Mission Process: Collaborating

Collaborative Period

When a Christian movement is established without inducements of finance or favor but through heartfelt response to the proclamation of the kingdom of God, authentic national leaders mature in Christ to stand with church planting missionaries as leaders of God’s movement. With the maturing of devout, responsible leaders, the movement enters the third stage–the collaborative period–of church planting and development.

Understanding the missionary-national leader relationship is essential to perceiving the need for this phase of church planting. Frequently national leaders become disillusioned because of missionary paternalism, inappropriate or misunderstood strategy models, missionary turnover, and inadequate equipping of national leaders to assume traditional missionary tasks. Heightened tension leads national leaders to challenge, sometimes covertly, sometimes overtly, missionary roles and methodologies. Alex Araujo of Brazil graphically characterizes this relationship as pororoca, a loud popping noise heard when the massive waters of the Amazon meet the rising tide of the Atlantic Ocean. Like the violent collision of two gigantic bodies of water, missionaries and developing national leaders clash, creating havoc for anyone caught in the maelstrom (1993, 362-63).

Such a clash between missionaries and national leaders can frequently be avoided if national Christians are nurtured to become evangelists and elders and collaboratively incorporated as leaders and decision-makers in the developing Christian movement. A process of leadership maturation is thus understood and employed from the inception of the missionary movement. Alex Araujo illustrates the merging of two leadership streams into one by describing two large rivers which flow into the Amazon River to become one near Manaus, Brazil. The Negro River appears dark and clear, like Coca-Cola seen through a glass. The Solimoes River, however, is full of sediment and appears grayish white. For miles downstream they appear as two rivers sharing the same river bed–dark on one side, grayish white on the other–but gradually the waters intermingle to become one mighty river. Likewise, national and missionary streams of leadership must flow together and intermingle to become one (1993, 362-63).

Collaboration implies the developing maturity of both the missionaries and national leaders, each with changing roles. Missionaries who were culture and language learners in the Learning Stage become teachers, evangelists, and church planters in the Growth Stage and equippers, encouragers, and advisers in the Collaborative Stage. National leaders who were converts during the Learning and Growth Stages become colaborers and fellow-resource people–full participants in a collaborative process.

In the Collaborative Period national leaders come to own their movement and make decisions for its continuity. All too frequently, paternalistic missionaries thwart national initiatives believing the nationals are out of line, usurping authority, or acting naively. Effective missionaries, however, serve as encouragers and advisers, co-facilitators in decision-making processes. National leaders and missionaries thus work together to lay the foundations for eventual missionary phase-out and for the movement’s continuity.

Cooperatively developing structures of continuity for the future is the major focus of the Collaborative Stage. Monte Cox, in an insightful Ph.D. dissertation, says that “organization ambiguities” of certain anti-institutional movements like Churches of Christ have “dampened morale and perhaps stunted the growth of the church” in rural church plantings in Kenya (Cox 1999, 216). When churches reach what is here called the Collaborative Stage, they begin to ask structural questions:

What are the structures of governance, expansion, finance and theological education? Or, in Kalenjin(footnote 7) parlance, how can churches show kipagenge (unity) and cooperate for the sake of ribset (member care), amdaet (evangelism), tesetab tai(development), and somanet (education). (Cox 1999, 217)

Strong movements develop structures of continuity on both the congregational and associational levels. On the congregational level the community of faith, guided by the Word of God, must determine how local churches are organized and how these local congregations relate to one another. The community must also agree on the nature and roles of elders, deacons, evangelists, and other local church leaders and implement guidelines for their selection. In addition, the local church must develop methods and structures for nurturing and equipping children, young people, and congregational leaders. These decisions, having begun with guidance from the church planting missionaries during the Growth Period, become a collaborative effort during this stage of church development.

On the associational level mature leaders and missionaries collaborate in developing teaching, equipping, and encouraging structures above the level of the local church. Local congregations should bond together, as did the early churches in Jerusalem, so that they help each other. Vocational, paravocational, and full-time national evangelists must form teams to complete the evangelization of their area and spread the Gospel into adjoining and distant areas. Training schools on the association level–almost always, out of necessity– provide forums for creative reflection and equipping of leaders and youth for local congregations. The need for such structures of continuity is frequently questioned in anti-institutional movements like Churches of Christ. Instead such movements espouse a sort of indigeneity which negates any sort of partnership even when a movement has developed roots and stability (Cox 1999, 225-26).

Our team working among the Kipsigis people of Kenya competently ministered during the Learning and Growth Periods but lacked understandings to go on to the Collaborative Stage. Developing leaders asked: “Does the Church of Christ in America only have local churches? Who equips and encourages these churches?” Others said, “We thank you missionaries for starting these churches and for teaching us to become evangelists and church planters. But should you not now equip us as leaders? ” Our team, however, holding firmly to an indigenous philosophy of missions, failed to see the validity of these questions and did not plan with the national church for their future. The result was a movement that grew from the mid-1970s until the late 1980s. In the late 1980s, however, the inevitable clash between non-collaborating missionaries and maturing national leaders occurred. National leaders met without missionaries to form a hierarchy to make plans for local churches. Like the clashing of two mighty bodies of water, pororoca occurred. Missionaries and many national leaders upheld the autonomy of the local church and refused to accept the authority of the proposed centralized leaders. Others, many of whom had personal agendas, attempted unsuccessfully to provide structure for the developing movement. Churches polarized. This tension and ambivalence caused the movement in Kipsigis to stagnate for a period of time.

During the 1990s several factors worked together to reverse discouragement, to help the young movement stabilize, and to develop structures of continuity for the equipping of local churches. First, a second-generation team of American missionaries worked in Kipsigis for approximately ten years encouraging existing churches and training leaders in congregationally-based courses. Second, churches from all areas of Kipsigis met together in 1990 to pray and forgive each other and acknowledge the unity of the body of Christ. God worked powerfully to heal old wounds and unite the body of Christ in love. Third, older missionaries returned to encourage national leaders and younger missionaries. At first they primarily taught textual courses to groups of national leaders in local churches throughout Kipsigis but eventually began to collaborate with national leaders to institute nationally-led structures of continuity. As a result, churches began to appoint elders over clusters of churches (rather than over individual churches), and Siriat Bible School was initiated to train leaders and youths of area churches. The school’s schedule is unique but fitting for its rural environment. Leaders, selected and supported by their churches, study two one-week classes. They then return home to do required practicums as they care for their farms and continue their jobs. After five or six weeks they return to the school for the next two one-week classes. This cycle is continued for two years (24 classes), when they graduate. The school has been nationally run from its inception. A committee of national leaders from all areas of Kipsigis provides direction, and a full-time principal facilitates school activities. Structures of continuity are thus developing at a later period in Kipsigis on both the congregational and associational levels.

