Urban Church Planting - Lesson 4

The Role of Tradition

This lesson explores the role of tradition in church planting. It begins with a definition of tradition and then provides an overview of the historical context of tradition in the church. It then presents three categories of tradition: constructive tradition, destructive tradition, and neutral tradition. The lesson goes on to discuss the benefits of tradition in church planting, including the ways it aids in preaching and teaching, deepens spiritual formation, and establishes identity. It then outlines the challenges of tradition in church planting, including the potential for misunderstanding, inaccurate application, and fear of change. Finally, it provides best practices for incorporating tradition, such as considering the local context, evaluating current practices, and incorporating with discernment.

Don Davis
Urban Church Planting
Lesson 4
Watching Now
The Role of Tradition

EV327-04: The Role of Tradition

I. Overview of Tradition in Church Planting

A. Definition of Tradition

B. Historical Context

C. Categories of Tradition

II. Benefits of Tradition in Church Planting

A. Aids in Preaching and Teaching

B. Deepens Spiritual Formation

C. Establishes Identity

III. Challenges of Tradition in Church Planting

A. Misunderstanding of Constructive Tradition

B. Inaccurate Applications

C. Fear of Change

IV. Best Practices for Incorporating Tradition

A. Consider Local Context

B. Evaluate Current Practices

C. Incorporate with Discernment

  • In this lesson on Ecclesiology, you will gain knowledge and insight into the study of the church, including its nature, purpose, and organization. You will learn about the biblical images of the church, the Great Commission, the church's ministry, and its role in society. You will also explore the church's offices, governance, and accountability and discipline.
  • You will gain knowledge about what a Church Planting Movement (CPM) is, its importance, and its characteristics. You will also learn about the challenges of starting a CPM and the steps involved in beginning one.
  • You will gain a comprehensive understanding of alternative forms of spirituality, including an overview of different types and their characteristics, criteria for evaluating them, and the role of the church in responding to them. You will learn how to engage with alternative forms of spirituality in a Christian way that is both compassionate and truthful.
  • You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the role of tradition in urban church planting. By exploring biblical and historical examples of tradition and evaluating its positive and negative aspects, you will learn how tradition can be applied in the context of urban church planting.
  • This lesson provides insights on the significance of tradition in urban church planting, focusing on connecting with cultural context, balancing tradition and innovation, and applying tradition to foster relationships, community, and spiritual growth.
  • You will learn how church planting movements use different structures and religious authorities to balance authority and flexibility, develop local leadership, and adapt to challenges while maintaining growth.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insights on building a strong identity and crafting an effective strategy for successful urban church planting, focusing on core values, authentic culture, community outreach, leadership development, and adaptability.
  • Discover the key elements for creating a dynamic church planting movement, including prayer, cultural relevance, leadership development, and discipleship strategies, while addressing challenges faced along the way.
  • By exploring strategies for urban church planting, you gain practical knowledge on tailoring approaches for city contexts, building core teams, and implementing phased processes for long-term church success.
  • By studying this lesson, you learn to develop essential leadership qualities and skills, build a strong team, and address challenges in urban church planting effectively.

We will consider the factors and forces connected to a remarkable phenomenon of church planting movements taking place throughout the world today. At a time when definitions of the Church have become more and more loose and individualized, we will analyze all church plant and growth theories as they relate to the Nicene marks of the Church in the world. Using these marks as a representative of a legitimate biblical view of the Church, we will then discuss and investigate the connection between church planting and world evangelization, growth, and leadership development. You may also access this class at Tumi.org under the title, "Winning the World: Facilitating Urban Church Planting Movements."

Dr. Don Davis
Urban Church Planting
The Role of Tradition
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:00] I've really given my whole adult life to the surface of the church. I love the church. I preach the World Harvest Community Church on Sunday. World Harvest at the corner. That's right across the street from church. Pastor Jenkins and his his wife, Mary. They invited me to come. And it's becoming sort of a tradition. It was a Black History Month. This is the last day of their in my anniversary. 31 years. We have been married today. 31 with the justice of the Peace wedding. Two would hey. Saved money. Hallelujah. I'm still spending that money. But the the the the thing that was so wonderful to be there and, and I mention this to them is that I want to I truly believe that the church is the most significant entity in in in the world after the ascension of Christ. In other words, I really, truly believe that the church is why Jesus died. He came. He's named after his intent to come and save his people from his sins. The actual means of salvation. Jehovah's Salvation. Matthew tells us that that's why he was named that, you know, in a real sense of to me, the church of I don't know how to say this, but for my theology, the black church or one of the poorest, most neglected churches in all the 20th century is quite literally the it could be it could be the most significant entity in terms of world change, in terms of civil and human rights in the 20th century. Most people don't know that. But King was was utterly a church when he was asked by Merv Griffin in a in an interview, what are you are you an auditor, an activist, you know, a rabble rouser? You know, how would you define yourself? And he shot back without hesitation that I am a preacher.


