v3 2016 missional insiders bergquist

Becoming Missional Insiders

I still remember a day thirty years ago when I walked out of a large, new master planned community in Southern California. The gates were being installed, and because I didn’t live there, I thought I would never get back inside again to meet people and share Christ. On the way out, though, I noticed a small note posted to the side of the entrance to the pool. On it were a name, a phone number, and an invitation to a Tupperware party.
Within weeks I was a Tupperware insider attending parties, buying a lot of Tupperware (guess what I gave everyone for Christmas that year!), and getting to know all kinds of people behind the gates of that community. Even more, I became a missional insider, and I learned what it was going to take to plant a church there.

Google It

Mountain View, California, is home to Google’s corporate headquarters. Around 17,000 employees work at this campus alone. Many ride Google buses to work, beginning their workdays as soon as they are picked up for work. They eat free breakfasts and lunches at work, and when they work late, dinners are also available. They can work out at campus gyms and ride Google bikes around the campus. I have driven through their campus and occasionally seen trailers parked where employees can drop off their laundry or get their hair cut.
It is a whole Google world into which people can be so absorbed that they seem to need the outside world less and less. How can one share the gospel or disciple others in such a context? Clearly, insiders (bi-vocational missional leaders) are one way in. In fact, I know one such church planter whose focus is not simply Google, but other tech companies with similar cultures.

Church Delivery

One group that has found a way inside is World Christian Restaurant Ministries. They primarily reach out to Chinese restaurant workers who work all day on Sundays, people for whom church attendance is less accessible. Some hold services at alternative hours in their church buildings, but others gain access to dormitory buildings owned by the restaurants. When workers get off at 9 p.m., they go back to their dorms tired but energized. Christian leaders find ways inside in order to provide worship and prayer services, as well as other ministries such as providing English lessons. Some even start churches inside these dormitories. This ministry is flourishing around the world.

If I Could Go Back in Time

Thirty-five years ago I sold Avon products in the large San Diego apartment complex where I lived. I remember that there was a large group of Muslims who settled right there, and I was truly curious about their culture and religion. One woman spoke English, and I tried to get to know her by selling Avon to her. Soon we had a whole group of women, each in her hijab, meeting regularly in my new friend’s apartment.
They would gather, remove their head coverings, try on make up, smell all the perfumes, and test various lotions on their skin. I sold a lot of Avon. And I made new friends. I was not a follower of Jesus back then, but I sometimes think back on that time and consider how I would have had the opportunity to share Christ’s love with those friends.

An Unseen, Movemental Ministry

A few days ago, I attended a special dinner hosted by a new church. One man at my table was a Chinese businessman who regularly travels back and forth to Asia. Because of his business, as well as his language skills, he has access to people and places most people don’t. His ministry is vast, yet it’s invisible and very much underground. Nobody called this man a missionary, but he is dedicated to planting underground churches as a bi-vocational missions leader. May his tribe be multiplied.

May Our Tribes Be Multiplied

Who are some of the people we can better reach by becoming movemental, missional insiders who go where people are instead of waiting for them to accept our invitations to our church buildings? If some day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord, we must make and take such opportunities.
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About the Author

Linda Bergquist

Linda has been involved in church planting for 38 years, 36 of which have been in urban areas. She is currently a church planting catalyst for the North American Mission Board and has served as an adjunct professor in several seminaries. She co-authored the books Church Turned Inside Out, The Wholehearted Church Planter, and City Shaped Churches and authored the Exponential ebook: The Great Commission and the Rest of Creation.

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