Toward a Theology of Movement:


Gary T. Waldecker

1.1 Introduction

Mission to the World has made "church planting movements" the central motif of its new philosophy of ministry called New Horizons. The phrase "church planting movements" has often been used in reference to sociological phenomena involved in the rapid development of churches. My purpose in writing "Toward a Theology of Movement" 1 is to see what the Bible says theologically about movements—with application to the South American context. The intent is to provide a biblical framework 2 within which to work as we make and implement our plans for church planting movements in our various contexts. 3

It's not that before New Horizons no one ever thought of movements. This was probably always everyone's hope. The previous focus, however, was more on forming a presbytery and getting out. The movement would occur once it was handed over to nationals. Now the focus is: what should we be doing from the very beginning if we would like to see a movement happen in the future? To what extent and in what ways may our previous paradigm have actually prevented movements from occurring? What are the biblical parameters within which we should develop our plans for movement?

1.2 God's Plan for a Movement

The story of Scripture, from beginning to end, can legitimately be viewed in terms of God's great plan for a movement in human history. It is a movement from the glory of creation to the greater glory of the new heavens and earth. 4

Since the church is a central part of God's kingdom movement, church planting movements must be understood in terms of God's plan for the coming of the kingdom. Many of the keys to understanding this movement are found in the creation account. We miss this important focus of Scripture by not sufficiently taking into account creation and its implications as the backdrop against which the fall and redemption occur. While we want to avoid speculation about what would have happened if Adam had not sinned, we also want to take into account the revelation surrounding creation, the creation ordinances, and their implications for what God had (and has) in mind for the human race. 5

A tentative definition of a church planting movement: The supernatural and often rapid growth, reproduction and expansion of the church among a people group that has a transforming effect on its culture, produced by the unleashing of Christ's power among God's people as a whole, freeing them from the power of idols and enabling them in the midst of weakness and apparent failures to use their gifts to empower one another and so produce synergy for the work of the kingdom.

1.3 Seven Aspects of God's Movement

In my book I identify what I consider to be seven aspects of God's great movement from glory to greater glory. After writing the book, I noticed that each of these corresponds more or less with a traditional division of systematic theology, as shown in the following table:

All of these except the seventh are implied in God's revelation of himself in creation. 6 We will now look at the basic idea of each of these seven aspects of God's kingdom movement and the primary implications of each for our task in South America. Please note that the specific implications for different contexts may vary. It is the task of each church planting team to work out the implications within its particular setting.

1.3.1 The Upward Movement

a. The Basic Idea

Implied in creation is a movement from glory to greater glory. Mankind and creation were to become increasingly reflective of God's glory, culminating in the glorification of God's people and the new heavens and earth. It is because God set things up this way that everyone has what we might call "longings for glory".

This "upward movement" from glory to greater glory includes three main aspects.

  • Who we are and what we are to become 7 (Being)
  • What we do to get from the Garden to the goal for history 8 (Doing)
  • What we learn (know) in order to have an increasingly authoritative interpretation of what is happening. 9 (Knowing)

These three aspects of the upward movement, then, have to do with our "knowing," "doing," and "being." They correspond to the three main ways God has revealed himself to us: through his name (who he is), through his works (what he does) and through his authoritative word (what he says).

b. Longings for Glory

Because God made us for greater glory, we all have deep-seated longings for glory. These longings tend to cluster around the three aspects of the upward movement as follows:

c. Priority Systems

No one can escape these longings, because they are part of what it means to be the image of God. However, different personalities, corporate cultures and national cultures tend to lead out with (or give priority to) certain aspects of these longings. These basic "priority systems" are the basis for the primary differences in personality and culture. They constitute fundamental paradigms through which we interpret everything. 10 In this way we all reflect God's glory in different ways and it's only in relationship with each other that we can get a clearer picture of who God is.

We might also call these priority systems "core values," a phrase used much today in the business world. I prefer the phrase "priority systems." There are many good and legitimate ways of going about accomplishing the many good options before us. It is necessary and good that we give priority to certain things or ways of doing things, because no one can do everything at once. Furthermore, everyone is better at doing certain things in certain ways.

The fact that we have different legitimate priority systems is complicated by the fact that we all tend to make an idol out of our priority system—that is, we depend on the strengths inherent in it rather than on Christ to find meaning, security, love and fulfillment.

d. Primary Implications

We will not see a church planting movement occur if we do not understand our own personal and national priority systems, (along with their particular configuration of longings) as well as the priority system of the people we are trying to reach. What are the particular longings for glory these people give priority to? How has this been affected by sin?

Too often we have used a "flat" eschatology—a return to Eden instead of a journey to something better—which tends to condemn longings for glory as sinful (but see below where I talk about how sin affects these longings.) Because we see all too clearly the ways sin affects these longings, we have "thrown the baby out with the bath water." Of course, there is always the danger of people seeing Christ as the fulfiller of selfish desires and the supporter of fragile egos. But it is an equally great danger to separate legitimate longings rooted in creation from Christ. Evangelicals in South America, for example, are known as people whose "religion" consists in a long list of prohibitions. Or the longings for glory are separated into a different "compartment" of life. They have nothing to do with God. As a result, "religion" is seen as not relating to the deep longings that move people.

For example, the US culture has traditionally given priority to the aspects of longing related to doing: achievement, power, control, domination, making and reaching goals. Also, Plato's emphasis on knowing has influenced our culture deeply. Furthermore, the Presbyterian corporate culture has often given priority to longings related to knowledge. Most Latin cultures, on the other hand, tend to lead out with enjoyment and relationships.

