Traditions of Spirituality - Lesson 6
Shared Spirituality and Church Plant Movements
In this lesson, you will gain a thorough understanding of shared spirituality and its critical role in church plant movements. You'll explore the historical background of these movements and discover how shared spirituality fosters trust, spiritual growth, and collaboration among believers. As you delve deeper, you'll learn about practical applications, including strategies for developing shared spiritual practices, fostering sustained growth, and adapting to various cultural contexts. Finally, you'll examine the challenges and opportunities that arise in shared spirituality and church plant movements, such as navigating theological differences, balancing individual and community needs, and addressing potential pitfalls and obstacles.
Shared Spirituality and Church Plant Movements
Ch391-06: Shared Spirituality and Church Plant Movements
I. Introduction to Shared Spirituality and Church Plant Movements
A. Definitions and Key Concepts
B. Historical Background
II. The Role of Shared Spirituality in Church Plant Movements
A. Building Relationships and Trust
B. Fostering Spiritual Growth and Maturity
C. Facilitating Collaboration and Teamwork
III. Practical Applications for Church Plant Movements
A. Developing Shared Spiritual Practices
B. Implementing Strategies for Sustained Growth
C. Assessing and Adapting to Cultural Contexts
IV. Challenges and Opportunities in Shared Spirituality and Church
A. Navigating Theological Differences
B. Balancing Individual and Community Needs
C. Addressing Potential Pitfalls and Obstacles
- By studying this lesson, you gain a deep understanding of early Christian spirituality in the Apostolic Age, its development, key figures, and historical context.challenging cultural context.
- Gain insights into the Medieval Church and Reformation, exploring the interplay between religious traditions, key figures, theological debates, and socio-political dynamics that transformed spirituality.
- Through this lesson, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of modernity and post-modernity, their impact on spirituality and religious practice, and the challenges and opportunities they present for the church today.
- Gain deep insights into the Great Tradition of spirituality, its evolution, core principles, and the connections between diverse spiritual practices as you explore this lesson from Dr. Don Davis.
- Gain a deeper understanding of shared spirituality, its historical and cultural development, key concepts, practices, and beliefs, and how it can guide a meaningful spiritual life.
- By studying this lesson, you learn the importance of shared spirituality in church plant movements, its role in building trust and spiritual growth, and practical strategies for implementing and sustaining such movements while overcoming challenges.
- In this lesson, you gain an understanding of the Great Tradition, its historical context, and key components, ultimately learning how to apply these principles to your spiritual growth and Christian community.
Dr. Davis emphasizes the ways in which evangelical Protestants, especially those who are only loosely connected to a particular Church tradition, can be renewed and revived through a retrieval of the Great Tradition. Of great interest in this class are the elements, purposes, and ramifications of sharing a distinct spirituality grounded in that Tradition, and what the impact this sharing can have on our individual, family, and congregational lives.
I am going to give formally one session more and wrap up with what is called session seven in your your notebooks after what the the next steps is. I'm going to say a few things about the power of shared spirituality that I think is informed by the great tradition and what that means for church planning movements all over the earth today. And what then we can learn. In light of that and how I think that this can really inform, this is very, very practical. In other words, if we can script out a clear sense of our own spirituality, our own tie in to the sacred roots of the faith. If we have a clear sense of what we believe and we are unashamed in our allegiance to that, we can really see that reproduced and God can be glorified. Now, what I love about the Church of Jesus Christ is that the Holy Spirit loves variety. Guys, I don't think that there is anything wrong with the various movements that God has raised up. I think that God's hand was on Luther and God's hand was on mental sign and God's hand was on S.H. Mays. I mean, that is essentially what we have said. We truly believe that the Holy Spirit is alive. I believe that the Holy Spirit at any time can raise up from any quarter, any space, anyone he wishes to represent his interests in a dramatic way. If that's the truth, then all we have to do is just to be clear about who we are. We don't have to. This is not about trying to search people with a yardstick on where do you fit on the great tradition in art. We don't have to compete. We don't have to argue or fight.
