"Cross-Cultural Church Planting"

INTRODUCTION: Planting the Church of Jesus Christ
Jesus said in Matthew 16:18, “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail.” The word church in the Greek, “ekklesia,” means “all who are called by and to Christ in the fellowship of His salvation.”[1] Thus, Jesus was declaring upon Peter and his confession that He was going to build and develop a group of people that would literally assault the devil’s kingdom and break down his gates.
Church planting simply refers to the process of starting new local churches. The need to plant new local churches throughout the world in every age is based on the call to build the universal Church of Jesus Christ. David Hesselgrave in his book, “Planting Churches Cross-Culturally,” states this powerful quote regarding the power of church planting, “If you want to grow something to last a season- plant flowers. If you want to grow something to last a lifetime- plant trees. If you want to grow something to last through eternity- plant churches.”[2]
The “gates of hell” most likely refer to “the strength of Satan and his cohorts… the hosts of darkness.”[3] Therefore, Jesus was proclaiming to His disciples that the called out believers, i.e. “the church” was going to be a militant force with a purpose to conquer the devil’s work upon the earth. Then in Mathew 16:19 Peter is told that Jesus will give him the keys of the kingdom for binding and loosing. This binding and loosing best refers to the ability of the church to affirm on earth with authority what heaven affirms and to rebuke on earth what heaven rebukes.[4]
Lastly, in Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus gives His last charge in what is now known as “The Great Commission.” This great commission is to use the authority of Jesus to make disciples of all the nations, teaching all people to obey everything Jesus commanded and to be confident in the ever-present Jesus Christ that He will be with all those engaged in this work, even until the end of the world.
Thus, the church of Jesus Christ was founded upon the following, (1) The people who confess Jesus as Christ and Lord- Matthew 16:16-18, (2) A militant charge against Satan’s kingdom- Matthew 16:18-19, (3) All authority given by Jesus to His Church- Matthew 16:19, 28:18, (4) Discipleship based on all Jesus commanded- Matthew 38:19, and (5) The omnipresence of Jesus Christ with His Church.[5]

SUMMARY: Five Foundations for Church Planting
The main purpose of this paper is to give five foundations that are needed to fulfill The Great Commission given to the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ to successfully plant churches cross-culturally.
The five foundations presented in this paper are:
(1)Foundation One: Building the Church on Sound Doctrine
(2)Foundation Two: Building the Church on Discipleship
(3)Foundation Three: Building the Church with Effective Leadership
(4)Foundation Four: Building the Church on a Replicating Strategy
(5)Foundation Five: Building the Church with Cross-Cultural Communication
FOUNDATION ONE: Building the Church on Sound Doctrine
Jesus stated in Matthew 28:20 that disciples were to make new disciples by teaching them all that He had commanded. The teaching of sound Christian doctrine is known as, “orthodoxy.” Orthodoxy means in the Greek (“orthos”) right and (“doxa”) opinion, thus it refers to the “right opinion or doctrine” regarding the Bible’s teachings. It is opposite of false beliefs and teachings known as “heresy.”[6]
The orthodox teachings of the Church come from the Bible and are confirmed by the various councils in the Church’s early history. The main councils that helped discover and solidify the Bible’s main doctrines were the following, (1) Council of Nicaea 1 in 325 AD, (2) Council of Constantinople 1 in 381, (3) Council of Chalcedon in 451, (4) Council of Constantinople 2 in 553, (5) Council of Constantinople 3 in 680, and (6) Council of Nicaea 2 in 787.[7]
The main doctrines discovered in these historical councils that ground the Church are the following truths, (1) The Bible: Genesis to Revelation is the Word of God, (2) Trinity: There is one God revealed in three divine persons, (3) Jesus: Jesus is both full God and Man, (4) Man: Man is sinful and is in need of salvation from God, (5) Salvation: Only through Jesus’ saving work on the cross and is received by faith, (6) Jesus’ Second Coming: Jesus is coming back to judge the world one day, and (7) Heaven & Hell: There is an eternal conscious punishment for non-believers and a conscious eternal bliss for the believers.”[8]
Therefore, the disciples must build the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ on the sound doctrines of the church. The history of the Church serves as an example of how these simple, yet profound doctrines have been preserved throughout the ages. Thus, one is only a true disciple when instructed in the teachings of Jesus.[9]
FOUNDATION TWO: Building the Church on Discipleship
When Jesus used a term to describe the members of His Church He called them, “disciples.”[10] Disciple comes from the Greek word, “mathetes,” which means, “a student committed to the study and following of Jesus’ teachings.”[11] Therefore, the Church is built not just open those who have a head knowledge of the teachings of Jesus, but rather those who live by them.
