Right now there is great energy toward forming networks for stateside church planting and I applaud those efforts. Denominations have been cooperating like this for a long time. However, now we have church planting networks forming. You would know the names: ARC, Vision 360, The Infinity Alliance, Plntd, etc. When churches cooperate together in missional endeavors, I am encouraged. Yet, I am also a little concerned about a missing part of that missional focus.
Since some of those networks that are non-denominational, they often do not have a global “arm” with which to cooperate for international missions. So, it is often easier to just say, “well, we are just planting here.” But, I say you are missing out on God’s global mission.
So, I am encouraged when I see some groups take initial steps toward global mission engagement. For example, Acts 29 (or Atos 29 in Brazil) has an international focus where they seek to partner and plant churches globally.
In a document used by Acts 29 for international church planting, they explain:
Acts 29 International plants missional, gospel-centered churches that continue to plant more churches and produces disciples for the mission of God in the world. There are no specific methods that Acts 29 endorses, but we are based on clear pastoral/elder qualifications and theological foundations (See Non-Negotiables). Subsequently, we believe that every cultural context determines the proper missional methodology to preach the gospel in their context. So we commit to one another doctrinally, but not methodologically. A29i works with many different denominations and non-denominations.
If you are forming a network, and do not have a denominational international agency with which to connect, don’t forget about the nations. Your only engaging in part of the mission of God– he’s on the move through the whole world. God has sent us to the nations, not just our nation.
Here is a photo (for more visit Jay’s blog) from our day in Rio with pastors connected to Acts 29 there. Jay Baumann, who cofounded (with Chan Kilgore) an Acts 29 church in Orlando (CrossPointe), moved to Brazil and founded Restore Brazil and is the Acts 29 country leader there. We spent a few days together and I was deeply impressed with his passion and love for Brazil. I am glad that he (and Acts 29) are there.