know that God does wonders in the most hostile settings. If we are going to cross over, some old patterns may need re-evaluation.
What does this mean for our family of churches?
As I read and reread these scriptures, and reflected on what God was saying to me for our family of churches, I became increasingly convinced of a number of key strategic priorities: • Raising up strong apostolic bases or churches • Raising up indigenous leaders • Raising up fivefold ministry teams at every level (including women) • Encouraging initiatives that will impact and change society • Encouraging vision for mission to ‘empty places’ and church-planting God wants to see “Strong, local and apostolic churches, who will take their place in Christ’s mission to fill the earth with his glory and salvation, and see God’s Kingdom come on earth, as it is in heaven.”
exploring theology – how should we ‘do church’? RESTORATION THEOLOGY
restoration theology All of us are well aware that building family is not straightforward, not at all. We may begin our own married lives with wonderful dreams, but realities hit pretty hard, and fairly quickly!
Building family – naturally!
Take two individuals from two completely different family backgrounds; add in a good dose of selfishness and self-will; mix in different likes and dislikes. Do we like fast cars, going shopping, playing computer games, loud music? To say nothing of how we spend our money, how often we want to make love, what our goals and ambitions are and what we want to do with our leisure time. And then along come the children. We love them, and we love having them, and they give us so much joy, but they make us so tired, and they do highlight our own latent selfishness, and our expectations of one another. Adjudicating between family squabbles, training them in unselfishness, while developing their gifts and skills, and simply wanting to give them joy and pleasure. Dealing with teenage growth spurts, with hormones, personality and more self-will burgeoning. And then there’s our kids’ social lives. Do we let them go out with friends we don’t know? What time can they stay out until? Can they go out on ‘dates’? (And why not, when every other ‘liberated parent’ does!?)Do we back down, or do we pick a fight? And when they leave home, what if they start making further wrong choices? What if they want to marry someone we’re not sure about? Or don’t choose the career we had expected? Or start making some other choices that make us want to scream! Do we advise or keep quiet? Or just pray harder for them now they’ve gone? And now our kids are having kids of their own! And we love this too. If children are a blessing from the Lord, grandchildren are an increased blessing. Lots of joyful delight, without too much of the tiredness and the on-going responsibility! But our
kids may not seem to be doing so well in their parenting. Do we just watch and pray? Do we ever say anything? Sadly there are also disappointments. Relationships get strained, maybe even break down sometimes. Choices different ones make test and strain our tolerance and love in a big way. There are sicknesses, bereavements and challenges of various types. Family can be one of the most supportive entities, but end up becoming most damaged by people taking sides, disappointing those we are close to. This family business has lots of challenges and pitfalls, as well as huge blessings and joys. It’s definitely not easy, but it’s marvellous at the same time
If our natural family life is demanding, maybe it’s worth considering God’s challenges! He is a family in his divine being, the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, wonderfully and lovingly one in being, will and purpose, but diverse and creative in personality. He also wants a big family on earth. So he made the human race, which sadly, through stupid, sinful and rebellious choices, ended up being incredibly fragmented and living hugely selfishly. But God is not a quitter. He doesn’t give up. He was determined to rescue every one of these individuals (who want to be rescued) and re-create their lives, through the power of forgiveness and love, and rescue them from their lost-ness and selfishness. And, through the power of the Holy Spirit, he is now determined to draw all of his redeemed children together into a spiritual family. But think of all the divisions! Divisions of colour, race, gender, wealth, class, history, before we’ve even got to likes and dislikes, selfishness and so on! To say nothing of all the different cultural ways in which we regard family, honesty, faithfulness, integrity, time. How’s he going to do it? And what will this family look like?
This is what Paul talks about in the book of Ephesians, and one reason why the book has been precious and much studied in families of churches like ours. We became convinced, as God moved powerfully across many denominations in the charismatic renewal of the1960-70s, that God wanted to restore his church to his original intention: to be a family filled with God’s love. This is the heart of what began to be called Restoration Theology. Ephesians is all about the church, and God’s purpose in the church. If you want to know what God is looking for in the church, you will often turn to Ephesians first! As soon as the early apostles started travelling to preach the gospel and proclaim the kingdom, they faced this challenge: that people from all different backgrounds began to respond, and wanted to know Christ and be part of his family. Jews, non-Jews, Palestinians, Greeks, Romans, North Africans, Turks, Middle Easterns, Asians, Africans, Europeans and Indians were all reached in the first century. What does the church look like in this multiracial, multiethnic, and multicultural, world? Well, the first essential is to understand what God has done for us in Christ, and to see what he wants to do. If we don’t keep God’s vision before us, we’ll never get into the fullness of it. In Ephesians chapter 1, Paul outlines all the spiritual blessings that God has poured out on us in Christ, and then prays a massive prayer: he’s asking God that the Christians in Ephesus may really understand the richness of their salvation, indeed, that they’ll get a fresh revelation of why God has chosen his people, and the huge power that he’s put in them in the presence of the Holy Spirit. In chapter 2, Paul clarifies that this salvation is both personal, and corporate. It saves individuals, and seats them with Christ, and it rescues divided humanity and peoples, and reconciles them in one body in Christ. This is why in chapter 3 he’s preaching the gospel everywhere, and especially to non-Jews, because he’s seen that God wants to do something so big in the church: to bring everything together under the headship of Christ. But it’s a tall order, and he knows it! So he overflows in a huge apostolic prayer: continued overleaf Steve Thomas leads the International Apostolic Team, from his base in and around Oxford, UK. He travels widely teaching and coaching leaders. More on Core Commitments – our ‘ancient paths’ – at www.saltlight.org > about
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crossing over – how should we ‘do church’? “For this reason, I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for even and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:14-21)
What Paul is saying is that God’s purpose in the church is huge, and it’s something that only God can do. Paul is going to keep preaching the vision, but he also has to pray for the vision, if it’s going to become reality.