George Barna in his powerful book, “Growing True Disciples,” notes the following facts about disciples, (1) Disciples are assured of their salvation by grace alone, (2) Disciples learn and understand the principles of the Christian life, (3) Disciples obey God’s laws and commands, (4) Disciples represent God in the world, (5) Disciples serve other people, and (6) Disciples reproduce themselves in Christ.[12]
Therefore, for the Church to be built true disciples must make true disciples. The process of discipleship may be different in each generation, but the end result is the same; to reproduce Christ followers to every generation. Some of the materials and techniques used along side of the Bible to make disciples in church history are the following, (1) Didache: a book containing the traditions of the apostles- 100AD,[13] (2) The Monastic Movement: founded around 330 AD by Basil the Great, monasteries were established to help make disciples and committed followers of Jesus,[14] and (3) Methodist “Rules of Bands”: Founded by John and Charles Wesley in mid 1700’s, these “rules” guided the disciples into many disciplines and a daily life of holiness and public witness.[15]
FOUNDATION THREE: Building the Church with Effective Leadership
Jesus knew that His Church could not be more effective than the effectiveness of the leaders themselves. Therefore, Jesus was a Master Builder of leadership. From the very beginning Jesus knew that simply teaching crowds was not the most effective way to reach the world. He needed to find reliable men with whom He could entrust the Gospel message to whom would be able to teach and entrust to others, until the whole world heard His message.
Jesus’ leadership method was to (1) Call those whom He wanted to be with Him in a close mentor/student relationship- Mark 3:13, (2) These disciples were to learn from Him and become His leaders- Mark 13:14-18, (3) These new leaders were to go out and find new faithful disciples to raise up new leaders- Matthew 28:18-20, and (4) To continue this process until He returns- Acts 1:8, 3:19-20.[16]
Kenneth Gangel in his book, “Team Leadership in Christian Ministry,” gives the following principles in making effective “Biblical leaders,” (1) Leaders are gifted by God, (2) Leaders need to be able to learn and work with one another, (3) Leaders must be accountable to God, the Bible, and to other leaders, (4) Leaders need time in preparation, (5) Leaders must be spiritual and sensitive to the moving of God’s Spirit,
(6) Leaders should have organizational skills, (7) Leaders are to always be followers, (8) Leaders need theological training and soundness in teaching, (9) Leaders should be responsible to preach and teach to their generation, (10) Leaders are servants, (11) Leaders are good stewards of what God has given them, (12) Leaders share their authority with other leaders, (13) Leaders love to do ministry, (14) Leaders model the vision of the local church and Christ-like behavior, (15) Leaders are always grounded in the local church.[17]
Therefore, leadership is very vital to building the Church and planting new churches that grow and reach their world. Paul demonstrates powerful principles for Christ-centered leadership in his pastoral epistles to Timothy and Titus, especially in 1 Timothy 3 & Titus 1. Paul stated the Church’s leadership motto best in 2 Timothy 2:2, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”
FOUNDATION FOUR: Building the Church on a Replicating Strategy
Jesus was and is a simple replicating strategist revolutionary![18] Jesus not only gave sound doctrines, discipleship structures, and tools for effective leadership but He also had very powerful strategy for replicating His church in every generation. Jesus’ strategy can be seen in the following organizational structures:[19]
1.Vision or Mission Statement: Jesus declared His mission was to fulfill the law of God (Matthew 5:17) and thus He taught, “Love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. And to love their neighbor as themselves” (Matthew 22:36-38).
2.Mission Strategy: Jesus demonstrated in His ministry that He followed a three-step process to fulfilling His mission to teach people how to love God and people. The three-steps were, (1) Connect: Connecting people to the Father through a born again relationship- John 3:3, (2) Mentor: Mentoring believers to be leading disciples- Mark 3:13-14, and (3) Sending trained disciples to duplicate the process of connecting and disciplining- Matthew 28:18-20.
3.Goal: Jesus had a goal or basic target in doing His mission and strategy, mainly to preach the Gospel to the whole world and win the lost- Matthew 24:14 & Luke 19:10.
Therefore, Jesus had a very sound and reproducing strategy to fulfill His vision and accomplish His Father’s goals. Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger do a great job of helping the modern day church planter in developing a “simple” strategy to reproduce disciples and healthy churches.