We can truly say that the ultimate end of what God is doing is to glorify himself and however God elect to raise up men and women from any quarter, then it's fine with us as long as the great tradition and the authoritative tradition are expressed and defended. So to be a Christian is truly to be ecumenical. I am interdenominational on purpose. I believe that God is alive in that He speaks to thousands who are utterly different from me. No one can tell me that God Almighty was not in the cold sanctuaries of Kiev a thousand years ago, that that didn't matter just because they weren't like you and didn't believe what you believe and are different than you doesn't mean that God Almighty cannot work. Those of us in mission, everything is rooted in our ability to believe what I am saying. Do you believe that the Holy Spirit. You know, guys, I don't know if you know it. It's a good word for world Impact missionaries. In Ethiopia, a Presbyterian mission for 45 years languished with virtually no fruit at all. And there was there was a move to close it down because it was just a waste of resources and missionary time. On one given evening, a group of college and high school students accepted. The Lord and the Holy Spirit fell on a group of about 20 people. That 20 people, some 40 some years ago, has grown over to 3 million believers. Hundreds of churches. At the time when the mission was about to be folded up. Y'all. We believe in the Holy Spirit, right? We do. I actually believe that God Almighty is alive. He can work. God can do anything if it would please me. Nothing more on earth than any one of our satellites.
Saint Louis should be bigger than us. Saint Louis is more important than Wichita. I have no problem with that. Saint Louis could be the gateway to the entire Midwest. It's the center. There's nothing like it. If God fell on believers in Saint Louis, we could win hundreds and thousands of people and have immediate access to just all of the people around the Great Lakes and not too far from the East Coast. It's a critical place. We pray here that Saint Louis distances us in every way. There's nothing wrong with that. I don't know why we can't see that. And that is really what I wanted to put all this talk of tradition in it in a particular missional sense. Those of us who love Christ don't want to just grow and dwell, nor do we just want our own churches to thrive and be healthy. We love Jesus and there are billions of people who do not know him. Surely you agree with that, right? Yes, you can. If you do, y'all, it is. We should not be. We should not finish. Into. The work is done. And so our only loyalty is to Jesus being glorified in every unreached community we can think of. Who cares who wins or what tradition is glorified? That's not our point. We don't care. We just want to represent him in his glory as quickly and rapidly as we can in every place that is furthest away from His grace. Guys, There is a book. Church planning movements. That I taught a course on some time ago that is really taking the mythological world by storm. It's written by a fellow, a Southern Baptist, who really frankly has a Ph.D., I think, in engineering. He wrote the book.
It's called Church Planning Movements How God is Redeeming a Lost World. The heart of it is based on a methodology that he calls reverse engineering. What he did is he went and studied for for some period of time many robust church planning movements all over the earth. And what he did is that he tried to write a history of what they were doing. And he looked at where they were in the and were back. It's like reverse engineering. He did an archeology of the movement. What were the key issues? What were the key people? What did they focus on? Why did this grow? Why did this Muslim movement grow from two persecuted guys who were friends to 4000 churches in less than ten years or 150,000 movements of Muslims? Except that the Lord in this one movement that he trades, starting what he wrote in Africa and India and these other places. Well, he's just trying to make sense of it all. And it's it's a stunning book, really. I mean, if you are if you're committed to missions, then it's a book you should have in your own personal library. Church Planning Movements How God is Redeeming a Lost World by David Garrison is his name. Thanks. Of this this book is on the the the actual the bibliographic information is on the first sheet of session six, which is page 97. Why don't we begin by getting by by getting things into focus? Guys, I want to make the claim that taking our identity seriously in shared spirituality based on a great tradition could result in dramatic impact of the gospel in place. In other words, I think that if you know it's all up to the Holy Spirit, no one can really just do this by method.
But dear friends, every movement that he articulates is a movement where the believers share a fundamental identity. And you will see that oftentimes it's neither impressive or even sensical. I mean, for the life of me, I can't see how or why the Holy Spirit would allow this particular movement to grow. But I think it shows all in all and everything that we've said about the church that God Almighty is still willing to do to to bless vital, dynamic spirituality that believers share in common. This is a part of the front matter of his book. He says the ultimate in David Garrison for all Christians, must be to glorify God. We glorify God when we reveal Him in all of his fullness. Christians find the fullness of God in his Son and experience That fullness as a son comes to dwell in our hearts and through our lives. In His grace, Christ conveys the same glory to all who invite Him into their lives. A Savior Lord, for those who submit to His reign in their lives. Christ fills them with His glory, the very glory of God. This is what Paul could say with confidence Christ in you, the hope of glory, which I don't know if Garrison knew. He is speaking directly, consistently with the great tradition. It was such a Christ focused tradition. This is why Jesus told his disciples. This is to my father's glory that you bear much fruit. Of mankind. I wish the brother would use a little more open language. Mankind without Jesus Christ may bear God's image, but not God's glory. In church planning movements, the glory of the Lord in spreading from person to person. People group. The people group. Like a swelling river. As it begins to spill out over its banks until it covers all the earth as waters cover the sea, no other avenue so quickly and effectively multiplies the glory of God in the hearts of so many people.
No other means has drawn so many new believers in the ongoing communities of faith where they can continue to grow in Christ likeness. That is why church planning movements are so very important. Guys. What I'd like to do is to talk about three. I want to create a correlation, a link between church planning movements and what I've been sharing with you about how we need to fundamentally share a spirituality in Christ. I am going to sort of deal with these three things fairly quickly, and at the end of each I'm going to give a case in point out of Garrison's book. I'll give you an example of what I mean. Now, the first point that I want to make about this correlation between church planning movements and a shared spirituality. I want to I want to suggest to you guys that church planning movements, these robust movements of tens of thousands of churches that are being planted all over the world express a particular tradition. Each one of these movements have their own identity. They share a spirituality that is reproduced in its own distinctive way. Guys, I don't know if you realize just how amazing what God is doing now in our church. The American church is in decline. If you look at all of our our our sort of statistics of populations in American churches are declining, even though we have, you know, some fairly major churches. Very. You know, Joel, All Saints Church is the largest church in the world. Amazing church. Frankly, none of the other ten largest churches are in Seoul, Korea. I mean, if you really look at Christianity now, it is exploding in places that have nothing to do with the West. We're long outpaced by by many parts of the world.
Really, I will say that China, the World Christian Movement Encyclopedia, in looking at China, there were some who back in 1982 when they accused the scholars of that, compiled all this data, were accused of being overly optimistic in 1982 when they said that there were 1.3 million Christians in China in the 18 years after that first edition of that. The second edition estimated that there were 9 million believers in Christ in China. In 18 years, China has grown over 7,000% in terms of just sheer numbers. It is undoubtedly one. It's not only the Chinese movements are not only strikingly large, but unbelievably intense. That's what makes them so, so potent. We're not just talking about huge numbers of believers. We're talking about believers all. Do you know what I mean? Believers. Believers who come and stand in the cold for 4 hours before service. I mean, you know, it's amazing. Talk to our friends Paul Brooks and others who've gone to China. Believers, they have no problem singing hymns in 20 degree weather for a long time. I mean, they're different. What I'm saying is it's not just more of them. They're better than us, is what I'm saying. They're stronger than us. They're. They're hungry. Guys. There are movements taking place in China that reflect this tradition. God Almighty to me is is blessing the great tradition in these movements. Now, Garrison gives five distinct features for those who haven't read him. I think it's good. Before I talk about the Chinese movement as a case in point of of a movement with identity. To give you a Garrison's definition of a church planning movement, he gives five distinct features here. Here is the whole definition of a church planning movement. It is a rapid multiplication of indigenous churches, planning churches that sweep through a people group or population segment.
Now, that's a very interesting, a rapid multiplication. And so if we break that up and pass that definition, the first thing it reproduces rapidly is a matter of fact, in his book, he refused to study anything. If there was a rapid reproduction, you know, within a very short period of time, newly churches were planning churches. And he says in the book, throughout the book, he has this phrase that he uses faster than you think possible. There are areas of the world, the churches are being planted so quickly that they're just overrunning the environment, quite literally. It's just extraordinarily exciting. Another part of his definition is that it is multiplication. He excluded all movements that were simply adding new churches. Instead they have to be multiplied. And he used the loaves and the fish as an example that Then thirdly, a church planning movement is an indigenous movement. It has to it has to come from the folk in the community. It's not something that outsiders did. It wasn't foreign missionaries or outsiders who came and do it. Fourthly, a church planning movement by his. He's just restricting what he's looking at. He said, I'm only going to look at these kind of things. And it's my fourth definition. Is it? The churches have to plant the churches. And he has this interesting language based on some of the some of. There's a very popular business book that is called Tipping Point that talks about going to a certain point in and reaching it. And then when you get that point and you tip over, everything grows exponentially. It's like everything explodes. And that's why it's called a movement. It's a, you know, something. Some things happen and then all of a sudden this movement is in and then it's just off to the race.
