Andy Martin leads Woodside Church in Bedford, which is part of the Catalyst network of churches in Newfrontiers. He has done a lot of work training people for cross-cultural missionary work and church planting, and he heads up the World Mission stream of Broadcast. In this hangout, he helps us to think through how we can build a global focus into our church plants.
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The Nations are a Priority
- A lot of people agree that it is good to have a global vision, but in the early days of a church plant
there are so many other priorities that you may be tempted to neglect it until later.
- We will never get a focus on the nations unless we are theologically persuaded that a worldwide focus is important.
- The big story of the Bible is about the glory of God filling the earth. It starts with God walking with Adam and Eve in the Garden, and ends with God in the midst of the New Jerusalem.
- When God called Abraham, he called one family to bless all of the families of the earth.
- In the last chapter of Luke and the first chapter of Acts, Jesus tells his disciples that everything has happened so that they can make him known to the ends of the earth.
- Jesus put a global focus into the DNA of the early church.
- The church is a sent community. That's why you are where you are. This sending isn't just into the next town, but for some people will be to the ends of the earth.
- You are sent from the start. This is not about size, money or resources. It's a faith issue.
- The Holy Spirit is sending people out - partly through persecution and partly through leading them.
- In Acts 8, Philip shares the gospel with a whole town and then to one Ethiopian - because the gospel is going to the ends of the earth.
- In Acts 10, Peter went to Cornelius and brought the Gospel to the Gentiles.
- The church in Antioch sent out Paul and Barnabas.
- The Holy Spirit sent the church out to the end of the age.
Building the Global Focus
- As leaders, we need a global outlook in terms of what we read and how we keep up with the global news. There will be people in our church plants that are affected by events all over the world.
- Be culturally aware. What are some of the issues regarding faith the people from different cultures will be grappling with?
- Teach the big picture of the Bible.
- Pray for it. In your prayer meetings, spend time praying for other nations. Pray for contacts that you have overseas.
- Build relationships with apostolic leaders who can help you connect to what it happening around the world.
- Operation World is a guide to the prayer needs of every nation on the earth. Pick a nation, give an overview and pray for it. It is fine to pray for places that you might never go to.
- Joshua project is a website that helps you to pray for unreached people groups (meaning people groups with no reproducing church in their own language and culture).
- If you have people from other nations as part of your church, get them to talk about their home.
- Invite people from other nations to speak (or get them to Skype in).
- Get connected with a particular church in another nation.
- Send a short-term team. When people experience another church in another culture, they come back changed and they start talking about it. This can birth something in the church.
When People Are Called to Go
- The Broadcast World Mission stream is a great place for them to get trained.
- God's heart has always been for a family to be a blessing to all the families of the earth. This is outworked through the church.
- Some people are able to get jobs overseas. It doesn't always require a lot of money to send people.
- Where money is needed for people to go, you can have faith for this money.
1. What advice do you have as we try to raise people from other cultures up into leadership roles in our churches?
- Leadership looks different in different cultures. We often look for people who are confident and come to the front, but in some parts of the world this would be considered rude.
- Look at people in their ethnic group and watch who people seem to look to as a leader. Be intentional about this.
- We can discern character and spiritual fruit in any ethnic group.
2. What experience do you have of raising immigrants up to return to their homes and plant churches?
- We have seen some of it, but it has more been a case of watching God do it than strategising about it.
- We do want to be intentional about it. It's all about doing the things that were mentioned earlier.
- Some have come for economic reasons, and many have wanted to be in the West for so long that it can be a hard mental shift for people to make for them to go back.
- Get them to share about their nation and to help us all to pray for their nation. This may begin to stir things in them.
3. How can we stay updated about what Newfrontiers is doing internationally?
- It was easier when we had the Brighton conference and the magazine.
- The movement is now too big for any of us to keep up with it all.
- It comes down to relationships. Be proactive about pursuing those relationships and ask people to share news about what God is doing in their part of the world.
4. How does what you have said apply to reaching ethnic or religious minority groups in the UK?
- There are ethnic groups in the UK that we need to be intentional about reaching.
- Part of reaching the nations means starting where we are.
- If someone is planning to go to another nation, starting locally is part of the training and how you get equipped.
5. What advice do you have on crossing language and leadership barriers?
- Language is something that you should work hard at and persevere with.
- Most of our meetings (in the UK) should be in English.
- When you are in a multi-ethnic church, you cannot have every language represented in your Sunday meetings.
- But an occasional prayer or song in a different language can make a big difference.
- Letting people from a certain ethnic group have an occasional meeting or home group in their language can help.
- Consider investing in translation equipment.
6. Once we have identified leaders from other ethnic groups, what are the next steps in bringing them through?
- Continue to encourage and help them in their existing context.
- Invite them into other settings without them needing to contribute initially.
- Train the rest of the church to get used to different styles of leadership.
- Eat together a lot. Meals together are more significant than going to leadership team meetings.
- Joining of hearts is more important than equipping for roles.
7. What training resources can you recommend for people who feel called overseas?
In this hangout, Andy recommended the following book:
- Operation World (by Jason Mandryk)
Note - If you buy a book using the affiliate link above, Broadcast will receive a commission from Amazon to help more churches get planted, at no additional cost to you.