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DSC05813Summary: This article is the first in a triad of articles: Nationalizing, Internationalizing, and Contextualizing. It moves from the 1960s through the 1980s, giving particular attention to our early expectations in 1961 until we reach the maturing reflections of our leaders writing in 1986, some twenty-five years later.


Early American Cultural Influences
Twentieth Century Trends
Navigator Directions, 1960s Onward
Cultural Diversity and Nationalizing

Paternalism is a very bad disease: It turns adults into children.

Dominic Mswaru


What do we mean by nationalizing? Basically, the training of men and women who will assume responsibility for the pursuit of our vision within their own countries.1 This need was acute if Americans were not to persevere in the totality of the task, which would have been clearly undesirable and unbiblical.

In 1961, Waldron Scott (American) then added a strategic aspect:

We cannot continue to expand into all the countries of the world from Glen Eyrie. Probably a third world war will interrupt that program. We will have to produce reproducers in other nations to carry on this job. The cultural aspect is a heavy factor to consider. We have not done it yet . . . ten years from now we will have to emphasize nationals; so this ten years should be to produce reproducers, and we will have to do it where we can do it best now to demonstrate that we have learned to produce reproducers.2

Scott’s point is that we should first show that we can raise up Americans as reproducers during the 1960s, in order to prepare to raise up nationals3 of other countries from the 1970s onward.

This process of equipping Navigators of many nationalities is so central in the pursuit of our Calling that it should be helpful first to take note of two contextual settings out of which our service to the nations emerged: the ethos of many Americans and the worldview that was dominant among Western missionaries at the start of the twentieth century.

Early American Cultural Influences

First, what was the likely influence of our American roots as an organization on our approach to the faith? How did and does American culture tend to color our worldviews?

Clearly, American Christianity in general is hardly a typical expression of the faith. Like every other expression, it has a particular flavor. For example, Dr. Andrew Walls who had ministered for many years in Africa put this well:

Among the features that mark (American Christianity) out from other Christian expressions are vigorous expansionism; readiness of invention; a willingness to make the fullest use of contemporary technology; finance, organization, and business methods; a mental separation of the spiritual and political realms combined with a conviction of the superlative excellence, if not the universal relevance, of the historical constitution and values of the nation; and an approach to theology, evangelism, and church life in terms of addressing problems and finding solutions.4

It was our reality that The Navigators came into existence in the US; indeed, in California! Therefore, one would expect that the first nationals appointed to represent The Navigators in their own countries would have picked up from their American mentors at least some of the above values.

Here is another example, this time from an outstanding Japanese believer, Kanzo Uchimura, who had come to Christ because of an American missionary for whom he had the highest respect; a man of whom he said that: “The Lord Jesus shone in his face, beat in his heart.” Yet his diagnosis of American culture, written in 1926, is that of a perceptive friend. Some extracts:

Americans themselves know all too well that their genius is not in religion. . . . Americans are great people; there is no doubt about that. They are great in building cities and railroads . . .great inventors. Americans are great adepts in the art of enjoying life to the utmost . . . needless to say, they are great in money. . . . They first make money before they undertake any serious work . . . to start and carry on any work without money is in the eyes of the Americans madness. . . . Americans are great in all these things and much else; but not in religion. . . . Americans must count religion in order to see or show its value. . . . To them big churches are successful churches . . . to win the greatest number of converts with the least expense is their constant endeavor. Statistics is their way of showing success or failure in their religion as in their commerce and politics. Numbers, numbers, oh, how they value numbers! . . . Mankind goes down to America to learn how to live the earthly life; but to live the heavenly life, they go to some other people. It is no special fault of Americans to be this-worldly; it is their national characteristic, and they in their self-knowledge ought to serve mankind in other fields than in religion.5

Having quoted these thoughts from Uchimura, Dr. Walls goes on to comment:

One fundamentally different constituent in the experience of Europeans and Americans is space.6 Nineteenth century American Christianity developed in a setting of apparently limitless space. In these circumstances it could be expansive and effective only by being entrepreneurial. . . . North American Christianity became pluriform and diffuse. There was always room for an inspired individualist; there was even promising scope for the eccentric. Well might Rufus Anderson see America as the natural sphere of the voluntary society.7

As we began to send American missionaries to other countries, we had before us the need to guard against taking our own country as the norm or standard. In practice, for example, Americans could easily overlook their own cultural values8 such as: Individualism, wastefulness, status of youth, informality, exuberance, frankness, optimism, equality, dignity of work, and materialism.

We have to be vigilant not to export the Gospel with an American (or any other) coating, as we strive to keep it pure and mobile. In our culture-bound humanity, this is by no means easy.9

In his brief reflections on Culture & the Bible, John Stott has this to say:

No word of the Bible was spoken in a cultural vacuum. Every part of it was culturally conditioned. This is not to say that its message was controlled by the local culture in such a way as to be distorted by it, but rather that the local culture was the medium through which God expressed himself.10

In summary, therefore, every culture has to dialogue with the transcultural Gospel to build indigenous expressions of the faith. Missionaries can and should serve the nationals in their quest, but should not presume to recommend the “right” forms for local consumption. This requires forbearance. It also may lead on occasion to syncretism, if the challenge of the Gospel is not well assimilated by the nationals.

Twentieth Century Trends

Secondly, before recounting our own experience, we look briefly at the climate in which the twentieth century had begun.

The World Missionary Conference took place in 1910 in Edinburgh. This gathering embodied what Mark Noll calls “the high tide of Western missionary expansion which had gathered strength all throughout the nineteenth century.”11 This WMC was meticulously prepared and justly celebrated. However, it shows a fascinating ambivalence. For example, the report on carrying the Gospel to all the non-Christian world begins with an exhaustive survey (288 pages) of the need by country and continent,12 but studiously avoids any mention of South America which was delicately assumed to be Christianized even though only Protestants attended the conference! Indeed, more than 80 percent of the 1200 delegates originated in Britain or North America, with only seventeen nationals from the southern hemisphere.13

To put some flesh on the challenges facing the delegates in 1910, here are some extracts from a stimulating address by the Rev. V. S. Azariah, an outstanding Indian believer, to the conference.14 He began with these words:

The problem of race relationships is one of the most serious problems confronting the Church today. The bridging of the gulf between the East and West and the attainment of a greater unity and common ground in Christ as the great Unifier of mankind is one of the deepest needs of our time. Cooperation between the foreign and native workers can only result from proper relationships. . . . It is ensured when the personal, official and spiritual relationships are right, and is hindered when these relationships are wrong. . . . Things must change, and change speedily.

He then emphasized that:

Friendship is more than condescending love. I do not deny that the foreign missionaries love the country and the people for whom they have made such noble sacrifices, but friendship is more than the love of a benefactor. . . . If I rightly regard a person as my friend, I respect his individuality and remember that he has peculiarities, rights and responsibilities of his own.

