EP 130 – UNDERSTANDING MISSIOLOGY AS A REPLANTER
We’re back at the Bootcamp and ready for the next episode. Joining us again is, Dr. Casey Williams, this time we’re talking about how to develop a missionary mindset in your church. This is no small task, listen in as Casey explains how to move your congregation toward mission.
- Start with Theology – what does God say about the church and mission? Be careful to ensure that the most basic and simple and biblical doctrines and definitions are shaping your understanding.
- Next Consider Context – where has God placed your church in the community? What do the demographics right around your church reveal? How do you begin to know your neighbors and reach them?
- Finally, Focus on Methodology – based on the previous two steps, prayerfully consider with your leaders what are the most likely steps you should take in seeking to reach your community.
Check out this helpful chart that Casey shared with us.
There are some really solid gems here in this EP, listen to it all, consult the show notes and consider sitting down with your leaders and beginning a process of seeking God as you fulfill the mandate to reach your community for Christ.
Your website is part of your church’s mission to reach the community-is it working? Connect with our great partner, One Eighty Digital and get their help to make sure your website both reflects who your church is and what you are about.
Drop us a line, send us a voicemail-we’d love to hear about your story in reaching the community God has placed you within.
JimBo Stewart: [00:00:00] Here we are back at the bootcamp yet. Again, hope you’re ready for the next episode. As we jump into part, do part dose with my good friend, Dr. Casey Williams, hard to believe
Casey Williams: Somebody gave us those degrees, but
JimBo Stewart: if you, if you would have met Casey and I 22 years ago and said, these guys
Casey Williams: most likely to become doctors in anything, ministry oriented, not.
JimBo Stewart: No. If, if my doctor, you met other things like drug dealer, then maybe, but, uh, no. so, so excited to have Casey. We got to have him on for last week’s episode to talk about pursuing health and the posture of partnership and replanting as they are beginning this, partnership as a fostering church of a struggling church in their community.
so one of the reasons I want to bring Casey on here, Bob is, Casey’s doctorate is a misseology doctorate. And, man, he speaks a lot of the same language that you and I do. He just says it with [00:01:00] $20 words. And, one of the things that Bob and I often tell churches and pastors is if you want to pursue be a healthy church again, then you have to start thinking like a missionary again, because most likely the beginning of your church started as a missional.
Right. The chances are, they were a group of people who saw a gospel need and a community. And so they sacrificed financially. They sacrificed their time. They dedicated themselves to being missionaries in that community. And then over time we become more focused on our members than on the mission. and I wanted to bring Casey on to talk about.
what does it look like? Not only just to be a missionary, but one of the things that we see a lot is a lot of times, one of the key. Contributing factors to a church’s decline and death is a transitioning community [00:02:00] demographically. Right? So the original group of people who started that church, it was probably all the same kind of.
And so it made sense for them to plant a church that reached that kind of people. But sociologically there’s been so many shifts in our country over the last 50 or 60 years that there are fewer and fewer homogenous communities that all look exactly the same and those communities have changed so much, but then the missionary mindset wasn’t there.
And so it’s still. Built and designed for that original group of people that started the church. And so specifically, we’re going to dive in today on what does it mean to be a mission minded church in a multi-ethnic community? Bob, what comes to your mind of the challenges and the struggles, and the relevance of that?
Bob Bickford: Yeah, super, super important discussion because most of the churches that we deal with in terms of replanting and revitalizing, you’re dealing with a congregation that has, like you mentioned, at one time they were part of a [00:03:00] missional effort that was successful, but something happened along the way and, it became unsexy.
And over time, their connection with the community and their composition, the composition of that body looks completely different than the community. The church resides in. And sometimes they’re even commuters and they come in. So one of the questions we got a couple of weeks ago from a young guy who was replanting, he was like, and how do I mobilize these senior adults to reach their community?
Right. And so what the first thought we have typically. Well, let’s just do something like let’s try to have outreach. Right? Well, last time I checked, you probably couldn’t run. Like let’s get the inflatable games and the cotton candy machine and all that kind of stuff with senior adults. Like it just, it’s not going to work.
