What territorialism and tribalism look like can depend on context

I was talking with a Christian university student originally from the US about territorialism. 

At his university there are many many Christian groups and churches that respect each other and welcome each other's invovlement on campus. To do otherwise would be awfully territorial and tribal. Rather, because Christ is preached, they should rejoice.

But he was commenting on how here in Australia he often hears people be protective about particular mission fields in a territorial or tribal, as if they own this or that mission field. This seems so bad, he thought. Surely the more people preaching the gospel the better?

I agreed with him that a desperate, small-minded territorialism can be a problem in Australia. We guard our universities or our parishes from outside interference. "If anyone is going to fail to reach this area," we say. "It'll be us and us alone!".

And yet I tried to help him see that that's not the full story. In times of leaner harvest, when getting gospel ministry going is slower and harder, we can also rightly see that new minsitries could disrupt the momentum we've just gathered, divide the small teams we'e managed to recruit. Sometimes the desire to build critical mass among one ministry might be the best desire in a context of harder soil.

I suggested that in such situations, the tribal, territorial thing might be the new, 'competing' group remaining insistent on its own brand. Rather than pushing to plant the flag of its own tribe in the new 'territory', it might be better to instead join forces with the existing one.

So those genuinely keen to reach a uni campus may abandon the AFES brand and link arms with Student Life, if they are already doing a good work. The person keen to reach a particular town might abandon the decision to plant a church and first join forces with an existing Baptist Church that is just getting things moving.

There's no simple answers to such questions, is there?

via Blog - Christian Reflections http://ift.tt/1IxClJE (NB: to comment go to http://ift.tt/1FyvdLS)