In episode 4 of Lessons from the Field we talk with Todd Gerst, a church planter and Bible translator who worked among an unreached people group in Papua New Guinea (See the video His Gift to Gie). He and his wife Karen spent 15 years working with the Maleu people seeing several churches established, elders appointed, and the fruit of new birth apparent in countless lives. Todd is now Lead Pastor at Warsaw Community Church in Indiana, USA. We asked the question:

What would you say is the single biggest factor in effective church planting in a least-reached people group?

Simon:              Hi everyone. Great to have you back on the Lessons From the Field podcast. I’m here with Brad.

Brad:                Hi Simon.

Simon:              And Brad and I are back again to be talking to some people from the field. Some people who have worked in cross-cultural church planting in least rich people groups.

Brad:                What have we got today, man?

Simon:              Today we’re back with Todd Gerst, who we talked to last week, so if you want to know about him just go back and listen to last week’s episode, episode number four.

Brad:                He’s that American bloke right?

Simon:              He’s an American dude.

Brad:                Dude.

Simon:              Yeah, that’s right. Okay. Cool. Now, [crosstalk 00:00:46] you did, but now, what I was going to say is, this podcast is all about answering tough questions.

Brad:                Yep.

Simon:              We throw those questions to field experienced cross-cultural workers, whether that’ll be Bible translators, church planning consultants, church planters, missionaries, et cetera.

Brad:                Space for thoughtful questions coming in.

Simon:              Yeah, that’s right and they’re, and they’re still coming. So please, if you have more questions to ask, of these people from the field, please go to lessonsfromthefield.org. We’ve got a form there where… which you can fill out. It’ll shoot us an email and then we will find-

Brad:                Let’s get interactive.

Simon:              Yeah, that’s right. We will find the best person to answer your question.

Brad:                Cool.

Simon:              And that’s what this podcast is all about. It’s about being useful and learning lessons.

Brad:                Yeah. That’s right.

Simon:              Yeah. Okay. So today we’re back with Todd and we asked Todd the question, what are some of your observations of the approach to missions that is current in the US church? Now, Brad, you and I might be a little bit out of our depth here.

Brad:                You’ve been to a US church?

Simon:              I’ve never been to the US. You have.

Brad:                I lived there for three and a half years, yeah. [crosstalk 00:01:52].

Simon:              I didn’t realize it was that long. Yeah.

Brad:                Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Simon:              That’s awesome. Wow, you-

Brad:                Denver, Colorado.

Simon:              Denver, Colorado.

Brad:                I loved it. What an awesome place.

Simon:              Yeah, good, good. All right. I think we’ve won some brownie points with our US listeners.

Brad:                Yeah, I’ll send the link of this to all my US friends in Colorado.

Simon:              Fantastic. That’ll be good. That’ll be good. Okay, so let’s listen to what Todd has to say about that question.

Todd:               I think the biggest thing is an awakening. There seems to be a real spirit and a real sense that the task isn’t finished. That there is a big world out there, and I think as the world has gone smaller or more global, that there’s more of an understanding. So you almost see an awakening to the fact that there is a need out there. I think the real challenge though is to, how to meet that need. What is the approach to take and that’s where it really gets tough, particularly for the American church, the church in the US as they think about what it would require. They tend to look more at programs. They tend to look more physical resources. They think about providing things for people that would perhaps make life easier, but they really have struggled and we do struggle with making a connection with the spiritual change and the life change.

Todd:               They struggle with the, desire or the willingness to go and to give their life. Recognizing that that is what Christ calls us to, and so for an effective ministry to happen outside of your own culture and your own language, the giving of your life to see that accomplished, that is yet to really take root. There’s also the challenge of equipping. The church historically has not been focused on sending folks out beyond their own communities, and so you think about some of the real specific challenges of say language learning, living in a foreign culture and country, but also then you think about the role of the church itself. They have historically, I think, handed that job off to sending agencies and I believe that’s changing. More and more churches are recognizing that God has called the church to be the sending agency. He’s the one that put the church in the position to reach the world. He’s the one that sends the church into the world. And so as that is growing, it presents a lot of new challenges and I’m praying the church is up for it.

Simon:              And now Brad, you’ve got a page full of notes there. Throw something at me.

Brad:                It’s all doodle mate.

Simon:              Wow.

Brad:                I’ve just been doodling.

Simon:              What’s hitting you from what Todd’s saying there.

Brad:                Well, really appreciated Todd’s insights there, and like you said mate, we were sitting on the other side of the world here in Australia. Got a little familiarity with the US church. You know why? Because it’s not really that different from a lot of what we see here in Australia. And…

Simon:              Okay.

Brad:                I’m familiar with being in a US church for three and a half years. Active missions department, a missional church. So you speak on this a little bit, but…

Simon:              Yeah.

Brad:                Let’s broad it out more widely to our own context here in Australia as well. And I think awakening was a good word that Todd used. I think there is an awareness. There is an awareness, but it’s the what now…

Simon:              Yes.