As the Indian congregations matured, the problem spread:

Now we have a new generation of younger missionaries who would like to be looked upon as fathers, and we have a new generation of Christians who do not wish to be treated like children. Should we not be the first to recognize this new spirit and hasten to strengthen the relationship, by becoming their friends? . . . This can, more than anything else, prevent the growth of the spirit of false independence, foolish impudence and flagrant bitterness against missionaries that we often meet with in Indian Christian young men today.

Dr. Azariah ends with a plea that the relationship between the missionary and the Indian worker should no longer be that between a master and a servant, and that:

An advanced step may be taken by transferring from foreigners to Indians responsibilities and privileges that are now too exclusively in the hands of the foreign missionary.

Azariah was reaching beyond the spread of the Gospel among the peoples of India, vital though that was, to a vision of a time when the “senders” and the “receivers” would merge into a community of mutual service in which leadership would be exercised by those so gifted, without concern for their nationality.

“A community of mutual service.” This is assuredly a biblical objective. How did The Navigators gradually come to align with sentiments such as these, and practice them with sensitivity?

Navigator Directions, 1960s Onward

From as early as the extended days of prayer for the nations that Dawson Trotman undertook in 1931 in the hills above Loma Linda, Navigators had a vision for planting the Gospel in every country. World vision was our shorthand for reaching the nations—and it was preached with passion.15 When we pick up the story in the 1950s, the “workforce” for discipling the nations was still American. Naturally so: the American cultural confidence of that era meshed with a committed evangelistic zeal.

One example is Bob Boardman’s willingness to sacrifice after losing much of his voice from an injury as a US Marine in Okinawa during World War II. As he was carrying a disabled Marine, he was seriously wounded when a Japanese sniper’s bullet went through his throat and a finger. Initially left for dead, Bob was later evacuated and given surgery in various naval hospitals in the United States. From that time on, Bob’s voice was reduced to a hoarse whisper, which he jokingly called “Japanese laryngitis.” He heard God calling him back to Japan to spread the Gospel among his former enemies. One of the high school Bible classes was in the village next to where Bob was wounded. Bob remembers: “It was a wonderful privilege to go back with different weapons, different purposes, and be right on the spot where the trauma took place in 1945.”16

Situation in the 1960s

At the start of the 1960s, we were coming out of a period in which we had worked closely with (and often for) other agencies. And so, almost all of our cross-cultural ministries were at the pioneering stage.

We had sixty-three overseas staff on the field, of whom fifty-two were overseas in January 1960 spread among fifteen countries of ministry.17 Outside the USA, we had beachheads in West Germany, Great Britain, Japan, New Zealand, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Sweden, Canada, Kenya, Costa Rica. All except Joe Simmons in New Zealand, Paul Lilienberg in Sweden and Gene Soderberg in Canada were Americans. However, we had also withdrawn from seven countries (China, France, Taiwan, Cyprus, Viet Nam, Venezuela, Denmark), at least temporarily. We were stretched very thin.

This is what made our first Overseas Policy Conference (OPC) in 1961 such a watershed. As never before, the leaders of The Navigators were immersed in prayerful debate on how best to pursue God’s calling to the nations. Indeed, the very thought that we urgently needed an “overseas policy” was rather novel. A dozen American men participated in a marathon discussion lasting twenty days to tackle issues such as:

  • Where does The Navigators fit in God’s plan?
  • What should be our objectives in any given country?
  • How do we develop our women’s work?
  • Should we be reaching people from every stratum of society?

We continued to speak of being “in” certain countries for ease of communication, but we certainly realized how thinly we were stretched: In fact, we were usually only beginning in one city per country.

Although we had in the 1950s accepted and been honored by invitations from other agencies, who desired our particular emphasis, this had diluted our focus. It had, said Doug Sparks, been difficult to say no, and our staff had often found themselves side-tracked.18 It would be better to concentrate by placing a second couple in our chosen areas. Myers summarized the reasons why we were not producing reproducers:

  • Limiting invitations
  • Language and culture
  • Too much mobility

Our first invitations had been through missionary societies. Then, in 1954, Clyde Taylor19 encouraged us to enter countries using our own name. By the early 1960s, invitations were coming mainly from churches in those countries. We still assumed that we would typically work through or alongside local churches.

Sanny pointed to the difficulties we had experienced in entering countries to help other people’s evangelism and their ministries, intending to train our own men in such settings. However, we found that our very desire to help had been misinterpreted. Some felt that we had taken over. Dan Piatt, for example, was told that we had infiltrated other organizations. Cec Davidson had found that we were accused of proselytism at some service centers.20

George Sanchez felt that there had been less of a problem in Latin America, where Protestant churches were not yet so strong. We were invited not because of the materials we had to offer but because our emphasis was desired, especially personal evangelism. In Latin America, in fact, we had great freedom.

Usually, we still thought of the nations (ta ethne) as countries. Thus, the immensity of the task was underlined by the emergence of so many countries from the grip of the Colonial Era. At the same time, the importance of cultural distinctives, especially language, in reaching human hearts was rapidly becoming clearer.21

One’s choice of terms is revealing. In the 1960s, we began to discuss how “nationals” could become Nav staff. As previously noted, by “nationals” we usually meant those who did not have the good fortune to be American citizens! Should they be appointed staff? Yes, though there was a certain caution. After much debate, the OPC in 1961 concluded that bringing nationals into a staff relationship with The Navigators should be flexible, governed by the varying circumstances in each country.22 It was already clear to the American leaders that “our vision from the time we enter a country is to look forward to the time when a national takes over.” It was well understood that, ideally, “producing reproducers in a country will best be carried out by nationals.” Also, the OPC discussion recognized that “we may have a limited time, as far as American missionaries are concerned.”

The OPC largely worked with four categories: contacts, employees, staff, and representatives. Doug Sparks’s view regarding nationals was that “when accepted as staff and having proved themselves to the place where they might even replace us, then they are referred to the Board of Directors. Perhaps they should come to the Glen for observation and training to see if The Navigators would like to make them Representatives.”23

This led to the question whether nationals should be financed with US money. Our early experience was that nationals had raised some money when appointed staff, which entailed much effort and sacrifice. Lorne Sanny summarized that those who were engaged in grassroots ministry (rather than clerical staff) must be 100 percent indigenously supported.24 He mentioned that Bakht Singh25 of India had around one hundred Indians on his staff, locally supported, having discovered that receiving money from America was “the worst thing that had happened” in his experience.

