A few weeks ago, we attempted to wrestle with the idea of embracing the new/different. We used the story of Peter walking on the Galilean waves toward Jesus as a metaphor to help us understand the way today’s Christ follower could help to bring about the Kingdom of God—even when it requires a lot of us. In fact, isn’t the fundamental characteristic of being a Christ follower that we are “all in”. Christ does indeed require a lot of us—what’s more, He demands ALL of us. This has some massive implications for how we think about the church’s (in this case I am referring to the universal church: the entire body of believers worldwide) mission to point the world to Christ, while simultaneously helping to bring His Kingdom to earth. Naturally, we have to constantly ask ourselves “In what direction is God leading us? “What is the best way we can both point people to Jesus and approximate God’s Kingdom on earth?” In doing this, we remain in-tune to God’s spiritual frequency, able to to follow Him wherever He beckons us.
As we have mentioned before, we (Impact and Global) feel that God is leading us in a certain direction in regard to doing missions. In the next few weeks, we will outline some of the key functions of the Impact and Global model. For now, I want to focus on one of the distinguishing factors that makes us excited about what where God is taking world missions in the 21 Century.
One of the unique parts about the Global Disciples’ (and Impact49) model is that it is self-sustainable. What does this mean? To explore this, let’s check out what it doesn’t mean:
1) It doesn’t mean giving out “handouts”. Global Disciples and Impact49 are not focused on solely giving to people who are in economic need. We don’t just want to send our people to a region that is in need both physically and spiritually, let them drop off resources and Bibles, and then hop back on a plane to the US. Although handouts are helpful and certainly have a place in providing aid and assistance to those in need, we want are interested in something totally different.
2) It doesn’t mean that the developing world should be waiting on the West, as it were. We don’t see the West as intrinsically more powerful or “better” than the developing world. That is why we want to cultivate and empower those in the developing world to build their communities both in a physical and economical sense, but also in a spiritual one. We want to see the relationship between the West and the developing world as a coplanar relationship—one is not better than the other; it is all God’s beloved creation.
Self-sustainability DOES mean that by giving native leaders the necessary training and resources to lead their communities and churches, western believers can play a role in bringing the Gospel to every corner of the globe. It DOES mean that church leaders in these places have the capacity and spiritual gifting to lead and multiply groups of believers. Lastly, it DOES mean that we are still called to bring the Gospel to every corner of the earth; but maybe how we do this looks different. Self-sustainability operates under the belief that indigenous leaders (people native to a particular region who have potential to lead their community) can multiply believers and help to spread the Gospel—they just need some of the resources that we westerners have in abundance (training tools, money, business knowledge). By training and equipping these leaders to build faith-based communities in their particular region of the world, we are fulfilling Christ’s call to make disciples—we are “getting out of the boat”.