So I think most of the time we start with what can we do? And I think. You know, we were talking preliminarily before we started the podcast. Casey gives us a grid, I think, to think through that’s important. So I think we should segue to him and, if we’re going to start and where do we [00:04:00]start? Like, what’s the sequence.
And then what are the questions we ask? And what are the important thoughts that we need to think as we move through this?
Casey Williams: Yeah, I think, you know, one of the things we talked about, even the last time we were on with you guys, Was really this? emphasis of church health over church growth. And I think that first and foremost, we’ve got to redefine what a church is. I’ve got a dear brother who said something about, you know, he was working on his mission statement of his church and he was like, you know, we want to be a multi-generational multi-ethnic dah, dah, dah, dah.
It’s like, well, why don’t you just call it a true. because the church is those things, right? Like why do you have to put qualifiers on it? I’m just a disciple-making church. Well, that’s called a church. Right. And so I think we just have to kind of get back to like, what is our scriptural supported doctrines that we believe that the church is right.
And so first and foremost, it starts there. And then it goes, begins to move itself out. So that missiological piece, like, Okay. so the, where is God uniquely put our church, right? Because you’re right Jim bell. I mean, like our church, my church that I [00:05:00] serve, was planted just a few years ago in 1911. And you know, it, you know, replanted itself, it was a, it was a Bible study expression to reach young children in a community that was under reached. Non blocks from the church that planted it but at that time nobody was driving. Nobody had cars. And so there was a church expression on that corner. Well, in the fifties, they replanted themselves into this community, which had no evangelical expression. And there was one car in Fort Jackson was moving a ton of people in because of the war.
And so there was just a huge development and there was no churches. So they replaced. So the truth is, is like, but it has changed. They say the art community is on its third Renaissance because it’s turnover now three times in the last 60, 70 years. But this community is substantially diverse. So me coming to this community, like the national statistic is like 76% of the church because it’s based off the 2015 since, but the 76% of the nation is [00:06:00] predominantly Anglo well in our community, it’s 4,600. so the truth is I have specifically in a seven mile radius of my church is 40%. So we’re 40% Anglo, 40% African-American then 20% other, predominantly Hispanic and Asian. So the truth is like, okay, well then how do we begin to reach the, you can’t reach your neighbors if you don’t know your neighbors.
And so that’s a missiological posture that every pastor and every Christian should take. like who do you see at the grocery store? Who do you see as your schools? Could you see, who are you building relationships with? How do you love your neighbors? And then it goes into methodology. Like if you don’t have a theological conviction and a missiological awareness, you’re never going to have, then your methodology doesn’t really matter, but too many people lead with methodology.
They lead with, Hey, what programs. Performances, can we provide to a community that will get people to come into our building instead of trying to mobilize our people to get out of our building.
Bob Bickford: One of the things that you talked about in the last episode was, and I loved it. It was something along the lines of, the church that you’re partnering with. They were saying, man, how long, like how [00:07:00] long is this going to take for the secretaries around? And he said, well, how fast does an Oak tree grow?
Right. So let’s just be realistic here. How, what is the process. Just walk us through to take a, a declined and dying congregation filled with primarily senior adults and maybe, a couple of young folks who really want to start reaching their community. If we’re talking about theology misseology and then methodology, can you just kind of walk us through, what does that look like if you’re taking that, that church that’s so declined, how would you move them forward in those steps?
Casey Williams: Yeah, first and foremost again, I would, I would. Unquestionably teach God’s word, right? Because if you’re teaching God’s word, you’re going to talk about consistent. tensions and barriers. I mean, you’ll, you will not find, just any, I mean, you will not find race much in the scripture, but you will find ethanol substantially amount.
like you will find that consistently throughout Genesis chapter one, Genesis 10 acts chapter 17, revelation seven, right? So you could find [00:08:00] substation. if you don’t want to talk about ethnicity, that don’t re you can’t preach the scripture. So preach the scripture, talk about how this actualizes, the application of people’s lives, but then you, then you really like, you know, every CA I mean, to go back to like the origination of like the Catholic church, like the universal church, not their own calendar, but the Catholic church, when they went into a community, they set up three things.
they set up a school, an orphanage and hostile. And when they did that, they serve a community and in doing so they begin and that’s what they called a. And that was the mission of the church. And so the mission of the church was a holistic approach with a theological conviction. And so, so I would say like start to do the things that you can do, like go to the schools and begin to do Bible, you know, you can do Bible clubs, but just do reading club.
