Interdependence: A Necessity in Church Planting Movements
Interdependence is a value that is central to the vision of Living Bread Ministries. It is especially empowering when working among the global poor. To illustrate the concept of interdependence think of the human body. The individual parts of the body are neither independent of nor dependent upon one another. Each part is interdependent upon the other, they need each other in order for the body to function properly.
This is likewise true for the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:12-31). Whether the global church or the local church interdependence is necessary. The local body depends upon each member, empowered by the Holy Spirit, properly using their spiritual gifts in order for the church to function properly as the local manifestation of the body of Christ. Likewise, each local church functioning properly realizes that they are only a single member of a much larger body. The local church is not independent of nor dependent upon the global body of Christ, but rather each local church fulfilling its mission is an interdependent part of the work of the whole body.
This understanding has deeply impacted the way Living Bread approaches missional church planting among the global poor. It prevents us from ministering from a position of power. It is far too easy, and common, for Westerners to approach ministry among the global poor from positions of power. It is assumed by the Westerner and the needy community that he is the expert and knows what needs to be done. As a result, the local residents submit to the outsider and have no role in setting the agenda for ministry in their own community.
When the necessity of interdependence is realized both parties understand that for any transformative work to be done in the community all parties must be valued equally for their specific contributions. We bring our experience, training, and resources to join with the knowledge, experience, and resources of the local community. In addition, our approach has not only sought to join the local community but to work in partnership with other national believers across the socio-economic spectrum. The end result is an interdependent movement where Westerners, nationals, and the local community are all pooling their collective resources to plant missional churches among the poor and equip those churches to minister in comprehensive ways.
No one is considered more important than the other and no single contribution is esteemed greater than any other. This approach empowers the local community by communicating their worth as partners and values their contributions as equally important. It allows the local church to be the visionary in their community and take a lead role in implementing the ministries of the church. It encourages the national church in a given country to capture the vision for church planting among the poor and empowers them to join in leading a grassroots movement. Finally, it requires Westerners to serve with humility and use our vast knowledge and resources to equip and disciple the global poor.
About Patrick: I am a native of central Virginia where I met Bárbara; who had come to my high school from Brazil as an exchange student. We were married shortly after graduation and now have three children Patrick (11), Tabitha (8), and Olivia (5). In 2012 we celebrated 20 years of marriage.
Personal thought: Patrick and I met on Twitter. I started following Living Bread Ministries and continue to be blown away by all they are doing in Brazil for the poor in the slums. I’m always humbled by the stories he shares about the people in Brazil and now they’re reaching out to Thailand. I love the compassion he and Bárbara wear on their sleeve. Can’t wait to meet them at Verge 2013.
You can read more of Patrick’s heart on his blog: Blessed Are The Poor
Checkout the Living Bread Ministries website and support them in any way you can.
You can also follow him on Twitter.
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