The Gospel Breaks Down Barriers : an exploration of mono-cultural and multicultural churches with case studies in Britain, Sierra Leone and Pakistan.
A dissertation submitted to the University of Wales in partial fulfilment for the requirements of the degree of
Master of Arts (Mission Studies) Simon A. Holloway Birmingham Christian College (Former Birmingham Bible Institute) June 2003
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Summary This dissertation attempts to answer the question whether the Gospel of Jesus Christ can break down barriers. . It first explains the Gospel and also the barriers, between God and humans and then between humans. The specific barriers considered are the cultural barriers between people of different ethnic, language and faith backgrounds. Is it possible to build a Multi-cultural church? The Introduction explains the motivation and methodology of this investigation. The next chapter gives some Background exploration of the biblical, theological, sociological and missiological issues relevant to this study. We look at Jesus and the early churches‟ encounter with people of different cultures. We also consider some current sociological and missiological theories. Then, there are the Case Studies from Britain, Sierra Leone and Pakistan, based on experience, visits and interviews. Following this, some Missiological Reflections are given arising out of the case studies which also engage with the missiological and other factors. In the Conclusion, a possible Model for MultiCultural Mission is suggested, which could help churches and missions engaged in seeking to bring the Gospel cross-culturally. The appendices give some of the questions, tables, charts and figures which have been used or grown out of this research.
Acknowledgements Several groups of people are to be acknowledged for their help, support and encouragement in the production of this dissertation over several years. Thanks are due to the Diocese of Birmingham where I served for 18 years and in particular to Bishop Mark Santer, for his sponsorship of these studies and the two sabbaticals and study visits which were undertaken. Crowther Hall, the CMS mission training college in Selly Oak, Birmingham has been a great support in providing a place for study and for contacts with the World Church. Thanks especially to Revd. George Kovoor, the Principal. Also, Birmingham Christian College (formerly Birmingham Bible Institute) has been a stimulating place to study over the last few years and I thank the tutors and my fellows students for all their help and challenge, especially to my supervisor Mark Beaumont. All of the churches which have I visited have made me most welcome and I am thankful for their co-operation, hospitality and prayers. Especially, I thank the people of Christ Church Sparkbrook; who have given their love, support and encouragement to pursue these studies, while I have been serving there for many years. Christians in Action, Sierra Leone has been a special place for me in my pilgrimage and I am especially thankful for the information and help from my friend Ken Wiebe, who served there for many years. I also acknowledge the advice and help of George Lings at the Sheffield Centre, Peter Brierley at Christian Research and Monica Hill at the British Church Growth Association. In the last stages of this study, after moving from Birmingham to Horley, Surrey, I record my thanks to those who have helped me put the final touches to this dissertation. The brothers and sisters of Worth Abbey, a Benedictine community in West Sussex, have provided wonderful hospitality and a quiet, peaceful place to study, pray and reflect. I especially thank Abbot Christopher for his warm welcome and encouragement. Others have read the proofs and given constructive comments on the style and content for which I am grateful. Especially I thank the people of Horley Parish Church for giving me time to complete this work, despite the shortage of staff in the parish. Finally, I thank my wife Pauline who has been a consistent support throughout and also our two daughters Emma and Esther who have given academic and practical support along the way. Without their understanding and prayers, this project would not have been completed. â€œFor through Him we both have access to the Father by the one Spiritâ€? Ephesians 2:18 Deo Gloria June 2003 Horley, Surrey
Contents Summary Acknowledgements Contents of Dissertation Contents of Appendices and Tables
1. Introduction 2. Background 2.1 Theological 2.2 Sociological 2.3 The Gospel not Religion 2.4 Missiological
6 9 11 13 14
3. Case Studies 3.1 Britain â€“ Birmingham 3.1.1 Sparkbrook 3.1.2 Aston 3.1.3 Sierra Leone 3.2 Pakistan
18 25 36 42
4. Reflections 4.1 Discerning the Context 4.2 Visionary, Empowering Leadership 51 4.3 Perseverance in Suffering 54 4.4 Encouraging Small Groups
5. Conclusions A Model for Multi-Cultural Mission
Appendices, Interview Questions, Tables, Charts, and Figures Bibliography
Contents of Appendices, Tables, Chart, Figure APPENDICES Appendix 1.1 Church Growth Survey Questions Britain, Jamaica and Florida 1990 Appendix 3.1 Questions for Interviews in Britain 2001-2003 Appendix 3.2 Questions for Interviews in Sierra Leone 2001 Appendix 3.3 Questions for Interviews in Pakistan 1993 TABLES Table 3.1 Britain Population and Faith Statistics Table 3.1.1 Sparkbrook Church Statistics 1972-2002 Charts 3.1.1 Christ Church Sparkbrook E.R. Statistics by Ethnicity 19722002 Table 3.2.1 Sierra Leone Population by Tribe Statistics 1990 Table 3.2.2 Freetown Church Statistics 1990 Table 3.3 Pakistan Population and Faith Statistics 1995 FIGURES Figure 1 A Model for Cross-cultural Mission and Church Growth.
Chapter 1. Introduction Does the Gospel really break down barriers or does it raise them between people who come from different ethnic, cultural and faith backgrounds? Is it realistic to expect to see a church made up of people from different backgrounds? What is the Gospel anyway and what are the barriers which separate people in today‟s world? Are there any signs of hope from around the world which can give us substance to the proposition and what do the Scriptures teach about these matters? Are there any current theories or models of church growth which can help us with this vision? How does a vision for a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic church tie in with a vision for the Kingdom of God? What practical steps can be taken by God‟s people today to help work towards this vision? These are some of the questions which were formulating in my mind over 18 years of ministry in a multi-cultural community in inner-city Birmingham. In effect, is it possible to see God‟s kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven?
In many ways, this dissertation is the reflection of a personal pilgrimage from my roots in Bristol, a city built on the profits of the slave trade, to many years of parish ministry in multi-cultural inner city Birmingham. The pilgrimage took me to Sierra Leone, West Africa as a VSO development volunteer, serving as an Educational Statistician, after studying Mathematics and Statistics at Sussex University, where I became a follower of Jesus. After years of training for the Church of England ministry back in Bristol and then two curacies in the West Midlands, the long years of ministry in Sparkbrook, Birmingham have been punctuated by sabbatical and study visits to Jamaica (1990), Pakistan (1993) and a return visit to Sierra Leone (2001). While studying at Trinity Theological College in Bristol, I completed a Dissertation on “Church Growth in Industrial Areas”. With my statistical background, Church Growth Surveys were an appropriate way to conduct research in 4 churches and 1 factory in 1979 in Bristol. The results of this research are written up elsewhere. 1 My initial intention was to pursue a similarly titled dissertation “Church Growth in Multi-cultural areas”, and indeed much of the research and reflection could fit into such a title. However, church growth theory has moved on from the largely
S. Holloway Church Growth in Industrial Areas Bristol,1979, in part fulfilment of Diploma in Pastoral Studies at the University of Bristol, through Trinity Theological College.
quantitative approach2 of the 1970s and 1980s, to a more qualitative approach3 from the 1990s onwards, as indicated in the Models for Mission and so a new approach was called for. So, in 1990 I had my first period of Sabbatical Study which led to four main pieces of work. i) Reflections on the first 10 years of Inner City ministry, in Wolverhampton, Stafford and Sparkbrook.4 ii) Surveys of 10 multi-cultural churches in Birmingham and London, conducting interviews with the leaders and questionnaires with some church members. 5 iii) Meditations on 7 key biblical passages with relevance for cross-cultural ministry.6 iv) Journal of a visit to Jamaica for two weeks and Surveys of churches in Kingston and Florida.7 I draw on some of these documents in some parts of my current research, especially in the Theological Background and in one of the Case Studies of Multi-cultural churches. In 1993, I had a 3 week study leave to visit the church in Pakistan 8and was able to conduct interviews with church and mission leaders in a variety of places throughout the country. However, questionnaires were not issued, because of the language problems and follow-up.9 Since 1997, I have been studying part-time for an MA in Mission, while serving a demanding inner-city parish, but all of the studies and papers prepared have fed into this research and helped with the process of reflection. In 1999, Graham Burton, a former CMS mission partner in Pakistan, now Vicar in inner-city Nottingham, conducted some research into churches pursuing a Multi-cultural vision in UK, including Sparkbrook. His sabbatical paper10 gives some valuable evidence that there are many UK churches pursuing a multi-cultural vision.
That is the measurement of growth through statistical methods over a 10 year period The emphasis has changed to consider more what makes a church healthy, just as a healthy plant will grow. The Natural Church Development model (NCD) described below, is one such model for qualitative growth. 4 S. Holloway Ten Years of Inner-city Ministry Birmingham,1990 Unpublished paper. 5 S. Holloway Surveys from Churches in Multi-Cultural Settings Birmingham, 1990 Unpublished paper. 6 S. Holloway Biblical Meditations for Cross-Cultural Ministry Birmingham, 1990 Unpublished paper. 7 S. Holloway A Jamaican Journal Birmingham 1990, Unpublished paper. Copy with CMS, London. 8 S. Holloway. A Pakistan Pilgrimage Birmingham, 1993 Unpublished paper 9 S. Holloway, Interviews with Church and Mission Leaders in Pakistan Birmingham, 1993 Unpublished paper 10 G. Burton A Vision for the Church in Britain. Nottingham, 1999 3
In February 2001, I was invited to return to Sierra Leone as part of a mission team, in response to the needs of the church there, following the conclusion of a 10 year civil war. It was possible to meet and conduct some research into one mission church, originally founded during my first visits to Sierra Leone in the early 1970s 11. Furthermore, I have had ongoing contact with this church through a Canadian missionary living in UK. A second period of Sabbatical Study was granted in 2001. During this time a more intensive visit to another Anglican church in a multi-cultural setting in Birmingham was undertaken and interviews were conducted with several church leaders in two churches. A weeklong study visit to the Sheffield Centre 12 was also fitted in with an interview with leaders from St.Thomas, Crookes Anglican/Baptist church. Following this, a first draft of the dissertation was completed in January 2002, but then a call came to consider a new parish in Southwark Diocese and the study was put on hold again. However, as part of the leaving process, I wrote up my reflections on 18 years of Cross-Cultural Ministry in Sparkbrook.13 This is the main source document for the Case Study on Sparkbrook. So, the methodology is varied. It includes some interviews and research from the visits to a variety of churches, in 1990 (Britain and Jamaica), 1993 (Pakistan) and 2001(Britain and Sierra Leone). There is also reflective material from my journals and life experience in Sparkbrook over 18 years and study of the contemporary literature around the subjects of Church Growth and Cross-Cultural Mission. I also attended several mission conferences, which have provided valuable insights from other missions and parts of the world. 14 But, what is the basis for the statement that “The Gospel breaks down barriers”? In Chapter 2 we shall look at this first from the evidence of Scripture, then consider the changing mission context and look at some contemporary models for mission. In Chapter 3, we will look at case studies from several nations, where the writer has personal experience and interest. In Chapter 4, we will make some reflections on cross-cultural mission in the 21st Century. In Chapter 5 we suggest a possible model for multi-cultural mission and draws some conclusions. 11
S. Holloway Back to Africa – Sierra Leone Birmingham, 2001, Unpublished paper. The Sheffield Centre is a Research centre for Church Growth in UK, sponsored by Church Army. 13 S. Holloway A Bridge and a Plough Birmingham, 2002 14 God’s Rainbow People 1998;, Hothorpe Hall Jewels in His Crown 2000,Cliff College; International Fellowship of Church-based Missiologists 2001, CMS, Birmingham 12
Chapter 2 Background What is the evidence that the Gospel does break down barriers? What type of barriers are we considering, as some would say that the Gospel raises barriers between people? What is the Gospel anyway and is it possible that barriers can remain between people even if the barrier between people and God has been removed?
2.1Theological Issues The title of this dissertation could have been „Jesus breaks down barriers‟ or even „Jesus builds bridges‟. But it is not specifically the person of Jesus Christ but rather His work that has made the difference. The Gospel is the Good News of the Kingdom of God, which Jesus said will be preached to all nations, and then the end would come (Matt.24:14). The word „Gospel‟ comes from the English „god spell‟ or good news. It is a translation of the Greek „euangelium‟, which was used in the Roman emperor cult to refer to news of any great imperial event, victory or even birth of an heir. St.Paul adopted and used this word to describe the message about Jesus Christ. He writes that this gospel is the power of God to bring salvation, but must be responded to by faith. 15 Mark begins his Gospel account thus „The beginning of the Gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God‟ (1:1) and then goes on to describe how Jesus „went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God‟ (1:14) and saying „The Kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news.‟ The evidence from the life of Christ is that the message from God, and specifically his death and resurrection, did break down the barriers caused by alienation from and rebellion against God. He changed people‟s lives for the better, providing healing, deliverance and forgiveness for those who were broken and guilty. Those who came to him in faith were restored to a relationship with God. There are many examples of Jesus breaking through the social and cultural barriers of his day to bring new life. Two in the Gospel of Matthew have special significance. Jesus delivered the daughter of a Canaanite woman (15:21-28) and healed at a distance the servant of a 15
Roman Army Officer (8:5-13).
Both were non-Jews, outside the promises and
covenant of Israel, yet Jesus commends them both for their faith. Indeed, Jesus also refers to the healing of Naaman the Syrian in his first sermon in Nazareth (Luke 4:25 and 2 Kings 5) and his Mission Mandate is described earlier in that passage (Luke 4:18,19, cf. Isaiah 61:1-3), part of which was â€žto preach good news to the poorâ€&#x;. At the heart of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is the vision to restore the whole of creation and humanity to a relationship with God, which involves freedom, healing, deliverance, release and wholeness in every area of life. But this also implies that there is a barrier, a problem that needs a solution. The barrier in the title is an obstacle that prevents communication and free access between two parties. Between God our creator and mankind, this barrier is present because of rebellion and disobedience from our first parents. The account of this in Genesis Chapter 3 gives the root cause for the problem of evil, alienation, separation, division and death. Fallen human nature is incapable of removing this barrier. Furthermore, the barrier of human sinfulness between God and humans has also led to another barrier between humans, infecting humans with the poison of mistrust, envy, jealousy, greed and other manifestations of evil. So, there are two barriers to overcome. One exists between God and mankind and, as a consequence, there is another one between us and our neighbours. The Gospel is the good news of how these barriers can be removed or broken down. Jesus came from heaven to earth as a servant to destroy, by means of his death on the cross, this barrier of evil and human wrongdoing. The writers of the New Testament describe this work in different ways. Jesus paid the ransom price (Mark 10:34) to release us from debt. He redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us through his shameful death on the cross (Galatians 3:13,14). He became poor that we might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9). He came to destroy the work of the Devil (1 John 3:8) and by his wounds we are healed (1 Peter 2:24).
2.2 Sociological Analysis In our complex multi-cultural and multi-faith world, which has become a „Global Village‟16, the gospel is so often first encountered through the Church. Lesslie Newbigin on his return from India, reflected and wrote many books on how the Gospel can be communicated into Western Culture. In one of these books he writes „the Church is the Hermeneutic of the Gospel’.17 By this he implies that, for most people, the expression and interpretation of the Gospel is found in the presence and actions of the Church. When God‟s people have lived in unity and harmony there has been blessing, and those searching for God have seen His power and presence in the unity of believers. Jesus prayed that his followers would be one, so that the world would believe in him (John 17:21). However the history of the church has often sadly betrayed the Gospel which it seeks to model, through disunity and division, through heresy and schism. Though, from a Protestant perspective, the Reformation in the 16th Century sought to restore the church to its biblical foundations, the religious wars and counter-reformation in the 17th Century left deep scars on the psyche of the people of Europe. As a result of this, the question was raised: „Does religion cause wars?‟ The continual conflicts in Northern Ireland and the Middle East seem to give substance to this question. Even the horrors of 11th September 2001 have supported this and the Enlightenment and Humanist quest for a just and fair world, without reference to God, has been given fresh fuel. Two main views have therefore arisen to help people make sense of their identity and belonging. The dominant one in the majority of the Western developed nations is called „Civic Nationalism‟18 In essence, it is a vision of cosmopolitan society where the common identity and bond of belonging comes from adherence to the nation‟s political creed. The nation is then a community of equal, rights-bearing citizens, united in patriotic attachment to a shared set of political practices and values. Britain took up this vision after the Reformation and Civil War. However, it was only after the French Revolution and the American War of
A phrase first coined by Marshall MaCluhan in The Gutenberg Galazy: The Making of Typographic Man Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1962, to describe the impact of new communications technologies on our lives. 17 L. Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, SPCK,,London 1989 p.222 18 This analysis is discussed in Michael Ignatieff, Blood and Belonging BBC books, London, 1993, p.3
Independence that civic nationalism set out to conquer the world, with the French and American republics as examples and pace-setters.
