What do you consider to be the single most important factor in cross-cultural church planting?
I think I’d back that up and I’d say, “What’s the single biggest factor in ministry?” I would have to say overflow, in the sense that somebody’s relationship with god is such that he’s all sufficient to them and their relationship with him is such that there’s this automatic overflow in their life of his sufficiency and all of those things that he has, the fruit of the spirit, the grace, the love and the peace. That relationship that somebody has with him is actually overflowing, and that overflow is what’s reaching other people, but that overflow is coming from the relationship that, that person has with the lord. I think for us personally, and we’ve talked about this previously, we were here and it was almost like the lord was putting brakes on everything that we did. We were sure we were going to learn the language really fast, we didn’t learn the language really fast. We were sure of this, we were going to do that, we were coming into it with all of this, kind of like it’s going to be great, we’re so prepared and all this sort of stuff. What happened was, we got here and it was like everything was going wrong. It was almost like the lord saying, “You know what? I don’t have necessarily a problem with the content of what you’re going to share, but you as a person are not in the position to share that with people, and I’m not actually letting you stand up and share with these guys because you’re not the person yet that you need to be to even be able to share this.” I feel like what he was trying to teach us was, first and foremost you worry about me. You connect to the vine, you know, to the branch. You’re supposed to connect to me and look at me, don’t worry about what’s going on around you, or what the ministry is, or what’s happening. You connect to your relationship with me, and when you’re connected with me, then there’s gonna be this overflow, and that overflow is gonna spill into every part of your life. When we see, often times too many times, people leaving the field and you listen to one of the descriptions that they give, they’re saying, “Man, my spiritual life just hasn’t been where it aught to be.” It’s pretty consistent unfortunately, that missionaries as they’re leaving reflecting on their time saying, “My spiritual life wasn’t strong.” I’m thinking to myself, “That’s exactly it, right?” What makes it strong, what makes it work is actually that relationship, and the lord had to teach us that through some pretty painful lessons, but we’re thankful that he did and we’re thankful that he kind of put the brakes on things and he said, “I’m not interested in these people hearing, in and of itself. I’m interested in these people hearing, but I want them to hear me, and for them to hear me and fall in love with me, and for it to be about me than I need you to be connected with me.” Somebody said, reading a book and somebody quoting somebody else, I forget the guys name even, but it said something to the effect of, “No man can convey that he himself is clever and that Christ is mighty to save.” You can’t have both. You can’t be clever and smart and come away as a really smart missionary and at the same time have Christ as Mighty to Save for these people. If it’s about you, it’s about you. If it’s about Christ, it’s about Christ. He wants it to be about him, and he’s like, “If it’s gonna be about you, I’m not interested in blessing it, so have it be about me.” That was the lesson that I needed to learn, and that’s where I would say the single most important factor is such a connection with him, and such a relationship with him that everything else is flowing out of that. That would be what I would consider the single most important factor for ministry.