And and his final characteristic is that a church planned movement occurs within a distinct people group. In other words, or in a related population segment of the people shared language, the same ethnicity. They were part of the same culture and so on. Sounds very much like what we want to do in urban America. I mean, frankly, I could live with this definition in any way. Many of us are missionaries with this deliberate goal in mind. He I thought. I think it's also important, before I talk about the links between the great tradition and church movements is to is to highlight some of the things that Garrison said a church planned movement is not. He said it is not revival or a spiritual awakening. He said that may be a wonderful thing, but that has nothing to do with church planned movements. We're talking about the gospel spreading among people who have never heard it and doing that quickly. It's not mass evangelism. He said there are church multiplying movements. We're not looking at individuals. We're looking at churches. They're not just people. Movements. People movements do a lot of good and there's a lot of things. But he said that's not necessarily what we're we are really talking about. He has this definition of mass conversions where great numbers of lost people may respond to the gospel, but it doesn't really produce churches, which is really interesting. I mean, I think that's very powerful. You can have all kinds of evangelism and it never congeals into something that we can do and we can look at and God is continues on, He said. They're not church growth movements. He said he goes into an excursion. He starts pontificating a little bit about Western churches. He said, The West in the West, we think it's success.
We have big churches, big churches and better churches we think are great. As a matter of fact, if you're planning a church, people immediately say, How many are in your new church? How many you got in there? And you say something like 75, 75, that's all. You look at a hokey church movement, you go with 75 people. As a matter of fact, the vast majority of the churches that he is talking about, very rarely do they get over 50 people. I don't know if you know that this these are little churches, but they are growing like crazy. So church growth is, as you know, he says it tends to be it tends church growth movements. He says focused missionaries, all responsive fields. You got to get your best people in places where where we think we can get some some effort. And he said church grow movements leave the nastier parts of of of fields alone. You know those fields that are just crazy. The black underclass is one of the hardest fields on earth. Let's just make that plain. The St Louis field, It's a hard field, I'm telling you. There's no question to me about that. It is as tough as any field on Earth. No question. So, you know, it's very easy for people to say, you know, that's a hard feel. That's like playing on asphalt. Why don't we leave that alone? We got some people who really like us over here. And when we drive up, they kids come up and squirrels run up my leg and I feed them for months. You know, you go to some of these fields where people say, What are you doing in our community? You've long haired so well, you know. You know what I'm saying? There are some fields that are nasty and the people don't want you in them.
He said a church planning movements are effective among those kind of places. That immediately gets my ears off because that's what we want to do. He said, They're not a divine miracle. They're not a Western invention, and they're not ends in themselves. Let's get back to the tradition. Church plant movements require a tradition that share a fundamental vision and spirituality. That's the point that I'm trying to make. If we want to see dramatic, rapid multiplication of churches, we cannot do it unless we are clear that we know no church planning that that that garrison did occurred in a vacuum. Guys, let me make this plain. There is no such thing as a generic church. If you go and plan a church, it's got to be church of a kind. It's got to be some kind of church. Yeah, I'll hear what I'm saying. If you just go in with no sense. No, we're just believers loving every. You got to be clear what you what you are. You have to be unashamed in that in a shared spirituality of a tradition. Yeah, this is what I'm saying in terms of its own doctrine. It knows what it believes. It has leadership structures. It's it has a stewardship sense. It has a focus to its own worship and so on that makes reproduction easier and more potent. Quite honestly, we're going to get into the Cambodian Southern Baptist, and there are some seven fold ministry structures. Totally fascinating. I'll just put that on hold for a moment. You know, when you think about these things, you have to ask is what is the chicken or egg? This church man moments come before shared spirituality or do we share a fundamental spirituality and God blesses that. What happened to the Wesley's or to Amy Semple McPherson or to Richard Allen? What happens to people who start a movement? Do they begin with something dynamic and then God adds to them? Or do are they going along and they develop their spirituality as they grow? I think that it's pretty clear, at least from the garrison examples, that these two things are symbiotic.