The other vision is that of „Ethnic Nationalism‟ with Germany as the example. The people create the state not vice versa. What gave unity to the nation and made it a home, a place of passionate belonging, was the people‟s pre-existing ethnic characteristics: their language, religion, customs and traditions rather than their shared rights as a nation. „The nation as Volk had begun its long and troubling career in European thought.19 Some writers compare this ethnic nationalism with so-called fundamentalism, which contrasts with cosmopolitan tolerance20. Giddens contends that “The battleground of the twenty-first century will pit fundamentalism against cosmopolitan tolerance….. Cosmopolitans welcome and embrace cultural complexity. Fundamentalists find it disturbing and dangerous. Whether in the areas of religion, ethnic identity or nationalism, they take refuge in a renewed and purified tradition and, quite often, violence”. 21 This restates in contemporary language the same fear that „religion causes wars‟, which arose from the 17th Century onwards in Europe. Other leaders have expressed similar concerns in other high profile lectures.22 Some would say no: the Gospel does not break down barriers between people but rather raises them higher as intolerant fundamentalists argue and fight against each other. It is not possible to live in a world free from conflict on the basis of reception of the Gospel, because the Gospel itself brings conflict and division. Protestants and Catholics, Muslims and Christians, Jews and Arabs are all in conflict in various areas of the world. The Gospel, or rather religion, does not break down any barriers at all. Religion only causes people to live apart from each other, with barriers of misunderstanding, fear and rejection.
M. Ignatieff, op cit p.4 A. Giddens, Runaway World – how globalisation is reshaping our lives, Profile Books, London 1999. This book is the account of the Reith Lectures 1999, from the Director of the London School of Economics. Debate on this can continue via Email via www.lse.org/anthonygiddens 21 A. Giddens op.cit.p.5 22 Bill Clinton, The Struggle for the Soul of the 21st Century – as the Richard Dimbleby memorial lecture in December 2001. Download from www.bbc.co.uk/comment/dimbleby/print_clinton.shtml 20
2.3 The Gospel not Religion breaks down Barriers There is however a difference between religion and the Gospel. Religions are manmade systems or traditions for approaching God. There are many different kinds of religions but in essence all religions have a system of rewards by which, if you keep the rules, then you receive the rewards – blessing, forgiveness, peace, harmony, oneness. By contrast, the Gospel announces first of all the bad news. We cannot gain acceptance or receive forgiveness from God by our own merit. We are incapable of perfectly keeping any set of rules because of our fallen human nature. The result of this failure is separation from God, now in this life and potentially, if unresolved, in the next. So, the proclamation of the Good News starts with a call to repentance or change of mind and then a call to believe the message of God‟s Kingdom. 23 Jesus brought in this kingdom in his person and through his death and resurrection opened the kingdom for all who would repent and believe. The Gospel is the good news of God, of the Kingdom and of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is about God taking action to rescue the human race from this separation because of the Fall. It is at the Cross that the dividing wall of hostility between God and humans has been broken down. But it is also at the cross that divided nations and peoples can be reconciled and brought together into unity and harmony. In Paul‟s letter to the Ephesians, he explains in detail this work of God (Eph.2:11-19) and then goes on to describe the „Open Secret‟24 :„This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus‟ (Eph.3:6). The book of Revelation describes a vision of heaven with a „multitude that no-one could count from every nation, tribe, people and language‟ (Rev.7:9) and this vision is earlier endorsed by Jesus in his commendation of the faith of the Roman Army officer, when he says: „many will come from the east and the west, and will take their place at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.‟ (Matt.8:11)
Mark 1:14,15 L.Newbigin The Open Secret, Sketches for a Missionary Theology, London: SPCK, 1978 - another book about this subject of the Gospel and Culture. 24
These verses and many others25 give substance to the vision of building a multicultural community church, 26where the Gospel does bring down barriers, both between God and humans and between different cultures and ethnic backgrounds in Christ. In this study we are focussing on how these barriers because of different ethnic backgrounds are broken down by the Gospel and what factors are necessary to help that to happen.
2.4 Missionary Models One controversial Missionary Model, which seems at first observation to go against this vision, is the Homogeneous Unit Principle (HUP). Homogeneous means people of one culture. This principle was first proposed by Dr. Donald McGavran, 27 after many years of mission work in India. He had earlier observed much resistance to the Gospel but latterly seen several „people movements‟, where large numbers of people from the same cultural background had come to faith in Christ. His work built upon the earlier work of Roland Allen,28 a pioneer Anglican missionary in China. The HUP is a principle relating to the task of world evangelisation and is summed up in the statement that people „like to become Christians without crossing racial, linguistic or class barriers’.29 The HUP is primarily a sociological and anthropological understanding of how churches grow, but it does also have biblical precedents. The Gospel coming to Samaria (John 4 and Acts 8), to the towns of Lydda and Sharon (Acts 9) and to the home of Cornelius (Acts 10 & 11) are all examples of a mono-cultural people group receiving the Gospel, in response to signs and wonders which confirmed the Word preached. But there is also reported the controversy in the early Church over the cultural issue of whether Gentiles could be accepted into the Church without going through Jewish initiation rites. The Church Council in Jerusalem decided that the Gentile believers did not have to become „culturally Jewish‟ in order to be accepted
For further accounts see S.A.Holloway, Biblical Meditations for Cross-Cultural Ministry, Birmingham, 1990 Unpublished paper. Also „Theological Rationale for Building Multi-Cultural Churches‟, a preparatory paper for God’s Rainbow People Hothorpe Hall, 1998, A conference for those working amongst British Asians. 26 See also Revd. G. Burton A Vision for the Church in Britain Today, Study Leave Research, April 2000 Ch.2 Biblical Background to the Vision. 27 Dr. Donald McGavran first suggested this principle in his book “Bridges of God” in 1955. 28
Rolan Allen, Missionary Methods: St.Paul’s or Ours Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Amercian Edition 1962 6th Edition (First published 1912) 29
Dr. D.A. McGavran Understanding Church Growth 3rd Edition. Grand Rapids, Michigan 1990 revised and edited by Dr. C.Peter Wagner, p.155
(Acts 15). But Paul had to rebuke even Peter and Barnabas later in Antioch over a similar cultural issue (Galatians 2:11-14). There was a continual tension in New Testament times over inclusion or exclusion on the grounds of ethnicity. 30 There have been strong arguments both for and against the HUP. The opponents say that this principle can lead to an introspective and ghetto mentality, even racism, with spiritual arrogance and blindness, like Peter had initially with Cornelius. HUP could be seen as contrary to the vision of the unity of believers for which Jesus prayed in John 17:21, but even Jesus recognises different sheep, even if there is only one flock. It is also observed that the HUP could seem to raise rather than lower the social and racial barriers between believers. However, the proponents of HUP argue that it is effective in the task of fulfilling the Great Commission to „Go and make disciples of all nations…‟ (Matt.28:19,20). It is also pragmatic in that mission resources are directed wisely to where the harvest is ripe. This principle also gives greater respect for the social context in which mission is taking place and above all it recognises the different stages in growth of Christians and of churches. The HUP is most appropriate only to the first stages of growth. In the late Spring of 1977, Evangelical31 Christians came together in Pasadena to debate their different understanding of the Gospel and the Church. There was concern that their differences over this Homogeneous Unit Principle could be a stumbling block to World Mission and Evangelisation. Some of the agreed statement32 is as follows: i)
The HUP is a practical and strategic means for evangelism and the early stages of discipleship.
They affirmed the importance of the riches of cultural diversity and that the Gospel needs to be earthed in the soil of its local culture.
They affirmed the essential unity of the Church connected to our one God and Father, one Lord Jesus and one Holy Spirit. Jesus has broken down the
For fuller argument see articles on „Gentiles, Gentile Mission and Samaritans‟ in Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, Dictionary of Paul and his Letters, Dictionary of the Later New Testament and its Development, IVP, Leicester, 1992 ed. G.F. Hawthorne, R.P.Martina, D.Reid, H. Marshall. 31 That is Christians with a shared submission to the Bible as supreme for guidance and direction 32 „Pasadena Statement‟ in Making Christ Known, ed.by John Stott, London, 1996, p.61-68 A paper produced as a result of this Lausanne Continuation Committee, following the Lausanne World Evangelization Conference in 1975
barrier of hostility between Jew and Gentile at the Cross. Racial differences then should be no barrier to fellowship… iv)
All cultures need to be tested and judged by Scripture. Some aspects will be rich in beauty and goodness, because we are all God‟s creatures, but other aspects are evil, because we have fallen and are alienated from our Creator. Some aspects of homogeneity are evil and need resisting. There is a prophetic call to be different.
HUP can help at the initial stage of „discipling‟ (that is conversion and being baptised), but the „perfecting‟ (growth to maturity) requires a wider experience of the body of Christ. Jesus Christ is Lord as well as Saviour.
The Church is an eschatological community. It is already now the new society of the new age and is called to model and anticipate on earth the life of heaven, which will be both harmonious and heterogeneous (multi-cultural). The Lord‟s Supper is a special place for different cultures to express their unity in Christ, as a foretaste of the Messianic Banquet.
The HUP can help to reach out to diverse cultural groups. One good example of mono-cultural mission is that of Vincent Donovan amongst the Masai. 33 In five years, he shared the Gospel (stripped of its Western cultural package) with many tribes of nomadic Masai in East Africa and over 30,000 had come to believe and be baptised. While Jesus reached out across cultures to bring people from different backgrounds to experience forgiveness, healing, hope and deliverance, He still recognised their cultural background. He sent the woman from Samaria back to her village to tell her story and then they all came to listen to Jesus. The man delivered from the legion of evil spirits was sent home to his own people as they needed to hear „what great things God has done for you‟. (Luke 8:30) In the case studies, I will look at how far this principle has helped to build a multicultural church. Natural Church Development (NCD) is a missionary model which has been developed more recently. NCD looks at church development more from the quality aspects of a healthy church than the quantitative size of the membership. Christian 33
Vincent J. Donovan „Christianity Rediscovered‟ An epistle from the Masai. 1978, Orbis Indiana, 4th Impression SCM Press, London 1986
Schwartz34 from Germany conducted a two year International Research Project, surveying 1,000 churches on all five continents. The basic thesis is that churches will grow if the ingredients and conditions are right for the quality of church life to prosper. There are eight key quality factors, all of which can be measured 35 and can then indicate the potential for churches to grow in both quality and quantity. A remarkable result from the research is that if a church has a 65%+ score in all eight factors, it is certain to be growing quantitatively also. These Eight Key Quality Factors are as follows: 1) Empowering Leadership 2) Gift-oriented Lay Leadership 3) Passionate Spirituality 4) Functional Structures 5) Inspiring Worship Services 6) Holistic Small Groups 7) Need-oriented Evangelism 8) Loving Relationships. In the research it is also evident that smaller churches are more likely to be growing proportionately more and to be qualitatively better also than larger ones. This finding supports the Church Planting strategy of D.A.W.N.36 which recommends the planting of new congregations of around 50 people for every community of around 1,500, as the best method of evangelism. The NCD model is an inspiring vision and gives new insight into how churches grow around the world and modifies the earlier Church Growth emphasis on the Homogeneous Unit Principle. In this latter model, there is scope for building multicultural congregations, therefore showing that the kingdom of God is wider than just kinship ties. Some recognition of this NCD model will feature in the reflections on the surveys and did form the basis for one question in the interviews in the British churches.
Christian Schwartz, Natural Church Development, published by British Church Growth Association, Bedford 1996 35 By means of questionnaires to the congregation and by use of computer software analysis to produce charts with a percentage score for each of the 8 quality characteristics 36 D.A.W.N. (Discipling a Whole Nation) in James Montgomery, DAWN 2000: 7 million churches to go. Highland Books, Sussex 1990
Chapter 3 Case Studies 3.1 Britain â€“ Birmingham 1984-2002 To what extent has the Gospel broken down barriers in Birmingham? Is there evidence from the church in the Second City of Britain that people of different cultures, faiths and ethnic backgrounds have come to faith in Christ and been integrated into His Church? Birmingham developed as an industrial city, known as the city of a thousand trades, from the beginning of the industrial revolution in the early 19th Century. People migrated to the city from around UK and Ireland in that century as well as the early 20th Century. A few Black and Asian people came to live in Birmingham then but the majority were invited to supplement the work force after the Second World War. So there were successive waves of immigration from the 1950s onwards, with Caribbean, Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and more latterly Eastern European and African peoples coming to live in the city. Sparkbrook and Aston have both been areas of the city which have received significant numbers of immigrants. From statistics compiled in 2001, 37 the West Midlands Metropolitan County (which includes Birmingham) had a total population of 2,594,000 people, of whom 106k were Black (including 79k Black Caribbean), 170k were Indian, 134k were Pakistani, 34k were Bangladeshi and 23k from other Ethnic groups. The total ethnic population was 474k or 18.3% of the total. However, in the inner-city districts of Sparkbrook and Aston, around 70% of the local population were from Black and Asian ethnic origins. A fuller account of the statistics in these areas can be found from the recent 2001 Census.
3.1.1 Christ Church Sparkbrook Has the Gospel broken down barriers in Sparkbrook? The evidence from Christ Church, the Anglican church where I served for 18 years, is mixed . On the one hand, there is a strong Muslim community resistant to the Gospel. And on the other there are encouraging signs that the good news of Jesus has broken through into some lives and that there is a welcome for the presence of the church and its message 37
â€žPopulation Trendsâ€&#x; No.105 Autumn 2001, Office for National Statistics Table 2.
amongst the whole (Muslim majority) community. The evidence comes from interviews conducted with five ethnically diverse church members and from personal observation and reflection. Faith Development. A wide variety of people have come to faith in Christ, from many different ethnic and religious backgrounds. One lady Hannah38 from a mixed faith Asian background39 eventually joined this local church after a long journey to faith and some stumbling along the way. In her account, she gives the following factors as keys to her coming to faith and being involved in a local church in Sparkbrook. i)
Early bible teaching and testimony to faith within a family home.
Preaching from Godâ€&#x;s Word which encouraged and challenged her to faith and commitment.
Prophetic witness by someone of a similar cultural identity at the early stages of exploration of faith by several family members.
Pastoral visiting in the home cross-culturally built a bridge of friendship and care which prepared the way to visit the local (mainly black and white) church.
Ongoing support through prayer and small-group fellowship which helped with discipleship and deep loving relationships within the local church community
This account can be repeated several times in the church community, but it is very costly for those from other faith backgrounds, especially, to risk the ostracism of their family in order to belong to an alternative faith community. Therefore, it has not happened very often but when it does, it is a wonderful account of Godâ€&#x;s power and love to change lives. One key factor has been the work of cross-cultural workers in the congregation. However, it may be argued that it was not the Gospel which broke down the barriers here but only a deficient family life which provided a deep longing for security, belonging, love and acceptance. This may be true, but love and security was found through faith in Christ and by belonging to the community of the local church. Love through the local church showed the gospel in action and broke down barriers of fear, misunderstanding and ignorance to provide a place of welcome and belonging for many.