Two extremes are possible in regard to the Collaborative Stage. At one extreme, missionaries phase out before leaders mature and structures of continuity develop. Christians generally become discouraged in this situation because they are not ready for the missionaries’ departure. Some Christians may, consequently, revert to the world, others affiliate with different Christian religious groups, and still others maintain their heritage and learn to survive without missionary support. This premature phase-out ignores the need for collaboration. At the other extreme, missionaries naively jump past the Growth Stage by creating training institutions without adequately nurturing developing churches and equipping national leaders. These schools almost always reflect the worldview presuppositions and economics of the sending culture. Missionaries in this scenario generally assume that Bible knowledge alone enables national leaders to effectively minister in their own culture. They presuppose that cognitive information without contextualization and application is adequate for ministry preparation. Both early phase-out and premature development of institutions imply inadequate understandings about the progressive development of Christian leaders. Just as children pass through several stages of development before they become adults, national leaders require growth through natural stages to become mature.

When structures of continuity have been mutually developed by missionaries and national leaders, the stage is set for missionary phase-out.

7. Kalenjin is a name for seven tribes of Western Kenya of which Kipsigis is the largest.

Mission Process: Conclusion


Each stage of church planting and development is important to the eventual maturity of a missions movement, and the result is predictable when any stage is neglected.

By-passing the Learning Stage almost always results in anemic movements. This most strikingly occurs when campaigners from the West seek to plant a church in another part of the world without the presence of long-term missionaries and then hire missionaries to conduct follow-up. Typically these missionaries are given neither the time or training to become cultural learners. In fact, because the initial converts were taught in English, it is frequently believed that one can be effective in this context without language and culture learning. Little missions works flair up creating much publicity and emotion only to wither as reversions eat way at the movement. The eventual maturity of the missions movement frequently depends on the depth of missionary learning during the initial stage.

The Growth Period is frequently short-circuited when training institutions are established early in the work before contextualized models of church growth and reproduction are developed. The assumption is made that leaders are best trained in a formal, school setting rather than by learning ministry in context–by going with mature evangelists and learning from them how to plant churches and nurture new Christians in these churches to maturity. Thus prospective leaders are taught information in an academic environment without adequate learning by the doing of ministry. If training institutions are developed too early in a missions movement they are not only overseen and supported by missionaries rather than by national leaders who have progressed through a system of maturation but also are geared more toward the dispensing of information than the training for ministry.

Negation of the Collaborative Stage is a common failing. Like our team among the Kipsigis of Kenya, missionaries naively believe that their task is complete when many churches have been planted and leaders trained to minister within local congregations. Without continued nurturing, however, communities of faith erode when left as autonomous bodies. Structures of continuity are needed to equip leaders and to serve as places for reflection and strategy development.

Finally, without phase-out a movement tends to exist with missionaries at the pinnacle of power. Rather than equipping national leaders to assume missionary roles, missionaries remain lords in their created fiefdoms. In a number of mission works around the world–built on the missionaries’ personality, power, and presence–there is no intention of missionary phase-out. Displacing missionaries from their pinnacles of power, if possible, would require catastrophic action by national leaders.

I, therefore, suggest that to be effective all works initiated through cross-cultural missionary work must intentionally progress through stages emphasizing learning, growth, collaboration, and phase-out. Missionaries’ roles change as movements develop. The intention is to phase-out the missionary presence as mature nationals assume leadership roles.

Works Cited

Araujo, Alex. 1993. Retooling for the future. Evangelical Missions Quarterly 29 (October):362-70.

Bonk, Jonathan. 1994. Money and Mi$$ion$. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books.

Bridges, Erich. 1999. Whatever it takes. The Commission. (February):6-7.

Cox, Monte. 1999. “Euthanasia of Mission” or “Partnership?” An Evaluative Study of the Disengagement Policies of Church of Christ Missionaries in Rural Kenya. Ph.D. Dissertation. Chicago: Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

McQuilkin, Robertson. 1999. Stop Spending Money. Christianity Today. (March 1):57-59.

Van Rheenen, Gailyn. 1996. Missions: Biblical Foundations andContemporary Strategies. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Mission Process: Phasing Out

Phase-Out Period

At the conclusion of his theological treatise to the Romans Paul describes how he had fully preached the Gospel from Jerusalem to Illyriucum, laying new foundations wherever he ministered (Rom. 15:19-20). In this process it was his custom to appoint elders, and through prayer and fasting, “commit them to the Lord” (Acts 14:23). His words to the Romans demonstrate the heart and motivation of phase-out: “But now, since my work in these places no longer needs my presence . . . . Let us go somewhere else. . . . so I can preach there also” (Rom. 15:23 Phillips). His goal was to visit Rome so that they might send him onto new fields in Spain (Rom. 15:24).

Phase-Out is thus the farewell period when missionaries overtly and intentionally pass the baton of leadership to national leaders as they transition to other missions contexts.

The major missionary roles during this stage are those of encourager and adviser of national leaders on both the congregational and associational level. As encouragers, missionaries affirm national abilities to carry the mission of God in responsible, reproducing ways. Elders and evangelists in local churches are affirmed as God’s ordained servants. Equippers on the associational level are confirmed as leaders with godly dedication and experience. As advisers, missionaries suggest models of teaching, ministry, and administration to the relatively new Christian movement and its leadership. A good rule of thumb is to make five affirmations to every one suggestion. In other words, the role of encourager should surpass that of adviser.

A significant danger during this period is inadvertent paternalism. Without realizing it, missionaries are tempted to control the structures that have been developed collaboratively with national leaders. They plan for disengagement with one hand while developing structures of control through money and placement of personnel with the other. Like parents of young adults, they know that they should not dominate but have difficulty letting go.

“Ownership,” Cox writes, “should be the main criterion by which missionaries and nationals determine the timing of disengagement” (Cox. 1999, 227). This ownership is a process. During the Growth Stage, Christian leaders assume leadership roles in their home churches and learn how to plant and develop other churches. During the Collaborative Stage, missionaries and national leaders vision and plan together to develop the structures of continuity appropriate to the church in their context and are equipped and empowered to lead those structures.

