From your knowledge of the Bible, church and mission history - do you see structures as being significant in launching, growing and sustaining movements.
If you are aquainted with Dr Ralph Winters "Two Structures of God's Redemptive Mission" which he terms Modality and Sodality can you comment on them both from an historical perspective and also as being valid in todays world?
I was reading your blog on the state of church planting in Australia. You wrote:
"Parachurch: Still leading the way in doing evangelism and making disciples. Rightfully wary of becoming a church. Wrongfully wary of planting churches."
I've been working for a parachurch for the last 5 years and totally true, we spent a lot of time discussing our role in the Christian world and we were keen to never be a church. However you seem to suggesting that a parachurch could begin planting churches? I was wondering if you unearth that idea for me.
A few thoughts. . .
The "parachurch" (I don't like the term) at its best, is the inheritor of the New Testament model of mobile missionary bands. You can't confine the ministry of Jesus or Paul to that of a pastor of a settled congregation. They both led bands of mobile missionaries.
Paul raised up local pastors and elders, but he was always keen to bring a new church to just enough maturity that he could move on to the next unreached field. He was continually circling back personally, or via an emissary, or letter to make sure the churches he planted were in obedience to the gospel.
That's what missionaries do, whether they are in New Delhi or New York.
We will not reach the world by paying church planters to plant one church and settle down. That's not a movement, it's a dead end. That is, unless when they "settle down" and begin multiplying new pioneers and new churches out of the church they've planted.
For a movement to keep advancing, pioneers must keep opening up new fields to the gospel through evangelism, making disciples and planting churches. If they settle down to pastor one church, the movement stalls.
The great tragedy is when "parachurch" workers make disciples, but don't plant churches. The New Testament knows nothing of disciple-making without church formation.
For a church planting movement to continue its momentum, there must be both distinction, and partnership between the local church and the missionary band.
Mission agencies like YWAM, Campus Crusade, the IMB, Navigators, Pioneers, Church Army, CRM and many others, are showing that it's possible to make disciples and multiply new churches without having to bring those churches under their control. Their model is distinction and partnership.
The best person to read on this is Ralph Winter: The Two Structures of God's Redemptive Mission.