The Alliance


What is the role of missionaries in Church Planting Movements?

Dr. David Garrison, Vice President for Global Strategy for the International Mission Board

Dr. David Garrison"Given the obvious power of God in these Church Planting Movements, some have questioned whether the role of missionaries has diminished in this new reality. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

What is required of missionaries in a Church Planting Movement is not a new role, but rather a return to an old role. Roland Allen's classic book Missionary Methods: St. Paul's or Ours makes the case well, that somewhere along the way, missionaries stopped following a Pauline model and shifted to a colonial model.

The Pauline missionary role raises up local indigenous leadership and then moves on to places where the gospel has not yet been sown. The colonial model stays to rule over the conquered territory rather than transferring the responsibility, vision, and momentum to new Christians who don't understand why the same Holy Spirit living in their hearts is unable to equip them for leadership.

Great missionaries always understood the transitional nature of their role. John the Baptist initiated this spirit when he said, "He (Jesus) must become more and more, while I become less and less."

Every Church Planting Movement practitioner recognizes that the success of the movement requires everything he has to give when he faces a people group devoid of gospel witness.

However, as the gospel takes root among the people, it may require even more effort for the missionary to resist leadership roles and take a backseat to the emerging leaders."

Excerpted from Church Planting Movements: How God is Redeeming a Lost World
© 2004 by David Garrison
WIGTake Resources, P.O. Box 1268, Midlothian, VA 23113




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