Introduction to MissiologyCh. 40: Thriving in the Ecotones: TheLocal Church and World MissionsBy James Dennison
EcotonesA place where two or more biologic systems collide The traditional church with an institutional view of missions The new face of missions: cell church, house church, indigenous leaders, indigenous music.
Impact on CooperationChurches now want mission agencies toassist them carrying out their own plansrather than the plans of the agency
Hard FactsWestern Christianity composes only 25% of world Christianpopulation.The majority of missionaries will soon come from ThirdWorld countries.Only 10 % of US evangelical churches place a high priorityon spreading the gospel overseas.The US ranks 16th in number of missionaries sent.When churches are asked what causes they would fund,evangelism and church planting came in dead last.
Hard QuestionsCan Missions in Western churches still be effective?In such an ecotonic day, has the pendulum swung so far from us that it will not return in this generation?
A Contemporary Theology of Missions for the Local Church1. The church remains God’s strategy (Matt.16:13-18) The church was born out of the ecotones of the first century It spread fastest in some of the most severe times of change in history It continues to be God’s tool to take the gospel to the nations But will the western church participate?
A C.T.M for the Local Church2. Missions remains God’s purpose (Matt.28:16-20) The Great Commission is a charge to the church to make disciples – that is our only “product” It is crucial that in these times our people grasp this truth; the purpose of the church is missions, not meeting members needs
A C.T.M. for the Local Church3. God’s purpose still requires His plan (Acts 1:8) God’s plan is that the church take the gospel to the ends of the earth, making disciples as we go Too often the church’s plan is to maintain the status quo to secure future benefits for the current membership
A C.T.M. for the Local Church1. God’s plan still requires God’s people (Eph.4:11-13) According to this passage, the work of ministry is to be done by the entire church body, not just a select few. This also means that missions is a church-wide responsibility, not the work of a few
How we lost our ministryA.D.250 – Cyprian of Carthage initiates adistinction between clergy and laity.A.D.313 – Constantine legalized the church.They can own property and begin to buildspecial buildings for congregationsMedieval scholars define spirituality as aretreat from the natural worldPost-industrial-revolution churches develop aninstitutional mindset
Practical Steps of PracticeClearly define the church’s vision for missioninvolvement locally, regionally, andinternationally.– In a total context of what the church is to be and do.Involve believers directly in missions.– Prayer walks, prayer journeys, adopt-a-people.Use information and action to move your peopleto sacrificial giving for missions. (stewardship) Local and international church planting offers opportunities to pray, give, and participate.
Riding the Tides3500 new churches per dayChina sees 28,000 new converts per day– Maybe as many as 45,000– Within the next generation, China may be 40% ChristianAfrica sees 20,000 new converts per daySouth Korea is 30% evangelical believersThe Holy Spirit is moving throughout the earth likethe tides wash the ocean shores throughout theworld