Name changed to protect her identity Taped Interview 4 in Sparkbrook 18 March 2003
Building Multi-cultural Teams. Since the founding of the church, there has been a strong emphasis in Sparkbrook on developing ministry teams to serve the local area in a variety of ways. Witness and visiting teams have developed in partnership with local missionary and bible training colleges. There has been a long association with the Church Mission Society. It is recorded that 57 people were sent out as missionaries overseas in the first 60 years of the churches‟ life, often with CMS. 40 After the second world war, many of the church leaders had missionary experience with CMS – Harold Harmer (1949-1957) from India, Howard Church (1957-1959) from Kenya, Val Maynard-Smith (1973-75) from CMS Crowther Hall staff and Terry Challis (1976-1980) from Kenya. From the time that the CMS training college relocated to Selly Oak Birmingham from Kent, a close link was developed with Christ Church Sparkbrook (and neighbouring St.John‟s Sparkhill) because of the presence of many people from the Caribbean and the Indian Subcontinent living in the area. Many Bursars from African and Asian churches were also linked with the churches in Sparkbrook and Sparkhill which served to increase the multi-cultural nature of the leadership team. This was a sign to the community that the Gospel breaks down barriers. At one time in 1991, we had an African, Indian and English priest together in the clergy team at Christ Church. 41 The comment from another church member interviewed from another Mission Agency helps to describe the impact of this multi-cultural vision and team ministry in the life of the church. “The Vicar lived in service to the community. He showed hope and care for all in the area, both soul and body. His perspective set the tone for the church. Like-minded people outside the area and inside were drawn to Christ Church as a result, thus establishing a core congregation with an ethos of care and inclusiveness”42 A main factor for helping the church grow as a multi-cultural community is also described by this interviewee thus: “The overall mindset of most of our congregation is being an inclusive body of believers with nearly all of us resident in the immediate area – thus providing informal interactions with a variety of cultures.”43
Christ Church Sparkbrook 1867-1992 Anniversary A Brief History by Mrs. Helen Collins, Sparkbrook 1992 p.2 41 Rev. Martin Oguike (Owerri, Nigeria), Rev. Philip & Lily Marandih (Bhagulpur, India) both CMS Bursars & Rev Simon Holloway (Bristol, UK) 42 Sparkbrook Interview No.2 July 2002 Qu.1 43 Sparkbrook Interview No.2 July 2002 Qu.5
In an examination of the Electoral Roll of the church over the last 30 years, there has been a steady growth in the mixture of the congregation, but still with a slight dominance of the white community.44 However, at one time in June 2001 it was counted that 18 different nationalities were represented in the 70 members of the fellowship. However, the three broad categories have remained African/Caribbean, Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Vietnamese) and European (British and others). In assessing whether the Gospel has broken down barriers in bringing people from diverse linguistic and ethnic backgrounds together in Sparkbrook, we must investigate the faith journeys of some of these people. Another interviewee from a Black Caribbean background came back into the life of the local church after her retirement from nursing and through Confirmation preparation. A monocultural group of Barbadons was able to gather weekly in her home for discipleship, fellowship and prayer which helped in the early stages of nurture but this person is now fully integrated into the life of the local church and has taken up a position of supported leadership.
Comments from this source about
factors in the growth of the church as a multi-cultural community include: „Encouraging activities which involve all age groups and cultures. Making the church more of a community focal point and not just as a place for one specific group.‟ 45 Another interviewee46 commented similarly as follows, „Targetted acts of service into areas that are culture-neutral ie. Age-related (lunch club) and where the servers are multi-cultural. Anything that has enabled different people
together without being a threat to each other. This has often been to do with MEALS.‟ Indeed, our Sunday worship was concluded with a Bring and Share meal monthly and this provided a good place of welcome for visitors, guests, newcomers and for the diverse cultures of the congregation to express their belonging together as one body. And during many of these activities, the Gospel has often been presented sensitively and yet directly to those in the community, especially through the means of the Jesus Video Project. Ultimately, it is an encounter with the person of Jesus that makes the difference.
See E.R. Statistics for Christ Church Sparkbrook 1972-2002 in Appendix Sparkbrook Interview No.3 July 2002 Qu.5 46 Sparkbrook Interview No.1 July 2002 Qu.5 45
The Sparkalive Churches Network
As the number of immigrants grew in
Sparkbrook, the church authorities took stock of the number of congregations and reckoned that there were too many buildings. Over many years since the Second World War, there has been an attempt to reduce the number. The number of full-time clergy decreased in the area and one Anglican Church eventually closed and was reordered to become a Sheltered Home for elderly Asian people. 47 However, the threat of closure and the context of being a Christian minority in a majority Muslim community, drew the churches together in a common vision and the Sparkalive Churches Network was born. The Gospel broke down barriers between congregations, which had previously worked separately. Out of this unity, many projects were promoted to serve and witness to the local people. To this Sparkalive network was added also a number of strategic Mission Partnerships to strengthen the witness of the local church. United Prayer & Worship has been at the heart of this network, meeting monthly on Saturday mornings and Sunday evenings. Youth and Schools Work There have been some significant breakthroughs in communicating the Gospel to the British born Asian and Black communities in Sparkbrook. There have been successive groups of local youth involved in the life of the church from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. Schools ministry, holiday clubs, camps, open youth clubs, visiting, mentoring, homework clubs and musicals have all had their part in building relationships with local families from a variety of backgrounds. The Gospel has broken down the barriers between youths from different ethnic backgrounds on camps and in clubs, where the leaders modelled the unity which comes from knowing Christ. As a witness, there is Ezekiel48 who took part as the Angel Gabriel in „Led by the Star‟, at the Symphony Hall and the NIA in Birmingham. Although he has special educational needs and suffered from learning difficulties, his participation in Malachi Trust49 musicals and Act One50 youth camps, has given him confidence in his own abilities and he obtained 8 GCSEs and is now at college training in Music Management. In addition, he is now one of the youth leaders in the church, having
Emmanuel Church, Sparkbrook see “A Bridge and a Plough” p.11 Name has been changed to protect his identity Reported in “Bridge and a Plough” p.16 49 Malachi Community Trust is a Christian charity that works with schools and churches in Birmingham, developing musicals which explore key values and issues in the lives of today‟s youth and children. It can be contacted at the Unit 410, Custard Factory, Gibb Street, Digbeth, BIRMINGHAM B9 4AA contact www.malachitrust.org 50 Act One was the name of the former Diocesan Youth Camp ministry for 11-14yr olds in Birmingham. 48
been carefully nurtured and encouraged over many years. His whole second generation black British family has also been integrated into the church. They are considering serving overseas. Schools work was also most productive in bringing down the barriers of mistrust and suspicion and fear about the Christian faith. The Gospel of Christ was the specific focus for our presentations regularly in local secondary and primary schools. A road show was prepared for Christmas, Easter and then also in the Summer, with a creative presentation of the heart of the Good News. Sometimes this approach brought a strong negative reaction from some schools. However, it was usually those teachers who had a liberal, inclusivist or pluralist approach to other faiths who objected. The Muslim and secular staff were usually delighted with our presentations. So, in some cases the Gospel did cause offence and we were not invited back to some schools. But in the majority of schools, where we had built a good relationship with the Head and other staff, there was an open door. Many children from many different backgrounds regularly heard the Good News of Jesus from our plays, talks and songs over many years. Sometimes, we would meet up with these young people years later to find that they had come to a personal faith. In the case of Ezekiel, reported above, one of our first contacts with him was through the church school he attended. Community Work The church in Sparkbrook has a long history of service to the community. Such service, inspired by the Gospel, has brought down barriers of suspicion and fear and provided an environment of peace and trust, so that relationships can be built. Out of such relationships and friendships many have come to personal faith or become open to listen for the first time. During the time of the first Vicar, Rev. George Tonge,(1867-1899) it was reported “When there was much unemployment or sickness, it was Christ Church people who organised relief and gave freely, not only food and money, but real interest and friendship, so laying the foundation of the brotherliness which has always characterised church work in Sparkbrook.”51 Similarly, after the Second World War, the church agreed to sell its Memorial Hall and land to provide a base for the Sparkbrook Association and Health Centre, while
See “Brief History” by Helen Collins, Sparkbrook, 1992 p.2
also serving on the management committee of the Association. During these years of massive overcrowding, a sociological study52 described the conflict in Sparkbrook in the mid 1960s because of poor housing and racial conflict, despite the many jobs available. This was the period of highest immigration from the Caribbean and Indian Sub-continent and the church took the lead in serving the community. Revd. Jack Reed was Vicar during that time and became founding Chairman of the Sparkbrook Association. The Gospel broke through the barriers between culture and class and faith background for the common good. Again in the 1990s another opportunity for the church to serve the holistic needs of the community presented itself. The Single Regeneration Budget (SRB) was bid for and won by the Neighbourhood Forums in the area including Sparkbrook. The Vicar of Christ Church was the first Chair of the Sparkbrook Neighbourhood Forum, in partnership with both a local Muslim and a Caribbean leader. This initiative brought in much needed funds to improve the environment53, housing, infrastructure and business opportunities in the area.54 From the Gospel motivation of being Salt and Light, bridges of friendship and trust were built through this involvement in the community, which led to many opportunities to share the good news of Christ amongst all sorts of people from a variety of ethnic and faith backgrounds. In yet another area of community involvement, a local Muslim-Christian Consultation was developed since 1980, to bring Muslim and Christian leaders together on a monthly basis for shared discussions of faith and community issues. Education was often on the agenda so Headteachers were also invited regularly. In a context of mutual respect and listening to one another, the Gospel broke down barriers of misunderstanding and bridges of true friendship were established. 55 Another way in which the Gospel has broken down barriers has been through caring for people at their point of need. Home visiting has always been a part of the ministry of the local church in Sparkbrook, but teams of two have often been sent out in recent years with Jesus Videos,56 to pray for a street or a home where things go
Rex and Moore, Race, Community and Conflict, OUP 1968 a study of racial conflict in Sparkbrook in the 1960s caused mainly by overcrowding and unemployment. 53 For example, the complete renovation of Farm Park in time for the Millenium Celebrations in June 2000 54 For a fuller account see A Bridge and a Plough, p. 16f 55 More in A Bridge and a Plough, p. 19f 56 The Jesus Video Project is sponsored by Agape, an international mission organisation with a base in Birmingham
„bump‟ in the night. Prayer for deliverance, protection and blessing have been invited and welcomed in the name of Jesus in many different homes. The Gospel does break down barriers of fear and oppression. There has been a surprisingly high take up of the Videos in Sparkbrook with two out of three being received by those who were at home. The many years of prayer, service, care and schools work have paid dividends in the openness of the local community to the church and the Gospel which it seeks to proclaim. Conclusions Has the Gospel broken down barriers in Sparkbrook? So much depends upon the receptivity of the people and the faithfulness of those who seek to communicate the gospel by both deeds and words. In the life of the church, people of many cultures and backgrounds, including a few who have come from another faith, have found their place as members of God‟s family. However, at the early stages of enquiry, nurture and discipleship in almost every case, people have been helped most by mono-cultural small groups. This has been true for Asian, Black and youth converts especially. But as they have grown in confidence and assurance, they have been able to take their part in the whole multi-cultural community of faith. In the local community, the Gospel has sometimes been an obstacle and offence as it has been perceived as a threat to the unity of the Ummah, the Muslim community. The Gospel has also been rejected in some schools, again as a perceived threat to tolerance and harmony in the school community. However, where there have been bridges of true friendship and understanding, the Gospel has been received and welcomed by people of many different backgrounds, in the schools and homes and community organisations in Sparkbrook that are working together for the common good.
3.1.2 Churches in Aston, Birmingham In Aston the method for enquiry and research was different from that in Sparkbrook. During a three -month period of Sabbatical Study, 57 I was able to worship regularly at Aston Parish Church on Sundays. I also conducted taped interviews with five people, representing the different ethnic groups in leadership in the church, including the Vicar. By way of contrast, he also conducted taped interviews in St.James‟ Church in
S. Holloway Sabbatical Report Birmingham, July 2001
Aston with four people, representing the two main ethnic groups in the leadership. The same questions were asked in all of the interviews. 58
Aston Parish Church Leadership and Vision The major factor identified in all of the interviews was the importance of the right leader with the right vision to set the direction and teaching for the whole church. Continuity of vision has been important so that over many years the same vision has been taught and implemented. A solid foundation has been laid over many years to develop a multi-cultural community church. A living relationship with God through a passionate love for Jesus is at the heart of the vision as His love is able to transcend the differences between age-groups and ethnic backgrounds. So, for example, sharing the peace in the liturgy is a highlight of the service. A recognition of being children of God together enables this church to be more than mono-cultural. There is an Asian fellowship which meets on a Saturday morning for a bi-lingual service, followed by a shared meal, every week. As this fellowship has also been more recently integrated into the life of the Sunday fellowship, so the understanding of their common identity as children of God has grown.
But this has not always been easy. Some established white and Afro-
Caribbean members have grumbled at the increased length of services where two languages are sometimes needed. But with patient, loving and persistent teaching from a united leadership team, very few have left. On the occasion when I attended both the Saturday Asian fellowship and the Sunday worship, I noted that the majority of the Asian fellowship also attended the Sunday worship. However, the Asian fellowship, which has both Asian and non-Asian members in it, seems to function as a cell group, providing a place for nurture, teaching, fellowship and belonging. It is a helpful â€žway inâ€&#x; for those unfamiliar with conventional Anglican liturgy and lifestyle. Those most comfortable with the Sunday worship are those from the second generation who have good English. It seems that many such fellowship groups for belonging around meals are important in a crosscultural setting. Belonging is an essential part of life, especially for those who have been broken and alienated through migration, unemployment, family troubles and health problems 58
See Appendix 3.1 for the questions
The vision statement of this church embraces the CMS 59 three-fold vision statement of Renewal, Evangelism and Service for Justice. And this flows from the heart of a living relationship with God through Christ, as explained above.
Figure 3.1. The Three Circles diagram.60 Loving Relationships Other factors have included the strong encouragement of lay leadership, limited development of inspired, relevant worship but especially the emphasis on loving relationships. Strangers are made welcome and one of the interviewees commented „Our church is a place where you can be yourself. You are accepted first. It is a place of Grace!‟61 Another interviewee told the story of her journey to faith. Her mother, brought up as a Hindu, was met at her point of need by an outgoing Asian Christian lady. As a result of love and much prayer, she became so hungry to know God personally that she attended worship and through that came to faith. Eventually her whole family has also come to faith and major family reconciliation took place also in answer to prayer. After her new life in Christ, her daughter remarked „Mum‟s eyes were sparkling – they 59
CMS is Church Mission Society, based at Partnership House, 157 Waterloo Road, London SW1 (formerly called the Church Missionary Society) 60 Taken from R. Bowen “… So I send you” A Study Guide to Mission. SPCK 1996 London. P. 63 61 Suzette Young 20 July 2001
had always been dull all the time before‟. As I reflect on this story, it is significant that the first contact with this needy Hindu lady was by another Asian lady, who could speak her language and relate to her at her point of need. This points to the value of making the first contact leading to faith through people of similar cultural background. I have argued elsewhere that I believe that such is often the case in the history of the church.
But for the growth and development of this lady‟s faith, she has been
encouraged greatly by English Christians who have encouraged the development of this Bilingual Asian Fellowship and also by Caribbean Christians in the whole fellowship of the church. In McGavran‟s theory of church growth, he distinguishes between „planting‟, that is coming to faith and initial discipleship and „perfecting‟, that is maturing of believers but both seek to aim towards the eschatological vision of all nations worshipping together around the throne of God and the Lamb (Rev.7:9) A further question followed to one of the interviewees, 63 namely „What has helped to introduce and sustain that love for Jesus?‟ Key things were worship, the Bible and the Holy Spirit and making such encounters not just a Sunday experience but a midweek and even daily experience of church members. It has taken some time to develop appropriate courses and materials to help people to go on growing. However, this church has adapted material from a variety of sources and made it their own. The goal has been to make faith-sharing part of the „genetic code‟ of the church. But it takes time and needs to be worked at through every part of life. The Alpha Course64 has only recently become completely lay-led after years with clergy support. This is seen as a real achievement as it has helped to develop the confidence in the lay members from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. Worship is „Anglican‟ but includes elements from many sources and traditions to make it live and feed the spiritual hunger of the people. Open prayer, silence, symbols, prayer for healing have all played their part and there is scope for much more. The different cultural traditions (from Punjabi, Afro-Caribbean and white working class brummies) of the membership, and especially of the lay leaders, has helped to feed the fellowship in ways which have embraced the multi-ethnic and multi-cultural nature of the church.
S.A.Holloway, The strengths and weaknesses of planting homogeneous unit churches Paper in part fulfilment of MA Mission (University of Wales) December 2000. P.7 Ch.4.4 63 Martin & Suzette Young (CMS) and an Asian Christian lady. 64 The Alpha Course was first prepared by Holy Trinity Church in Brompton, London. For details see www.alphacourse.org.
