6- Multiply workers

138-Teams Multiplying Movements

David Broodryk

David Broodryk

We hear from David Broodryk and Johan Visser on the role of teams in multiplying movements.

Related

Multiplying Movement Pioneers — Nathan Shank

Nathan Shank beams in from Nepal to answer questions at the One Mission Society (OMS) training for movement catalysts.

For background, watch (video) or listen to (podcast) Nathan's sessions on the 4Fields, and the 5Levels of Movement Leadership.

Pioneering Movements has two chapters on Nathan Shank and his 5Levels of Movement Leadership.

132-Local churches mobilising for movements UPDATED

Steve Addison talks to Troy Cooper about local churches adopting a NoPlaceLeft strategy for their community, and mobilising workers to make disciples and multiply churches nationally and overseas.

UPDATE: This episode was released early. We've changed the date to bring it into line with the episode numbering system.

Local churches mobilising for movements — Troy Cooper [video]

I talk to Troy Cooper about local churches adopting a NoPlaceLeft strategy for their community, and mobilising workers to make disciples and multiply churches nationally and overseas.

Prefer the audio version?

Stop Sending [uneducated, unordained] Missionaries: Continued

Moravian Missionary

Moravian Missionary

I recently stumbled upon an article provocatively entitled, “Stop Sending Missionaries.” The author argues that in our haste to fulfil the Great Commission we’re sending too many unqualified people who are doing more harm than good. In the words of Jesus’ parable, they are producing weeds, not wheat.

By unqualified he means without formal theological education and ordination.

We’ve already looked at the mistaken belief that the apostle Paul spent 3-10 years in theological reflection and preparation before setting out on his first missionary journey. Let’s take a look at this statement:

If you speak to an older generation of missionaries, you’ll find that in by-gone days Bible college was a requirement. If you read the biographies of guys like Adoniram Judson, you’ll find that ordination was required.

In Movements that Change the WorldI take a look at the formation of the evangelical missionary movement. 150 years after the Protestant Reformation there was still no concerted effort to take the gospel to the nations. So two young men decided to act. One was a potter and the other a carpenter.

When Leonard Dober and David Nitschmann set out to take the gospel to the West Indies in 1732, William Carey, the “father of Protestant missions,” had not yet been born. Hudson Taylor, missionary pioneer, would not arrive in China for another 150 years. Dober and Nitschmann were the first missionaries sent out by the Moravian Brethren; within twenty years Moravian missionaries were in the Arctic among the Eskimos, in southern Africa, among the Indians of North America, and in Suriname, Ceylon, China, India and Persia.

Dober and Nitschmann had little understanding of what life would be like in the West Indies. They had no mission agency to support them. They had no example to follow. As they walked toward the port, they had no idea that they were clearing the way for the birth of the Protestant missionary movement.

These two young men became the founders of the Christian movement among the slaves of the West Indies. By the time other Christian missionaries arrived, fifty years later, the Moravians had baptized 13,000 converts and planted churches on the islands of St. Thomas, St. Croix, Jamaica, Antigua, Barbados and St. Kitts. The Moravians were the first Protestants to treat world missions as the responsibility of the whole church. Under Zinzendorf, the Moravians became an intense and highly mobile missionary movement. Within two decades the Moravians sent out more missionaries than all Protestants had sent out in the previous two hundred years. The rapid deployment of so many young missionaries around the world was remarkable.

The outreach was made possible by a relative lack of concern with training, finances or structure. All of these missionaries were laypeople, mostly peasant farmers and tradesmen. They were trained as evangelists, not academic theologians. They received enough money to get to the port. The missionaries then worked for their passage across the ocean. On the mission field, they took up whatever work would provide enough food and clothing. They had no formal theological education, and they received scant training in language acquisition and crosscultural ministry.

Once they set sail, they had no financial support and no organization to look after them; there was no guarantee of health care, only the likelihood that they would never see their homeland again.

Over the next 150 years, 2,158 Moravians volunteered to serve overseas in the most remote, unfavorable and neglected areas. This was something new in the expansion of Christianity: an entire Christian community—families as well as singles—devoted to world missions.

The impact of the Moravians did not end with their own achievements. They profoundly influenced both William Carey, known as the “father of Protestant missions,” and John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement. The Moravians prepared the way for the great Protestant missionary expansion of the nineteenth century in which Adoniram Judson made an important contribution.

It seems in bygone days the Moravians knew their Bible too well to be fooled into requiring formal theological education and ordination for their missionaries.

Stop Sending [uneducated, unordained] Missionaries

Paul in Arabia - What Jesus Started, p117.

Paul in Arabia - What Jesus Started, p117.

I recently stumbled upon an article provocatively entitled, “Stop Sending Missionaries.” The author argues that in our haste to fulfil the Great Commission we’re sending too many unqualified people who are doing more harm than good. In the words of Jesus’ parable, they are producing weeds, not wheat.

By unqualified he means without formal theological education and ordination.

Here’s the recommendation,

We should look to Paul as an example of zealous patience. From the moment of his conversion, he was told his purpose. But you’ll see in Acts that it was more than ten years before his first missionary journey. In the interim, he spent three formative years in Arabia, time in his home city of Tarsus, and finally a season at the church in Antioch until he was sent out with Barnabas. This is Paul, mind you, who at conversion already had an immense knowledge of the Scriptures. It appears Paul did not begin his mission in earnest until he was sent by his “home” church of Antioch at the Holy Spirit’s leading through the elders and congregation.

It seems the apostle Paul sat around for a decade before obeying Christ’s missionary calling. Or did he?

Think about what you know of Paul. He’s just encountered the Risen Christ on the Damascus Road who commissions him to take the gospel to the Jews and the Gentiles. This is a man of action. He waits 10 years before obeying Christ’s call!

Paul tells us that he began preaching the gospel immediately in the synagogues of Damascus. Opposition grew, and Paul grew increasingly powerful. Paul traveled to nearby Arabia to continue his missionary work (Gal 1:15-17).

There is no evidence for the popular belief that Paul spent three years in quiet contemplation in the Arabian desert; Arabia was not all sand. It included the area of the modern country of Jordan and was home to the Nabatean kingdom, a flourishing civilization with cities, seaports and farming land. In cities such as Petra there were synagogues where Paul could meet fellow Jews and local Gentiles who were attracted to the God of Israel. Through these Gentiles the gospel could have spread to the surrounding community.

When he had completed his mission in Arabia, Paul returned to Damascus where the representative of King Aretas of the Nabateans tried to have Paul arrested (2 Cor 11:32-33). Paul’s mission in the cities of Arabia had stirred up trouble.

Paul related his Arabian mission closely with his call to preach Christ among the Gentiles. He told the Galatians he began to discharge this call before he went up to Jerusalem to see the apostles. Therefore no one could say that any human authority, including the Twelve, commissioned him as an apostle to the Gentiles.

I covered this in my book What Jesus Started. In doing so I relied on some outstanding historians of New Testament mission:

So next time someone says you’re unqualified to be a missionary, remember the example of Paul. He was obedient to Christ’s call.