“As a church planting coach in Cambodia, I once brought lanterns for use in a drama, a contextualized performance of the Bible story about Ruth and Naomi. I say contextualized in that the Cambodian church planters allowed the surrounding context to influence the style and nuances of the play. The Cambodian farmers were only able to meet at night after they came in from the fields, so I thought it would be beneficial to provide artificial lighting. I also brought a few other resources from the city to enhance the drama and create a pleasant atmosphere in this village setting. I viewed the lanterns as a simple act of kindness and a way to increase the effectiveness of this friendly community event.
A couple of weeks later, the church planters and I were preparing for another storytelling gathering. The church planters gave me a list of things I could bring to the gathering: a tarp, a car battery, and a portable stereo. As I held the list, I realized that I had made a momentous mistake. I was thinking of the success of the immediate event. “What will make this ministry event that I am a part of succeed in a timely manner?” This short-term thinking was a problem for several reasons. One, I communicated through my actions that the local resources of that village were somehow inferior. Two, I conditioned the church planters to feel a need to access resources not readily available to them in order to succeed in this ministry and future church plants. Third, if the church-in-process were to daughter a church in the future, they would want to use external resources to do it, as I had modeled to them.
This whole method can be summed up in one word: nonreproducible.”
We Are Not The Hero