Brad:                Kind of question.

Simon:              Yeah.

Brad:                That kind of, I think needs to be answered. So I’ll give you an example mate.

Simon:              Okay.

Brad:                So I’ll talk about two conferences.

Simon:              Okay.

Brad:                Conference that I went to with you last year.

Simon:              Okay.

Brad:                I can see your brain ticking over there.

Simon:              Yep.

Brad:                Now, what is Brad going to talk about here? So we went to a conference last year. Really big conference. I won’t say where and I won’t say who it is. We’ll leave that for other people to work out if they want to. Don’t worry about that, but we went to this conference and it was very vague. It was very vague and…

Simon:              It was a missions conference right?

Brad:                It was a missions conference. The focus was all on missions and it was… That was more like a slumber party than an awakening. Okay. And I was actually that guy, right? Who pulled his phone out and started looking at Facebook. So it was kind of like, what is going on here? And I was kind of left there feeling a bit sad really, and thinking about… It was very lacking in any kind of enthusiasm for the great commission. And then I actually was talking to a guy recently about another conference that’s just started up. And I was listening to this guy and heard about what was going on and was excited about what these people were doing, and it was a conference, they had just held their first conference and I was interested to know more.

Simon:              Okay.

Brad:                He was telling me about this conference, and this conference is what Todd was saying of this awakening really. And they would talk about the need, that’s all they would talk about.

Simon:              Right.

Brad:                So they would raise awareness and advocacy for unreached people groups, and they would say, look at this, almost like picking up the Joshua project and flipping through and going, “wow, isn’t that awesome?” And I was saying, but what now?

Simon:              Yeah.

Brad:                What now? And…

Simon:              I think that was Todd’s point, wasn’t it? He was saying there’s this globalism that’s opened our eyes to the world and Christians are going, “wow”

Brad:                Right.

Simon:              “A few billion people unreached and won’t hear the gospel unless someone goes.”

Brad:                And we can be excited about that, right?

Simon:              Yeah. Yeah.

Brad:                We should be.

Simon:              And we are, and that’s what, this second conference that you were just describing there at that point. And then Todd goes on to say, but then we’re all struggling to figure out how to fill the need. And I think that’s a big deal.

Brad:                Right? Right. And then… So the other… If you’re to do a little, kind of word cloud of what Todd’s said-

Simon:              All right, okay.

Brad:                And that kind of thing, I think another word that might stand out as a pretty prominent with awakening was Todd talking about equipping.

Simon:              Yes.

Brad:                And so that’s the what now for the next step of someone who’s awake, right?

Simon:              Yes.

Brad:                It’s like, what do I do now? Well, I need to get equipped. I need to get some tools in my tool bag so that I can go and join in with the master builder to be about his mission. Right?

Simon:              Yeah.

Brad:                And so getting equipped and being intentional about that rather than just being awake. Yeah.

Simon:              You know how he was saying that the US church struggles to see past just programs or fulfilling material needs.

Brad:                Providing needs.

Simon:              Yeah. I think that whole mentality of, I’m just going for a program is part of our materialist culture. We fix things with things.

Brad:                Especially us blokes, right?

Simon:              Yeah. Okay. Yeah. All right. All right. Okay. Maybe we need a female’s perspective on this as well, but in our culture as a whole I think, things fix things. So if you have a problem, you… Or if you have a problem with your drains, you buy this product that unblocks the drains kind of thing. And so we have this problem with the gospel, so we will print the Bibles and we’ll send them, and now they have the gospel, and it’s kind of a… It’s almost as if the object does the work.

Brad:                Right. So…

Simon:              And he was saying that, Todd was saying that people struggle to go and give their lives because we’re not… We’re an individualist, materialistic, utilitarian society, we’re not a collectivist, [Immunal 00:10:00] sort of society where relationships are the fabric of our being. And…

Brad:                So…

Simon:              We don’t relate to it in that kind of way.

Brad:                So where do we as followers of Jesus do community? We do it in the church, right?

Simon:              Yes.

Brad:                Okay. So I like what Todd said about the church being the sending agency.

Simon:              Yeah. How it’s kind of moving back to that.

Brad:                So the church needs to assume this mindset of we are the senders.

Simon:              Yes.

Brad:                All right. We’re not outsourcing somebody in their church, okay, to an agency and then send them a check once a month, or a direct debit into their bank account, and then they come home on home assignment three years later and it’s like, Oh, okay. But no, I think when a church is the sending agency and say, you know what? We’re going to walk alongside you as you go and learn culture, as you acquire language, as you prepare for evangelism, as you start to think about what’s it going to take to build a community of believers to maturity as a church together with other experts. It might be in a mission agency. We’re going to walk alongside you as well.

Simon:              Yeah.

Brad:                Okay. So that’s moving away now from giving you some resources.

Simon:              Yes.

