Warp and Woof (2nd of 8 Illustrations)
Understanding the Two Structures of God’s Redemptive Mission
In the New Testament and throughout history Christians have organized two kinds of structures: Churches where Christians assemble; and Missionary Bands that go to “the regions beyond.” Dr. Ralph Winter proposed “the warp and the woof” analogy to help readers picture the relationship between the churches and the missionary bands. You already know that “warp and woof” refers to the criss-cross fabric that a weaver creates on a loom.
The “warp and woof” analogy helps us to see the two structures of God’s redemptive mission, churches and missionary bands. They are different in administration, or governance. The Holy Spirit sent Paul and Barnabas; they added Timothy and Titus to their missionary band. Priscilla and Aquila led a separate band of church-planting missionaries. Some have expressed their opinion that New Testament missionary bands were sent by churches, and this had led to the dubious notion that churches in the Bible administrated, or governed, these missionary teams. We will look carefully at this idea at a later time. It will be important to know “what is really there” in the New Testament. I believe that two different administrations are “really there,” one for the churches and another for the missionary bands.
I am grateful to Dr. Ralph D. Winter for writing his superb article, “The Two Structures of God’s Redemptive Mission” and for letting me study with him. You can read my article, “Desired Symbiosis: Church and Mission Structures” here.
Here are links to all eight illustrations in this series: