HOME > 포럼/세미나 > 설악포럼 
설악포럼 2014-10: Roles of “Alongsiders” in Insider Movements: Contemporary Examples and Biblical Reflections (John and Anna Travis) 프린트   
류재중  Email [2016-12-08 17:58:05]  HIT : 7803  

Roles of “Alongsiders” in Insider Movements: Contemporary Examples and Biblical Reflections

John and Anna Travis

 

Do insider movements occur spontaneously as sovereign moves of the Spirit, or do they involve the activity of God’s people from outside the community as well? 

 

Both history and Scripture suggest that all Jesus movements involve both human and divine actions.  In what would first appear to be a spontaneous movement in the book of Acts – the pouring out of the Holy Spirit followed by 3,000 decisions to follow Jesus – divine and human activity is apparent, both during and preceding this movement.   In insider movements with which we are familiar, both the hand of God and labors of Jesus followers are clearly seen. 

 

This present study focuses on roles that certain outsiders, whom we refer to as alongsiders, can play in advancing insider movements.  We share examples from the lives of alongsiders we know as well as relevant passages from Scripture.  We hope this writing will give fresh input and encouragement to those called to alongsider ministries. 

 

Alongsider Defined and Described   

 

The term alongsider refers to an outsider (Jesus follower from another culture or area) whom God has prepared to walk alongside insiders in their journey of faith in Jesus. Alongsiders we know devote themselves to understanding the language, culture and hearts  of the peoples God calls them to serve.  They have learned to view the other, regardless of religion or culture, as a fellow creation of God, who like they, need the salvation and transformation that is offered through Jesus. Alongsiders may be young or old, male or female, and from any number of educational and cultural backgrounds, yet they seem to share two traits.  

 

First, through their study of Scripture and field experience, alongsiders have acquired a kingdom-centered rather than religion-centered ministry focus.  In working with Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Jews, their focus is on seeing the Kingdom come near and transform these various socio-religious groups from the inside out, rather than on encouraging separation and religious change.  

 

The second trait is a willingness to minister in obscurity. For security reasons, alongsiders generally cannot announce to the outside world what God is doing in the movements they have seen.  Alongsiders also realize that serving a movement is not about them or building up their ministry, or even the ministry of their group. Rather it is about seeing fellowships of Jesus-followers blossom in situations where often the alongsider’s name and labors will be known only to God and to a handful of insiders.  

 

Particular Challenges of Alongsider Ministry

 

We have the privilege of knowing a number of alongsiders, seeing firsthand how God has used them to advance insider movements. Listening to their stories, we have identified seven ministry roles they assume.   Most of these roles are similar to the ministries of Jesus followers in other types of movements as well.  The main difference with alongsider ministry in insider movements is seen in how they face and overcome the following challenges.

 

The first challenge is how to find and develop the first few believers or people of peace  without the alongsider assuming some form of leadership role, possibly inhibiting an insider-led movement. Alongsiders often come to the field with years of ministry experience, training and strong, literate Bible study skills. This expertise can unintentionally overwhelm or undermine emerging insider leaders. Alongsiders involved with the first few believers in a movement must therefore introduce the good news in ways that empower, impart, encourage, facilitate, catalyze, and enable reproducible ways of engaging Scripture without controlling or directing an emerging movement. 

 

The second challenge, related to the first, is how to share biblical truth in ways that do not undermine or separate insiders from their own people, thus inhibiting their ability to influence their family and community. Christians have often viewed other faiths or cultures primarily in terms of what in them is wrong or unbiblical. There will be times alongsiders are involved with insiders in examining various beliefs and worldviews (see below), but the first step is always to affirm what is already biblically good and praiseworthy.  Too often well-intentioned outsiders have spoken ill of another’s culture, causing new believers to reject their family and culture. 