A FAMILY OF CHURCHES
I believe that this is God’s vision for us, as a family of churches in Salt & Light. I believe my role is, at least in part, to keep us clear on God’s vision for us, to be one family, filled with his love, amidst all our differences. There is something of the bigness of God’s love that we can only experience through the richness of our fellowship together with God’s people. And, like Paul, I will keep praying for that! There are, of course, many elements to this. This church, united under the headship of Christ, needs to have the following elements: • Total alignment with Jesus Christ, as the chief cornerstone (2:20) • Foundational leadership of apostles and prophets (2:20) • A clear desire for unity (4:1-6) • An understanding of variety (4:7-10) • Fivefold ministry to equip all of God’s people for their ministry(4:11-13) • A clear goal of connection to the head, relationship to one another, and every individual in the body functioning in their ministry (4:14-16) • New behaviour and holiness of life (4:17–5.21) • New relationships 5:22-6.9 • Spiritual strength in warfare (6:10-20) Amidst all of our strategies for growth, training, church-planting and establishing missional communities, we need to keep our eye on the ball of God’s vision for us. God wants us to bring out of his storeroom “new treasures as well as old”. Or, as Ecclesiastes 7.18 says, “It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other.” 4 | www.saltlight.org
NEW SHAPES OF CHURCH: HOW DO WE EVALUATE?
The Reformation of the church in the 15th-16th centuries (for it wasn’t a swift process at all, an evolution rather than a revolution, although it was passionately fought over on both sides) should perhaps posture us with regards to changing structures of church life and new shapes of church. The Reformation was the fruit of people asking questions about many aspects of church life: “Have we got this aspect of church right? Is our thinking in this aspect right or wrong? Should we be re-thinking how we think and how we behave? Are there better ways of doing church?” The Reformation was a reaction to aspects of church life that seemed wrong, for example, papal authority and hierarchical structures, and to doctrine that seemed misguided, for example, transubstantiation and clerical celibacy; and to abuses in the life of the church, such as the sale of indulgences. In the midst of huge questions that were being asked in these two centuries, the church emerged with a stronger sense of the centrality of the Bible as the word of God, thanks to Luther, and the importance of its availability to ordinary people everywhere, thus breaking the priestly monopoly of spiritual authority, and a clearer understanding of the place of faith in receiving salvation and life from God. Through Calvin, there was a much stronger grasp of the gospel of God’s grace, and God’s desire to fill the earth with the glory of God through the gospel. This became the foundation of the modern missionary movement, which began with William Carey, because people did really start to believe that taking the Gospel out to the nations would be the means of ushering in the reign of Christ in the nations.
crossing over – how should we ‘do church’?
All of these changes were surely good. In the midst of the changes, many mistakes were made, both by the establishment, and by the Reformers. Some experiments went totally off the rails, because they were seriously misguided. But, overall, the advance that came through the Reformation was remarkable. More changes were still needed. The importance of individuals coming to salvation through the exercise of personal faith was still to be fought over in the 18th and 19th centuries, and the Pentecostal dimension was largely recovered through the 20th century, so much so that most Christians in the world are now Pentecostal. These are good advances!
One byword that came out of the reformation was that the church was “reformata et semper reformanda”, that means, the church was “reformed, and always in need of reformation”. They recognised that a huge advance had been made in this Reformation, but more reform was still needed. Those of us who have seen and been part of the huge “new church” movement of the late 20th century, and the early years
of this century, welcome more change. But we are still in the midst of this new reformation, and people are rightly still asking questions: “are there better ways of doing church?” “Are we accomplishing the purposes that God has for the church in this day?” “Are we at full stature, or does God want to change us yet more?” And we are faced with new models all around us. They are a provocation to us. They challenge us. And sometimes, they depress us and discourage us. Then our emotional reactions, our history and traditions, and our instincts take over. Some of us love change and jump on any attractive bandwagon we see; some of us are instinctively conservative, and slow to change from models in which we have encountered god in times past. So what do we make of calls for ‘liquid church’, something that is eminently flexible, without structures and leadership, and in which there is no sense of real commitment called for, apart from one’s voluntary line-up with what one wants (i.e. a highly subjective fellowship!)? Well, flexibility is a good thing. Allowing us not to get caught in legalism, liquid church can act as a haven for those carrying wounds from previous over-deep relationships or disillusionment from former church life. Do we do mega-church or housechurch? Those who like the big celebrations, where faith and encounter with God are a key, are excited by megachurch; those who want something more intimate and personal, where the individual can play their part and count for something opt for the house-church route. There are good aspects to both. One of the most recent developments is the multi-site church, where the same church develops different congregations around a city, and where the teaching and preaching of the key leader is beamed in through the latest technology. This gives people a sense of identity with the key leader or personality, and allows the leadership to maintain a high level of teaching and preaching. Those of us who have planted numbers of churches know well that the maintenance of good quality ministry is one of the major challenges as churches grow and develop. What do we make of the multi-site church? It is working well in a number of places. Does that mean that we pursue it? What do we want? Is this what we want? Or again, there are some churches that opt for a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural approach, and some go for a ‘homogenous’ approach. That means that we are focusing on a particular target group or ethnic group, which make evangelism and growth much easier. This means that the
church grows – but is this the body of Christ?