[00:02:19] I am I am a Baptist preacher. That's fundamentally who I am. That's what's informed everything that I do. He said, I'm the son of a Baptist preacher, the grandson of a black Baptist preacher, and the great grandson of a black Baptist preacher. Everything I've ever wanted to do is to be faithful to the call of God. When it comes to his people and to be a drum major. He's always say for justice, which is a wonderful image to be out front in the justice lot, you know. But who can who can begin to to wonder the impact of the black church on not just American society, but the world society. It really he actually in a conversation with Coretta I don't know some of you guys may not know, but I did my scholarship. A big part of my scholarship was for my doctoral degree, was studying Dr. King. I had an opportunity to read acres and acres of his work, not just the books that he did, popular works, but all kinds of letters. I saw transcripts, love letters. I was able to just sort of saturate myself in him. And one one time in a conversation with Coretta and many of the people in his inner circle, they said, Why do you think God would use a bunch of old quote from Montgomery to kick this thing out? Because quite literally, they were poor, they had no money. Many of them were porters. It's it's very, very powerful to me. It's one of the most dramatic things in history. It gets virtually no press, not enough. That little poor, poor women who while under Montgomery, saw him for nine months for four and five miles either way to wash laundry quite literally, who in the evenings, after everything and after they walk, have the opportunity to go to the church and to sing Songs of Zion.


[00:04:19] I mean, really, it was a church move. Most people don't realize that. I don't know what they think civil rights was, but it was it was a church movement. They went whole every day. They met and he preached to them every night. And I'm not talking about preaching social justice. You preach. You preach just regular. Yeah. The word you preach is ordinary sermons like you with your name. They sang hymns and everything. And for nine months they did that. And quite literally, from Montgomery to Memphis and everything in between, all the stonings in Alabama, the cruelty in Chicago, the great people marching on Washington, the Poor People's March after that, all the different things that make up King's history. He was informed by the black church. I'm giving you this. This is my black history minute. Many of us, frankly, we wouldn't we would never study this or know anything about it. One of my all time favorite things of King, most people don't. The King summarily would receive. The king received on average about 40 death threats a day. Legitimate threats. These are not in. King was courageous. He was a churchman, a pastor. Pastors don't change their number or move away. His house was bombed. You could go to Dr. King's house and knock on it, and he would answer his own door and answer his own mail and answer his own fault. I mean, he's an international figure, but he never changed anything. Played the same neighborhood with his kids. He's a preacher of all of us who are preachers. Understand what that is. I mean, you can't just be an isolated preacher, you know? I mean, that's sort of an oxymoron. You can't you can't do that. Well, one night he got a call among the dozens of calls.


[00:06:05] And the call was just it was like many others. It was, you know, it was filled with profanities and whatever and told him that, you know, you're going to have to you know, if you don't get you and your family out here, I'm going to kill you and murder your family. Just your basic, ugly, vicious kind of rhetoric. Well, for some reason, it really affected him that night. And he tells the story in virtually every one of his books. This is a story that you can you can trace like a crimson cord through all of King's teachings. This evening, he was so upset he couldn't go to sleep. He lay next to Coretta. He was just frightened. He's only 26, 27 years old. Young. I mean, he's not an old guy. He really didn't want to do this in the first place. All he wanted to do was get his degree, go to daddy's church and preach. That's all he won. He loved opera. He was a weird kind of fellow. He read all of these different things, but he had no intent to be this. You know, they lassoed him and they drug him literally in the desert. He was in the kitchen and he writes he said he's just he's just he's in his dark night. And he goes, get some coffee. And he sits at the kitchen table and he said, you know, Daddy's too, too far away. He's in Atlanta. And you're you know, you're here in Montgomery. He can't help you. You can't you can't be held by all the gods and the philosophies and the theologies of Boston University. Forget that. And he he prayed a prayer to the law that essentially said, Lord, look, you've put me in this position.


[00:07:40] I love your people. I love your church. I'm going to do right by you. Just stand with me. Stand by and don't forsake. And he says that something happened at that kitchen table. He found the God that his daddy used to preach about. See? You, he said in a new way. Everything changed. His whole life, quite literally, came down to him being a black preacher at a kitchen table. He said that was the definitive moment. He got up from that table, felt completely different. And every time he faced, every time he faced difficulty, he went back to the kitchen table. You can trace all of his writings and prejudgments. Back to the table, y'all. In a real sense, we're studying the church. And to me, the church is the place that gives birth to people like King and people like. I mean, see, as far as I'm concerned, it's impossible to even begin to make sense of African-American life and culture without the church. So this idea of how what what role the church plays, is the church passé? Or we are in a new age, a new phase for the church, a new way of doing church? Well, to me, this is this is one of the most significant things that we could study. And today, of all the different things that we're going to look at. We're going to look at what I believe is one of the most important things. I believe in tradition. I really do. Now I know that I don't know what denominations that we are here. How would you guys associate your denomination any any any true believers to the cause of their tradition? How would you call yourself Presbyterian? Baptist? Hallelujah. Baptiste. Baptiste. Decent fest the year.


[00:09:29] What? Oh, yes, I believe that. And that sounds very similar to independent Christian. I've noticed that the Mennonites are extremely quiet back then. Maybe. Maybe you don't see yourself as well as Mennonite, do any. Any of you guys see yourself as a mennonite or. You know. No. Okay. Rob, what are you are you are you going to stand by and beat your chest as a good, independent Christian pastor? If you are of a teens kid. Okay. Well, the point is today that the role of tradition, many churches that are associated with the denomination, association or tradition are leaving their names behind. As a matter of fact, is quite comfortable for many people to just not be associated with any tradition at all. If you read Barna, Barna goes well beyond that. This this week, this is the classic part of wireless text. I can't wait to get in this and discuss this together, but I want to begin our discussion on this, on what it means to be safe. Can you truly be safe and be growing and not be connected to a body of some kind? I want to begin with one of the professors in Wheaton. He is now in charge of the V program, I believe, Gordon C, who many believe is the most important Pentecostal biblical scholar in North America. He writes this one little piece that I think is just perfect to begin our discussion and thinking today, a single person is sitting at home in front of a TV, a Christian broadcast is on, a sermon is preached, an invitation is given, and the person responds by, quote, accepting Christ, close quote. But the only church the person attends is by way of a TV with no connection to a local body of believers.


