Ten Reasons to Appreciate the “Two Structures of God’s Redemptive Mission” Theory (8th of 10)

“Most of the people who are yet to come to faith will not fit readily into the churches we now have.”

In America we have 23 churches for every McDonalds (Here’s the math: 300,000 churches divided by 13,000 McDonalds = 23 churches for every McDonalds). Would it be better if we had more churches? Yes, I think so, but not more churches like we have now. Dr. Ralph D. Winter said, “Most of the people who are yet to come to faith will not fit readily into the churches we now have.” The next thousand churches should be households of Muslims who have become Christians, and households of Hindu Background believers, and Buddhists who have become Christians, and so on. There are no Hopi Indian churches; God, we pray for dozens of Hopi household churches.

If a thousand Hopi Indians come to faith tomorrow, as I hope they will, we should not try to add them to existing churches. They will not readily fit in. But with the Bible, and with solid teaching, and with the Holy Spirit, they will establish Hopi household churches.

Occasionally I worship with Arabic speaking Christians. But if a thousand Arab Muslims were to come to faith tomorrow, they would not readily fit into today’s Arabic speaking churches. This is because Arab Christians in America have built their own culture, a culture different from the majority Muslim culture. I have seen the attempts to add Muslims to existing Arab Christian churches; for reasons that are deeply held, most Arab Christians do not want Muslim background Christians to come to their churches.

So it is a great truth that should be widely accepted: Most of the people who are yet to come to faith will not fit readily into the churches we now have. This was a great truth in the New Testament: Most of the Gentiles did not fit into the existing Jewish churches. A special mission effort was needed, and special missionaries like Prisca and Aquila established “churches of the Gentiles” (Romans 16:3-4). Paul and Barnabas were “apostles to the Gentiles” (Galatians 2:7-9, Romans 11:13), but Peter was an apostle to his own people, the Jews (Galatians 2:7-9). God is sending special missionaries to the Gentiles, to establish what the Bible calls “churches of the Gentiles.” and this will continue till the work of the Great Commission is finished.