To the extent that we don't understand these differences, it is easy for miscommunication of the gospel to occur. We tend to design our ministry systems around our own priorities of "knowing" and "doing" in ways that only come to light as we deal with a culture that leads out with "being". And even then sometimes we don't see it. To the extent that we design our ministry systems around knowing and doing, we can unwittingly criticize and condemn as wrong or inferior the Latin American priority system.

For example, if our training ministry structures 11 are designed in such a way that they lead out with "knowing," we might inadvertently be communicating that the emphasis they give to relationships is unimportant. In fact, they might become increasingly aware of the ways sin has affected their priority system and find the solution in switching to an emphasis on "knowing" instead of seeing how Christ can transform their relationships. They would see us as saying: "The way to have good relationships is to understand Scripture and the world." Unless we are careful, they could easily see us as attacking the postulate they grew up with: "The way to attain true understanding is to have and develop good relationships." These are two priority systems that both reflect God's glory. But unless we are careful, they might end up interpreting everything we say and do through this filter: "Following Christ means changing our priority system for theirs."

I've seen one of two reactions when two priority systems that are both legitimate are (usually unwittingly) set in opposition to each other: some people think our message sounds foreign and go to the Pentecostal church, which does lead out with relationships. Others "convert" to our priority system and a church or denomination is planted which does not resonate with the mainstream culture because it has become a subculture. In either case, we will not see a church planting movement occur. Even elements of the target group which (because of business connections or whatever) have come to appreciate our priority system, still have deep-seated Latin tendencies that must be taken into account. In most Latin American cultures, we probably need to think in terms of leading out with relationships, and designing our ministry structures accordingly. Then we need to bring in our good doctrine, planning and organization. That is, let learning and ministry flow out of a Christ-centered focus on relationships.

Another concern relating to priority systems has to do with the organizational priorities that have become a part of Mission to the World because it is embedded in the culture of the United States and because of the business model that (in my opinion) has been a part of it for so long. Because priority systems are often somewhat unconscious—involving relatively unexamined assumptions inherited from the culture at large—there will be a temptation for Mission to the Word to apply its stated core values (God's glory, God's grace, God's church and God's family) in a restrictive way. In other words, these core values might be applied within the context of those cultural assumptions, in a way that fails to challenge them. The result would be that these hidden assumptions turn out to be the real core values of the organization. The stated core values, for example, might be applied to the growth and development of individuals within the organization, while the organizational policies, structures and decision-making might continue to be controlled by cultural assumptions that overvalue efficiency, control and measurable results. In what follows I will give some examples.

1.3.2 The Inward Movement

a. The Basic Idea

The Inward Movement has to do with how the Upward Movement occurs. Creation does not contain within itself the power to achieve the upward movement. In fact, without God's supernatural intervention everything tends toward disorder. 12 It's as if God planted the seeds of the kingdom in creation, but without his watering they will never grow or produce fruit. God "waters" by revealing himself, until he fully reveals himself in Christ. The Inward Movement is God moving closer and closer to his people—revealing himself—until he finally moves inside. It is "Christ in you" that is the only "hope of glory." 13 Christ is God's power source for effecting the upward movement: from image to glorified image, from garden to city, and from implicit authority and knowledge to all authority and knowledge. 14

Because of the fall, our longings for glory become self-centered. Instead of being thrilled at reflecting God's glory in a greater way, as the moon reflects the light of the sun, we want to be the sun. Furthermore, we look for means of fulfillment that are self-centered. Scripture contrasts Christ with idols. Idols are pseudo power sources to find the fulfillment of our longings for glory. As mentioned earlier, it is easy for us to make an idol out of our priority system because of the strengths inherent in it. That is, we tend to depend on the strength our priority system gives us rather than on Christ to find the fulfillment of our longings for glory. As Christians, we are no longer controlled by idols, but we struggle daily with their "left-overs" (hidden habits and thought patterns) lurking in the flesh.

b. The Primary Implications

Facilitating a movement requires an intentional focus on being Christ-centered because Christ is the only power source for effecting a true movement. I expect most people will react to this by saying "Of course. That is obvious." However, I believe many churches end up viewing Christ through the filters of such cultural priorities as efficiency, results and control. Christ becomes to us merely the one who can give us strength to be efficient, get results and exercise control. This is so not only for the personal life, but especially for the ministry structures we use.

For example, our US culture has traditionally led out with "doing," and this has affected Mission to the World. Although I have appreciated MTW's emphasis on planning, its goal orientation and Management by Objectives, I think New Horizons is a call to recognize that our ministry structures have tended to reflect an over dependence on our ability to plan and get things done. 15 While not rejecting good planning, New Horizons is a call away from a business model that could almost try to engineer a church plant, to a more Christ-centered model. Of course, no one ever intended that we not be Christ centered. What we're talking about here is our "corporate flesh" that will ever be tempting us to rely on our strengths, and ever showing itself in different ways. 16

As Presbyterians we tend to lead out with "knowing." Our good doctrine is a gift God has given us to share with others. However, I think we have a tendency to depend on our good doctrine rather than on Christ. We have tended to think that if we just give them the "words" they will somehow automatically have their character changed and be able to transform their culture. If we just give them the words, somehow God takes care of the rest. This is mostly evident in our traditional training models.

