The article is written by Ben before the missionary conference 2017.
The name CCMN was coined at the first summit in the end 1997. This summit was called, “Asia-Pacific Praying and Dreaming Summit.” The Summit was initially planned to be a one-time connection of some churches that we know but have never connected together. We wanted to bring them all together and see what will happen. There was no main speaker and we gathered for 4 days in Hong Kong to see what will happen – what will eventuate. At that summit, all the delegates feel that we need to continue to connect and in some way work together – we decided then to have the summit every year.
Everyone at the summit also decided that if we network together, it has to be about mission. That was why the name CCMN (Cell Church Mission Network) was adopted. We want to do mission together – that was what was on our minds.
CCMN 1.0 – churches doing missions
This was the original network that was set up at the first summit that we had. Churches networking together to do missions. We know nothing about missions. 1997 was the year that the first missionary was sent out.
The focus was missions! However, many pastors were saying, “I am still struggling myself as a pastor with my church, how can I think about missions?” So we also try to see how can we help churches to become stronger and healthier. We begin thinking of coaching some churches – even though we know nothing about coaching. But the idea was there that CCMN cannot only focus on the missionaries and the mission field – we must help the local churches.
As more churches become stronger, we also begin to see more churches getting involved in missions. The Summit every year became a stimulation for these churches to be involved in missions. Short-term missions was also a great help to stimulate the churches and the members about missions.
CCMN 2.0 – Church as base
In 2010, we gathered in Taichung, Taiwan for a Missionary Conference and the idea of “Church Based Mission” 教會為本的宣教 became clear to everyone.
We are not just churches getting involved in missions, but it is very important to realise that we are a very significant and important realm in missions. Much of missions has for hundreds of years has been done by many missions organisations and agencies – and they have been doing a great job – CCMN is definitely not critical against any of these – they have been greatly used by God.
However, the reality is that the church overall in the world today does not feel that missions is a part of what they need to do or what they can do. The church has people and the church has money – the agencies do not have people and they do not have money. It is ironical that
Base of the Nature of the Church
The church of Jesus Christ do not have a choice to obey the great commission of Christ or not. Mission is a command of Christ for His church – it is not an option. The nature of the church is to make disciples of all nations. As long as we are a church of Jesus Christ, we must do that!
Base of the Function of the Church
Mission needs to be based in the Church. Missions needs to be a basic function of a church. Today in many churches, helping the marginal and neglected people of our society has been given over to social service organisations to do; training people has been given to the training organisations (the Bible Colleges and Seminaries) to do; missions has been given to the mission agencies to do. It is as though the church in its normal function, do not need to consider making disciple of the nations and any of the above.
CCMN’s understanding is that missions (including “mercy ministry” and training and raising up people) MUST be the normal function of the church.
CCMN 3.0 – Movement as hub
CCMN 2.0 is not a new understanding of CCMN 1.0 – rather it is a clearer understanding of CCMN. CCMN did not start because some plan to start it. It started because a whole bunch of pastors (over 90 pastors from nearly 20 nations) decided to keep connecting for missions. As the now famous words (and one of my favourite words) of one of the CCMN pastors about CCMN say, 糊里糊塗的走上了一條清清楚楚的道路 (with no clear understanding we walked on to a very clear path). As we walk, we have become clearer about what we are called to be and to do!
CCMN 3.0 is a even clearer understanding of CCMN. So CCMN is not only “Church as Base” 以教會為本; we are also a part of a movement. This is so important!
The church of Jesus Christ is, in fact, a movement. Jesus called us together to be His body, His witness. He called us and equipped us and sent us to the world and to change the world. He has called us to join a movement led by Him. The goals of this movement are to advance His Kingdom, to share the good news, to raise up His disciples, to demonstrate the priesthood of all believers, to see ourselves as One Body One Church. This is His movement.
In the past, we were too concentrated on our local churches, our ministries, our missions. However, we did not see ourselves as part of a movement. Therefore we were quite passive about networking and working together. Usually if the network will benefit my church or my ministry, then I will join. If the network does not have anything to benefit me anymore, then I will no longer join. We should consider His movement as more important than my ministries, my church, my mission.
We are not criticising any pastor or church – it is the lack of understanding of most of us! And it is also because of this, we see that CCMN need to upgrade ourselves!
Most missionaries are the same. Very few missionaries are not in the mission field for themselves only but see themselves as a stepping stone or a facilitator or a catalyst for others to be on the mission field. Even on the field, very few missionaries see a part of his task as helping a newer missionary succeed in the field. Missionaries has disagreement with the leader and so they leave – very few think that I am here so that others can come after me, so I must stay. Some has been a missionary for 10 years and it is because other people enabled the person, but then just left without being a blessing to even one other person coming after the person.
Again, we are not criticising any missionary – it is the lack of understanding of most of us. That is why we need to upgrade!
CCMN 2.0 – Church as base 以教會為本
CCMN 3.0 – Movement as hub 以運動為軸
If, from now on, all the pastors, missionaries, and leaders involved in CCMN will embrace this One Body, One Church, One Kingdom movement, and be faithful – not just to my personal calling – but to this movement, we see a new impact not only for CCMN but for the whole body of Christ. CCMN will be come a light and example for many. LET’S DO IT!
There are at least 2 functions to the Hub:
Hub is the Centre
Hub is the Connecting point of all the parts
HUB as “CENTRE” 中心
The centre of the pastors, the churches and the missionaries in CCMN must have the centre – not in “my church” or “my ministry” or “doing my mission” – but in the movement. This is the Biblical way to look at all the parts – is that they all belong to the whole! The part is important but the part is not the whole. The part is not designed to function independently but to function as a part of the whole.
More and more in CCMN we have come to realise that togetherness and unity is so important. We have seen so many churches and mission fields struggle because of this problem. This is also the greatest concentration of the devil’s attack – to break up unity. Our God is a three in one God and live in eternal unity. His desire for His people is simple – that they may be ONE.
It is no wonder that every single culture in the world ALL know that unity is strength and divided we are weak. It is no mystery either that it is so hard to live in unity. Unity not only make us strong but make us last the long haul. The African proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together!”
Moreover, all that we do are actually working toward one movement. The Coaching Networks of the churches, the Ministry Training Colleges, the Smart Teams, the Making Disciple movement, the missions, -- these all are working to building the movement. They are not independent part but all part of the whole movement.
HUB as “CONNECT” 貫連
All that we do are connected – they are not independent. All the leaders of different units such as MTC, Pastors of Churches, Mission and Coaching network should hold to this movement value. We say that the church should care for and be concern for the missionary, but why not the missionary be concern for the church? What about if there are others in the church that has a heart for missions? What about those that has come to short term missions before?
Most of us are built on the foundation of others. We can do what we are doing because someone has enable me to do so. Many are grateful but very few pass on the blessing to the next generation. We all need to become connectors in the movement! We need to connect between past generation and my generation and the coming generation!
That is how a movement is build!
Our hope is that His Kingdom will be raised up above all kingdoms. Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords. Although we may face persecutions and sufferings, His Kingdom will prevail.