It has been a joy to see the church of Christ in Kipsigis grow during the past few years without missionary involvement. Recently, while visiting Kipsigis, I journeyed by public service vehicle and foot to an area where I had ministered many years before. During the time that I was a missionary in this area, the church was weak. I had worked with national evangelists to start one church who, in turn, established a second. Now, twelve years later, there are ten, much larger churches in this particular area. A crowd of 489 gathered for the Sunday morning service and 120 vocational preachers ministering in these churches attended the Sunday afternoon evangelists’ meeting. I stood amazed at their their mature faith in God, in-depth knowledge of the Bible, and incisive plans for ministry. I could only say, “Praise God. May He use the Kipsigis churches as missions-sending and missions-mobilizing churches!”


Mission Process: Growing

Growth Period

Effective missionaries, having learned language and culture and shared their faith, begin the Growth Period with a vision of how God will use them to mobilize a movement in the area where they are working. They realize that their task is not merely to plant a church but to initiate a movement of God. They have developed the cultural and linguistic understandings to think missiologically(footnote 2) about their cultural context.

Developing a strong movement of God in a new city or ethnic area requires the accomplishment of three essential interrelated tasks during the Growth Period. First, initial evangelism leads to the planting of new churches. Second, Christians are nurtured to maturity within these churches. Third, leaders are trained to evangelize and plant other churches, pastor and shepherd the community of believers, and train still other leaders. Effective missionaries successfully develop models for accomplishing each of these central missionary tasks.(footnote 3) While other missions endeavors may amplify these three central tasks, without them a strong movement of God cannot come into being. In receptive areas of the world the accomplishment of these three tasks will require a minimum of eight to ten years of focused ministry during the Growth Period to enable mature local churches with trained leadership to come into existence.

Care must be taken that these three tasks not be performed artificially by inducing people to come to Christ because of finance or favor. Western missionaries come from very wealthy countries. Without realizing it, they frequently magnetize the leeches and con men of the culture and then attempt to build a church around them. Effective learning during the first stage equips effective missionaries to deal with the many dilemmas concerning the disparity of wealth in the world and the resulting expectation of the poor. God’s church, moreover, must reflect the compassion of God for the poor and disenfranchised. God’s people are called to preach good news to the poor, freedom for prisoners, recovery of sight for the blind, and release for the oppressed (Luke 4:18-19). These ministries, however, occur within the context of genuine Christian conversion: Unbelievers must “open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins” (Acts 26:18).(footnote 4)

Perhaps the greatest challenge during this stage is developing an effective paradigm of church planting which is both biblically integrated yet reproductive. For example, one missionary team may plant a single church in a city or ethnic unit while another employs a multi-church orientation to plant numerous viable churches within the same culture. One team may smother national leaders by micro-managing church affairs; another may work with maturing leaders to develop models of mobilizing national leadership. The difference between these two works is the models or paradigms used in church planting and development.

Church planting teams in receptive areas should develop a full-city, multi-city, or full-tribe perspective rather than expecting to plant only one local church. Their model should be that of Paul, who planted and nurtured but expected Apollos to water (Rom. 15:17-20; 1 Cor. 3:6, 10). When a team focuses on establishing one church, a missionary enclave is almost always created, and the presence of many trained foreign leaders tends to smother development of national church leaders. Frequently only an anemic church, transplanted from the sending culture, is established. This church can only learn to grow and develop naturally when it learns to live within the social and economic realities of its own culture after the missionaries leave.

The nature of identification during the Growth Period becomes more focused: Missionaries identify with (1) the broken sinfulness of unbelievers in order to lead them to Christ, (2) the struggles of new Christians to nurture them to grow to maturity, and (3) the equipping needs of developing leaders to empower them in ministry. In this stage the missionary is more than just a learner; he is an evangelist and church plantera nurturer of new Christians, and a trainer of developing leaders.(footnote 5)

Our team working among the Kipsigis of Kenya developed a new paradigm of church maturation during the Growth Period appropriate for the context in which we were working. We sought to mature churches through four distinct stages.(footnote 6) The first converts were brought to Christ through evangelism during the Initial Church Stage, a time lasting from five to ten weeks. During this stage, church planters served primarily as evangelists who proclaimed the foundational message of the gospel. The objective of this stage was to gain enough converts to form a vibrant group; the joy was seeing a congregation born through public and private proclamation of the gospel.

The second stage of church maturation, called the Developing Church Stage, sought to form a sustaining fellowship from those converted during the initial stage. Initial Christians were nurtured to become germinally reproducing, cohesive bodies through teaching and modeling of evangelism and church life. Church planters served throughout this stage as church maturers, nurturing members of the body to serve the function that God had given them within the body. As mentors of new Christians, the missionaries spent one or two days each week visiting from house to house and holding evangelistic and nurturing meetings throughout the village. The objective of this stage was to mold initial Christians into a body; the joy was seeing new Christians grow into a cohesive body able to stand on their own. This stage took from six to fifteen months, depending on how quickly the churched matured as a body. Interestingly churches who rapidly became spiritually and numerically strong tended to become the most mature of the churches in their respective areas.

The third period of church maturation, the Independent Church Stage, began when founding church planters were able to allow local leaders to assume all major leadership roles. Frequently a rite of separation–a time of commissioning, of laying on of hands to commend the new church to the Lord–signaled entry into this stage. The church had developed enough leadership to function as a cohesive body without the continual presence of the initial church planting missionary.

While the focus during the Developing Church Stage was on congregational training, the emphasis during the Independent Church Stage was on leadership training. During the previous stage, leaders rose naturally to the surface as all members were taught the basics of the Gospel and nurtured to become participants in cohesive fellowships. In this stage special training was given to leaders to develop theological understandings and skills for practical ministry.

Thus effective church planters among independent churches grew to becatalysts training congregational leaders. The objective was to train leaders to the point that local Christians were able to “build themselves up in love” (Eph. 4:16); the joy was seeing congregational leaders develop.

