The Local Church in Mission (LOP 39)

Lausanne Occasional Paper No. 39

Produced by the Issue Group on this topic at the 2004 Forum for World Evangelization hosted by the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization

In Pattaya, Thailand, 29 September to 5 October, 2004

Contents

Part A The Local church and the Great Commission

1. Introduction

2. What is a missional congregation?

2.1 Missional congregations abandon a Constantinian model of church life
2.2 Missional congregations build relationships
2.3 Missional congregations address different cultures
2.4 Missional congregations meet needs
2.5 Missional congregations maintain a long-term perspective
2.6 Missional congregations are called by the Holy Spirit
2.7 Missional congregations pray for renewal
2.8 Missional congregations pray with those outside the community
2.9 Missional church structures
2.10 Missional congregations create holistic structures
2.11 Missional congregations structure for a lay-leadership orientation and broad delegated authority
2.12 Missional congregations structure for worship, community and mission
2.13 Missional congregations structure for clan, synagogue and temple
2.14 Missional congregations structure for come and go
2.15 Every member can serve in mission
2.16 Missional congregations reflect the priesthood of all believers
2.17 Missional congregations create multiple options for maximum involvement
2.18 Missional congregations train their members as missionaries
2.19 Members are trained to be disciples
2.20 Leadership for missional congregations
2.21 Missional leadership flows out of a new understanding of priesthood of all believers
2.22 Missional leaders share leadership
2.23 Missional leaders model a way of life
2.24 Missional congregations utilize many models of leadership
2.25 Leaders remind the congregation of their vision
2.26 Missional congregations are interconnected
2.27 Missional congregations connect with other congregations
2.28 Missional congregations connect with mission organizations

3. Conclusion

Part B Tentmaking as a means of using professional gifts in obedience to the Great Commission

1. Tentmaking is…
2. Finding Tentmakers
3. Training Tentmakers
4. Tentmaking and other disciplines
5. Bibliography

Participants

1. Introduction

This paper is the outcome of the work of thirty leaders from many parts of the world, deliberating together from across the globe for six months via email, followed by seven days of discussions in Pattaya, Thailand, September 29- October 6th, 2004, followed by several months of editing work. The group explored the topic of the local church and the Great Commission. Both the focus of the paper and the discussion explored how to involve the local church in the expression of the gospel both in the ‘building up’ of the disciples as well as to those outside the faith community, to the ends of the earth.

It is our deep conviction that congregations both in the West and in the Two-Thirds Worlds must make the transition to become “missional congregations”. Just what is a missional congregation? Missional congregations are those communities of Christ-followers who see the church as the people of God who are sent on a mission. To a large extent their identity is rooted in what they do apart from a church service or a church building. They cease to yield to the Christendom assumptions that the surrounding culture will naturally want to come to church, or that coming to church is the goal of all mission. They no longer see cultures in terms of Christian and non-Christian. Instead all cultures, be it the historic West, former colonies of the West, or countries with little Western contact are all equal candidates for mission involvement. These Christ-followers seek to embody the way of Christ within their particular surrounding cultures and not necessarily within the four walls of a church building or service. We will now flesh out a bit more of what it means to be a missional congregation.

2. What is a Missional Congregation?

In 1974, the Lausanne Covenant declared, “We affirm that Christ sends his redeemed people into the world as the Father sent him, and that this calls for a similar deep and costly penetration of the world. We need to break out of our ecclesiastical ghettos and permeate nonChristian society” (Article 6, The Church and Evangelism). How does Christ send us? Primarily we are sent as His Church and therefore we are the most visible manifestation that announces and reveals the gospel of God’s kingdom. The 1989 Lausanne Manila Manifesto added: “Every Christian congregation is a local expression of the Body of Christ and has the same responsibilities. . . . We believe that the local church bears a primary responsibility for the spread of the gospel (Article 8, The Local Church).”

Almost everyone has an image in their mind when they hear the words “local church.” The image may be a building on a stretch of rural hi-way or on a busy corner in the heart of a great city. It may be an image of smiling faces, friends and warm greetings as people gather at a building or outside in the open air. It may be a small group engaged in Bible study and prayer, or perhaps a larger group of dozens or even thousands of people meeting for worship. Whatever the image, one of the greatest challenges for local congregations today is to discern and be faithful to their special identity as Christ’s body designed and equipped by the Holy Spirit for God’s mission in the world.

Every local congregation is only a true representative of the body of Christ when they serve the world in mission. If the local church fails to “go” and instead waits for others to “come,” they are disobedient. If the church’s witness is only within our walls and not outward to “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8), the church neglects their primary calling as priests to the world. William Temple, former archbishop of Canterbury, once noted that the Church of Jesus Christ is the only cooperative society that exists primarily for the benefit of its non-members. The local church must regain the reputation as mission-driven and intensely passionate in responding to the world for the glory of the Lord. Let us now examine the characteristics of missional congregations.

2.1 Missional Congregations Abandon a Constantinian Model of Church Life

A frequent priority of the local congregation is to attract people to come to the physical property of the church so as to include the “pagans” in the life of the church. This model began with the Roman Empire, especially after Constantine’s conversion and Christianity became the official Roman religion. Since that time, a “Constantinian Model” has led congregations to emphasize that what happens in the physical church building or service is ‘church’. Consequently, congregations offer worship services and education programs but are weak in ministry outside the church building. If those want to join the life of faith, they must leave their culture and come join us in our church. The church does not go to them. This ‘come to us’ model functioned in the Western Church in the culture of Christendom. Without much effort, people came to our congregations and adapted to our culture. All too often, Western missionaries planted Constantinian congregations even in non-Christendom lands.

In every age, there are those Christians who see the Constantinian model as flawed. They see the incarnation of Jesus as a call for the church to leave its “safe” building and move into the world of those they are trying to serve. These missional Christians adapt to the culture rather than ask those outside the church to change cultures to find God. They also sense a call to communicate Christ in words and deeds of love.

“In previous years, I invited people to church when I met them, thinking in that way they will hear the gospel. I began to see that I was giving the church an unfair advantage. I was asking them to come to my turf, where I was the leader, where I stand and speak while they sit and listen. It was a lack of courage that led me to rely on bringing them to a place where I was the boss and they were the servants. What I had to learn to do was speak the gospel on their terms – in their homes, in their boats  as a friend and as an equal.”

Mark Peske, missionary to the Ojibwa.

It seems safer to remain in our congregations and hope people will come to us. Maybe the safest place for the church is to be where Jesus is.

2.2 Missional Congregations Build Relationships

A key element in world evangelisation is relationships. Relationships account for more conversions than does media, crusades, personal witnessing and foreign missions combined. Recent studies in a variety of countries and cultures have concluded that nearly 90% of all Christians came to faith through the influence of family and friends – typically within a clan or house group. It is, therefore, essential for local congregations to find ways to harness the vast potential of relationships. We advocate structures that allow time and resources for spending time with people where they live and work.

2.3 Missional Congregations Address Different Cultures

For local congregations to reach into entirely different cultures, be it across the world or the Samaria nearby, requires great cost and effort. Beyond large cultural differences, there may be differences that lie within cultures, such as a culture of children, a culture of the deaf, a culture of the addict, or the culture of those stricken with AIDS. Often the first task of a congregation is simply to listen. Over time, missional congregations seek to speak Christ into the different culture, bringing as little of the missionaries’ native culture with them as possible. No culture is superior to any other culture, thus the missionary is encouraged not to view their own culture as superior. Peter spoke to Cornelius, a Gentile, and said, “I see very clearly that God does not show favouritism [to any culture]. In every nation [culture, people group] He accepts those who fear Him and do what is right (Acts 10.34-35).

Missional Congregations Meet Needs

True religion cares for widows and orphans (James 1.27). Our presence with the world is more than entertainment or caring for those who are in a position to care for us too. “If you love only those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even the pagans do that?” (Matthew 5.46-47)

The world cannot fathom love that is offered with no personal gain and no “strings attached”. “But I tell you: Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5.44). Incarnational love stands with the desperately needy in our communities: the needs of those who cannot ever repay the debt. Although missional congregations desire that every person comes to faith in Jesus, the church cannot only serve those who decide for Christ. The missional church unconditionally, and when they give with such freedom they are often amazed as to what returns.

A doctor and nurse in Asia wanted to treat patients in a notorious prison hospital. They finally got permission but were forbidden to share the gospel. When they arrived the smell was unbearable. The toilets and ward were filthy. They could only stay one hour. They decided on their next visit to clean the toilets and ward. They asked a local church to help. Cleaning supplies, gloves, gowns and masks were assembled. Everything was scrubbed clean, even the toilets. The gospel was not proclaimed in words. The authorities were overwhelmed. They now allow the volunteers to treat the prisoners anytime, with complete freedom to speak of Christ.

Bob Moffat, If Jesus Were Mayor. p 130

Jill Wallis reflects on the time when her pastor preached on the parable of the “Sower and the Seed.” The morning congregation and the evening youth group were challenged to “plant seeds in the Church of Fiji” through their offerings. Many people gave generously and hundreds of dollars were given, but one offering was special. A young man went to the collection basket, took out his wallet and gave all the currency that he had. He started to return to his seat, stopped, went back and emptied every coin from his pockets. This act of investment in mission was an inspiration to all and remembered by Jill as she took the gifts to bless a pastor in Fiji who had no income from his very poor congregation.

2.5 Missional Congregations Maintain a Long-Term Perspective

Missional congregations focus on the long-term rather than on short-term ministry projects. Captain Bruce Vyle of The Salvation Army desired to reach out to marginalized innercity people in Christchurch, New Zealand. The effort was based on two observations: (1) Evangelism is a process that takes time, sometimes a very long time and (2) Evangelism is most effective when it is relational. They created an environment where people would be comfortable away from the church environment. They designed a weekly meal at the Salvation Army community centre. The goal was not only to feed people, but more importantly, they built relationships with and among those who came. Church volunteers prepared the meal, served it and cleaned up afterwards. Most importantly, they talked and befriended those who came. Over a period of time the relationships developed and deepened. Following this community meal, church members invited people to a “low-threshold” church event, called “Café Church.”

Incarnational ministry may not result in fast mass conversions. Rather it often manifests as a steady long-term witness. Robert, a pastor in Indonesia, hired an elderly lady to help around his house and to help him learn the native language. She was very slow in her work. But she was not hired just for her labour, but for her soul. She was strong in her Muslim faith and often tried to convert Robert. Daily they prayed and ate and worked together. When Robert didn’t receive his support for three months, this helper found ways to provide for his family. She saw Robert deal with a difficult adoptive daughter. She saw him give generously to those in greater need than himself. After two years of living with Robert and his family this woman became a follower of Jesus. Now she has been equipped as a missionary to her own village. After three weeks, fifteen of her friends and relatives desired to be baptised. Now there are over one hundred believers in her village.

2.6 Missional Congregations are called by the Holy Spirit

Renewal of the local church begins when the Holy Spirit calls a congregation back to their true identity and Source. The church’s identity is found in God’s word and in the Word made flesh (John 1:14). The church’s resource for action is the Holy Spirit, promised and poured out at Pentecost in order to give rise to the Church and lead the body of Christ in every age. Local church renewal occurs when the Holy Spirit transforms its members into the likeness of Christ. As missional church steps into the life of the Spirit it will be faithful in witnessing to Christ.

2.7 Missional Congregations Pray for Renewal

This renewal of spiritual power comes in different ways, but often it is found as the community worships in “spirit and in truth.” Jong-Yun Lee serves as the pastor of Seoul Presbyterian Church, which attracts more than 10,000 worshippers. Lee was a teacher in a theological seminary when he was asked in 1988 to consider a call to pastor a historic congregation in Seoul. Although the congregation had been in a major building program for several years, both the budget and the morale were in serious decline. In fact, the enormous building debt on the “long awaited” 5000-seat sanctuary was stagnant and the sanctuary itself was a millstone around everyone’s neck. Prayerfully, Lee accepted the call. He recognized that he was in position similar to Moses standing at the shore of the Red Sea, so he called for a “Red Sea Strategy”— forty days of prayer and fasting, preaching on the book of Acts and no mention of the building debt. God would have to provide a way where there was “no way”. At first, only a handful of the congregation answered the call to prayer. However, as the days and weeks went by, the sanctuary became filled every day and night with praying people. A second ‘forty days of prayer’ invited men, women and children to become part of small groups that would pray around the clock. Lee referred to this approach as the “Jericho Strategy”—i.e. utilizing surrounding prayer for winning the battle. Within forty days the entire debt had been paid and the church was liberated.

2.8 Missional Congregations Pray with those Outside the Community

Catherine, a Christian in Pakistan, spent 10 days in the hospital for surgery on a cancerous tumour behind her eye. She was in a public ward with 22 other patients facing serious surgery. Her daughters came daily and sang hymns, read the Bible and prayed, in addition pastors and elders of various churches visited regularly in the ward and prayed. Catherine’s surgery was successful and she is recovering well. In the words of her husband, “The best part is that one by one all the other patients came to us and requested that we pray for them as well. We did and the good news of the healing power of our Lord Jesus Christ was shared with them. Praise the Lord, most of them seems to be very thankful for our prayers and believed that these prayers will definitely bear fruit.”

One missional congregation in Ethiopia see miracles of all kinds. Dawit Johannes Wario is pastor of the Ethiopian Evangelical Mekane Yesus Tabor Congregation in Awassa, Ethiopia. The congregation was established as an outreach centre of its mother church in 1994 and officially dedicated as a congregation of 150 members in 1996. Eight years later, more than 2000 members are part of this local church that is reaching out with 11 evangelistic centres among the Muslim dominated Arsi people and 3 more centres around Awassa. Three of these grew into true local congregations. In addition, the Tabor Congregation has 263 children involved in a Child Development Project, 450 students in a primary school, several small agricultural programs and a new mission effort in the Bonga area. Throngs come three days a week at 6:30 a.m. for prayer and prayer groups set aside specific times for prayer and fasting each week.

2.9 Missional Church structures

Wherever people come together, they create some sort of structure, whether it be a football team, a school class, a choir, or a group of kids. Some structures are hierarchical (like a pyramid) while others are flat. All such structures are formed for specific purposes and represent the structures that exist in their surrounding culture.

Similarly, the early church had structures as well – e.g. the small band of disciples around Jesus; the larger group of followers that Jesus attracted; the congregations among Jewish and God-fearing believers taking the form of the synagogue and the multi-ethnic local church in Antioch that created a new type of structure when the Holy Spirit selected Paul and Barnabas. Among the various early churches in Asia Minor, Greece and Rome, we find different structures – a structure with elders (presbyteroi) as in Ephesus, a structure with an overseer or bishop (episkopos) as in Rome, or a structure of shared leadership as in Corinth. The New Testament does not present only one valid structure for the local church but does make it clear that churches require organisation. We will now explore missional church structures.

2.10 Missional Congregations Create Holistic Structures

Missional congregations create structures that empower Christians to go out in the world to encourage others to follow Christ and become members of the local congregations. Thus, missional leaders create structures that integrate the concepts of “loving the neighbour” combined with “making disciples.” This implies that the challenge to the leadership of the Church is to empower, equip and assist every believer in every local church to love his/her local and global neighbour outside the Church – because “loving your neighbour” has as its centre our wish to share what we have seen and heard (1 John 1:1-2).

In some parts of the world, Christians find themselves in situations where the very structures are obstacles for going out and for people coming in. Many of our large congregations in the Western world are still structured as Emperor Constantine decreed in the fourth century, with a unity of state, religion and culture and the church functioning as a civil religion in society. These parochial structures (parishes) with its hierarchy and institutions functioned in a so-called Christian society. Today, the age of Christendom is over and so these congregations find themselves in a missional situation in which the old structures become a hindrance for evangelism and mission – and often conceal the missional context and imprison the local church in a come-structure. For the same reason, the priesthood of all believers and the expression of spiritual gifts often dwindle away in the shadow of a clerical hierarchy.

Besides the West, examples of hierarchical hindrances are evident in places where a “cathedral-structure” has been imported to the Two-Thirds world and where the leadership-style is modelled on colonial ideals. This strong focus on the building, the liturgy and the clergy may easily dampen the freedom of cultural expressions, flexible leadership and evangelism through life, witness and community.

2.11 Missional Congregations Structure for a Lay-Leadership Orientation and Broad Delegated Authority.

Too often the custodians of a Constantinian church form a clerical hierarchy with rules and rituals that necessitate clergy and pastors. Hierarchies tend to be very rigid, especially when those in control desire to do good by remaining in “power”, e.g. all the evangelistic opportunities in relation to baptism, confirmation, weddings and burial. Yet by the same token, the structure makes it very difficult to delegate authority and responsibility. Many pastors in established congregations long for assistance, but most frequently the rigid structures, traditions and practices require pastoral involvement in everything. In this context, the only role for lay people is as a helper to the very busy professional religionist. These lay leaders are asked to help because the pastor cannot manage everything on his/her own, but the authority and responsibility still lie with the pastor-leader. Such congregations seldom grow larger than the capability of one pastor in terms of service and contact. In contrast, congregations where the pastor and the leadership team give priority to equipping lay leaders who then in turn minister to the congregation, have great potential for growth and this principle is called the 20-80 principle: train the 20 percent to minister to the 80 percent.

Some churches grow because they are understaffed or lack proper facilities. The Mekane Yesus Church in Ethiopia grew from 250,000 members to more than four million members in thirty years. A major reason for growth is that there was always a lack of trained clergy and therefore lay leaders were given authority and responsibility for worship, nurture and evangelism. Indeed, when a growing church has “enough” pastors, there is reason to be worried about its growth! In the New Life Fellowship congregations in Mumbai, India, the church grew because there were no church buildings available and people met in home groups led by the lay leaders. Consequently, the movement grew to several hundred congregations.

2.12 Missional Congregations Structure for Worship, Community and Mission

There is a need for structures that facilitate a balanced, three-dimensional life through worship, community and mission. Examples may be found both within traditional and new forms of church. Tribal Generation (Sheffield, England) teaches an “up–in-out” structure, where the relation to the triune God (UP) creates a bond within the body (IN) in terms of care and training, which results in mission service (OUT). Movement is from God to us and from us to our neighbours.

Churches that are two-dimensional through Worship & Community (only) run the risk of ending up like the Dead Sea, without any outlet. Two-dimensional churches of Worship and Mission (only) may not be able to offer the needed training or provide adequate fellowship to those who come to the church. Two-dimensional churches with Community and Mission (only) cut themselves off from their primary source of life. The church must be clear about what it asks of individual believers. Congregations may need to ask the members to spend less time in internal ministry so that time is available to be in the community. This may mean that less “inside the church” ministry happens. A church in Germany informs its members that they can come to church at most three times, but best is two times a week. The members are then to use the rest of their time to meet needs and build relationships in their community. Local congregations would be very wise to structure themselves in a balanced way such as an UP-INOUT configuration

2.13 Missional Congregations Structure for Clan, Synagogue and Temple.

The clan may be a house group or Christians living together in a small hamlet; the synagogue may be a community where the smaller groups gather weekly or perhaps only monthly, as Christians in many parts of the world cannot afford the economic luxury of travelling every Sunday. The temple service occurs perhaps once every quarter (or sometimes as long as yearly) when clans and synagogues from the same town meet for celebration. The balance between these three structures require that the church carefully evaluates the amount of traditional church activities during the week. Some local congregations are so overburdened with in-house arrangements and programmes that the members never find time to live out their faith and witness in the local community and in the various settings of society.

