Posts Tagged ‘Strategy’

H-Scale (for Hinduism)

January 30, 2011

Most of the time the C-scale is used for Muslims only. Therefore a Hindu scholar, H.L. Richard, created the H-scale. Here is a reposting of his article in EMQ.

Note the big difference that the C-scale has 6 iterations while the H-scale has 7.  Thus while the C-scale and H-scale have cross0ver and may be used to describe either major religion.  The scale measures slightly different.

Read more of H.L. Richard’s work from the International Journal of Frontier Missiology here.

Evangelical Missions Quarterly, 40(3), July 2004, pp. 316-20


Insider Movement vs C5: Is there a difference?

January 25, 2011

NOTE: This is an objective article, not intended to share the opinions of the author concerning use of such strategies discussed. This also is an update to a previously article titled: “Insider Movement vs C5 contextualization: is there a difference”

There is a major issue I want to flush out and get to the bottom of. It seems that amongst missiological circles and even published in major mission scholar journals that the terms Insider Movements and C5 are interchangeable. I submit this humble treatise to argue that there is a crucial difference of the two, and request possible new terminology to represent such differences.

A few examples to note that combine the terms C5 and insider movements:

  • Bill Nikides’ article Evaluating “Insider Movements”: C5 (Messianic Muslims) where he reinterprets the original C1-C6 in light of insider movement terminology. (Nikides 2006)
  • John Stringer has a section titled C5: “Insider Movements” in his critique of contextualization. (Stringer 2007: 7)

Here are a few examples of those who are on target with these issues:

  • Timothy Tennent, who critics insider movements properly separates the two, “The growing emphasis on ‘insider movements’ often linked with ‘C-5’ strategy calls for continued discussion and reflection among mission leaders today.” (Tennent 2006:101)
  • H.L. Richard, a prominent Hindu scholar does a good job of separating the two. (Richard 2009: 175-176)
  • I will repost much of Rebecca Lewis’ Promoting Movements to Christ within Natural Communities (Lewis 2007: 74-75) who does a good job of teasing apart the two definitions.{Rebecca Lewis also separates the difference between ‘insider movement’ people movement’ and church planting movement’ in IJFM 26.1 (Lewis 2009: 16-19)}

According to a brilliant scholar and experienced worker, Rebecca Lewis,

“an ‘insider movement’ is any movement to faith in Christ where a) the gospel flows through pre-existing communities and social networks and where b) believing families, as valid expressions of the Body of Christ, remain inside their socio-religious communities, retaining their identity as members of that community while living under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the authority of the Bible.” (Lewis 2007: 75-76)

Insider Movement can be simplified into: who is in the local ‘church’? The two major factors for insider movements are community and identity. Remaining in their own social network without leaving their pre-existing community is the primary factor. The secondary factor under community is identity. What does this community see themselves as? (Muslims, Muslims who follow Isa, Christians, etc.). Insider Movement proponents fundamentally argue against aggregate church planting (who have progressed from extraction church planting).

Many missionaries go to the field looking to start a movement. Say a missionary, Paul, meets on separate occasions Philemon and a Roman Centurion. Aggregate church planting methodology would have Paul, Philemon and the Roman Centurion meeting together. This may (or may not) take Philemon or the Roman centurion out of their natural communities. Insider Movement methodology would refrain from having Philemon and the Roman centurion meet. Instead Paul would equip both to share their faith with their family and “implant” the gospel into their natural community.

In contrast, the C-scale is about “Christ Centered Communities” and helps answer the question: what does the ‘church’ look like? The primary factor is the forms to which the community adapts their biblical faith. The secondary factor is identity: what will this community call itself? In the C-scale, most of the controversy is between C4/C5. When nailed down, a C4 community calls themselves Christian and opposes styles of worship/prayer that are strictly Muslim (accept neutral forms). A C5 community calls themselves Muslims and look to reinterpret styles of worship/prayer that are strictly Muslim, infusing them with gospel meaning.