 

The third challenge -- the other side of the second challenge – is how to help new followers of Jesus think biblically and critically about their culture and religion, allowing Scripture, illumined by the Spirit (not necessarily the interpretation of the alongsider or Christian tradition), to be the final measure of what is good and right.  In all insider movements with which we are familiar, we see that as insiders study Scripture, they are choosing to retain key aspects of their culture and religious community, reinterpret others, and reappraise or reject still others.  Trusted alongsiders have often helped insiders with this sensitive, crucial process. 

 

Related to the third challenge is the fourth - how to help insiders self-theologize, expressing the message of Jesus in ways understandable and meaningful to family and friends. Ideally this should happen whenever the gospel crosses any cultural or religious barrier; however, it is especially crucial in insider movements, where the communities may already be predisposed against the gospel. Self-theologizing helps integrate the old (the existing community) with the new (following Jesus), finding vocabulary, thought forms, subject matter, and communication styles that are culturally appropriate.  Failure to develop a local theology can cause the gospel to seem foreign.   Conversely, self-theologizing helps a people see that Jesus is truly on their side and for them. 

 

The fifth challenge is how to encourage Jesus-centered Body life among the insiders when the alongsider cannot model or participate in such fellowships. Since the insiders are not joining local pre-existing traditional churches, where they might find encouraging worship, teaching, literature, fellowship, Bible study, and corporate prayer (not to mention safe places to meet), they must find alternative ways to gather that are both biblical and viable.  Small insider home groups, often meeting in obscurity, must rely heavily upon inductive group Bible study, the direct guidance of the Holy Spirit and the use of spiritual gifts (e.g., teaching, healing, discernment, helps, vis-à-vis Eph. 4:7-13, Rom 12:3-8, 1 Cor. 12:4-31). 

 

The sixth challenge is one of identity and lack of role models for the alongsiders.  Having no official role or status in an insider movement, yet assisting in some ways, can place alongsiders in awkward positions. Home churches may sometimes not understand, and very few mentors or role models exist for alongsiders.  Most alongsiders, like the insiders themselves, are pioneers, learning as they go. Some love these kinds of challenges and ambiguities; others are frustrated and cannot sustain them long-term.  

 

Having looked briefly at these challenges, we now turn to the ministry roles of alongsiders and Scriptures related to them. 

 

Seven Roles and Related Scriptures 

 

The following seven roles are presented with two caveats.  First, the number of roles we identify, seven, is somewhat arbitrary.  Someone else may combine several of these roles together, reducing their number; others may expand them, seeing more than seven distinct roles.  Second, these roles are based on our observations as well as our personal involvement as alongsiders in a particular insider movement.   As such, due to this subjectivity, there may be some roles we have missed. 

 

1. Intercessors

 

We place the role of intercessors first because of the centrality of prayer in any type of movement to Jesus.   Most alongsiders would say that it was after intercession that breakthroughs were attained and through intercession that the insider movements are sustained. Intercession paves the way for a movement by asking God to cause signs and wonders to take place,  move on human hearts, hold back demonic strongholds, call workers, and bring about maturity in new believers.   In addition, God speaks to intercessors and gives them love for those they are called to serve.  

 

Example: We know groups of alongsiders who set aside seasons of intercession and fasting for their adopted people, such as five hours per day for extended periods of time, all night once a week, one entire month, or one full day a week over a period of many years.  We were part of a four-year season of intercession on our field that involved many hours per week.  This was preceded by utter desperation for God to move, and thankfully was followed by the beginning of a Jesus movement within the religious community of our adopted people. This small movement continues to this day and has slowly spread to several neighboring towns and villages. 

 

Biblical reflections:  Regarding intercessory prayer, we look to the life of our Lord. At every key juncture in his life, we find Jesus off alone, interceding before the Father.  Prayer was central in his ministry.   Intercession was demonstrated as well by the patriarchs as they repented for the sins of those who had gone before them.   Intercession was integral in the ministry of the apostles in the earliest Jesus movements.  The Temple was to be a house of prayer for all nations,  and intercessors continue this work, joining Jesus in his intercession at the right hand of God. 