[00:11:40] The question. Is this person saying? You say it now. Think about that. Think of how many people say, put your hair on the on the set. And you know you know what I'm saying? That's very he's asking, is this person say. He says, I would answer only God knows, but such salvation lies totally outside the New Testament frame of reference. One of the sure members of the modern world is Trinity, along with relativism and secularism. Is individualism, recapturing the biblical sense of the significance of the individual, but revising it to fit a non biblical, naturalistic worldview. The Enlightenment lit the modern Western world into a totally individualistic understanding of life, which has never been more prevalent than it is today. He says this is all due to the end of the 17th century. We discovered I don't know if you guys realize that most hymns were not sung in the me my my personal into the 17th century. Most hymns, Christian Liturgy Services were all about God. You can you can read sermons when when SPURGEON preached. One great example of that or or I'm thinking, well, the other preachers here black great black preachers, great white preachers abroad. Most of their sermons were on the most dense theological subjects you can find. You will not find a how to book in their whole generation. I mean, this me, that this is me, my that Christianity is me. That is a very late in history sort of term in an had nothing to do with the Bible or religion. It was the Enlightenment. It was the it was that great intellectual movement that shaped so many countries. This one in France and most of Europe and others. Well, this is the individual is the be all and end all of everything.


[00:13:50] Subservience of individual rights to the common good has become the new heresy to be rejected at all calls. The individual is gone. Narcissistic self-interest. That narcissism, looking at yourself in the mirror of self-interest and self-centeredness, is the chief end of life. Unfortunately, in recognizing the biblical emphasis on the significance of the individual, North American Christianity in particular also tended to buy into our cultural version of the end of this emphasis so much is this so that any hint of a return to the biblical emphasis on the people of God as a community of believers is often seen as a threat to our significance as individual. Paul. Paul's view is considerably different. In other words, he just says that Paul had nothing to do with what's going on today. In a real sense, we every single week that we read these books, we are reading a different question, at least amusing. Every every week I look at these books with a different question in mind, and I let that question be the lens through which we see everything. This week we're going to look at do I really need, in fact, to be a part of a tradition in order to be a saint and growing Christian? And what do these guys say about the role of tradition in church planning movement? Now, I believe I'll just tell you guys what I think right up front, I believe that tradition is just like humanity, for instance. Can any of you guys tell me that you've ever met a human being that wasn't a particular kind of human being? There are only the only human beings you've ever met are black ones, or Frenchmen or Guatemalans or Koreans. In other words, can you think of human life without.


[00:16:01] A kind of specific historical, geographical kind of person. I mean, like a blank person. Non Russian, non anything. As a matter of fact, I would say it's impossible to think of any human life that is not historically conditioned life. Now, think about that for a moment. Every time every human being you meet had a mama and a daddy, they grew up somewhere. They tell jokes and certain language. They grew up, they have an address, they have clothes, closet, you know, usually it's mine. It's not it ain't got a whole lot of it. Cat, a cat of all you know, of the needs of do I need somebody that just bought me a t shirt? I love you. She bought me like thank you. Thank you. You know, you get to that point, man, where you were allowed your way. Let me could you pick me up some socks and so, you know, you know, that was the point is is that you won't find a man who is not a particular man. Is there such thing as a true member of the invisible church or is that just a fiction? Can you have a church planning movement that's not a part of nothing else. It's just floating around. We really need to look at this. And so what we're going to do is with that question in mind, we're going to look at Bonner and Garrison and Kreider and more. We'll discuss that psalm. And then in the second part of class today, we will look at I prepared some material I'd like you to look at on church planning movements. Now, last week you were given a yellow sheet. I hope you still have. You should have this. I want you guys to look at as best as I have been able to detect from the urban church plant movements the different things.


[00:18:04] And again, we're going to define all of these things more and more, but all the different elements that I think are significant to a legitimate church planning movement that is that is rooted in the city, that that is informed by urban culture in urban life. There are eight things here. And as we go through the rest of the course, which in that many days anyway, I'm going to highlight certain things on this list and then compare it both to the historical faith, the Nicene Creed, the biblical markers. I'm not sure if I'll use Bonner's markers. I don't know where he got them. But the point is, is that we're trying to define how what are the elements of a church planning movement? Tradition. Real, genuine spirituality, discipleship, culture, leadership, connectivity and congregations that are connected. An integrated leadership structure, a real sense of ordained, ordaining leaders, formal leadership that is at least informed in some way by the Nicene Creed or Blueprint. And then the whole thing of church multiplication. As we go through this course, I am going to highlight certain of those elements. As a matter of fact, even the themes that we cover week by week are going to be informed by these two. Today, especially in the second part of our discussion, we're going to look at the first element on the top right of this document, which is tradition. What role does tradition play in a viable, healthy urban church planning movement? And again, I want to use I really, frankly, want to use it as best as I can. I want to use. Garrison. He wants to talk about multiplication and other things. We're going to look at a few of those things based on the idea of tradition, association, identity.


