by Dick Scoggins
This is a side bar to the article “Is Planting Churches in the Muslim World ‘Mission Impossible?'” in the April, 1997 issue of EMQ.
PHASE 1: Launching the Team
Definition: Preparing the team. Initial church-planting plans and strategies.
When begun: When the aspiring team coordinator has officially been “knighted “ by the general director to become a designated team coordinator.
1. Research best information available on language, history, and culture of country and target group.
2. Prepare a vision statement.
3. Develop memorandum of understanding.
4. Get church approval, support for each team member.
5. Plan a strategy paper.
6. Each team member secures adequate prayer, financial support.
7. Recruit a team.
8. Get the team to own the vision and strategy for church planting.
9. Complete team coordinator checklist.
PHASE 2: Preparing to Sow
Definition: Learning the language, adjusting to the culture, becoming “belongers” in society.
When begun: Most of the team is on-site (and, usually, engaged in aggressive language learning).
1. Team members “land,” secure suitable housing, arrange for their initial entry strategy.
2. Resolve conflicts arising in the home.
3. Address team conflicts.
4. Develop a team life which spiritually sustains members.
5. Goal-setting and planning for the team.
Language and culture adjustment
6. Team members work hard at learning the target language.
7. Language-learning program and accountability in place.
8. Learn how to survive in area chosen, get comfortable, and enjoy life in the country.
9. Enable a family to do the same.
10. Start residency procedure on basis of strategy.
11. Develop multiple relationships of varying depth with target persons.
12. Enable family members (wives and children) to develop relationships with target persons.
13. Bring redemptive elements into your relationships.
14. Enhance character through the stress of adapting personally, as a family, and as a team to culture.
15. Discover and collect any evangelistic tools available in your target language.
PHASE 3: Sowing
Definition: The noble work of evangelism.
When begun: Most members of the team are spending most of their ministry time on evangelism, as opposed to language learning.
1. Memorize parts of the Bible (e.g., parables or miracles, etc.) in the target language.
2. Learn to share biblical truths in the language.
3. Develop a sympathy for the gospel in friends.
4. Develop a strategy for reaching receptive people and their closest relationships (family or friends) as a group.
5. Begin evangelistic Bible studies (e.g., using Discovery Course material).
6. Encourage contacts to bring some committed relations.
7. Prayerfully evaluate your friends for a prospective man of peace: Can he bring others with him?
8. Prayerfully identify one or more potential men or women of peace among your relationships. (You may more readily identify women, especially where men are not responding but women are.)
9. Lead someone to commit to follow Jesus.
PHASE 4: Discipling Begins
Definition: Discipling one or more Muslim-background believers (MBBs) from the target group. Both parties should recognize this as a process toward the maturing of the MBBs in character and service for Christ.
When begun: Begin regular discipleship with a MBB, regardless of how he or she came to Christ.
1. Challenge one or more believers (man or woman of peace, if possible) to be discipled by you or other team member, so they might grow “unto the full measure of Christ.”
2. Model Christ’s life style before this man and his network.
3. Have believer include some of his family or friends in the discipling.
Disciple the believer(s) to:
4. Fully understand his new identity as a child of God by faith, not works. (Are there tendencies to return to the “works” mind set of Islam?)
5. Understand the purpose of baptism as an outward sign of the death of self and rebirth in Christ.
6. Relate Bible stories that will impact life.
7. Develop a regular habit of turning to Scripture to deal with specific problems as they arise.
8. Recognize sin in personal life and respond by repentance, confession, and developing new patterns.
9. Live out Christ’s life in extended family (e.g., Matt. 5-7).
10. Develop godly patterns of loving spouse, e.g., resolving conflict, forgiveness, reconciliation.
11. Develop godly patterns of child rearing.
12. Implement godly patterns of conflict resolution with others.
13. Understand the place and function of suffering in believer’s life and be able to apply it to own life.
14. Practice godly response to those hostile to his faith (e.g., government, family, employer, friends).
15. Understand the biblical perspective on local occult practices and godly alternatives and responses.
16. Be ready to give a reason for their faith in a nonfearful, noncom-bative but prepared way.
17. Share the good news with family and friends.
18. Begin to identify gifts and calling.
19. Become familiar with God’s plan for the extension of his kingdom in the book of Acts.
20. Team women begin discipling women in Titus 2:3-5 skills and in submission to husbands.
Phase 5: Beginning the church
Definition: The ministry of gathering Muslim-background believers (MBBs) together. Growing the fellowship into a church, or having such work with more than one group. During this phase the church planter exerts significant influence in the community.
When begun: Three or more MBBs begin meeting regularly together for fellowship in Christ, teaching, prayer, etc. (with at least two from the target group).