The overall effect on MTW's previous paradigm was something like this: "The task is difficult, but with good planning and our good doctrine, not impossible." The paradigm shift we would like to see happen is something like this: "The task of ministry before us is not difficult. Rather, it is impossible. The only way we can see a movement happen or even begin to happen is through the supernatural power of Christ being brought to bear on the situation. Doing ministry is like walking on water—attempting the impossible in the name of Christ. We must examine all our ministry structures to see if they might reflect an over-dependence on our doctrine or ability to get things done or anything else, and make any necessary corrections. We need to rediscover what Christ has to do with how we structure our ministries.

Much so-called Christian psychology has presented Christ in a self-centered way: Christ the fulfiller of your dreams and the solution to your frustrations. While there is an important element of truth here, as we have seen, the problem has been that people are not challenged to see the ways in which their longings are self-centered and how they depend on sources of strength other than Christ. As we reach out to a given culture, we should be formulated in an emergent way. Instead of overestimating our ability to control through planning, we should focus on learning as we go within an overarching and general vision.

In South America, this means, for example, affirming the importance of relationships, while at the same time condemning the tendency to depend on one's ability to develop or manipulate relationships to makes one's way in life and find fulfillment. It means, for example, condemning the tendency not to follow Matthew 18 when there is a relational problem because of the desire not to "make things worse."

1.3.3 The Outward Movement

a. The Basic Idea

According to John 7:37-39, if we drink of Christ there will be a disproportionate result: one sip of Christ and whole rivers flow out from us to bless those around. According to John, the rivers refer to the Holy Spirit. Christ empowers us by giving us his Spirit. All we need to do is drink of Christ instead of depending on any other supposed source of power—including our gifts and the strengths inherent in our priority systems. The Lord uses those who are united to him to bring about the upward movement—to bring in his kingdom.

b. The Primary Implications

God could have chosen to accomplish the work of the kingdom without us. For example, he created the world without working through us. Since creation, however, he has chosen to accomplish his purposes through his people. God's normal way of accomplishing his purpose in human history is not by working on his own, but by working through his people.

The task before us is not difficult—it is impossible. However, the Lord will do the impossible through us. As the Lord commanded the man with the withered hand to stretch it out, as he commanded the paralytic to stand and walk, and as he commanded Peter to walk to him on the water, so we must attempt the impossible trusting only in the supernatural power of Christ, refusing dependence on "safer" methods.

Whereas before we would focus on a quantifiable goal, now it is more clear that the goal is impossible—a church planting movement. There is a shift away from focusing on the goal to an increased focus on the processes that we need to put in place to facilitate a church planting movement, and how these processes will be reproduced in our trainees—and in theirs.

As we drink of Christ, the river overflows in various ways: thankfulness, prayer, and love toward God, as well as love for others, and power for the impossible. Here is the power for movement. As we learn to look to Christ not only individually, but also corporately, the Holy Spirit flows out like a might river to do the impossible through his people.

1.3.4 The Centripetal Movement

a. The Basic Idea

When God "came down" to see what was happening at Babel he said, "Now nothing they attempt will be impossible for them." It's not that God was worried, but he was making the point that there is strength in unity, whether for good or for evil. Pentecost appears to be a kind of reversal of Babel. Now God is forming a people for whom nothing will be impossible for good—to the extent that they are united. The Centripetal movement is Christ drawing his people together around himself, thus producing a synergy and a result that goes beyond what might be otherwise expected The Centripetal movement is the orchestration of the rivers of life flowing out of all God's people in such a way that they are working together and not against each other.

b. The Primary Implications

MTW teams should take more time to understand each other's deep priority systems or core values (personality) in order to create greater synergy and avoid misunderstanding. Then they need to talk about the priority system or core values of the team and show how the individual core values can fit into the team core values. One of the keys to facilitating a movement is a leader who is able to show how the different personalities and gifts of many different people can truly dovetail into a powerful vision and philosophy of ministry. That is, someone who is able to harness the differences on a team into a unified direction—however, he must do this without stripping people of their unique individuality. In other words, he must be able to facilitate a deep unity that does not swallow up the rich diversity of the team. Unity without diversity will produce a team of unfulfilled missionaries. On the other hand, he must be able to facilitate a rich diversity that does not swallow up the deep unity as expressed in the team purpose and philosophy of ministry. Diversity without unity creates a team in which everyone is pulling in different directions. I must stress that this ability to facilitate unity in diversity is not a product simply of a certain personality type and does not come more automatically to "national" leaders than to missionaries. It does involve giftedness, but is primarily the result of maturity in the Lord. 17

In MTW's previous paradigm, we tended to over depend on (make an idol of) our U.S. resources and to downplay the important role of national resources (particularly human resources). The idea was that we would establish a presbytery (after all, we know how to get things done) and then, when it was finished, turn it over to nationals. 18 In some sectors of the PCA today there is a tendency to go too far in the other direction: just support nationals because you get a bigger "bang for you buck." The truth is that many of the national leaders we partner with have been brought up in one of those sub-culture denominations that might know less about reaching out to the mainstream culture than we do. Furthermore, every culture has its blind spots.

In any case, what New Horizons calls us to is synergy. This idea was not absent previously, being especially noticeable in MTW's concept of teamwork. However, the concept needs to be applied more broadly to include synergy with nationals. We have blind spots as much as they do. We need each other. We need to establish a bridge between the two cultures where both can meet and learn:" a place where the most mature leaders from each culture learn to love and appreciate one another as they work together. In this way they can develop a strategy for reaching the country that neither could develop alone. We also need to think in terms of partnering—to whatever extent possible—with other elements of the body of Christ in our area and within our own PCA. 19

Another implication has to do with the PCA's present focus on the 10-40 window. I'm not sure, but sometimes I think this is another case of the US "we can do it" attitude. Maybe the difficulty we experience in reaching the 10-40 window is God saying," You can't do this by yourself. You will need the combined strength and synergy that comes from uniting with churches from other cultures." Maybe we need to join with the Latin American, Chinese and African churches—learn from each other and work together—in order to get the job done.