This decision, to which we largely held through many vicissitudes and a few exceptions, resulted in a relatively slow but steady increase of indigenous staff. When coupled with the practice of “growing our own,” it strongly influenced our approach.26

In our discussion during the OPC, we agreed that we wished to avoid being called “a service organization” and did not intend to wait for an invitation before entering a country. Sanny added that, “We are a mission. We are going in on our own. The basic way is to operate on our own, because we can produce better and do the job better . . . yet when this is communicated to other missions, it is no small item.” In future, provided that we are prepared to continue, we should normally enter:

  • Under our own name27
  • Related to the local churches
  • Free to pursue our objective unhindered

We have to bear in mind the evolution of our own history, as Robertson told the OPC in 1961. We had assumed before 1948 that we could accomplish our calling under other missions . . . then we moved into the use of our name, after Dr. Taylor in 1954 had urged this. When we did this, our first invitations came through missionary societies. By 1961 they were coming predominantly from national churches, so we would be going in under our own name but working through the national churches. The OPC assumed that we would continue in close relationship with national churches “connected but not ruled by them.”28

Sanny summed up our new perspective. We have freedom to enter new countries using our own name, relating to the national church yet pursuing our objective unhindered. This would allow us to be unconstrained in personal ministry and to demonstrate to others what we encourage them to do.29

There is a natural progression that we were beginning to follow in 1960, as the Spirit was drawing us into the nations. We had to first extend our trust and training to non-Americans, as they were recruited to our vision and grew in faith . . . and some would then become staff and leaders of staff in their own countries.

Our first examples had already emerged. Paul Lilienberg was leading Sweden and Samuel Daniel was responsible for India during the year that the Melkonians would be absent. Frank Jean was in Macau.30

Starting in a small way in the early 1960s, we began to see the appointment of a few more non-Americans31 to positions of responsibility. For example:

  • Dagfinn Saether (Norwegian) was appointed a Rep in Oslo in 1963.
  • The Singapore Training Center, with three young Chinese, was our first extended
    program in which Americans and Europeans worked alongside one another from 1965.
  • Paul Y. and John H. (Koreans) became ministry leaders in Korea in 1966.
  • Jim C. (Singaporean) launched our work at the University of Malaya,32 also in

These small but vital beginnings were enhanced by the appointment of the bicultural George Sanchez as our overseas director in 1963.

What was emerging here were the first steps of nationalization, a necessary prelude to the future in which our missionaries would flow from many nations to many nations.33

For the OPC in 1961, Jim Downing wrote a paper which built out from Isaiah 45:14, a promise much claimed by Daws, that “men of stature shall come over unto them and they shall be thine.” He pointed out that this reference was to those who were not Jews. Therefore, he wrote:

As we look ahead in the work of The Navigators, two principal things seem to be involved. First, a spiritual superstructure to be erected on the foundation described in Isaiah 58:12. Second in this process, men of stature of many nationalities are destined to come over unto us. . . . The charter34 of The Navigators is the Great Commission. Consequently, our objectives involve a witness in all nations. . . . We must survey the most strategic places in the world, beginning with the largest culture groups. We must first divide these culture groups into countries, languages, ages, sexes, professions and follow on down to every unit of society. . . . We must set up a system of priorities for assigning personnel and pray that God will provide the men for these priorities.

Developments at the Overseas Policy Conference

During this Overseas Policy Conference, our emerging thoughts centered on the need to use local languages and to accept that The Navigators would eventually be organized locally in every country where we would minister. As David Liao35 had observed in a letter to Doug Sparks: “A specialized Nav organization will be operated first by our overseas Reps and then turned over to the local people when they are sufficiently trained in our entire work. . . . This should be organizationally connected with the Nav HQ in the US: In addition to spiritual fellowship . . . such local organizations should work towards being self-supporting.”

The conference revealed the lengthy process of changing direction into our own program of cross-cultural missions, whereas the subsequent overseas directors’ conferences in June 1964 and November 1966 were more concerned with sharpening our performance and allocating priorities.

However, even in 1961, we could see progress in our field ministries. Here’s a heartening account from Sanny on his visit later that year to the Netherlands:

There is a work going on in Holland among our people which is very encouraging. We met many close-in warmhearted contacts . . . and had good fellowship with our staff. . . . The Sparks have a busy full house. Jerry Bridges is living with them and a fine young fellow by the name of Ken Phillips from England. Carolyn Stuhrman lives there also as well as a couple of other girls who are with them for training. Rog and Dottie Anderson love it here and are getting along very well. Rog shows that real drive to get after men that’s a joy to behold. . . . I can certainly see the importance of having a team of guys working together. Doug could not possibly have done what he has were it not for Jerry and Rog. They are developing a well-balanced work here in Holland and it’s a delightful and encouraging thing to see. . . The Saturday half-day evangelistic conference had 182 registered. About 110 or 120 were young men. At least six people remained for counseling.36

By the time the overseas directors met in 1964, they were able to agree that “it is no longer necessary for overseas nationals to be at international headquarters before receiving appointment as international staff.” And, furthermore, that “the selection and appointment of national staff is the responsibility of the continent director”37 rather than our personnel board at Glen Eyrie. We now had an overseas director (Sanchez) and an overseas department.

Nav offices had been set up in most of the countries where we opened works in the 1950s, to handle and grade the large number of responses from those enrolled in our correspondence courses. As our emphasis gradually changed to a more direct ministry, work in these offices shifted to handling local administration. Some closed. By the 1960s, typical functions of an administrative office in a maturing country outside the US included:

  • Legal and financial affairs
  • Preparing and distributing Nav materials for that country or language
  • Maintaining and using a mailing list of our constituency in that country
  • Serving as a communications center38

The number of non-Americans on our staff increased rapidly during the later 1960s. Here is the number of non-American staff compared with total staff.

1960: 16/213
1965: 20/242
1970: 72/434

Encouraging Indigenous Leadership

As we moved through the 1960s, we became increasingly conscious of the need first to permit and later to encourage indigenous39 practices among our first generation of non-American staff. An uplifting example is that four of our five Kenya staff were self-supporting by 1964, and making disciples.40

By “indigenous,” we generally meant ways of living and ministry that are endemic to a country, that emerge from within the hearts of the people.41

Jim Petersen gives a helpful example from his early days in Brazil.42 It concerns putting down roots into God’s Word. At a superficial level, for example, the existing Topical Memory System could not simply be imported by printing the verses in Portuguese. To a Brazilian student, the use of a fixed series of memory cards would be most odd, and, indeed, who was behind it? Who was making decisions and packaging them from outside Brazil? But the problem goes deeper! It happened that the Brazilian educational system was mainly rote learning, yielding boredom and poor results. Therefore, rote learning of verses from the Scriptures was an unappealing form. So, rather than impose a form that would not be indigenous, we concentrated on the function of taking every issue and question to the Scriptures. This bred a commitment to the centrality of the Scriptures for growing as a believer.43

Pursuing Freedom and Unity

In the period we have been considering, the early 1960s, many missions agencies had “nationalized” under the influence of strong anti-colonial or anti-American feelings and the rise of dictators such as Castro in Cuba. By this, such agencies often meant little more than appointing compliant national leaders. However, our ministry was not “to the national but through him . . . not for him but with him” (Sanchez). We thus avoided being sucked into much of the political furor of the times. As the OPC debated in 1961 how fast we might proceed, Warren Myers added that political nationalism was rampant in India, Indonesia, and the Philippines. It was a key rallying cry.44 Waldron Scott thought it possible that we would only be allowed a limited time as regards American missionaries. Similarly, at least during the Cold War, American nationalism was also rampant. A deceptive aspect of nationalism, more so of tribalism, is that we are hardly aware of it. Our way is surely the right way!45