Brad:                Giving you things. Giving you the drain unblocker to unblock your drain. This is, we’re going to walk alongside you and whatever it takes, we’re on this journey with you. That’s the church as the sending agency.

Simon:              Yeah.

Brad:                I really loved how Todd said that.

Simon:              Yeah. I have this idea as well that that will kind of become a cycle that breaks down the lack of knowledge or that ignorance for want of a better word, in what it does take. Because if you have this church who’s involved in these, in the lives of these people who are working overseas, then the people in the church who are coming up, who are growing up, maybe young teenagers, young adults who are thinking about maybe calling them into that kind of work, they can see it happening.

Simon:              And so it’s not this thing that the church leaders don’t know anything about, and that the church congregation doesn’t really know how it works. If the church is involved, all the people coming up through the church will know how it works and it’s not this mysterious thing that you’ve got to send someone off to and then you kind of fix that problem of the education and people not knowing things, and not knowing how to go and give their lives. They’ll see examples of people going and giving their lives and they’ll be involved in that process.

Brad:                Right.

Simon:              Yeah. So this kind of starts a bit of a cycle.

Brad:                Right. And so, yeah Simon, you are with AccessTruth and I work with CrossView right? And CrossView is a service agency.

Simon:              Yeah.

Brad:                And this is really close to home for us, this question that Todd was asked, right? In the sense that with the way that we’re talking about it now. So we thought about , what does it, what about a person who does some Bible college training, then needs to do some cross-cultural ministry training. So what, they might leave their home church. Their home church sends them to Bible college, go and do some missionary training, that might be out of their home church for three or four years.

Simon:              Or more.

Brad:                Yeah?

Simon:              Yeah.

Brad:                And so lose connection with their local church. What about after Bible training, what about if that cross-cultural ministry training is done with the church, in the church…

Simon:              Yeah.

Brad:                And the churches during their cross-cultural ministry training, looking for opportunities for that person who’s wanting to be equipped, joining together with them in their training for looking for opportunities in their own neighborhood to reach out cross-culturally, overcome obstacles together.

Simon:              Yeah.

Brad:                What it was… Maybe doing an ESL class, maybe doing a Bible study in a… With people from other cultures in your Bible study, looking for whatever opportunities there are, but you’re doing it together.

Simon:              Yes.

Brad:                What would that look like? And so that’s what we do with CrossView, is we have a non-residential training and equipping program where you stay in your local church, so it’s looking at the local church and building a culture within the local church to be the sending agency. And so then they continue together with other mission mentors to walk alongside them for the whole journey that they’re on and they are in it together.

Simon:              Yeah. Todd, to tie into that, Todd mentioned that churches don’t know how to equip people for say, culture and language acquisition.

Brad:                Right.

Simon:              Specific things like,

Brad:                Right.

Simon:              Cross-cultural church planting and how to evaluate that and yeah. CrossView is using…

Brad:                It’s a partnership, isn’t it?

Simon:              Yeah. CrossView is using some of AccessTruth’s resources there. I think if in specific answer to those questions there, there’s the wild, the word identity, life discipleship model for evaluating church growth-

Brad:                Growing church maturity.

Simon:              Yeah. And then there’s modules four, five and six, which are about culture, learning about culture.

Brad:                Yeah.

Simon:              Introduction to language and linguistics.

Brad:                Yeah.

Simon:              And all that kind of stuff so…

Brad:                It’s a really nitty gritty stuff, right?

Simon:              So yeah.

Brad:                And you wouldn’t expect a pastor to be across that material, and maybe that’s why they just outsource it. But there’s an opportunity, I think, and maybe a different paradigm that can be thought about of how can a church partner with a service provider like CrossView and AccessTruth, who can see somebody get equipped in their local church and then the local church take ownership of the mission together. I think it’d be a tremendous thing for the other people in the church to be exposed to this kind of thing.

Simon:              Definitely. Yeah.

Brad:                And then they walk alongside these people when they come home on home assignment, it’s like their partners have come back.

Simon:              Yeah. And the people understand, just through everyday conversations, the people understand the different stuff that they’ve been learning even. So as you were saying, maybe the pastor has not done this course, but by having had a few couples go through his church who’ve been doing these different modules, these learning, these training programs, et cetera. He might know more about it than maybe any of the other church leaders in his area because he’s just been in contact with it. And so as I was saying before, it kind of starts that cycle of people knowing about it.

Brad:                Yeah, yeah.

Simon:              Of being informed and equipped and knowing how to get equipped.

Brad:                And managing expectations. To be so like you have people who are supporting, sometimes people are digging deep into their pocket, deep into their pockets to support people who are going.

Simon:              Yep.

Brad:                And it’s like, after two years we haven’t got a church already? What’s going on? It’s like… So there’s this deeper understanding of what it takes to go longterm to… It’s a whole life commitment and what does it actually take to acquire a deep understanding of culture and language before you can talk to somebody at a heart level.

Simon:              Yeah.

