Today I am going to take my family to a church where I have been asked to preach a missions mobilization challenge. It's a traditional church. I was present for some of the original meetings of this church when we first arrived in South America. Now it is moving ahead at its own pace, hopefully under the power of the Holy Spirit.
But, as most of my missionary colleagues who may read this know, traditional churches can be cumbersome. They move slowly. The reproduce (start other churches) at the speed of sound traveling through a tar pit. Traditional churches spend more on themselves and less on reaching others. This particular church is going on 20 years old. I think they have been involved in one other church start, maybe two. And one of those is still a preaching point--a mission that has been in existence for about 5 years. As I said, reproduction is slow.
What is the answer? Guy Muse and his team, in Ecuador, have found house churches to be functional. That's good.
Others have found cell churches to be the answer. That's good, too.
The obvious thing is this: the church in South America needs to assume a simplified form if it is to reproduce rapidly. It needs the least common denominator of life in a given community.
The church needs obedience-based discipleship. They need to be reminded that they are to DO those things that Jesus commands them, as opposed to just learn them.
The church needs empowered leadership. In traditional churches the established, formal leadership often fails to empower the informal leaders of the church. This gross failure costs the church in too many ways, especially when it comes to planting new churches.
And the church needs to rise to the expectation that they are to be intentional church planters. That's part of that "doing" thing I mentioned above.
If you can think of other things, feel free to tag it on.
Jesus is Lord!