Whatever happens, the one dramatically impacts the other. If you have no share, if you have no identity, you can't multiply. But if you multiply, whatever your identity is will gain greater dynamism and energy. Let me just say that again. If you are something you can reproduce, you can communicate to it, others can join you. And let's make this plain that just having an identity done doesn't prevent you from being persecuted, your leaders being murdered. That's what I love about the great tradition. They were completely clear and committed and it didn't make any difference. If the Lord does not infuse it with his own life. Nothing in it will really make any difference. I mean, that's very important to say. Now, just in our last session. I just want to emphasize this, and you'll see this in the union movement in China. In just a moment, the church planning movements at their core are simply concrete representations of the traditions that they represent. They simply are reflecting who they are. Let me put it this way is the spirituality of a tradition goes. So does its authenticity and depth in the church plan movement. If you have a shallow, unclear movement, it will in fact not catch hold and it will not rapidly multiply. Now, this has great, great emphasis for us in our work. We reproduce after time in this principle and likeness, and similitude applies directly to us. We reproduce in Genesis. You can only give what you got. Church Point movements are movements of a kind. And that's what's very exciting to me. I'm not I can't tell you guys when I try to relate all this research to church history and everything and I look at what's going on, it just bears out the fact that God wants to reward, it seems, those who are clear but who they are.
It's nearly as if the Pauline principle, if the root is holy saw the branches is literally true. If who we are in ourselves at the very room is clear, then everything that comes out of us will also be clear. If the root is holy saw the branches gathers as the first case in point. The Chinese union movement is to me an expression of the great tradition, but they use entirely different language. You need to know that it's a Southern Baptist movement and they are completely rooted in creedal theology and pastoral care. They are very much like the early church in that I don't know if these guys know it, but they root discipleship training and they try it directly to house church leaders, as a matter of fact. Looking at their leadership curriculum, the way they train leaders. They could be very well one of the world's most effective leadership development places on earth. You want to know what their great curriculum is? Look on page 100. It does not look very coherent to me. They study Genesis one through ten The Life of Christ, The Book of Romans, The Book of Jonah, the Book of Ephesians. Now, that's an interesting combination. You know how to study the Bible, how to teach the Bible in personal evangelism, and that is it. Here's a seminary training. Now, I would suggest to you guys why this is important is that all the thousands in their movement study the same thing. Do you hear what I'm saying? How many curriculums are represented by world impact folk in this room? Can we name them? We have a we have a we have a lighthouse curriculum. We have a Dallas curriculum and a morningstar curriculum. I have my Toomey curriculum.
I know that we got some Saint Louis curriculum going on. I ain't even got to worry about that. We got Andy and Susie back there looking very wise and sagely. We and we and we've got the guys on the front row. We have a lot of curriculums going on here. Dear friends, you need to know that I am convinced that the in church planning movement is dynamic because they settled on what they were teaching their leaders. They settled it. Now, this is not the list we would come up with, is it? I mean, is this the premier teaching curriculum on Earth? It simply led to tens of thousands of churches. How about that? I think that we could learn a lot from these poor Chinese. They have invested. They call their Southern Baptist missionaries strategy coordinators. They're the Pioneer Southern Baptist on the field. They use this pouch method. Participate in you know, everybody participates in Bible study and worship obedience. They make a big thing of unpaid leadership that everybody meets in sales of 10 to 20 believers. That's adults. And they meet usually at homes. Most of the people are too too poor to meet anyplace else. It's a movement like the early church because it's under great persecution. Was very, very key. They have to be equally clear on everything that they do. They they have very few or none of the suppliers that we can take for granted. And they have to operate everything under the watchful eye of the state religious affairs bill. So not only are they poor with bad curriculum, with no money. They are under state persecution, too. But they share a fundamental spirituality and gathered assembly. Their churches are reproduced. They they made the determination. When they get to a predetermined size, they will split.
Usually, I think that's about 25 or 30 in their settings. Most of the houses are just too little. You know, you just they're just poor. You can't put that many people in any place or meet outside. So the tradition then is everything being passed down to the faithful. Their whole understanding of their movement is based on two words guardianship and stewardship. You guard what you are given so you can give it to somebody else. And every little bit that God gives you, you steward that with all the energy that you can. Dear friends, I want to say that the genuine house church model is an is an amazing application in our time of a great tradition. I think that we can employ something like this, but we have to have the courage. The one thing I love about Garrison is that these moments that he talked about, not one of them is shy. They have no problem putting all their leaders through the same thing. They order people to do it. If you're going to lead for us this, they lay it all out. There are no discussions with anybody. Go find another place if you're one of us. This is the way we do it. It's the same for everyone. Really? Honestly, they are very. They're more like the early church than we are, is all I'm saying. They're very much early church the way the early church. So all the catechism, all the baptized went through the same thing and their leaders were trained the same way and so on. Let's look at the second of three. Of interrelated elements. The second thing about dynamic church planning movements, I want to give you and this my final sort of. Sort of suggesting to me a guy.