Brad:                So it creates a better understanding within everyone. I think if the local church changes this mindset of being somebody…

Simon:              Bank.

Brad:                Yeah, yeah. Right, right, right. A resource provider.

Simon:              Yep.

Brad:                They’re in this with them and they’re in partnership together and they’re walking alongside each other on this journey of reaching people where the gospel isn’t.

Simon:              Yeah. All right. Well I thought we should take the last few minutes of the podcast to maybe introduce some of the resources that AccessTruth has [crosstalk 00:18:24] We’ve touched on them. Yeah, that’s right. So maybe we’ll talk about the curriculum. So AccessTruth publishes resources for cross-cultural church planting and cross-cultural ministry of all sorts, and CrossView uses, is that right? CrossView uses…

Brad:                We do, we use a curriculum.

Simon:              A curriculum produced by AccessTruth.

Brad:                Yeah.

Simon:              So do you want to tell us a bit about the curriculum?

Brad:                Sure. So there’s 10 modules.

Simon:              Okay.

Brad:                In the curriculum. So AccessTruth have a heap of different resources, standalone resources, great educational resources, but they do have 10 modules which form a great cross-cultural ministry training and equipping resource.

Simon:              So It’s like a comprehensive sort of thing.

Brad:                yeah, yeah, that’s right. And the way we use it, and I think… And it’s core is designed this way, is that a person wanting to be equipped will watch the videos or read the book, and then there’s a question that’s posed at the end, a series of questions, activities. And then a mentor will walk alongside them with those and give them feedback as I go through the material. And so that’s what we do at CrossView. Trying to get their church leadership involved in the process as well. Let them know what they’re going through. And it’s really tailored to suit the participant. So depending on how the Lord might be leading them into what type of cross-cultural ministry they want, will want to do in the future. So whether it’s Bible translation, whether it’s church planning, whether that’s in a support role, we can tailor that. And that’s a great thing about the AccessTruth resources is, it can be tailored, a plug and play for the type of context that somebody might be going to.

Simon:              Yeah.

Brad:                And it’s very relational too. So it allows for a very relational type of training where, it’s becomes like one-on-one discipleship with the participant who’s going through the training and the mentor who’s walking alongside them doing it, that’s how we use it at CrossView.

Simon:              Yeah. That’s… I was going to say, is that yeah, you can use it entirely comprehensively like that, but also I just wanted to say to everyone who’s listening that each of those modules are available as a separate purchase on the AccessTruth website and you can just pick one that you’re interested in or that you maybe want to increase your knowledge in, and you can just do that through the website. You’ll just be given access to the video tutorials and those discussion and activity questions that Brad was talking about. And you’ll also be given access to the PDFs of that as well, and audio files if you just want to listen to them while you work rather than sitting down and watching a video.

Brad:                Yeah, yeah.

Simon:              So yeah, it’s a really good resource. We start off with three modules on, Bible teaching. So the first one is Genesis to Christ, the second one is Acts, and the third one is Romans and Thessalonians. And module four is an introduction to culture, and five is a linguistics module, introduction to phonetics and sentence structures and a basis for learning language and learning how to make different sounds and all that. That’s a fun one. Module six is a program called the BEC, becoming equipped to communicate, and that is about giving you the resources to learn language and culture in a real life setting to a deep, to a worldview level. And so that guides you through the process of going from saying hello, I’d like to buy some carrots to [crosstalk 00:22:28]

Brad:                It really breaks down learning a language, doesn’t it?

Simon:              Yeah, it breaks it down. It gives you daily activity [crosstalk 00:00:22:32].

Brad:                It makes it look doable.

Simon:              Yeah, that’s right. And then module seven is the introduction to the wild model.

Brad:                Yeah.

Simon:              Which is word identity, life and discipleship for evaluating and facilitating church growth.

Brad:                Yep.

Simon:              And then module eight is about resourcing the church. So it talks about Bible translation and literacy programs and all that kind of stuff. And module nine is real life case studies from cross-cultural church planting context. So we’ve got about 10 couples in there who talk about their actual experiences and they relate that back to the wild framework as well, which is really helpful.

Brad:                Yeah.

Simon:              And then module 10 is a final thing which you would do if you were about to move overseas into a context. So it’s basically an assignment.

Brad:                Yes.

Simon:              It guides you through a research assignment on a people group that you might want to engage with.

Brad:                Right.

Simon:              And so that’s the whole AccessTruth curriculum. You can check it out, read all the resources, there’s sample tutorials et cetera on the website, accesstruth.com.

Simon:              Thank you so much for listening everyone. It’s been great to have you along. Please come back next time and we will be talking to Todd one more time.

Brad:                Another lesson from the field.

Simon:              That’s right. But also don’t forget to listen to all the other episodes we’ve already done.

Brad:                Yeah.

Simon:              This is number five, so there’s four others for you to listen to as well.

Brad:                Binge them.

Simon:              Yeah, that’s right. Especially the first three. We sort of set the foundations for our values and what we’re talking about, defined some concepts as well.