When our Overseas Directors met again after the 1966 World Congress on Evangelism in Berlin, sponsored by the Graham organization, Scott presented his thoughts on “Our Long-Range Objectives for a Given Country or Culture.” What would we be like twenty-five years later, in 1991? He argued that our basic objectives for the work in a country are that it should be genuine, indigenous, and related:

  • Genuine: identifiable and recognizable to other Navigators
  • Indigenous: self-sustaining and able to carry on by itself when necessary, reflecting the special features of the local culture
  • Related: in no way isolated from other Nav works, but tied into our worldwide fellowship

In examining the biblical context, Scotty drew attention to “a balance between freedom and cultural variety on the one hand and, on the other, elemental rules designed to preserve the visible unity and harmony of the church at large.” This balance, he advocated, is what we must strive to achieve in the Nav work internationally during the next twenty-five years.46

This was a seminal paper which, to some extent, foreshadowed what emerged during the 1980s as our Enabling Global Society. Here are a few extracts:

. . . our overall structure must be flexible. Rules and regulations will have to be kept to a minimum, and we need to resist the temptation to make the methods and practices of the Navs in one area of the world (methods and practices which have grown out of the special history and culture of that area) the standard for other areas.

Thus the Nav work will vary from country to country . . . methods of internal organization will differ, as will modes of financing and patterns of evangelism and training men. A definite tie-in with The Navigators International. . . . In the case of a less formal tie-in, our objective would be to perpetuate a Nav ‘ministry’ even without a Nav ‘work.’

[Countries would have] a mixed staff of nationals and foreigners. This objective is valid partly because of the supranational character of the Gospel and partly because it would promote harmony in our work and protect us from heretical variations. . . . At the same time, we may legitimately expect the leader of the work to be a national of that country . . . we should aim at the highest possible level of self-support.

World vision and a surplus of manpower. Ultimately, we want to see Navigators in a given country contributing laborers of many kinds, not only for the evangelization of their own area but for the worldwide ministry of the Navs as well.

Cultural Diversity and Nationalizing

One recognizes that it takes several years to secure this kind of cultural shift, especially in the tenor of an organization, or in the mental models of our missionaries. This is why some of the crucial shifts in the way we led did not surface until the 1970s or even later.

Yet we were attempting a much harder task, not merely to adjust to and serve a new culture, but a constantly increasing number of diverse cultures. What was welcomed in Egypt might not have gone over appropriately in Norway. Nationalizing was and is a moving target, made even more challenging by our (internationalizing) commitment eventually to send missionaries “from everywhere to everywhere.”

The 1970s were a transitional period, culturally, in which Western agencies increasingly comprehended their tendency to create dependency and Christian leaders of the global South flexed their muscles. Here are two examples of the latter trend:

The Quito Consultation of December 1976, for Latin America: “We have become aware of the acute phenomenon of dependence: theological, financial, cultural and structural. . . . The missionary task in the world today demands a sense of interdependence. . . . The majority of faith missions constitute themselves along lines of individualism and spontaneity.”47

Independence for Third World Churches by Pius Wakatama, 1976, for Africa. Themes included: missionaries are only needed to train Africans. . . . Space should be given to develop African theology that answers African questions and customs. . . . Africans are powerless to change structures to fit their situations because this requires policy changes by the (US) Board.48

Such examples could be multiplied. There was a missiological ferment.

We Navigators were energetically “nationalizing” by the early 1970s in the sense of rapidly increasing the number of our non-American representatives.49 The decadal trend can be seen in the following table (click on the link):

Table 1: American and Non-American Navigator

Church history shows that nationalizing had often been assumed to be a straightforward process. After all, all that was required was to plant some churches. Time and time again, missionaries had come in from the outside and, after investing in local believers, chosen those who seemed most likely to succeed as leaders in their own countries, able to represent the organization and extend its impact. However, this can carry serious dangers such as:

  • Missionaries choose the person who is most westernized and fluent in English.
  • Missionaries offer him a stipend from overseas, much higher than he would
    receive as an indigenous church leader.
  • Spiritual guidance within the local mission, such as a godly and wise Board of
    Directors, are not yet in place.
  • Cultural understandings, such as that the younger defers to the older, are
  • The words of the chosen candidate, perhaps not fully seasoned in the crucible of
    suffering, run ahead of the condition of his heart.

This has happened occasionally in The Navigators. Not often, but particularly in the matter of missionaries strongly influencing opinions, to which nationals graciously want to defer. Conversely, we have suffered also from cases in which the missionaries have felt led to return home prematurely.

Nationalizing a work clearly involves much more than picking the right leader or even the right team.50 Sometimes, good intentions in support of the process can go awry. For example, in 1986, we carefully arranged for translated texts of Jerry White’s “Dear Staff” letters to be sent to our Korean staff and our Brazilian staff. However, we soon learned that these were not desired by the nationals because we were singling them out as those who lacked fluency in English. In effect, they felt “second class.” When those at the center understood this, such translations were discontinued.51

At our Corporate Planning Conference (CPC) in December 1973, the issue of national identity was explored.52 How assertively should we press towards what was then awkwardly called a national national director (ND)?53

Gert Doornenbal (Dutch) was in favor of a national being in charge, but not at the expense of nominating a person without the necessary gifts. Joe Simmons (New Zealander) agreed that an unqualified person should not be appointed. Scott, still driving towards the goal of sending countries54 which had been at the center of his “Strategy for the 70s,” observed that countries would need a voice and a vote, but not necessarily a decision-maker from their own people.

A more general comment was:

If the nationals do not participate at the earliest possible moment, they will wake up in the future to become aware of what has already taken place. This could damage future relations (which will not become less complicated in the future) and decisively impede the national work maturing as it deals with becoming a Sending Country. The identity and the subsequent national creativity could be suffocated.

What we see in these comments is that our leaders came into the conference in the thought-world of a strategy that sought to qualify countries as “senders” or “power bases” as soon as was practicable. The proposed requisites for such countries featured a national ND.

However, as this conference moved to a close, a shift in perspectives occurred. There was an emerging consensus that we should base leadership upon gifts but that we still need to be on the lookout for nationals with the potential to lead their countries. Jim Petersen pointed out that two issues had been in play: nationalizing a ministry and how to become a sending country. He questioned whether the latter should take priority.

Sanny concluded that being a national should not be a requirement for being the national director of a sending country. Leadership should indeed be decided on the basis of gifts, not nationality.

