International (MNN) — The recent global economic
uncertainties have had ripple effects everywhere. This is manifest in unemployment, corruption, and crime–among
other things. But creating wide-scale change is a challenge.
Once the Gospel is introduced and a community of Christians
is established, a ministry can be built into a church plant where the pastors
or elders are supported by the local church. From there, sustainability needs have to be addressed. The church plant models used by Grace Ministries International have proven
effective. GMI's Sam Vinton explains: "The apostle Paul went out on his first
missionary journey, and he established churches and ordained elders. And at that
time, they had no buildings, so they met in homes."
GMI's Sam Vinton says growth presents a sustainability issue when a church plant becomes a church organization.
While a national church organization is often officially
recognized by the government, there's another issue: dependency on funds from
the parent mission agency. Until the
indigenous church owns the project growth, problems around finances can be distracting
and lead to a breakdown in communication.
The shifting paradigm there is
making the GMI team make tough decisions for what is healthier for the church
organization in the long run. Vinton asks, "Are we creating projects which
can be sustained, eventually by the nationals, or are we developing something
that we will be taking care of as long as we have any connection with the
Rather than abandon the indigenous ministry, GMI is looking at what they can do to set up a
framework to enable the Gospel forward flavored with the local culture and
influences. "The mission has to
determine which of these schools have an obligation to help that program go on.
There are others that will start them off and say, ‘Okay, we have so many years
to go.' Those are the issues that GMI is
working through right now."
Keep praying. As GMI
considers the healthiest solutions to creating conditions for what it means to
be truly indigenous, the leadership team needs wisdom. Pray that God will continue to resource the local
teams, and that many will continue to respond to the hope of Christ.