Feeding people‟s love for the Bible has been so important also and whenever they moved away from this, there were protests in the pews from all sections of the membership. A true hunger for God leads to a hunger for His Word, especially when they are also regularly giving out in love and service to others. Give it away and they have a continual hunger and thirst for more. This applies as a general principle to all cultures, though the way it is received may vary. As the Bible embraces a multicultural vision, as I have explained above,65 when church members are immersed in the scriptures and allow the Holy Spirit to transform them, then they will grow in that mature vision of unity in Christ across the human cultural divides. Factors to hinder or threaten the growth of the church Sometimes there have been internal battles in terms of lack of confidence or broken relationships. There has also been the danger of insularity and segregation from nonChristians and filling their lives with „Christian activities‟. However, the greatest hindrance in this demanding inner-city area of Birmingham has been the immense personal and family pastoral problems brought into the fellowship with some new members. They can be so demanding and crippling at times. Sometimes the key people, with great potential, have problems. For example, a child is born with cystic fibrosis to one Christian family and a dedicated youth worker is killed in a tragic airplane crash. Potential programmes of development have to be put aside in order just to cope with the huge pastoral needs. One reflection could be that there needs to be more training and releasing of people from different cultural backgrounds to be able to provide suitable pastoral care, releasing the fulltime staff for other activities. Spiritual oppression in the prevailing culture of the community can be wearing for those on the front-line of ministry. It is not just apathy but a feeling by many that „the church is just not for me. I don‟t belong to the church‟. And this remains despite some having a good welcoming experience at the occasional funeral or baptism. Yet even here there have been signs of hope. Because of the children‟s communion course, some parents, with no church contact for 2 or 3 generations, have become curious about what their children are up to, especially when they ask about baptism and confirmation. As a result a few parents, mainly from white, black and mixed race backgrounds, have come to faith and been baptised along with their children. And 65
See Chapter 2 Biblical Foundations for Multi-Cultural Vision
unchurched fringe children (from the same backgrounds) have been drawn in also and they have felt God‟s Blessing on their lives through the welcome of the church, despite their own broken family and little understanding of faith. These children mainly come from poor white and mixed race working-class backgrounds (white and black). I was present when one of these white working-class single-parent mums was baptised along with her children, while two mixed race lads were blessed also during the service. Could it be that children are a key to bringing God‟s blessing to the community? Blessing and belonging from an accepting church lead to growth in believing also. Children from different ethnic backgrounds meet in schools and on the street, and some form good friendships. They can be a bridge to enable their families also to form friendships and this friendship can provide a bridge for God to enable communication of the Good News to take place. There seemed to be some evidence of this happening in Aston, with the above example. However, there have been other threats and hindrances. Inflexible church structures have been a great hindrance as plans to re-order the worship space have taken so long and been blocked by central decision-making bodies.66 But there is also the danger that the confident middle-class professional church members, who have moved out of the parish, still control the life of the church and could thwart local people from growing in confidence and leadership. I do not have evidence to confirm that this is happening at present, but it was acknowledged by those leaders interviewed as a definite danger. From being a church with 60% living 1 mile from the church, they are now a church with 60% living over 1 mile from the church. There is the start of a drift to the suburbs. In church growth terms, this is known as „Redemption and Lift‟. However, this could be interpreted as the beginning of a positive move towards „indigenisation‟ of the membership and leadership of the local church. Indeed, I noted that currently the two church wardens were women, one Asian and one AfroCaribbean. The lay leaders for Communion represented all three major ethnic backgrounds also. Also, in the full-time leadership, there was 1 black youth worker, but the two clergy were both white. Many black and Asian lay leaders are in training
Specifically the Diocesan Advisory Committee of the Diocese of Birmingham
and some already equipped through 3-D67 and Readership training. However, these things take time and much encouragement. Balance between Unity and Diversity The black youth worker in his interview68 emphasised the important balance between unity and diversity. He explained that there was a Principle of both/and rather than either/or. For example, the Asian fellowship has its own language specific fellowship, yet for the rest of the week was involved in the whole life of the church. In this small group fellowship, leadership skills are being nurtured. A mission vision has grown from this Punjabi fellowship to plant a church in the Punjab, a vision supported by the whole church. Special services have significant participation from the Youth or Punjabi fellowship and this gives them affirmation. Celebration of diversity is welcomed, without insisting that others have to do it the same way. It has been important for the whole church to understand the culture of young people and the Punjabi fellowship. For example, young people may present an MC and rap song during one of these special celebrations, and afterwards they will read out the lyrics so that the whole church understands what is going on! It is the same with the songs in Punjabi. So there is an important role for interpreters in a multi-cultural community church! Bridge people are always needed The Gospel does break down barriers between cultures in a church made up of people from different language and cultural groups. However, some people are needed who can be cross-cultural interpreters and this role often falls to the leaders, or must at least be endorsed and encouraged by them. Smaller ethnic and youth cultures are affirmed and interpreted and but also made accountable at the same time to the whole body of Christ. Discernment is still needed to assess whether their contribution is biblical, helpful or a hindrance.
St. James Church, Aston.69 The main difference between this church and Aston Parish Church is that St.James is a purpose-built Church Centre, built 25 years ago to replace an inappropriate 67
Diocesan Developing Disciples course over 30 weeks, developed by the Diocese of Birmingham Dept of Ministry, 175 Harborne Park Road, Harborne, BIRMINGHAM B17 OBH 68 Taped Interview Aston No.5 Ivor Lewis 18.3.2002 69 Notes taken from a Taped Interview with Revd. Edward Furness. & Mrs. Sue Berker August 2001 and also Cephas and Maureen France March 2003
Victorian church. The community surrounding this church centre is almost entirely Muslim, equally from the Bangladeshi and Pakistani/Kashmiri community. However the congregation is 80% Caribbean and mainly over 50yrs, with just a few white members. To my knowledge, there is just one Asian member who is a member of the Lee Abbey community and has been employed as a youth worker. Why have few Asians come to faith in Christ in this part of Aston, whereas there is a lively Asian fellowship in Aston Parish Church in the neighbouring parish? There are various reasons, which can be listed as follows: Asians from Sikh and Hindu background are more open to the claims of Christ than those from a tight-knit Muslim community or ummah, as in the area near to St.James‟ Aston. In the former case, the family network may have broken down or there have been other social factors causing loneliness, isolation, poor mental health and consequent need. These factors can also be present amongst the Muslim community, but they are not so open or accessible. The work in Aston Parish was pioneered with the help of some key cross-cultural workers with the vision to establish such a fellowship. There was a „Kairos‟70 moment when that happened. Such a moment has not yet happened in St.James‟ parish, despite much good seed-sowing, as indicated below. Many Caribbean members do live in the parish, but not in the immediate vicinity of the church. However, different Caribbean Islands and different traditions of the Anglican Church are represented in the membership. It is a densely populated parish of around 5,000 with some parts 100% Muslim and others only 70% Muslim. Victorian terrace housing is occupied by the Muslims and on a post-war housing estate it is more mixed and harder to reach. There is almost no industry, very few shops and no banks, but several schools. In summary, there are two strong positive features of St.James‟ ministry in this multicultural area and primarily amongst Muslims. First of all, there has been an Effective Community Ministry based at the Church Centre.
„Kairos‟ is Greek for „the right time‟ or „appointed time‟ as in Romans 5:6; Galatians 4:4. For Aston Parish Church this came during some intercession and repentance over Apartheid in South Africa.
This has three main aspects to it, giving a long-term benefit to several generations of children and young people in the area. i)
Playgroup for 2.5-4yrs. There are 20 spaces and all are taken by members of the local community. There is good funding from the local authority and good team work amongst the local staff who represent both Christian and Muslim people.
Youth Work led by two Christian Youth Workers employed through the church and various grants. Three clubs per week are held, for nearly all boys from Muslim background aged 8-11years. There is a good partnership with the Aston Community Youth Project and it is intended to combine the two in the future.
Advice Centre led by a local Muslim but managed by a sub-group from the church council. They have around 15,000 enquiries per year and have a good track record in the community, assisting in 7 local languages.
An important question, however, is why this involvement in the lives of local Muslims has not led to any of them actually becoming part of the worshipping community of St.James‟ Aston? In terms of church growth, has this community ministry been a waste of time and effort? This is a hard question and the answer is probably yes. However, seen in terms of the incarnational ministry of Jesus, who came as a Servant, then this ministry has been well received and brought much blessing to generations of local families. Perhaps seeds are being sown which will be reaped in future years. Could this ministry of service be considered a „half-way house‟? In terms of the Kingdom of God, it continues to demonstrate the values of the Kingdom and is a sign of God at work. But in terms of building a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic congregation of followers of Jesus, this community ministry has made the church accessible and brought many people inside its doors, but the congregation has not grown multi-culturally.
But there are other reasons for this (some already listed
The cultural resistance of the strong local Muslim‘Ummah’ makes it very hard, and even dangerous, for anyone to „break out‟ at least publicly and locally.
It is tough to be able to see growth in a mainly Muslim area. To have sustained a community project of this kind for so many years is a great achievement of its own.
The cultural dominance of the Afro-Caribbean members of the congregation, many of whom no longer live in the parish, means that many of the congregation are disengaged from the immediate context of their local church.
The existing youth leaders and community leaders have found it very hard to enthuse and equip church members to take ownership of the various projects which they lead, funded by external sources. Such projects often rely upon the administrative and fund-raising skills of the overall leader to sustain them.
Secondly, there has been a Persevering and Faithful Christian Worshipping Community. Despite many discouragements and setbacks,71 there is a regular committed congregation of worshippers at this church in the midst of an Islamic community. Many have trained as worship leaders and have a great love for the Sunday worship, often leading the small evening service. They have persevered despite a very long period without a vicar before the current one came and felt close to being closed down by the central church authorities. They are concerned about the future but also praying for an awakening by Godâ€&#x;s Spirit amongst the congregation to give them greater confidence to share their faith. Conclusions from the Church in Aston. The context of ministry is different in the two churches surveyed as the latter one has a larger Islamic community. But in both cases the leadership team is strong, committed, persevering and prayerful. One key difference, however, is that Aston Parish Church has more local leadership from all cultural groups in the church community, committed to ministry cross-culturally amongst youth and children. They have potential â€žbridge peopleâ€&#x; who can help with the initial contacts to seekers from a range of backgrounds. Vision, love and prayer have sustained these churches and brought them to stability in St.James and continual growth and development at Aston Parish Church. The perseverance and wisdom of the leadership in Aston has led to the integration of the Asian fellowship into the regular life of the black and white church. Small groups have played their part but coming alongside people as trainers/mentors seems to be essential to help people gain confidence and skills in ministry as a team. Teamwork is essential to develop a multi-cultural lay leadership.
In August 2001, there was an arson attack which destroyed part of the church centre by fire.
In both churches there has been significant engagement with the local community at various levels. Ministry based in the church centre in St.James has been matched by the detached ministry of the Aston Community Youth Project in Aston Parish, though not limited to that church. Engagement with the community through New Deal and Aston Pride regeneration initiatives and partnership with Muslims in tackling Aston Villa football club, 72 have brought the communities closer together with a common justice and regeneration agenda. There is much evident joy, blessing and love displayed in the lives of the people in these churches. They enjoy being with each other and provide an attractive multicultural community as a place to belong. Those from the white community who have been alienated from the church for generations are finding a way in through their children. Broken and needy people from a variety of cultures are finding the church a place of grace, where they can be loved, accepted, forgiven and healed. God is at work among them. How much have these churches become multi-cultural congregations of followers of Jesus? To what extent do they support the proposition that „the Gospel breaks down barriers‟? At Aston Parish Church, there is strong evidence that this has been so and continues to be so as people of different ethnic backgrounds find a spiritual home in the life of the church. However, one observation could be that both Afro-Caribbean and Asian communities tend to have a stronger „God-structure‟ than the workingclass white people in post-modern and secular Britain, especially in an Inner Urban parish like Aston Parish. What is multi-cultural? Differences in culture do not only lie in different ethnicities and languages and faith backgrounds, they are also there between generations and within the ethnic white communities there are many different „tribes‟. There are indeed many sub-cultures within Britain all of whom need a „marketing strategy‟ to reach them. The same is true in the church and to build a true multi-cultural community church requires understanding of the cultural context and factors which have formed people‟s attitudes and values. Discernment is needed how best to communicate the Gospel of the Kingdom of God into those contexts. Both churches in Aston have sought creative ways to do that especially through community service 72
Over an issue of football matches timed to coincide with the main public worship services, causing congestion, distraction and problems with parking.
and equipping and releasing a lay leadership team. St.James has not managed to do the latter very well and that is of great concern for the current leaders, as the majority of the congregation are over 50years. Indeed, its outlook may look bleak unless it finds a way to engage and equip younger members soon.
3.2 Churches in Sierra Leone 2001 The Church in Sierra Leone,73 indeed the whole nation, has experienced the testing, terror and uncertainty of a prolonged Civil War74 for the last ten years (1991-2001), from which it only recently emerged. My interest in Sierra Leone75 was developed as a result of a three year period of VSO76 service in the early 1970s, based in Freetown, as an Educational Statistician. However, I was involved in a number of churches and missions
in the Freetown
area during those years and also had the opportunity, through my work, to travel to all parts of the country. After involvement in a Sierra Leone Prayer Group in Britain for several years, it was proposed to make a return visit with two other pastors
encourage the church after the years of Civil War and to find out practical and prayer needs. For the purpose of this study, one of the Charismatic Evangelical Churches is examined to consider whether the statement is true that “The Gospel Breaks Down Barriers”, particularly in the context of a number of ethnic backgrounds, religions and languages. CHRISTIANS IN ACTION Christians in Action started as an interdenominational Pentecostal Mission in California in 1957. They originally saw themselves as a para-church organisation with a special focus on personal evangelism, discipling believers and strengthening local churches. However, the early pioneers79 of Christians in Action (CinA) in Freetown gradually developed a vision for planting a church and 15 Syke Street became the 73
The name means “Lion Mountain”, taken from the Portuguese, after they viewed the shape of the mountains from the sea near to Freetown in the 16th Century. 74 The current President Kabbah has only just announced “Di Wa don don” (the War is finished) 28 th Jan 2002. 75 See S. Holloway „Are Christian Mission Schools Effective? To what extent have Christian Mission schools produced adults who have held Christian values? -A special focus on the West African Christian Mission schools in the 19th Century‟ for a short background to the history of the church and the nation of Sierra Leone and fuller bibliography 76 VSO Voluntary Service Overseas, which provided volunteer teachers and development workers for newly independent Commonwealth nations, as a replacement to National Service. It started in 1958. 77 In particular, St.Augustine‟s Church, Hill Station, Syke Street Christians in Action, St.George‟s Cathedral (Anglican), Zion Fellowship (EFSL), Youth for Christ, Christian Literature Crusade and Scripture Union. 78 For a full account of this visit see S.A. Holloway “Back to Africa 2001” A Visit of Three Pastors, February 2001, Birmingham, unpublished journal. 79 David Hall and Philip Cheale from England 1969, 1970 and then Caroline Rotz, from US in 1971, followed by Black Americans Dorris Porter & Donna Tolley 1972 , Al Vescera (US) in 1973 and Bertha Williams (US) 1974 and then Brenda Browne from Britain 1974.
