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Why an Accurate Cultural Perspective Helps with Contextualization of the Message and the Church

There is no command in the Bible to plant churches, but “a Great Commission theology supports the missionary practice of church planting,” which “includes the missio dei, incarnation, and the kingdom of God” (Payne, 2017, p. 14). Therefore, “church planting is the ministry of proclaiming the gospel and forming kingdom communities among every nation, tribe, people, and tongue to glorify God in time and eternity!” (Ott and Wilson, 2010, p. 3).

If church planting is a missionary activity then “gaining an accurate cultural perspective on a target culture, whether it’s on the other side of town or the other side of the world” (Forum 3 Description) remains the basis for a biblical church plant. An accurate cultural perspective helps with contextualization by which a church planter communicates the Gospel effectively while teaching obedience to new believers “as the new kingdom citizens live out the kingdom ethic in their communities” (Payne, 2017, p. 184).

This means the more time church planters spend understanding the culture, the more effective they are in their ministry cultural context and “through their building relationships and doing ministry, a church emerges” (Stetzer & Im, 2016, p. 83). The accurate cultural perspective produces indigenous churches that have a biblical ecclesiology (Payne, 2017, p. 32), and are self-governing, self-supporting, and self-propagating. This results in self-identifying, self-teaching, self-expressing, self-theologizing and self-sufficient local bodies , making them an expression of the Kingdom of God. Local churches should be indigenous from the time they are planted, and the contextualized, or indigenous churches are the biblical model of church planting, which is “shaped primarily by the cultures of the peoples, rather than the cultures of the missionaries” (Payne, 2017, p.189). 


Christopherson, Jeff. Kingdom First: Starting Churches that Shape Movements. Nashville: B&H Publishing, 2015.

Ott, Craig, and Gene Wilson. Global Church Planting: Biblical Principles and Best Practices for Multiplication. Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing Group, 2010.

Payne, J. D. Discovering Church Planting: An Introduction to the Whats, Whys, and Hows of  Global Church Planting. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2017.

Stetzer, Ed, and Daniel Im. Planting Missional Church: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply, 2nd ed., Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2016.

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