Operational distinctives are elements which have emerged over time as the ethos of Christar. In some cases, they are procedures that help us function more effectively. In other cases, they are positions on issues that allow us to focus on our stewardship—church-planting—rather than argumentation. Operational distinctives are not intended to criticize organizations that operate differently.
Daily Prayer Partners
Christar requires all workers (as couples or single), before leaving for the field, to recruit 100 people to pray for them daily. The prayer of a single person offered in the name of Jesus has great power. Though the number 100 is not specified by Scripture, this expectation reminds us of our dependence on God and our partnership with those who have sent us.
Working in Teams
The work of Christar primarily takes place on teams. The definition of a Christar team is a small group of people linked to Christar, with complementary gifts, who are committed to the goal of planting churches among the least-reached through an agreed-upon ministry plan, mutual care and mutual accountability. Some Christar workers may work on teams with people who are not from Christar. Our desire is to demonstrate the value of the body of Christ through teamwork.
Understanding of Certain Spiritual Gifts
Our focus is on our stewardship of planting churches among the least-reached. We understand the typical practice of tongues today is not the same as the sign gift of speaking real languages in New Testament times. We believe that all followers of Christ receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit at the time of salvation. Therefore, Christar expects its workers and Mobilization Centers not to practice or propagate “speaking in tongues.”
Men and Women in Ministry
Men and women in Christar are full partners in the ministry of establishing churches. We approach the ministry of church-planting teams as not only the accomplishment of a vision, but also as living out the body of Christ in the midst of least-reached communities. Therefore, the biblical principles of ministry within the context of the local church are foundational to team ministry as each team seeks God’s leadership to make appropriate application of those principles to local culture.
Baptism is the public demonstration of one’s faith in Jesus Christ. It is symbolic of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Therefore, the baptism of believers by immersion is taught and practiced in and through our ministries.
Christar is committed to the principle of contextualization. Our understanding and application of contextualization begins with the unalterable foundation of biblical absolutes revealed in the Bible, which are applicable to any and every culture. This invariably results in unbiblical parts of the receiving culture needing to be changed. However, there are many cultural forms that need not and should not be changed. It is our stated purpose to preserve these forms and, as much as possible, adjust our living levels and ministry methods to include and use these forms in communicating the Word of God to national groupings.
We recognize that the lack of perfect conformity to cultural norms will not prevent God from saving people as we are filled with the Holy Spirit, speak the truth in love and trust God for the results. We further commit ourselves not to inhibit local indigenous communities from expressing and living the gospel in their own cultural forms when biblical truths and practices are maintained. We recognize that the scriptures and founders of other religions may communicate some aspects of truth, but we will not claim their scriptures or founders to be of divine origin.
Much of the world in which we work does not officially allow overt Christian witness. Thus, it is necessary for many of our people to both plant churches and work within for-profit or not-for-profit organizations. The goal of these entities is to build gospel bridges to the communities that we are seeking to reach.