What is the appropriate relationship of a Christian to a local church? How should followers of Christ “belong”? This is an important consideration when ministering cross-culturally, because cultural forms shape the way people understand “belonging”. For example, a helpful, if somewhat simplistic, diagram is provided to demonstrate three levels of relationships in which people experience belonging: Community, Family and Individual. Some cultures, such as most western cultures, give great emphasis to individual relationships. A person is encouraged to develop numerous relationships in a variety of contexts (family, school, sports, church, work, etc.), with the hub of these relationships based on the individual. Some cultures, such as many Asian cultures, find their primary identity within the family. Thus all relationships are made with a primary concern for the impact on the family. Marriages are arranged, and jobs are provided through family connections. Other cultures, such as small tribal groups, have a strong community focus. In one African tribal group, when children reach their adolescent years, they are separated from their families. The boys then grow and mature within one house while girls live in another. Thus deep relationships are forged that influence all other decisions in life. Such cultural dynamics shape the way that people will seek to belong in a church setting. In the Asian context where we were involved in church planting, the current church planting goal is to define church life within the household setting, rather than impose a model that encourages individualistic decisions to attend particular meetings or commit to certain relationships. However, this family model would most likely be inappropriate for a Canadian setting in which the individual is responsible for their own network of significant relationships, some of which occur within a single church context, but many are outside of the church. The successful church planter must evaluate and work with the significant relationship networks of his or her community in order to understand how Christian community can be expressed in that context.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. — The Apostle Paul
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Five Most Recent Articles
- Alumni in Ministry by Dr. Kenton Anderson
- The People who make up Northwest by Loren Warkentin M.T.S.
- Theology Boot Camps for Christian Growth by Eric Fehr
- New (and not so new) faces at Northwest by Loren Warkentin M.T.S.
- Changes by Dr. Kenton Anderson
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- Immerse Fall Intake on October 1, 2014
- Fall Fundraising Banquets on October 2, 2014 6:00 pm
- Thanksgiving Day on October 13, 2014
- Fall Fundraising Banquets on October 18, 2014 6:00 pm
- MinistryLift Equipping Conference on October 24, 2014 8:30 am
- Immerse Fall Orientation on November 5, 2014 8:30 am
- Immerse Fall Website Training on November 5, 2014 1:30 pm
- Immerse Fall Mentor Training (all day) on November 6, 2014 8:30 am
- Immerse Fall Logos Training on November 6, 2014 8:30 am
- Immerse Fall Exegetical Workshop on November 6, 2014 1:00 pm
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