HOW DO WE EVALUATE?
As I said earlier, we will all view these developments with certain personal grids of reference, depending on our personality, history and even seeing a model which works, and having relationships in such a group. These factors will influence what we think. But how should we assess or evaluate what we think of these things when we encounter them elsewhere in the Christian world, or when we are trying to consider what we want in churches we are working in or establishing from scratch? I really think the best grid of reference is a Biblical one, so far as we can find it! I think we do find it, encapsulated in that great ‘Church letter’, Ephesians. I quote a key passage about the purpose of church: “It was he (the ascended Christ” how gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach the unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Ephesians 4.11-16 This passage is basic, but full. The passage tells us that it will take five different types of ministry to equip all of God’s people for their work of ministry. This ministry, and therefore the church, must be: • Apostolic Apostles have a big vision, and are constantly reaching out further in God. They co-ordinate all the other ministries in the body of Christ and get them working well together. They are looking for the advance of the kingdom in the supernatural, and father leaders and churches in many places. It is only a faith-filled apostolic church that is going to fulfil the Great Commission of Christ. This Apostolic spirit militates against parochialism, or settling in any way. People need a divine infection of the Apostolic to grow into an apostolic people. continued overleaf www.saltlight.org | 5
crossing over – how should we ‘do church’? LEADERSHIP
• Prophetic Prophets are constantly asking what God’s perspective on things is. They are looking for encounter with God, and want people to walk with God in a healthy fashion. They are always calling people higher in their walk with God, and encouraging people that God is for them. They bring hope, vision, joy and encouragement, and the sense of break-in of the presence of God. • Evangelistic There is an infectious enthusiasm and faith in evangelists that God wants people to know him, and there is an opportunity at every turn for people to get to know Jesus. There are all sorts of evangelists, personal evangelists, preaching evangelists, supernatural evangelists, strategic evangelists. Lots of people want to win people to Christ, but the evangelist knows it can be done and has the infection of faith to transmit to others! • Pastoral God’s people (and, in fact, not just God’s people but everyone in his world) need an enormous amount of care, tending and healing. They are damaged, battered and bruised by life. They need training to think rightly about who they are in Christ, and therefore to behave and relate rightly in God’s world. • Teaching God’s people need good teaching, about the basics of life in Christ, what they are saved for. They need reminding regularly of the truth of their salvation, of all that was won for them by Jesus on the cross, and of the wonder of their salvation and of God’s love. This keeps them clean, free from un-forgiveness, and full of gratitude. They are better motivated to follow Christ when fed a diet of God’s goodness. What’s more, if they are well-taught, they will be less prone to being blown about by every fresh wind of doctrine. Churches and leaders need to be asking: to what extent are all these ministries functioning well in our church? If any of them are missing, the church will be lopsided and imbalanced. If we build permanently something that is lopsided, we shall end up with something that looks like the leaning tower of Pisa. A few years ago, they had to pump tons and tons of concrete into the foundation of the leaning tower of Pisa, just to support it enough so that it didn’t fall over: but it still leans badly! The challenge is not in what model we are following; but what ministries are functioning. 6 | www.saltlight.org
Clearly, on this biblical framework of reference, there is leadership and ministry functioning. There is a cascade, of the ascended Christ giving ministries to the church, and life and equipping flowing from these ministries to equip all of God’s people for their call and ministry. Leadership is functioning and equipping. For God’s church to function well, leaders need to be released to function in their ministry. A democratic environment will not produce a healthy church. In democratically run churches, everyone’s opinion rules and influences a bit. Paul seems to have in mind a model where he sets ministry in place to train and equip God’s people. For this to function, we need an atmosphere of humility, teachability, and willingness to receive the training and development of Christ through his chosen and appointed ministers. Once again, churches and leaders need to ask: is leadership released to function fully amongst us? Or is it measured, balanced and parried at every turn? Do we joyfully receive leadership and equipping from others, or are we suspicious of it? And again, this leadership heads in one direction only. It is not aimed at performance of its own ministry, but equipping of others, and the end-game is that each part of the body functions as it should, as the Creator designed it. Christ is looking for every-member ministry. So a church that is centred around the strong personality or gifting of one leader is definitely, again, lopsided. It is engaging in the cult of this world for celebrity status. God forbid, when we see that in the church. For Christ, the celebrities are all of God’s people, and God simply puts leaders in his church to train these celebrities.