As the discussion broadened beyond the question of a national director, Jim Petersen observed that:

The most grievous fault of any missionary movement is a failure to nationalize on time. Nationalization means not only appointing national leaders but also nationalizing its form and tenor. If this is not done, there is a product in that country that will not ‘sell.’ We are early enough in our work that we need not make the same mistake. Holland is an example of a work that will not be denationalized if outside influence comes in. In summary, do we want a national work assisted by Americans or an American work assisted by nationals?55

As he chaired this segment of the CPC, Walt Henrichsen suggested that the definition of nationalization we were using comprised:

  • the development of national leaders
  • an indigenous form and tenor of ministry
  • the mentality of the foreigners adapted to the culture

Why, it was asked, was the term “indigenous” not used in our “Strategy for the 70s” though it was quite common in the rest of American missiology. Henrichsen explained that Scotty avoided this term because it often connoted autonomy. Sanny added that we wanted our ministries to train laborers to contribute to a worldwide goal. Church planting was not one of our objectives, though it is connected with typical understandings of indigeneity.

Reduced Use of the Term “Indigeneity”

During the discussion at the October 1974 International Strategy Conference (ISC) at Glen Eyrie, we discussed the move from “indigeneity” to “dynamic equivalence.” The comment was made that “total indigeneity is unbiblical, yet we have to aim for it to get dynamic equivalence.” Jim Petersen also observed that, when we enter a country with too large a team, the leader becomes an administrator with set leadership patterns before having figured out local leadership patterns.56

Nevertheless, we find that Jim authored a project description57 on indigeneity in November 1976. He outlined what he would hope to achieve:

. . . a few self-evident guidelines that men could use in starting new works or in evaluating existing works . . . explicitly defining what is meant by indigeneity and what role it is to play within a Navigator ministry.

The project would include such activities as reviewing the relevant biblical data, the information compiled by Waldron Scott, the information gathered by the FOM project and any new material that has appeared more recently.58

He continued to reflect on the wisdom of using the term indigeneity. Thus, we find that in December 1977 he took our new International Leadership Team through an expansive paper59 on “Cultural Adaptation,” which introduced a broader reason for not using the term indigeneity:

Indigeneity is a technical term used by missiologists to talk about the forms a ministry takes. Indigenous forms are characterized by growing out of the native culture and developing on the basis of felt needs. This is an important concept, but is too narrow to describe what is under study. What we understand the subject of this project to be is the entire process of adapting our ministries to other cultures. This process results in indigenous forms, but is broader than the topic of indigeneity.

Jim laid out three reasons why cultural adaptation is important for The Navigators:

  • World vision carries us to other countries where we encounter the “reality of culture”
  • Quality disciples require “dynamically-equivalent” responses to the Gospel rather than externally-equivalent responses that do not result in spiritual life
  • Multiplying ministries involve indigenous forms and structures in a local ministry that are meaningful to and manageable by national leaders

He demonstrated how productive adaptation would encounter five stages, namely:

  1. Rapport
  2. Comprehension
  3. Dynamically-equivalent response
  4. Ongoing relevance
  5. Mature interdependence

At a basic level, he used the illustration of two cultures, one of which considered a circle to be symbolic of their lifestyle and worldview, whereas the second culture derived similar direction from a square. Unless such orientations are understood, there can be formal but not dynamic equivalence.60 Jim explores each of his five issues, ending with “mature interdependence”:

At this stage, the national ministry could function alone if the situation demanded. However, according to Ephesians 4, it recognizes that the Christians are to function on the basis of interdependence. So, with maturity, a healthy interdependence should also develop.

Maturity refers to a national ministry’s ability to take responsibility for its finances, evangelism, edification, internal discipline, and direction.

Interdependence refers to a national ministry’s ability to relate to and utilize international resources without relinquishing its previously cited responsibilities.

Processes and communications, and modes of decision-making, and a fitting support structure are among the many aspects along the path to an authentic indigeneity. We may recall the three “selfs” of Roland Allen61 (1912) and recognize that realities have subsequently become more complex. Our ISC in 1974 debated extensively how we might encourage rather than inhibit emerging Nav ministries outside the USA. This came at a time when gifted national administrators were being appointed to shape our infant national infrastructures.62

Scott had observed as early as 1961 that, “a Nav Rep has to identify with the culture in which he works without necessarily trying to become an Indian or Japanese. . . . The national wants you to be American but to appreciate him. . . . Probably the biggest step in this will be language study.63 Another will be the standard of living that we adopt in the country. . . . Identification is largely a matter of attitude and heart and not material possessions.”64

Bishop Goodwin-Hudson (UK Anglican) had told Doug Sparks: “Don’t become English. We don’t need any more Englishmen. We need Americans. Americans have something to offer, but be a subdued American, graciously aggressive.”65

The Brazil Experience

At the end of the 1970s, Jim Petersen66 drew further lessons from his experience in Brazil to trace how a local movement could be established. Though he was addressing the necessary transition in individual cities, his analysis can well be applied to a national transition. After describing the way in which a mobile team raised up a group of new believers, characterized by a common identity and activities, some of the groups evolve into cells. “This is critical as the cell is the basic unit of a local movement: It exists to grow and reproduce.” As local cell leaders work together, the transfer of responsibilities from mobile to local leaders can follow naturally. It may take place when:

  • There are one or two men who can assume the orchestration of the whole
  • There is a mature team to back these men up
  • There are enough cells to model the concept

Often, the formation of local cells (or congregations) is assumed to be enough, but Jim stressed the need of the local teams to identify from their own ranks new mobile leaders67 who are nationals. In this way, the movement can continue to spread, characterized by local autonomy but fraternal relationships.

Trends among US Missionaries

By the 1980s, many of our US missionaries who had opened new countries during the 1970s were engaged in transitioning ministry to national leaders. It was natural, therefore, to look closely at how best to nationalize.68

First, however, we may take stock of our progress at the beginning of 1980. We had more than 1600 staff of twenty-six nationalities ministering in at least thirty-six countries and using twenty-seven languages. Forty-five percent of our staff were ministering outside the USA and 28 percent of our staff were non-Americans.

There were six countries in which our ministry qualified as “established,”69 meaning by this term that it would not only grow but could also multiply itself internationally if all outside support were withdrawn: Australia, Britain, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, USA. Fourteen of our countries had already sent out their first missionary staff, as the process of internationalizing began.70

How did the process of bringing those who were not Americans onto our staff progress? As we saw earlier, they moved from 19 percent in 1973, to 31 percent in 1983, to 40 percent in 1993.

Forum for the Established Countries, 1987

Moving on to our Forum for the Established Countries in 1987, there were presentations71 on:

  • National Roots (Aldo Berndt and John Ha)
  • National Vision (Mario Nitsche and Alan Ch’ng)
  • Diversity between National Works (Jim Chew)
  • National Ownership (Dan Greene)
  • The National Team (Alan Andrews)
  • National Boards (Ole-Magnus Olafsrud)

From Brazil, Aldo Berndt’s paper is brief but seminal. An extract:

Every particular situation is a possible scene to reveal His Son again in the life of His disciples (Galatians 1:15-16). . . . In this sense, national roots are the consequences of Christ living His life through people. . . . For foreign missionaries, this implies being ‘born again’ in a new environment, much more than being able to communicate in a new language. It means at least a new understanding of and a new capacity to think and feel on the same wavelengths as the people to whom they are sent.