 

2. Learners 

 

Alongsiders are learners.  They have a message to share, but they first seek to understand before insisting on being understood.  In pursuit of this, alongsiders have often lived with local families who do not yet follow Jesus, going through the process the Brewsters have called bonding.   Most alongsiders engage in extended times of formal or informal ethnographic interviewing, trying to gain insight into the religious heritage and worldview of those they are called to reach.  While cross-cultural field workers in other types of ministry often do the same, this learning aspect is particularly crucial for alongsiders as they will need to understand in-depth how God is already at work in a religion and culture of those they serve; failure to do this would make it hard for them to see what is already biblical and praiseworthy in the religion or culture in question, or what is truly wrong, even demonic.  Those who intimately understand the hearts and minds of the people are in a much better position to understand these dynamics. 

 

Example:  As learners, many alongsiders have gone through the bonding process, some for a month, but others up to a year or longer. One team of alongsiders we know are not able to live in the homes of local families but have rented attached rooms or structures close to them in the very center of Muslim neighborhoods in order to learn and bond. We lived with two families, one month in a village setting, followed by two months with an urban family.  All our teammates, both nationals and expatriates, also lived for a minimum of one month with a family. Living with a family not only created bonds of friendship; it also allowed us to enter into a web of relationships through extended families that involved participation in weddings, holidays, funerals, and other key life-cycle events. Several alongsiders we know, who have eventually seen Jesus movements within the religious community around them, have first studied with their local friends the holy book(s) viewed as authoritative in that context, before going on to study the Bible with those same friends. 

 

Biblical reflections: Scripture abounds with examples of godly people who, either through the circumstances of life or by design became cross-cultural learners, powerfully used by God.  We see Daniel learning the language, culture, sciences and religion of the Babylonians, eventually becoming a change agent for God’s purposes in that polytheistic culture.   Moses was raised bi-culturally, knowing firsthand the ways and language of the Egyptians.  Joseph lived in Potiphar’s household,  and God used this to prepare him for a work far beyond what Joseph imagined.  And in the New Testament we see Jesus sending out the 70 two-by-two to the villages where he would later go, having them stay with local families, eating and drinking what is offered them, not traveling from house to house, thus allowing them to see those of peace who would receive the message of the kingdom.   Upon their return, we find them “debriefing” this field time with Jesus, the one who had sent them out to learn and grow spiritually.  

 

3. Friends

 

We use the word friend here in two ways. First, alongsiders become friends with those who do not yet follow Jesus.  As these cross-cultural relationships form, the subtle “us” versus “them” mentality begins to disappear.  Our Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist neighbors become dear friends, and sometimes the adopted uncles and aunties of our children. From this level of intimacy, heart-to-heart discussion can happen, and it becomes more natural to speak of Jesus and how someone can know him. 

 

Examples: One such alongsider friend we know is man I will call Alan.  Alan has shared that his best friend, next to his own family members, is the leader of a mosque near his home.  Alan began his relationship with this man by volunteering to teach English to the children in the mosque.  What amazed me about Alan is that any free time he has he spends hanging out at his friend’s house watching TV or drinking coffee, not as a “ministry strategy” but rather because he loves to share life with this mosque leader. 

 

A second type of friend describes those who have deep, long-term relationships with key leaders of insider movements, friendships often spanning decades. Many insider leaders are greatly strengthened by having such an alongsider friend, someone from outside their group who can be a confidant and counselor, especially in shame-based cultures where gossip is rampant.  These insider leaders are pioneers who face many kinds of dilemmas, especially in cultures where leaders are expected to play large roles in the lives of those in their groups. 

 

Examples: Two long-term alongsider friends I have known have stood by their insider friends through thick and thin – illnesses, imprisonments, depression, slander, marriage difficulties – as well as through the joys of children getting married, grandchildren being born and seeing many new people put their faith in Jesus.  These friends, often in other countries much of the year, keep in touch regularly through texting, phone calls, Skyping and email.  They meet face to face as often as they can.  Both insider and alongsider sense God put them together, and both benefit by this unique cross-cultural friendship. 