Like go and invest in the children. I mean, if you see that there’s an illiteracy issue in the schools that go and see her adults have time on their schedule, that they can go into a school and be a buddy. Right. Right. They can [00:09:00] go to the hospital and PR and just be prayer warriors for people in the hospital.
Now, of course COVID changed a lot of that, even then, like, let’s go care for your neighbor, just prayer, walk your neighborhood and build relationships. We think it’s this programmatize thing, but it really isn’t. it’s just be the church. And the church has always been a part of, you know, this is why, we look at acts There was no need among them because the church was caring for and praying and doing the work of both evangelism, but also the body of Christ that care sports community. So I think if you really kind of shape it that way personally, Teach your people that this is not some complex, you know, you’ve got to be an anthropologist to tackle this world, the sociological phenom.
You just got to be a good believer in Jesus who loves their neighbors. And you’d be surprised at how the Lord continues to use those seeds of because 99% of the people you invite to church will come with. So like if they’ll just, and [00:10:00] if the people that they’re inviting are not like them, and they’re coming into an environment that faithfully consistently teaches that praise God for the kingdom orientation of the body, then they’re going to feel welcome as well.
And what we’ve noticed over time. And then of course, with leadership that’s serving in our church, that people just feel more comfortable. when they know they’re loved and cared for and have opportunities.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah. One of the things that was brought up at the AMI re planter conference we had in new Orleans, we had a question and answer panel for a little while and our other physiologists buddy double doc was there with his wife and he pastors down in key west Florida. And, one of the questions was, in a diverse committee.
And diversity can be beyond ethnicity. Diversity is all sorts of things, right. in a diverse community, how do you, how do you help a church, embrace that diversity, in a missional way. And it was actually, Josh’s wife. Darlene had such a great answer. She said, the diversity [00:11:00] begins at your dinner table.
she said they as a family have, two weekly rhythms, one, they have a believer that they know over for dinner, for edification and fellowship. every week they have a believer in their family and then every week they have a non-believer and their family over to dinner, for, for fellowship and relationship.
and so she said, if it starts there and you begin. Those diverse relationships through. Relationships. Right. and so I appreciate what you’re saying there even a, so I was having a conversation recently at our church that we go to Manor Baptist church with the missions team about I’ve been tasked with kind of rebuilding our missions team for our church There was a lot of, kind of conversation about what that would mean and what are we trying to do. And, and so there’s people who have a seat at the table because they lead our mission trips to Guatemala, or they are our representative for LA for the elementary school or things like that. And, and so I told him, I said, look, your, your seat at the table.
Was bought with your missional involvement, but your [00:12:00] job here is not to champion your area. Our win here is not to get 75 people more at, at this table are when is to get the majority of our church to take a. Missional step, towards being a missionary. and if that means that their first step is through your partnership with elementary school or on a mission trip to Guatemala or wherever it is, it’s a step.
And the goal is really for this to not be a program, but for it to be them being a missionary where they live and loving their neighbors and caring for their people, that are in their lives in a, in a way. Reflects the gospel clearly. you said it so well that we often start with the methodology, the strategy, and we, you know, we push getting demographic reports and I do think that they’re helpful, but we also push it in your demographic report from Josh dryer so that he can help you understand it.
because I think what happens a lot of times, I know so many guys that we’ll call it. Some area they’ll call whoever they’re going to call to get a [00:13:00] demographic report and they’ll get this like 27 page report
Casey Williams: All these color coded
JimBo Stewart: these color palette, loads of data. And
Casey Williams: diamonds and circles.
JimBo Stewart: I’m just like, cool.
Casey Williams: Great.
JimBo Stewart: What I mean, what do I,
Casey Williams: Where’s my Nancy
drew decoder ring.
JimBo Stewart: Right. What do I, what do I do with this? Like, this is cool, I guess, we have some episodes with Joshua talking about how to understand that, but, let’s just say, so in case you, we’ve got a listener who they get their demographic report and it shows that they’ve got a, they don’t even have a predominant, like you, like, there’s not even one predominant, as you know, there’s not one that’s over 50%.
what steps would you have to encourage them to begin that process of their church being a missional church and them being a missional pastor?