[00:20:14] I think it's very important, and I just want to sort of highlight that for you. If you could look at your outline, let's go through this quickly and we'll follow the pattern that we've done so far. We'll go through this quickly. I'll sort of give you the summary of the reading, and hopefully you have comments, questions, reactions on the reading for this week. Let me give you the sort of guide at the beginning. Our sort of discussion on tradition is the passing down of elements of a community or culture from generation to generation, especially its basic teachings and time honored practices. Those things that are communicated formally and informally, the words, precedents, customs and rituals. Now, this sort of flat definition of tradition, I think, goes very, very well with the Bible, the New Testament, use of the word. We're going to look at those again in the second part after we summarizes readings, Paul could say, and second Thessalonians to them. So then brothers stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by spoken word or by letter. And he told the Romans, I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and doctrines obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught. This whole thing of being past the doctrine in Romans 16, that you've been taught of traditions, that you were taught in Second Thessalonians we're going to we'll make we will very quickly make sense of those texts. Let me begin with a very, very brief summary of our reading. There was a lot to read. Thank you for being so patient. We skipped a week, so you have to sort of catch up. I believe that Barna, if you read Barna through with tradition in mind, what is Bonner's view of the role of tradition? Does tradition play any part whatsoever in Christian commitment? I think that Barna would define tradition as a dynamic revolution revealed in a movement of trends that lead to a new church.


[00:22:34] In other words, as far as I can tell, Barna has no real, no real commitment to tradition. He is very, very open, however, to these a dynamic, revolutionary, heart pulsing sort of movement of trends of these characteristics that that those who really are following God with all their heart and all their souls are really embracing. And so Barna talks about his focus is on transitions, not only on traditions. His logic is anchored on tracking what appears to be gaining momentum. As a matter of fact, if you read today, Barna over and over talked about Christianity in terms of what he could see. There are sweeping changes which are reshaping the worldview, lifestyle and expectation of believers in America. And there are seven trends that are related to society, but they're leaking in the church, and here they are on page two of your outline. The first trend there is a changing of the guard two generations in their forties, fifties, sixties and seventies baby. What does he call them? Baby boomers and baby. Busters wanted to make sure you did your reading. Excellent. They're losing their grip on positions and influence and power. He says that these from 40 and up are essentially not the sort of culture defining generations anymore. As a matter of fact, there's great, great evidence to prove that. I know some people in advertising in where where Stacy used to hang out in Southern California who really for for many of their their actual advertisements and whatever they say if they don't even there are virtually no advertisements to people over these age. I mean, virtually the entire economic engine is sort of focused on people who are 30 and below. I mean, it's just they're the most savvy, most technological, most amazing generation.


[00:24:46] And so there's a changing of the guard, so to speak. He says that's influencing the church trend. Number two, there's a rise to a new view of life. He talked briefly about postmodernism and its rejection of absolute truth. People really define truth in terms of what is meaningful for them. What's true for you may not be necessarily true for me. You actually hear that sort of language. The third trend is dismissing the irrelevant. I thought this was interesting. You said that this is a time now where people have an unwillingness to put up with anything that is irrelevant if they will abandon anything that is not wholly germane to their own passions. To me that sounds like selfishness, but I mean, really, that's a great definition for the word selfish to abandon everything that doesn't relate to you. But that's one of the trends. You'll tell us what these trends mean in the effect the impact of technology, which is true, the integration of sophisticated technologies that is made, that has shrunk the world and have leaked into every sphere of work, leisure, play, worship. There's quite literally a single world culture in many ways because of technology, the internet, the media, we are we are well informed about things that are occurring 3000 miles away. We were shocked when we don't experience those things live anymore that we have to go and wait on or whatever. Look at reruns of the news. The thing it. Technology, he says, is affecting everything and completely affected the church. It's still sort of amazing, guys, to think that there were no cars a hundred years ago. You know, I mean, you realize how how dramatic the power of change in technology. It's just extraordinary. Well, anyway, genuine relationships, you see it that this generation, it places a high premium upon genuine personal relationships more than their predecessors, which is interesting.


[00:26:56] We have the highest the worst rates, the most broken homes. How on earth could you claim this? You know, I mean, I don't see how he could claim this. How many of us know people have been married quite literally, 50, 55, 60 years in the past generation? I mean, I don't see how you can say that. I mean, the lack of, you know, there are out-of-wedlock births in some cultures are well up to 70% of there is broken homes beyond words. I mean, dissolution in neighborhoods and cultures. I'm not sure about his I don't know what his data was on that participation. In reality, he said, there's an insistence on not being told what to do. People want to be personally involved in the decisions that affect their lives. He calls it a hands on approach. In the interim, number seven people are really finding true meaning. Now there's an accelerated American openness to understanding themselves in terms of the sacrifice and the surrender they make. These trends, these seven Barna suggest, have unleashed this massive shift in emphasis. And look at his prediction on page 49. He says, I expect that in the near future, because of these trends, only about one third of the population will rely on a local church as the primary or exclusive means for experiencing and expressing their faith. One third will will of do so through alternative forms of of of a faith based community. And one third will realize their faith through media, arts and other cultural institutions. He says that, unfortunately, the family will remain it will it will simply not grow at all as the central conduit for faith experience. It will remain only about 5% of the population. And he ends this chapter by saying, look, you don't have to like this transition, but you have to deal with it.