John Travis, who coined the C-scale over a decade ago revisits it with new ‘insider’ terminology,

“By definition, C3 and C4 Christ-centered communities are attempts to stay and witness within one’s community of birth: in other words, to remain an ‘insider.’ Therefore, perhaps we need to find a better term like ‘cultural insider’ (for C3 and C4) and ‘religious’ or ‘socio-religious’ insider to describe C5.” (originally in Mission Frontiers 28:5 p.7, quoted from IJFM 24.1 [Corwin 2007: 15])

Travis agrees there is a difference in culture and religion as well as how these play into the C-scale. He admits himself that “insider” is getting used too often (or as Heath & Heath say “semantic stretch” p.173). Insider Movements and C5 are not mutually inclusive terms. However with the identity component as described in both earlier, there is overlap. It is true that most times when people stay in their communities, they will also stay within their religious group. I would say that most often insider movements are found within C5 communities.

Biblical scholar and missiologist Rick Brown says, “so insider believers can be found across the C-spectrum of Christ-centered communities, although insider movements occur only in C4 and C5.” (Richard 2009:177). I would change one word here: “only” and substitute it for “usually.”

There is a caveat here. Since the primary indicator of an insider movement is the community identity, a whole community can move across the C-scale as time goes on. Say a group of Muslims turn to faith along familiar lines. In the beginning everyone still calls themselves Muslims and look on the outside like Muslims. Once the movement has reached the tipping point and comprises the majority and leadership of a community, the community could decide as a whole to reject different forms and change the communal identity. Thus they would maintain their insider movement while crossing into another category along the C-scale.

Two situations that may help picture this:

A gathering of Muslim Background Believers (MBBs) who come from different parts of the city, but are coming together for study and prayer. They were strangers who met at this meeting. They only see each other once a week although enjoy each other’s company. The style may even look Islamic but when the individuals are pulled out of their network it ceases to become an ‘insider movement’ even though it is a C5 community.

Albeit unusual, I propose the following as a extreme point for contrast. There is a C3 community where a village or sector in society have all become MBBs. These groups of families are frustrated with Islam so leave their religious ways behind. They still worship in their language, but it does not resemble Islam. They no longer refer to themselves Muslim. The whole community/familiar network has decided to follow Jesus and have abandoned the ways of Islam. Perhaps they even look Western (or Asian, African, or Latin American). However since the entire network made a group decision, they are still an C3 insider movement.

It is more about the network and communal ties than the “religion”. The most misleading situation is a house of religion (Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, etc.) that begins to follow Jesus as a whole, but is still made of people who randomly come together for worship (like we see in the West). Insider Movements occur when the gospel takes over a web of dyadic living, regardless of what it looks like.


In both Insider Movements and the C-scale identity matters, there is some overlap. However identity is a subset of either community or form/style. The primary factors that describe the two terms must be teased apart for there to be an intellectual conversation about the issues at hand. It also seems that the primary controversy surrounds this misunderstanding dealt with today. In my estimation most people meaning to critique the issue of contextualization and syncretism should be talking in terms of the C-scale. Insider Movements seem to be mistakenly tacked on to C5 within this controversy.

To close this I will refer to Rebecca Lewis’ comments,

“In my view, ‘insider movements’ are distinct from the C-scale in that, regardless of how Western or non-Western their forms, all that matters is that no new communities (no ‘aggregate churches’) are formed to extract believers from their pre-existing families and networks, so that they naturally retain their former identity. As such, ‘insider movements’ can take place within any socioreligious context, Western or not (such as Russian Orthodox, Mormon, Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, Chinese Communist, etc.), as long as believers remain inside their families, networks and communities, retaining the socioreligious identity of that group. So, while their new spiritual identity is in following Jesus Christ, and they gladly identify themselves with Him, they remain in their birth family and community and retain the temporal identity of their familial socio-religious context. A C5 church might or might not have developed along the lines of natural social networks, and it might or might not be part of a movement and is therefore distinct from ‘insider movements.’ ‘Messianic synagogues,’ for example, though highly contextualized in forms to religious Judaism, are not an ‘insider movement’ because they are neither flowing through Jewish family networks nor have they succeeded in retaining an acceptably Jewish identity among Jews. Messianic mosques and messianic ashrams often suffer the same fate, following an aggregate model of fellowship formation instead of letting the gospel flow through pre-existing natural communities.” (Lewis 2007: 75-76)

For more information, an unbiased source that may be helpful is the Wikipedia article

Book Review: From Seed to Fruit (edited by J. Dudley Woodberry)

December 21, 2009

It is not often to come across a book that has breadth and depth at the same time, especially concerning missiological topics on Muslim peoples.  From Seed to Fruit: Global Trends, Fruitful Practices and Emerging Issues among Muslims is such a book.  This book has it all to me.  Various authors sharing their concentrations.  Different missionaries sharing their context-specific experiences.  Topics covering both macro and micro ideas for the missiologist (theorist) and missionary (practitioner).  It seemed like a great overview of the missiology I have been learning for the past five years.  The book is the result of research taken from field practitioner reports and attempts to analyze what practices lead most effectively to people movements.