1.3.5 The Forward Movement

a. The Basic Idea

In Scripture God is always sending his people moving. This journey that initially aimed at the promised land comes to a climax when Jesus sends his church moving ("go"). 20 into the whole world. And how do we complete the journey? What is Jesus' strategy? Make disciples! 21 This includes evangelizing and baptizing new believers as well as teaching new and old believers about Jesus' commands and their implications for all of life. This discipleship produces continuous waves of believers / disciplers who push us forward into the future.

b. The Primary Implications

It's always easier to do it yourself—especially for someone from the U.S. culture, which so highly values getting things done. Of course, if you are beginning a new church plant and there are no nationals to work with you, you have to do everything yourself. As converts appear, we know we need to invest in them, but we're so busy getting all the ministries going and making contacts that we postpone discipleship. Or we use the typical Presbyterian shortcut to discipleship: hand them some books and give them some classes (see below). As time goes on, however, we get more irons in the fire, and have less time to invest in others. Things go well until we have to leave and the whole thing falls apart or is unable to continue forward because there are no adequately trained leaders.

We will not see a church planting movement happen if we are not investing in others in such a way that they will catch the vision and learn how to invest in still others, and so on. The way we complete the journey and finally arrive home is by making all our ministry structures revolve around the priority of facilitating waves of disciples (like when you throw a stone in a pond and concentric waves are formed). We must examine all our ministry structures to see to what extent they might reflect a tendency to "do it ourselves" instead of investing in others.

Furthermore, we must become experts at identifying the "age" of a church we are planting or individual we are discipling. The nature of our relationship with the church or individual depends on its "age." 22 There are parallels between planting a church or discipling an individual on the one hand and bringing up children on the other. The kind and amount of support they receive from us depends on their "age." 23 We want to see them move from dependence toward a sense of clear identity and interdependence.

1.3.6 The Spiral Movement

a. The Basic Idea

According to Scripture, you can't really know and understand God's Word and world unless you obey. Otherwise you just have head knowledge. Furthermore, you can't obey unless you love. Otherwise you are just going through the outward motions. But further still, you can't love unless you understand. Otherwise your love will be misguided.

On the other hand, the more you obey the more you know. And the more you know the more you love. And the more you love, the more you obey. God disciples us by connecting our knowing, doing and being (reflecting his words, works and name or character 24) in a kind of spiral movement that gains momentum as we go around. I call this "covenantal training." 25 This is how we should disciple and train our leaders. We need to focus on how knowledge, life/ministry and personal character relate to one another. Any good training program will focus on how these three connect in the life of the trainee. It's the connections that have been overlooked and require out attention.

Presbyterians tend to over depend on the transmission of information to train people. So we often get stuck there and do not go around the spiral very well. We assume that if they get the knowledge, the character development and cultural transformation will follow in a somewhat automatic way. Pentecostals, on the other hand, (who in Chile, at least, have said "the letter kills") tend to over rely on the experience of their relationship with God and their ability to relate to others. Some of them very rarely ever get to the words of God. They assume that knowledge will somehow automatically follow because of their focus on the Sprit and his presence. It isn't wrong to "lead out" with one or the other of these, but we do need to avoid over depending on (making an idol of) any one of them.

b. The Primary Implications

In most parts of South America, training should probably lead out with relationships instead of with information or ministry activity and programs. In many cases the ministry activity we give trainees is more designed to help us reach our goals than to invest in them. In South America, however, it is within the context of a trusting relationship that the disciple will "hear" the words more effectively. Ministry structures for training should be designed in such a way that they begin with the relationship, and then continually relate our being, knowing and doing. It isn't enough to add a practical theology section to the academic training, because very often the academic and practical are not related to each other, with the result that the theology is dry and the practice is more informed by cultural norms than by Scripture. 26

Another implication is that the missionary trainer is also a learner. Every culture—as well as every personality type—tends to ask different questions of Scripture. If the trainer allows only the questions he or she is familiar with to be asked, and if the trainer does not encourage the trainee to look for answers that are deeply embedded within, then the "relationship" is probably experienced by the trainee as utilitarian.

Recently in MTW there has been much talk about "Word and Deed" ministries. In my opinion, all ministries in MTW should be not only Word and Deed, but also Presence ministries. That is, it isn't enough to tell them the truth and do things for them. We also need to be with them—to develop and cherish the personal relationships that are so highly valued in Latin cultures. In fact, in South America, we probably need to lead out with Presence, even though our strongest gift is probably our good doctrine. We need to bring that doctrine to bear within the context of our presence and relationships so that the culture is transformed.

So here are some important maxims when it comes to training:

  • Effective covenantal training requires spending time with the trainees. This means doing your best to be his or her 27 friend and not simply spending time with him or her as a means to an end (typical goal oriented US culture).
  • Effective covenantal training requires being involved with him in ministry that touches the deep longing of the target culture.
  • Effective covenantal training requires relating his culture, ministry, life and character to God's Word.
  • Normally you design your training ministry systems in such a way that you begin with that which the culture prioritizes (in terms of knowing, doing or being).
  • By pointing people to Christ you gradually free them from their over dependence on one of these three areas (knowing, doing or being) and lead them into the spiral of growth. (This step in particular will be resisted).

