In the final pages of David Garrison’s book, A Wind in the House of Islam, I came across a very helpful definition of “indigenous”. We often use this term in speaking of our mission through this ministry: “To glorify God by partnering with indigenous key leaders to establish biblical churches that are self-sustaining and reproducing among all people groups.”
In the words of David Garrison, “Indigenization literally means “generated from within.” Movements to Christ may begin with outside stimulation, but they become movements only when the new believers own and advance the lordship of Christ themselves. Indigenization takes over where contextualization leaves off: when those we seek to reach are obeying Christ on their own accord. When this occurs, these new believers take discipleship to deeper levels than outsiders can ever anticipate.”
After one of the personal examples of how this worked in the Western South Asia Room of Islam, he noted that “when the missionary modeled submission to God’s word rather than offering her own advice, the new believers found a path forward. This requires us to believe Christ’s promise that the power of the Holy Spirit will “lead them into all truth” (John 16:13) and the word of God will render them “fully equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).” (Pages 244-245).
This is a huge step of faith for most western Christians. The old traditions of colonial evangelism do not have a biblical basis and need to be left behind. It is time for us to be obedience ourselves to the Word and trust the power of God in the Holy Spirit to generate within movements to Christ through their own obedience.
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