The Mature Church Stage was the final period of church maturation. At the beginning of this stage and after intense leadership training during the Independent Church Stage, church leaders were selected and ordained. Elders were selected to pastor the flock; deacons were selected to serve in various ministries; evangelists were set aside to lead the congregation in proclaiming God’s redemptive message both in the local village and in adjoining areas; Sunday school teachers and other ministry leaders were also selected. As the founding church planters looked at the church, they saw with joy how God had worked to bring this body to maturity. Because trained leaders had been ordained, founding church planters assumed the role of occasional guests, who came periodically to exhort and strengthen the body. They were, however, no longer needed for its ongoing. Church planters, resisting the temptation to maintain control over the mature church, had to allow the church to continue on its own.

Many missionaries consider their task complete when a number of churches have been planted and leaders trained to minister within their local congregations. But communities of faith frequently erode if they are left as autonomous bodies without continued nurturing. The work of church planting and development is not completed when local churches come into existence. These local churches need nurturing, equipping structures which tie them together as a movement and which empower ministers and elders as spiritual leaders to pastor their congregations and continue the process of local evangelism and church planting. This need for structures of continuity leads to the third period of church development.

2. Thinking missiologically implies that missionaries are able to communicate God’s eternal message in cultural metaphors and forms that both make the message intelligible and stir the hearts of people to accept its presuppositions. It also infers the skill of developing unique strategies of church planting and development that are appropriate to the cultural context.

3. For further perspectives on the three essential tasks of missions readMissions: Biblical Foundations and Contemporary Strategy (1996, 147-175) or “The Essential Tasks of Missiology.

4. Jonathan’s Bonk’s Mi$ion$ and Money (Orbis, 1994) is a significant book describing the dilemmas about those seeking finance and favor when hearing the Christian message from westerners. Robertson McQuilkin’s article “Stop Spending Money” (Christianity Today 1999) will also become a classic description of wrong use of money.

5. These missionary roles coincide with the three major tasks of missionaries during this stage.

6.  These four stages are discussed more fully in Missions: Biblical Foundations and Contemporary Strategies (1996; 156-159) or “The Essential Tasks of Missiology

Mission Process: Learning

The Learning Period

Approximately the first two years on the mission field are appropriately called the learning period or the adaptation stage. Missionaries are learning to live in new contexts and adapt to them. During this period, four interrelated types of learning take place. Missionaries learn (1) to speak a new language, (2) to understand the culture of the people among whom they are working, (3) to form personal relationships within the culture, and (4) to develop models of ministry appropriate to the context.

Two extremes are common during this stage. On the one hand, some missionaries assume that they should not begin communicating the Gospel until the learning stage is completed–until language and culture learning are accomplished. Christianity, however, is the core of identity. Missionaries cannot easily lay aside their identity even during the early stages of missionary work. They should learn languages and cultures as Christians and thus express and live out these distinct Christian perspectives! Christian proclamation must be incorporated rather than marginalized during the learning of language and culture. When effective language and culture learning takes place, the first converts are frequently made and a church established, even during this preliminary learning stage. Missionaries must, however, understand their communicational limitations and work within these. They should teach using broad, general concepts and use indigenous illustrations only with the greatest of care. On the opposite extreme, some missionaries naively bypass the learning stage. They conceive that “people are people all over the world and the Gospel can be presented in the same way in all contexts.” They, therefore, desire to be teachers without learning first. Without active language and culture learning during the first months on the field, the missionaries’ effectiveness in all other stages is reduced, and the resulting movement is typically anemic rather than a vibrant.

As stated earlier, effective missionaries should be identificationalists, but the nature of their identification varies from stage to stage as the Christian movement matures. In this early adaption phase missionary identification is broadly focused and may be defined as learning the general patterns of a new recipient culture. The major role of missionaries during this stage islearner.

During this stage of missionary life, our team first learned the Kiswahili trade language and then the Kipsigis vernacular. Although many people know the trade language, we found that for communicating the message of Christ the trade language could not substitute for the language of the heart. As we learned the Kipsigis language, we also learned Kipsigis culture. It became evident that to learn the language was also to learn the culture. Language categories form the cognitive domains expressing the building blocks of the cultural worldview.

Four months after our arrival in Kipsigis, the first six people came to Christ. We found that language/culture learning and ministry could not be segmented: As we learned, we also expressed who we were and taught the message of reconciliation to God in Christ in our own very elementary way. During this stage I personally was pulled in two different directions: Not only was I working with those of the Kipsigis tribe, but I also found hundreds of workers on the area tea estates who were receptive to the Gospel. Within a year I baptized 150 people in these estates. But we soon found that the workers on these estates were all visitors, living out of their tribal area and that establishing a permanent movement where all the people are visitors is very difficult. Although a large number were converted, without the support of the home community, many reverted to their old ways. We came to realize that stable churches are established when people are converted where they “live” rather than were they “stay,” a linguistic differentiation made by local people in both the Kiswahili and Kipsigis languages. Thus our model of ministry radically shifted to preach where people “live” [i.e., their home area] rather than where people “stay.” [i.e., their work place].

Mission Process: Introduction


Many “trained” missionaries begin their work in a cross-cultural context without a clear understanding of the missionary task. From a personal perspective this statement was partially descriptive of our missions team. We were well prepared to learn new languages and cultures. We had basic preparation to lead unbelievers into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. We effectively struggled with contextualizing the Gospel in a new and different culture. Our team, however, consumed hundreds of hours trying to determine what to do next. And because we did not adequately understand the process of missions, we made many mistakes along the way.

Generally, the problem is not the content of the training but the nature of training. The study of Missiology is frequently more topical than sequential. Curriculum focuses more on development of knowledge rather than of skill. For example, it should be axiomatic that courses on church growth or leadership training are best taught as tasks to be learned in a sequence rather than a body of information to be understood about a discipline. The major tasks of missions are sequential and thus must be taught and modeled as process.

Also, related to the problem of the nature of training is breadth of vision. For example, two missions teams enter the same area. One team’s purpose is toplant a church in one sector of the city or ethnic group. The second team aims to develop church planting movements. According to Erich Bridges of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, a church-planting movement is “the rapid multiplication of churches among a people group that enables them to reach their entire people–then to reach out to other peoples” (1999, 7). Limited vision leads to limited results. Results are generally commensurate with the breadth of vision.