    1.3.7 The Rebound Movement

    a. The Basic Idea

    Soteriology begins in Genesis 3 with the "proto gospel." Here we see the pattern for the rest of Scripture: God takes the initiative toward his goal, Satan "bites" and everything looks black and hopeless. Then God intervenes with judgment and salvation in such a way that his plan is actually furthered. This is the "rebound" movement because the apparent downward movement experienced because of Satan's counter attack is overcome by a disproportionate upward and forward movement through God's intervention. 28 He works all things together for the good of those who love him because he is at work in everything—even Satan's attacks—to bring about his purposes. Scripture is structured by this kind of rebound movement, which finds its climax in the cross of Christ. 29 The bite of the serpent turns out to be a furthering of God's plan as Jesus suffers in the place of his people.

    Now the pattern continues as we walk the way of the cross. Paul says we have the privilege of suffering for Christ, and that he fills up his body the sufferings that are lacking. In other words, God uses our suffering for the sake of the kingdom to further his purposes. This suffering often includes God showing us increasingly the ways in which sin lurks in our "flesh."

    b. The Primary Implications

    Ministry is a lot messier than "plan, execute and get out in ten years." We will never see a church planting movement happen without suffering. We need to allow for this kind of "failure." Apparent failure and suffering are part of the plan. We should encourage each other in the midst of it. Although we should pray and plan for results, we should not judge our ministries only on the basis of visible results.

    Furthermore, although the Lord obviously uses our gifts to further his kingdom work, there is an important sense in which he uses our weakness and death to accomplish his purposes. Missionaries (and all believers are to be missionaries) are those who are willing to allow the Lord to accomplish his purposes through their weaknesses and death. It is when we are weak that Christ's power rests upon us.

    This principle applies not only to individuals, but also to organizations. Even mission organizations should be willing to walk the way of the cross. That is, they should be less concerned about their own survival as an organization and be willing to serve unto death. For evolutionary theories, survival is a core value. In God's kingdom, however, those who make survival a core value will not survive. The one who holds on to his life will lose it.

    Sometimes we wonder what this or that problem or difficulty has to do with the kingdom and our ministry. We say, "Why is the Lord allowing this to happen? I came here to serve the Lord. What does this have to do with the kingdom?" From the point of view of the rebound movement, it has everything to do with it. We walk the way of the cross, the only path to the promised glory.

    These are the theological parameters within which church planting movement plans should be designed.

    These movements do not occur only in the order indicated above. It's probably more accurate to say that they are interdependent, can occur in any order, and even simultaneously. However, the following connections should be pointed out.

    • 1 The power for movement comes from the indwelling Christ. This is contrasted with the pseudo power source—idols—including especially the idolatry of our priority system (the Inward Movement). 2
    • This power flows out from God's people as they look to Christ and not to idols. The Holy Spirit flows out like rivers of life in the form of prayer, praise, love for God, love for believers, love for the lost and ministry (Outward Movement.) 3
    • The ascended Christ coordinates the different priority systems and gifts of his people so that together they are more powerful than they would be if used independently. We might say that he unites the rivers of water flowing out of each into a much more powerful river (The Centripetal Movement). 4
    • Progress in made in the mission of the church as this river is poured out into others. In this way waves of disciples are produced that move us into the future and closer to the goal (Forward Movement). 5
    • The Spiral Movement clarifies the way in which we are to make disciples—by facilitating the connection of their knowing, doing and being. 6
    • The Upward Movement says we must take into account the longings for glory as we invest in others. This is the contextualization of the gospel. Glory is attained only by way of the cross, that is, through our weakness, suffering and death (Rebound Movement).


    1. This document is a summary of that book, which is about 200 pages.

    2. Our culture is so oriented toward getting things done and pragmatism that it rarely sees the value in "theologizing." Our culture suffers from what Harry Blamires calls "the lack of a Christian Mind." Anything that smacks of "concepts" or "theology" is assumed to be impractical. We have separated "concepts" from "practice" such that the one becomes dry and impractical and the other becomes pragmatic, and more affected by the latest cultural fad than by a Christian way of thinking. Theology, properly understood, is not the study of impractical concepts, but the application of Scripture to specific situations in our world. Mission to the World has been concerned to develop a Christian mind when it comes to the growth of the individual missionary, but has not been concerned enough to develop a theology of church planting movements.

    4. This theology is an attempt to apply Scripture to MTW's church planting efforts in South America. It is also written with the Postmodern mood in mind. Especially the chapter in the book called Priority Systems is intended to be a Christian answer to some of the main concerns of the Postmodern mood.

    4. Psalm 8:5 tells of the glory with which man was crowned. The author of Hebrews (2:6-8) shows the eschatological import of this passage as it is fulfilled in Jesus' glorification. This glorification is more than a return to Eden. Because Jesus has been glorified, those who are his will also be glorified. This glorification includes not only a new kind of universe in which the sun is not necessary, but also a new kind of body (see Paul's distinction between a "natural" body and a "spiritual" body in I Corinthians 15). The Bible is the story of creation, the fall, redemption and glorious consummation.

    5. As Calvinists, we believe the fall was actually within God's plan, and not a surprise to him. What is called the "Supralapsarian view" tends to look at God's plan from the perspective of the end. On the other hand, this truth does not deny the fact that creation implies a direction that God planned to move with humanity. What is called the "Infralapsarian view" tends to look at God's plan from the vantage point of its unfolding from the beginning. Both perspectives are valid and complement one another. In redemption, God takes up his original plan, but now in order to fulfill it, must deal with sin and its consequences.