home for the mission church. It started on a Sunday in 1972 with 12 people round a table and 3 years later had over 200 adults and children. There was solid and steady growth with a great emphasis on bible teaching and practical Christian service, especially faith sharing. It became a model of a Western-style English medium Charismatic Evangelical Church. Many of the early converts were from a Muslim background.80 There was and remains a strong partnership between CinA and other missions and churches in the Freetown area with a shared theological foundation. In 2001, their National Supervisor Raymond Attawia was also the Chairman of EFSL 81, a network of Evangelical Churches in Sierra Leone. There are close links with Scripture Union, Bible Study Union (a branch of PAFES) CLC, Youth for Christ and Jui Bible College. In the next phase of development, two young Canadian couples 82 took the infant church on to the next stage of consolidation and worked towards the church becoming self-financing, self-governing and self-propagating. These couples led a sacrificial and costly life of incarnational witness over many years alongside the fledgling national leaders, and left in the early 1990s
when sufficient local, fully
trained national leaders were established. Their major achievements were in the area of leadership training and helping the church work towards national independent governance. One of these couples was involved in church planting in two new locations at Kissy, in the Eastern, predominantly Islamic part of Freetown and also in Bo, the capital of the Southern Province and second city of the nation. Although the churches remained small during their time in Sierra Leone, good and solid foundations were laid which have led to further growth since they left, both in terms of new church plants and also in terms of training of leaders. In 1988, after the churches had established solid biblical foundations, they became involved in „development‟ ministries. Personal evangelism, discipleship, leadership training and church planting had already been firmly imprinted into the genetic code of all CinA churches and now they sought to move out into further holistic mission. In a deteriorating national situation concerning the economy, education, housing and medical care, it was no longer sufficient to only care for „spiritual needs‟. Alan Goerz, 80
For example Donald Osman, Abraham Sesay, See Smith p.549 EFSL is Evangelical Fellowship of Sierra Leone; PAFES is the Pan African Fellowship of Evangelical Students; CLC is Christian Literature Crusade 82 Alan and Donna Goertz and Ken and Yvonne Wiebe, both from Canada 81
when interviewed, said “We can no longer say „We are going to feed you spiritually, but we don‟t care what happens to you in the other areas of your life.‟… there seems to be no other way to say you are really concerned about a person‟s needs unless you are willing to address these needs which are so high a priority for the majority of people.”83 The Kissy church in the majority Islamic part of Freetown had piloted a successful literacy school and several Fula attending had shown interest in Christianity. Subsequently many have come to faith and the church has grown. In addition a nursery school and Christian Extension Services were established – the latter a sort of Micro-business scheme to help with income generation, for example to make soap or tie-dye cloth. The statistics for the church in 1990 are as follows: Name of Church
Limba Loko & Fula
Table 3.1. Church Statistics for Christians in Action. 1990
Over 20% of the members are converted Muslims and the variety of tribal and language groups in the church, many from African Traditional Religious backgrounds is a convincing pointer that “The Gospel Breaks Down Barriers”. In 1985, the church became nationally governed when the National Conference was formed and the church in Syke Street became fully autonomous financially in 1987, at their own request, employing two full-time pastors. During my return visit to Sierra Leone in 2001, this church had planted a number of new congregations in Freetown and Bo as well as Kenema (the capital of the Eastern Province). There are now around 3,000 attendees in 20 congregations and church plants.84
Quoted in Smith, p.553. Figures given in a phone conversation with Ken Wiebe, CinA Missionary 2.2.2002
The new statistics for this church, are approximately as follows:Name of Church 1. Central, Freetown 2. Kissy, Freetown 3. Emmanuel, Bo 4. Aberdeen 5. Grace, Wellington 6.Cassell Farm, Kissy 7. Kuntoloh, Kissy 8. Sewa Road, Bo 9. Kono 10. Waterloo Camp 11. Syke St., Freetown 12. The Way, Freetown 13. Bonguema, Kono 14. Grace Camp 15. Kenema 16. Bo Camp 17. Kebbie Town, Bo 18. Village near Bo 19. Village near Bo Ministry National Training School Development Department Eva Houston Prep School, Kissy Ken Wiebe Prep School, Bo
Attendance 300 200 120 35 40 80 35 40 300 75 90 35 25 200 n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. Attendance 200 since 1995 Suspended during rebel war 309 in 1996 197 in 2001
Status Foundation 1974 1977 1980 1988 1989 1992 1993 1995 1995 1995 1996 1996
Original â€žMotherâ€&#x; 1st Plant 2nd Plant 3rd Plant Plant by R.Attawia Plant from Kissy Plant from Kissy Plant from Emman. Adopted Plant from Central Replant of Central Plant by R.Attawia
1996 Plant from Kono 1996 Adopted/Plant from 10 Since 1996 Plant from Emmanuel, Bo Since 1996 Plant from Emmanuel, Bo Since 1996 Plant from Emmanuel, Bo Since 1996 Plant from Bo Camp Since 1996 Plant from Emmanuel, Bo Purpose Location Range of discipleship Freetown, & leadership training Central Church Tailoring School, Western Area Relief Distribution near Freetown 10 Acre Agriculture Development Project Pre-kindergarten to Kissy Church Grade Six Primary School Kebbie Town, near Bo
Table 3.2. Church Statistics for Christians in Action 19961
In addition several church planting activities were in process in the Displacement Camps for those who had to flee their homes during the Rebel War from 1990 to 2000, especially in Freetown and Bo. In all cases, they were reaching out in creative ways to those of all religious and tribal backgrounds. The language for outreach, worship and instruction is in most cases Krio, which has become the lingua franca now for all language groups in the country, though Mende is the majority language for the churches in the South.
Conclusions from Christians in Action Church in Sierra Leone. Some of the keys to growth and evidence for the integration of believers from a variety of cultural backgrounds are the following: A foundational requirement for membership is a personal relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. The doctrinal teaching of regeneration and the need to be „born again‟ is the first step. So, whatever cultural, tribal or language background they come from, the relationship with Christ overcomes them all. Secondly, there is a high doctrine of Biblical inspiration. Their Statement of Faith declares: “The Bible is the verbally inspired Word of God, without error as originally written. It is the complete revelation of God‟s will for men, and is the only standard of Christian faith and conduct, absolute in its authority.” 85 So, Scripture plays a large part in the formation of the life of the believer, in common with all other Evangelical churches in the nation. Many members of CinA are also involved with Scripture Union. Indeed, there has been a healthy transfer of workers from the two organisations. It is estimated that the majority of Evangelical Pastors in all of the churches in Sierra Leone owe their conversion and early discipleship to the extensive work of Scripture Union in Secondary Schools throughout the country. A third key to the growth of the church and the subject of the major thesis by Dr. Robert Smith86, is the emphasis on the Power of the Holy Spirit. There is another section
in their Statement of Faith, which reads thus:“It is the will of God that each
believer should be filled with the Holy Spirit, and be sanctified wholly, thereby being separated from sin and the world and fully dedicated to the will of God, receiving power for holy living, effective service and fruitful witness. This is both a crisis and a progressive experience wrought in the life of the believer subsequent to conversion.” This church downplays speaking in tongues in public, does not insist on tongues as the evidence for a spirit-filled life, but recognises others signs, such as prayer, powerful witness and other charismata. However, there is an exuberant expression of worship with a fusion of Western and African styles of music, which is most attractive 85
Quoted in Smith 1994, p.555 taken from Christians in Action Membership Standards p.1 Full title of Dr.Smith‟s PhD thesis is given in the Bibliography. For brevity, we just refer to Smith 1994 87 Quoted in Smith 1994, p.556 Section 6 in CinA Statement of Faith 86
to the city dwellers, especially the youth who are influenced by the Global Youth culture. Another evident cause for the growth of the church has been the current situation of suffering, displacement and uncertainty for the people and the members of the church. As a result of the civil war, a number of formerly unreached peoples have been accessible through the mercy ministry and direct evangelism at the displacement camps, especially in Freetown and Bo. These have been quite unstructured church plants but have led to the establishment of new churches in several villages. It can be expected that more will be founded in the future years, as those who have found Christ in the camps return to their homes. But how mixed was the context in which the churches were planted and how multicultural have they become? Can we really say that these churches support the thesis that „the Gospel breaks down barriers‟? In recent correspondence with one of the Canadian missionary couples, who have on-going links with Christians in Action in Sierra Leone, I discovered more details about the ethnic and tribal backgrounds of these churches. In response to the question „ What is the nature of the context in which the church is planted? Ie.how mixed is the neighbourhood in terms of ethnic and cultural and faith groups?‟ Wiebe writes: “Our earliest church plants were in Freetown and were most successful in reaching secondary school students and recent school leavers. Many of these would have been nominally Christian before conversion, though a significant minority were from Muslim backgrounds or had no prior denominational affiliation. The secondary school environment was multi-tribal, and therefore the churches were multi-tribal. Later churches planted in Freetown continued to be multi-tribal, and to a lesser extent so were those planted in the refugee camps. Churches planted in provincial urban centres, such as Bo, would always have a dominant tribal characteristic, though that would not be central to the church's identity. 88 Wiebe also emphasised the importance of thorough biblical discipleship at the early 88
E.mail correspondence 19th February 2002
stages of nurture for new believers from all tribal and faith backgrounds. This must be an essential key for the development of a multi-cultural church, where the common experience of new life, fulness of the Spirit and knowledge of God‟s Word transcends the cultural differences from educational, racial, tribal, linguistic or even inherited faith backgrounds. In other words, Christians in Action in Sierra Leone is a good example of a church where “The Gospel breaks down barriers”. Though the early pioneers of this church were mature men and women from American and British backgrounds, it was essentially a youth church during the first two decades of its life. Hence it attracted many dislocated and wandering, but aspiring youth who came to the big city from up-country to seek opportunities for learning, economic prosperity and meaning and purpose in life.
reflection could be that youth away from home, drawn to the urban centres of population in Sierra Leone as in many other parts of the Developing World, are more open to new things and maybe therefore open to the Gospel, when it meets them at their point of need. This has been so in Sierra Leone. Another example, which could have been taken in this study of Sierra Leone, is that of the Jesus is Lord ministries, in Freetown.
It has had a significant impact in
reaching illiterate market women, of nominal Muslim background, especially through the healing and miracles ministry of Mrs Dumbuya. 89 Dr. Smith90 writes:
Pentecostal-evangelical churches, emphasising spiritual power, miracles, healing the various spiritual charismata, are now facing up to the situation (the religious domination of Sierra Leone by Islam during the 20th Century) and making quite dramatic headway in Muslim evangelism.” The same can be said to be true of Christians in Action, which is recorded in this same thesis. So another reflection is that the Power of God seen in the Pentecostal/Charismatic evangelical churches in Freetown and elsewhere are making significant gains in producing a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural church. God is breaking through the barriers of superstition, false belief and unbelief by the Power of His Spirit. Now into its fourth decade, Christians in Action has become a maturing church with developed leadership from a variety of cultural backgrounds. It is now serving the holistic needs of the people, while giving first emphasis to the 89 90
Reported in detail in R. Smith Edinburgh c.1994 Vol III p.4 R. Smith op.cit. p.4
foundational need to be right with God through Christ and filled with His Spirit and guided by His Word This church does provide evidence that the Gospel breaks down barriers between people of different tribal, language and faith backgrounds. However, having been founded as a Youth Congregation amongst displaced young people, it could also be argued that the common experience of relocation to an Urban Centre has also been a factor in the receptivity and opportunity for such to find a place of belonging in this church.
3.3 Churches in Pakistan 1993 Because of the mainly South Asian background of the majority of the population in the Parish of Christ Church Sparkbrook, where I served for many years, the Bishop agreed to a further period of study leave to make a personal visit to the church of Pakistan. This took place in February 1993, during which time I visited several churches, schools and projects around the country. Interviews were conducted with church leaders and missionaries with many years of experience in the country. The history of the church in Pakistan varies, depending on the region, but the majority ethnic group in the church comes from descendants of the former scheduled caste of Hindus. This group, also known as the Dalits, converted in a mass movement at the end of the 19th Century, particularly in the Punjab region around Sialkot.91 So, the majority of church members have a low literacy rate, low selfesteem and poor education. This affects relations between this group and others from better-educated backgrounds. However, there has been a significant recent growth of the church amongst tribal people in the Sind province. 92 There have been a few converts from other faiths, but these are few and far between.
So the church in
Pakistan is mainly made up now of those with an inherited faith for 3 or 4 generations, some new converts from tribal backgrounds and expatriates from a 91
An account of this „Revival‟ can be found in the biography of „Praying Hyde in MILLER, Basil, Praying Hyde, The Story of John Hyde, Missionary to India and man of prayer, Ambassador, Belfast, 2000 ‟; Account of the Ethno-religious background for the Church in Pakistan can be found in David B. Barrett ed, World Christian Encyclopaedia: A Comparative Study of Churches and Religions in the Modern World 19002000. Nairobi, Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 1982 p. 542-545. See also: S.Neill, A History of Christian Missions, Penguin Books, London, 1986 p.436f See also Appendix 3.3 92 From a Taped Interview with Bishop Arne Rudvin, former Bishop of Karachi. Sun.14th February 1993 93 One well-recorded account is by Stephen Masood “Into the Light” now living in Britain Bill Musk, Passionate Believing, MARC, Crowborough, 1992
variety of countries, including other parts of the Indian Sub-Continent. There is great respect for the Christian institutions, especially the Hospitals, Schools and Colleges. The legacy of many fine Christian colonial administrators has left its mark in a positive attitude towards many aspects of Christian Missions in Pakistan. With a number of personal contacts in Pakistan, I visited the country to discover some clues from Pakistan to assist with a Ministry amongst Asians, mainly from Pakistani Islamic background, in Britain.94 For the purpose of our study, we will concentrate on the interviews conducted in one new church in Karachi, which included people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds in its membership and also a new church in Islamabad. There are lessons to be learnt about Church Planting in a mainly Islamic context and also how to build a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural church. I will also refer to some lessons learnt from the other interviews and visits. KARACHI The Kairos95 Fellowship started as a youth fellowship, following the visit of a ship to the port of Karachi in 1979. A small cell of young men started meeting for regular bible study and fellowship. They were joined by the ladies after a short while and met in rented churches or flats over many years as they began to grow. Their language for worship and teaching was English and in the cosmopolitan city port of Karachi, this was most appropriate. In fact there are four English language churches in the city. However a young leader rose from this youth bible study fellowship, married an expatriate lady and they have since become the leaders of this fellowship, which has become a church. They still do not have their own building but meet in a large „upper room‟ flat at the top of an appartment block. It is therefore accessible for young people from many backgrounds who are seeking God. Some have found Him. When the leader was interviewed, he emphasised that the main way into faith has been through the development of personal friendships, testimonies, watching a video or some other culturally appropriate means of communication. This youth church has put a high priority on worship and prayer ministry. Their vision was to see the whole city impacted by the Good News, with a demonstration of God‟s Love through His people bringing light into the darkness of the prevailing culture. There was a 94 95
A fuller account of this journey can be found in S.A.Holloway „Pakistan Pilgrimage’ Birmingham, 1993 This church has been disguised to protect its identity in a complex and difficult context in Karachi.
breakdown in law and order, modesty and integrity, as well as bribery and corruption in many places. The church is called to show a different spirit from the surrounding culture, but sadly often mirrors it. Unity of the churches is one key to breaking the hold of the prevailing culture, which so easily demonstrates a party spirit and competing factions in local and national government. The concerns for looking after the „biriderie’, the brotherhood or clan, too often overrules the need to consider the common good in both church and nation. Sadly, sometimes the church is divided into factions and therefore cannot break down barriers, because they exist within their own ranks. This has been true in some parts of Pakistan. All of the church leaders in Karachi 96 commented on the essential need to deal with the „party spirit‟ in the church, mirroring the same „spirit‟ in the surrounding society. Faith in Action. They all also commented on the need to put faith into action with appropriate community projects which both served the holistic needs of the Christian community and provided a credible witness to the majority Islamic community. The drug rehabilitation ministry
was one example of meeting an urgent need in the
whole community, both Christian and Islamic, in Karachi. The church leaders also still saw education as a high priority. Informed and confident church members, secure in their own faith, will be able to read the Scriptures and study for themselves. This is necessary in order to provide a secure background when answering the questions or criticisms of Muslim friends and colleagues. A demonstration of the Spirit‟s power was also commented on by the majority of pastors who had found that troubled people from all parts of the community now come seeking healing and deliverance in the name of Jesus. Having tried folk Islam, the pirs (Muslim holy men) and other means without success, many have found help and freedom through Christ, as His followers have prayed for them. Some have therefore joined local churches, or met discreetly. There was a great need and yet also hunger for revival to touch the mainly nominal Church members, who were lacking assurance and confidence in sharing their faith. Several churches were earnestly seeking God through prayer and fasting to this very end.
In taped interview with Bp. Arne Rudvin, the former Bishop of Karachi and others. 14 th Feb.1993 IBTIDA, sponsored by both the Church of Pakistan and Church Mission Society.
The Kairos fellowship has a multi-cultural membership. Though its services are in English, it provides a spiritual home for those, confident in English, who come from a variety of backgrounds. Because of the confidential nature of this work, we cannot be more specific in print. Conclusion in Karachi My conclusion from visits and interviews in Karachi is that the love and power of God shown through worship and ministry in the power of the Spirit is able to break through the barriers of unbelief, fear, suspicion and ignorance which are erected between peoples of different cultural heritage. Because Karachi is a „melting pot‟ of cultures and peoples, often migrated from different nations, there is a search for meaning and belonging. A spiritually alive and culturally sensitive youth congregation is meeting this need. The Gospel does break through barriers in Pakistan. ISLAMABAD This is the „new‟ capital of Pakistan, having taken over from Lahore as the seat of Government. It is like any Western developed city, with wide highways, no animals on the roads (in contrast to Lahore and Rawalpindi!), an international airport, large Mosque, embassies and the latest Western-style shopping malls. However, behind the new buildings are the Bustis or slum colonies, where around 30,000 low-paid, manual workers live in mud-built shacks. This is where the Christians live. So out of a city of around 250,000,98 over 10% are from Christian background. Nearby, however is the much larger city of Rawalpindi, which then had around 750,000 people. The Church of St.Thomas‟ in Islamabad started as a branch church of Christ Church Rawalpindi, one of the first Anglican Churches in the Sub-continent from the 1850s. For thirteen costly and sacrificial years, a missionary family from Britain lived and worked amongst this fledgling branch church in Islamabad. Through loving care of the personal needs of the people, advocacy for them in times of need, caring for their practical housing and medical needs and opening their home regularly for the church to meet, the church began to grow. After many delays and false starts, a brand new church building was completed and opened in 1987 by the Archbishop of Canterbury. It now houses two congregations – an English-speaking international community church and an Urdu-speaking national Church of Pakistan. There are two ordained leaders, one expatriate and one national, but both able to communicate in both 98
approx. figures given to the writer in 1993 by Revd. J. Arnold at St.Thomas‟ Islamabad.