 

Biblical reflections: In Scripture we see that Paul not only counted on the friendship of his co-workers;  his work was marked by friendship with those he served.  Jesus, too, longed for the friendship of his disciples, especially in one of his darkest hours. 

 

4. Workers of Miracles

 

We use the term workers of miracles for alongsiders whom God has anointed and uses regularly in physical healing, inner healing, and deliverance from the demonic, as well as interpreting dreams, prophecy, and other miracles, both with Jesus followers and those who do not yet follow him.  An alongsider can assume the role of a worker of miracles without negatively impacting a movement by becoming its “leader.”  Miracle workers can serve at strategic moments when deep-set spiritual problems arise.  While all believers should pray for miracles, these we call alongsider workers of miracles are recognized by trusted insiders as being especially gifted and experienced, likely having what the Bible refers to as gifts  of healing,  discernment of spirits,  and/or prophecy.  

 

Examples:  We have known a number of alongsiders who have had a ministry of inner healing and deliverance that was a great blessing to a movement. We have also had the privilege of being involved in this kind of alongsider ministry.  Especially in places where folk practices are common, those coming to faith often need freedom through renouncing magical practices, getting rid of charms and amulets, and breaking ties with shamans and power practitioners.  

 

While folk practices can create barriers to the gospel that must be removed, on the other hand their presence in a society indicates the people’s awareness of the spiritual realm.  In such contexts, miracles in Jesus’ name can open the way for many to hear the gospel.  We have known alongsiders whom God used to work miracles of healing, which then opened the way for the good news to be proclaimed.

 

In addition, prayer for healing of past traumas and emotional wounds can help Jesus followers learn to forgive others and be free from troubling issues of the past. In cases of demonization, alongsiders can lead Jesus followers in prayers of deliverance.  Having this kind of alongsider available to assist the movement through training and personal prayer is a great asset.  

 

One alongsider we know prayed for Muslim women in her neighborhood for a variety of ailments - physical, emotional and spiritual - then invited them to her home for a study related to health and stress.  This group of women, with the help and encouragement of this alongsider, embraced Jesus and became a “covenant community” where they studied the Bible, shared their lives, and prayed for each other, their families and neighbors . They became familiar with healing prayer and spiritual warfare.  Within a number of years, this original group experienced growth and multiplication, meeting in many homes and branching out to a neighboring town as well.  This movement today involves entire families and brings the blessings of the Kingdom of God through Isa to their neighborhoods.  The alongsider and her prayers were powerfully used of God to see this small insider movement begin.

 

Biblical reflections: Scripture overflows with accounts of anointed workers of miracles  whom God used in early Jesus movements, showing the beginning of the fulfillment of Jesus’ words to his followers, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”   

 

We are inspired to read how the Lord worked miracles through the disciples,  Peter  and John,  Stephen,  Phillip,  Ananias,  Paul,  Barnabas,  Paul’s friends,  Agabus,  and the recipients of the letter to the Hebrews.  Paul shared how much patience was required in his ministry of miracles.  James urged that elders should pray with people, and that believers should confess sins and pray with each other, and God would make them workers of miracles.   As miracle workers take risks to see God work, they may need patience like Paul, remembering that even Jesus met with resistance to miracles at times.  Many miracles may be required before the fruit of allegiance to Jesus results, as we see when the ten lepers were healed by Jesus, and only one came back to pledge his allegiance to the Master. 

 

 

5. Proclaimers

 

Whenever the good news enters a new area, someone personally, or through some form of media, has crossed a religious and social barrier to proclaim it – the gospel does not come out of thin air. In every insider movement we have seen, the growth of the movement can be traced back to one or two insiders who first received the gospel, then persuaded their family and friends to embrace it as well.  Although some of these movements began with a dream or a vision, the Lord often directed the first insiders to an alongsider who could proclaim the full message of the gospel to him or her. 