DO WE NEED CHANGE?
Do we need change? Yes. We need to do God’s work better. We need to penetrate our communities better with the love of God. We need new models of church to touch today’s generation, who are even more lost than previous generations. We need a massive reformation, that will turn us from maintenance to mission, which will train up apostles, instead of bishops, which will generate faith for salvation, rather than careful stewardship of the house of God. And if we are looking for a grid of reference to know where these models take us, we could adopt the criteria of Ephesians 4. They seem remarkably balanced to me, and well able to produce a stable, strong, energetic and faith-filled people of God, touching God’s world with his love.
church is going to be messy and chaotic!
In February 2011, the European Apostolic Team had an hour with Dr Len Barlotti. Having spent many years living on the Pakistan-Afghan border, Len now travels widely coaching teams. Over the last 10 years he has become a trusted friend: his insights and perspectives on mission strategy, particularly as they relate to the Muslim world, have radically re-shaped our thinking. For more on this, email our office and ask for a copy of his paper ‘Salt & Light and the Fathering of Nations’, presented to the International Team in 2003. What is God doing in the Muslim world? God is doing something! More Muslims have become followers of Jesus in the last 30 years than in the previous 1400 years. We are on the edge of a breakthrough of the gospel into a new cultural sphere that is of the order of magnitude of the gospel breaking out of the Jewish world into the Gentile world. It’s going to be messy, chaotic, with cries of heresy and syncretism. Our theological traditions will be challenged. We are going to see a new expression of the church in the Muslim world. Why is that happening? There is more focused prayer than ever before; more workers than ever before; new strategies and approaches are being tried. What does church look like in these contexts? We need not to impose a model of Church, but to have set of questions that help workers discern with local believers appropriate ways of doing church. We need a new generation of apostles who can look at a city, understand it, exegete it, it’s social networks, centres of power and ethnic groups, asking what aspects of culture can be retained, and which must be rejected? How can we grow pioneer ministries? I commend Salt & Light for making room for diversity of gift and anointed mavericks. That is essential! We need to produce a generation of pioneers who have knowledge (church history, mission history, theology) and who can combine all of that in unique recombinations to address the needs of unique situations. Napoleon did this on the battlefield, in a moment recombining previous battle history and strategy into a unique strategy for the challenge before him – his so-called coup d’oeil – his strategic intuition. What else do we need to do? We need to so preach the gospel and disciple the saints that we produce a new generation of global Christians prepared to pay any price to get the gospel into all the world, by creating a seedbed for the emergence of cross-cultural apostles, prophets, evangelists.
crossing over – how should we ‘do church’? ‘Redefining church’ in Denver, Colorado, USA: Sanctuary Lofts, a luxury conversion of a former Methodist Episcopal Church into 12 ‘high-end condominium units’
redefining church in the west The past few decades have seen huge changes in Western culture. There are fresh challenges of how we live out God’s mission (the Missio Dei) in the midst of a diverse, fast moving and increasingly secularised world.
Three key changes that affect our particular context are: Firstly, the end of Christendom: Whilst there still may be remnant in certain parts of Western culture, there has been an abrupt end to the idea of Christianity as the backdrop to our society and its values. Secondly, the rise of multiculturism: Even though the overall dominant faith is still Christianity, there is now a large mix of religious beliefs in the ‘market place’. Thirdly, the ‘communication revolution’: The incredible increase of technology has multiplied ways in which we communicate and relate to each other in the West.
How do we respond?
Against this challenging background, the church in UK/Europe must be more of a ‘missional church’. What do we mean by ‘missional church’? Well, we are now missionaries in our own land. In previous generations, the church at home would be a centre of
community life and would function with an attractional, and ‘at home model’ (i.e. calling those who were not engaged in church, ‘back to church.’) Today we have all been forced to reevaluate and refocus ourselves around God’s mission. Here are two quotes defining missional church:
“A missional church has restructured everything it does in order to inhabit a very post–Christian culture” Tim Keller, 2006 (www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIRtz0AjgLY) “A working definition of missional church is a community of God’s people that defines itself by, and organizes its life around, its real purpose of being an agent of God’s mission to the world.” Alan Hirsch (www.missionalchurchnetwork.com/missionas-the-organizing-principle)
How to plant churches missionally
As we plant new churches in this changing culture, we build with some core values that we have learned over many years. However, there are also fresh ways in which we approach this mission. We plant: • Intentionally: a focused intention to go into places where the gospel can be best proclaimed or demonstrated. • Incarnationally: “As the father sent me, so I send you” (John 20:21). Teams go into communities that have a distinct social context and need to be prepared to live among them, ‘feel their pain’ and minister to that specific context.