    6. In chapter 2 of my book I argue that the incarnation is implicit in creation. For example, in Romans 5 Paul says that the first Adam was a "figure" of the one to come. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul argues that the spiritual body is implicit in the natural body. In Ephesians 5, Paul says that the institution of marriage was meant to be a foreshadowing of the relation between Christ and the church. Edmund P. Clowney (1988, see bibliography) says that the creation ordinance of marriage was designed from the beginning to point us to the relationship between Christ and the church. Christology is implicit in creation.

    7. There is a movement from image to glorified image (natural body to spiritual body). It has to do with who we are (God's image) and who we will become. God made us in his image, but with the possibility of becoming even more like him, as symbolized in the Tree of Life. It also has to do with our personal relationships as expressed primarily in the ordinance of marriage (because man and woman together—in relationship—are the image of God) and what they will become as they fill the earth with descendants.

    8. The upward movement involves a movement from garden to city (Waldecker, 1988, see bibliography). The Bible begins with a garden, but God's intention was never that humanity should remain forever in the garden. They were to subdue the earth by working six days each week and at the end of that process they would find they had built the beautiful and lavish city of God. This movement has to do with what we do and achieve in God's kingdom and the rest we look forward to and celebrate even now on the first day of the week.

    9. There is a movement from mount to elevated mountain. This movement has to do with our knowledge and the authority implied in it. This is a movement from limited authority and knowledge to all authority and knowledge. Adam and Eve were given authority over creation (under God), but the implicit authority of their word would grow and be made explicit as they learned more about God. Their authority is symbolized by their elevated position in Eden (the rivers flowed from there to water the whole land). The mountain in Scripture is often a symbol of man's God-given authority over creation.

    10. There is probably no priority that goes deeper than these basic priority systems, except one's commitment to or against the Creator.

    11. That is, the programs and activities we put in place in order to train leadership.

    12. According to the second law of thermodynamics, in a closed system everything tends toward disorder. There is a sense in which the world separated from God would be ultimately a closed system, in that it would not receive the energy from God that it would need to survive. It would be closed off from God's benevolent power.

    13. Colossians 1:27

    14. He fulfills the movement from Image to Glorified Image because he is the Image of God in a higher sense and the first human to be glorified. Those in whom he lives will also be glorified. As our priest he makes us more like God and brings us into his glorious presence by giving us the Spirit. Christ fulfills the movement from garden to city because he is our king who brings in the kingdom. Those who are united to him participate with him in his kingdom building. He is our Prophet because he is the word made flesh to whom all authority is given. Those who are united to him participate with him in that authority.

    15. This was reflected in the 10-year plan model that was used. The plan had its merits, but was not intentionally Christ-centered. You plan and make the goal a little more than you would expect on your own strength (the "faith factor"), you execute, and you get out.

    16. Even secular management theory has challenged the notion that in a fast-changing world we are capable of planning very far into the future. Mintzberg (1994, 1998, see bibliography) proposes that strategy must help them see how Christ is the fulfiller of their deep longings for glory, but also how he condemns idolatry and will not be the supporter of our frustrated, self-centered egos. The only solution for the "old man" is death.

    17. Furthermore, success does not depend entirely on the maturity and gifts of the leader. There are situations in which someone will refuse to be "dovetailed" into the team. So, for example, Paul says in Romans 12:18 that even living in peace with others is not always up to you.

    18. This is admittedly an over simplification, but I think it represents a true tendency. Of course, when there are no nationals, there's not much else you can do—at least to get started.

    19. It is interesting that a number of Pentecostal leaders in Chile have been asking us recently to teach them Reformed theology. We're seeing something similar in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

    20. The participle "as you go" takes on the force of the main verb, which is a command (make disciples). So the meaning is stronger than simply "if you happen to be going somewhere, be sure to make disciples." He has sent us moving.

    21. The command was given to the apostles and through them to the whole church, as indicated in God's promise to be with them in this process to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:20). Individual believers are also involved as they work in conjunction with and under the authority of God's church.

    22. This is also related to the Centripetal movement.

    23. By using this analogy I am not endorsing what has often been called paternalism in missions. Nor do I mean to imply that those who plant a church can't learn anything from the members of that church. Sometimes individuals within the new church might be more mature in some ways than the church planters. The point is that church plants go through stages, and the relationship of the church planters should be appropriate at each stage of development.

    24. God reveals himself primarily through his words, his works and his character (name). These three are reflected in the make-up of man: Since God speaks words, man "knows." Since God reaches out his hand to accomplish tasks, man also is able to "do." Since God has a certain character, man is made to "be" like him. These three aspects of God's revelation are also reflected in creation: if man submitted to God's authoritative words, man would speak authoritatively in creation. The world (and garden) is the result of the work of God's hand, and is the arena in which man is to "do." God created man "in him image," and thus "like" himself.

    25. Based on Deuteronomy 6, according to which the covenantal training of our children involves relating God's Word to all of life.

    26. For instance, in the States much of our ministry structures have tended to be very pragmatic (reflecting our pragmatic culture), and our theology books are often dry as dust.

    27. These principles apply to all kinds of training, not just pastoral training.

    28. Imagine dropping a basketball, which then bounces up or rebounds higher than the place from which it was dropped.

    29. Previous to the cross, the rebound movement focuses on the birth of godly children. Satan knows that one of them is the promised seed that is supposed to defeat him. After the cross, Satan is not so much after our children because the promised seed has already come. He hates us, however, because we are united to that Son of Man.


