One challenge in global missions is planting a church cross-culturally. The task includes a demanding process, immense patience, and the help of the Holy Spirit. Planting a church among an unchurched community in one’s own culture is hard enough. Relocating across boundaries to attempt this in a culture not your own is incredibly tough.
Traditional Church Planting Challenges
Most North American church planters are well educated and have access to useful resources, prayer support, and logistical help. However, they also tend to see culture through a lens of Guilt/Innocence. They usually speak one language fluently, accustomed to how churches and leadership function primarily in the West. After raising support and orienting to a different location, worldview, religion, set of cultural norms, language (or languages), and economy, the North American church planter begins slow, careful work. They develop relationships and connect with people in the community. They learn how to present the truths of Christ in context, sometimes to people who have never heard of Jesus, or perhaps, to those hostile to the Good News. As the Holy Spirit brings early listeners to faith, a small church might begin. Then, a long effort remains for discipling and training qualified leaders to shepherd, teach, and lead the budding church plant. It takes many years for the church planter to step away from the fledgling church and leave it in the hands of an equipped group of national leaders.
One modern missions obstacle is the sending of well-intentioned, Western church planters to places where an existing national church is already at work within their own culture. Actually, as a result of decades of faithful effort by missionary church planters, today there exists a host of National Leaders being used by the Holy Spirit to continue to evangelize people, plant churches, and spearhead mission movements from gospel destitute places. These National Leaders and pastors reflect these characteristics:
- They fit fluently within their community’s cultural lens of Honor/Shame or Fear/Power.
- Most speak multiple languages (including English) or dialects.
- They easily connect to the heart language of the people around them and near cultures surrounding them.
- Embedded in the community, they understand its history, challenges, and networks.
- Despite these advantages, many National Leaders live in under-resourced places resistant to the Gospel.
- They often experience isolation and loneliness.
A Biblical Pattern for Partnering
This is where Live Global team members come in. A Live Global partnership may fill the void a National Leader experiences. A Live Global team member connects National Leaders to a widening network of other leaders, churches, organizations, and individuals to come alongside them. Whereas most North American church planters enter a culture as a PAUL looking for a Timothy and Titus, Live Global team members enter as a BARNABAS, looking for the in-culture Paul to build up.
In many ways Live Global helps National Leaders almost immediately. In other ways, Live Global team members work alongside National ministries and contribute quickly. The Live Global team serves among cultural insiders who understand, know, and love their community.
Many Live Global Partners already focus on a strategy to launch many churches, not just one. In addition, many Partners are passionate about reaching Unreached People Groups (UPG) in their own region. They do not need to wait for North American church planters to come. They are poised to effectively move the gospel to those places themselves.
God still calls and sends hearty North American trained Church Planters around the globe. Even so, Live Global believes in coming alongside gifted and mature National Leaders. We support, equip, and connect them as a powerful and effective means of working together to share the Good News to the peoples, tribes, and families Jesus Christ died for.
Live Global approaches National Partners with these key Distinctives:
- Global Learning – We value the distinctiveness of all cultures God has shaped and seek to present Christ in biblically and culturally effective methods. We approach people and cultures as learners.
- Kingdom Networking – We value connecting churches, leaders, and resources to promote healthy gospel bridges (platforms) to see Christ magnified in gospel destitute places.
- Empowering Coaching – We value coming alongside our National Partners and North American churches as coaches, listening well, asking helpful questions, and empowering partnerships.
- Humble Serving – We value taking the role of servants, supporting and encouraging National Leaders and the vision God has given them.