They give four basic steps to follow in making complex structure simple, they are, (1) Clarity: Clearly define the church’s vision and mission statement, (2) Movement: Develop an effective and easy follow process of moving people through the vision of the church, (3) Alignment: Align everything in the church to the simple vision and movement structure, and lastly (4) Focus: Say to no to everything that does not fit into the clear vision.[20]
FOUNDATION FIVE: Building the Church with Cross-Cultural Communication
When Jesus came to earth He was not “born” in the sense of “created,” but rather He was born in the sense of “manifesting in the flesh” (John 1:18). For Jesus has always been God and in a relationship with the Father and was the prime mover in all creation (John 1:1-2). Paul states in Philippians 2:1-11 that Jesus did not fight to keep hold of His glory and divine rights, but rather temporarily emptied Himself of these privileges, became flesh and was on the earth as a servant. He was even obedient unto death; therefore, Jesus is the best example of “cross-cultural” communications.
Therefore, Paul states in Philippians 2:3-5, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” Jesus was the best example of being a servant and communicating with people “cross-culturally.”
Hasselgrave sites Ralph Winter in his book concerning the different types of ways Gospel preachers communicate with other cultures. (1) M-1: Example, a Anglo-American preaching to another Anglo-American in English, (2) M-2: a Anglo-American preaching to a Latino-American in English, and (3) M-3: a Anglo-American preaching to a Spaniard in Spanish in Spain.[21]
Duane Elmer in his book, “Cross-Cultural Servanthood,” gives six powerful truths to help make the Gospel communicator be effective in reaching different cultures. They are as follows, (1) Openness: Welcoming others into your presence, (2) Acceptance: Communicating respect for others, (3) Trust: Building confidence in relationships, (4) Learning: Seeking information that changes you, (5) Understanding: Seeing through the other’s eyes, and (6) Serving: Becoming Like Christ to others.[22]
Thus, today’s Church should use the same humility in serving and communicating the Gospel to other’s cultures in church planting as Jesus did in planting His Church to the world.
CONCLUSION: Metro Praise Church Planting Revolution
Metro Praise is a church planting revolution that started six years ago in the home of Joe and Nancy Wyrostek on Chicago’s Northside. As of Easter 2011 Metro Praise has over 500 people consider it their church. The church does a form of discipleship for membership, plus it is a Presbytery ran church and operates as a Non-denominational Spirit-filled church.[23]
Metro Praise Chicago is a diverse congregation from over 20 different national backgrounds. From such places as Poland, Philippines, Germany, South Korea, Greece, Latin America, Brazil, African American, Italy, and many more. The main culture is from Latin America- over 40%, the next group is Anglo- around 25%, and the rest is a mix of the other cultures with Pilipino, European, and African American being the strongest percentage.[24]
Pastor Joe has self-published his own materials for church. These books include the following discipleship books- “Welcome to Your New Life: Seven Steps to Spiritual Growth” & “Disciples That Make Disciples: 12 Lessons in Christian Leadership,” a booklet on church history- “Disciples of the First Disciples,” a response to Islam- “Helping Muslims See Christ in Christianity,” and a book for young people to date like a Christian-, “Date Like a Christian: Seven Steps to a Godly Marriage.”[25]
As a result of these books, four different nations with five locations have joined the Metro Praise revolution (New Dehli, India; Vijayawada, India; Lahore, Pakistan; Katmandu, Nepal; & Owerri, Nigeria). Currently, there are over 120 churches in these nations led with the same vision, strategy, and leadership structures. From the existing 120 plus churches, almost half have been planted as a result of the oversea Apostles working with the Metro Praise revolution. Thus, Metro Praise has planted churches with a “cross-cultural” sensitivity.
Dr. K.P. Yohannan states the heart of the Metro Praise revolution very well in his book, “Revolution in World Missions.” He shares in his book that the 3rd wave of missions in India is from the local pastors and missionaries doing the work of the ministry.[26] Therefore, it is the job of Metro Praise all Western churches to empower the local people and allow them to pastor and lead their own churches and movements.
Here is Metro Praise’s five perspectives on church planting to different cultures both in America and around the world.
1.Every Church needs to be indigenous: Self support, self-governing, and self-propagating.
2.The Church is Built Upon Discipleship: Every church should have a minimum of 50% of the church in active discipleship.
3.Change Everything That Is Sin, Leave Everything Else: Metro Praise does not desire to change anyone’s culture, however, what is of sin should be avoided.
4.The Baptism of the Holy Spirit, Evidenced with Speaking In Other Tongues is a Must: Metro Praise believes that the number one way to convert the lost is through the “power and demonstration” of the Holy Spirit.[27]
5.Love Everyone and Help All You Can: As the Good Samaritan helped the hurting man Metro Praise believes like John Wesley, one should do all the good they can do for as long as they can.
Let the revolution continue to all the nations! May Jesus’ Church be established in every nation for every tribe and people!