    Blamires, Harry. The Christian Mind: How Should a Christian Think? Ann Arbor: Servant Publications, 1978. 213 pp. Without index.

    Bridges, William, The Character of Organizations: Using Jungian Type in Organizational Development. Palo Alto: Davies-Black Publishing, 1992. 140 pp. With index. An excellent application of typology to organizations. For example, the author describes the typical characteristics of an introverted organization. He also analyzes some well-known organizations.

    Clowney, Edmund P. The Unfolding Mystery. Colorado Springs: Navpress, 1988. 202 pp., without index. Excellent biblical-theological development of Christology. Shows Christ as the new man, the son of the woman, the son of Abraham, the heir of the promise, the Servant of the Lord, the Rock of Moses, the Anointed One, the Prince of Peace and the Lord to come.

    ______ Preaching and Biblical Theology. Nutley, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1973. 124 pp., includes a short bibliography on biblical theology. Excellent biblical-theological approach to preaching Christ. Preaching Christ requires an understanding of the biblical-theological period in which the revelation occurs.

    ______ Called to the Ministry. Nutley, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1964. 90 pp., without index. Especially helpful in this connection is his analysis of the name by which we are called.

    Conn, Harvie M. Eternal Word and Changing Worlds. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1984. 358 pp., with index. Points to the coming of a new consciousness shaped by the trialogue between theology, anthropology and mission, and gives the historical background to it. Points to the need to examine western paradigms for theology and mission. Shows the need to consider how we formulate paradigms and how they can become too static if they are not related to the heart. Points to the need to deal with symbolism and myth since these flow from the deepest levels of culture. Brings Poythress' and Frame's ideas of multiperspectivalism into fruitful relation with the issues. Very helpful work.

    Covacevich, Alejandro. La Hipocresía en Chile. Santiago: Tiempo Nuevo, 1995. 130 pp., with index. Written by a Chilean civil engineer and writer. Demonstrates a fundamental contradiction at the heart of the Chilean worldview and shows how this works itself out in such areas as politics, social class, bureaucracy, education and creativity. Very insightful and helpful in developing my critique of Chilean culture.

    Frame, John. Cornelius Van Til: The Theologian: An Analysis of his Thought. Phillipsburg, (NJ): Pilgrim Publishing Company, 1976. 452 pp., with index. The best interpretation of Van Til that I have seen. Thorough, covering all the major issues in Van Til's thought, and typically precise. Frame is thoughtfully critical of Van Til in some important areas, especially as regards the meaning of antithesis between belief and unbelief as it relates to common grace.

    ________ The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God: A Theology of Lordship. Phillipsburg, (NJ): Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1987. 409 pp., with index. A very creative work dealing with Christian epistemology, the knowledge of God. Frame brings his perspectivalism (normative, situational and existential perspectives) to bear on the subject. This has been particularly helpful in developing a biblical view of culture, specifically the need to know God "in context."

    ________ Van Til: The Theologian. Phillipsburg, (NJ): Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 19-. pp., without index. A very creative work dealing especially with the issue of "system" in the thought of Van Til. In what sense is theology a system, and what are the limits of logic in systematizing? We must formulate the apparent contradictions biblically. Frame also deals with the interplay between special and general revelation. It was the "hermeneutical spiral" that led me to the idea of the spiral movement.

    ________ Perspectives on the Word of God: An Introduction to Christian Ethics. Frame here applies his tri-perspectival approach to the doctrine of the Word of God.

    Godoy, Hernán. El Carácter Chileno. Santiago: Editorial Universitaria, 1981. 552 pp., without index. An excellent and thorough analysis of the Chilean personality and the Chilean way of viewing the world. Over 500 pages, the work includes original documents from a multitude of Chilean and foreign writers from all the major epochs of Chile's history through 1975. The author concludes that the Chilean worldview manifests a dialectical tension between the desire for order on the one hand and for progress and freedom of the individual on the other. He shows briefly how this has worked itself out in the history of Chile.

    Huneeus, Pablo. Los Burócratas: Un Nuevo Análisis del Estado. Santiago: Editora Nueva Generación, 1974. 159 pp., without index. A Chilean sociologist analyzes and criticizes Chile's suffocating bureaucratic system and shows how it affects life in Chile. Particularly helpful is his analogy of Chile's bureaucracies as an over-protective mother.

    Jung, Carl, Psychological Types. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 1971. 608 pp. With index. Very helpful to understand Jung's thought, but not easy reading. Those who have a background in philosophy will find it easier. Jung shows how the issue of personality types shows up in classical and medieval thought, in poetry, philosophy, biography and other areas. His focus is on Extraversion and Introversion and how these relate to the other aspects of personality type. His underlying position is thoroughly anti-Christian, yet he can't help but reflect something of God's glory in what he has found.

    Kline, Meredith G. Kingdom Prologue 3 vols. S. Hamilton, MA.: Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, 1996. 320 pp., without index. A very helpful and enlightening biblical-theological approach to a study of the kingdom of God. As a biblical-theological perspective will do, the author focuses on the progress of revelation and of the kingdom.

    Lavín, J. Chile A Quiet Revolution. Santiago: Zig-Zag, 1988. 174 pp., without index. Written in English and designed for export, this book explains the economic boom in Chile to the rest of the world. The author shows how this boom is not just economic but how "everything is changing." The changes are due to the world shift from an industrial era to an information era, to a deliberate Chilean integration with the world, begun in 1975, which did away with commercial barriers, provided Chile with greater access to information, technology and consumer goods, and to an encouragement of individual creativity and initiative. Very little of the negative side is included.

