From time to time questions are sent regarding cultural shifts for a cross-cultural ministry. Wouldn't it be great to be able to share a cup of coffee with someone living overseas and just chat?
In a four-part series, here are recent questions that have been submitted for my viewpoint. Possibly others might benefit from the dialogue.
What recommendations do you have for someone interested in starting an indigenous church in your country?
While certainly not exhaustive, these are a start and the things that I have learned so far.
A calling: challenges will be faced and a deep inner conviction that you are in the right place is essential.
Desire to serve rather than change people: people rally when you add value, but resist and reject when you attempt to change them. Inspire people to want to be like Jesus. That starts internally, not externally.
Be flexible, teachable: Read. Find a coach. Adapt. Laugh at your mistakes. Reevaluate and reflect. Assess and measure. Don't defend your actions and intentions. Be ready to change in order to become more effective.
Develop a deeper love for Christ: Minister with Him, not for Him. This is the only way that I know to conquer the fear factor - fear of rejection, fear of failure. That is what holds most people back - fear of what others will think, fear of loss of support, fear of failure. Fear of man must not be the god that excludes Jesus from His rightful place as Lord of my heart.
Use systems: a Farmer's harvest is a direct reflection of honoring the principles necessary to produce a harvest - church planting works the same way. Church planters must understand that principle and then break it into steps that can be communicated and articulated, reproduced and are scalable.
Keith, originally from the desert of Phoenix, Arizona, has been planting a church in Aschaffenburg, Germany for over thirty years. Daughter churches have also been started and missionaries have been sent out of the congregation. Annually, he participates in encouraging other European church-planters and frequently travels to visit them in their respective field of service.