 

What makes alongsider proclaimers unique is that they are not linking the gospel to the concept of “changing religions” to follow Isa.  In addition, they are constantly looking for potential “people of peace,”  those whom God will use to help lead groups of their co-religionists in following Jesus.

 

Examples: While all Jesus followers are called to share the good news, those we are calling proclaimers very likely have what Scripture calls the gift of evangelism.  One alongsider proclaimer we know is the type of person who, with just 24 hours in a particular city, grabs a taxi to the biggest mosque (sharing Jesus with the taxi driver on the way), then, upon arrival at the mosque, meets the imam and begins to tell him how Isa the Messiah came for Muslims, Christians, and all people, and that this very day, he could accept Isa.  This particular proclaimer has been used by God to help lead to Jesus some of the first Muslims in what later became a small insider movement across a number of villages.  For years he mentored five men who were the leaders of this still growing movement, even though the alongsider has now moved to another country. Alongsider proclaimers will always be needed to both catalyze new works and work alongside Jesus movements, as so many millions have yet to hear the good news of Jesus. 

 

Biblical reflections: Scripture records the creative work of proclaimers in diverse religious contexts. We see Jesus with Jews,  the disciples with Jews,  Peter and John with Jews,  Ananias with Saul the Pharisee,  Paul and Silas with Jews,  Jesus with a Samaritan woman,  Phillip with a Samaritan sorcerer,  Peter and John in Samaritan towns,  the healed and delivered man with Gentiles,  Peter with a Roman God-fearer,  people of Cyprus and Cyrene with Hellenists,  Paul with philosophers,  and many more.

 

6. Equippers

 

Whereas proclaimers are often first to bring the good news to a particular group of people, equippers are alongsiders whom God uses to help mature or assist certain key insider leaders and/or movements.  They see emerging leaders and movements with eyes of faith, and are close enough to understand the issues they face. As fellow members of God’s Kingdom, and workers uniquely prepared by God, equippers are able to suggest certain activities that could put a movement ahead, without undermining its insider leadership. 

 

Equippers may offer spiritual mentoring, marriage counseling, a methodology of inductive Bible study, approaches for multiplication, tools for Bible translation, skills in development of businesses or curricula, or other assistance. They may help insiders think through issues of transformation of traditions.  They may wisely connect insider leaders to others with specific expertise, offering assistance in what may be very difficult for insiders to do alone. This generally calls for a high level of language skill, cultural understanding, and relational wisdom.

 

Examples: One equipper we know spent many months with a seasoned leader of an insider movement, working on a two-year leadership development curriculum for newer movement leaders, based on Luke and Acts.  This equipper, trained in seminary, could have attempted the creation of a curriculum on his own. But that would have resulted in a less indigenous training experience, and more importantly, would have bypassed a key leader God raised up for this movement. Instead, they carefully worked through Luke-Acts inductively, discovering key principles together, under the guidance of the Spirit. Insider leaders then introduced the Luke-Acts curriculum to eight fellow insider leaders.  In less than 10 years, 150 home group leaders in the movement were engaged in this two-year leadership training, centered around inductively studying Luke and Acts.   

 

In another country, a network or team of alongsiders was formed to serve a number of developing insider movements across several different language groups.  They were involved in Bible translations, offering technical support related to Greek and Hebrew terms, checking translation, and training translators.  One of these translations has had an enormous impact as movements begin and mature across this country.  The impetus for this translation came from insiders who realized they needed a more culturally relevant translation to reach their own people, combined with the experience of alongsiders who had been in grassroots ministry and were likewise thoroughly convinced of the need for this type of translation. 

 

Like Barnabas and James in the life of Paul, these alongsider equippers are learning to walk the fine line between offering some counsel but not too much, between leading in some ways but not over-leading. Equippers empower insider leaders to fulfill the role God has for them in insider movements.