• Diversely: Each new church will look different as each context will be different. One saying that is used currently is that we “sow a seed called gospel, reap a fruit called church”. • Relationally – New churches bring God’s presence and belonging to people, but churches also need to be relationally strongly connected together as part of wider family movements. We require: 1. An increased engagement with our communities. The church in UK/Europe is beginning to be more involved in its community than before. Engagement with society and culture gives the church a voice into the society and culture. 2. A greater measure of co-operation across denominational groups. As we engage more with our communities, many of the issues of transformation can only be seen by working together. This is a significant step beyond ‘joint celebration meetings’. Working together on projects and issues is becoming vital for effectiveness. 3. A balanced approach to mission. Mission is more than evangelism. It aims for “transformation”. However, if the mission loses balance, it becomes less effective or significant. This aim is simply put: To include words, works and wonders in our approach to mission. 4. A desire to plant missional communities rather than congregations. Missional communities are distinct as they do not attempt to be ‘stand alone churches’. They are focused expressions of a church, building incarnational community in neighbourhoods or amongst people groups but firmly connected to (and part of ) a wider church. This allows the Missional Communities to grow in mission, rather than do all the activities we normally associate with church. 5. A refocusing of training from “members” to “missionaries”. Most of our discipleship and training has been to produce mature members of our churches. A significant shift is to equip and train ALL of our people to be missionaries, wherever they go. We live in challenging times. But, they are also exciting times that are generating tremendous amounts of innovations and creativity. As we become more mission focussed, there is interesting evidence of life, health and growth in our churches! Mark Mumford, Derby, UK, leads the UK Apostolic Team. He is involved in supporting and coaching a number of church plants.
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crossing over – how should we ‘do church’?
DOES ONE SIZE FIT ALL? SHAPING CHURCH IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD It is said that whatever is true of India,
the opposite is also true. We have one national language, but 1600+ languages & dialects. We have produced some of the brightest minds in the world, yet have extremely high levels of illiteracy. India is the birth place of Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism, yet has the world’s second largest Muslim population. 8% of the world’s gold is in India, yet a large percentage of people live in poverty. We have cities that are awake 24/7 and we have villages that still have no electricity. Consider also the numbers and scale of India in regards to church planting. Just 4 of our main cities hold more people than the whole of the UK. England is the size of the state that Mumbai is in. And we have 28 states! Throw into the mix casteism, tribalism, superstition, materialism, nationalism and terrorism and you start see how challenging church planting is. In regards to Christianity, it is said that the disciple Thomas came to India. However, today many of the traditional churches that can trace their founding back that far are riddled with court cases over land and property, and numbers are on the decline. In some cases, the leaders aren’t even believers! In such a diverse nation, we cannot recommend or even consider a “one size fits all” method of church planting. 8 | www.saltlight.org
The diversity of Mumbai: slums alongside high rise blocks.
RURAL CHURCH PLANTING
80% of the 1.2 billion Indians live in rural India. Over the last 20 years there have been prolific church planting endeavours within the rural context. Many of these have been documented in the book “Church Planting Movement” by David Garrison. For example, Mohan Philip, a church planter in North India has touched 30,000 villages, planted 6000 house churches and caters to 29,000 people. Amos, Dr. Rajendra Lal, Raju Abraham, Dr. Choudhary, Rod Gilbert, and others have done similar remarkable work. The Punjab province has seen such a surge in church planting, that in some regions the Christians are the majority! A successful method employed in the rural context is to intensively train Regional Co-ordinators (RC) over a twodays-a-month in a central location. With pre-printed notes, in the specific language, these RC then travel to the districts and train the District Co-ordinators (DC) over a 3 day period. Eventually the DCs train the Block Co-ordinators (BC) as well as village pastors. One block consists of about 8 to 10 villages. Each village church plant has 4 emphases: 1. evangelism 2. discipleship making 3. women’s ministry 4. youth/children’s ministry. Power evangelism is the starting point of evangelism in most cases.
URBAN CHURCH PLANTING
Within urban India there are 2 distinct groups of people. The educated middle class will speak their mother tongue, but also be quite fluent in English. In urban India you will therefore find a
number of English-speaking churches. Some are mega-churches like those planted by Assemblies of God. Others are house‑churches. Their growth is attributed to a number of factors. They have: • networks of cell groups • a focus on participation of lay people in ministry • a focus on training volunteer leaders • an emphasis on fasting & prayer • a strong habit of giving • sometimes a seeker friendly services or a gifted front-led worship band.
CHURCHES IN THE SLUMS
Within the urban setup you also have a large number of slum colonies. These are often characterized by low literacy levels and strong ethno-centric communities. They are made up of people who come to cities to escape drought, floods, or just to find work. Such communities are often very open to the gospel. Their needs are high and their faith is simple, so signs and wonders play an important role in leading them to Christ. As they are very communal, the news of a miracle in one household will spread quickly throughout the community. The difficulty here is not in ‘gathering’ the people (as can be the case in urban church planting) but in discipling them, teaching them Biblical concepts, and raising leaders from among them. In spite of the varied challenges, the church in India is seeing a visitation of the Lord, and it is exciting to see the growth of the church in the both urban and rural India. Stanley Mehta leads Gateway Ministries International, a network of churches in Mumbai, India and beyond.
crossing over – how should we ‘do church’? Ngwiza Mnkandla in based in Harare, Zimbabwe, and oversees the leadership Faith Ministries. Until recently he led DAWN, the global church planting movement.
THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK: CHALLENGES FACING THE AFRICAN CHURCH First, some good news! The church in
Africa is one of the fastest growing in the entire globe! Soon, for the first time in history, we will have a continent where Christians will be in the majority. What will be the implications of this? Africa is the richest continent on earth in terms of natural resources. From the book of Genesis, God stowed incredible resources in Africa for the preservation of the world and for the survival of the Son of God himself. What happens when the church works up to her stewardship responsibilities? Africa has a huge land mass and comparatively, is still under populated. Come on over!
THE SAD NEWS
Lack of identity. The advent of slavery, followed by colonialism, robbed the African of his identity and consequently the pride he needed to take his place in the global community. Africa has forgotten that life began on her soils, that she gave the world one of the first civilizations highly developed in science and technology which included the hieroglyphics. Africa was the cradle of the world’s three most influential religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Until she regains her identity, Africa will continue to be down trodden. Poor leadership: has resulted in economic mismanagement, poor governance, military conflicts, a refugee crisis resulting from internal displacements and a host of other ills that have brought untold suffering. Neo-colonialism: unfair trade practices continue to impoverish Africa. Africa has not risen beyond exporting raw materials which has given her trade partners the upper hand. China seems to be the new colonial power with her unquenchable thirst for raw materials to feed her massive economic growth. Poverty: because of poor leadership and mismanagement, Africa suffers from
poor infrastructure, under-development and corrupt practices that have kept her people in an ever increasing poverty cycles. The rising number of orphans and child headed families, the scourge of homelessness and street children gives rise to an increase in crime rates. One in every 3 children goes to bed hungry every day. Modern slavery in the form of prostitution and human trafficking is on the rise. As much as 33% of Africa’s GDP is salted away in foreign banks through corrupt government officials. Of the 33 lowest ranking nations on the UN Human Development Index, 32 are in Africa. Disease: poverty feeds into disease. There is a high prevalence of malaria, tuberculosis, HIV-AIDS and other preventable diseases which have decimated whole families and communities. Infant mortality is intolerably high in some communities. Life expectancy is as low as thirty-three years in countries like Zimbabwe. Rapid urbanization has contributed to poor social conditions that have aided the spread of diseases. Sadly, these diseases have been largely eradicated in other parts of the world. Alternate lifestyle patterns are screaming for recognition while increasing the spread of HIV-AIDS. Schisms: the political and religious landscape is littered with divisions that have added to instability on the continent. Tribalism is a bane that has remained from the deliberate policy of ‘divide and rule’ during the colonial days. Sadly, the African family has not been spared with many
children growing up in broken families of single parent homes. The moral compass arising from once treasured values and traditions that were once a glue that held the African society together, is fast disappearing. Syncretism: the stranglehold of ancestral worship remains with many believers straddling both worlds. Nominalism is high with many professing faith and yet failing to display a life of obedience. The prosperity gospel has led to excesses and other inappropriate displays of Western success models. True discipleship is lacking amongst the multitudes of converts. Islam: a rising specter that threatens to pit north against south. The Islamic target of a mosque within every five square kilometer grid has been heavily supported by the petrodollar while Christians battle to put up buildings. Serious competition for economic dominance is on. The list could go on.
In summary, these challenges are an indication of a leadership failure. When African leaders wake up to their identity, stop passing the blame, assume their position in the global community, take responsibility for their destiny, allow God’s creative nature to flow through them to combat the ills that face the continent, then will change come to the continent! There is evidence that the tide is turning. Africa will lead one day. The empire will strike back. Watch this space!
The church in Africa is hugely affected by its colonial foundation, both postively and negatively.
www.saltlight.org | 9
NEWS FROM THE NATIONS
News from the nations
The Salt & Light international family is a great blend of cultures, nations and people-groups, representing east and west, black and white, rich and poor. We’re one family – and in this section we see what God is doing in different parts of our family, as well as details and photos of the members of the new International Team.
TRAINING A NEW GENERATION Les choses bougent dans les pays francophones ! En août prochain, lors du traditionnel camp d’été, les églises Destinée/Salt&Light fêteront leurs 10 années d’existence. Le thème du camp est : 10 ans déjà, bâtissons l’avenir ! Bâtir dans les pays francophones, avec le secours et la puissance du Saint Esprit, une famille d’églises relationnelles et missionnelles qui aura un réel impact dans notre société, voilà notre vision et notre passion. Travailler à une réforme des églises existantes, à l’implantation de nouvelles églises et à la formation d’une nouvelle génération de leaders passionnés par Jésus, son Eglise et son Royaume, sont nos trois objectifs pour la nouvelle décennie. Dès le mois de septembre 2011, 5 églises (Bruxelles, Wattrelos, Créteil/Paris, Marseille, Lausanne) vont proposer dans leur région une formation au leadership (Formation Josué). En collaboration avec les anciens de ces cinq églises, l’équipe apostolique francophone (EAF) aimerait développer des bases apostoliques qui puissent être « des lieux de ressources et d’inspiration » pour leur région. La mise sur pied d’équipes de ministères régionales est en préparation. L’EAF a également des contacts dans les pays du Nord de l’Afrique, en Italie et dans le Canada francophone.