Missional congregations may manifest in both synagogue and non-synagogue models of church. The traditional parish church (synagogue model) may function well for some, while others might look for alternative models that show a greater freedom for cultural expression, alternative modes of leadership, or a stronger focus on relational evangelism and discipleship with friends and family. The non-synagogue model challenges the church to plant communities of believers who are not identified as “church” and where the believers are not called “Christians”. In parts of India, new followers of Christ do not like to identify themselves as “Christians” because of the baggage that the word carries. Increasingly, communities of Christfollowers call themselves “Christ-following Hindus” [Krist Bakths] or “Christ-following Muslims” [Isa Jamats]. This missional way of following Christ proves to be a real option for Hindus and Muslims in India as well as for those people practicing new spiritualities in the West. However, traditional Christians must accept followers of Christ from other traditions, refraining from insisting that they bear the yoke of “Christianity”.

2.14 Missional Congregations Structure for Come and Go

There are two structures of God’s redemption mission (Ralph Winter, Lausanne Congress 1974). Winter distinguished between modality and sodality, between “come” and “go” structures: the church needs both the inviting, centripetal structure and the dynamic, centrifugal “go” mission structure. The “come” structure is the local church and the “go” structure is the missionary band, as we find in Antioch when the Spirit told the “come-structure” to establish a “go-structure” consisting of Paul and Barnabas. Throughout history this “go-structure” has taken on different forms, from the monastic movement to mission societies to evangelistic teams. We still need the two structures, and we would encourage that the church develops a basis of cooperation between local congregations, missionary training structures and mission agencies to enhance the church’s mission. At the same time, we want to urge the local church – the traditional “come-structure” – to break out of this pattern by creating “go-structures”: evangelistic teams, diaconal service groups, youth ministries in schools, church planting groups in new quarters of the neighbourhood, short-term mission teams to cross both cultural and geographical boundaries. This is the time to break up the church’s traditional patterns and structures in order to create new pathways to the unreached in our midst and in Samaria and beyond.

2.15 Every Member Serves in Mission

Missional congregations focus less on the church as institution or as a business and more on the church as an egalitarian fellowship of closely connected people. Missional congregations equip their people to serve as missionaries through their personal and collective testimonies in a pluralistic, multi-religious, multicultural, and often multiethnic society. With this perspective of church we are less in need of professionals of the church and more in need of lay people who live faithfully in their work and witness. The focus in local congregations must be more on leaders as co-participants in the royal priesthood.

2.16 Missional Congregations Reflect the Priesthood of All Believers

The traditional division in Protestant congregations between clerici (priests) and idiotes (the Latin word for lay people) belongs to the Constantinian church tradition, which inherited this distinction from secular society and its distinction between the educated professional running society and the ignorant, uneducated (idiotes). Breaking this tradition implies a dramatic change with regard to the role and work of a pastor – in accordance with the biblical model where the people of God are the true priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). Similarly, the reformers Martin Luther and Jean Calvin proclaimed that all baptized were priests.

The Lausanne 2004 Forum Summary Affirmations say: “…we affirm the priesthood of all believers and call on the church to equip, encourage and empower women, men and youth to fulfil their calling as witnesses and co-labourers in the world wide task of evangelisation”. We are challenged to be what the church was always meant to be: people of flesh and blood carrying the reality of the gospel within them through their being and action. We therefore strongly believe that the priesthood of all believers will be the basic structure for the local church and for mission in the future. In a small booklet prepared for the 2004 Forum for World Evangelization, C. Rene Padilla writes:

…a New Testament perspective provides no basis for a hierarchical institution in which a small elite holds a monopoly of gifts and ministries, leaving the majority to limit themselves to “submitting” to their leaders….Integral mission demands the recovery of the priesthood of all believers to the extent that the Church become a community in which all members, equally, encourage each other to discover and develop their spiritual gifts and ministries in those countless areas of human existence which need transformation by the power of the gospel.

An evangelist from Lagos recently explained why the church in Nigeria is growing at such an incredible rate. “Our people are told that shepherds don’t beget sheep. Sheep give birth to sheep. The burden of evangelism belongs to them. So the shepherds and the sheep together encourage one another to take evangelism seriously.” The Nigerian evangelist related that if anyone in a Nigerian church (or at least the ones of this evangelist’s acquaintance) came to church for a month without bringing someone who was un-churched, they were declared to be “living in sin”. Evangelism was considered a divine imperative for all believers. Bringing people to church at least monthly was thought of as a bare minimum responsibility.

As it was with the early church, the priesthood of all believers combines with a rediscovery of the gifts of the Spirit forming a broad biblical spectrum. When these gifts are released, they build up the body and send the church out to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. Among these gifts we find our basic equipment for evangelism, communication, service and leadership.

2.17 Missional Congregations Create Multiple Options for Maximum Involvement

Multiple options are typically the best strategy for involving the majority of church members in compassionate evangelistic service. One option for ministry rarely suffices given the various passions, gifts and personalities of a local church.

“Multiple options” can be used even within the concept of evangelism of a local church. Peninsula Community Church is a recent inner city Anglican plant in Sydney, Australia. They offer various programs to the unchurched, but recognize the potential for problems if the techniques become too narrow in focus. Rather than running the same courses again and again the church offers a variety of courses. They found that different evangelism approaches appeal to different types of people. In addition, some people are not able to commit to a tenweek course; however, they might be willing to commit to a four- or five- week study with a different course or book. Running a variety of classes has the added advantage of appealing multiple times and ways to the same people. Once a person has heard the gospel in a particular course they can continue to take courses, as the next offering will be completely different. Research demonstrates that multiple exposures to the gospel are beneficial. Stuart Robinson, the pastor of the Peninsula Church, tells the story of a man who enrolled for ten different evangelistic courses before making a commitment to Christ.

2.18 Missional Congregations Train Their Members As Missionaries

Our God is a God who challenges. God challenges Abram by name, and Jesus calls to the disciples and asks them to follow his rabbinic leadership. Jesus frequently challenged His disciples, but He also encouraged them, telling them that they would reign with Him in heaven, that they would eventually do greater things than even He was doing and, upon their return from a mission trip, that He saw Satan defeated through their efforts. Leaders must emulate the example of Jesus and of God in the Old Testament, who regularly encourages His people to be the “kingdom of priests and a holy nation” to which he called them. The local church would do well to recognize the particular gifts and graces alive within the local body and challenge those to serve with these resources for the Body of Christ.

Paul’s challenge to “prepare God’s people for works of service” (Ephesians 4: 12) is key for the local congregations, but too often this preparation has been relegated to “training sessions” or seminars on how to serve. Jesus equipped His disciples to be living examples through His call to “follow me”. (Matthew 4:19). Pastors need not be involved in everything the church tries to do, but should be involved regularly in some kind of evangelistic and compassionate ministry. The Manila Manifesto states that “Jesus not only proclaimed the Kingdom of God, he also demonstrated its arrival by works of mercy and power.”

From Germany comes a program called Speaking Quietly About Your Faith. Its aim is to mobilize the entire body of believers to feel comfortable speaking in common language about their faith. They begin by speaking to other Christians. Once they are comfortable with speaking about their faith to other Christians they are better prepared to speak openly with those outside the church.

2.19 Members are Trained to be Disciples

Renewing the local church is only possible as the lives of those who make up the body are changed into Christ’s likeness (2 Corinthians 3:17-18). The salvation brought by Jesus Christ to the world is a total and holistic salvation. It is about the light of the kingdom of God penetrating every corner of darkness, not only in individual lives, but also permeating cultures and societies as well. Too often Christian discipleship diminishes to a concern only about one’s eternal destiny. “Saved” was often tantamount to “going to heaven when I die.” Jesus himself makes it clear that eternal life is “knowing the only true God and Jesus Christ” (John 17:3). What does it mean to know God? It can mean nothing less than becoming more like Christ. This is what it means to be Christ’s disciples and what is involved in making disciples of our Lord.

Local congregations who believe their only responsibility is to secure membership and baptismal decisions are deficient in their Christian practices. Even congregations that emphasize discipleship courses, Bible study, prayer, Christian fellowship, stewardship and worship express a truncated faith. Only those congregations where disciples are taught to obey everything Jesus commanded (Matthew 28:20) are those who will fully express the gospel. How did Jesus teach his disciples to perform what he taught them? He walked with them and coached them. Ultimately this transformation is accomplished only by the power of the Holy Spirit, but Christian discipleship is more about “walking worthy of him that calls us” than it is about instruction.

Although disciples are learners, they are more like apprentices who are learning how to live and work alongside their teachers than they are pupils who learn how to recite what they have memorized. “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31-32). These were the words Jesus spoke first to those who began to believe in him. It was his reminder that having faith in him or believing was only a door that opened into a life to be lived.

Disciples pay attention to their master’s words, therefore, Christian disciples will pay attention to words of Christ. There can be no maturing in Christian discipleship without paying serious attention to what Jesus taught and demonstrated. Maturity is achieved through Bible study, searching conversation with our brothers and sisters, attentiveness to excellent preaching and Christian writers, prayerful inquiry to God to show us the way to walk day by day. We note that the purpose of this “continuing” is not so we know His words, but that we know the truth that sets us free.

