A Maturing Local Church
Teams work hard at Bible translation and community development. Their efforts serve a larger purpose: a maturing local church. Though they hope to be there for many years, some day the team will leave. They want to establish a local church that is able to continue without them.
Starting a church that depends on foreigners would be unwise. The team doesn’t want to set expectations for doing church in a way that isn’t attainable to the people. For example, why train the people to use resources for clothing material or communion emblems that aren’t available in their local setting?
The team works to plant a church that grows up from the roots as a local organism deriving its life from God. This involves intensive teaching and discipleship. Initial teaching may start with creation and progress through the entire biblical narrative, laying an important foundation for the people to know God and live out His will as a church.
Brothers on the team model leadership and mentor local brothers as church leaders in the church. But how and when does this develop? What if the church consists entirely of ladies? Pray for the teams and sending churches who will wrestle with questions like these.
This is the vision that inspires every team: a believing community set apart to God, yet sustainable and reproducible within its own cultural context. We call it the indigenous church, a larger purpose than even Bible translation.
And many more resources:
- A story: Beavers or Trainers.
- An article: Plant or Transplant.
- Another article: A Mandatory Paradigm Shift.
- Steve Sanford's indigenous church planting story.
- AccessTruth's Church Planting Case Studies.
- A sermon by Ken Miller, "The Pilgrim Church: A Disciple-Making Community"