1. Family and friends begin to explore the good news together.
2. Three or more believers agree to follow Christ in a committed community.
3. Church planter shares God’s plan for forming kingdom communities among family and friends.
4. Believers embrace God’s plan for forming kingdom communities and, together with church planter, decide on a culturally meaningful pattern for regular gatherings.
5. Believers learn to recognize and maximize spiritual gifts in the emerging community of believers.
6. The older believers understand the “one another” verses of the Bible and how they define Christian community.
7. Older believers have settled on an appropriate way to determine fellowship in their community (e.g., covenant).
8. Community has become identifiable (e.g,., via covenant).
9. The community celebrates the Lord’s table.
10. The community meets together regularly for meaningful worship, instruction, and prayer.
11. The believers do the work of evangelism.
12. Community gatherings are culturally relevant.
Church planters begin to phase out
13. Responsibilities between church planter and leaders defined.
14. Withdrawal of most of church planters from meetings.
15. Withdrawn church planters focus on starting new communities of believers (Phase 4).
16. Remaining church planters take lower profiles in meetings.
PHASE 6: Training leaders
Definition: Last steps so that the MBB fellowship is a complete church. Mainly leadership development and installation. In this phase, any remaining church planters will target leadership development.
When begun: Leadership development is now the main work of the team. Team expects to conclude its role in the appointment of plurality of biblically qualified elders in six months or less. Any elder appointing after that is the responsibility of existing elders (in what ever decision-making model they choose).
1. Older believers have baptized new believers.
2. Older believers are discipling new believers.
3. Older women teach newer women Titus 2 skills.
4. Older, more mature men trained to take leadership of community gatherings.
5. Believers take responsibility for biblical instruction.
6. Older believers preside at the Lord’s table.
7. Initial leaders emerging and functioning as shepherds.
8. Growth in godliness in their homes sets pace for others.
9. Gifts encouraged and developed for edification.
Peacemaking skills exercised by the community.
10. Forbearing and forgiving one another.
11. Confronting, exhorting, reproving erring members.
12. Shunning, “disfellowship-ping” those persisting in sin.
Train and recognize leaders
13. Character developed in context of marriage.
14. Team leadership concepts taught, implemented.
15. Discerning the will of the Lord by leaders and community taught and practiced.
16. Leaders’ place in conflict and peacemaking in the community taught, practiced (peacemaking, Phase 6).
17. Emerging elders recognized (provisional leadership).
18. Mature women recognized in ministry.
19. Conflicts about leadership appointment dealt with.
20. Leaders begin shepherding and church discipline.
21. Leaders looking for new men to develop as leaders.
22. Leaders begin discipling new leaders. (See discipling, Phase 4 and above, this phase).
23. Church planter often absent from community meetings; leaders lead.
24. Church planter often absent from leadership meetings.
25. Elders formally ordained.
PHASE 7: Reproducing and Exiting
Definition: Developing church reproduction, other new church-planting efforts, or assisting the new church for a temporary period. The church planters are not making a career out of working with the one church they have planted, but are working with national believers to plant more churches.
When begun: Plurality of biblically qualified elders recognized and installed in the first church, which is of sufficient “critical mass.” Local authority and responsibility for shepherding that church rests solely in the hands of indigenous leaders.
1. Intense teaching on reproducing communities.
2. Community embraces goal of reproducing.
3. Members begin to look for new men of peace around whom to start another community.
4. New gathering (Bible study) started or owned by church (if started by other church planters).
5. Leaders begin to network with emerging leaders of new gathering, taking some responsibility for their training.
6. Leaders formally recognize newer emerging leaders (provisional elders).
7. Leaders of two communities start meeting regularly.
8. Elders take more responsibility to develop leaders in the new community.
9. New community meeting started.
10. Communities care for each other; resources shared.
11. Peacemaking skills among leaders (of different communities) practiced.
12. Elders (possibly with church planter) lay hands on new elders in the newer community.
13. Relationship between communities and leaders worked out, formalized (e.g., covenant).
14. Peacemaking skills between communities and leaders of different communities exercised.
15. Church planter commits the old community to God and leaves community meetings. May sometimes visit.
16. Church planter redefines relationship to leaders as coach. No longer attends leadership meetings unless invited.
17. New churches started without at a church planter.
Great Commission vision
18. Vision developed to plant churches beyond local area.
19. Vision includes recognizing, training, and sending national church planters to other cities and countries.
20. Vision given by leaders to congregation.
21. Means of sending teams of nationals devised.
22. Church planters sent out either with Frontiers team or other teams.
23. New clusters of communities started.
24. National teams of church planters sent out.
DICK SCOGGINS for six years has trained church-planting teams in the Muslim world with Frontiers and other agencies. His training materials are usedin over a dozen languages. He is the author of four books about church planting.
Copyright © 1997 Evangelism and Missions Information Service (EMIS). All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or copied in any form without written permission from EMQ. Published in: EMQ April 1997 Vol. 33 No. 2 p.161
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