National roots begin further to develop as soon as nationals have understood and accepted the message in their own way of thinking. . . . If people lead in such a way that they stay with patterns of seeing and thinking that are not their own, they will never grow in Christ and they remain sterile in any form of creative thinking.

As soon as the new leaders discover what it means to fully assume before God the responsibility for the ministry, they will proceed with a dynamic struggle for understanding of the new questions . . . questions never thought of before. They will search for new answers, decisions and action steps.

Christ’s incarnation (coming into the world) had to be followed by the imperative of His leaving the world; otherwise, the disciples would never have developed their own convictions and faith through the Holy Spirit (John 16:7).

In the ensuing discussion, Aldo made this picturesque comment: “It is not comfortable for the hen to sit on the chickens after they are hatched.” Later, he added that “Every new culture is a surprise to us.” As the believers become sanctified, they look different in each culture.

John H. of Korea emphasized the organic aspect:

A nationally-rooted work is one that has, like a plant in the field, been incubated in favorable conditions and has started growing of itself, reaching out and anchoring itself in a particular soil so that it is fixed in that spot and not easily moved by normal means, and that is drawing nutrients from its natural surroundings for its sustenance and further growth. . . . If the environment in which a seed germinates and sprouts roots is not the natural one prevalent in a locality, then it is questionable how long the plant (or ministry) can exist or reproduce future generations without a lot of external artificial care and manipulation. . . . Such a plant will be unique.

In his paper, John presents several characteristics of our Korean ministry which are well-fitted to the Korean culture and context. For example:

  • Women’s ministry: Each staff wife is in charge of the women’s ministry in that area. This allows staff wives to be the best support for their husbands in ministry as well as their personal lives.
  • Raising finances: All giving is to The Navigators, not to individual staff. Korean churches handle finances in the same way. Koreans typically do not feel that they are giving to God or His work if they give directly to a person. Moreover, they are apt to regard personal giving as a disgrace to the person who receives the gifts.
  • Emphasis on commitment: Koreans tend to feel secure when they are committed to some group or cause. Thus, we emphasize commitment from the beginning of the spiritual journey.
  • Relational leadership: Interpersonal relationships are regarded as more important than individuality in Korea. This helps our leaders develop and train their men strongly, because trainees are naturally more receptive to their leaders if their relationships are close.
  • The family-ties problem: Traditionally, Koreans have very strong ties in extended families. Thus, Korean Christian workers have to pay a great cost, working against strong parental control. We need to help our people break free from their family ties, even though it causes severe emotional stress for the families and for themselves. Families, however, often turn in time from opposition to support.
  • The group context: Koreans like to be in a big group for security and thus they had large “area meetings” every week which generated feelings of belonging and excitement. Also, of course, they liked one-to-one relationships for personal care.

John provides various benchmarks for assessing how well a work is nationally rooted. Our Korean ministry has been very fruitful and successful. Therefore, it is helpful to note that John ends with the comment:

The national ministry should receive some direction from the international ministry so that it does not become proud, arrogant, in-grown, narrow or stagnant. If it maintains good relations and participates in the world mission, it will be healthier overall. . . . We want national ministries to be indigenous but not independent, contextualized but not in-grown, nationally-rooted but not narrow. Therefore, the country should flexibly and harmoniously cooperate in regional and international projects and strategies.

In his paper, Mario Nitsche of Brazil places a spotlight on the national vision. He understands this to be:

A process composed of elements like a mobile function, a great investment of lives, prayer, finances, teaching and time, until the ministry in a country has its own leadership, the color and style of its own culture, and is multiplying within its own context.

He warns that:

If we thought that the work begun by an apostle and his team ended with a local ministry, then the local ministry would become a goal in and of itself. Soon, we would be far from the real world and the normal life within the culture. . . . Therefore, only one of the stages of the work started by the apostolic function is the local ministry. Beyond this is the “sent into the world” concept found in the Great Commission.

In describing his experience, Mario points out that as people begin to serve one another with their strengths and possibilities, then some functions will become better defined. The pattern of Ephesians 4:11 begins to materialize: Evangelists, teachers, prophets, and pastors emerge to serve the local ministry or turma (Portuguese word for group of friends) in their areas of influence, so that the turma does the work of the ministry. This recognizes diversity in the functions, but unity in the Body.

He explains that this takes place in group settings where the laborers will be able to work for their entire lives, having their personal and spiritual needs met, and where they are communicating in a healthy way with the world. Mario continues by drawing from Jesus’s prayer in John 17. A vision had been transmitted as Jesus preached, evangelized, edified, taught, encouraged and comforted (Mark 1:38, Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 3:14). Soon after His resurrection and as a result of His life, involved with people, there were 120 who, in a practical way, had an identity, an emerging history. Their lives and efforts multiplied into a profound and lasting influence in their world.

Mario then outlines the way in which the ministry had emerged and spread in Brazil, starting in 1964 with Jim Petersen and his family. In developing a national ministry vision, he sees four stages: penetrating, transitioning, forming, expanding.

Dan Greene picks up our Brazilian perspective with a brief but radical paper which probes whether the emerging concept of our Global Society will turn out to be productive. As he sees it, “The ILT, INC, and IMLT have been operational extensions of the American Navigator missionary force with limited non-American participation” though he observes that this 1987 forum would provide the most conducive circumstances to date for our partnership to emerge as a dynamic reality.

Alan Ch’ng’s paper72 complements Mario’s by drawing out the reasons why a national vision becomes necessary. He anticipates that this will emerge after a team of national staff have come together. Such a vision should “be theirs to own, to believe, and to see to its outworking.” He suggests that a national vision is intermediate between the focus of each local area and our international vision of reaching the whole world. A vision must provide the reasons why it has come into being.

One might ask: was there still a place for foreign missionaries in a country in which the nationals were already steering our ministry? Here, we can draw from a paper that Mikko Loikkanen73 offered at the forum.74 He drew attention to three continuing needs that are often best met from outside a country:

  • All peoples have their peculiar traits which tend to get out of balance. Thus, stimulation and input from foreign missionaries can provide an outsider’s balancing viewpoint.
  • Sometimes, the foreign missionary possesses a certain gift or skill which cannot yet be met from national resources. Also, he provides an example of one who has sacrificed family, home, country for the sake of the Gospel.
  • Foreign missionaries typically have a clear and urgent perception of their mission. They may be much used in the second and third generation of nationals to energize the ministry.