Things are moving in the Francophone region! In August, at our annual summer camp, the Destinée churches will celebrate 10 years together. The theme of the camp is: ‘10 years, building the future!’ With the help and power of the Holy Spirit, it is our vision and our passion to see built a family of relational and missional churches that has a real impact in our society In the next decade we have three goals: to working to reform existing churches, to plant new churches and to train a new generation of leaders passionate about Jesus, his Church and his kingdom. From September 2011, five churches (Brussels, Wattrelos, Créteil / Paris, Marseilles & Lausanne) will be starting a new training programme – Training Joshua. Working with the elders of these five churches, the Francophone apostolic team (EAF) would like to develop apostolic bases that can be “places of resources and inspiration” for their region. The establishment of regional teams of ministries is in preparation. The EAF also has contacts in the countries of North Africa, Italy and French Canada.
The Destinée team is led by Jean and Agnes Pillonel, who are planting their second church in Marseilles, France. Marc and Sara Walther are church-planting in Lausanne, Switzerland. Jean and Marc serve on the International team. www.saltlight.org/destinee 10 | www.saltlight.org
NEW MISSIONAL INITIATIVES
The Coast to Coast family of churches has just finished participating in the [e4] training program (a webinarbased course developed by S&L Europe). Out of all the material that was covered, the main theme that came through strongly was mission, both locally and beyond. Several churches have begun to do missional initiatives that are very exciting. Lifechurch, Kirksville, Missouri has an after-school mentoring program at a low income housing project that is not only reaching children but also some of their parents. The church in Waverly, Missouri has initiated a food pantry for the poor which is one of the only ones in their whole region, enabling them to reach needy families on a weekly basis. Covenant Harvest Church in Pittsburg, Kansas, is beginning a clothing pantry and bicycle giveaway for the poor as well as broadening their single mothers’ vehicle service for their town. Christ Family Church in Omaha, Nebraska has begun a series of outreaches in a low income housing complex in their city providing general repairs and informal mentoring programs for the residents. C2C are also seeing leaders relocate into other situations to help with development and with some struggling church plants. Doug & Denise Kreighbaum. Doug leads C2C and is part of the new S&L International Team. www.ecclesia413.com
Other international team members
Steve & Lorraine Thomas lead the group of churches around Oxfordshire, UK, and lead the European apostolic team. In 2010 Steve took over the leadership of the International Apostolic team. Read his blog at www.saltlight.org Andy O’Connell, based in Oxfordshire with Steve, serves as Administrator to Steve and the International Apostolic Team.
NEWS FROM THE NATIONS
forgetting viking rivaLries!
CREATIVE WAYS TO BRING THE GOSPEL
Many churches in North America are finding creative ways to bring the gospel to their communities. One example is in San Jose, California, where Kingsway Community Church has ‘adopted’ a public [state run] elementary school and is pioneering new and creative ways to serve the school’s staff, students and families. The first step was to establish an after-school program for the students. They teach Christian songs, share a Bible story, do a craft and play organized games on the playground – all of this taking place on a public school campus. The success of this and other programs like it have spread throughout the city and there are now over forty local churches doing Kids Clubs in public schools. Thousands of schoolage children in San Jose are hearing the gospel and given the opportunity to respond. The first time the gospel was presented at one school, over 60 students asked Jesus into their lives. One of the helpers said, “We’ve talked a lot about what we are supposed to do as Christians and now we are really doing it!” The school Principal said, “Many parents tell me their children say the Kids Club is their favorite afterschool program.”