Guys. I did a pretty comprehensive study of Garrison's church planning movements, and this is essentially what I was able to to discern. These are the three great principles that I could identify from all of the movements that Garrison was talking about. Every movement, the people shared a fundamental spirituality. It was reflected in their group identity. They contextualized it in every one of them was connected to a multiplication strategy. Now, if you look at this, there are four models on the left hand side. The most effective way of planning churches is you share the same spirituality. You're moving from left to right. You do it in a similar culture and ethnicity. You share the same structures and protocols, and that produces the greatest level of effectiveness. The second model, which is more effective, is you share the same spirituality in practice, but you do it among different cultures and ethnicities like the Anglicans. Or there are many, many denominations that do that. They have the same spirituality, but they are different ethnicities and they share similar structures and protocols, and they're more effective. The less effective model of doing ministry and rapidly reproducing is when you have different spirituality in practice and you do that among different kinds of people and your strategies are all iconoclastic in an individual that you're less effective. And the least effective is you have different spirituality and practice being done among different cultures and ethnicities, and all of the strategies are iconoclastic and different. Now I will let you make the determination where you think we need where we are. If you got everything different, you really are very ineffective. I will say this to Robin. The restored community, Yours, yours. Aim. If you really, truly want to see God work, I really honestly believe you should.
You should share of spirituality that is worth reproducing and allow it to be do allow it to be contextualized within culture and share fundamentally the same structures and protocols. And because all the data shows that that's the most effective way to have these church planning movement. If if, if we are different in our spirituality, different in the in the in the groups that we work with and completely different in the way that we carry out our strategies, we're going to be very ineffective. That's just that's just to me, good miss theology. And essentially this outlined on page one, two, one now is just an outline of those three things I just essentially gave you. Of those three points, they are based on an intensely shared spirituality. They are contextualized within distinct cultural people groups. And they employ on page one or two a strategy for multiplication that allows for efficient rapid reproduction. I don't care what anyone says about the Southern Baptists. They absolutely understand these principles and they apply them constantly. It's amazing to me that we will allow ourselves to do on foreign feels that what we would never even dream of doing here. I don't understand that. But for some reason, we will not allow ourselves the freedom to really come up with a coherent plan that reflects what we believe. Make that available for everyone in a category. Do it. Contextualize it in the various languages and ways, and then create strategies to multiply it efficiently. I can tell you there is no better example of this in all of Garrison's book than the Cambodian example. There's a case in point that's at the bottom of your page on one one or two of you. If any of you know about Cambodia, it was a society.
It is a society that is wracked by vicious, bloody, decades long Vietnam War. And it's after that after effect of the Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge regime is, to me, one of the bloodiest in all of history. Within four years, an estimated 3.3 million of the country's fully 8 million population were either murdered, starved or driven from the country. There were thousands and thousands of skulls. Perhaps you can recall seeing pictures of that. They were just bloody beyond words and they were vicious on on those of Christian background. Well, since 1990, the Christian population in Cambodia has risen from 600 to 60000. And the Baptists are leading the way. They. But I just I love the Baptist understanding of these principles. They have they have reported 220 churches with more than 10,000 members. And frankly, the Baptists the Baptists have impacted a great number of other traditions DCM and Aide Overseas Missionary Fellowship, the Foursquare and the Presbyterians. Now, in Garrison's book, he makes the focus on methodology. But guys, I am convinced that the key to understanding what is going on really among the Cambodian Baptists is their sense of shared spirituality. If you look at all of the different elements that they share, it's every one of their church plants is built on a disciplined, focused, continuous kind of prayer. They train all their indigenous leaders in the same way training is passed down all their churches. This is really amazing. These little Cambodian churches are barely 20 or more. They they have embraced the same authority, liturgy and leadership structure. If you want to see what the Cambodian here is the Cambodian church. This is the way they've organized themselves. They have a worship leader, a Bible teacher, a men's minister, a women's minister, a youth minister, an outreach minister and a literacy teacher.