Simon:              All right, everyone, thanks so much. Thanks Brad-

Brad:                Thanks Simon.

Simon:              …for being here and we’ll see you next time.

Simon:              Hi everyone. Great to have you back on the Lessons From the Field podcast. I’m here with Brad.

Brad:                Hi Simon.

Simon:              And Brad and I are back again to be talking to some people from the field. Some people who have worked in cross-cultural church planting in least rich people groups.

Brad:                What have we got today, man?

Simon:              Today we’re back with Todd Gerst, who we talked to last week, so if you want to know about him just go back and listen to last week’s episode, episode number four.

Brad:                He’s that American bloke right?

Simon:              He’s an American dude.

Brad:                Dude.

Simon:              Yeah, that’s right. Okay. Cool. Now, [crosstalk 00:00:46] you did, but now, what I was going to say is, this podcast is all about answering tough questions.

Brad:                Yep.

Simon:              We throw those questions to field experienced cross-cultural workers, whether that’ll be Bible translators, church planning consultants, church planters, missionaries, et cetera.

Brad:                Space for thoughtful questions coming in.

Simon:              Yeah, that’s right and they’re, and they’re still coming. So please, if you have more questions to ask, of these people from the field, please go to lessonsfromthefield.org. We’ve got a form there where… which you can fill out. It’ll shoot us an email and then we will find-

Brad:                Let’s get interactive.

Simon:              Yeah, that’s right. We will find the best person to answer your question.

Brad:                Cool.

Simon:              And that’s what this podcast is all about. It’s about being useful and learning lessons.

Brad:                Yeah. That’s right.

Simon:              Yeah. Okay. So today we’re back with Todd and we asked Todd the question, what are some of your observations of the approach to missions that is current in the US church? Now, Brad, you and I might be a little bit out of our depth here.

Brad:                You’ve been to a US church?

Simon:              I’ve never been to the US. You have.

Brad:                I lived there for three and a half years, yeah. [crosstalk 00:01:52].

Simon:              I didn’t realize it was that long. Yeah.

Brad:                Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Simon:              That’s awesome. Wow, you-

Brad:                Denver, Colorado.

Simon:              Denver, Colorado.

Brad:                I loved it. What an awesome place.

Simon:              Yeah, good, good. All right. I think we’ve won some brownie points with our US listeners.

Brad:                Yeah, I’ll send the link of this to all my US friends in Colorado.

Simon:              Fantastic. That’ll be good. That’ll be good. Okay, so let’s listen to what Todd has to say about that question.

Todd:               I think the biggest thing is an awakening. There seems to be a real spirit and a real sense that the task isn’t finished. That there is a big world out there, and I think as the world has gone smaller or more global, that there’s more of an understanding. So you almost see an awakening to the fact that there is a need out there. I think the real challenge though is to, how to meet that need. What is the approach to take and that’s where it really gets tough, particularly for the American church, the church in the US as they think about what it would require. They tend to look more at programs. They tend to look more physical resources. They think about providing things for people that would perhaps make life easier, but they really have struggled and we do struggle with making a connection with the spiritual change and the life change.

Todd:               They struggle with the, desire or the willingness to go and to give their life. Recognizing that that is what Christ calls us to, and so for an effective ministry to happen outside of your own culture and your own language, the giving of your life to see that accomplished, that is yet to really take root. There’s also the challenge of equipping. The church historically has not been focused on sending folks out beyond their own communities, and so you think about some of the real specific challenges of say language learning, living in a foreign culture and country, but also then you think about the role of the church itself. They have historically, I think, handed that job off to sending agencies and I believe that’s changing. More and more churches are recognizing that God has called the church to be the sending agency. He’s the one that put the church in the position to reach the world. He’s the one that sends the church into the world. And so as that is growing, it presents a lot of new challenges and I’m praying the church is up for it.

Simon:              And now Brad, you’ve got a page full of notes there. Throw something at me.

Brad:                It’s all doodle mate.

Simon:              Wow.

Brad:                I’ve just been doodling.

Simon:              What’s hitting you from what Todd’s saying there.

Brad:                Well, really appreciated Todd’s insights there, and like you said mate, we were sitting on the other side of the world here in Australia. Got a little familiarity with the US church. You know why? Because it’s not really that different from a lot of what we see here in Australia. And…

Simon:              Okay.

Brad:                I’m familiar with being in a US church for three and a half years. Active missions department, a missional church. So you speak on this a little bit, but…

Simon:              Yeah.

Brad:                Let’s broad it out more widely to our own context here in Australia as well. And I think awakening was a good word that Todd used. I think there is an awareness. There is an awareness, but it’s the what now…

Simon:              Yes.

Brad:                Kind of question.

Simon:              Yeah.

Brad:                That kind of, I think needs to be answered. So I’ll give you an example mate.

Simon:              Okay.

Brad:                So I’ll talk about two conferences.

