"To create and cultivate healthy partnerships with local congregations
train young leaders for a vibrant African church,
combining our resources to reach those beyond the grasp of the Gospel."
Our focus has not changed from the inception of our missionary calling. Our goal is to establish indigenous churches, both on a local and national level, with the intent of partnering together to fulfill the Great Commission. An indigenous church is one that rests firmly relevant in its own cultural context yet demonstrates the power of the Gospel to transform that culture and reorient it to display true Kingdom values.
In this regard, the goal of every church is
- to have the capacity to support itself financially,
- to develop leaders capable of influencing the church's direction,
- to expand its membership through effective evangelism and discipleship,
- to address contemporary issues and determine a Biblical response that remains both faithful to Biblical mandates yet relevant to its changing context, and
- to create its own structure to participate in the cross-cultural mission of the church universal.
This is an expanded list created from the original "three-self" concept of a church being self-governing, self-evangelizing, and self-supporting (adding self-theologizing and self-missionizing).
This universal discipleship process is applicable in every cultural context and at every level of the church's hierarchy. Each believer, local congregation or fellowship, and each regional, national, and international body needs to master these same five capacities.
For this reason, mature disciples of Jesus are those who can
- support themselves financially,
- follow Jesus in obedience without external guidelines,
- share their personal faith in a culturally sensitive manner,
- resolve personal life challenges in a manner faithful to the Scriptures, and
- find their calling in the grand equation of the Great Commission.
These five competencies are the markers for anyone in any cultural context wishing to find a satisfactory level of maturity in their Christian faith. They are the measures by which we evaluate progress in the discipleship process and in the overall effectiveness of a missionary endeavor.
In the case of missionary resources and strategies, this process moves from a relationship of dependence to an independent one and eventually to interdependence as the host church matures. Missionary roles change as these transitions occur but the ultimate goal is to create a partnership where the strengths of both parties are combined and the missionary efforts of the Church are multiplied. Therefore, the missionary mandate of a sending church is not considered complete until the host church has garnered these five capacities.
While this process may find its progress in fits and starts due to the economic, social and spiritual conditions in which the host church is found, viable missionary investment needs to be made with this eventual Great Commission partnership in mind. The process cannot be rushed or abandoned too soon. To do so derails the potential of creating a missionary force multiplier. (A side note: this is where some missions and churches who advocate a purely unreached people group involvement fall short, and may actually hinder the effective discipleship of the unreached by accepting a missionary goal that does not reflect this more fully-developed "five-self" model.)
With this in mind, the long term goal of the Assemblies of God, USA, missionary force in the DR Congo is to create a dynamic ministry partnership with the existing Assemblies of God fellowship there. In cooperation with other international mission partners, this consortium will equip, encourage and expand the work in the country to reach a level of autonomy where together we partner to extend this church's influence beyond its own national borders. In this way we find joint fulfillment of the Great Commission issued by Jesus. It is our intention to see the DR Congo become the next viable missionary-sending African Assemblies of God.
Recognizing that the Kingdom of God is not built of concrete, steel, and aluminum roofing sheets but by the transformation of individual lives, and considering the fact that God has chosen to use people in the expansion of His work, a missionary priority must be in the training of effective local spiritual leaders in order for the church in Congo to be self-sustaining and for our partnership with it to be effective in the long term.
In response to this, and in close consultation with and the wholehearted approval of the DR Congo A/G leadership, we concentrate on creating a strategic pastoral leadership training delivery sytem that serves all of the constituency in the DR Congo. Our mid-range goals are to train the teaching staffs, revamp the curriculum, install an effective and sustainable means of administrating the system, and enhance the infrastructure to insure its long-term adaptability. Our efforts in these areas will create the base on which this church can build their own missionary ministry.
Our work in the DR Congo is linked to our previous involvement in Chad by this principle of the indigenous church as missions partner. In Chad there are over eighty unreached people groups, and many more underserved in the sense that many of the churches there are not at the point of being partners in the mission.
It is unreasonable to assume these eighty groups will be reached by Western missionary personnel. During the fifteen years we invested in Chad there was no one who made a long term commitment to work in Chad. We need to encourage and partner with our African churches so they can join the missionary force that is needed to reach the unreached. Our goal in the DR Congo is to see this church become a bonafide missionary-sending church and equip them to take their place in the missionary equation.