[00:28:57] You can either deal with the defensively or negatively or with the hope of learning. And maybe God breaking through the heart of this essentially is that the church, as we know it, is about to change. And every bit of your reading that followed this was built on this. I mean, this idea that the trends are there, the trends affect it. The church, this is inevitable. And therefore, what are we going to do now in terms of the local church? He says that God is not dead, though God is active. He's bringing about transformation. And he describes the spiritual many movements. They are reaching literally millions of people. They are diverse. They involve things like home schooling, house churches, biblical worldview groups, marketplace ministries, spiritual discipline networks, Christian creative art guilds, etc.. And they're flying below the radar screen. Most Christians don't know a whole lot about many of them. And he said, When you ask why the numbers are small, these movements tend to be disorganized and disunited and they're not connected to local churches, which, by the way, he says, local churches don't tend to really make. There is a sort of an uneasy relationship between these many movements and local churches, which quite literally there are many who he said, because they define all legitimate spiritual activity flowing through a local church. These movements of leaders, of local churches really see these movements as interfering with church. They are anti church, undermine church. You spend a couple of pages on that. I give you that at the top of page three. And then he gives us the secrets and the benefits of these many movements. They work with people who prioritize their faith. In other words, these many movements Promise Keepers. I was a part of that movement, very, very active, wrote a number of their documents and things like that, very, very involved in that move.


[00:31:01] Undoubtedly, people in that many movement were hungry for change. They are a source for relationship building. People who are part of the movement. Know other people who are part of the move. There is a sense of exhilaration, he says, over transformation. People are literally transformed in those movements. I've never been hugged as a black man more, more, more readily at Promise Keeper. I actually thought that I could fun to me by starting a take a Negro to lunch program. There were enough white brothers who had enough kind of angst that I can. I'm sorry. I'll look a little somber today, but. But, you know, I'm saying that, you know, there were a lot of guys who were really, really in the Western world after the thing, and they were totally excited. They didn't know what to do. And, you know, and so they met a few weeks after the thing and then, you know, sort of fizzled. They didn't know what to do until the next one. And then we're going to real, you know. So I know some guys who go to eight or nine different Promise Keepers events. Powerful. I've spoken at a number, but, you know. Well, let me not wasting time on page three. Number seven, he says one artifact. This is very important, guys, to get one artifact of the many movement phenomenon that has millions of people are growing as Christians and passionate about their faith. I wanted to highlight that the people who are part of these movements have come to recognize that the local church, local church is not and need not be the epicenter of their spiritual adventure. This is a mind boggling revelation realization for many, since it conflicts with the teaching they receive, sometimes since their infancy.


[00:32:55] You see what he's saying, that these many movements illumined people, that you can really be hungry for Christ growing them and you don't have to be a part of a local church. And that is that's a mind boggling idea for them. He talks about there there are new ways of doing church, congregational model, the church that most of us realize house church which Crider has talked about, family church experience in the in the cyber church. What brother said, you know, can you really fellowship with your TV or with the special the specialty table for Zeek. I'm not sure if that is real Christianity. Whatever it is, it's different from what the New Testament talks about. What's ahead? He says. Ultimately, we expect to see believers choosing from a proliferation of options, weaving together a set of favorite alternatives into a unique tapestry that constitutes the personal church of the individual. There are all of these things, many movements, different inputs from different friends. We will see that in our reading next week. He said that with a network of Christians and a portfolio of spiritual activities navigated and connected well, that can become your church. You actually believe that that that is, in fact, just as legitimate as a local church. So the Christian faith for Barna is defined in individualistic terms. There really is no tradition, I would say, for Barna of any kind. He actually uses the word self-government. I think of defining Christianity is what I do about my decisions. It means that I may have a relationship with you, but I may not. In either case, it's not something that that of, you know, the church. He is very plain church, nor society can help you in in in becoming Christlike.


[00:34:57] You have to make the decision no one else can. In the end, self-governance. Followers of Jesus. That's a very strange phrase. That's his phrase, self-governed. Followers of Jesus are expected to live like Jesus, though they're expected to influence the world, not be influenced by it. And so he gives us on page 80 and beyond. We'll just hustle right past him because of time. There are his sort of key revolutionary perspectives. I'm not sure how to translate to the perspectives, but we all live live the revolution as a way of life, engaged in front line warfare to gain the victory, be motivated to surrender all the cries out of love and obedience, be attuned to God, get your body orders from Him. Don't compromise on the right for anyone or anything. Bear the burden of of integrity. Forget about political size and Christianity, about jockeying for position in power, know who's boss and follow him, and then live the paradox the revolution in easy. But it is rewarding. So very very powerful to me. Tradition for Barna is a self-governance follow. I don't see that that there is something that some history that I need to be a part of and defend and understand and love and cherish. He doesn't say that it's about me governing my own decisions and piecing together the right sort of influences that becomes my own personal church. That's to me, Barna. Tradition for Garrison is really different. Garrison is actually looking at tours, planning movements, and I would define Garrison as tradition is described as an indigenous movement which is able to avoid church planning movement poison, he calls it. But through the neglect of missionary oversight or being overly dependent on money from outside or being institutionalized in its training.


[00:36:57] And then if you can look, guys, on pages four and five, one, two, three, four and five on these two pages, I just give you a summary of the different church planning movements Mongolia, Cambodia, Southeast Asia, Singapore and Seoul. As Dan told me, I was pronouncing that wrong, but as I also told him a few things about that to you. Right. All he was to he was to the thing that I think is important about Garrison is that tradition is important. But tradition for Garrison, it's important to be connected. It's not just self-governed followers of Jesus for Garrison what what he's observing. These are dynamic communitarian movements. They're fueled by prayer. And I thought that was interesting. You won't find a single movement that Garrison talks about that prayer is not the key to it. And I mean, the most diverse movement in the mountains of Mongolia, on the streets of Singapore and among the wealthiest of the wealthy in Seoul, Korea, all of them are just fueled by prayer. Prayer has to be a big part of of of of real genuine indigenous ministry. But but if you look at some of the things in Mongolia, you can see that that he's sort of reiterating things that that we've learned already. There's a missionary priority of loving the Mongolian people, strong principles of training leaders among the Mongolian the Bible is is made is emphasized in decision making. The church is essentially a church movement that that emphasizes indigenous forms of worship. People write their own songs, they have their own services. They're in charge of their own, their own worship. And what is true in Mongolia is just repeated in all of these different places in Cambodia, he said. It's a movement built on prayer.