Barna, George. Growing True Disciples: New Strategies for Producing Genuine Followers of Christ. Colorado Springs, CO.: WaterBrook Press, 2001.
Bercot, David, ed. A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs. Edited by David W. Bercot. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 1998.
Elmer, Duane. Cross-Cultural Servanthood: Serving the World in Christlike Humility. Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Books, 2006.
Elwell, Walter, ed. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. Edited by Walter A. Elwell. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1990.
Gangel, Kenneth. Team Leadership In Christian Ministry: Using Multiple Gifts to Build a Unified Vision. Revised ed. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1997.
Hesselgrave, David F. Planting Churches Cross-Culturally: North America and Beyond. 2 ed. Grand Rapids, MI.: Baker Academic, 2000.
Hawthorne, Steven C & Ralph D. Winter. Perspectives on the World Christian Movement: A Reader. Pasadena, Calif.: William Carey Library Publishers, 2009.
Kittel, Gerhard, and Gerhard Friedrich, eds. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Abridged ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1985.
Latourette, Kenneth Scott. A History of Christianity: Beginnings to 1500. New York: Prince Press, 1997.
Lingenfelter, Sherwood G., and Marvin K. Mayers. Ministering Cross-Culturally: An Incarnational Model for Personal Relationships. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 1986.
Richardson, Don. Eternity in Their Hearts: Startling Evidence of Belief in the One True God in Hundreds of Cultures Throughout the World. Revised ed. Ventura, CA.: Regal Books, 1984.
Searcy, Nelson, and Kerrick Thomas. Launch: Starting a New Church from Scratch. Ventura, CA.: Regal, 2007.
Yohannan, K.p. Revolution In World Missions. Carrollton, TX 75010.: GFA Books, 2004.

[1] Bromiley Geoffrey. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Abridged Edition. (Grand Rapids, MI.: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1985), electronic entry found in “ekklesia.”
[2] David F. Hesselgrave, Planting Churches Cross-Culturally: North America and Beyond, 2 ed. (Grand Rapids, MI.: Baker Academic, 2000), 31.
[3] Frank E Gaabelein. Expositor’s Bible Commentary. (Grand Rapids, MI.: Zondervan, 1990), electronic entry found in “Matthew 16:18.”
[4] Ibid, electronic entry found in “Matthew 16:19.”
[5] The nature of this authority given to Peter or the argument for apostolic succession based on the supremacy of Peter’s office known as the modern day “pope” taught by Roman Catholics is false for many reasons. However, this paper cannot address these issues, thus, the work by Dr. James White, “The Roman Catholic Controversy” will suffice to answer many of the readers questions involving the claims of the Roman Church from these passages.
[6] Walter A Elwell. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. (Grand Rapids, MI.: Baker Books, 1984), 808.
[7] Ibid, 805.
[8] Ibid, 436. “The Fundamentals.”
[9] For more detailed information on the beliefs and practices (orthopraxy) of the early church (approx. first three hundred years) see David W. Bercot’s, “A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs.”
[10] Disciple is the most prominent word used in the NT to describe the followers of Jesus with over 250 references.
[11]Bromiley, electronic entry found in “mathetes.”
[12] George Barna, Growing True Disciples: New Strategies for Producing Genuine Followers of Christ (Colorado Springs, CO.: WaterBrook Press, 2001), 20-23.
[13] Kenneth Scott Latourette. A History of Christianity: Vol. 1. (New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1975), 117.
[14] Elwell, 728.
[15] Elwell, 712.
[16] These points come from a survey of Jesus’ mission
[17] Kenneth O. Gangel. Team Leadership in Christian Ministry. (Chicago, Moody Press, 1997,) 43-64.
[18] Thom S. Rainer and Eric Geiger, Simple Church: Returning to God’s Process for Making Disciples (Nashville, TN.: B&H Books, 2006), 16.
[19] These are summaries that the author sees in Jesus’ life, these are not “black and white” truths, but rather opinionated insight to how Jesus’ strategy was organized.
[20]Ibid, 3.
[21]Hesselgrave, 28.
[22] Duane Elmer, Cross-Cultural Servanthood: Serving the World in Christlike Humility (Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Books, 2006), 38.
[23] To preserve the sense of a academic paper the author will write in the 3rd person concerning his church.
[24] Survey from the pastor as of May 2011.
[25] See the books at Metro Praise’s website here, https://mpichurch.net/
[26] K.p. Yohannan, Revolution In World Missions. (Carrollton, TX 75010.: GFA Books 2004), 18.
[27] See Stuart Robinson’s book on “Mosques & Miracles.” He states that “super natural encounters- healings, miracles, and deliverances” are the number one cause for Muslims converting to Christianity (p. 263).


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