The Church, Missions & Technology

How Returning Missionaries Can Help With Church Revitalization: Understanding A New Culture

As communities change and demographics of cities change over time the communities surrounding churches have changed. I would go as far as to say the church members also change over the years. Even though they might have the same name and the family unit has been attending the same church for years, they have still changed.


When we look at re-planting churches we have to take a look at the culture of the church inside and out. Former missionaries can help replanting churches in two major ways. First, they are a new set of eyes trained in observing cultures in order to share the gospel with them. They see communities in ways different than a local pastor. This is a solid win win for a dying church. In the mission community we call this mapping a city or mapping a community. Churches need to know about the people and places around the church building that need assistance. They need to be able to invest back into the community, especially if the community is dying too.

The second way they can assist is inside the church. Like I was saying church culture changes. Missionaries just returning from the field are aware of the clear differences in church members now and the time that moved away from America. Trust me on this one, they are studying this group closely because they are trying to fit in with it. Missionaries are well aware of changes made in the attitude of members of local churches experiencing decline. As missionaries assess the followers in the pews they can quickly survey which ones are making disciples and which members just fill their pew every week. The way we communicate the gospel today is very different because of the culture in the community. Missionaries can help train church members to share the gospel in a new way. Most people don’t think they can share the gospel at their place of employment, but they can share stories of life that can assist people who struggle with life and their current situation. Most church members just need a little coaching on the best way to form Jesus centered stories to communicate the gospel. Missionaries who have done this before in another language can quickly find creative ways to share the gospel in any context.
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