[00:38:59] It's an extraordinary growth of indigenous churches, which avoided a dependance on funds of missionary interference, he said. I thought it was very important for me that they are developing a tradition of training leaders and they develop very strong curriculum. So kind of a tradition in and where these curriculums, this these Indigenous training curriculums are present, then the church planning just growth. In other words, if we want to see churches grow, we have to have strong, efficient, excellent ways to ground their leaders in the Bible. What is very interesting, this is the first time that I could see in reading Garrison there you actually see that many of the churches in Cambodia have a structure. They develop a structure. All the churches in the various villages have what is called a seven member central committee of the church. You want to see what it is there are on page four. They have a worship leader, a Bible teacher, a men's minister, a women's minister, a youth minister, an outreach minister, and a literary literacy teacher. And these this makes up their sort of leadership team, and they reproduce this dozens and dozens of times. It looks like a tradition done. It looks like they're sharing ideas and forming things in a way and taking advantage of that together. As a matter of fact, I thought guys of if you read closely when when they go to a village in Cambodia to plan a church, look at I just sort of reproduced a little bit of the conversation. They will ask right up front, since this garrison is Southern Baptist, in all his data is largely Baptist. He says, Do you have a Baptist church in your village? That's what they begin with. You have a Baptist church here knowing full well that nobody in that village know what a Baptist church is, and a man among they do it deliberately to guess what's a Baptist church? Well, we'll come back next week and we'll tell you what the Baptists do.


[00:41:09] We got one over here, just three miles of yellow. You got a Baptist church. We'll come back and tell you. You can see they are not afraid what would have happened if in Living Oak we had knocked on the door and said, we are here planning a church of the Resurrection Church. Church of the Resurrection. You ever heard of the Church of the. What's your charges? We have dozens of them as well. We're starting one right in this community. Well, you can be one of the first there would be. In other words, it's a totally different way of thinking about church not being a single Baptist or hiding Mennonite or what is being upfront. It's their way of doing evangelism. That's the first thing they do in a village. We're Baptists here, and we're going to plant a Baptist church here. I wonder how that sounds and what is the language of Cambodia? Okay. Well, he goes through the various different things. He goes in South East Asia and he talks about how the gospel I thought it was very powerful. At the top of page five, the church planning movements in Southeast Asia. The crisis point of the churches was when they reached 30 members. I don't know if you read up that they get too loud in worship or something happens. People call the police on them, they wind up having to split. So what they do is they they just use 30 as a tipping point. We are not going to grow beyond 30. 30 is our number. And then it's much easier for them to train. They can handle persecution, easier. They love smallness. This is totally different from us. Small is not a problem in the Asian church. Now you have to in some ways you have to compare that to what's going on in Singapore, which is essentially a Singapore is finding megachurches that are a part of sale churches.


[00:43:07] And if you look on page 78 of the evangelicals in Singapore are the wealthiest people in the society. He didn't say anything about how they're sort of getting into the public housing units, but a lot of the actual home sale groups are among the technically elite, the people with money and power, and yet it's still evangelism. He wouldn't go so far as to say what's going on in Singapore was an actual church planning movement. But he said it's a close relative. Seoul is probably the most advanced Asian church plant, although he says it's not a church planning movement using his quality, his own qualities. But he said as close of the 12 million people in Korea, 5.5 million are believers in this is all in essentially only 40 years. They have 5000 church buildings. As I've said before, ten of the 12 largest churches on earth are in Seoul. Many of the 5000 churches are thousands of members. I mean, really see, Seoul is just Seoul is just a place where the Lord is just following on, it seems. Every every denomination, the Baptist, the Peter Costello's, every denomination has thousands and thousands of people going to them, by the way. It is a it is the most prayerful movement on earth. There's no one that can match the Koreans for their devotion to prayer. One of the things that I thought was sort of interesting is his he said that he asked the question. Garrison said, How long can a church planned movement last? His answer is as long as it can be indigenous. If a movement isn't indigenous, it won't last. That's that's that's very helpful for us who plant churches and love this ministry. If what we're doing is and in some ways fueling indigenous indigeneity, if they're not owning it, if they're not directing it, if they're not governing it, it's probably not going to last.


[00:45:14] I want you guys on Nevis is the same guy, is he? He is a real articulation of his predecessors or a fellow named Melvin Hodges, who wrote that if churches are going to grow, they need to be self-supporting, self-governing and self propagating. They have to be in charge of their own money, their own government and their own mission and their sense that this, he believes, has been the key to the Korean church. The Korean church is utterly indigenous. I mean, the Koreans were in charge of every part of their spirituality, in every part of their church. So that's all to his point. Just very quickly now, before we dialog, the last two things are Kreider and Moore, which to me are sort of interesting. I think that Garrison, whereas Bonner doesn't really see tradition playing a role in spirituality, Garrison can say that where Christians gather immediately, they start stuff and start doing it the same. Do you know what I mean? Wherever Christians are, they can't help it. They worship the same way there is. In your second week, there is a tan color thing that looks like this. Your second week. If you just look at these things around, essentially, these are some of the things that are that that many movements have in common. As they develop, they get their own sense of mission, the way they serve and evangelize, the way they worship together, the way they share a life together. They disciple people in the same way they have their own authority structures and they have a common sense of their own identity. What Garrison? Garrison is very helpful to me. If you are going to plant one church, maybe you don't have to give attention to this. But if you would like to see an association of dozens and dozens of churches, you're going to have to take this seriously.