2.20 Leadership for Missional Congregations

Missional leaders find it impossible to settle for the status quo. They are captured by Christ’s call and vision of a functional body is not to say that such leaders can be effective by neglecting relationships. Often local congregations settle for and even prefer pastoral leaders who simply work to make things comfortable, who function at best from a model of nurture and fellowship and at worst from some form of isolation and retreat. Leaders who renew local congregations love God, love the gospel, love to learn, love their people, love the lost, love to see others come alive in the Holy Spirit and love to honour Christ’s name. Peter admonishes early Christian leaders to:

Tend the flock of God that is in your charge, exercising the oversight, not under compulsion but willingly, as God would have you do it—not for sordid gain but eagerly. Do not lord it over those in your charge, but be examples . . . . And all of you must clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. (1 Peter 5:2, 4-5)

Paul reminds the Thessalonians of how leaders serve.

As God is our witness, we never came with words of flattery or with a pretext for greed; nor did we seek praise from mortals, whether from you or from others, though we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children. So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us. (1 Thessalonians 2:5-8)

2.21 Missional Leadership Flows out of a New Understanding of Priesthood of All Believers

Missional leaders cannot be distinguished by categories of “lay” or “clergy.” The church is a body composed of the “priesthood of all believers.” Every Christian is not gifted for the same tasks or ministries; but as Paul reminds us, all of our gifts — teaching or pastoring, prophesying or healing, administration or general helpfulness — are for building up the body of Christ as each member contributes his or her part in love (Ephesians 4). Every congregation, no matter its size, when it submits to the headship of Christ and the gifts of the Holy Spirit has adequate resources to faithfully carry out its mission of witness. Leaders discern God’s gifts in others and stir them to love and good works. Leaders are not only “in front,” but they are also “underneath”, coaching others in the ministries that contribute to the well being of the body and the extension of the kingdom.

Breaking with the traditional division between clergy and laity helps the church rediscover what functional leadership is all about and what the primary function of leadership is – both in society and church: to make others able, to share power with others, to equip others for service. The focus on the priesthood of all believers does not imply that the local church does not need leaders. On the contrary, the more we realise the challenge of loving our neighbour and making disciples, the more we need leaders who may equip the saints for ministry – call it discipleship training, Alpha-courses, confirmation classes, training in diakonia and evangelism, mentoring one-to-one; here is the task of the leader today.

2.22 Missional Leaders Share Leadership

Missional congregations share leadership to ensure and safeguard accountability and give everyone a voice. Leadership includes several functions such as teacher, administrator, evangelist, pastor, and apostle, and these functions are never found in one person. The one-leader model is dangerous both for the local church and for the leader, e.g. the church may easily be manipulated and the solitary leader lacks an accountability structure. Furthermore, we know from experience that the health of a local congregations and the multiplication of that same congregation requires space given to multiple leaders. God is glorified and God’s mission advances when groups of Christians lock arms together to do the work of expanding the church.

Scripture makes it clear that there is a broad spectrum of leaders in the local church and one does not have more status than the others, but they have different functions within the body of Christ. In most places, the pastor is still the key influencer in the local congregations. The challenge for the pastor is to lead in God’s direction not in a direction of personal preference. The role of leaders is not to do the work, but to lead and encourage the entire body into the work of witness. The passion of the leaders must work its way to every member and vice-versa.

2.23 Missional Leaders Model a Way of Life

The biblical understanding of leadership has its focus on servant leadership in the midst of God’s people (laos). Jesus viewed Himself as the suffering servant (or slave) and as the one serving His people. Servant leaders are role models rather than performers or managers. Such leadership is particularly concerned with emphasizing the credibility of a genuine faith and a whole personality. It is a vulnerable way of leading – through transparency and honesty and one cannot hide behind a pulpit or lectern. Just as with Jesus, the leader serves as a master who demonstrates faith, life and gifts in everything he or she is and does.

The apprenticeship model allows people to learn by watching, doing and receiving feedback. In this model there is a strong affinity to our contemporary focus on being mentors – people who, on the basis of experience and lived life, give input and advice to others in an intentional relationship. Being a role model implies demonstrating for younger leaders how to handle a crisis, how to ask forgiveness, how to be faithful to your family, how to handle money – and most importantly: how to pray.

2.24 Missional Congregations Utilize Many Models of Leadership

What are some of the contemporary metaphors for leadership, and how do we envisage leaders today? In American sports, a cheerleader is one who stands at the side line and who cheers their team towards victory, praising them, and shouting “bravo”. Jesus encouraged His disciples in such a way.

Within a leadership team it is advantageous is at least one person has the gift of visionary leader. Scripture reminds us that “without vision the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18). We sorely need leaders who dream dreams and see visions that in turn may find expression in strategic plans that will spark excitement and set the local church on its course. Visions are meant to excite, reflect what the Holy Spirit is saying to the community and to release the congregation for ministry both locally and to the ends of the earth.

Some sow, some water and some tend and weed, Paul said to the local church in Corinth. How may we grow leaders? A leader that functions as a cultivator is one who organises processes, but who is not the driving force for those ministries to flourish. In other words, the pastor is not the engine or motor. Leaders cultivate God’s people to live their lives in a continuous conversion to the gospel and to the mission context in which they find themselves.

Dare we speak of the leader as a poet? A poet is one who transforms the emotions and sentiments of his or her time into words. Poetic leadership helps the church to rediscover its identity and finds words to describe great changes in paradigms of ministry. The poet gives voice to those aspects of the faith that are often considered inexpressible.

Prophets communicate God’s call to repentance and conversion in today’s setting. The church needs leaders who will move the congregation forward, who will tell reflect to the community that God has a future and a hope. Prophetic leaders may dare to carry out powerful symbolic acts like the prophets of old.

Missional leaders are often apostles – those who turn vision into reality by painting the community’s vision before their very eyes and making it so attractive that the congregation will become God’s messengers in a new land and in a new culture and time. John the Baptist called and trained people to follow someone else. Teachers in our schools and seminaries do that everyday. Leadership and discipleship training in congregations must equip people for service in other settings, for larger purposes, to reach the unreached. Local leadership creates the pathways to Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth.

2.25 Leaders Remind the Congregation of their Vision

We have few if any stories of local congregations that are being renewed for their witness in the world without the presence of one or more visionary and inspired leaders. More often than not this requires a pastoral leader who prayerfully seeks God and God’s design for being the church and then steps forward leading the church. Leaders need to lead.

Without a vision, people and congregations perish (Proverbs 29:18). Vision is not so much something that drives one from behind, as it is something that draws people from the beyond. Much research demonstrates the benefit of clarifying a strong vision and mission statement for a congregation, and the Great Commission of Matthew 28 offers one of the most helpful formulations of the task: worshipping, remembering and making disciples of all peoples by going, baptizing and teaching to them obey. How simple, how straightforward. Nevertheless, the New Testament itself bears witness that this path is not free of obstacles or dangers.

One of the dangers is forgetfulness. One becomes distracted by small things and forgets that nothing is more important to Christ’s body than the transforming power of the gospel itself being delivered in word and deed to those in desperate need. Constant reminder of the primary task is paramount.

Great visions need concrete executable strategies. Nearly every story heard of successful and effective evangelism by local congregations begins with a clear call of God placed on the hearts of key leaders and moves forward step-by-step as the details of “What, Who, Where, When and How?” become spelled out. This process is filled with the mystery of God’s guidance and God’s silence. We are indeed co-labourers with the Holy Spirit in this undertaking and continual prayer and fasting is perhaps the only way to keep from rushing ahead or lagging behind the Spirit’s leading.

2.26 Missional Congregations are Interconnected

The missional congregations of the NT were linked with other congregations together in love, concern, service and in sharing the same gospel and the same objective under the same Lord. The same is essential today: we emphasize the local church as a basic structure, without which precious little would happen in terms of discipleship and evangelism; but the many local congregations are part of a larger structure – a network, a federation, a denomination, an alliance – and this larger structure helps us envision the larger patterns of God’s people and how it may be to our advantage to cooperate and learn from one another.

Missional congregations who serve in challenging circumstances need other congregations and agencies to partner with them so together they can give in very trying circumstances. Organizations, networks, and individuals help link us together in this fashion and are tremendously important. Sometimes these partnering communities are as close as across the street and sometimes they stretch across significant distances, crossing boundaries of language and culture. Local congregations grow stronger and are renewed by the giving and receiving of partners. Partnerships are important not only in the work itself, but also in the support of such efforts.

2.27 Missional Congregations Connect with other Congregations

God loves a cheerful giver and God is able to provide congregations with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, they may share abundantly in every good work. As it is written, “He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” Swansea Community Chaplaincy (Wales, UK) is a local ecumenical partnership between the Salvation Army, Methodist and the Anglican Church that provides the local church opportunity to walk alongside individuals at odds with the criminal justice system who seek support while reintegrating into the life of the community. Such partnership is commended for the sake of the witness to the outside world and of the strengthening of the members within the following congregations.

Argentina is historically Catholic. In 1985, evangelicals constituted only a small handful of the population. However, a major preaching and healing campaign led by the evangelist Carlos Annacondia, led to a great revival. Thousands of congregations experienced a special anointing by the Holy Spirit and many lives were dramatically changed as miracles of healing and release from demonic bondage opened a floodgate of responses to Jesus as Lord and Saviour. A great emphasis on unity among all of the congregations that were part of this neoPentecostal movement resulted. Eighty pastors in Rosario formed a “unity counsel” for prayer, communion, and common ministry. They prayed for their city and invited all of their members to join in a day of prayer for the city. Yet this was an unusual day of prayer. Forty-five thousand believers circled the city joining hands in prayer. God is still doing great things in answer to this manifestation of prayer. Forty percent of all inmates in the prison system are now Christian and local congregations have sprung up inside these prisons and are being pastored by inmates. Small house churches are multiplying rapidly as disciples are equipped to do evangelism as Jesus did it, drawing new disciples into transforming fellowships for six months to two years and then sending them out to begin new congregations.