Members of the International team, from left to right: Ron & Mary Maclean, Winnipeg, Canada. Ron is leader of the S&L North America team John (author) & Leighton Isaacs, San Jose, California Barney & Janette Coombs, Langley, Canada Jim & Dawn Swihart, Foundations Ministry, USA www.saltlight.org/na
The Nordic Conference met in Västerås Sweden this year (May 2628). Citykyrkan, led by Mats and Monica Nordén, hosted 200 leaders representing many nations from Northern Europe. The Nordic family has been growing, with many new churches attending the conference this year. These days have been a great time for old and new friends to find each other’s hearts and appreciate precious time of worship, fellowship, good foundational teaching, and an extra spice of Vikings hungering for breakthrough! Over the past five years as more churches have found their way into this Nordic family, the need arose to begin to work regionally to meet the pastoral and the foundational needs of these churches. Sweden is rapidly developing into three regions of work, where churches are geographically connected and finding ways to help each other. There are also emerging families in Denmark, Norway and Finland, as well as connections with Latvia, Estonia and Germany. Buck (author) & Patricia Hudson are Americans based in Sweden. Dave & Chris Richards travel from their base in Basingstoke, UK, and lead the Nordic team. Mats & Monika Nordén lead a church in Västerås, Sweden. Dave, Mats and Buck represent the Nordic team on the International Team. www.saltlight.org/nordic
northern Nigerian visit
On Wednesday 20 April 2011 Vic Gledhill and team flew into Northern Nigeria. 2 days earlier, at precisely 9am, major post-election riots started in cities and states across the region in response to the overwhelming national vote for a Christian President ‘Good-luck Jonathan’. In one town Vic visited, within 24 hours 300 churches were burning, along with homes, vehicles and businesses of anyone remotely Christian. On Easter Sunday the local Pastor led the people in a moving time of forgiveness, prayer for justice and reconciliation. Miraculously soldiers nearby routinely checked a young man and discovered he was loaded with incendiary devices and orders to burn down the church and school. Many had experienced this kind of split-second timing narrowly avoiding harm or loss. firstname.lastname@example.org
PLANTING IN NEPAL
Gyan Lama hails from Nepal and his brother is a Buddhist priest. Gyan was trained in martial arts (black belt), and in the past he used to get into fights after a drink or two. Some years ago, Gyan was invited to Bombay Baptist Church by a friend and gave his life to Christ. He finished his graduation, joined ATC (mini Bible college) and eventually became the assistant pastor of the church in Colaba. He is now a very gentle soul. He got married to a Chumlano, a dentist from North East India, from the Naga tribe. Both have felt the desire to plant a church in Nepal. So teams went to Nepal and surveyed the place, and they are now planning to plant an English speaking church in the heart of Kathmandu, in a rented place not far from the palace. This is in keeping with the vision of ‘church in the city’, as a place that is ‘upstream’ and influences everything else that happens in the nation – politics, media, arts & entertainment, fashion and marketplace. Stanley & Esme Mehta, Mumbai, India. Stanley leads GMI and is part of the S&L International Team. www.gmi.org.in
Go the church!
When a season changes it looks and feels very different. The February 2011 major earthquakes in Christchurch have changed so much for the church in NZ, creating an urgency and willingness to engage with the community in Christchurch. Teams of people, finance and willing hands have seen the church from all around NZ serving Christchurch in wonderful ways. The church is simply amazing. Her capacity to give, love, pray and serve at such times is living proof of a people who are special to their God. The church in Christchurch has come together, shared premises, finances and opportunities to wonderfully engage with people in their community. The ‘light on the hill ‘has not been dimmed by this tragedy but instead intensified its reach, power and clarity at this time. Go the church! Fraser & Dale Hardy Fraser is team leader for LinkNZ and also serves on the International Team. www.linknz.org.nz www.saltlight.org | 11
NEWS FROM THE NATIONS
common african CHALLENGES
TRANSFORMING UK SOCIETY
The church in the UK continues to pursue its ‘2020vision’, and vision of “pioneering, proclaiming transforming – together”! From the current base of 75 churches the UK team are committed to doubling in the number of churches and the number of adults involved by 2020, through engaging with society, pioneering mission and churchplanting. They are also undertaking review processes to ensure that every church and region is healthy, missional and growing. People often ask whether we establish churches in order to reach society; or whether we reach society in order to plant churches. Rather like asking “Which came first: chicken, or egg?” it’s a question without a real answer, but the UK church is committed to both! A team has been set up whose mandate is to equip and enable the churches to better transform society, trying to engage with the ‘big society’ agenda that the current coalition government is pursuing. Along with other new church streams we have appointed a ‘political representative’ to represent a ‘Kingdom perspective’ to government and agencies. Mark & Nesta Mumford (Derby, UK) lead the UK team and Mark is part of the International Team. www.saltlight.org/europe 12 | www.saltlight.org
The Salt & Light family includes various ministries in Africa including: Faith Ministries (Zimbabwe), Deliverance Church Umoja (Kenya), Deliverance Church Uganda, The Church Of Faith (Rwanda) and African Revival Ministries (Burundi). These ministries are involved among other things in evangelism and church planting, education, medical work, helping the needy and vulnerable children arising out of genocide and HIV/AIDS pandemic, water drilling, leadership development, and serving in the market place as a prophetic voice to the nations. During the October 2010 meeting in Oxford, UK, the African brethren resolved to launch ‘Salt & Light Africa’. There are certain challenges affecting the African church which need to be resolved, together: • Christianity versus culture • Western influence on African church • Poverty
• Health issues • Illiteracy • Political challenges • Effects of colonisation • Family life These are to be developed through ‘think tanks’ and will eventually enrich discipleship and teaching of the saints The formation of S&L Africa also makes it more manageable for the Africans to work together, where costs of airtickets and visas to meetings in the West can be prohibitive. Ngwiza & Maureen Mnkandla Faith Ministries, Zimbabwe Salt & Light Africa team leader www.faith-ministries.net JB & Persia Masinde Deliverance Church Umoja, Kenya www.deliverancechurchumoja.org Titus (author) & Doreen Oundo Deliverance Church Uganda www.deliverancechurchuganda.8m.com Ngwiza, JB and Titus are part of the S&L International Team.
International Leaders Conference 2012 15-19 February 2012 Oxford, UK
Salt & Light's international leaders' journal - July 2011 edition