[00:47:20] Even the most even the most poor indigenous movements form in similar ways. A seven fold central committee, they have their own songs. Wherever Christians gather in a culture, they become a people. It's just natural for them to do that. In a real sense, this is the way to read Crider and Moore. And we can I can close here very quickly at the top of page six of crisis is that the Chinese and the Baptists are the most effective in this because they they focus on building people along these ways and not constructing buildings. They don't pay pastors. They have itinerant preaching. They model team work. They focus on what Kreider calls a tabernacle, not a temple mentality. So if you know the difference, the tabernacle was built to move, it was dynamic, would change. What I love about the Tabernacle, I read that text this morning in numbers when God told them God apportioned different ones of of of the sort of the priestly class to actually carry the Tabernacle Tabernacles hewed. It's it's it's it's huge. And it's, it's all kinds of poles and skins and, and furniture and everything. God is very clear. He even tells them what cloth you should put over, who should actually handle it. He doesn't want anyone to touch anything. Absolutely nothing can be touched. And and he actually apportioned different people of the different sort of segments within the tribes to carry certain things. The point is, is that religion in in the tabernacle is built to move quickly, to set up shop, to have it to break down, to go somewhere else. He is convinced criticism that home churches make this the most holy fellowship's house churches make this the easiest way to adapt to a sort of a tabernacle, not a temple mentality.


[00:49:31] As a matter of fact. I thought it was sort of funny. He compared the sexual habits of rabbits and elephants and the gestation periods. And, you know, he said, what we need is a spiritual rabbit plague. I have rabbits in my back yard. I've been so tempted to get a little pellet gun. But I won't. I am not. The dogs just stay up all night next door. Woo! Yo, yo, yo, yo, yo, yo, yo. All night long. Every night. Beth is just done. Well, I've seen images of rabbits, just, you know. Album. That's exactly right. I think I could live with those rabbits. The most effective house. Church networks, he said, will be made up of Selby's house. Churches, y'all. This is as close as Crider will get to sort of giving you his cards. He believes that cell, a cell church, that that of cell based house church is the structural way to recapture the tradition of the New Testament. For him, that tradition we need to get back to is a house church. It's a house church. So, you know, whether or not you agree with that or not, he says that the next generation genetics are the ones who are looking at whether it works perfectly for them. They're looking for a relationship, authenticity, freedom to be creative, and they want to be connected to the generations. And there's something about a house church that allows you to sort of look at Christianity in terms of a family, spiritual mothers and fathers, relationships, not structure or the significant factor. You can have babies. You can be appearing in two ways in your own kids or you can adopt them. You talked about that a little bit. And he really believes that there's nothing like a small group to really equip someone to become a real Christian leader.


[00:51:30] You can do things in your living room that you can't do from, you know, in front of the pulpit preaching. I mean, it takes a different kind of leader. He says you can train leaders in a small group setting, that you cannot train in a large group set. And so at the bottom of page seven, he talks about he turns his attention to X and sort of again gives us his view that the church current church structures don't allow us to use gifts. They really are pretty poor substitutes for evangelism. The home is the place where the kingdom can advance. He gives the example of the Anglicans and the Methodist revival and closes that chapter by saying that downsizing in house churches is the way, the best way to leverage resources to use money. We would say millions and millions each year if we just would learn to downsize. What's wrong with the church? Of only 10 to 30 people. There's nothing wrong with that. That's wonderful. We can train more leaders. It's easier to bring people in and so on and hear more on why I love More. More just without getting into all of this more, just essentially gives you his reason why we need to plant as many of them as we can as quickly as we can. Here are his five things covered in our reading this week. New churches create the possibility of tradition because they create a place where prayer can be made and where public preaching can take place and evangelism can occur, where the Bible can be taught and where people can serve the law. In other words, Moore says, if you're going to play a church instantly, you're going to have a tradition. You're going to have people got to preach, you got to have worship.


[00:53:23] You're going to have a way. Even those churches that I used to go into that would give a blank car, you know, and say, display car. They would say the brother would get up and say, this blank card represents our our program for today. We don't know what we're going to do because the Holy Spirit is in charge. I always wanted to say your tradition, though, it's the blank car. You know, the church of the blank car. You give them out every week, come all about that. You're the denomination of the blank. In some ways, it's hard to be a human and not be a Frenchman and not be an American or not be a mexican or not be a Guatemalan. You got to be something you do. Even if you don't think you have any tradition. You are the church. You are the you are the nontraditional. Your tradition is your lack of tradition. So, guys, this is the reading and this is all I'm going to give to the reading today. I'd like to sort of open it up now and we can discuss. What do you think about of you know, I tried to sort of read these guys with an eye toward tradition and you'll see why this is important after we have our break. But what do you think of the reading? What do you think of tradition? What what comes to mind? Were you. Did you find any of the arguments that these guys covered? Persuasive. Are you concerned about anything? Yes, I would I would say that. I will do that happen. Yes. Now, see, the real question from a church point of view is, is what they're doing the exception or is it the rule? Is this is this should.