This article attempts to outline the broad process of establishing such church-planting movements from the missionaries’ initial entry onto the field to the passing of the baton of leadership to the national church. It was written for two major reasons. First, this articles enables missionaries to visualize the broad process of missions and the roles and skills required of missionaries during each stage of planting and developing a new missions movement. A central assumption is that missionaries should be long-term servants willing to grow with their missions movements and develop new roles commensurate with the needs of their developing movement. Missionaries are ideally identificationalists(footnote 1) developing new skills as they personally relate to people within their culture. Second, the article challenges those who equip missionaries to focus not only on the initial stages of church planting–the “learning” and “growth” periods–but also on the final stages of church planting–the “collaborative” and “phase-out” periods. Traditionally the study of church planting has focused more on church initiation rather than on church maturation.

1. Identificationalists, as contrasted to extractionists, assume the role of learners in a new culture, reciprocally relate to those of the new culture as equals, learn their language and thought categories, and personalize their ministry (Van Rheenen, Zondervan, 1996, 59-61).

Competing Worldviews: “Why Can’t You See the Gospel Like I Do?”

“Differing worldviews compete within me!”

I was struck by this realization as I ministered to a small group of new Christians and seekers in Kenya during a time of famine. Crops were dying in the fields. Women were walking miles to carry water on their backs to their homes. Everyone realized that if rain did not come soon, current crops would wilt in the fields. We decided to conclude our time of fellowship, teaching, and discussion by beseeching God for rain. Had we not been discussing that Creator God was the sovereign Lord of his world? Before we finished our time of prayer, clouds gathered and rain began to pour from the sky. In response, we gave God glory, honor, and praise. What a time of fellowship—and seeing God work—in a new church!

On the way home, as my short wheel-base Toyota Land Cruiser (the old type) slipped down the muddy road and twice slide into a ditch, I was surprised that it had rained only in the general vicinity of our meeting. My mind began to discern the reasons: Rain tends to come from the West, follow a certain ridge of hills, and then drop into this valley.

My thoughts then returned to our powerful time of prayer and our belief that sovereign God is the ultimate giver of rain. I realized that within me are competing worldviews. I am a secularist! I believe the world is organized around “laws of nature” which determine when and where it will rain. I am a theist! I believe that God is sovereign over the world he created. Within my mind I seek to merge these worldviews believing that God created the world to work with certain cycles or rhythms, but our loving, ever-present Creator willingly changes these rhythms he has created. Nonetheless, these two worldviews compete within me for allegiance—sometimes leading me to be more of a secularist than a theist. “Oh, God, help me trust your presence, think your thoughts, and walk in your paths so that I pray to you with expectancy!”  

What might we learn from this story to better understand ourselves and the people among whom we minister?


Missional Helix


This Missiological Reflection provides a framework for cultural understanding by describing four types of worldviews and continues our discussion about “Cultural Analysis” within the Missional Helix. As you read this typology, ask yourself the question, “Which worldviews compete for my heart’s allegiance and for the hearts of the people among whom I serve? How must I live to make God my sovereign Lord?

The purpose of this Missiological Reflection is to provide categories for interpreting yourself and the culture in which you minister.



A secular worldview divides the world into natural and supernatural realms but focuses almost exclusively on the natural. God is considered either nonexistent or irrelevant to human affairs. Humans intuit that they have the ability to understand and shape their own reality. Secularism, which is rooted in Greek and Roman beliefs, became a philosophy of life in Western Europe during the “Enlightenment” or “Age of Reason” from the 1620’s to the 1780’s. It then spread to the rest of the world through colonialism, Western education, and media. Secularists tend to be resistant to the gospel until they realize, usually during times of trauma, that humans are unable to “direct their [own] steps” (Jer. 10:23), that the divine and the human are interrelated.

In the story about God giving rain I revert to the secular part of my heart and heritage. Euro-American Christianity struggles to be thoroughly Christian because facets of life have become secularized.


An animistic worldview presupposes that personal spiritual beings and impersonal spiritual forces have power over human affairs. During times of disease, death, and drought, animists use divination to discover which beings and forces are impacting them in order to ward them off or to employ their power. Animism has deep roots in much of Africa and in other “tribal cultures” who organize themselves around family, lineage, and clan and who believe that the spirits of the dead (and other spiritual beings and forces) have power over and influence the living. Animism easily intertwines itself with other worldviews and religions, as illustrated by terms like “Christo-Pagan,” especially infiltrating certain forms of Pentecostalism, and “Folk Islam.” Veneration of the dead, very prevalent in traditional Shintoism in Japan and Confucianism in China, is animistic. Animism is also present in Euro-American cultures, where bookstores sell thousands of books about divination, witchcraft, and veneration of ancestors, spirits, and gods and in organized cults like Wicca. Animism often integrates itself into the fabric of more organized forms of religion.

The Bible graphically portrays God’s people struggling with animistic powers. The Old Testament shows how the Israelites were continually forced to choose between the God of Israel and the gods of the nations. Thus Moses contrasts Yahweh to the gods of Egypt by saying, “Who among the gods is like you, O LORD? Who is like you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?” (Ex. 15:11), and Elijah on God’s behalf challenges the fertility cult of Baal (1 Kings 18). The Gospels describe a struggle between Jesus and the demonic world. Mark summarized Christ’s ministry with the statement: “And He went into their synagogues throughout all Galilee, preaching and casting out demons” (Mark 1:39; see also Matt. 4:23-24; Acts 10:38). In the Pauline Epistles the Christian’s battle is against principalities and powers (Eph. 6:12) and the elementary principles of the world (Col. 2:8, 20). Although the terms change, there seems to be a consistent battle with spiritual forces throughout scripture. Animists interpret these references to spiritual powers literally; those of a secular heritage tend to overlook or deconstruct them (Note Communicating Christ in Animistic Contexts, pp. 95-126).

For animists to become God-followers, they must recognize that Creator God is approachable and concerned about human life, and unlike the gods, is “majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders,” the God of deliverance (Ex. 15:11). Through the death and resurrection of his Son, God has “disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Col. 2:15).

In ministering among animistic people, I am continually amazed how simple prayer by ordinary Christians for God’s healing, His indwelling, His deliverance delivers those under Satan’s bondage. By contrast, many Christians in the West have forgotten the power of God to answer simple prayers by everyday Christians.


A pantheistic worldview perceives that an impersonal, all-pervading essence, sometimes defined as “god,” fills the universe. As droplets of water merge to become a stream, then a river, and finally an ocean, so individuals become one with the essence of the universe through meditation and achieve a change of consciousness called “enlightenment.” Thus “god” is defined not as a personal being but the energy that fills the earth. Pantheism, taken from the Greek πᾶν pan (meaning “all”) and θεός theos (meaning “God”), assumes that God is the totality of existence. By meditation one merges with the oneness of the world. The end result is peace, tranquility, Nirvana—connection with the oneness of the world.