Simon:              Okay.

Brad:                Conference that I went to with you last year.

Simon:              Okay.

Brad:                I can see your brain ticking over there.

Simon:              Yep.

Brad:                Now, what is Brad going to talk about here? So we went to a conference last year. Really big conference. I won’t say where and I won’t say who it is. We’ll leave that for other people to work out if they want to. Don’t worry about that, but we went to this conference and it was very vague. It was very vague and…

Simon:              It was a missions conference right?

Brad:                It was a missions conference. The focus was all on missions and it was… That was more like a slumber party than an awakening. Okay. And I was actually that guy, right? Who pulled his phone out and started looking at Facebook. So it was kind of like, what is going on here? And I was kind of left there feeling a bit sad really, and thinking about… It was very lacking in any kind of enthusiasm for the great commission. And then I actually was talking to a guy recently about another conference that’s just started up. And I was listening to this guy and heard about what was going on and was excited about what these people were doing, and it was a conference, they had just held their first conference and I was interested to know more.

Simon:              Okay.

Brad:                He was telling me about this conference, and this conference is what Todd was saying of this awakening really. And they would talk about the need, that’s all they would talk about.

Simon:              Right.

Brad:                So they would raise awareness and advocacy for unreached people groups, and they would say, look at this, almost like picking up the Joshua project and flipping through and going, “wow, isn’t that awesome?” And I was saying, but what now?

Simon:              Yeah.

Brad:                What now? And…

Simon:              I think that was Todd’s point, wasn’t it? He was saying there’s this globalism that’s opened our eyes to the world and Christians are going, “wow”

Brad:                Right.

Simon:              “A few billion people unreached and won’t hear the gospel unless someone goes.”

Brad:                And we can be excited about that, right?

Simon:              Yeah. Yeah.

Brad:                We should be.

Simon:              And we are, and that’s what, this second conference that you were just describing there at that point. And then Todd goes on to say, but then we’re all struggling to figure out how to fill the need. And I think that’s a big deal.

Brad:                Right? Right. And then… So the other… If you’re to do a little, kind of word cloud of what Todd’s said-

Simon:              All right, okay.

Brad:                And that kind of thing, I think another word that might stand out as a pretty prominent with awakening was Todd talking about equipping.

Simon:              Yes.

Brad:                And so that’s the what now for the next step of someone who’s awake, right?

Simon:              Yes.

Brad:                It’s like, what do I do now? Well, I need to get equipped. I need to get some tools in my tool bag so that I can go and join in with the master builder to be about his mission. Right?

Simon:              Yeah.

Brad:                And so getting equipped and being intentional about that rather than just being awake. Yeah.

Simon:              You know how he was saying that the US church struggles to see past just programs or fulfilling material needs.

Brad:                Providing needs.

Simon:              Yeah. I think that whole mentality of, I’m just going for a program is part of our materialist culture. We fix things with things.

Brad:                Especially us blokes, right?

Simon:              Yeah. Okay. Yeah. All right. All right. Okay. Maybe we need a female’s perspective on this as well, but in our culture as a whole I think, things fix things. So if you have a problem, you… Or if you have a problem with your drains, you buy this product that unblocks the drains kind of thing. And so we have this problem with the gospel, so we will print the Bibles and we’ll send them, and now they have the gospel, and it’s kind of a… It’s almost as if the object does the work.

Brad:                Right. So…

Simon:              And he was saying that, Todd was saying that people struggle to go and give their lives because we’re not… We’re an individualist, materialistic, utilitarian society, we’re not a collectivist, [Immunal 00:10:00] sort of society where relationships are the fabric of our being. And…

Brad:                So…

Simon:              We don’t relate to it in that kind of way.

Brad:                So where do we as followers of Jesus do community? We do it in the church, right?

Simon:              Yes.

Brad:                Okay. So I like what Todd said about the church being the sending agency.

Simon:              Yeah. How it’s kind of moving back to that.

Brad:                So the church needs to assume this mindset of we are the senders.

Simon:              Yes.

Brad:                All right. We’re not outsourcing somebody in their church, okay, to an agency and then send them a check once a month, or a direct debit into their bank account, and then they come home on home assignment three years later and it’s like, Oh, okay. But no, I think when a church is the sending agency and say, you know what? We’re going to walk alongside you as you go and learn culture, as you acquire language, as you prepare for evangelism, as you start to think about what’s it going to take to build a community of believers to maturity as a church together with other experts. It might be in a mission agency. We’re going to walk alongside you as well.

Simon:              Yeah.

Brad:                Okay. So that’s moving away now from giving you some resources.

Simon:              Yes.

Brad:                Giving you things. Giving you the drain unblocker to unblock your drain. This is, we’re going to walk alongside you and whatever it takes, we’re on this journey with you. That’s the church as the sending agency.

Simon:              Yeah.

Brad:                I really loved how Todd said that.