Now, you can argue with that or not, but this is what they've done and all hundreds of them are doing it. I'm just saying this is what they do. They evangelize, quite literally. This is just too sweet to me. I'm sorry. We're right at the end of what we're doing. This is just excellent. They evangelize by reproducing the spirituality and structure in the new village. Exactly what they had when. When. When they were asked a question by Garrison. How do you start new churches there in Cambodia? This is the answer. They go to people and they say, Do you have a Baptist church in your village? Now, you know, and you know, most people wouldn't know Baptists if you know they're in Cambodia. Come on. That was. Is it what is it, Cambodian, you know, Baptist church, what it would look like. And they say somebody else said, well, next week we'll come and we'll tell you all about it next week. Not now. Next week. Are you sure you can't stay? No. No, we can't. We'll be back. So in a week they come back. Garrison didn't like this denominational list approach. He sort of said, this isn't the best way to train people. Why would we do this? He said they're only doing this as a way of improving their chances of getting an invitation. I think he's fundamentally wrong. He doesn't understand identity. People need to belong to something. Maybe because he belongs to something. He don't realize that people never belonged to anything. I don't know what it means to you, but there are thousands upon tens of thousands of urban people in the cities who have never belonged to anything once. Not even for for any reason. I only give this example, isn't it? As an example, I was asked to be the Martin Luther King speaker.
Some year I can't even remember what it was, but it's a very prestigious thing. All the black pastors look at things and they say, Who do we want to come in? And then, you know, and so you speak to the mayor, you speak at all these civic things and you speak at the local university and you sit down colloquium. And they asked me to come. I said, Yeah, I'll come. And so I came and spoke and did this. And the last meetings were at this one church in the evening. And so I spoke and, you know, I did a lot of my work in doctor. My doctor work is on. KING And so I gave a lot of anecdotal things about King and things that he told and how he felt and, you know, conversations he had with different people. And at the end of it, it was great. And the pastor who was hosting the place, it was in his it was in his church. It was a redesigned meatpacking place that had been turned into an African-American church. And he's proud of it. He wants me to go see. And so he gives me a tour of the place, and I walk through the different things and he's showing me different things. And he shows me his office in his office. I kid you not. He has every award this brother has ever won from grammar school. Own everything. Now one of our finest missionaries is with me, and he's taking the tour. He's the one who sort of being my squire. You know, you just carry on my stuff around and stuff. I like when when you get a world impact person to carry your stuff around, that's that's when you've made it.
I'm walking around on all of these things, and. And so we're leaving. And he says, Did you see all of the rewards that he had on his wall? All the things that he did when he was a boy? There were things there were ribbons and stuff that he wanted to show all his wall. He chuckles. I said, You've been an urban missionary this long and don't know what it's like to be the gum on the boot of the shoe. You've never been a part of nothing. When are you going to learn this, man? You are best. Don't you know what it's like to belong to nothing? Oh, for any reason. You know what gets me with our missionaries? Is that what you quickly give up? They never experience. So you are taking away from them the right to belong to anything. Thinking that you empowering them. It's it's silly. It really. Guys, this is why we don't understand the Cambodians with a seven fold ministry structure in a church of 20 people. Nearly half of them are on the staff of the church. Why is that, y'all? They need to be alone. You don't understand culture. If you don't understand that they got to belong. This is why I love a great tradition. We need to bring them into something. I just look at my own family. They just don't belong enough. Greatest struggle in my life is wanting to quit our ministry and be a pastor so I can take care of some of these these folk. It's like we take so long to understand the most basic thing in Cambodia. They understand about us, understand that we can't win the Cambodians if they don't belong to something. We need to identify them. We need to create structures that they can join.
So, Garrison, I think you did wrong is not just because they're trying to improve chances of getting an invitation. They've never in their lives ever belonged to anything. And it matters to be the literacy teacher of the Cambodian Baptist Church. Seems to me that we should understand, you know, after all, the gospel is preached in a Cambodian village after they come back the week after. You know what the appeal to saving faith is? Look what Garrison wrote. I didn't write. He said, Would you like to have a Baptist church in your village? That's their appeal. Now, how many of y'all like that or not? Is that not evangelical enough? They don't say, Will you come to Jesus? They say, Do you want to have one of the ones we got over there right here. Y'all want one of these here? Look at who they send to do the testimony. It's the Central Committee members who go. There are probably some testimony where I've been a man's minister in our church for some time. And frankly, orchards have grown since I become the man's minister. Amen. You think that some of these brothers say that? I think it matters to belong. I think it really counts. To me, it sounds like Cyprian only Cambodian style. Cyprian said there is no salvation outside of the church. I just think they're just applying what they would what Cyprian said many centuries ago and applying it in Cambodia. Let me close in my final words to you guys today. The rest of our time we're going to chat. Is. I think that these movements that Garrison talk about really do embody and defend both the scripture and the tradition. If you look at everything this brother said, are they established very, very simple structures in all of the things that they were doing in these church planning movements.
