Chad and Tia have spent 13 years serving among unreached people groups in Asia. What follows is an important perspective shift they’ve made on being the most useful servants for Jesus among the Unreached.
Chad shares: “As a couple who desires to serve in less developed, pioneering type places, there certainly was a time where I thought we were the “tip of the spear” … the ones who would break new ground into unreached areas. But as we’ve had the privilege to walk beside others who have seen great fruit in ministry, and as we’ve constantly been willing to reevaluate and assess what we are doing, we have seen that our most important position is one of support and partnership. It’s crazy to say, but I don’t believe WE should plant a church. Let me clarify.
“We’re Catalysts and Servants. There are almost 2,000 Church Planting Movements currently growing as I write this. Where traditional ministry and church-planting efforts continue, by and large, those areas are not seeing the rate of new believers even keep up with the pace of population growth. At the same time, in areas with a strong Church Planting Movement present, new believers are coming into the kingdom at a rate 25 times greater than population growth. In almost every case where an outsider (like us) is involved in one of these movements, it’s in a catalytic role — mentoring, coaching, resourcing, networking, training, handling media, and many other servant and behind-the-scenes type functions. We’ve had to come to grips with the fact that it’s better if we are not meeting in house fellowships with Muslim background believers, better if we are not baptizing new believers, and in most cases, even better if new believers forming new groups don’t even know that we are in the picture. When a local person, whose mother tongue is the local language, who is from the local culture, who doesn’t bring in the foreignness we bring in no matter how hard we try not to … when they are reaching their people, that’s where multiplication can occur. Not only this, but we’ve learned in the past year that 80-90% of all movements have been started by other movements — not by foreigners!
“Resources are in the Harvest. We’re learning that the greatest growth often happens where the least amount of outside influence is present in the focus location. So it looks like this: we partner with a handful of local like-minded believers with whom we share a common vision — to see their countrymen given the opportunity to know Jesus. We regularly meet with them to delve into the word, pray, plan, train, and strategize. We laugh and mourn with them. Through this ongoing partnership we get the privilege of engaging the lost.
“Pull vs Push Culture. We cannot create initiative, make someone become effective, or instill passion. We believe that’s the job of the Holy Spirit and the individual in whom He is working. Sure, God may use us as he sees fit in the processes mentioned above, but our desire is to see our partners know what they need to pull from us and others, rather than us pushing or pressuring them toward what we see as best. When we push, it’s easy to create our own thing, often bringing our foreignness along with it. Pushing creates an unseen resistance, so buy-in is harder to find. We need to be good question-askers, partners who will rely on our local brothers and sisters to show us how we can be of greatest help to them and the multiplication of disciples. An important question to ask is not, ‘What can I do?’ (based on our personal giftings, passions, or desires) but rather ‘What needs to be done to see God’s kingdom advanced?’”