A survey of near-culture church planters
It is a fundamental principle of church-planting movements that workers for the harvest are in the harvest (Garrison 2004, 172; Cole 2005, 149). We have the privilege of living in a time when more and more missionaries are emerging from the harvest itself.
That is, more than ever before, near-culture gospel workers are spreading the good news around the world. Given the importance of mobilizing local workers into the harvest, it is surprising how little is known and how little study has been done on how their experience is different than the traditional cross-cultural missionary from the West.
Yet, increasingly, the role of the near-culture worker will become more and more important. As a result, the Fruitful Practice Research team decided to conduct a specific analysis of an often neglected category of church planter: near-culture workers in the Muslim world.
Since 2007, the Fruitful Practices Research team has studied practices across many dimensions of ministry among Muslims. One major result of that research is a list of sixty-eight Fruitful Practices: “activities that promote the emergence, vitality, and multiplication of churches in a Muslim context” (Allan, Harrison, and Adams 2009).
In this article, we describe the results from a particular subset of our larger study—that is, the findings below are exclusively drawn from interviews with near-culture church planters. No interviews with Western or Majority World missionaries were included.
Each of these workers was on a team that had planted at least one church of Muslim Background Believers (MBB), and all in Muslim-majority contexts. The workers interviewed came from a wide variety of worldview backgrounds—Muslim, Hindu, and Christian—although ...