Buy the Book HERE

Here are other reviews of the book:

Here is the Table of Contents to get a snap shot of the book:

Part I Global Trends: Soils, Seed, Sowers and First Fruits
Chapter 1 Look at the Fields: Survey of the Task – Patrick Johnstone
Chapter 2 Unplowed Ground: Engaging the Unreached – Jeff Liverman
Chapter 3 The Imperishable Seed: Toward Effective Sharing of Scripture – Andrea & Leith Gray
Chapter 4 Laborers from the Global South: Partnering in the Task – Greg Livingstone
Chapter 5 Sister Laborers: Partnering in the Task – Sue Eenigenburg
Chapter 6 First Fruits and Future Harvests – Jim Haney

Part II Fruitful Practices: Sowing, Watering, Gathering, Reproducing
Chapter 7 Eyes to See, Ears to Hear – Don Allen
Chapter 8 The Sowing of Witnessing – David Greenlee & Pam Wilson
Chapter 9 The Watering of Discipling – John Becker & Erik Simuyu
Chapter 10 The Gathering of Reproducing Fellowships – Eric and Laura Adams
Chapter 11 The Equipping of Leaders – Debora Viveza & Dwight Samuel
Chapter 12 The Gathering of Teams of Laborers – Andrew & Rachel Chard

Part III Emerging Issues in Fruitful Practices: Birds, Rocks, Sun, and Soil
Chapter 13 Factors Affecting the Identity that Jesus Followers Choose – John & Anna Travis with Phil Parshall
Chapter 14 Factors which Facilitate Fellowships becoming Movements – David Garrison & Seneca Garrison
Chapter 15 Bible Storying and Oral Use of the Scriptures – Jack Colgate
Chapter 16 Expatriates Empowering Indigenous Leaders – Abraham Durán, Michael Schuler, & Moses Sy
Chapter 17 Are We Nourishing or Choking Young Plants with Funds? – J. R. Meydan a& Ramsay Harris
Chapter 18 Relevant Responses to Folk Muslims – Caleb Chul-Soo Kim & John and Anna Travis
Chapter 19 Pre-Field Preparation to Sow – Don Allen & Abraham Durán

Part IV Emerging Issues in Global Trends: More Birds, Rocks, Sun, and Soil
Chapter 20 Islamism and Receptivity to Jesus – Moussa Bongoyok
Chapter 21 Toward Respectful Witness – Joseph Cumming
Chapter 22 Peacemaking and Church Formation – David Shenk & Ahmed Haile
Chapter 23 An Integrated Identity in a Globalized World – Patrick Lai & Rick Love
Chapter 24 Recapturing the Role of Suffering – Nik Ripken

Missiological Implications of the Intertestamental Period

June 19, 2009

This summer my wife and I are going through Foundations of the World Christian Movement, a 3 hour all of history overview course.  It follows similar path of the program we run called INSIGHT.  It is a lot of Dr. Winter’s missiology.

This week we’ve been reading about the time before Jesus comes to the scene called the Intertestamental Period.  Here are two major missiological implications of this time period:

  • Diaspora: The diaspora set up the possibility for God’s chosen people to be spread out all around the region.  It is said that God’s word was taught in all the cities.  Had the Northern and Southern Kingdoms not been taken over, the people of God would have been geographically isolated.   These spread out believers is who the 1st century missionaries like Paul and Peter went to first.  In these synagogues across the region people’s hearts were more ready to receive the truth that the Messiah had arrived.  The diaspora (along with the Septuagint {in detail below} ) made it possible for Gentiles to engage with truth before the ultimate truth (Jesus) came.  These “God fears” were the start of the Gentile church – greatly aided by the diaspora Jews.  A current missiological strategy could gather the local Christ-followers and make them catalysts for the spread of the gospel.  Most missions tend to neglect the local Christians and toss their nominal faith aside, rather than re-light a fire within them.  Another strategy could be proposed out of this example is saturation.  This is where we infuse an area with a large number of Christ followers and hope they share their faith with their neighbors.
  • Septuagint: The Septuagint is the Greek version of the Old Testament, put together during this time of Hellenization (see Alexander the Great).  The meaning of the ancient role of the Septuagint for modern missionary strategy concerns the language and culture of the people being served. The Septuagint was seen as attractive to the Romans because they could go and hear Greek being read and learn the language. It was a felt need that the early church and synagogues used. Usually the Jews made these “God fearers” sit in the back because of their ethnocentrism (a practice we should not repeat), but nevertheless Roman citizens were exposed to the truth. I think there is a missiological correlation with using the Bible to teach English.  This strategy has been widely used in China and other such closed countries where “English teachers” will come into to Universities, schools, or just neighborhoods and teach English using the truth. While I have not participated myself, from reports it seems like this strategy helps open people to receive the truth and use one on one mentor relationships to challenge individuals/families to faith and further disciple them (in both English and God’s word).