Pantheism has deep roots within classical Hinduism and Buddhism in India and Nepal and Taoism in China. The 17th century philosopher Baruch Spinoza popularized this worldview in the West by challenging Descartes dualistic theology that separated body and soul. He rather maintained the “monist” perspective that body and spirit are one.

Westerners find pantheism enticing as they search for inward peace in a hectic world where Christianity is nominalized and personal holiness is minimized. Neglecting the spiritual disciplines of walking in relationship with God by his Spirit has opened the door to new forms of spiritual mysticism. This syncretism begins by doing rites (meditation) to calm self—to come into unity with self—rather passionate prayer to our loving and faithful Creator God (like that of David in Psalm 51). Eastern meditation seeks unity with the oneness that is within everything (which ultimately is nothing, only ourselves); Christian prayer in meditation, on the other hand, is personal communication in the Spirit with God.

As pantheists encounter living illustrations of Christian meditation, they begin to experience God as living and personal, full of compassion and distinctively holy.


A theistic worldview presupposes that God created the heavens and the earth and continues to care for that universe. A theistic worldview is as distinctive as the holy and loving God who created us, as Jesus who came to earth to show us how to live and to die for our sins, and as the Holy Spirit that indwells us and leads forward in God’s mission.

At its core theism assumes that this world is intensely personal. God, who is loving and holy, created the world with the expectation that we would walk faithfully with him. But the world is broken, fallen, infiltrated by Satan, and we struggle to find our identity under His sovereignty. Our hope, however, is not in the world as it is today but in the new heavens and the new earth that our Father will usher in with the second coming of Jesus. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

The presence of Creator God walking with us and forming us as expressed in this song of worship, is central to a theistic worldview: “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

We believe that there are some aberration to this worldview—the reinterpretation of Jesus as a prophet and the negation of the Holy Spirit, for example, in Islam. Thus some theists follow God’s distinctive way of salvation through Jesus Christ, while others focus on submitting to and honoring Allah.

Missionaries and ministers can use this typology of worldviews to discern the intertwining influences of secularism, animism, pantheism, and theism within their host culture. While most cultures emphasize one or two of these types, influences from all four may be syncretized in various configurations. Understanding the different influences in the culture enables missionaries and ministers to encode the gospel in theological metaphors appropriate to the context.

As you read this Missiological Reflection, please share your reflections with us:

  1. Which worldviews compete for allegiance within my heart?
  2. How have I learned to express the distinctiveness of what God has done in Jesus Christ within my cultural context?

You can read a full development of the Missional Helix in Chapter 13 of Missions: Biblical Foundations and Contemporary Strategies (Zondervan/Harper Collins).

Dr. Gailyn Van Rheenen, Facilitator of Church Planting and Renewal

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The Missional Helix—Cultural Analysis

Missional Helix for BlogIn the previous missiological reflection, I described theological reflection as the beginning point of ministry. Missionaries (that is, all Christian leaders) must yearn to know the heart and motivation of God— what God is about in his world and why he is doing what he is doing—so that their ministry aligns with the purposes of God.

Theology is always contextual—always done within the contexts of living cultures. Thus this reflection describes the second arena of ministry formation—“cultural analysis.”

The question might be asked: “Why segment theological reflection and cultural analysis? Should theological reflection assume cultural analysis since theology must be done within living cultures?” The answer, of course, is “Yes!” In reality, however, it is easy for us to operate out of our own cultural bias, that is, projecting upon Scripture our own cultural paradigms of understanding. Thus missiologolists like Hwa Yung (Mangoes and Bananas: The Quest for an Authentic Asian Theology,”[i]), Kwame Bediako (“Jesus in African Culture”[ii]), and Samuel Escabar (“The Identity of Protestantism in Latin America”[iii]) seek to articulate the Gospel in the metaphors and cultural categories of their particular cultural contexts.

In Communicating Christ in Animistic Cultures I describe the difficulty of Western missionaries to not only understand but also communicate the Gospel into the philosophical presuppositions of animistic culture—where people perceive “that personal spiritual beings and impersonal spiritual forces have power over human affairs and, consequently, that human beings must discover by divination what beings and forces are influencing them in order to determine future action and frequently, to manipulate their power.” [iv] In this book I attempt to guide people to read the Bible with eyes wide open to the all-sufficiency of God’s work through Christ to defeat the principalities and powers (both personal and impersonal), and to live holy, faithful lives under the sovereignty of God. One prevalent theme is that Westerners attempt to domesticate Scripture to reflect their own secular heritages.

The questions thus become “How do we read Scripture to reflect the fullness of the kingdom of God in our cultural context? How do we faithfully communicate the Gospel and minister to human sinfulness and brokenness?” The technical word for this is contextualization, a term most vividly illustrated by the incarnation of Christ, who became God’s Word in flesh dwelling in our neighborhood speaking so that we can see and hear God’s glory, “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

Thus Christian ministry does not occur in a cultural vacuum; it takes place in cultural contexts, where rival perspectives of reality vie for human allegiance. Missionaries must therefore become adept at differentiating worldview types and discern how these types influence the host culture. These understandings enable missionaries to communicate God’s message so that it interacts with the culture’s perspective of reality.

In the next missiological reflection I will describe four distinct worldview types that are present and often intertwined in world cultures.

Frequently, church planters analyze bits and pieces of a culture but are unable to make a systematic cultural analysis. Or they effectively analyze culture in broad, general terms, such as pre-modern, modern, and post-modern, but are not equipped to make localized cultural analysis.

 Overview of the Missional Helix

Missional Helix for Blog 3The Missional Helix visualizes ministry formation as a spiral. The coils turn round and round, passing the same landmarks, but always at a slightly higher level. This spiral, a helix, describes the process of effective ministry formation. The spiral begins with theological reflection – examining theologies which focus and form our perspectives of culture and the practice of ministry, such as the missio Dei, the kingdom of God, incarnation, and atonement. Cultural analysis, the second element of the Missional Helix, enables missionaries and ministers to define types of peoples within a cultural context, to understand the social construction of their reality, to perceive how they are socially related to one another, and to explain how the Christian message intersects with every aspect of culture (birth rites, coming-of-age rituals, weddings, funerals, and so on). The spiral then considers what has occurred historically in the missional context. Historical perspective narrates how things became what they are, based on the interrelated stories of the particular nation, tribe, lineage, the church, and God’s mission. Finally, strategy formation helps shape the practical methodology of ministry.  The Missional Helix illustrates how contextual strategies draw deeply from cultural and historical understandings to theologically discern what God is saying about the practice of ministry and to then develop actual practices to implement the strategies. This shaping of ministry, however, takes place within the environment of spiritual formation as Christian servants humbly submit their lives to a covenant relationship with God as Father and enthrone Christ as their King.

