Churches and missional communities that lack affiliation with an international network suffer as a result. Some belong to networks, true, but often they are only national in scope. This lack of association with leaders from other countries creates cultural, strategic, theological and organizational myopia. Lack of multi-cultural and multi-national association creates a silo affect: members can see the strength of what they belong to “vertically” but don’t see the “horizontal” perspective, i.e., there are many other affective parts to God’s global work. The result is they are in-grown.
Every church and missional community needs a tribe to belong to, and if they are wise, they choose a tribe with experience and exposure in the nations. After all, the greatest growth of the church today is not the West but among the “rest.”
Many younger evangelical leaders frown on association with traditional denominations and older missionary organizations – they fear control and irrelevance.
However, it’s a different world today. National entities in international movements are legally independent. This allows them to raise funding, set strategies, and create fresh approaches to mission more effectively, while still benefitting from their wider tribal connection.
National affiliates in international movements don’t report directly to a centralized headquarters, but do have the advantage of being cross connected to members who work in the same areas of ministry located in different countries. This helps local leaders spot new strategies from other nations and thus be able to seize opportunities that benefit them locally – without giving up local ownership and leadership.