    Reports of Muslim Ministry from the Field

    January 17, 2009

    I have been reading the post (and the many ensuing comments) of a missionary working with Muslims in the Middle East.  I was encouraged by his post and found the discussion that followed shared many of the common beliefs of American Evangelicals.  I encourage you to read the post and some of the discussions that followed on the comments.  I think this issue is one that should be examined and study before we  assert our ignorance.

    Here is the link –

    After taking some time to work out these issues in your own heart, please comment here as to where you stand in this debate.

    Christianity in India

    January 14, 2009

    *NOTE: I am not the expert in this, however my opinions have been formed by those experts. If you would like me to have a question answered, please post it in the comments.

    It seems like the so called caste system is eroding (if it ever existed). The way most Westerners are described caste (and Hinduism in general) is just academic and does not match with the reality on the ground.

    More than caste or the general class categories (Brahman, non-Brahman, Dalits), Jātis is what matters in India. Jātis means “birth” or the community you’ve been birthed into. There are hundreds of Jātis and people can range in their Jāti from poor to rich, urban to rural. More than caste Jāti is identity. In America our identity question is either “What do you do?” OR “Where did you graduate from?” In India it is “What is your Jāti?”

    So when Hindus become Christian they often add the Christian label to their Jāti and become “Christian-Jāti.” The Christian label is now a modifier and separates one from their Jāti.

    Well what do missionaries (& national Hindu background believers) do with caste?  The dual identity doesn’t usually work.  So the perceived solution is you have to get rid of the Jāti, since caste breaks up the church in India.  So now you have Hindu background believers leaving their communities and spheres of influence to join the church and become “Christian.”  What is really happening is their idenity as Christian becomes its own Jāti.  That cannot work.

    Those I agree with have proposed instead of dropping the Jāti of their identity, dropping the Christian label out of the identity.  Instead of calling oneself Christian, they now call themselves by the same birth identity.  They are a [blank] who happens to be a follower of Christ.  This keeps all the networks in tact and causes no identity crisis for the new believer.

    What do you think?  Do you disagree, should caste of all kind be eliminated from the Christian sphere in India?  How would you handle the situation if you were a missionary on the ground in India?

    The Flying Man Pt 6: The Missing Father by Leith Gray

    January 2, 2009

    (Read the original article published in the Nov/Dec edition of Mission Frontiers magazine)

    This is a very interesting article on how to communicate the concept of the trinity to Muslims.  I don’t have any critiques or outside comments on my own so I will just summary the article for you.  Again, I urge you to read the article for your self.

    He goes into great background of why Muslims have a hard time with this concept in general.  He refers to Surah 19:90-91 and also points out that the Arabic language uses neutral gender terminology for Allah.

    “So what can we do?” he asks.

    1. Model the use of Trinitarian prayers in front of them
    2. Avoid language that may sound biological or sexual in their context
    3. Use comparative equivalents and similes to transfer meaning
    4. Refer to names in the “Ninety-nine beautiful names of Allah” to show father-like attributes.

    Any other comments?

    The Flying Man Pt 4: How to Best Help China by Dr. Winter

    December 23, 2008

    (Read the original article published in the Nov/Dec edition of Mission Frontiers magazine)

    Some of the themes discussed in my the last post will be repeated and elaborated on here. Again it is interesting to read Dr. Winter’s writings as he usually talks out the issues he writes about to our staff on Friday mornings. I remember him bringing up some of these issues and am learning his primary worldview.

    Winter contrasts the lives and ministries of two China heroes. One is the famous missionary to China, Hudson Taylor, his less known contemporary is Timothy Richard.

