Book recommendation: Incarnational Ministry: Planting Churches in Band, Tribal, Peasant, and Urban Societies by Paul Hiebert and Eloise Hiebert Meneses
Commentary by Frank Pardue
This book is very helpful because it recognizes the different contexts of church planting. Rather than dividing church planting work by ethnic group, Hiebert looks at the social structures of ethnic groups.
- – A “band” is normally a nomadic society that groups itself into groups of just a few families.
- – A Tribal Society, on the other hand, is connected by “chiefs” or “royal” families (actually, much like the 12 tribes of Israel).
- – Peasant (rural, farming) Societies also have their own type of organization – those who are wealthy and those who are poor (“sharecroppers” in our American context).
- – Hiebert’s description of Urban Societies is the most detailed in describing minorities and majority peoples, poor and wealthy and the isolation of families in an urban world.
For each section, there is a description of the type of society and one for church planting in that context. We have found that this has been very helpful in our Asian context and work among each of these sectors of society. It helps one to be aware of the questions to ask and ideas to consider. We have work in each of these contexts in the Philippines, and I have used this with workers from many countries and cultures around Asia. I highly recommend this book for a slightly deeper dive into understanding people groups and cultures for those in church planting or in other fields.