2.28 Missional Congregations Connect with Mission Organizations

Mission movements are as old as the Church. They frequently develop from the frustration of those inside the congregation that the church is not incarnating Christ’s love within the community. The apostle Paul is an early example and Campus Crusade a modern example. However, some congregations often view ministry organisations as an excuse for not moving beyond the church walls. “They can do the outside ministry and we can do the inside ministry.” The church is at fault for the frequent surrender of its responsibility to engage those outside its building. Mission organizations are often at fault as well, because in their passion to see mission accomplished, they often willingly leave behind the slower local congregation. A lesson of balance between the two is apt advice.

Often those who have been trained and are serving local congregations find themselves isolated from others who share their passion and vision for Christ’s work. Efforts are needed by both denominational leaders and ministry organizations to network pastoral and lay leaders for encouragement and support and to provide models and resources for congregational renewal. More and more partnerships and networks take place across traditional denominational boundaries. The Spirit who desires to lead us into places of ministry like the house of Cornelius and to the “ends of the earth” is also the one who unites us, gifts us and makes us fit for kingdom work. The Lausanne movement has been one of God’s tools to remind us of this larger unity and to equip multitudes of local pastors and congregations with new vision and resources for the task.

There is always a need for the specialization and focus of mission organizations, but local expressions of church are frequently the centre point of God’s redemptive strategy. It may be slow but the local congregations have the weight and strength to truly impact our world and transform it for Christ. However, mission organizations must merely use the local congregation as a supply of finances and personnel. Nor must local congregations use mission organizations as their sole mode of outreach. God’s Spirit waits in eager anticipation of the day when the local congregation and missional organizations will truly partner together; one preparing the new soil and providing new strategies, the other moving in mass to bring blessings to each individual.

Pattaya 2004 revealed many desperate needs. Many of these challenging ministry frontiers, e.g. oral learners, at-risk peoples, or children are the focus of specific mission organizations. However, the sheer scope of the need requires the strength and long-term commitment of local congregations if the church is to do more than simply scratch the surface. The apt advice here is partnership between congregations and mission organizations to fulfil the Great Commission.

3. Conclusion

Becoming a missional congregation is not an easy transition. Witness the struggle in Acts 15 to incarnate the gospel into a different (Greek) culture. To make the change, congregations must first count the cost. Incarnational ministry may be quite a difficult burden to bear. “Let us, then, go to Him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace He bore.” (Hebrews 13:13) To be incarnated means to bear the disgrace He bore. To identify with the needy, broken and sick is to bear their pain along with them. To proclaim Christ’s love only in words may be fairly cost-free. However, to proclaim the gospel with our lives will cost a local congregation financially, emotionally, socially and physically. In the US, a local congregation recognized its tendency to focus inwardly on its own needs. Consequently, the congregation committed to invest 50% of its’ time and money outside its own walls and membership in its community and in the world. This provides an example in word and deed that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, and an invitation to come with us and follow the Master.

We desire to see congregations in both the historic West and the Two-Thirds world become missional in the ways described in this paper. Impacting the world begins with local congregations giving up Christendom assumptions and adopting a missionary stance both in their own culture and cross-culturally. Missional congregations must pray both for renewal within their community and in the marketplace – pursuing God’s reign in all spheres of society. In local congregations, missional structures must be created that go beyond dysfunctional Christendom hierarchies and provide a balance between worship, community and mission at all levels of church life – in the cell, the local and the trans-local expressions of church. Every member must be motivated and equipped to take their role in the compassionate evangelistic mandate through inspiring, encouraging and on-the-ground leaders. Missional leaders must fan into flame a vision that both builds on and sparks excitement among the enlisted and sets the church toward urgent need. Missional congregations must partner with other communities, both congregational and those specifically ministry-focused. Ultimately, activities must be created that embody the way of Christ within unreached peoples. What a formidable task to become a missional congregation! Yet the church of Jesus Christ must do nothing less to be faithful to her Lord at this time in church history.

“Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple .… none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions” (Luke 14:26, 27, 33). Jesus reminds His disciples that no one who desires to be His follower can accept the status quo. The peace Jesus offers (John 14:27) is profoundly real, but it is not the same as worldly comfort. One cannot cling to their possessions and still be his disciples. In fact, it will cost everything that one might wish to clutch tightly; but if one lets go, the gain is beyond imagination both in this life and in the life to come. This attitude should lead Christians into kingdom work that confronts injustice and offers mercy as they “walk humbly with our God” (Micah 6:8). Article 6 of the 1974 Lausanne Covenant states “a church which preaches the cross must itself be marked by the cross”.

Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21). Amen.

Part B. Tentmaking as a means of using professional gifts in obedience to the Great Commission

1. Tentmaking is…

Tentmaking is a growing expression of mission in the contemporary world. It is a way in which members of the body of Christ can use their professional gifts as a means of taking the gospel to those who otherwise would not hear the Good News. The Lausanne II, 1989 Congress held in Manila defined tentmaking as follows:

Tentmakers are… ‘believers in all people groups who have a secular identity and who in response to God’s call, proclaim Christ crossculturally. Tentmakers witness with their whole lives and their jobs are integral to their work for the Kingdom of God.’

The movement continues to grow (150,000 tentmakers estimated in World Christian Trends1 ) and change and even the 1989 definition now looks out of date. In essence, tentmaking in cross cultural mission is undertaken by Christians whose presence in another culture is secured by their workplace identity and whose intention is to act to share the gospel in that setting.

Many, but not all, are self supporting through their occupations or business activities. Most, but not all, operate within restricted access countries, especially those in the least evangelized world. Tentmakers may be engaged in business activities, salaried employment, aid and development work, tertiary studies and consultancies. Their work and study are important in their own right and of themselves are an expression of Christian values. Witness to the good news of Jesus in all its fullness takes place both within and around these activities. Tentmakers recognise the gifts God has given them by His Spirit and exercise these gifts in all the settings in which they find themselves. All are by their very nature and also by intention, witnesses of the gospel of Jesus Christ. All by their presence and their active service, aim to proclaim the Kingdom of God and see it established where they live.

Many are both trained and motivated to see churches planted where churches do not yet exist. Others, though, may work alongside existing churches to encourage, assist and support.

The work of tentmakers is complementary to that of existing mission agencies and activities. Some are able to access areas where traditional missions may no longer work. Others work in partnership with existing missions and the aim is to provide a stronger presence and witness by working together. It needs to be stated that the distinctions between missionary and tentmaker are not always clear-cut and tentmakers form part of a continuum between Christians employed overseas and missionaries, not a single point along that line. It also needs to be recognised that the term ‘tentmaker’ is sometimes used of those operating within their home country but working across ethnic or cultural borders.

The name ‘tentmaker’ has over the years caused considerable controversy. It comes from the ministry of Paul at Corinth as outlined in Acts 18:1-4. Paul’s work as a maker of tents enabled him to engage with people naturally through his workplace, but also to support him financially. This is a model that can be adopted by people in all cultures, and most walks of life. Many alternative terms have been suggested, none of which have gained wide acceptance. Therefore we continue to use the term with all its limitations, as a convenient shorthand for a form of mission that is increasingly significant in today’s world.

Tentmakers interact with the world

The current world situation means that tentmaking has become an essential strategy if the church is to accomplish its task in mission. Globalisation, the challenges of the postChristian West, religious pluralism as well as religious intolerance, urbanisation, refugees and immigration and the continuing presence of unreached people groups significantly impact the church’s ability to undertake mission. Tentmaking with its greater flexibility and possibility of financial independence provides great opportunities for mission in the 21st century.

1. Globalisation

Globalisation is one of the most important factors changing the world we live in and directly impacting the task of mission. While there are many disadvantages in terms of unjust business structures worldwide, fragmentation of families and increased mobility and the poor growing poor while the rich get richer, there are also advantages for mission, particularly as it relates to tentmaking.

Today, as never before, we have a global workforce. People from all over the world are travelling to other countries to work. While we often think of this movement as from the West to the rest, involving professionals working as consultants or within multinational companies, there is also a significant movement of unskilled labour as well (e.g. Filipinos working as maids and in low skilled jobs in the middle east). Many of these people are Christians.

Some Christians use their vocation intentionally to act as tentmakers and share the gospel in other countries. However, many simply go where the work is available. One of the challenges for the church is to train these people to become tentmakers and be effective in taking the gospel to the places they travel for work. For example, the Philippines already have over 800,000 born again Christians working overseas as maids, on ships, or in other unskilled work. They are seeking to train this workforce as tentmakers and aim to have 200,000 trained tentmakers by the year 2010. They have already trained about 5,000 tentmakers and sent them out.

2. Post-Christian West

The move of western countries from Christian to post-Christian has implications for tentmaking and mission in two ways – rapidly declining financial and personnel resources for mission, and the transformation of western countries from mission senders to mission fields.

The traditional pattern of supported missionaries requires a huge financial supporter base. This is increasingly becoming unrealistic as the church in western countries declines in number. One of the great advantages of tentmaking is that many tentmakers can be self funded. As they use their professions to get work in other countries, they both have a legitimate reason to be there and a means of support while they are there.

The development of western countries as mission fields has been accompanied by an intolerance of evangelists and missionaries. Tentmakers, particularly those with professional qualifications, are more likely to gain respect and relationship with people in the west. They will have significant opportunities through their work to become involved in local communities and impact them for the gospel.

A related issue is the rise of postmodernism. Tentmaking suits people with a post-modern ethos more than traditional mission does because of its flexibility and lack of institutional structure. There are also dangers with this however, in that tentmakers may lack long term commitment and be resistant to working with existing churches and structures.