Mikko went on to draw out some traits in a foreign missionary who continued to be a blessing to the nationals. He observed that, in Europe, most missionaries were not allowed or were not able to stay long enough in one place to fully develop and see the fruit of their lives and vision. They would, of course, “need special sensitivity, wisdom and grace from God to adapt themselves and maintain their usefulness in a situation where roles and responsibilities were changing.” Such characteristics, indeed, were needed in both directions.


The implications of an Enabling Global Society were assessed and this new architecture was adopted by our International Council in January 1988. One result was that this deepened our passion as Navigators of many nationalities to reach out into other nations. We shall follow this trend in our next article which looks at Internationalizing.

Since none of us can read the Scriptures without cultural blinders of some sort, the great advantage, the crowning excitement which our own era of church history has over all others, is the possibility that we may be able to read them together.

Andrew F. Walls, The Missionary Movement in Christian History

By Donald McGilchrist

8804 words

See also articles on:
Overseas Policy Conference: 1961
Financing Foreigners
Global Planning: 1966 – 1975
Management by Objectives: 1968 – 1974
IHQ-USHQ Relationships
Our Enabling Global Society
Fundamentals of The Navigator Ministry
The Kingdom of God
Scriptural Roots of our Ministry
Stages of Ministry
Cross-Cultural Missions
Fundamentals of Nav Missions
Apostolic Pioneering