This missiological reflection thus encourages missionaries to perform an in-depth analysis of the local culture’s worldview. Much too often, this second element of the Missional Helix is excluded. Church planters naively project their worldview on other contexts and interpret reality in terms of their own heritage. This intellectual colonialism results in transplanted theologies, reflecting the missionaries’ heritage, rather than contextualized theologies, developed by reflecting on Scripture within the context of local languages, thought categories, and ritual patterns. Transplanted theologies are merely uprooted from one context and transferred to a new one, with the expectation that the meanings will be the same in both cultures. The beginning point of theologizing in a new culture is always a thorough analysis of the culture on a worldview level. With these cultural understandings, Christian ministers and missionaries are able to be theological brokers to people within the culture and minister alongside them in developing a local, contextualized theology.

In applying this missiological reflection, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What is the role of theological reflection in ministry formation?
  2. What is the role of cultural analysis?
  3. How are these two intertwined in ministry formation?
  4. What are the strengths and limitations of this missiological reflection?

You can read a full development of the Missional Helix in Chapter 13 of Missions: Biblical Foundations and Contemporary Strategies (Zondervan/Harper Collins).

Dr. Gailyn Van Rheenen, Facilitator of Church Planting and Renewal

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[i] Yung, Hwa. 1997. Mangoes or Bananas? The Quest for an Authentic Asian Christian Theology. Oxford, U.K.: Regnuun Books International.

[ii] Bediako, Kwame. 1994. “Jesus in African Culture: A Ghanaian Perspective” in Emerging Voices in Global Christian Theology, pp.93-126, edited by William A Dyrness. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan.

[iii] Escabar, Samuel. 1994. “The Identity of Protestantism in Latin America” in Emerging Voices in Global Christian Theology, pp.199-228, edited by William A Dyrness. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan.

[iv] Van Rheenen, Gailyn. 1991. Communicating Christ in Animistic Contexts. William Carey Library, p. 20.


The Missional Helix—Theological Reflection

The previous missiological reflection described the Missional Helix and attempted to show the intertwining, inseparable nature of theological reflection, cultural analysis, historical perspective, and strategy formation within the context of spiritual formation. This blog describes the role of theology within the Missional Helix.

A theology of mission describes the heart and motivation of God and thereby defines the rationale for mission. It identifies what God is about in his world and why he is doing what he is doing. Christian ministers then are able to understand God’s purposes and discern God’s will for their lives. Reflecting on these theologies leads them to ask, “How do our lives and ministries reflect God?” or “How do we design patterns of life and models of ministry which reflect the kingdom of God?”

RudderFor example, a theology of mission is like the rudder of a ship which guides the mission of God and provides direction. My wife is fond of remembering how our children frequently wanted to “drive” when we took them on pedal boats. At times, they were so intent on pedaling—making the boat move—that they held the rudder in an extreme position, and we went in circles. Realizing their mistake but still intent on pedaling, they would move the rudder from one extreme to the other, so that we zigzagged across the lake. Without the foundation of a missional theology, Christian leaders likewise zigzag from fad to fad, from one theological perspective and related philosophies of ministry to another. A theology of mission, like the rudder of a ship, provides practical direction for Christian ministry.

BoatA theology of mission is also like the engine of a ship, propelling the mission of God forward. One spring, my wife and I taught at Abilene Christian University’s campus abroad program in Montevideo, Uruguay. During the semester, we traveled with our students to Iguazu Falls, a spectacular waterfall between Brazil and Argentina. One highlight of our visit was a motorboat excursion against the mighty current of the river almost to the foot of the falls. I was impressed not only by the immensity of the water’s flow but also by the power of the engine to push the boat up the river against the surge. A mission theology, like the engine of a ship, provides the power that enables finite humans to carry God’s infinite mission against the currents of popular cultures.

As these metaphors illustrate, theology is indispensable to the mission of God. A theology of mission provides both direction and empowerment for developing practices of missions.

Each of these four internal elements of the Missional Helix (theology, culture, history, and strategy) is essential in reflecting on and planning for Christian ministry. Theological reflection, however, is the beginning point for ministry formation and the most significant element within the internal structure of the spiral. In order to mirror the purposes and mind of God, all missiological decisions must be rooted both implicitly and explicitly in biblical theology.

Too many missionaries—while acknowledging the Bible as the Word of God—allow culture rather than Scripture to shape their core understandings of the church. The Bible is used to proof-text practice rather than to define the church’s essence. Lacking a biblically rooted ecclesiology, the teachings and practices of the church are likely to be shaped either implicitly by the dominant evangelical culture or explicitly by random surveys to ascertain what people want. A biblical understanding of the church’s nature enables missionaries to plant and nurture churches that are rooted in the mission of God rather than in presuppositions of popular culture.

The church today is reaping the harvest of its own cultural accommodation.  I remember sitting in a congregational meeting 25 years ago when the words, “meeting felt needs,” were used 16 times in 30 minutes.  Although these words expressed the need for Christian sensitivity, within them were also seeds of the slow demise of Christianity in North America. Cultural accommodation began to supersede living Christ-formed lives transformed into God’s image (2 Cor. 3:18).

Missional Helix for BlogThe Missional Helix proposes that missionaries use Scripture to form a biblical understanding of the church. For instance, Paul, in Ephesians 2:19–22, uses multiple metaphors to describe the nature of the church. The church is a new nation:  Christians are “no longer foreigners and strangers” but “fellow citizens” in a community of faith (v. 19). The church is a family, or God’s “household” (v. 19). The church is a holy temple, well constructed, with each part joined together and built around Jesus Christ, the chief cornerstone (vv. 20–22). This fellowship comes into existence through conversion: people dead in sin (2:1–3) have been made alive with Christ (vv. 4–7) by God’s grace (vv. 8–10). Paul stacks metaphors one on another to illustrate a redeemed fellowship brought together under Christ (1:3–11) and existing “for the praise of his glory” (v. 12). These perspectives form an inspired picture of God’s divine community.