 

Biblical reflections: In the earliest Jesus movements, we see God preparing certain people to equip others, who then turn to empower yet others.  Phillip was assisted in his ministry among Samaritans by Peter and John, who were used by God to pray for the believers to be filled with the Holy Spirit.  Peter and John must have been positively impacted by the experience, because before returning to Jerusalem, they entered several other Samaritan towns to bring the good news.  

 

An important aspect of equipping is making the right connections at the right time. It is interesting to note Paul’s explanation of his interactions with Jewish leaders in Jerusalem, especially regarding the timing involved. After his miraculous encounter with the Lord, and the receiving of his calling to the Gentiles, he did not immediately connect with leaders already in place.  Did this give time for God’s radical call on Paul’s life to be developed, away from the strict, long-standing religious boundaries observed by those godly leaders like James?  Yet the time did come for those connections to be made. 

 

God used Ananias,  Barnabas,  Peter  and James  in the life of Paul. Ananias gave Saul his earliest spiritual input in the way of Jesus.  He obeyed the Lord’s voice (though it went against everything he knew and had heard), found Saul, prayed for his healing, and spoke prophetically to him concerning his calling.  Barnabas saw Saul with eyes of faith, believing God was calling him, though he was certainly a diamond in the rough when Barnabas first started encouraging him. Peter assisted Saul (by this point called Paul) when Jewish followers of Jesus heard that Gentile followers of Jesus were remaining uncircumcised. He verified the legitimacy of Paul’s calling with the testimony of his own experience with Cornelius. James listened well when Paul shared with the Jerusalem leaders how the good news was breaking out of the known Jewish religious structures.  James gave his spiritual input, backed by Scripture, and kept the door open for Paul’s radical ministry among Gentiles. Years later, Paul sought out those leaders in response to a revelation from God, and even dared to take an uncircumcised Gentile follower of Jesus (Titus) with him.  He was greatly relieved when the Jewish leaders did not pressure Titus to change religions (to be circumcised).   James welcomed Paul, giving him wise counsel, though the contrast between the callings on each of their lives had only increased. While these relationships were not without some conflict,  Paul greatly benefited by input from those God sent to equip him.  

 

Paul then poured into many other lives, like Priscilla and Aquila,  Timothy,  and Onesimus.   Priscilla and Aquila went on to mentor Apollos,  who then became a blessing to many. Timothy equipped many believers in the Gentile movements, and Onesimus was of great value in the work as well. In the later years of ministry, Paul could say that nearly all those he equipped were non-Jewish  leaders in the Gentile Jesus movements.  

 

Another aspect of equipping is depicted clearly in the New Testament. Paul and others helped support growing Jesus movements through the writing of letters to individuals, groups and networks.   

 

7. Interfacers

 

Similar to the way God used Paul, Barnabas and Peter in Jerusalem to explain Gentile ministry to fellow Jewish believers, advocating for the right of Gentiles to follow Jesus without being circumcised (that is, taking on a Jewish religious identity),  the Lord will also call some who have seen insider movements firsthand to explain to Christians what God is doing behind the scenes, inside other socio-religious communities.  We call this alongsider role an interfacer.  

 

Examples: In recent years, a number of carefully planned meetings have taken place involving a few English-speaking leaders of insider movements, alongsiders who serve as interfacers, national pastors, and some foreign Christian leaders.  In meeting face-to-face over several days, it becomes apparent that, while different from each other in many ways, all present were true followers of Jesus as he is revealed in the Bible.  

 

In one such meeting, several national pastors who might typically be suspicious of insider movements saw the grace of God in the lives of the insiders, and spontaneously decided to wash their feet.  Everyone was moved to tears.  A year later in another location, national Christians, some alongsiders, and insider believers gathered for a few days.  This time insider leaders washed the feet of the Christians, saying, “Please forgive us. When you sent people to bring us the gospel years ago, we killed many of them.”  Once again, there were many tears.  This kind of strategic interface, where one group does not dominate the other, and where each comes to learn, can be a beautiful example of the Body of Christ in action.  Another positive dynamic of this type of meeting, and the work that interfacers can do, is to help insiders see ways that they can relate to the wider Body of Christ. 