English and Urdu. There is a thriving youth fellowship meeting on Thursdays and another ecumenical drug rehabilitation ministry99 is based in the Crypt of the church. Some of the key factors for the foundation and growth of the church in this city are as follows: i)
An incarnational ministry, attending to the holistic needs of the people, seeking to identify with and assist the poor. This has involved both vulnerability and sacrifice but has been most fruitful.
Another key to the growth of this church has been prayer and perseverance, working hard on the language to be able to communicate at depth and not giving up when officials put obstacles in the way of building a church in this city.
But is the church in Islamabad a good example of the Gospel breaking down barriers? Is it building a multi-cultural community church? Both yes and no is the true answer. The persistent and strong Islamic majority presence in the city makes it most difficult for Muslims to publicly break out and join the Christian community. However, the poor and marginalised nominal Christians are being reached and empowered, a church is thriving amongst the youth, the slum-dwellers, and the reclaimed drugaddicts. This church also receives a significant expatriate community from around the world into its membership, so from that angle alone it is a multi-cultural church. With its Punjabi and English-speaking congregations, and a leadership team made up of national and expatriate, it does show that you can build a multi-cultural congregation. But as in many other examples in other countries, the different language needs of the members dictates the need for language specific provision. But there are times when united worship in both languages is held and the community life is united at various levels of fellowship, service and mission.100
ICAN ministries â€“ Islamabad Christians Against Narcotics
As recorded on a Taped Interview with Revd. John Arnold, CMS, St.Thomas, Islamabad
24th February 1993.
Chapter 4 Missiological Reflections What are the questions left from our earlier studies, our look at the biblical evidence for a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural church, the changing context for our mission and the evidence from the case studies in various nations? What can we learn from the world church? How appropriate are the models and theories of church growth and development to the vision of a multi-cultural church in Britain today? Are there some key common strands to be suggested which can assist us, with God‟s help, to build a multi-cultural church in today‟s fearful, fractured society and world? Indeed, is there a potential model for cross-cultural mission which arises from these studies?
4.1 Discerning the Context of Mission and the Signs of the Times. Our first reflection is the importance of discerning the context for mission locally and understanding the signs of the times, both locally and globally. Each place is different and each nation has a unique history. The world-view and spirit of the age in different nations is different also, depending on a combination of historical and religious events which have shaped the psyche of the nation. So, one of the first jobs of a person engaged in mission, in partnership with others, is to prayerfully listen and observe what God is already up to (John 4:17). The men of Issachar who joined David when he became King were described as people „who understood the times and knew what Israel should do‟ (1 Chron.12:32). A prophetic ministry, listening to God, observing where God is working, and what is the right action to take at what time, is essential in any work of God. In a multi-cultural context, this is as true as any other, because there will be different spiritual and social factors and powers at work also. Prayerful listening, prayer walking, examining the situation from all angles, both human and divine, is needed before jumping in to minister in any way. In Pakistan and Sierra Leone we discovered that God was at work amongst rootless young people. They were aspiring for a better future and were open to be shown the love, care and vision of a better life through Christ by the mission workers
who pioneered the new churches. God was preparing the youth for something new. That was where He was at work. However, Sierra Leone has recently experienced a ten year civil war, during which many more people have been uprooted from their homes, life has become even more dangerous and so, out of their fear and desperation, many have turned to God. The Christians also have grown stronger in faith as they have needed to depend on God for provision of food and even life itself, during the uncertain days of the Civil War. But they have also been faithful and bold in prayer and sharing the good news with previously unreached tribes people who have come into the displacement camps near to the main towns and cities. In Pakistan there was a general consensus that the display of „party spirit‟ 101 was (and still is) a major factor hindering the growth of the church. The Unity of the Church is a key way forward for the church, despite the existence of the united „Church of Pakistan‟. But the roots go back deeper into the psyche of the people, with the need for some generational healing and affirmation of their common noble identity in Christ. The fact of the low caste origins of the majority of the Christian population in Pakistan has been a limiting factor in the development of the church, although good work is being done to rectify this. Many churches have a programme for extensive times of prayer and listening to God for His vision and plan for the future. In Britain the situation has been more complex, as churches in Birmingham set in a multi-cultural context have sought to listen to God for His church. The Church of England‟s Faith in the City Report was published in 1985, and followed the Mission England mass evangelism rallies in football stadia around the country in 1984. There was a tide of optimism that God was working in and concerned for the Inner Cities of Britain. And this followed the street riots in Birmingham, London and elsewhere in 1983, with clashes between unemployed youths from different ethnic backgrounds. God seemed to be saying something about the importance of the Unity of the Churches in Britain, black, white and Asian. God‟s heart was to see the church „Together for Birmingham‟102 and for many other cities throughout the land. In Aston the unity of the churches has been a significant fact for the defusing of racial tension, as pastors united on the streets to bring about calm even during the height of the riots. It has also brought about blessing upon that area of the city, as a number of well-supported joint church projects have developed, which have brought healing, advocacy, witness, concern for social justice, youth ministry and urban regeneration 101
As explained in 3.3 Karachi above A similar vision can be found in John Dawson Reaching Cities for God Zondervan, California, 1994 and Ed Silvoso, That None may Perish, ,Regal Books, California, 1994. 102
to that part of the city. It has been a time of Jubilee for Aston. But that is not the whole story. In Sparkbrook there has been a similar emphasis on persevering, united prayer amongst the church leaders and others over many years. This has led to many joint ventures of worship, service and witness. The common context of a Muslim majority community, mainly resistant to the Gospel, has brought the churches closer together in mutual support and prayer. The church is built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief corner-stone.103 In the history of the church, the Prophets have often had a hard time! 104 The successors to the Apostle – the Bishops – have often felt threatened by prophets and prophetic movements, though some Prophets have become extreme and even heretical, where not properly accountable.
important key to developing a multi-cultural church is to discern what and how God is at work, and what are the signs of the times in the context of city and nation 106. In many cases, this may then lead to repentance before any new steps forward in mission can take place. In some ways, this ties in with the Homogeneous Unit Principle(HUP). This principle suggests that we need to discern where the receptive peoples are and seek to target our prayer, resources and ministry to them and forget about the rest. It is a question of finding the „men of peace‟ (Luke 10:6), or where the fish are biting (Luke 5:4). For this we need God‟s direction and guidance.
Ephesians 2:20 See the study by S.A.Holloway Discuss the Nature and Significance of the Montanist Movement in the early church… Birmingham, August 1988 a paper in part fulfilment of MA Mission, University of Wales. 105 The Anabaptists in Europe sought to go further than the other Protestant churches in seeking to reform the church in the 16th and 17th Century. Eventually many were forced to leave the continent or escape to new countries. For example, John Calvin escaped from France to Switzerland, the Mennonites emigrated from Russia and Germany to the New World. 106 One contemporary UK ministry seeks to provide this service to the national (and even international) Christian leadership by providing social analysis and prophetic comment on the trends and events of the day. It seeks to listen both to God through His Word and to the people in the World. See Prophetic Word Ministries and their journal „Prophecy Today‟, details from website: www.the-park.net 104
4.2. Visionary, Empowering Leadership In each of the case studies I found that there was a great respect for, and love for, the godly, committed leadership. In many cases, these leaders had taken costly and sacrificial decisions to live and work in demanding areas, but God had rewarded their faithfulness. In most cases there was a longevity about their ministry, at least 10 years in the same place, but in several cases the ministry extended over 20+ years. Some of these leaders had been personally involved in planting several new churches.107 Clarity of vision, with unambiguous commitment to the Uniqueness of Christ, the need for spiritual regeneration by the Spirit, the authority and reliability of the Bible as the Word of God, and an openness to the ministry of the Holy Spirit, all characterised healthy, multi-cultural churches. These churches knew where they were going as they were ably led by anointed and committed leaders. Christians in Action in Sierra Leone has these three elements of vision clearly built into the „genetic code‟ of the church. Every member knows that they need a new spiritual birth in order to belong to the body of Christ. They will grow as they spend time studying and applying the Word of God. They also know that, without the help of the Holy Spirit, they will die, both spiritually and sometimes physically! They have learnt, through the experiences of a bloody civil war, that it is a matter of life or death to depend on God and let Him direct you every day. With this firm foundation, they were also seeking to develop appropriate caring ministries, within their local communities, at the point of need. The churches in Pakistan on which I reported also have this commitment in their foundation. The „Kairos‟ fellowship in Karachi is committed to the systematic preaching and teaching from the Word of God, open and obedient to the Holy Spirit and emphasises the Uniqueness of Christ, who alone can bring us to new birth and to know God as Father. Again, the commitment of the leaders over many years has led to the stability and growth of the church. In Islamabad the pioneers of the church gave a costly and sacrificial „incarnational‟ ministry over many years, with similar foundations, but also took seriously the practical needs and concerns of the Christian underclass in the slums of the new capital city. 107
For example, Raymond Attawia, former National Supervisor of Christians in Action, Freetown.2001 See Ch.4.2, table 3.2…
In Birmingham the Aston Parish church leaders had also been around for many years, maintained and developed the vision for a multi-cultural and integrated church, with the three-fold vision of Renewal Evangelism and Social Justice. While the latter dimension was part of the foundation of some churches, particularly those with a CMS mission foundation, it was also recognised as essential in newer churches. But this only came after some years laying the foundation of the other three dimensions – The Uniqueness of Christ for Salvation, The Authority of the Bible as the Word of God for spiritual growth and the ministry and gifts of the Holy Spirit to empower for Service.
Similarly, in Sparkbrook, there was a long-term commitment by a
substantial number of the leaders to see the church grow and develop, despite the difficult context of a majority Islamic community. The same evangelical vision and commitment to scripture, as well as a concern for the whole needs of the community, are evident in the foundations of Christ Church Sparkbrook. The newer youth churches in Freetown and Karachi had come to recognise the need to develop practical community ministries to complement the other aspects of their ministry of the Word and Spirit. 108 Their motivation was to help their members and others in the community to see that God cares for them in every part of life. Such leadership has also sought to empower others and encourage members from all sections of the church community to grow into ministry and leadership. Care is also taken in monitoring the formation of a godly character to go alongside the development of skills and ministries. In inner city areas in Britain this has been most demanding and has not always been successful, by frank admission from one of the church leaders in Aston109. However there were many signs of hope, and in every church I visited, there was a vigorous and well-supported lay-training programme110. In Aston, Aston Parish Church (also known as St.Peter and St.Paul) actively pursue Alpha, Emmaus, 3-D courses and adapt others to encourage people into shared, 108
The recent series of videos from the Sentinel Group entitled Transformation, have shown how Social Transformation in every area of community and even national life can be effected. This comes in response to united leadership, persevering prayer and confident, loving believers who are willing to obey God in serving the poor and challenging the injustices in the community and nation. Uganda is one current example where God has been at work in these ways. See The Sentinel Group.Transformation II – the Glory Spreads. 109
See the explanation in 3.1.2 St.James Aston In Sheffield, St.Thomas Crookes runs a one-year discipleship programme for gap-year or recent graduates (called YAPS). This can be followed by a second year for more in-depth training in various areas of ministry. Mature adults can also „buy into‟ this teaching on a part-time basis. From an Interview at St.Thomas Crookes with Revd. Arlene Moore 17th July 2001 110
team ministry. Many have trained to be involved in Healing Prayer ministry. Also in Aston, St.James have encouraged many to train as Worship Leaders, but had failed to pass on the vision for Youth ministry to church members. In Sparkrook almost a third of the congregation was mobilised into Mission, mainly through hands-on apprenticeship training. A number of members were sent out into service in the overseas mission fields and even more into the mission field in UK and surrounding the church. Involvement in schools and community work was passed on to other church members and the good news passed on through lay teams visiting in the community. In Freetown Christians in Action have many church members involved in regular Leadership Training, all nationally led. But much training also came through on-thejob mentoring, for example by involvement in a mission team working in a Displacement Camp for refugees from other parts of the country, or in the Rehabilitation Camp for Amputees. In Islamabad St.Thomas Church recognised that training of the lay leaders, giving them confidence to answer questions from their Muslim friends and even from their children, was a vital role for the church. The Australian CMS mission partner/Vicar of the church had not been long in the church but already saw this as a key next step. His Pakistani assistant, working especially with the local youths, was doing the same and leading by example, seeking to train up a team to assist him. The â€žKairosâ€&#x; Fellowship in Karachi were engaged in empowering in the area of worship during my visit. Dedicated, empowering and motivating leadership is vital to help keep the vision alive and is a compliment to the first dimension of listening to God and understanding the signs of the times, discerning where God is at work in the context. An apostolic style of leadership is needed in such a situation. Indeed, several of the leaders whom I met seemed to show such gifting. They were pioneers, willing to take risks, leading by example, wholehearted, dedicated, and anointed by God. The Apostle Paul, in writing to the church in Corinth, emphasised the need to plant the seed and lay the foundation which others could build upon, but the only true foundation for any lasting work is Jesus Christ.111
1 Corinthians 3:6,10,11
4.3. Perseverance in Suffering. Our third reflection is that for any work of God to thrive, especially in demanding areas of social deprivation and amongst the poor, which is where cross-cultural ministry is so often located, perseverance and patience under suffering is essential. In each of the case studies there have been some times of suffering and opposition to the work of God, but perseverance has been shown despite the pain and difficulties. In Sierra Leone the opposition and suffering has mainly come from the external sources as the Rebel War has put the whole question of the future of their lives in doubt. Not only in Christians in Action, but in many other churches, I heard stories of God‟s faithfulness, the people‟s perseverance in prayer, forgiveness and loving action to the rebels and God‟s deliverance in many situations. However, some pastors did lose their lives, several were martyred, some refused to leave their church buildings or homes and were destroyed. Such suffering has brought the churches closer together; there has been a deeper dependence on God in prayer and a wholeheartedness in witness. 112 Compassion and renewed zeal has also resulted as Christians, who have been spared by God, recognise that God has a purpose for their lives and they are willing to go anywhere and do anything for Him. In Pakistan there is the continual threat of violence from the Islamic extremists, despite many years of peaceful co-existence with the Muslim majority. There is fear that Christians are allied with the West and are not properly loyal to the nation. However, this is a pretence and the suffering of the Pakistani Church in Bhagulpur and Shantinagar in recent years has left its mark on the whole Christian community. Perseverance is shown in the continual ministry and witness of the Drug Rehabilitation ministries in many cities and the search for unity amongst the church leaders, despite the „party spirit‟. There is also persistence in prayer for the nation, which challenges many Western churches.113
For example, Intercessors for Sierra Leone, a branch of Intercessors for Africa, has been born out of this time of hardship. 113 The churches in Karachi and Islamabad which I reported and the other 6 churches which I visited in Lahore, Karachi, Gujranwala and Sialkot all have regular daily prayer meetings.
In Aston the opposition has come from other sources, mainly in the lives of church members, who have suffered illnesses, depression, huge pastoral problems and in one case death in a flying accident.
The unity of the pastors and the loving
fellowship of the church have helped perseverance, so that problems and burdens are shared, prayed for and left in the hands of God. In Sparkbrook Christ Church has persevered through many years of disappointment or blocks over the expansion or development of the church building. There has been persistence in prayer in partnership with other local churches also in the context of a resistant Muslim majority community. Four times in my own ministry experience in Sparkbrook the following verses from the letter of James have struck me. “BE PATIENT…. STAND FIRM…..PERSEVERE…” James 5:7-11 Why is this necessary? The work is hard; the people may be unresponsive and there is spiritual opposition from a variety of sources. The form of opposition is different in different places. 114 It was the same in the ministry of Jesus; it has been the same down through the history of the church and it is no different today. Why does this happen? „An enemy has done this‟ was the comment after weeds had been sown amongst the wheat in the parable of the weeds (Matthew 13:28). Jesus recognised satanic activity yet did not instruct his disciples, through this parable, to „pull out the weeds‟ in case the wheat was removed also. Instead, both were left until the harvest. The judgement and the separation between the true and the false will happen only then. And God will be the judge. So, perseverance under suffering and opposition is a quality of character that is needed in any Christian ministry. There is an enemy about, a wrecker who seeks to „steal, kill and destroy‟ (John 10:10), but Jesus has come that we might have full and abundant life. Looking to Him and depending on Him all the time provides the strength to continue. Such endurance, perseverance, patience and standing firm under opposition or suffering have been marks of all the churches in multi-cultural areas which I have visited. It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and much needed in areas of multiple deprivation and need amongst the poor in our multi-ethnic cities of the world.