  1. To a Briton, such as this author, the term “nationalization” was heavily freighted with the taking over by the government of “the commanding heights of the economy,” a process that was not quenched until the era of Prime Minister Thatcher.
  2. Overseas Policy Conference 1961, session 18.
  3. During our early years, pioneering American Navigators spoke of those from other countries as nationals. However, this term properly means those living in their own countries as contrasted with foreigners. Thus, just as is true in other countries, the US is composed largely of nationals.
  4. Andrew F. Walls, The Missionary Movement in Christian History: Studies in the Transmission of Faith, Orbis 1996, p. 234. Walls was a British missionary.
  5. Kanzo Uchimura, “Can Americans Teach Japanese in Religion?” quoted by Andrew F. Walls, loc cit, p. 221. See also my article on “Management by Objectives: 1968-1974,” which includes as attachment C a review of seventeen phases in the history of counting in The Navigators.
  6. See also the fascinating paper on “The Significance of the Frontier in American History” by Frederick J. Turner presented in 1893. His topic was “The History of the Colonization of the Great West” and he argued that the existence of “an area of free land” continually receding before the march of settlement “explained” America. He saw the frontier as stimulating. “That practical, inventive turn of mind, quick to find expedients; that masterful grasp of material things . . . powerful to effect great ends; that restless, nervous energy; that dominant individualism . . . that buoyancy and exuberance which comes with freedom.”
  7. Walls, loc cit, p. 229. Rufus Anderson (1796-1880) was an American minister who spent several decades organizing overseas missions.
  8. These come from a fruitful paper by Theodore Wallin titled “The International Executive’s Baggage: Cultural Values of the American Frontier.” Source: MSU Business Topics, Spring, 1976.
  9. As an aside, General Palmer, who built railroads in the 1870s and established Glen Eyrie as his home, rebuked his friend George Peabody as they worked on constructing railroads in Mexico, as follows: “You are building a railroad for the use of the Mexican people. They have their own ways which it is not for you to criticize. Try to adapt yourselves to these ways in a spirit of sympathy,” For the nineteenth century, Palmer’s cultural sensitivity was impressive. An even earlier statement from the British author Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) is instructive: “There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.”
  10. Culture & the Bible, InterVarsity Press, 1979, p. 28.
  11. Source: Mark A. Noll, Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity, InterVarsity Press, 1997, p. 271.
  12. Report of Commission 1, World Missionary Conference, 1910, Fleming H. Revell Company, undated.
  13. Atlas of Global Christianity, Edinburgh, 2009, p. xvi. A sobering account by John Barrett titled “World War I and the Decline of the First Wave of the American Protestant Missions Movement” can be found in the July 2015 issue of the International Bulletin of Missionary Research.
  14. Address of June 20, 1910 by V. S. Azariah, reprinted in pages 306-315 of the WMC history and records of the conference.
  15. For insights into the classic era of American fundamentalism in the 1930s and 1940s out of which emerged the National Association of Evangelicals in 1947 and the close networking of revivalist evangelicals that included Trotman, see Joel A. Carpenter, Revive Us Again: The Reawakening of American Fundamentalism, Oxford, 1997.
  16. The Asia Legacy: Stories of Navigator Pioneers, by Sandy Fairservice, NavMedia Singapore, 2007, p. 50 and 56.
  17. These sixty-three comprised fifty-two full-time on field, four on loan, seven in distribution centers. In addition to the sixty-three, there were also fifteen staff on furlough or reassigned. Source: Table in agenda for annual area Representatives’ conference, Athens, Texas, January 1960. Though we no longer have access to some of the definitions used in 1960, it seems clear that these staff numbers included spouses. The table of Nav staff since 1948 shows for 1960 Americans (forty-nine ARs and three WRs) and non-Americans (two ARs and one WR). Total: fifty-five Reps out of a grand total of 229 staff. (Source: McGilchrist table dated June 2010.)
  18. OPC session 19, January 16, 1961.
  19. Dr. Taylor was secretary of public affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals from 1944 until 1963 when he became general director, a post from which he retired in 1976. He attended much of our OPC. OPC, S20, Downing.
  20. OPC session 20, January 16, 1961.
    The Anglican Book of Common Prayer (1662) has a pleasing early reference to the desired flexibility. Thus, “We condemn no other nations, nor prescribe anything but to our own people only: for we think it convenient that every country should use such ceremonies as they shall think best to the setting forth of God’s honour and glory, and to the reducing of the people to a most perfect and godly living, without error or superstition. . . . ” “Of Ceremonies,” p. xii.
  21. OPC conclusion 20, February 6, 1961.
  22. OPC, session 33, January 23, 1961. Sparks added that “When he becomes staff, he is working with us in his country with status only in that country, but when he becomes a representative, he must be appointed by the Board of Directors.” All of session 33 is relevant.
  23. OPC, session 38, January 27, 1961. See also my article on “Financing Foreigners.”
  24. Singh (1903-2000) was “a fiery itinerant preacher and revivalist throughout colonial India,” planting many contextualized local assemblies and holding large annual convocations. Converted in Canada, he returned to India in 1933 and had an immense impact for Christ. Source: (Wiki Bakht Singh) accessed August 13, 2012.
  25. At this point, Sparks added some cultural observations: “Europeans mature mentally much sooner than Americans, but socially they are about five years behind. In Asia, both educationally and socially, the people are far behind the Americans.” His opinion was not racist: it rather reflects the particular dynamics in the years coming out of the maelstrom of World War II, which added to the British stress on mental knowledge and the Asian grace of communal servanthood.
  26. OPC, S10. Downing commented that the name of The Navigators does not mean nearly so much in other countries as it does in the US. Most of our Swedes, he suggested, would be surprised if they visited America to find a branch of The Navigators here!
  27. OPC, S20 Downing.
  28. OPC conclusions January 16, 1961.
  29. Source: Sanny “Dear Gang,” November 17, 1960.
  30. Dick Hillis told our 1961 OPC that Orient Crusades did not recognize “national missionaries” until they had proved themselves for five years of service. This took place under their partnership committee, made up of three nationals and two Americans, chaired by David Liao. See session 11 of the OPC minutes.
  31. The name Malaysia was adopted in 1963 when the existing states of the federations of Malaya plus Singapore, North Borneo and Sarawak formed a new federation. This University retained its name.
  32. Inevitably, some cultural insensitivity lingered. There were still some evidences of cultural insensitivity. For example, during our International Leadership Conference in 1980, we held a fundraising banquet at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs during which Aldo Berndt and Gert Doornenbal were asked to give their testimonies. This sounds appropriate, but the atmosphere was almost as though they were being exhibited as trophies of our success!
  33. Jim Downing, paper on “Objectives and Strategy,” placed after notes of OPC session 10, reference on page 8.
  34. OPC 61, session 38. It was not until 1974 that our international HQ was separated from our USHQ. Before then, our leaders at Glen Eyrie were all considered as international HQ. See my article on “IHQ-USHQ Relationships.”
  35. Source: Sanny “Dear Gang,” September 12, 1961. By May 1964, Sanny was reporting about 250 at these Dutch half-day conferences.
  36. Source: 1964 ODC in appendix B to 1966 notebook, paragraphs 10 and 24. However, there appears to be a conflict between paragraphs 5 and 24, depending on the interpretation of “international staff” which probably meant those few (in that period) appointed by Sanny and thus recognized throughout our Navigator partnership. However, we stood by Piatt’s earlier comment that nationals must be trained to the point where they can successfully take over the work.
  37. Source: Appendix G to 1964 ODC minutes, in the later 1966 ODC notebook.
  38. By “indigenous,” we generally meant ways of living and ministry that are endemic to a country, that emerge from within the hearts of the people.
  39. Source: Sanny report to staff conference in May 1964.
  40. Although seventy-seven crisp Nav definitions are attached to the 1964 ODC minutes, a definition of “indigenous” was not yet among them.
  41. Source: Conversation in March 2014. He and Marge arrived in Brazil in 1963.
  42. Again, one reason for the astonishing spread of the Gospel in China is doubtless that, denied help from missionaries, the nationals had to develop their own natural ways of living for Christ in a hostile climate.
  43. OPC, S10.
  44. There were many missionaries in the nineteenth century especially who showed themselves as the apostles of colonialism, making a way for “Christianity, commerce, and civilization” (David Livingstone, Cambridge, 1860). The social and cultural riches of the southern hemisphere were rarely appreciated, so that the faith was not deeply transmitted.
  45. Scott paper of November 5, 1966. He noted that indigenous, in the literature, usually means a self-governing, self-supporting, self-propagating church. Sent to our staff by Sanny on January 16, 1967. More recently, some missiologists add self-theologizing.
  46. Extracts from a church-mission consultation in Quito, Ecuador during December 4-9, 1976, sponsored by Partnership in Mission, twenty-five participants of whom fifteen resided in Latin America.
  47. Source: Review by Marvin Smith of January 21, 1977.
  48. This table shifts from representatives to all kinds of staff between 1983 and 1993, by which point “representatives” were variously defined.
  49. Paul Stanley, in a November 1976 paper, analyzed three ways in which the “handover” could take place. Each had pros and cons.
  50. Another example was when we sought opinions from around the world on a proposed change to a new logo for The Navigators: Ken Lottis in his book Will This Rock in Rio? recalls that Aldo Berndt found this question lacking in context and basically, from his perspective, irrelevant. See Lottis, p. 120. Aldo knew that we meant well, but were not able to “stand in his shoes.”
  51. December 1973 CPC, considerations regarding our Global Strategy, p. 17.
  52. December 1973 CPC, notes 2.2.3. Parenthetically, “national national director” was a most awkward phrase. We soon moved on to speak of a country leader instead, which allowed us to speak lucidly of such leaders who were nationals!
  53. For more on this seminal concept, see my article on “Global Planning: 1966-1975.”
  54. December 1973 CPC notes, p. 27.
  55. October 1974 ISC minutes, section 19.13.
  56. Dated November 1976 and made available to the April 1977 ILT conference.
  57. This refers to the comparative tables in Scotty’s “Strategy for the 70s” and the research program for our Fundamentals of the Navigator Ministry.
  58. “What do we Mean by Cultural Adaptation?” October 28, 1977.
  59. This reminds me of the 1884 book Flatland by Edwin Abbott which he describes as “a romance of many dimensions” and which, to me, powerfully illustrates the issue laid out in John 1:10-11.
  60. Allen popularized the concept of “indigenous” churches which would be “self-governing, self-supporting, and self-propagating.”
  61. By 1975, we had nationals as administrators in at least West Germany, Norway, Sweden, Lebanon, Kenya, the UK, and the US.
  62. Parenthetically, because Asian names were difficult for Western tongues, the first generation of Korean was given biblical names by Ron York. Examples: Paul Y., John H., Mark H.. With hindsight, this was not ideal!
  63. OPC 1, S29. Howarth (Briton) and Lilienberg (Swede) were present. The former agreed with Scotty about the importance of attitude: “We try to live in Kenya on a lower European level but to share everything we have.” And Lilienberg commented that Sweden is more difficult because we should live at the level of ministers rather than school teachers who are paid far more in Sweden.
  64. OPC 1, S29 comment by Sparks.
  65. “A Step-by-Step Development of a Local Movement,” June 1979.
  66. This, of course, is akin to internationalizing when projected into mobility between countries.
  67. An illuminating second century description of how Christians lived is found in chapter 5 of The Epistle to Diognetus. Excerpts: “Following the customs of the natives in respect to clothing, food, and the rest of their ordinary conduct, they display to us their wonderful and confessedly striking method of life. They dwell in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. . . . Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers. . . . They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. . . . Christians are confined in the world as in a prison, and yet they are the preservers of the world.”
  68. This stage became “Partnering” by decision of our International Team in May 1997, thus fostering a more dynamic and contributory perspective within such countries.
  69. Source: McGilchrist summary of May 1980. See also ministry performance tables prepared for our International Leadership Conference.
  70. Thirty-six papers were sent to participants in September 1986. As well as the explicitly titled papers above, many others touched on aspects of the development of a country. Papers were grouped in three clusters: role of the national ministry, participation in a global society, and forms and structures in the national work.
  71. Alan was at that time our leader in Malaysia.
  72. Our Finnish leader in Finland.
  73. It is encouraging to note that twenty-six of the thirty-seven men and women who contributed papers to this forum were non-Americans.
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