[00:55:09] Is this the is is the fellowship that these dear saints of the Lord, our brothers and sisters, what they're experiencing there in cyber church? Is that something that is that something that is. Is that should be the actual standard by which we redefine church? Bonnar says. Yes. He says that that cyber church is as much church as any other kind of church. He has no problem with it at all. As a matter of fact, he he he says, I sort of soften his argument. He said he said that cyber church is the fellowship that people are experiencing through the Internet. I put media, I'm sort of additive TV and I tried to soften. But he says that there are people whose entire spiritual understanding is occurring from the Internet. What do you guys think is this? Well, I'm sorry to flog you with these same things every week, but it's totally key to understanding what do we mean by church? Is this in fact, church? How do we understand it? What do you think of the illustration? Oh, by the way, Lorna, I would like to get people this week, if we could, a copy of the insider movements. I know that we format at that for something. We got permission from them. I want everyone to be able to read the article that came out in missions front is in Mission Frontiers. But but I want to give you an assignment. This is very similar to what Stacey is saying. There are there are dozens and dozens of believers who are coming to Christ in Muslim and Buddhist contexts. And yet they are not changing. They are they are remaining in that context. They go to mosque. They go to temple. As a matter of fact, they would say, if I went to someone and said, I am a Christian, that would be seen as a Western Eurocentric.


[00:57:13] It has nothing to do with religion. To be a Christian is to be a Westerner. So they don't they wouldn't say that. They would say, I am in. And they say we're free in Christ. Right. We know that that these are not real gods. So I can go in for the sake of evangelism work. What is the difference between what I am doing and Paul shaving his head and circumcising Timothy? So there call inside are movements. As a matter of fact, the picture on the magazine of Missing Frontiers is this is the Biden of fingernails, you know, I mean, but they're huge. Hundreds of people apparently are coming to the Lord and remaining in those traditions. What do you think of that? Is that legitimate? That's going a little further, right? Yeah. Yeah. What all of us would say that those who are in gulags or in prisons or whatever, of course there are. It's still believers or three believers in a prison in some place. Are we going to say no? They're not sure. Jesus could say what two or three are God in their mind a myth? Yes. Well, see. See, Garrison. Garrison doesn't just come out and say it. He uses huge numbers. I don't know if you guys realize he's talking about tens of thousands. These are small groups, admittedly, ten to 10 to 30 people. There are small groups, but they are very much similar. They're within a people. And he actually showed us that they actually form their churches the same way. Mm hmm. That's the that's the biggest case for what we're talking about. The the Chinese church was fearless. They did not fellowship. They went underground. They hid. They were savvy. They were Christians. Gap, period. So that's just the way they define themselves.


[00:59:07] And so does Barna. Boehner says these trends are occurring in society. They leaked into the church and they're having impact on the way the church actually thinks of itself and what people are doing. Can you imagine? I've only been a Christian for, you know, 30 years. I, I can't imagine defining my Christianity on purpose, excluding other Christians on purpose. I mean, just think of what that means that I could that that he defines Christianity in terms of self govern followers of self government. What does pastor mean? What would a pastor how does a revolutionary pastor. I'd like to know. I wonder what how does that look to me? The central issue, Ed, in this and for us is let's say he is exactly right. And the local church experience of of over two thirds of all American Christians is just dry as toast and totally unimportant. What does that say about the importance on its face of a local church? Couldn't couldn't you couldn't you envision another way to make this argument that America is just that spiritually in should just get better? Local churches just having day at churches doesn't mean necessarily that church as church is wrong, which is what he is saying. He's saying that church as a church, local church as church, we made it up. It's our biblical. You don't need it. I mean, it's stunning. It's stunning. It's very powerful. But that's what he's saying. And I'm not trying to sort of overemphasizing him. I'm just. He reminds me if you guys want to read a fascinating book on something entirely different than this. A fellow named Joseph Washington in the Sixties wrote a book called Black Religion. It was this single book that that trip Wired Black Theology and Black Power in a way in America like no other.


[01:01:13] He was a he was a social worker for the University of Chicago. And he wrote this book that said that the black church. This is amazing. The black church is essentially a vagabond theology, less non helpful church. No new theology is coming out of it. No real teaching is coming out of it. It's a mixture of folk, religion and weird old ism and stuff like that. And he actually said that the black church should fold and it should be it should be sucked into middle class, suburban white churches where there's theology teaching. Everyone clapped. Everyone thought that Joe was. And then he got all kinds of awards. What he did is Trip Wire, the most virulent, amazing black theologians that we've ever had. There was more reaction to Joe Washington because he essentially he went further, but he had the same sentiment as Barnard. But he went so far as to say, look, it ain't working, calls them suckers. Now let's just get rid of them. They wasted money. They're not helpful. Let's give. You know, what are you doing? Going to. If they reduce them, then God's working outside of it. We need to just close in time and find some new paradigms. He's like, gives us no, no avenue. The only way I can do is I can. I can. I can just blow by, stay in a day thing. What am I saying? Something that's completely ineffective and dear. I can create my own alternative based on my piecing together of both a network of Christians and a portfolio of spiritual activities. That's what he says. My church are the Christians I know and the things are like a glued them together. That's my church and that's, you know, or I can just do something completely outside of that and just even ignore it.


[01:03:08] Well, while I love and run with. Well, we'll see. I was. Is there any hope? Let's. Before we break, do you get a sense from these that there is hope for the church? How would you how would you answer the question? Is there hope for the church? With these hope. Hope. There's hope for the church, the local church. Let's be very plain. Is there hope for the local church? Can can the local church rebound? Find its way back? Okay. People are saying no. GARRISON The whole book is based on the vitality of local church. That's the whole book. I'm saying that those churches share a fundamental sort of identity together. They share things. Churches that are growing share. Stop. They look alike. They sing the same songs. A tradition is important. What about crime? Yes. And then more. Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Let's take a break. It will come back to tradition.