Casey Williams: you know, there’s, there really is not. I want to share like Paul Heber, transforming worldviews, one of the best, anthropologists, Christian believers out there who lived, but he says that an attitude and practice of accepting people of [00:14:00] all ethnic class, national origin as equal and fully participating, within the body of Christ is one model of multi-ethnic.
But the other part is like the manifestation of it and like actually seeing it in there. I think that first and foremost, it goes back to theology and it goes back to misseology like, you’ve got to be one, you’ve got to know what you believe and understand that your belief is inclusive, all people, but then you’re, misseology like, but you also got to know your neighbor is, you know, and I agree wholeheartedly.
Like you’ll never have a multiethnic church if you don’t have a multi-ethnic table, you know, dinner table, but also like. You know, so whenever the Monarch brewery in Georgia voice stuff took place a couple of years ago, you know, I was at the state house with a couple of brothers in the city and they were all kind of like, you know, a lot of pastors begin to post stuff on their social media and, you know, ah, we stand out against this and, and, and the truth be told is like some, some of the African-American brothers, they’re friends of mine, they said, I’m just glad these guys showed up to the conversation finally.
But the difference was is I didn’t post something on my social media. I called my friend. Like I messaged my [00:15:00] friends. Right. I didn’t have to go and prove to anybody that I was for this convictional belief that like all people are created the image of God and no person like can take life. but the differences is that I didn’t have to make a PR statement.
I got to use relational equity. and so that’s what I think that the problem is, just start to build relationships, right? Like, just start in my, the chair of my dissertation, Dr. like, he talks about the relational paradigm and he talks about, you know, we have this horizontal relation, this vertical relationship with the God that is record.
But then it also, there’s this horizontal piece that, that reconciliation now begins to actualize itself in how we care and live life with other people. So it’s a, both a, and not an either, or, and if we have a right relationship with God that it should drive us to have a right relationship with others.
and then again, our methodology piece, like it’s, it’s not program it’s related. Right. It’s it’s [00:16:00]not, Hey, you could do these three things. It’s like, just love your neighbors, and know your neighbors and not see your neighbors. Like, oh, see, I have, I have diverse friends. See, I’m not whatever.
But so great step forward, like for this, like we, so we have a, um, we have four to 6,000 Vietnamese in our community and we have zero, zero gospel preaching, Vietnamese churches. 46,000. So when I found out what I said, well, where are they located? They said, where they’re like eight miles of your church.
And I was like, well, then we need to plant the Vietnamese church. Right. We need to help with that process. So what did I do? Like, I don’t speak Chinese, but I eat Vietnamese. And so like I started going to the Vietnamese restaurant. It started building relationships with the Vietnamese people. And so we have a church planter who were waiting for his visa to get approved.
But because I’m a faithful at that restaurant and your pockets podcast audience, can’t tell how much of a foodie I am, but I am. And the truth is like, [00:17:00] they’ve already said, as soon as your planter gets here, pastor? Casey, you tell us, and we’ll open every door up for the Vietnamese population to meet him. So I have a program at my church. No, and I have like Vietnamese celebration Sunday where we wave the flag. No. What is that? I just built relationships and started to level on the community and what’s kind, uh, tipped well, you know? but I just started and so w what we’ve tried to do is say, Hey, do that.
Right. And when we shared that with our church, we had people at our church week because one of them. My goddaughter and godson are Vietnamese. My coworker is Vietnamese and I haven’t, and I’ve been praying. They’re not Christian. I’ve been praying that someday God would open up an opportunity for them to hear the gospel in their language.
and so now that couple wants to be a part of this Vietnamese congregation. You know, and the site now we’re also seeing opportunity for a Spanish speaking church. I’m building relationships with the Spanish, this nonbelievers, she owns this restaurant right down the corner from us. [00:18:00] And she’s already said, well, listen, pastor, like, you know, I don’t believe in Jesus, but as soon as your pastor comes through, let me know, we’ll help him.
I’ll do whatever I can to help you. She’s not even a believer. but if it’s just the pastor’s responsibility that it’s going to, it’s going to thrive and die on pastors energy.
