Diaspora Mobilized Disciple Streams

Diaspora Mobilized Disciple Streams

By Jim Spikes and Phil Kesler

Working with Diaspora peoples is nothing new; the Gospel has spread for years strategically through people from all walks of life. Paul and others made disciples among diverse people groups (PGs) through commercial, military, religious, and personal relationships. These disciples then took the Gospel to their own peoples and to others.  While some of those peoples remained in the vicinity of where they were led to Jesus, many of them moved on to other locations as their employment or life circumstances led them elsewhere.

It is important to recognize that, in today’s increasingly globalized world, Mobilized Disciples (MDs) – those that become disciples and are challenged to make disciples no matter where God takes them – are highly mobile people.

The Christian church, especially in Global Cities, is really more of a liquid than a solid. Diaspora Christian meetings /services may form and appear to be solid like ice – but as ice eventually melts and flows away – often the Diaspora Christian MDs move to other locations within cities, within countries, or even move away to other countries – all the while seeking to form other MDs among their own PG as well as other UPGs.

Diaspora Christian MDs form semi-permanent church groupings that, though they may diminish in size or even cease to meet in one location, may blossom and multiply in other locations. Traditional means for measuring “success” related to some sort of permanent gathering with stable leadership presence may not be the best tools for capturing and understanding the impact and spread of these Diaspora MD assemblies or leadership development networks.

This is not to say that one cannot “track” or “count” Diaspora Christian growth. The challenge is to develop approaches and tools that take into account Diaspora realities and that can identify and measure significant elements. One of these elements could be the ongoing relationship and contact modern technology allows many of these MDs to have with their mentors. Through natural relationships, Diaspora MDs can be encouraged to report their progress, and are often quite joyful to do so! In some cases, for example, Diaspora Mobilizers have been invited to another country to witness firsthand the fruit of their labors, seeing how Diaspora MDs have planted multiple churches back in the MDs home country! However, it is important to recognize that, in normal conditions, after the 3rd or 4th generation of Diaspora Christian MDs /gatherings, reporting may be sporadic at best. In order to make the reporting work well, Diaspora workers must foster the spirit of family at all times in all gatherings and encourage their MDs to stay in touch no matter where they are, often by regular Skype or other social media communications.

When considering Diaspora Christian MDs, the best and most expected outcome is to see multiple “streams” of movement and exponential growth that ebb and flow and quite often cross cultural and geographic boundaries, regardless of which PG was the base group that initiated the network.

So what do we do with a missionary?

So what do we do with a missionary?

By Phillip Lee Kesler

Walking into the average church – most people are happy to greet a missionary. Some want to ask questions; others want to share where they went on a mission trip; on occasion, a missionary may be asked to come up front and give a testimony. Rarely a missionary will be called to preach.

That’s about where it stops.

If you asked most people what a missionary does, you would get a whole variety of responses. Some would say “preach the gospel to the lost”; some would say “plant churches”; others would say “organize mission trips for volunteers” – and that would be the extent of the knowledge of most members.

If they only knew.

If they only understood how much a missionary could help them!

  1. Missionaries do preach the gospel and help plant churches. But they also train and equip local pastors and missionaries to continue the work in an effective manner — which is vital to mission continuation and multiplication!
  2. Missionaries can teach how to effectively employ social work / compassionate ministry along with the Gospel message in order to multiply church planting efforts and not create dependency among the host people.
  3. Missionaries train, equip, and mentor future leaders – looking to empower the next generation of pastors, missionaries, and seminary professors. Some missionaries have helped start whole new conventions and mission agencies from scratch!
  4. Missionaries often interview, coach, encourage, teach, and prepare sports professionals, businessmen/women, educators, health care workers, and other technical /professional people to work overseas among unreached peoples – how to appropriately share their faith and plant simple churches among new disciples in countries where access is a challenge.
  5. Missionaries can help churches and church staff teams how to prepare their volunteers to go overseas and work in a responsible manner that leaves a lasting impact for the Kingdom; but all too often, what churches actually do is tantamount to “voluntourism”—an overseas experience that really doesn’t accomplish much, but uses an inordinate amount of time, resources, creates dependency, etc. — but the sending church feels good that they “did missions” and will probably do the same exact thing year after year, if not coached appropriately.
  6. Missionaries are connected to each other and know where the greatest needs are, for those serious about working overseas professionally in restricted areas (among Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Communists, etc).
  7. Missionaries know how to train people how to share their faith and make disciples among hard to reach peoples and to do so naturally in conversation. Ask them.
  8. Many missionaries can lead mission mobilization events, missionary training events, and pastor’s conferences – inspiring messages and dynamic teaching. They can teach potential mission candidates about basic anthropology, language classes, etc.
  9. Many missionaries can teach simple church planting strategies (i.e. cell groups) for expanding ministries into communities where most local churches have little or no influence – among Diaspora peoples (immigrants, refugees, etc).

So…..the next time a missionary enters your church…… what will you ask of them NOW?