The Church as Glocal… Addressing the World and Our Community

We are living in a global world—the young generation, especially. We have a global culture. Most of us know Facebook, Michael Jackson, iPhone, Avatar, Nike. Brands are global. Movies are global. Artists are global.

But still, the place where we live is local. We have a home, friends, family. My teenagers, who live in the Paris area, probably love the same music and wear the same kind of clothes as yours do. The main difference is the place where they live. The new generation is becoming more and more glocal.

Glocal Needs to Be Our Model
If we want the gospel message to be relevant for our generation, we need to be glocal in our approach. It’s not an option. If we have a global ministry but can't measure its local impact, then we don't have any glocal ministry at all. Let me explain.

A global ministry is a ministry touching nations. A local ministry is rooted in the life of people, touching cities and local communities. So a glocal ministry is a ministry touching nations and having a local impact. And it's what is needed today to reach our generation.

Glocal as a Process
After reading Thom S. Rainer and Eric Geiger’s Simple Church: Returning to God’s Process for Making Disciples (B&H Books, 2006), I understood that there are two kinds of churches: churches with programs and churches with process.

Churches with programs want to have people attending their programs. Churches with process (called “simple churches”) want unsaved people to become disciples. I think we can apply the same principle to any Christian organization. Are we just running programs or are we developing a process to turn seekers into believers of Jesus and then disciples of Jesus?

Glocal is the process most adapted for every organization which considers evangelism as the Great Commission. Behind numbers, there are real people. If we cannot figure out that real people are becoming followers and disciples of Jesus Christ locally, we just have numbers and consider people as numbers.

Sometimes, I hear this kind of declaration: “We are broadcasting our programs in ten million homes.” If we cannot turn this number into real and local people, we have missed the point entirely.

  

So how do we do it? In our field of Internet glocal evangelism, here is our process.

  1. We attract people. To do so, we use global tools like Google or Facebook.

  2. We present to these seekers the good news of Jesus Christ. For this, we use websites. A website is essentially global because a language on the Internet can be spoken in many countries. For example, when I started my first website in 1997 (a local church website), my first contact was from Brazil, although I was in France!
  3. We connect people online. We connect them to people from their own country and, if possible, from their city. Every step is done through the Internet, but in the end, people are connected to local Christians.
  4. We invite them to connect offline, to drink coffee together, go to a church, etc.

This link between the global tool and the local Christian is a glocal connection. Through our ministry, people are becoming followers of Jesus by experiencing his love through our global website and then by being connected to Christians from local churches.

I truly believe that when Jesus said to go into all the world, make disciples, and baptize them, he was giving a glocal order. Nations are global. Baptisms are local. Do you agree? I would love to ear from you. Together, let's move the world for Christ and answer his glocal call!

A Tool for Your Church: The Jesus.net Widget

One day I was praying with a friend who is also a local pastor. Our question for God was: How can we help local churches to use the Internet? An idea came to mind: create an evangelistic application—the Jesus.net widget—derived from the proven and global concept of our evangelistic websites (1.8 million decisions for Jesus so far). This free application would turn any church website into an evangelistic website and the follow-up would be done locally. A glocal tool was born! See and get the widget at www.Jesus.net  

In His Words: Eric’s Testimony of a Glocal Experience

I live in Lausanne, Switzerland. From early on, sickness, divorce, projects without God, and even prison were my daily bread. Throughout the years, I developed behaviors that put me “outside of the law.” I was condemned to two years in prison. My marriage, family, work…everything was falling apart. On the Internet, I found the website ConnaitreDieu.Jesus.net.

What touched me most were the testimonies. I wanted to begin all over again, be healed of sickness, and live the life of a happy couple. According to the website, “It's as easy as a prayer.” I decided to take the challenge and I answered “YES” to the suggested prayer. I also asked for help through an online volunteer. At first I was fearful, but little by little I gained confidence.

This new life, this new beginning with Jesus, has allowed me to rediscover myself…to abandon my past life, and to tell myself that I am not alone—that Jesus is my hope. He is always with me in spite of my failures and my pride. It's wonderful!

The website put me in touch with an Alpha Course close to my home. There, I met people who knew how to take care of me. Despite my timidity, I asked all kinds of questions. I was touched by their availability. I joined a local church and was baptized. I'm now born again and I want to obey to the word of God. I wish to go further in my walk with the Lord and become a disciple who glorifies him. I desire to speak to others of his word and tell them what he did for me!


Eric Célérier is a French pastor and founder of TopChretien.com, a Christian Internet portal for French speaking people which receives 1.2 million visits per month. He also initiated Jesus.net and is an active member of the Lausanne Strategy Working Group. He and his wife, Muriel, and their three children live near Paris.