Q&A: What is the role of the local church?

There are multiple roles a local church can provide to assist in catalyzing Multiplying Movements. What is happening globally reveals that Movements are the work of God, so our best efforts involve us in finding out where God is already working and seeking the ways we can join him.

Churches certainly can partner with God by rallying intercessors. Members who will pray and fast to intentionally seek God’s heart are crucial to Movements. Training and sending out disciple makers among pockets of lostness are another way a local church can partner in catalyzing DMMs.

Sending out and assisting disciple making teams financially can be a wonderful way to sow into Movements. Great care needs to be exhibited in these partnerships, though. Local church leaders can unknowingly operate with a “franchise” paradigm, where our assumption is that every kingdom outpost will look like our home church does. In global DMMs we see incredible diversity ranging from very simple churches to much larger and more highly organized churches.

Sometimes we use the Powerpoint titled “Elephant Churches/Rabbit Churches” to help leaders envision some of the incredible value in this diversity. If, for example, you want to move large heavy items, rabbits cannot get the job done, but if you want to feed a massive army, raising rabbits will actually be the better way to go. When that presentation was originally presented it contrasted the large church model with small simple communities of faith as though the choice has to be made. But a friend in Africa saw a different way forward.

Shodankeh envisioned “Elephant Churches” intentionally and strategically planting networks of “Rabbit Churches” across his nation, West Africa and throughout the globe. Where there is little organized persecution some of those small simple churches will grow larger, build buildings and become regional training centers which allow the gospel to flow out to the villages which have not heard.

Having a Kingdom mindset, rather than a parochial approach, is critical. Just think about the church in Antioch (Acts 13) if you need a both/and text for this vision.

2 Comments

  1. I’m curious, what about people who go to a particular location without seeing much fruit? Are they working with God or promoting their own agenda? As David Watson quoted an African disciplemaker about this situation: “They went to the wrong village.”

    On Thu, Apr 15, 2021 at 10:17 AM From the Desk of John King wrote:

    > johnkking posted: ” There are multiple roles a local church can provide to > assist in catalyzing Multiplying Movements. What is happening globally > reveals that Movements are the work of God, so our best efforts involve us > in finding out where God is already working and seeki” >

    Reply

    1. hardycreek1, you have posed an excellent question. There are certainly times when folks stay past the time they should “shake the dust off their feet” because they are not seeing the fruit they anticipated. There are other times when people have been called to persevere. It might be easy to “armchair quarterback” their efforts. As I recall, David Watson’s sending agency was anticipating pulling him from the work among the Bhojpuri because of a lack of fruit at a critical juncture.

      Sometimes we have not prayed enough. Sometimes we have not heard and obeyed what God has told us to do. And then there are times when he has called us to wait on his sovereign timing.

      Luke 10:1ff presents a powerful account of 72 people being sent out in pairs to at least 36 towns and villages where Jesus was about to visit. They were his “advance team” as it were, proclaiming the Kingdom reign of Jesus. Their mission—find a household of Peace and keep looking until you find one or the whole place rejects the message of the coming King. Their joy and Jesus’ joyful response reveal there were folks there who were open to Jesus’ coming.

      There is a difference in being sent out on a relatively short-term mission like that one and giving up on a city where the Lord has called you to live. Because of these differences I would be cautious about judging people on their limited fruit, and I don’t mean to imply that you are. If I was coaching someone who was troubled by their limited fruit there would be multiple places for evaluation and significant prayer.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s