But if you don’t embody this into your people and I challenged my people to do that and we have to pour and which goes back to discipleship, which means you’ve got to teach theology and misseology cause that’s, that’s what true discipleship is.
Bob Bickford: So that’s kind of a circle back to something that we talked about before. How long does it take? Right? How and the critical aspect of it is you have to embody it. You have to disciple others, et cetera. So let’s say somebody’s putting that work in, and they’re doing that from your experience. What are some of the.
Wins or celebration points where you’ve seen like, oh man, this person that our church gets it like, oh, this is all now they’re starting [00:19:00] to get it. Like, do you have a couple of stories that you could share with us? That man, you say, man, these are some folks who, who got it and they’re doing it.
Casey Williams: I think a group of senior adults in our church that are, they, they do, Um,
Christian evangelism fellowship. Good news. And, one of the schools that we, one of the schools that we serve is predominantly an African-American school. And, they just go in there and they, you know, kids sign up and are part of it, great ministry.
But, they started loving on this, these, these little kids and share the gospel. One of the girls came to salvation through good news club. So then they were like, You know, we’d love to share with you about it churches. So they invited to our church and, uh, this couples actually this, the children are Nigerian.
and so now I got to baptize her, and then now the whole family’s at our church and the grant, even the grandparents, when they come from Nigeria, come to our church and they’re like, oh, we love your church so much. So, you know, so they, you know, that was just a beautiful picture. These little gray hair, [00:20:00] senior adults who went out and just loved on the community.
And then in turn, the community saw the church’s love for them and wanted to see what that church was about. And so now we’re reaching the nations, right? Just by reaching our neighborhood, it just by reaching our schools. So that, that would be one. another one would be really this, this partnership church that we’re working with.
they are at a 73%, diverse community. So when they moved out to that community, it was probably 90 to 95% Anglo. And now they’re 73% minorities. So only 27% Anglo. Well, they know now, I mean, they’ve become more convinced like, Hey, if we don’t look like our community, then we’re not going to continue to exist. So the replanting pasture that we actually placed. With their full support is an African-American pastor. So the F the, the first ever pastor African-American pastor first ever pastor of color to serve in that church as their [00:21:00] replanting pastor and that their entire leadership team is completely supportive of it.
And, you know, I’ll remember in the town hall, one of the ladies was like, Hey, we want to reach our community Garber community. Doesn’t look like. Is there any hopes that, you know, some of the leadership that y’all might bring might look like the community. And I was like, I couldn’t say anything at that point.
Cause we’re still in the interview process, but I was like prayerfully, you know, like our hope and prayer would be that’s the case and praise God, this, this, these leaders and, and average age of that leadership was like 65, 7, you know, these 75 year old men who were like, yes, we want a, cause we told them. We weren’t hiring a African-American pastor. We were hiring a pastor who is fully equipped to teach God’s word and shepherd your people. And we’ll help you reach disciple your, your members and decide and outreach to your community. And if he’s black and he’s white, if he’s Latino, it doesn’t matter. As long as he’s a faithful [00:22:00] pastor who meets the qualifications of first Timothy chapter three and Titus chapter one, then we are you open to that.
And they said, yes. And then we introduced it to, and they said, yes, and now the church is moving forward in a historic way. So. those are just a couple of stories that. it starts with relationship again, you know, I think that’s the key piece. Like I know I’ve talked to a lot, I’ve done some consultation with churches of like, Hey, we want to hire somebody of color.
And I’m like, well, is your lay team? Is your lay leaders? Is your greeters? Are they even there? You know? Well then stop trying to. Higher diversity. Cause that’s not, that’s not actual kingdom orientation. That’s just professionalism. And that’s not the posture of the church.
JimBo Stewart: One of the churches I’ve been working with recently, we were in a, coaching session. working on their next church, revitalization, renewal pathway and the Spanish pastor of their Spanish campus or church was there. And [00:23:00] he said, when this church started 65 years ago, you raised funds to send people to the nations.
Now the nations are your neighbors. And we can reach the nations by reaching our neighbors. And so we can, we can fulfill the great commission of all nations without a passport. And that’s one of the great things I know for a lot of guys, all the demographic shifts, I mean, have had a hard impact on the health and attendance of a lot of churches.