Simon:              Yeah. I have this idea as well that that will kind of become a cycle that breaks down the lack of knowledge or that ignorance for want of a better word, in what it does take. Because if you have this church who’s involved in these, in the lives of these people who are working overseas, then the people in the church who are coming up, who are growing up, maybe young teenagers, young adults who are thinking about maybe calling them into that kind of work, they can see it happening.

Simon:              And so it’s not this thing that the church leaders don’t know anything about, and that the church congregation doesn’t really know how it works. If the church is involved, all the people coming up through the church will know how it works and it’s not this mysterious thing that you’ve got to send someone off to and then you kind of fix that problem of the education and people not knowing things, and not knowing how to go and give their lives. They’ll see examples of people going and giving their lives and they’ll be involved in that process.

Brad:                Right.

Simon:              Yeah. So this kind of starts a bit of a cycle.

Brad:                Right. And so, yeah Simon, you are with AccessTruth and I work with CrossView right? And CrossView is a service agency.

Simon:              Yeah.

Brad:                And this is really close to home for us, this question that Todd was asked, right? In the sense that with the way that we’re talking about it now. So we thought about , what does it, what about a person who does some Bible college training, then needs to do some cross-cultural ministry training. So what, they might leave their home church. Their home church sends them to Bible college, go and do some missionary training, that might be out of their home church for three or four years.

Simon:              Or more.

Brad:                Yeah?

Simon:              Yeah.

Brad:                And so lose connection with their local church. What about after Bible training, what about if that cross-cultural ministry training is done with the church, in the church…

Simon:              Yeah.

Brad:                And the churches during their cross-cultural ministry training, looking for opportunities for that person who’s wanting to be equipped, joining together with them in their training for looking for opportunities in their own neighborhood to reach out cross-culturally, overcome obstacles together.

Simon:              Yeah.

Brad:                What it was… Maybe doing an ESL class, maybe doing a Bible study in a… With people from other cultures in your Bible study, looking for whatever opportunities there are, but you’re doing it together.

Simon:              Yes.

Brad:                What would that look like? And so that’s what we do with CrossView, is we have a non-residential training and equipping program where you stay in your local church, so it’s looking at the local church and building a culture within the local church to be the sending agency. And so then they continue together with other mission mentors to walk alongside them for the whole journey that they’re on and they are in it together.

Simon:              Yeah. Todd, to tie into that, Todd mentioned that churches don’t know how to equip people for say, culture and language acquisition.

Brad:                Right.

Simon:              Specific things like,

Brad:                Right.

Simon:              Cross-cultural church planting and how to evaluate that and yeah. CrossView is using…

Brad:                It’s a partnership, isn’t it?

Simon:              Yeah. CrossView is using some of AccessTruth’s resources there. I think if in specific answer to those questions there, there’s the wild, the word identity, life discipleship model for evaluating church growth-

Brad:                Growing church maturity.

Simon:              Yeah. And then there’s modules four, five and six, which are about culture, learning about culture.

Brad:                Yeah.

Simon:              Introduction to language and linguistics.

Brad:                Yeah.

Simon:              And all that kind of stuff so…

Brad:                It’s a really nitty gritty stuff, right?

Simon:              So yeah.

Brad:                And you wouldn’t expect a pastor to be across that material, and maybe that’s why they just outsource it. But there’s an opportunity, I think, and maybe a different paradigm that can be thought about of how can a church partner with a service provider like CrossView and AccessTruth, who can see somebody get equipped in their local church and then the local church take ownership of the mission together. I think it’d be a tremendous thing for the other people in the church to be exposed to this kind of thing.

Simon:              Definitely. Yeah.

Brad:                And then they walk alongside these people when they come home on home assignment, it’s like their partners have come back.

Simon:              Yeah. And the people understand, just through everyday conversations, the people understand the different stuff that they’ve been learning even. So as you were saying, maybe the pastor has not done this course, but by having had a few couples go through his church who’ve been doing these different modules, these learning, these training programs, et cetera. He might know more about it than maybe any of the other church leaders in his area because he’s just been in contact with it. And so as I was saying before, it kind of starts that cycle of people knowing about it.

Brad:                Yeah, yeah.

Simon:              Of being informed and equipped and knowing how to get equipped.

Brad:                And managing expectations. To be so like you have people who are supporting, sometimes people are digging deep into their pocket, deep into their pockets to support people who are going.

Simon:              Yep.

Brad:                And it’s like, after two years we haven’t got a church already? What’s going on? It’s like… So there’s this deeper understanding of what it takes to go longterm to… It’s a whole life commitment and what does it actually take to acquire a deep understanding of culture and language before you can talk to somebody at a heart level.

Simon:              Yeah.

Brad:                So it creates a better understanding within everyone. I think if the local church changes this mindset of being somebody…

Simon:              Bank.

Brad:                Yeah, yeah. Right, right, right. A resource provider.

Simon:              Yep.

Brad:                They’re in this with them and they’re in partnership together and they’re walking alongside each other on this journey of reaching people where the gospel isn’t.