See Rev.Dr. Rowland Croucher, Director of John Mark Ministries „What does a Healthy Church look like?‟ p.1Three causes: 1. Self-inflicted wounds; 2. Persecution; 3. Spiritual lethargy, nominalism, triumphalism (west/older church) and syncretism (sub-Saharan Africa & Latin America)
4.4. Encouraging Small Groups From the case studies there is a mixed response to the importance of small groups, as there is a fear on one hand that they become inward-looking and can lead to division. On the other, however, small groups with a definite outward focus of service and ministry seem to be effective and a key dimension for the training and release of church members into ministry and service. The homogeneous unit principle has NOT been adhered to in several churches, but then neither has the ministry of small groups „taken off‟ in those churches. Where there are massive personal and family pastoral needs, small groups in homes have not worked. Some cultural groups within the church have been most resistant to opening up in the privacy of their homes. They would rather meet in the church building. But with these provisos, the emphasis on team-work in a small group dimension has indeed been a key way for people to grow in spiritual understanding and experience of ministry in all the churches surveyed. But the way that such groups work has been very different from the recognised norm in churches in other social settings. In Aston there are few, heterogeneous small groups, just 3 meeting weekly at the Parish Church. But there is much team-work in the church in other ways, especially in serving in a whole variety of church ministries, including Alpha. There is a separate Asian fellowship meeting weekly on Saturday mornings, for bi-lingual teaching and worship, followed by a meal. But this group is also integrated into Sunday worship with the black and white congregation.
At St.James, the small group working
together also happens through the ministries in the church and the worship team, which prepares and leads Evening Services. In Sparkbrook small groups that have worked best have been those with an outward mission focus. A visiting team, a schools team, a youth work team, a children‟s work team have been some of the groups which have been most effective. However, small groups for prayer and fellowship were deliberately set up with a mixture of ethnic and age backgrounds. These have provided a valuable place for nurture, care and spiritual growth over many years. However, in the early stages of discipleship, a group of like-minded people has been found to be the most effective. This supports HUP for the start of the spiritual journey but not for on-going faith development.
In Pakistan the „Kairos‟ Fellowship started as a „Cell Church‟, as a group of teens meeting for weekly bible study and prayer. As they have grown, they have maintained this small group dimension to encourage spiritual growth and service. In Islamabad and Karachi, the Drug Rehabilitation ministry is based around small group work and has been effective in bringing people to faith and sustaining them in their faith afterwards. In Sierra Leone small groups are hard to sustain as housing is cramped and so every small group is really an extended family, intergenerational cell-group! However, training does play a large part in the life of the church and small groups of 2 go out on „Action Night‟ in faith sharing teams, following the training model of Jesus in Luke and Matthew 10. Church Planting Teams are small groups with an outward focus in mission and have been most effective as the church has grown from 1 to 20 congregations in 30 years. They started, as in Karachi, as a youth congregation or „cell church‟, just 12 people meeting round a large table in a home. In all cases, there was an emphasis on developing a loving, accepting and welcoming fellowship, where grace is shown to people. This is indicated by the surveys in 1990.115 The reason for belonging was such acceptance and friendship in the fellowships. It was also the reason why people stayed and, if it broke down, why they left. Maintaining a loving fellowship in the context of some disunity in Pakistan has been very hard. In summary, we can see that small team work with an outward focus is the essential dynamic needed for small groups in multi-cultural areas, lest they become introspective and divisive. However, the way such groups function may NOT be based on the home. A loving fellowship is also shown especially where there is a common threat. Opposition often drives people together in dependence on God and mutual dependence on each other. Why is Sierra Leone different? With these in place, the Gospel can and does break down ethnic barriers between those who have come to faith in God through Christ. It is possible to build a multicultural community church, as each of the above churches bears witness. However, it is valuable to note why there has been a greater number of people from other faith 115
See S. Holloway, Surveys from Churches in Multi-cultural settings, 1990, Birmingham, unpublished paper.
backgrounds joining the church in Sierra Leone than in the other nations. The answers can be found in several ways. My own observations are the following: i)
The context for mission has been one of great uncertainty during the civil war. Many people from many different faiths and tribal backgrounds have been more open than usual to hear the message of the Gospel. Their usual means of security and belonging have been blown away, possibly literally – as homes were burnt and parents shot. They found their hope and security in Christ.
Muslims in Sierra Leone do not look or sound any different from the Christians. Their dress and language was the same and there have been long and cordial relations between both communities. This is not the case in Britain. It would be much tougher for a Muslim in Britain to leave his community and join the Christian community, although a few do.
The founding missionaries laid a strong foundation in outreach and mission in the early years, so that everyone who became a part of Christians in Action expected to be a fully equipped and mobilised worker for God. There were few passengers. This has also been the case in the „Kairos Fellowship‟ in Karachi, but the social context is very different there, with a large and dominant Muslim majority community.
Conclusion These four dimensions are keys for mission in a multi-cultural context. We need to prayerfully understand our context. There is a need for leadership with a clear vision and commitment to the Uniqueness of Christ, the Authority of God‟s Word and the Power of the Holy Spirit. But this is not sufficient without a united ministry team of committed and trained members, who will learn to share their faith and serve at the point of need to make a difference for God‟s kingdom. Perseverance and prayer are necessary to see God‟s kingdom established in this context, as in any other. But, above all else, it is God‟s love which gives the vision, the motivation, provides the „glue‟ to unite the fellowship and the ability to persevere!
Chapter 5. Conclusions A Model for Mission in Multi-Cultural Areas. Both the Homogeneous Unit Principle (HUP) and the Natural Church Development (NCD) model are applicable in a Multi-cultural context, in my view. But no model can fully capture how the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord will work in a given context. There does need to be a dependence on God for Him to reveal the way forward and the appropriate type of ministry which is needed. However, the witness of Scripture and the History of the Church can be wise guideposts along the way, as the Spirit will not contradict what He has already revealed in Scripture and we can most certainly learn from both the successes and failures of the church down through the centuries. But there is also a place for the Renewed Mind, transformed by God‟s Spirit, to think deeply and reflect carefully how to communicate the timeless message of the Gospel into our contemporary world. Our mind matters to God and he is able to use us to think how to engage with the people who are without faith in God and unable to understand or discern the truth. One model which has grown in me over the last few months, has been developed as a result of these studies and also various other experiences over the last few years, through contact with national ministries116 seeking to discover new ways of being church in our multi-cultural and post-modern age. The Five Dimensions of this Model117 can be assessed in relation to the case studies already referred to above.
Alliance of Asian Christians, part sponsored the “Rainbow People” 1997 and “Jewels in His Crown” 2000 conferences, both looking at new models of discipleship amongst British Asian Christians. New Wine is a network of Anglican Churches (and others) seeking renewal within the church in England. Their key values are “God loves His whole Church” and “New Wine before the New Wineskins” for more details see: www.newwine.org 117 See Appendix 5.1 for more details of this proposed Model plus a brief explanation
1.Blessing The WORD of GOD
Prayer, Healing, Compassion, Unity
Transformatio n, Lifestyle, Love
The SPIRIT of GOD
2.Befriending Trust, Relationships
Knowledge, Understandin g, Commitment
Communit y, Family
To, for togeth er
FIGURE 5.1. A Model for Cross-cultural Mission and Church Growth.
The five dimensions of this model can be assessed in relation to the case studies already referred to above.
1. BLESSING. In so many situations, the way in to someone‟s life, whether as an individual or as part of a group (family, tribe or sub-culture) seems to have been through their experience of God‟s blessing on their lives through God‟s people. The way this has been expressed may vary but there has been some expression of God‟s love to convince the recipient that God cares for them and has power to change their lives. This can be seen in the ministry of Jesus as he healed the sick, cast out demons, fed the hungry, touched the untouchables, mended the broken-hearted, restored the unclean, calmed the storm and even raised the dead. Some Signs of the Kingdom of God at work in power are shown to give a wake-up call that God is around and able to help. In Sierra Leone there were many stories which I heard about prayers answered, amazing angelic deliverances119, the sick healed and provision made in the nick of time. In Pakistan some blessing was experienced through the prayer ministry of the 118 119
This model owes much to insights from the Alliance of Asian Christians and also the New Wine network See S.A. Holloway “Back to Africa” March 2001. Tape recordings from interviews in Freetown and Bo
Drug Rehabilitation ministries, where God‟s power to heal and deliver was seen. Further blessing was experienced also through the ministry in Islamabad which took great care and interest in the poor in the Bustis, both in terms of their spiritual and physical needs. In Aston there was evident blessing from the unity of believers and their great love and the grace of God amongst them. Grace for salvation and the blessing of healing came despite suffering. Just being there, and caring for the practical needs for advice, child care and youth work have also won the respect of the community and opened the door for further blessing. In Sparkbrook the unity of the churches, community involvement, use of spiritual gifts in prayer ministry in homes, the schools ministry and long-term availability have all brought open doors for blessing and welcome in the local community for the Gospel. Living within and for the local Multi-cultural Community, followers of Jesus who have been touched by the Spirit of God, and whose lives are directed by the Word of God, will seek to be a Blessing to that community. This comes through a persevering life of love and service, looking to Christ as the Centre to sustain and nurture that life. Blessing has also come through answered prayer, healing, miracles, provision and many other ways.
2. BEFRIENDING. Out of an experience of Blessing, so often in answer to prayer and where „brethren dwell together in unity‟ (Psalm 133), can develop friendships of trust. It is the bridge of friendship and trust that God uses so often to draw people to Himself. In the 1990 surveys, it was evident that friendship and family relationships were the two key ways into the life of faith and membership of the Body of Christ. But this friendship needs to be genuine and long-term, able to overcome barriers of misunderstanding and fear. The building of such friendships in multi-cultural areas is essential and has been shown to be effective as a means of drawing people to faith. The example in Aston of the Asian Christian who befriended an Asian Hindu lady through a language class is one to note. From the bridge of friendship, the Christian was able to share her own story of faith, pray for her friend and assist her when she wanted to come to faith in Jesus Christ for herself. Many other examples can be told from the stories of all the other churches surveyed. Friendships matter to God.
Out of the experience of being a Blessing for a local community, the next stage will be to Befriend local people of all ages and cultures, having earned the right to speak to them about faith issues. Friendship and trusting relationships are the foundation for the next phase of cross-cultural mission and church planting.
3. BELONGING. After experiencing friendship and some mark of God‟s blessing, sometimes simultaneously, there is often a desire to find out more and seek to belong, find a place of meaning and identity and purpose. Once friendships are in place, built upon loving service and relationships of trust, then there is a sense of Belonging and a desire to investigate what it is like to belong to the community of faith in Jesus Christ. The small group fellowship, koinonia or cell-group is a fundamental unit for belonging. Several cells make a congregation and several congregations make a celebration. There are several dimensions to this Belonging. Humans are created to be social creatures and to live in partnerships. God said to Adam “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18). So there is meant to be a partnership between men and women, uniquely in marriage. But then God also wants to „put the lonely in families‟ (Psalm 68.6.), so that no one feels isolated or lonely or unsupported. In our fractured and broken world, these natural safety nets and partnerships have been broken for many people. However, the church is called to be a family of God‟s people, with God as Father and all members as brothers and sisters through their relationship in Christ. So, there has been an important rediscovery of the value and importance of small groups in many churches and nations, as an alternative family for the broken and lonely. A place of belonging and significance and care and loving support is provided by these new kinship groups. The Alpha course in so many different types of churches has provided one successful model of belonging, around a shared meal, talk, worship and informal discussion and prayer. It is transferable to many cultures. Each of the churches surveyed has found success in integrating new members through small groups, hospitality and providing a place for belonging.
4. BELIEVING. Honest seeking and enquiry follows out of this sense of belonging and friendship, with opportunity to raise questions, look at the Bible and investigate the essence of the Gospel message to consider Believing.
The journey to faith has varied lengths, depending on so many factors, such as personal, family and national history, temperament and lifestyle, education and opportunity. However the availability of authentic witnesses who have become friends, and with whom we can in some sense belong and ask our awkward questions, seems to be a key for the faith journey of many people. Of course, there are some cases of direct divine intervention (such as the experience of Saul on the Damascus road, recorded in Acts 9), but there is almost always some human witness or encouragement to faith. Even Saul had witnessed the martyrdom of Stephen and was encouraged by the prayers and words of Ananias (See Acts 7:54-8:1 & 9:17-19). The journey of faith also is not a solo one but in company with others with whom we belong . In the multi-cultural setting of the churches which have been surveyed, the strongest obstacle to belief in Jesus as the Way to God comes from the alternative community or Ummah of the Muslim extended family. Those who have responded and believed from other faith backgrounds already have some brokenness in their extended family belonging. Either they have moved out of their family home, as in the case of the young rootless in Karachi or Freetown, or there has been family breakdown as in the case of the former Hindu family in Aston. Believing and Belonging are so closely linked for people in most cultures. The influence of the peer group can also be immense for young people from whatever culture. Acceptance, belonging, significance, authenticity are all important values built into our human makeup, but especially for young people who are still discovering their own identity and purpose in living.
5. BEHAVING. Christian Behaving develops as the result of believing and belonging to the Church, the community of faith in Jesus Christ, as the Holy Spirit transforms our lives, in accordance with the Biblical revelation. In effect, this is the last stage of discipleship which continues to develop for the rest of our lives on earth. It is the process of growing into spiritual maturity. All of the other steps are vital ones and need to be continuous to enable spiritual growth to maturity to continue unhindered. Sadly, there has often been a precondition of certain behaviour before acceptance and belonging to the family of God. Inappropriate
traditions, rules and behaviour patterns can become obstacles to belief and belonging. Many of these are culturally determined rather than biblical mandates. For example, we found in Sparkbrook that some children from dysfunctional families would come to our services, especially when they knew that there would be a shared lunch afterwards! The parents did not come and it became a source of friction between church families, their children, older church members and these needy children. Their behaviour was unacceptable. However, love found a way as three families in the church agreed to take turns in „adopting‟ these children, showing them love and attention and providing discipline where needed. What happened? Their behaviour changed as they were shown love and affirmation. Belonging led to acceptance and affirmation and this led to a change in behaviour. The question of belief also grew as the children asked questions about the services and why we did various things the way we did. Belonging in the form of welcome and acceptance after some experience of blessing through the food and friendship from the adoptive families really did lead to questions of faith and change of behaviour. This proposed model for mission in multi-cultural areas suggests it is possible for the barriers between peoples to be broken down by the Gospel as it is lived out by the church in the world. Where God‟s people live in unity, there God commands blessing. This blessing often leads to friendships which lead to a sense of belonging and an enquiry about the beliefs of those who show a different way of living. Transformation in behaviour can then take place through faith in Christ and the love of God received.by the Holy Spirit. This Gospel of the Kingdom, it is suggested, does break down barriers between people and prepares us for the Banquet in heaven, where many from all nations will be gathered (Luke 13:29) and where a great multitude from every nation, tribe, people and language are standing in worship before God‟s throne (Rev.7:9f)
APPENDIX 1.1 CHURCH GROWTH SURVEY QUESTIONS Jamaica, Florida. 1990
1.Why do you think people have joined this church? Why have you?
2.What do you like MOST about this church?
3.What like to see CHANGED in this church?
4.What like to see ADDED to the life of this church?
5. What, in your opinion would make the church GROW more in numbers and commitment?
6. Other comments:
APPENDIX 3.1 Questions for Interviews in Britain. 20012003 THE CHURCH IN ASTON & SPARKBROOK Name of Church: Date of Interview/Survey: Please answer the questions in light of the proposition for my Thesis which is “The Gospel Breaks Down Barriers – an exploration of Mono-cultural and Multicultural Churches, with Case Studies in Britain, Sierra Leone and Pakistan” I am exploring how possible it is to build a MULTI-CULTURAL Community Church, what helps or hinders this and any factors which are really important. I need to interview people from each major cultural group in each church taken as a Case Study – 1) What factors have helped in the growth of the church, both in quality and numbers ?
1.1 “What has helped to introduce and sustain your love for Jesus?”
2) What factors have hindered or threatened the growth of the church?
3) How has the community changed in the last 10 years and what has been the church‟s community involvement?
4) How has the United Church Networks helped you and the Church in Sparkbrook?
5) What has helped specifically with the growth of a multi-cultural community church?
6) What part has small group ministry played in developing a multi-cultural church?
7) How has prayer developed in the life of this church?
8.) Please score the 8 Qualities of Natural Church Development from strongest to weakest. 10 strong……………… 1 weak
No. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.
Quality Empowering Leadership Gift-oriented Lay Leadership Passionate Spirituality Functional Structures Inspiring Worship Services Holistic Small Groups Need-oriented Evangelism Loving Relationships
Score (10 – 1)
Please explain especially any HIGH or LOW scores!
Any Other Comments? Name: …………………………………… (Optional)
APPENDIX 3.2 Interview Questions Sierra Leone 2001
1. What has helped or hindered the church to grow, especially as a place where people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds find a home under the common Lordship of Christ?