    First the similarities, both were evangelical in tradition and culturally sensitive (wore Chinese clothes and learned Chinese language.) Both were visionaries and pioneered organizations. Both also had a love for China, and devoted their lives to serving the Chinese people.

    Since much is written about Taylor, Dr. Winter spends most of the article describing Richard and contrasting with known facts / practices of Taylor. Winter cited a history of missions book with information on both missionaries called These Sought a Country by Kenneth Scott Latourette.

    The main dividing line concerns the issue of what do to on the field? Is it just service (a recent trend in developing organizations and the focus of North American people [read previous blog concerning these stats.]) Is it just evangelism and focusing on “the spiritual?” Or is it a combination of the two?

    Taylor vehemently evangelized and concentrated all his eggs in this basket. He told his team members to not worry about planting churches, but only preach and evangelize. He strictly followed the Mark version of the Great Commission but seemingly neglected Matthew’s Great Commission covenant.

    Richard on the other hand focused on evangelism with helping the people. Naming eliminating the horrible practice of foot-binding and developing nation-wide education. His strategy was to evangelize and sow widely, but focus and disciple those that favored the message. He developed leadership within the church structure and gained acceptance by community leadership and authority.

    I have the utmost respect for Hudson Taylor and the things he did for China and the rest of the world. When it comes to strategy though, I am inclined to agree with Richard and have workers follow the more holistic model. To Taylor, I use him as an example of sacrifice and commitment to the task through his example. I also see him as an amazing mobilizer, getting more people to his go to China through his agency than all others.

    What do you think? What are your impressions on both of these men and their strategies?

    The Flying Man Pt 3: The Legacy of Love in China by Rick Wood

    December 20, 2008

    (Read the original article published in the Nov/Dec edition of Mission Frontiers magazine)

    This short article gives a basic overview of mission history in China. I have two main reflections:

    1) Wood borrowed a substantial amount of material from the online user-defined encyclopedia, Wikipedia. How amazing that this work is now being published in articles. It used to be that Wikipedia (online resources in general) were seen as unreliable and not scholarly enough to quote. Now it is beginning to be used more widely. A university recently did a study on the reliability and truthfulness of Wikipedia and found it to be more reliable and accurate than the Encyclopedia Britannica. Amazing.

    2) Onto the content of the article itself. I knew that missionary work in many places not only evangelized, but also served the people through practical means. Wood argues that both the educational and medical systems in China can attribute their foundation of these missionary endeavors. I do not believe that at this point in time China would not on its own model the current Western educational and medical systems; however I did not know that it was missionaries serving the Chinese people in the 19th and early 20th centuries that introduced sciences and pharmaceutical medicine to China.

    What do you think / hear about going on today concerning mission work abroad? Do workers adequately serve the people through development? Is evangelism without service all unreached people groups need? How can we best glorify God and serve primarily Him in this context?

    Create International

    December 15, 2008

    Today we had the opportunity to hear from the founders/International Directors of Create International.  About 20 years ago they were on our campus, and are graduated through the University we are attached to.  We were so jazzed to hear about the ministry of this organization.

    At the heart of the organization is contextualization.  They take it to the next level though.  Create’s goal and focus is to provide up to date resources for missionaries.  They specialize in providing contextualized multimedia for people working in unreached people groups.

    They travel around the globe filming and recording films, music videos, short stories, bible storying and distribute what they make for free.  They are connected with Youth With a Mission (YWAM) but want to partner with many agencies.

    Today they were showing us videos and demonstrating how they distribute this media to teams around the world to utilize.  Workers download the media on their iPods, cell phones, computers and take them around with them (most young adults carry these things with them all the time).  These tools are great for short term teams who rarely know the language or the culture.  Once they begin conversations and gather people’s attention, they can share these videos that describe the gospel relevantly in the heart language of the people.  How amazing!  Long-term teams can use these to accompany the outreach they are doing as well.  Often natives don’t want the foreign man’s religion.  However, when they see someone who looks like them and talks like them attesting to the goodness of God in thier own heart language, they begin to listen and understand how the gospel applies to their lives.

    Are you overseas, do you know someone going short term or long term?  Easily equip them to be effective as they share the message of Hope and give them a tool to do so in a culturally contextualized manner.  Go to the site and find a video that is culturally contextuallized to the people you (or your friends) are working with.

    Praise be to God that He commands us to use “all means” in sharing our faith!