Simon:              Yeah. All right. Well I thought we should take the last few minutes of the podcast to maybe introduce some of the resources that AccessTruth has [crosstalk 00:18:24] We’ve touched on them. Yeah, that’s right. So maybe we’ll talk about the curriculum. So AccessTruth publishes resources for cross-cultural church planting and cross-cultural ministry of all sorts, and CrossView uses, is that right? CrossView uses…

Brad:                We do, we use a curriculum.

Simon:              A curriculum produced by AccessTruth.

Brad:                Yeah.

Simon:              So do you want to tell us a bit about the curriculum?

Brad:                Sure. So there’s 10 modules.

Simon:              Okay.

Brad:                In the curriculum. So AccessTruth have a heap of different resources, standalone resources, great educational resources, but they do have 10 modules which form a great cross-cultural ministry training and equipping resource.

Simon:              So It’s like a comprehensive sort of thing.

Brad:                yeah, yeah, that’s right. And the way we use it, and I think… And it’s core is designed this way, is that a person wanting to be equipped will watch the videos or read the book, and then there’s a question that’s posed at the end, a series of questions, activities. And then a mentor will walk alongside them with those and give them feedback as I go through the material. And so that’s what we do at CrossView. Trying to get their church leadership involved in the process as well. Let them know what they’re going through. And it’s really tailored to suit the participant. So depending on how the Lord might be leading them into what type of cross-cultural ministry they want, will want to do in the future. So whether it’s Bible translation, whether it’s church planning, whether that’s in a support role, we can tailor that. And that’s a great thing about the AccessTruth resources is, it can be tailored, a plug and play for the type of context that somebody might be going to.

Simon:              Yeah.

Brad:                And it’s very relational too. So it allows for a very relational type of training where, it’s becomes like one-on-one discipleship with the participant who’s going through the training and the mentor who’s walking alongside them doing it, that’s how we use it at CrossView.

Simon:              Yeah. That’s… I was going to say, is that yeah, you can use it entirely comprehensively like that, but also I just wanted to say to everyone who’s listening that each of those modules are available as a separate purchase on the AccessTruth website and you can just pick one that you’re interested in or that you maybe want to increase your knowledge in, and you can just do that through the website. You’ll just be given access to the video tutorials and those discussion and activity questions that Brad was talking about. And you’ll also be given access to the PDFs of that as well, and audio files if you just want to listen to them while you work rather than sitting down and watching a video.

Brad:                Yeah, yeah.

Simon:              So yeah, it’s a really good resource. We start off with three modules on, Bible teaching. So the first one is Genesis to Christ, the second one is Acts, and the third one is Romans and Thessalonians. And module four is an introduction to culture, and five is a linguistics module, introduction to phonetics and sentence structures and a basis for learning language and learning how to make different sounds and all that. That’s a fun one. Module six is a program called the BEC, becoming equipped to communicate, and that is about giving you the resources to learn language and culture in a real life setting to a deep, to a worldview level. And so that guides you through the process of going from saying hello, I’d like to buy some carrots to [crosstalk 00:22:28]

Brad:                It really breaks down learning a language, doesn’t it?

Simon:              Yeah, it breaks it down. It gives you daily activity [crosstalk 00:00:22:32].

Brad:                It makes it look doable.

Simon:              Yeah, that’s right. And then module seven is the introduction to the wild model.

Brad:                Yeah.

Simon:              Which is word identity, life and discipleship for evaluating and facilitating church growth.

Brad:                Yep.

Simon:              And then module eight is about resourcing the church. So it talks about Bible translation and literacy programs and all that kind of stuff. And module nine is real life case studies from cross-cultural church planting context. So we’ve got about 10 couples in there who talk about their actual experiences and they relate that back to the wild framework as well, which is really helpful.

Brad:                Yeah.

Simon:              And then module 10 is a final thing which you would do if you were about to move overseas into a context. So it’s basically an assignment.

Brad:                Yes.

Simon:              It guides you through a research assignment on a people group that you might want to engage with.

Brad:                Right.

Simon:              And so that’s the whole AccessTruth curriculum. You can check it out, read all the resources, there’s sample tutorials et cetera on the website, accesstruth.com.

Simon:              Thank you so much for listening everyone. It’s been great to have you along. Please come back next time and we will be talking to Todd one more time.

Brad:                Another lesson from the field.

Simon:              That’s right. But also don’t forget to listen to all the other episodes we’ve already done.

Brad:                Yeah.

Simon:              This is number five, so there’s four others for you to listen to as well.

Brad:                Binge them.

Simon:              Yeah, that’s right. Especially the first three. We sort of set the foundations for our values and what we’re talking about, defined some concepts as well.

Simon:              All right, everyone, thanks so much. Thanks Brad-

Brad:                Thanks Simon.

Simon:              …for being here and we’ll see you next time.

Brad:                Okay.

Brad:                Okay.

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