It is important for those of us who have grown up in cultures with strong churches & Christian institutions to recognize the concept of church-planting movements in foreign missions, particularly in regard to three self and unreached people groups principles when discussing foreign missions. For not only is there a larger percentage of faithful, boring Christians in Missouri than in Somalia, but the Christians in Missouri have developed the cultural, theological, and ecclesiological resources necessary to create new churches in their culture and language. This is not true for thousands of people groups that do not know Jesus and have no human means to learn about Him. People in North America certainly need evangelism, discipleship, and theological formation just as much as people in Central Asia. The difference is that the institutions and churches carrying out those works in North America are not merely present, but have the ability to self-sustain, self-fund, and self-reproduce in their own cultural milieu. Such institutions aren’t just virtually absent elsewhere, but often lack the resources and personnel to propagate and persist. If we are serious about the value of these institutions, we should work slowly yet tenaciously to establish them everywhere and send enough Christians to places without them so they might be strengthened.
There are needs everywhere, of course. Not only are the suburbs of America full of lost people, they are full of Christians who need one another to stay and build one another up through fellowship, prayer, service, and worship. Raising families in an increasingly hostile and materialistic culture is hard work requiring great spiritual resources, and we ought not minimize its importance. However, if we look at the needs of the world and the concentration of wealth, power, education, health, and Biblical knowledge that we’ve been blessed with, it looks a little disproportionate—especially when it comes to the institutions that drive the growth of the church and help to keep her witness faithful. We need to be quiet and patient in a few more places. We need to use the dividends of our thrift a little more intentionally. And we need to eat our unexciting meatloaf in our boring, single-family homes with a few more outcasts around our table.Read the rest.