How do we judge places that are “more” or “less” open? A few thoughts I have scribbled:
- Access: can I even get in? If not, can anyone get in? Who can get in? Can I reach them somehow? Can I somehow reach the ones who can reach the ones who can get in? Who is the place closed to?
- Language: can I speak the language? Should I spend the time to learn the language, or to find the workers who can? Good idea to learn a second language – trains your brain in new ways – but it not always a profitable tradeoff.
- Sustainability: can I be there long enough? Movements can take 2-5 years to ignite. How can I be meaningfully engaged with people over the time it takes to start a movement?
- Spiritually open? This is hard to measure. Prayer in place. Factors of spiritual blindness: pride, greed, hardness of heart, sin, structures of power, etc.
- Presence of Christians? Are there Christians in the place, no matter how nominal? Is it possible there is a “needle in the haystack” of nominal Christianity who could ignite a movement?
- Persecution: very high levels can ignite church growth, but can also squash it. Small collections of Christians can double fast, but they can also be more easily squashed when they become visible. High levels of persecution when the church is small can keep growth down, keep size from reaching critical 2%-10% lefels.
- Seekers: Cornelius, Ethiopian, Macedonian Call, seekers who are revealed there. If there are some seekers showing up, there are more seekers there.