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The Future of Church Planting in North America

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Damian Emetuche

The Future of Church Planting in North America looks to Jesus as the model for life and ministry as he said, «As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you». In exploring this passage, the author asks, what does this passage mean in church-planting terms? How do we apply the concept of being «sent» within contemporary North America? This region of the world, much like the Middle East in the early first century, is populated by a mosaic of people from all nations, tribes, and language groups. Dr. Emetuche argues that church planting by the majority of the North American churches has been unduly influenced by cultures and traditions rather than by a well-thought-out missiological application of theological convictions. Examining the life and ministry of Jesus as found in the Gospel of John as well as the New Testament church plants, the author makes a strong case for a multicultural church planting as a model for the future. Dr. Emetuche maintains that church planting is about the transformation of lives and cultures through relationship with Christ and, therefore, involves spiritual warfare. Consequently, communities formed through this union in Christ transcend culture, tradition, and national allegiances and become multicultural.
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Chapter 2. Church Planting: Past and Present in America

Extract

·  2  · CHURCH PLANTING: PAST AND PRESENT IN AMERICA

Genesis of the American Church Culture

The thesis of this chapter is that many of the church planting models currently practiced in North America are deeply rooted in the ecclesiological practices of the Euro-American immigrants’ traditions rather than a careful biblical reflection on how to reach lost people through church planting.

In Pilgrims in Their Own Land: 500 Years of Religion in America, Martin E. Marty stated, “While the story of native American religion began thousands of years before Europeans ‘discovered’ the New World, American religion as we know it was imported by European discoverers.”1 In other words, it was the European immigrants’ faith that shaped the religious beliefs of North America in its modern form. As many of the early settlers left Europe, “for some, the dream meant escape from imprisonment, slavery, indebtedness, low status, or poverty. For others, it drew upon the lure of freedom from harassment and persecution, often of a religious character. Still others, tragically, were forced into slavery by their move to the New World. In almost every case, the people made sense of their movements by reference to religious stories and symbols.”2

Generally, many of the immigrants were Christians and brought their faith with them. The other two groups within the American migration story were Native Americans who worshipped God through nature and were regarded as savages who needed to be civilized and converted by the...

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