3. Religious pluralism and religious intolerance

The world of the 21st century is characterised by two contradictory forces. In western countries there tends to be a strong focus on religious tolerance – usually at the expense of Christianity which is regarded as intolerant. However, at the same time, in other parts of the world, there is growing intolerance of other religions. Countries are being divided on the basis of religion. Laws forbidding conversion and proselytism are growing.

This situation is reducing the opportunities for non-tentmaker missionaries to gain access to countries. Increasingly, Christians are only permitted to enter countries on the basis of an acceptable work placement. This opportunity for tentmakers however, must not be abused and it is essential that tentmaking does not become a “cover” for evangelism, but the vocation itself is seen as “mission”.

4. Urbanisation

Alongside globalisation, urbanisation is one of the major factors affecting the work of missionaries throughout the world. Some of the facts:

  • by 2025 more than ¼ of the world’s population will be poor and living in the squatter settlements of the two-thirds world
  • 62% of all Christians (over 1 billion people) live in urban settings
  • by 2015 seventeen of the twenty-one cities with a population over 10 million will be in the 2/3s world.2

Traditional missionaries have in the past focused more on rural areas, where there is only one people group to work with and costs are significantly reduced. However, the challenge of reaching the cities of the world is one ideally suited to tentmakers. It is in the cities that many of the job opportunities exist – working in business headquarters, universities and schools, manufacturing and commerce. Given that the rural-urban migration looks like continuing, tentmaking mission in cities will continue to be strategic in bringing the gospel to the world.

5. Refugees and immigration

Traditional tentmaking involves going into a cross-cultural situation and working there and sharing the gospel and then returning home. However, today there is a huge movement of people out of their home countries either voluntarily, or as refugees from war or disaster. This offers opportunities for tentmakers in two ways.

Firstly, to actually see migration as an opportunity for the spread of the gospel. For Christians moving into other countries there is the opportunity to bring with them their faith and impact the society in which they now live. This is happening in reverse with the movement of Muslim peoples into Europe and therefore the growth of Islam in what were traditionally Christian countries.

The second opportunity for tentmakers is the whole area of relief and development work. Many countries in the least evangelized world are seeking to rebuild their countries from war or disaster. Christian tentmakers can provide the needed expertise to assist this and potentially affect not just individuals, but the whole society.

6. Unreached people groups

The very helpful focus on unreached people groups has highlighted that there are still many groups of people who have never had the opportunity to hear the gospel. Many of these groups are in countries which will not allow access to missionaries without a recognised vocational reason to come. Tentmakers are essential for continuing the focus on these unreached people groups.

7. Tentmakers and other areas of mission

In the discussions within the issue group, it was recognised that tentmaking had connections with many other groups – Workplace Ministry, Business as Mission, Development etc. While the discussion on tentmaking took place under the umbrella of the discussion on the Local Church, it should not be limited to that forum. Tentmaking as a mission strategy has the advantage of flexibility, sustainability, access, variety and biblical example. It can have implications for a wide range of mission strategies.

Tentmakers arise from:

Tentmakers have their roots deep in the life of the local church. To encourage and serve local churches in a cross cultural setting means we need both experience in and commitment to local churches in the home setting. Within our discussion group there was considerable diversity of experience and opinion regarding the shape of the local church. We all agreed however on some central issues that we need to face on the way to full participation in mission and missions from the whole people of God. This goes well beyond the world of tentmaking, but provides the climate out of which true tentmaking arises. As we met together, we discussed five issues that are steps on the way to a true recognition of the whole people of God.

One was the issue of call. Who is called of God? A traditional perception of call tends to focus awareness of call on those engaged in pastoral ministry and career missions. We believe that the normal use of the term in Scripture refers to all of God’s people, who are called to salvation, to righteousness and service. While we affirm and appreciate the experiences of many who have recognised God’s leading to particular forms of service, we strongly affirm the belief that all of God’s people are in fact called of Him to the work of the Kingdom.

A second issue was the use of the term ‘laity’, referring to those who do not hold a formal leadership position in the church and who too easily, are seen as those who support the leadership in mission rather than engage as the laos (people) of God in mission themselves. We believe that it is biblically unjustified to set up a polarity between clergy and laity. Our understanding is that laos refers to the whole people of God and that gifts are given within that whole people indicating function and not status. We affirm the emphasis of Ephesians 4 in which gifts are distributed among God’s people so that all may engage in ministry.

A third issue was that of work. Work is God’s creation and we work alongside our Lord and Creator in His creation. As in Christ all things are made new, so in Christ our work is made new and becomes a means of service in the Kingdom of God. Those engaged in tentmaking do so mostly through their work setting whether that be in paid or salaried employment or in business. Work is not separate from mission, but interwoven with mission. We do not endorse approaches to tentmaking which treat work as a mere entry point, a subversive detour around visa requirements. A tentmaker’s work should honour God in every way and form an integral part of their intentional mission.

Fourthly, we asked the question as to where mission takes place, whether it is primarily an activity within the gathered church and its programmes, or whether it takes place amongst the people outside the church. We believe that the whole people of God take the whole gospel to the whole world and therefore mission is most authentically operating when God’s people are amongst those people who need to hear that good news.

Finally we raised the question of the nature of the Kingdom of God. Too often we have confined our thinking to the activity of the church as the Body of Christ and failed to go on to recognise its task is to proclaim the Kingdom of God, as Christ our Lord did Himself. Therefore the task in tentmaking is to see the larger picture of the role of the Church within communities and the structures which operate within those communities.

This is the picture of the Church we have as we look to stimulate the world tentmaking workforce. This emerged from our own discussions as a group even when we disagreed on the ideal forms in which this might be expressed.

Tentmaking is one part of this greater whole. Tentmakers emerge within the life of the local church, learning their faith and their mission mandate in the home setting. It is rare for people to succeed as tentmakers across cultures who have not first engaged with the issues of integrity, mission and love for neighbours in the home setting.

For these reasons also, tentmaking forms an integral part of the total world mission scene, working in partnership with and support of those who are engaged in mission through traditional mission structures. Just as the church at home consists of people of many roles and functions and includes some engaged occupationally within church roles, so too mission across cultures includes the whole range of people who work towards the proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ and the extension of the Kingdom of God.

2. Finding Tentmakers:

The call of all God’s people to “make disciples of all nations”3 requires not only an individual response, but a corporate response. If mobilisation is primarily motivated by “finish the task4 ” to see the return of the Lord, the motivation of love, summarized in the great command5 , may become a secondary motivation and will limit the future generational impact of the gospel.

Mobilisation of tentmakers therefore is not only an event, “inspiring individuals to become tentmakers and to inform the church about the viability of tentmaking missions”6 but a challenge of five fundamental areas of being the people of God:

  1. The calling of all to the Lord Jesus Christ
  2. The role of all God’s people under the Lordship of Jesus Christ
  3. The intrinsic value of all legitimate work
  4. The global mission of the Church of Jesus Christ
  5. The establishing of the Kingdom of God

Mobilisation therefore should address these fundamentals in the ongoing process “to equip God’s people to do His work and build up the church, the body of Christ” and focus on the current status of unreached people groups or opportunities that globalisation presents to us.

Mobilizing of tentmakers is a comprehensive equipping and empowering process that should be embedded in our purpose for being local communities of believers – equipping the individual, but building the church for their work. Jesus gave us the great commission and said it is the purpose of those who are called to Him to “make disciples”. We need to return to this as the primary purpose and mandate of the Church of Jesus Christ. “Both Peter and Paul understood that spiritual maturity not only come from a design, but from great effort. It begins with personal effort and can be encouraged in a disciplemaking community”.7 The making of disciples is an intentional process that leads believers to maturity and empowers those believers in their desire to be obedient to their Lord.

The process should consider the challenges of living in a global community, where the majority of Christians are drawn into a global workplace and if they stay in their own culture, a work environment that is made up of an array of culture and religions.

Although mobilizing of tentmakers is a sometimes a personal challenge to an individual to take on a job or business opportunity where they can minister to unbelievers, it is also about the local community of believers who provide the launching environment for tentmaking by providing an opportunity for every Christian to be:

  1. In a growing relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and committed and ready to share that relationship with those they work and live with.
  2. Equipped as Christians in their God-given gifts and ministry, gaining experience in the local context with appropriate accountability relationships.
  3. Trained and regarding all daily legitimate work as part of a God given task and ministry and to apply a work ethic that is biblically sound and motivated.
  4. Effective as salt and light across borders, intentionally or unintentional, but always seeking God’s direction in all circumstances.
  5. Facilitated as ambassadors of the Kingdom of God, being authentic disciples of Jesus Christ, dedicated to making disciples of all nations so that He can build His church.

While all kinds of professions can be used for tentmaking, there is a need for “senior” tentmakers who can encourage and mentor younger ones. While those with age and experience are not always valued in the West, that is not the case in other places who prefer people with substantial experience in their field. The challenge still exists today that we will seize the opportunities, acknowledge the crucial role of the local church to equip all God’s people, develop the sending platforms that will effectively accommodate the sending, pastoral care and return of tentmakers.

However, the needs are to be noted and this is one of the outstanding factors in that local churches, para-church, mission organizations and training institutions are still not seeking the partnerships and collaboration that will address the real challenges of equipping and facilitating all God’s people to do His work in this world. Our call is that mobilization of tentmakers should be part of the restoration process in the institutional church that will enable all God’s people, to be part of His work.

We as Body of Christ need to commit ourselves to partner and actively work together between various national, international, church and mission bodies concerned with “tentmaking” to develop and share relevant resources and apply it as stewards accountable to our Father.

3. Training Tentmakers

One of the weak spots within the tentmaking movement over its recent history has been the question of training. People involved have generally been highly motivated, often well trained professionally and rarely in a position to undertake extended training comparable to that of career missionaries.