Number 47, they embody Christ in its spirituality, and it's rooted in a great tradition. They're very, very thin. I like really there's a part of me that really struggled with Garrison for a while because I didn't think he filled out everything. Where's the substance? But the more you read it, if you read it again, you really begin to see. They gathered around the word in the table. They embraced the baptized life. They had a way of grounding people in in what it means to become a new Christian. And they focus on the life of Christ. And what is really extraordinary is all of these places practice the disciplines alone. And together they were evangelical, they were charismatic, they're Catholic, and they were apostolic. If you buy the book, you should really look at what Garrison says about this fictitious Judas stand is the largest church plant movement movement in the history of Christian missions to Muslims, and he devotes a ton of his time in the book to it. It really is a very controversial movement. There are many other people who are Muslims, y'all who who are still on the outside count. If you ask them what they were, they'd say that they are Muslims, but they really, in fact believe. In fact, they are Christians. Christian is such a cultural term that they can't fight. They can't get rid of the baggage associated with the term Christian. Do you see the problem that they had to say? To say Christian in their culture is immediately to be associated with the Western European? They can't say I'm a or at least it's hard for them. So they're trying to find some way in and there's a lot of discussion. How can you be an insider in in one movement and still hold to the great tradition? And there's a lot of them missionaries and others who are talking about that, just like the early church, there's an unbelievable degree of persecution, of ostracism.
As a matter of fact, Sharif, of the fellow who who really leads this movement has been he has just been dramatically oppressed. I love the story of him and his friend Bilal, who in 1991 led the first Muslim family to Christ. And over the next decade, these guys would see nearly 4000 churches planted with more than 150,000 Muslims come to Christ. So it really guys, it is exactly as we've been discussing, the movement is Christ in it. It's church oriented, it's kingdom focused, is very simple and you can call it whatever you want. You know, a Baptist like Garrison would never call him that. But Sharif is really the Archbishop of the Jedi Stan movement. He is just, you know, there's nothing in that movement that does not happen without his support. I think God raises your brother up, is what I'm saying. I think that God can raise others up. Let me summarize and then we'll we'll spend a little time with the questions and I'll make a few last comments and I will bid you guys on your way. This has been this is this is very, very difficult to do to cover such ground so quickly. All I can do is give you an outline of what these issues are and show you that the great tradition and shared spirituality to me are as pertinent for for for spirituality today as ever on the top of page one, one on six. Let me summarize and say that the various movements that Garrison speaks of, they don't use classic Christianity's labels, but they reflect everything that I said to you about the great tradition. It's as if the great tradition is just being fleshed out in China and in Cambodia and in India.
Adidas, Stan, they all share a fundamental spirituality, and it was rooted in a very simple, elegant apostolic faith that really allowed them to reproduce in the thousands. In the hundreds of thousands. They contextualize the essentials of the faith in a way that the people that they were ministering to could understand. And every one of these movements sought to obey the Great Commission by by replicating their faith according to a strategy. Guys, I want to I want to close before we have some discussion. I'm very anxious to hear what you guys think about some of this material where we go. This is is this credible or not? And so on. I think we need to embrace the wisdom and the inspiration of a story like the India Gospel League. It is pretty amazing to hear him quietly and confidently talk about literally over of over a you know, a 20 year period going from no church to over 40,000. You know, guys, as we listen to our I thought about our own church planning efforts and all the hard work we've done in 30 years, we probably have not planted 50. Is that correct? Not not that are strong. And in last in in 20 years he has planted 40,000 and fully expects to plant another 100,000. Where at least 100,000. In the next 15 years. Guys. He calls them the India Gospel League. Churches in the whole of what I'm trying to say is that we really, as evangelicals, will innovate on the great tradition in shared spirituality. I think God Almighty, it allows the Holy Spirit to use it the way he is using those in Yan'an and in Cambodia and in JD to stand and hopefully now in Saint Louis and Wichita and the places where we are.