 

Biblical reflections: When looking at only the outward forms used in certain Jesus movements within Muslim, Jewish or Hindu communities, the outside Christian world may assume that these believers are not being true to God, or that they are not even part of God’s Kingdom.  We see a similar situation in the Old Testament in Joshua’s day.  When those who had settled to the west of the Jordan observed from afar a large altar built by the two and a half tribes who had settled east of the Jordan, they jumped to the conclusion that their brothers to the east had fallen into idolatry, treachery and rebellion.  The western tribes feared judgment from God upon not only those tribes to the east, but on themselves as well.  So they prepared to make war against their fellow Israelites from the two and half tribes to the east. Thankfully, the leaders met first. When the accusation from the western tribes was presented to the eastern leaders, they were shocked.  The eastern leaders explained that they did not build the altar for idolatrous sacrifice, as was assumed.  Instead, they intended it as a witness to coming generations that, though their tribes settled on the east side of the Jordan, it would forever be known that they were fully part of God’s people, one with the tribes of the west, and their God was same God, the one true God.  This satisfied the western leaders, who brought back the good news to their tribes, and there was never again talk of making war on the eastern tribes.   

 

In the New Testament Jesus had to rebuke his own followers for incorrectly judging the deliverance ministry of someone “who did not follow them,” and then trying to stop his ministry. (This took place not long after their own failed attempt to cast out the demon oppressing a boy who couldn’t speak.)  They mentioned this to Jesus, and Jesus told them, “Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us.”   Although Jesus affirmed the ministry in his name of this particular person, in a different situation later on, the sons of Sceva who were trying deliverance in Jesus’ name ran into severe difficulties.  The problem with Sceva’s sons apparently was that they didn’t know the Lord Jesus; therefore they did not have authority in his name. 

 

In Acts 15, we see Jewish followers of Jesus reacting to news of Gentiles becoming part of the people of God by following Jesus, but without the follow-up of religious change via circumcision.  They gave the Scriptural argument that these Gentiles were not saved, unless and until they were circumcised.  Thankfully, after testimonies, deliberation and a deeper look at Scripture, it was decided that these uncircumcised Gentile followers of Jesus were indeed saved and part of the people of God. 

 

In each of these events recorded in Scripture, God used interfacers to explain, testify and interpret for God’s people what was actually happening in other groups.  The leaders of the tribe to the east of the Jordan explained to leaders from the other tribes the intent behind their altar. Jesus explained to his disciples that the person doing deliverance in his name was actually on their side. Peter, Barnabas, Paul and finally, James, advocated to the other leaders in Jerusalem on behalf of the Gentile Jesus followers, showing their legitimate place within the people of God, as equal to the Jewish followers of Jesus.

 

Conclusion

 

Alongsiders are in a process that often begins with intercession for a particular people group.  Many then live among the people for whom they have prayed, often with local families. In time, true bonds of friendship are forged. When alongsiders serve as proclaimers, their time as learners and friends helps them know how to share the good news in ways that make sense. Some alongsiders serve as workers of miracles, or as equippers as movements develop. Some alongsiders attempt to explain what they have seen and experienced to those who are eager to know what God is doing inside other religious communities, interfacing between insider believers and Christians outside the situation. 

 

Not all insider movements have alongsiders. Where there are alongsiders, they may only be involved in a few of the roles mentioned in this chapter. Most of these roles are most commonly needed before movements begin, or in the early days of a movement; some are needed at later stages. May these recent examples be only the beginning of how God will prepare more insiders and alongsiders to work with him in seeing Jesus movements advance inside the many and diverse religious communities of our world.

     98. 설악포럼 2014-11: 홍콩의 도풍산 연꽃 위의 십자가 (이용규)
     96. 설악포럼 2014-9: 교회없는 기독교의 도전에 대한 복음주의적 평가 (티모시 테넌트)