2. What is the nature of the context in which the church is planted? Ie.how mixed in the neighbourhood in terms of ethnic and cultural and faith groups?
3. To what extent have relations with other churches in your area helped the church to grow overall in the city?
4. What part if any have Small Groups played in the development and growth of the church?
5. Reflecting on the 8 Quality Characteristic of Growing Church (from the Natural Church Development model), how would you score them from 1 (weakest) to 10 (strongest)?
6. What changes would you make to enable the church to become a more faithful and multi-cultural community church?
APPENDIX 3.3 Interview Questions in Pakistan 1993 1. What is the history of the church.
2. What are the factors which have helped the church to grow?
3. What are the factors which have hindered church growth?
4. What are the needs in the church at present?
5. How do you view relations with other churches?
6. What is the vision for the church over the next 10 years?
7. What insights into world mission have you received or could you contribute to the world church?
8. What is your view of the renewal and charismatic movement? 9. How can the church in the West help you? 10. Any further comments?
Table 3.1 Britain Population and Faith Statistics Population Statistics Population in Thousands 2000 529 440 129 176
Ethnic Background Black-Caribbean Black-African Black-Other (non-mixed) Black-Mixed
Percentage of total minority ethnic population 13 11 3 4
Indian Pakistani Bangladeshi
984 675 257
24 17 6
Chinese Other-Asian (non-mixed)
Other-Other (non mixed) Other-Mixed
4,039 53,004 57,057 7.1
All minority ethnic groups White TOTAL POPULATION120 All minority groups as % of total
Source: Population Trends 105 Autumn 2001, Office of National Statistics Table 1 Population by Ethnic Group, 2000, Great Britain
Estimated 121religious community affiliation and active membership in 1995, with percentage of total population Religion Affiliation Membership Millions Percent Thousand Perce nt Trinitarian Churches 38.1 65 6,361 10.9 Non-Trinitarian Churches 1.3 2.2 522 0.9 Muslim 1.2 2 580 1 Sikh 0.6 1 350 0.6 Hindu 0.4 0.7 155 0.3 Jewish 0.3 0.5 94 0.2 Other 0.3 0.5 116 0.2 TOTAL
Source: Population Trends No.105 Autumn 2001 Office of National Statistics Table 3
Includes ethnic groups not stated. Note: The 2001 Census has details of religious affiliation but at the time of compiling these figures, the above was the latest published information available. The figure for Trinitarian Church affiliation in UK has been published in the National and Church Press as 72% 121
TABLE 3.1.1 Sparkbrook Church Statistics 73 ELECTORAL ROLL STATS 1972-2002 YEAR
White Black Asian Total
1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
CHRIST CHURCH SPARKBROOK
72 + 84 + 72 + 84 +
39 43 48 40 42 44 42 47 47 43 36 25 23 29 29 28 31 33 38 43 44 45 40 41 37 40 45 45 42 41 27 1197
15 26 26 37 34 34 23 23 27 28 27 28 25 25 24 25 31 32 36 38 35 33 28 28 25 24 25 25 24 24 27 862
0 0 0 0 0 1 1 2 2 2 2 0 2 2 2 2 0 3 1 4 5 8 6 5 5 6 7 6 5 6 7 92
54 69 74 77 76 79 67 72 76 73 65 53 50 56 55 55 62 68 75 85 84 86 74 74 67 70 77 76 71 71 61 2152
Res Non Res
23 29 28 29 28 30 26 28 26 22 20 12 11 16
31 40 46 48 48 49 41 44 50 51 45 41 39 40
21 26 31 34 33 33 26 27 31 29 27 24 23 25
33 43 43 43 43 46 41 45 45 43 38 29 27 31
24 30 30 29 26 28 22 22 25 24 20 21 21
51 55 54 57 48 46 45 48 52 34 51 50 40
36 36 37 40 35 38 33 31 34 34 36 39 34
39 49 47 46 39 36 34 39 43 42 35 32 27
Source: Annual Return of Electoral Roll Membership 1972-2003 Christ Church Sparkbrook, Birmingham
TABLE 3.2.1 Sierra Leone Population by Tribe Statistics POPULATION STATISTICS :Tribal Populations and Districts Tribe Mende
Population 1,000,000 30%
268,000 10% 162,000
Fula (or Fulani)
Districts East and Central S.Leone & Western Liberia; esp. Bo, Pujehun, Kenema, Moyamba, Bonthe, Kailahun Western coastal & central areas, Port Loko, Bombali, Tonkolili, Kambia (majority tribe in Freetown) Northern Province, Makeni to Guinea Koinadugu District & Guinea Many districts as traders, esp. in Koinadugu, Bombali, Kono, Bo, Kenema & Freetown Scattered in North central and mid-east., Guinea traders North East area of S.L. on border with Guinea Eastern Province, Kailahun and Kono + Guinea and Liberia Northern Province
Source David E. Skinner
Source: “A Survey and Theological Analysis of the Spiritual and PentecostalEvangelical Churches in Freetown, Sierra Leone, with Special Emphasis on the Influences of the Indigeneous Religious Pneumatology.”PhD Thesis by Donald Robert Morrison Smith. 1994. Edinburgh. See Section One (vol.1a) which surveys the religious scene – especially Islam, indigeneous pneumatology and its power structure. P.9
TABLE 3.2.2. CHURCH STATISTICS in FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE Denomination Anglican Roman Catholic Methodist Ch. of SL
No.of churche s 18 8 (1) 20
Adult Males 1,032 1,277 727
Adult Femal e 980 1,051 767
577 633 780
2,569 2,991 2,274
United Methodist 12 735 698 535 Ch. West African Meth 12 370 440 420 Wesleyan Ch. of SL 6 African Meth.Episc 10 Spiritual Churches 34 (18) 981 1,783 1,179 Pentecostal Evangel 104 (77) 4,030 4,684 3,345 ALL CHURCHES 224 Mainline Protestant 103 (27) Source: The 1990 Greater Freetown Church Survey122
1,969 1,230 715 566 3,943 12,059 20,316
Note: The only available statistics now are the estimated figures for Christians in Action, Sierra Leone giving their growth over the ten year period 1990-2000 as shown earlier. Due to the Civil War from 1991-2001, there has been much migration and displacement. No accurate statistics have been kept recently.
Conceived by Scott Morley of Youth with a Mission (YWAM) as part of the YWAM mission strategy for Freetown and Sierra Leone. It was completed by the Evangelism and Missions Department of the Evangelical Fellowship of Sierra Leone (EFSL), as part of its Target 2000 Evangelistic Research Programme for the whole of Sierra Leone. See. Dr. Robert Morrison Smith vol.III p. 598-600 Numbers in brackets are number of NEW CHURCHES planted since 1980
TABLE 3.3 Pakistan Population and Faith Statistics 1995
PAKISTAN. Population: Ethnolinguistic groups (based on 1972 figures): Punjabi 59.8%, (Jat 6.6%), Sindhi 12.6%, Pushtun 8.5%, Urdu 7.6%, Baluchi 2.5%, Brahui 0.9%, Gujarati 0.6%, Kho 0.3%, Hindi 0.2%, Tajasthani 0.2%, Kohistani 0.2%. Literacy rate: 17% (Over half of the Hindus live in rural Sindh.) RELIGIONS
mid 1980s estimate 96.8 %
80,297,500 (inc Ahmadis) 2,210,000
Tribal religionists Parsis Buddhist Sikh Total population
25,000 25,000 5,200
2,400 0 82,952,000
2000 estimate 96.8 % 3.1 % 0.1% 2% 1.5% 1.1 % 1.5%
1995 est. Amjad-Ali 142,222,430 (inc Ahmadis) 4,550,000 163,982 2,909,000 2,061,306 1,616,000 2,007,743 60,000 } 15,888 15,000 } 5,000 11,020 4,000 4,150 0 3,374 146,924,000
Pakistan was created in 1947 on the basis of a common Muslim religious identity. Islam was declared to be the state religion of Pakistan in the 1956 Constitution. After the secession of East Pakistan as Bangladesh in 1971, the Islamic character of Pakistan has been even more accentuated. Source: David B. Barrett ed. World Christian Encyclopedia: A Comparative Study of Churches and Religions in the Modern World 1900-2000. Nairobi, Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 1982. p.542
Bibliography Books ALLEN,Roland, Missionary Methods: St.Paul’s or Ours Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Amercian Edition 1962 6th Edition (First published 1912) BARRETT,David B. ed, World Christian Encyclopaedia: A Comparative Study of Churches and Religions in the Modern World 1900-2000. Nairobi, Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 1982 BOSCH, David J. Transforming Mission, Paradigm Shifts in Theology of Mission, Orbis Books, New York, 1991 BOWEN,R. … So I send you A Study Guide to Mission. SPCK London, 1996 DAWSON, John, Reaching Cities for God Regal Books, California, 1993 DONOVAN, Vincent J. Christianity Rediscovered: An epistle from the Masai. 1978, Orbis Indiana, 4th Impression SCM Press, London 1986 GIDDENS, Anthony Runaway World – how globalisation is reshaping our lives, London, Profile Books, 1999 IGNATIEFF, Michael, Blood and Belonging
London, BBC books, 1993
MACLUHAN, Marshall, The Gutenberg Galazy: The Making of Typographic Man
Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1962 MASOOD, Stephen, Into the Light OM Publishing, Send the Light, Carlisle, 1992 MCGAVRAN, Dr. Donald A. :Bridges of God
Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1955.
MACGAVRAN, Dr. Donald.A. Understanding Church Growth 3rd Edition. Grand Rapids, Michigan 1990 revised and edited by Dr. C.Peter Wagner MILLER, Basil, Praying Hyde, The Story of John Hyde, Missionary to India and man of prayer, Ambassador, Belfast, 2000 MONTGOMERY, James, DAWN 2000: 7 million churches to go, Highland Books, Sussex 1990 MUSK, Bill, Passionate Believing, MARC, Crowborough, 1992 MUSK, Bill, Touching the Soul of Islam (Sharing the Gospel in Muslim Cultures) MARC, Crowborough, 1995 NEILL, S. A History of Christian Missions, 2nd Edition 1986, Penguin Books, London 1990 NEWBIGIN, L. The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, London: SPCK, 1989
NEWBIGIN, L. The Open Secret: Sketches for a Missionary Theology, London: SPCK, 1978 REX and MOORE, Race, Community and Conflict, OUP Oxford, 1968 SCHWARTZ, Christian, Natural Church Development, published by British Church Growth Association, Bedford 1996 SILVOSO, Ed
That None may Perish, Regal Books,
SMITH, D. Robert M. A Survey and Theological Analysis of the Spiritual and Pentecostal Evangelical Churches in Freetown, Sierra Leone with Special Emphasis on the Influences of the Indigenous Religious Pneumatology. Vol. 1. The Indigenous and Evangelical Background. ( A thesis presented for PhD at the University of Edinburgh)1994 STANLEY, B. The Bible and the Flag, Protestant missions & British imperialism in the 19th & 20th centuries. Apollos, IVP, Leicester, 1990 Articles „Pasadena Statement‟ in Making Christ Known ed.by John Stott, London, 1996 „Gentiles, Gentile Mission and Samaritans‟ in Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, Dictionary of Paul and his Letters, Dictionary of the Later New Testament and its Development, IVP, Leicester, 1992 ed. G.F. Hawthorne, R.P.Martina, D.Reid, H. Marshall. „Population Trends‟ No.105 Autumn 2001, Office for National Statistics Rev.Dr. Rowland Croucher, What does a Healthy Church look like? John Mark Ministries, Australia 2002 from webpage: www.pastornet.au/jmm/alpt/alpt0469.htm Papers BURTON, G. A Vision for the Church in Britain. Nottingham 1999 – Study Leave Research COLLINS, Helen, Christ Church Sparkbrook 1867-1992 Anniversary - A Brief History , Birmingham, 1992 HOLLOWAY, S. Church Growth in Industrial Areas Bristol,1979, a dissertation in part fulfilment of Diploma in Pastoral Studies at the University of Bristol, through Trinity Theological College. HOLLOWAY, S. „Are Christian Mission Schools Effective? To what extent have Christian Mission schools produced adults who have held Christian values? -A special focus on the West African Christian Mission schools in the 19th Century‟ Paper in part fulfilment of MA Mission (University of Wales), Birmingham, December 2000 HOLLOWAY, S. Discuss the Nature and Significance of the Montanist Movement in the early church
Paper in part fulfilment of MA Mission, University of Wales, Birmingham, August 1988 HOLLOWAY, S. The strengths and weaknesses of planting homogeneous unit churches Paper in part fulfilment of MA Mission (University of Wales), Birmingham, December 2000 HOLLOWAY, S. A Bridge and a Plough, Birmingham, 2002 Reflections on 18 years of ministry in a Multi-faith, Inner-City Parish in Birmingham, UK ‘Theological Rationale for Building Multi-Cultural Churches’, an unauthored preparatory paper for a mission conference: God‟s Rainbow People Hothorpe Hall,Leicestershire, 1998, RIVERS, Julian, Multiculturalism Cambridge Papers – towards a biblical mind. Vol 10 No.4 Dec. 2001
Unpublished Papers HOLLOWAY, S. Ten Years of Inner-city Ministry, Birmingham,1990 HOLLOWAY, S. Surveys from Churches in Multi-Cultural Settings, Birmingham, 1990 HOLLOWAY, S.
Biblical Meditations for Cross-Cultural Ministry, Birmingham,1990
HOLLOWAY, S. A Jamaican Journal, Birmingham, April1990 Copy with CMS, London. HOLLOWAY, S, A Pakistan Pilgrimage,
HOLLOWAY, S. Interviews with Church and Mission Leaders in Pakistan, Birmingham, 1993 HOLLOWAY, S. Back to Africa – Sierra Leone, Birmingham, March 2001 HOLLOWAY, S. Biblical Meditations for Cross-Cultural Ministry, Birmingham, 1990 HOLLOWAY, S. Sabbatical Report, Birmingham, July 2001 WIEBE, Ken, Christians in Action Sierra Leone, Church and Ministry Profile 1996, London, 1996
Web Sites www.lse.org/anthonygiddens for ongoing debate on the account of the Reith Lectures 1999, from the Director of the London School of Economics in Runaway World. www.bbc.co.uk/comment/dimbleby/print_clinton.shtml for Bill Clinton The Struggle for the Soul of the 21st Century – the Richard Dimbleby memorial lecture in December 2001.
www.alphacourse.org The Alpha Course was first prepared by Holy Trinity Church in Brompton, London. www.the-park.net
for Prophetic Word Ministries and their journal „Prophecy Today‟,
www.malachitrust.org for details of Malachi Community Trust, which is involved in Creative Arts Ministry amongst children in Birmingham Schools and Churches. www.newwine.org for details of New Wine is a network of Anglican Churches (and others) seeking renewal within the church in England.
Videos George Otis III. Transformation I The Sentinel Group 1996 Accounts of National Transformation in response to Prayer in Guatemala, Colombia, Ethiopea, Kenya and USA. George Otis III Transformation II – the Glory Spreads. The Sentinel Group 1998 4 more accounts of National Transformation in response to Prayer in Northern Canada, Hebrides and Uganda
FIGURE 1. A Model for Cross-cultural Mission and Church Growth.
1.Blessing The WORD of GOD
The SPIRIT of GOD
Prayer, healing, compassion
5.Behaving Transformation, lifestyle
Knowledge, understanding , commitment
2.Befriending Trust, relationships
Community, family To, for together
Explanation. Living within and for the Local Multi-cultural Community, followers of Jesus in the Church who have been touched by the Spirit of God and whose lives are directed by the Word of God will seek to be a Blessing to that community. This comes through a persevering life of love and service, looking to Christ as the Centre to sustain and nurture that life. Blessing may also come through answered prayer, healing, miracles, provision and many other ways. Out of the experience of being a Blessing for a local community, the next stage will be to Befriend local people of all ages and cultures, having earned the right to speak to them about faith issues. Friendship and trusting relationships are the foundation for the next phase of cross-cultural mission and church planting. Once friendships are in place, built upon loving service and relationships of trust, then there is a sense of Belonging and a desire to investigate what it is like to belong to the community of faith in Jesus Christ. The small group fellowship, koinonia or cell-group is a fundamental unit for belonging. Several cells make a congregation and several congregations make a celebration Honest seeking and enquiry follows out of this sense of belonging and friendship, with opportunity to raise questions, look at the Bible and investigate the essence of the Gospel message to consider Believing and making a commitment of heart and head to Christ. Christian Behaving develops as the result of believing in Christ and belonging to the Church, the community of faith in Jesus Christ, as the Holy Spirit transforms our lives, in accordance with the Biblical revelation.