Stuart Murray says that often “mission work is done naively out of human planning rather than beginning with understandings of the nature and purposes of God and then moving from these theological frameworks to practice.” Church planters, he says, “operate within theological frameworks, but often these are assumed rather than articulated and adopted uncritically rather than as the result of reflection. Theological principles may influence strategy and practice less than unexamined tradition or innovative methodology” (2001, Church Planting: Laying Foundations, p. 39).

Theological reflection, however, extends beyond textual study. Christian ministers must realize that all readers understand and apply Scripture within their historical traditions, based on their rational systems of thought, and formed by their experience. The missionary therefore must be cognizant of four resources that shape theological reflection: Scripture, tradition, reason, and experience (Stone and Duke 1996, 43–54). For example, in rural, face-to-face cultures, Christians tend to perceive the church as a “family”; in modern, industrial contexts, as a “business”; and in postmodern, informational cultures, as a “network,” or sometimes as a “community.” Missionaries and ministers, as theological “meaning makers,” must theologically reflect on the connotation of these metaphors, using all four resources.


  • Chapter 3 of Missions: Biblical Foundations and Contemporary Strategies on “Theological Foundations of Missions,” pp. 63-64.
  • Chapter 13 of Missions: Biblical Foundations and Contemporary Strategies, on “The Missional Helix,” pp. 311-312

Previous Blogs on the Missional Helix:

Dr. Gailyn Van Rheenen, Facilitator of Church Planting and Renewal

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The Missional Helix—An Overview

I was sitting in a small group of pastors, church planters, and ministry leaders at a 3dm Learning Community, discerning what God was telling us about steps forward in ministry.  David described to our group how 25 years ago he had planted the church where he still ministers and which today has over 2,500 members. Though others see him as exceptionally successful, his heart is inwardly perturbed.  His church, he says, is more a vendor of goods and services than a community of disciples on mission with God.  Attenders (and even members) come with differing motives.  For some, it is a duty; for others, it is a place to meet people of influence; for still others, it provides moral instruction for their children.  Church attendance assuages guilt and declares to others (and to self) that “I am religious.”  A spiritual responsibility has been discharged; therefore, all is well. Observing the worldliness of his members and fearing for the future of his church in an increasing secular culture, he exclaimed, “What have I created!”  He was hearing God say that his ministry task during his final era of ministry was to transform this church into a disciple-making community on mission with God.

To leaders like David, the Missional Helix provides a process—a meta-narrative, a way of thinking—to guide them in forming the practices of ministry for church renewal and church planting. Missional Helix for Blog

The Missional Helix[1] visualizes ministry formation as a spiral. The coils turn round and round, passing the same landmarks, but always at a slightly higher level. This spiral, a helix, describes the process of effective ministry formation.

The spiral begins with theological reflection – examining theologies which focus and form our perspectives of culture and the practice of ministry, such as the missio Dei, the kingdom of God, incarnation, and atonement. Cultural analysis, the second element of the Missional Helix, enables missionaries and ministers to define types of peoples within a cultural context, to understand the social construction of their reality, to perceive how they are socially related to one another, and to explain how the Christian message intersects with every aspect of culture (birth rites, coming-of-age rituals, weddings, funerals, and so on). The spiral then considers what has occurred historically in the missional context. Historical perspective narrates how things became what they are, based on the interrelated stories of the particular nation, tribe, lineage, the church, and God’s mission. Finally, strategy formation helps shape the practical methodology of ministry.  The Missional Helix illustrates how contextual strategies draw deeply from cultural and historical understandings to theologically discern what God is saying about the practice of ministry and to then develop actual practices to implement the strategies. This shaping of ministry, however, takes place within the environment of spiritual formation as Christian servants humbly submit their lives to a covenant relationship with God as Father and enthrone Christ as their King.

The Relationship between the Five Elements of Ministry Formation

The Missional Helix’s spiral illustrates how the missionary returns time and time again to reflect theologically, culturally, historically, and strategically under the guiding hand of God to develop Missional Helix for Blog 3ministry models appropriate to the local context. Theology, social understandings, historical development of these understandings, and strategy all work together and interpenetrate each other within this environment of spiritual formation. Thus praxis impacts theology, which in turn shapes the practice of ministry.

The broken lines between the four internal elements of ministry formation demonstrate how each interacts with the others.  As Christian leaders humbly and prayerfully submit to God as Father and to each other within an environment of spiritual formation, they find identity, purpose, and are called to mission.

The diagram is called a helix because theology, history, culture, and the practice of ministry build on one another as the community of faith collectively develops understandings and a vision of God’s will within its cultural context.  The spiral grows to new heights as ministry understandings and experiences develop. Ideally, the missionary is always learning, growing in the Lord, always spiraling to a new level of understanding and competence.

Ideally, the missionary is always learning, growing in the Lord, always spiraling to a new level of understanding and competence.


The Missional Helix is useful in at least two ways.  First and foremost, it provides a model of decision-making for the Christian practitioner.  The practice of mission must become intentional and with experience intuitive.  Second, the missional helix provides a model for curricular development in Bible schools, universities, and seminaries.  Equipping for ministry should not put high emphasis on some elements and give little consideration to others.

Two questions:

  1. What elements of the Missional Helix have you generally neglected in developing your model of ministry? What elements have you emphasized?
  2. How intentional is your current paradigm of ministry? What are the components?

You can read a full development of the Missional Helix of Chapter 13 of 2nd edition of Missions: Biblical Foundations and Contemporary Strategies (Zondervan/Harper Collins).

Dr. Gailyn Van Rheenen, Facilitator of Church Planting and Renewal

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Copyright ©2015 by Gailyn Van Rheenen

All rights reserved.  We allow you to forward this article individually to friends and photocopy it for personal or class use.  Please do not reproduce this material in printed or digital form without reference.  If you wish to reproduce this material in printed or digital form or in any other way reproduce or distribute this information, please obtain permission by contacting me at gailyn@missionalive.org


[1] The Missional Helix was first described in a Missiological Reflection in Missiology.org in August 2002 (www.missiology.org/?p=203) and then applied to church planting in another Missiological Reflection in January 2003 (www.missiology.org/?p=157). This Missional Helix was used to present the reformist view in the book Evaluating the Church Growth Movement (McIntosh 2004, 167–89).