This has led to some unevenness of ministry at times. People planting churches have sometimes been limited in their theology of the church. Those leading Bible study groups have rarely had formal training in the understanding of Scripture beyond what they have had in their home congregation. Sometimes it has been cultural awareness that has suffered and at other times, a knowledge of the practice of missions that would give greater understanding of missionary colleagues. Naturally this has not always been true but in general, it has been harder for tentmakers to access suitable training than for many others involved in mission.

The key issues relating to training are supply, curriculum requirements, delivery methods and relationship to other disciplines.

(a) Supply

In terms of supply, research indicates that there are four basic types of tentmaker training available. There are courses in Seminaries and Bible Colleges. There are similar courses in missionary training institutions, usually adapted for tentmaker needs. There are courses offered by tentmaker agencies and there are courses developed uniquely within particular tentmaker sending regions, designed for that movement alone.

The courses in Seminaries and Bible Colleges generally are not designed specifically for the needs of tentmakers as such. The tentmaker squeezes into the mould offered.

The courses in missionary training institutions occasionally have made significant changes to suit tentmakers but more often than not, assume a general range of mission topics will suit the tentmaker. Often these courses are residential and full time.

Courses offered by tentmaker agencies are very much purpose designed, usually part time or flexible delivery but they are also very limited in the scope of topics offered and generally assume significant theological, biblical and missiological training has been picked up elsewhere.

The sorts of courses available varies significantly from country to country. For example, the Philippines is training people who will be in domestic service in the Middle East. This is different to the usual model of tentmaking which tends to be people in professional positions. Nonetheless this is a fantastic opportunity for Christians to impact the countries they are working in. This is an exciting and challenging development.

Another example is in Bolivia where training is not only highly relational in delivery style but also resource poor in an economy that has little available for resources the west takes for granted.

A third example is in South Korea where a good range of very well developed courses is available. These tend to be both more sophisticated than the Philippines in terms of the constituency served and more highly resourced than Bolivia.

A feature of the global scene is that the supply is very uneven, Singapore for example having at least half a dozen viable training options but other regions having almost none within reasonable geographical reach.

(b) Curriculum

In terms of curriculum requirements, one simple way to measure the problem is to identify three areas of a person’s life that must be dealt with. These are formation, information and application, or being, knowing, and doing in more traditional terms. Whatever the nature of the training, whatever the country that supplies it, we need to seek a balanced approach that offers training in all these areas. In formation (being), the key factors relate to discipleship which must be defined broadly enough to include issues of worldview and strong enough to ensure personal stability and spiritual resilience.

In terms of information (knowing), the person needs a balance of theological, biblical and missiological awareness. While this certainly does not need to be at a graduate level, it becomes inappropriate to offer spiritual nurture and input to others at levels above that which we have received and absorbed prior to service. For example, to plant a church in a vastly different culture with no experience other than a home church, is to operate at a disadvantage. To teach and advise biblically without a sound knowledge of how to handle Scripture is a recipe for misinformation.

In application (doing), we expect people will gain experience and training in the range of missional approaches that they expect to use. The most commonly mentioned include personal witness, leading Bible studies and planting churches. However the needs in host countries are incredibly diverse and the whole range of spiritual gifts can be used in many settings. It is important that people have had opportunity to use these skills prior to cross cultural service.

So these three factors are all vital in a healthy tentmaker training programme. They also need to be tempered with the following principles. Is the training balanced throughout its range? Is it appropriate to the level required, neither too much nor too little? Is there room for continuing education, the upgrading of skills and awareness as necessary?

It may be helpful in passing to mention briefly a few subjects necessary in many settings, but often neglected. These are urban studies, ethics and the nature of tentmaking itself. Those serving in the business as mission sector will also need to orientate much of their training in terms of business skills appropriate to their chosen business area.

(c) Delivery methods

Another very major factor relates to delivery methods, which is another way of talking about access. Many tentmakers are already highly trained in their professions and cannot take time out from their careers, either because of professional requirements or security needs. Nor can all tentmakers travel to other centres. A key need is to make training very flexible in delivery and highly accessible to all who need such training. International cooperation to make key modules available without duplication is also highly desirable.

4. Tentmaking and other disciplines

The final comment relates to the links between tentmaking and other disciplines. There are two levels here. Firstly there is the fact that tentmaking genuinely arises out of what has become known as the marketplace or faith at work movement. Therefore, whatever also encourages churches to develop a strong workplace orientation and awareness, will also form a sound basis for future tentmakers.

Secondly, there are specialities within tentmaking that require their own particular training, such as the business-as-mission and aid and development tracks. Teaching English as a second language also has a high degree of specialisation and is generally well catered for internationally. However, it is also important to note that specialisations lie within the broader field of tentmaking mission and we do well to remember our commonalities as well as our differences. Attention to the field of tentmaker training could well ensure considerably greater results in the future from this rapidly growing movement.

Supporting Tentmakers

Tentmakers are scattered throughout the world far beyond the intentional mission endeavours of local churches and mission organisations. This is the reality that globalisation has brought about. Many tentmakers intentionally pursue opportunities to serve amongst the unreached peoples of the world, but globalisation adds many other Christians that end-up working amongst the most unreached peoples of the world simply as a result of where job opportunities arise.

To include all these people in the mission policy of local churches and other mission structures may very difficult, but as the Body of Christ there is an obligation towards fellow brothers and sisters who are in need. It is therefore important that we continue to work towards the best possible support and care for those who are intentionally sent, so that we can also make more resources available for those who are migrating globally to find a job that will meet the needs of their families.

It is true that the local church holds the keys to supporting those who are intentionally sent. In the New Testament we read that the local church was the base for mission8 and that missionaries like Paul and Barnabas reported back to the local church on their return9 . In the same way modern day tentmakers gain valuable lessons for the sending church. However, much of the potential for support within the sending church still needs to be released.

Even though the mission environment is so much more complex today than it was in the days of Paul, there are enough resources available in the local church to supply the unique needs of tentmakers in a world where new creative strategies are employed. In fact, when it comes to moral, pastoral, logistical, financial, prayer, communications and re-entry support, the local church has the resources and ability.

How can we encourage this support from the local church to tentmakers?

(a) Inclusion in Mission Policies

Inclusion of “tentmaking” in its various forms as a mission strategy in the mission policies of local churches is a practical first step to providing the specific and unique support tentmakers need.

(b) Occupational Support

The tentmaker or businessperson involved in mission projects creates the opportunity for a group of people in the same vocation to support him/her professionally and morally. Christian vocation or interest groups, provide the natural support structures that can have far reaching effect beyond the job or the current business interest of the tentmaker.

(c) Support Coordinating Teams

A practical way of ensuring that tentmakers are well cared for is to organise a Support Coordinating Team for every missionary family including tentmakers. One person on the Support Team is assigned to the different areas or “portfolio” of missionary care. The Co-ordinator of this team can act as advocate for the mission project in other ministry structures to the broader church.

Resourcing Tentmakers:

Simply sending as many tentmakers as possible is inadequate. We want effective tentmakers. Not only do these accomplish more, they also set a pattern for others to emulate, attract good people to themselves and reproduce themselves in others. What resources will help?

(a) Networking Database -Website

The Tentmaking group expressed the need for a website with connections to tentmaker leaders, training resources, literature, job openings and case studies. Agencies and churches do not currently share information and support. Such a database would be a wonderful resource, but requires the personnel to support it and infrastructure to host it.

(b) People

* Model Tentmaker Team Leaders:

The best resource is master tentmakers to lead tentmaker teams — people who have done tentmaking successfully. People replicate what they see. To develop strong tentmakers, we need effective tentmakers to impart their experiences and wisdom to others. Tentmaking agencies should work to find and develop model tentmakers who can train others and then place new tentmakers in teams with them. One major hurdle is finding the right tentmaker jobs in cities where master tentmakers work. International collaboration can help.

* Tentmaker Mentoring:

Next best is mentoring of tentmakers by current or former effective tentmakers. Instead of leading a team, tentmaker mentors lead coaching sessions with prospective/new tentmakers. The ideal is regular, face-to-face mentoring as they carry out ministry. Mentors can share their experience, study with, encourage and provide accountability. While face-to-face mentoring should happen as much as possible, modern technology makes it is easier than ever to mentor from a distance.

Mentors, who may not be tentmakers can also help in specific areas where they have strengths, such as cultural sensitivity, church planting, empowerment of local people etc.

Courses

Evaluating Tentmaker Training Courses

In evaluating course options, key questions are:

(a) How strong is the understanding of NT tentmaking as a lay-centred model of churchministry?
(b) How well does it integrate work, faith, and witness?
(c) How clearly does it integrate work and missions and teach tentmaking as a total ministry model versus an access strategy?
(d) How thoroughly does it develop strategic ministry skills?

Examples

(a) Light to the Nations (Global Opportunities, U.S. & Canada) globalopps.org/ltn/index.htm Intensive 4½ day tentmaking course focused on crucial understanding of the biblical tentmaking (lay-centred ministry) model and on core ministry skills for effectiveness.
(b) Working Your Way to the Nations (Tent, Norway) – http://globalopps.org/news.htm – 4½ day course similar to Global Opportunities’ tentmaking course.
(c) TENT – Tentmaker Equipping N Training Programme (Biblical Graduate School of Theology, Singapore) – www.bgst.edu.sg/courses/missionsandevangelism.htm 8 evening class modules over 10 months for S$800. Adds comparative religions and culture studies, but is weaker on ministry skills.
(d) Norwegian Lutheran Mission runs 2 year courses by extension in tentmaking, giving university credit.

Business as Mission Courses

(a) CEED Seminar (Centre for Entrepreneurship & Economic Development, YWAM, U.S.) – www.ceed-uofn.org/index.htm – 2-3 week frontier business course. Also runs SEED, a 22-36 week school.
(b) Global Business Summer Program (EC Institute, U.S.) – www.ec-i.org/internship.htm – 10 week business for mission program including a conference, trip to Asia, and applied work assignments with ECI partner companies.

