Mobilizing A Sleeping Giant
Why We Must Deal with Issues of Dependency and Self-Reliance Among Mission-Established Institutions
Today there is a great deal of emphasis on preaching the Gospel where it has not yet been preached, particularly the 10/40 Window. In light of this one might ask Glenn Schwartz why he keeps going back to Africa where, in some places, the Gospel has been preached for several centuries. In one short answer he gives the word: MOBILIZATION. He says the church in sub-saharan Africa represents a sleeping giant - even though it is growing by local evangelism at some 15,000 to 20,000 new believers per day! But this church has not developed what missiologists call a movement for E3 evangelism. In other words it is not sending many missionaries beyond its own borders - to the 10/40 window, for example.
Dr. Winter reminds us all that if there is a raging fire we have two choices: one, is to use our small bucket to do what we can: the other is to wake up a hundred sleeping fireman. Glenn believes he is called to wake up sleeping firemen.
The Church in East, Central and Southern Africa (where Glenn concentrates his ministry) is often bogged down in maintenance or survival. Joining the worldwide Christian movement in taking the Gospel where it has not yet been preached seems beyond much of the church's financial and spiritual ability. While this church has done well in near-neighbor evangelism, Glenn has been concentrating on reasons why it is not reproducing itself in cross-cultural evangelism.
He feels that one clear reason relates to nominalism. Many Christians in Africa have accepted the Gospel on the periphery of their world view, leaving an animistic core as the driving force in life's most crucial decisions. Little wonder that a church with this kind of problem does not joyfully send its members into cross-cultural missionary evangelism. Obviously Glenn does not believe that this characterizes all believers in this part of Africa, but he says a successful missionary movement is built on a generally energized Christian community, not just some of its individual members.
Another major stumbling block to missionary advance is a "poverty mentality" which concludes, "We are too poor to do God's work without outside help." In fact, many church leaders are convinced that they cannot survive without the help of others. While some Christians in many parts of Africa are benefiting from Western materialism they
have not seen the relationship between what they are able to acquire and the poverty they often plead.
A third reason is the complex and expensive structure which the church in this part of Africa inherited from the Western missionary movement. If that structure is too expensive to be maintained, it is unlikely that it will be reproduced through missionary outreach. Churches running bank overdrafts to survive are unlikely to have dynamic missionary budgets for cross-cultural evangelism.
For the past ten years Glenn has been conducting seminars and consultations on the issue of dependency and self-reliance in Africa and elsewhere. He recently produced an 8-hour video/audio series exploring related issues. Glenn believes that many church and mission leaders are ready to take a serious look at this problem. Some have said, "Help on this subject is coming at just the right time for us."
If dependent churches can be motivated to move into missionary evangelism, they will join with Christians in Nigeria, Brazil, Korea and India in sending out their own members as missionaries. That is what keeps Glenn Schwartz going back to Africa.
He knows that this problem was not created overnight and it will not be solved overnight. But there are encouraging signs on the horizon. Churches in East, Central and Southern Africa have shown that dependency is not a terminal illness. The video series (Lessons 1 and 2) include stories of churches which have made progress in the move from dependency toward self-reliance.
Glenn believes that God wants His people everywhere not only to be part of that great crowd around the Throne of God at the end of time; He also believes that God wants them to be joined by others they have brought to stand before that Throne as well-- through missionary evangelism and outreach.
This video/audio series which includes a 125-page study guide is available at any of the following addresses:
WMA-USA, 825 Darby Lane, Lancaster, PA 17601 —Att: Larry Estepp (800) 230-5265 WMA-UK, Box 436, Reading, England RG1 6DH — Att: Glenn Schwartz WMA-East Africa, Box 48629, Nairobi, Kenya — Att: Don Ertley
Christian Enterprises, Box 240347, Ndola, Zambia — Att: Jonathan Zulu, Baptist International Media Services, P.O. Box 872, Edenvale 1610, South Africa -- Att: Dave Clarke
The series includes four 2-hour video tapes or eight 1-hour audio cassettes. The following 16 lessons are included: 1. Introduction to Issues of Dependency and Self-Reliance 2. Stories of Churches Which Made Some Progress Toward Self-Reliance 3. Characteristics of the Syndrome of Dependency 4. What Should Wealthy Churches Do With Their Money? 5. Historical Development of the Syndrome of Dependency 6. What Can Missionaries Do to Avoid Or Break the Dependency Syndrome? 7. What Can Church Leaders Do to Avoid Or Break the Dependency Syndrome? 8. Miscellaneous Issues Related to Dependency and Self-Reliance 9. Three Things of Importance for Mission-Established Institutions 10. Issues of Dependency Among the Poor and Unemployed 11. Joy of Giving and the Law of Tithing in Biblical Perspective 12. Indigenous Church and Missionary Sending 13. Christian Conversion and the Dependency Syndrome 14. Conflicting World Views and the Problem of Dependency 15. Ethnicity and Cross-cultural Church Planting: Why Dependency Develops 16. The Role of Business Men and Women In Breaking the Dependency Syndrome Video Tape Sets are $150 and Audio Tape Sets are $100. In the UK: sets are £100 and £70 respectively.
Biography - Glenn J. Schwartz After serving for seven and a half years with Brethren in Christ Missions in Zambia and Zimbabwe, Glenn Schwartz earned an M.A. in Missiology from Fuller Theological Seminary School of World Mission in 1973. From 1973-1979 he served as Assistant to the Dean and International Student Advisor at the FTS-SWM. He is currently founding Executive Director of World Mission Associates and frequently writes and lectures on the subject of dependency and self-reliance among mission-established institutions.