The planet is more connected than ever before. Major international cities are connected to one another through networks of migrants, many of whom remain in steady contact with and support communities in their countries of origin. Human history is increasingly playing out in a web of urban centers. In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul’s strategy was to essentially develop Gospel outposts within the culture of a city, and we believe that this continues to be a viable approach today for reaching the many subcultures represented in global cities. Global cities are key strategic centers for world mission, and GCMI exists to make disciples at the world’s crossroads. By utilizing simple forms of disciple-making and church-planting, ministry is reproducible by new believers, and the Gospel may be shared far beyond the boundaries of the city. We aim to catalyze disciple-making in and through global cities, planting churches in urban settings and following the lines of relationships in cities to reach beyond boundaries.
GCMI is built around planting simple and reproducible churches in immigrant communities that can be transplanted through diaspora networks back into the home cultures of our neighbors in global cities. Our missionaries live in major urban centers among large immigrant communites. Our neighbors include some of the most unreached people groups in the world. Catalysts are involved in evangelism and church planting with the intention of raising up native church planters who, in turn, can reach their own families and communities both locally within the city as well as in their countries of origin.
Our primary emphasis is on discipleship and producing disciple-makers. Because of the transience in the lifestyle of many immigrant communities, it is not abnormal for those with whom we share the gospel to be on the move between cities, or between the city and their home country. Our strategy revolves around forming people as disciples who are capable of making other disciples; we plant churches which are designed to form other indigenous church planters.
Church meetings are often participatory. A leader (or group member) facilitates a discussion in a family-like atmosphere. Participating in dialog increases the potential for retention, and individuals learn to articulate truth “on the job” since they are working out the content of their faith in the context of a discussion as they attend a church gathering in a home or similar location. Bible studies that lead to planting new churches are often inductive, nurturing a process of discovering truth as a community, or at times they may involve contextual expressions such as oral storytelling that calls for a response.
Authority of Scripture
Churches are formed around the authority of Scripture. Leaders are facilitators, and the Scriptures themselves are the teacher. As a result, we are shortening the span of dependency on the initiator of the new church. Instead they learn as a community to discern the Scriptures together. Through modeling small group discussions, new disciples are taught to study and learn as a small community, to rely on the teachings of the Bible, and to become self-correcting as a church. While there may be (and often is) a key leader facilitating, new church groups do not depend on an outside leader because, as a community, they are formed (usually through a process over time) by the Scriptures as their primary teacher and guide.
Priesthood of All Believers
From the very beginning of the formation process, new & emerging believers learn that they can facilitate discussions, share their faith with the lost, and minister to others. The priesthood of all believers is an essential doctrine for multiplication of disciples and churches. For those being discipled, their baptism is their ordination to become ministers and disciple-makers. An “ordinary” believer can baptize others, pray over Communion, facilitate a Bible discussion, and plant a new house church. It is essential that missionary leaders constantly find ways to lower the barriers that inhibit the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers.
Simple & Reproducible
Church is simple. Simple does not necessarily mean simplistic; rather it is structured in a way which can be naturally reproduced without a lot of extra training or resources. Evangelistic practice, church planting, and leadership development is kept simple and is often learned "on the job." Church gatherings are also economical as they meet wherever space is already available (ie. a home, coffee shop, community room, etc.), and there is no material prerequisite such as property or paid staff in order to begin being church together. Gatherings may be casual or semi-casual (largely determined by the culture of that group). Discovery-based learning; worship, Communion, prayer, and similar activities are carried out in ways that are most natural for that particular household of faith. Because simplicity is taught and modeled in a small group setting, believers grasp the vision that they too can host, facilitate, or plant a small church in a home or other location.
Persons of Peace
Church planting begins by seeking “persons of peace” (LK 10). We are looking for persons of influence who are a gateway for the Gospel to their family, friends, neighbors, and others. Our ministry energies are spent discovering persons of peace as they are the doorway to a new cluster of people. Missionary workers are seeking cultural insiders who can share the Gospel with others around them. As Catalysts share the gospel, their primary task is to discover persons of peace. As individuals demonstrate receptivity to the gospel, we encourage them to invite their circle of influence (family, friends, neighbors, etc.) to gather together to begin learning and obeying the Gospel. These discipleship groups are the seedbed from which churches grow and multiply. Much like we observe in the stories of Cornelius, Lydia, or the Philippian jailer, through the person of peace a pre-existing community or household (oikos) evolves into a Christian community.
Evangelism and church growth occurs through multiplication. Rather than attempting to grow one large centralized congregation, many decentralized small communities seek to multiply throughout the city (and beyond). Through multiplication, the church begins to seep into every crack and crevice of society. Instead of growing larger and larger, we seek to equip new disciples and leaders to go out and plant simple churches. GCMI catalysts are successful when we make disciples who make disciples, or when we plant churches which plant churches.