And so we can be quick to bemoan it. But a missionary mindset says, no, this is, this is the where God called us. Right. And that, as Sam Rainer says, our address is not an accident. This is we’re here. We’re right here. And this is our mission. So just for our final kind of thought here, Casey. So even for that pastor that I met with, uh, I’m thinking of Jess motes at Terry Parker Baptist church, and he’s [00:24:00] got a community that’s changed a lot young guy, very teachable, great guy, showing wisdom and humility beyond his years.
So he has a lot more hope than you and I at his age, than we did. What resources would you say, Hey, if a guy says, Hey, I want to grow in this area. I want to be a missional pastor. I want to, I want to love my community. Well, and know how to do this. I want to, I want to marry the theology that misseology and the method methodology all in the right order.
what are a couple of resources you would suggest for a guy like that?
Casey Williams: Yeah. I think you hit on something just before I get to that. I think we’ve got, we’ve really got on the sidewalk. People understand that missions is not where we go. It’s who we are. Right. Like, it’s really like, we are missional people. We are great commission people. and I do think that as we watch, they call it globalization or globalization that’s occurring inside of our communities. You know, the, the growing rate of diversity in our own communities and the nationalities that are growing in our communities. [00:25:00] Like I talked about the Vietnamese population, for example, that’s a completely, there’s, there’s completely. Demographic group that is unreached with the gospel who are literally living in my neighborhood.
You know? So I would say that I’ll share a quote and then I’ll share some resources. So Tony Kim says that all churches say they want diversity, but few are willing to risk what they have built for the sake of being more inclusive, embracing and empowering. Another culture means a lot of change, and unfortunately, too many churches are risk averse. and that’s the, that’s the problem when we allow for methodology to drive the church, that’s a poor engine. so I would say like some great resources, that people should look into. I think, Gary McIntosh and ALK, magma hands book, being the church in a multi-ethnic community. Is probably one of my top because it talks about the value of both homogenous and multi-ethnic churches.
Some of them want to pit them against each other, but historically God has used homogenous churches. Endless. Let’s [00:26:00] talk about the Vietnamese church. For example, we need a homogenous Vietnamese church. We need. Like you can’t just say. And honestly, even in the African-American culture, like we need strong Bible preaching African-American churches, because that’s going to reach a demographic that my church has never going to reach.
So there’s a value of both and they want to pit against each other, I think Mac Lohan and, Macintosh do a great job of kind of walking that through. I’m a big fan of Georgia antsy. he’s releasing a new book here comes recently, in the next few weeks. So I would encourage you to check out his book.
trans cultural gospel by ed burns. and then he’s also come out with another book called ancient gospel, brave new world, is a great one, cultural intelligence by David Livermore. cultural intelligence by Daryl Bach, for God. So loved the world, but, Walter Strickland there’s, I mean, there’s so many resources.
I can’t, I can’t say anything about WorldClinic church and not. Mark DeMoss. I’m a part of their fellowship, at the mosaic global network. And so they are a tremendous resource when it comes to this. And [00:27:00] mark DeMoss is a real deal. I love him. He’s a good friend. So I would definitely encourage anything that they’re putting out.
they work with a lot, and I think another thing about the kingdom mindedness is also understand that not everybody’s going to be in. Right. Like, again, if you have a bigger picture of the kingdom than understand that everybody’s not going to be a part of your ilk and your tribe, and there’s some things that we can hold to convictionally, but I promise you in, in Sub-Saharan African, where I was just six months ago, there’s not a substantial Southern Baptist movement. Right, but I’ll tell you what is happening a tremendous gospel movement. Right? And so I think that you have to be willing to listen to people who aren’t of your group and of your tribe. And there may be things that you disagree with, but eat the meat and spit out the bone, man. That’s the only reason I got as big as I got, I don’t know how to do that.
so, but that’s part of the being parking in mind that the thumb is not the foot and the foot is not the. but we all need each other. And so, yeah. So yeah, I can talk about this forever.
JimBo Stewart: Thanks for coming [00:28:00] on. It’s so good to have you on here and introduce you to our audience, and I’m sure we’ll have you on again.
Casey Williams: yeah. Praise God. Thanks guys.