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Glocal Church Ministry

Roberts contends that churches should participate in the changing of the world by sending people. He points out that biblical teaching is to make disciples for kingdom expansion rather than resulting in church growth from converts. His thought is well aligned with Matthew 28:19. I understand his preference of “kingdom” to “mission.” Often the word “mission” is not properly used by churches and even by missionaries. I feel that the meaning of this term must be biblically taught so that the churches and its agencies of mission will no longer do it as “business as usual.” As Matthew 28:19 notes, “going” is mandatory in mission, followed by “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” to ultimately “make disciples.” This means that taking an action is essential to telling people what God’s kingdom is all about and who the King is in this kingdom. Without going (mission) there is no way telling of the Kingdom of God.

I want to add my thought born out of my experience in regard with the involvement of laity. With their endless resources and willingness, the challenge is how to prepare and deploy them to their best potential. The particular aim is to make them “global people.” When one fully understands the meaning of “being global,” he or she will be working globally. Often the major problem is that they, like all of us, come with their local orientation. Unless this is brought to the global dimension, they will move from one local to another local setting. This produces the superimposition of one’s culture and Christian orientation to another local setting. Moving from one local to another local setting does not make the person involved global. Unfortunately much of “global” mission, or kingdom work is from “local” to “local” under the name of “global.” Therefore, it will be critical to prepare this hardly tapped mission resource in the lives of laity, not only with the “how to do’s” of mission, but more importantly the global nature of their involvement. It is also necessary to orient them with soul-winning as the core and primary component of this global Christian transformation. If social transformation remains just as social development, how does this differ from social development projects undertaken by secular organizations? This may be what Roberts is fundamentally wrestling with.

Reviewed by Julie C. Ma


At the time of printing, this article was found online at:

For further reading, Leadership journal published a Christian Vision Project interview with Bob Roberts:


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Category: Ministry, Pneuma Review, Winter 2008

About the Author: Julie C. Ma is Research Tutor in Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, Oxford UK. She is the author of When the Spirit Meets the Spirits: Pentecostal Ministry among the Kankana-ey Tribe in the Philippines (Peter Lang, 2000) and Mission Possible: Biblical Strategies for Reaching the Lost (Regnum/Paternoster, 2005), and editor of Asian Church and God's Mission (2003) with her husband Wonsuk Ma. She now preparing her third book, Pentecostal Mission in Asian Context. Her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Intercultural Studies and Theology are from Fuller Theological Seminary. Facebook.

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