    Lalive d'Epinay, Christian. Haven of the Masses: A Study of the Pentecostalism Movement in Chile. Great Britain: Lutterworth Press, 1969. 234 pp., with index. Pentecostalism has become a refuge for the masses in Chile because, in the face of the collapse or wearing down of social organizations—and consequently of the values which give that society direction—it offers the population an attractive substitute society which relates back to the known model and at the same time renews it, but which encourages withdrawal from sociopolitical matters, individualistic social change and little emphasis on ecumenism. A very important study which helped me get a grasp of the Pentecostal movement in Chile.

    Malphurs, Aubrey. Planting Growing Churches For the 21st Century. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1992, 1998. 425 pp. With index. Very helpful book on church planting. A practical, step-by-step approach. I was interested to find his integration of church planters and personality types on pages 99ff.

    ______. Strategic Planning: A New Model for Church and Ministry Leaders. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999. 288 pp. With index. A practical, step-by-step approach to strategic planning in church planting. Particularly helpful was his chapter 4 on Core Values. A ministry, he says, is not purpose-driven, vision-driven or mission-driven, but values-driven (page 86). This coincides with my own experience and analysis as expressed in Toward a Theology of Movement.

    Mintzberg, Henry. The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning. New York: The Free Press, 1994. 458 pp. With index.

    ______. Strategy Safari. New York: The Free Press, 1998. 406 pp. With index. The strategy guru of our day critiques different schools of strategy and shows how each can be a useful part of the strategy puzzle. Encourages a combination of deliberate and emergent strategy formulation.

    Nida, Eugene A. Understanding Latin Americans. South Pasadena: William Carey Library, 1974. 148 pp., with index. A penetrating analysis of the Latin American mentality. Nida focuses on the tensions between authoritarianism and individualism, idealism and realism, and men and women in Latin American culture. He shows how each of these themes works itself out in different areas of culture, with special reference to how traditional evangelical churches (started by missionaries) and indigenous churches relate to these themes. Extremely helpful.

    Pérez deArce, Hermógenes. Sí o No. Santiago: Zig-Zag, 1988. 205 pp., without index. A Chilean political writer and lawyer predicts how Chileans will vote in the plebiscite of 1988 in which the future of the military government was the issue. He examines the issues surrounding the plebiscite and, although he himself has rightist leanings, he predicts the vote will be against the military regime. And he was right.

    Poythress, Vern S. God Centered Biblical Interpretation. Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Publishing, 1999. 238 pp. Includes bibliography and index of Scripture references. I didn't read this book until after I had finished writing Toward a Theology of Movement. I was pleasantly surprised to find the high degree to which many of my theses coincide with the conclusions of Poythress' book. I was encouraged and it expanded my thinking in the triperspectival approach. I highly recommend this book.

    Ridderbos, Herman, Paul: An Outline of His Theology, Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdman's Publishing Company, 1975. See especially sections 11, 16, 17, 19 and 78. Ridderbos puts "flesh" in a redemptive-historical context. A very helpful work, with a biblical-theological perspective, on the structure of Pauline thought.

    Sanderson, John W., Jr. Encounter in the Non-Christian Era. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing House, 1970. 95 pp., with index. John Sanderson is typically clear, precise and biblical in this attempt to show how secular thought, formed by philosophies of the past, affects the way people hear the message of the gospel, and so must be taken into account as we encounter the world. He comments that the phrase "non-Christian Era" is not entirely appropriate, but he uses it because of what it has come to mean.

    ______ Mirrors of His Glory. Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1991). Studies the Scripture's use of analogies to help us understand who God is.

    Spoto, Angelo. Jung's Typology in Perspective. Wilmette (IL): Chiron Publications, 1995. 198 pp., with index. A study of Carl Jung's typology in relation to his larger model of human psychology. He supports but critiques the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator which has become so popular today. Using my own terminology, I would say he thinks the MBTI emphasizes too much the being side of Jung's psychology and not sufficiently the becoming side. Jung's psychology fits in well with Plotinus' philosophy.

    Taber, Charles R. The World is Too Much With Us. Macon: Mercer University Press, 1991. 188 pp., with index. An excellent study of culture, anthropology, the modern Protestant missions movement (nineteenth and twentieth centuries), and the historical processes that have shaped our views of culture. Missionaries have been too affected by the thought of their respective cultures and, often without realizing it, have viewed other cultures in inadequate ways. In particular, it points out how functionalism has been like a paradigm for the missions movement, affecting it both positively and negatively. Functionalism kept missions from seeing the dynamic interactions among cultures, how cultures are constantly changing, how ethical absolutes relate to the many cultures, and how the global political system affects them. This book was very helpful in critiquing modern views of culture and in developing a biblical view of culture.

    Waldecker, Gary T. The Contextualization of the Gospel in Chile. Doctor of Ministry project presented to the faculty of Westminster Theological Seminary, 1997.

    ______. Toward a Theology of Movement: Missiology from a Christ-centered Kingdom Perspective. Unpublished manuscript. 1986-2003.

    ______. "Toward a Theology of the City," in Urban Mission, Vol. 5., Number 4, 1988.

    ______. "The Core Values of Mission to the World: How They Relate to being Field-Driven," unpublished paper, 2002.

    ______. "Church Planting Movements: The Integration of Church Planting and Training," unpublished paper, 2003.

    ______. "A Christ-centered View of Dependency in Missions," unpublished paper, 2003.

    ______. "Toward a Theology of Preaching Christ," unpublished paper, 2001.