Online Courses:

At this point, online options are limited. The same questions should be asked about these as about live courses.

(a) Developing Your Tentmaker Strategy, (Missionary Training Service, U.K.) – www.missionarytraining.org/tentmak.htm – Inexpensive, tutored, online course.
(b) Trabajando Tu llamado a las Naciones, Spanish – http://ubicuanet.com.ar/principal.htm – Online, tutored course using Spanish version of Jonathan Lewis’ Working Your Way… workbook. Inexpensive or free.
(c) Working Your Way to the Nations, English (Global Opportunities, U.S.) – GO is considering developing a tutored course using Lewis’ Working Your Way to the Nations workbook. Stay tuned to http://globalopps.org/.

A Simple Drama to Promote Tentmaking

Tentmaking is something that should be promoted in the local church. The following is a simple drama that could be used to show the opportunities of tentmaking and how people could be involved.

Four people representing the local church form a large square. In the centre of the square is a tentmaker kneeling and holding a cross which the person then uses as a support for a sheet (tent).

Each local church representative is accompanied by a tentmaker (with different occupations e.g. computer programmer, engineer, teacher, maid).

The narrator says:
1) Our tents are built on the qualifications and jobs we bring with us.
2) We settle wherever there is a camping ground.
3) To set up our tents we get tent pegs called from the local churches from all continents.
After they say this, the tentmakers leave their local church representative and walk to the centre and take each a corner of the sheet.) As they do this their names, occupations and places are given by the narrator.
e.g. Antonio, civil engineer from Brazil working in Portugal; Heru, computer engineer from Indonesia working in Saudi Arabia; Birgit from Norway, English teacher working in China; Saido, medical doctor, from Cameroon, serving among the Muslims in his own country.
The tentmakers say together:
4) We invite the needy in the camping area into Gods love – two people representing the needy move into the tent.
5) We get our spiritual support from our local churches- local church representatives move to their tentmaker to pray and read the Bible. Another person comes up as the tentmakers pray….
6) As we are in service, others come to see how to make their tents which God has called them to set up.
Narrator: What is your call?
New person responds – to work with the largest unreached people group–my colleagues!
Narrator says:
7) There is a wind from the Holy Spirit speaking: (enter a person who can represent the Holy Spirit who then shares a challenge for the individual congregation)
All say together:
8) God help us to show your love to our neighbours wherever we are!

Bibliography

Books

Barrett, D., & T.M. Johnson, eds. World Christian Trends. Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2001. A useful book for getting the big picture.

Banks, Robert and Julia. The Church Comes Home. Sutherland, Australia: Albatross Books, 1989.

Bennet, R. Intentional Disciplemaking, Cultivating Spiritual Maturity in the Local Church. NAVPRESS : 2001

Coleman, Robert. The Master Plan of Evangelism. Old Tappan, NJ: Revell, 1964.

Danker, W. J. Profit for the Lord. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1971.

Graves, Stephen, and Thomas Addington. The Fourth Frontier: Exploring the New World of Work. Nashville, TN: Word Publishing,2000.

Little, Paul. How to Give Away Your Faith. Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 1966.

Myers, Bryant. The New Context of World Mission. Monrovia, CA: MARC, 1996.

Nyquist, James and Jack Kuhatschek. Leading Bible Discussions. Downers Grove. IL: IVP. 1985.

Patterson, George, and Richard Scoggins. Church Multiplication Guide: Helping Churches to Reproduce Locally and Abroad. Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 1993.

Petersen, Jim. Living Proof: Sharing the Gospel Naturally. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1989.

Pippert, Rebecca. How to Lead a Seeker Bible Discussion. Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2003.

_____________. Looking at The Life of Jesus. Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2003.

_____________. Out of the Saltshaker and Into the World, rev. ed. Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 1999.

Rocklin, A. “Mobilising Tentmakers”, TIE Opportunities. September, 2004.

Rundle, Steve, and Tom Steffen. Great Commission Companies: The Emerging Role of Business in Mission. Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2003.

Sherman, D., and W. Hendricks. Your Work Matters to God. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1987.

Stevens, R. Paul. The Other Six Days: Vocation, Work and Ministry in Biblical Perspective. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1999.

Articles

  • Tentmaking 101 – core articles – http://globalopps.org/101/index.htm
  • Free Tentmaking Articles – http://globalopps.org/materials.htm
  • Tentmaking FAQs (CTN, actually TASK, U.K.) – http://www.tentmaking.org/faq.htm
  • Tentmaking FAQs (GO, U.S.) – http://globalopps.org/faq/index.htm.
  • Scruples – www.scruples.net & www.scruples.org

Tentmaking Related Agencies

  • European TentmakerNet – www.tentmakernet.com – links to European agencies & contacts.
  • Global Opportunities – www.globalopps.org – Numerous resources.
  • TIE – www.tieinfo.com – grew out of Lausanne.
  • BPN – Business Professional Network – www.bpn.org.
  • CBMC International – www.cbmcint.org.
  • KBF – Kingdom Business Forum – www.kingdombusinessforum.org. • AZTEM (Australia) – www.aztem.org; Global Careers (S. Af.) – www.gcgroup.co.za;
  • AERDO – Association of Evangelical Relief & Development Organizations – www.aerdo.org.
  • Christliche Fachkräfte International (Germany) – www.christliche-fachkraefte.de

Work in the Issue Group

The gathering in Thailand was indeed a time of relationship-building. Since there were thirty-four participants representing twenty-five nations, the group was truly international. The work with the paper went fairly well, but we discovered that, even with modern technology and the written document, we did not fully understand each other’s thinking. Within the framework of our busy schedule, we tried to find time to get to know one another.

One person took the responsibility of setting up an email group and a web page; this task has now been completed. In this way we have kept in touch, not frequently, but as needed. Many of the participants in the Issue Group are from restricted areas and cannot write or express themselves openly. In fact, one person in the group received a death threat as he was coming to Thailand and it has been very difficult to even contact him by telephone.

A group of individuals was selected to write up the paper; this task has also been completed in an admirable way within the prescribed time frame and format.

Action plans:

Of the reports I have received, the participants have taken the tentmaking vision with them into their local churches. The Germans report that Tentmaking will be an issue at their national gathering. Several people are continuing with their work in their respective nations and are doing a fantastic job.

With regard to the tsunami:

For Christmas, I decided to telephone all the participants in our group in order to hear their voices and greet them personally. Heru from Indonesia told me on December 24th that intercessors for Indonesia had seen a dark cloud over Indonesia; they interpreted this cloud to signify that a dangerous event was expected to take place and Heru asked for prayer. He and his team had then already decided to visit Nias in January. We all know what happened. In Thailand, our representative and his family were taken by the wave, but were miraculously saved. Our representative in Sri Lanka and India was deeply involved in the rescue operation, so it was good to be able to call for prayer from all over the world. Perhaps the greatest value for our group is that we can call on each other for prayer the day we are in need.

The Issue Group is invited to meet in Lisbon, Portugal, the last weekend of February 2006 to lay the strategy for the next gathering and how to help each other. A small group will meet in Norway to plan this event.

Berit Helgøy Kloster

Participants

Kalyan Biswas | Bangladesh
Ryan Bolger | USA
Ron Crandall | USA
Meg Crossman | USA
Hugo De Framcenco | Argentina
Klaus Diehl | Germany
Christhard Elle | Germany
Matt Friedman | USA
Anibal Ghione | Argentina
Knud Jorgensen | Norway
Jong Yun Lee | South Korea
Pete Luedemann | USA
Paul Main Wales | UK
Ansel Antum Mall | Pakistan
Larry McKain | USA
Kevin McKee | USA
Hywel Mereoydd Wales | UK
Greg Middleton | Australia
Peter Popoola | Nigeria
K. Rajendran | India
Xenia Sabo
Fritz Schuler | Germany
John Steer | USA
Vicky Tapi
Robert Samarata Tarigan | Indonesia
John Thornton | Australia
Bruce Vyle | New Zealand
Jill Wallis | Australia
Rebecca Wilson | UK
Dawit Yohannes | Ethiopia
Yoon Sub Yong | South Korea

Tentmaking stream

Judi Long | Australia
Dieter Abrell | Germany
Benjamin Bester | South Africa/Thailand
Derek Christensen | New Zealand
Johnny Chun | Korea
Sarath De Silva | Sri Lanka
David English | USA
Berit Helgøy Kloster | Norway
David Lim | Philippines
J.N. Manakaran | India
Albert Mridha | Bangladesh
Birgit Opheim | Norway
Steiner Opheim | Norway
Magedeline Phore | South Africa
Rachel Pinniger | UK
Antonio Rodolpho | Brazil/ Portugal
Friedrich Rössner | Germany
Hamadou Saidou | Cameroon
Serena | China
Sharon Tam | Canada
Heru Tjandra Mulia | Indonesia
Eilif Tveit | Norway
Marcelo Vargas | Bolivia
Heinz Weickel | Germany
Tae Yon Kim | Korea

Footnotes

1 David Barrett, and T.M. Johnson, eds. World Christian Trends. (Pasadena:William Carey Library 2001), 61

2 Bryant Myers, The New Context of World Mission ( MARC: Monrovia,1996),46

3 Matthew 28:19-20

4 Matthew 24:14

5 Matthew 22:37-40

6 A. Rocklin, “Mobilising Tentmakers”, TIE Opportunities, September 2004

7 R. Bennet, Intentional Disciplemaking, Cultivating Spiritual Maturity in the Local Church, (NAVPRESS, 2001)

8 Acts 13

9 Acts 14:27-28

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