Apparently, there is a self assessment tool in Chapter 9 of “Becoming Global:Integrating Global Mission and Your Local Church” (Sydney, Aust.: SMBC Press, 2011). Just photocopy and go. (Thanks Bruce!)
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Some years ago, at a Lausanne meeting, I happened to be assigned to a table which afforded me the chance to meet Ellen Livingood. If you’ll forgive the bad grammer/pun for a moment, I can tell you that she really is (living good). She’s got enough marketing/arts background to make everything look really clean, simple, and understandable, and on the whole, she generates great content. For example, if your church is seeking to determine its current missions strategy — kind of like an assessment or evaluation — try her October 2013 newsletter, available at..
If her evaluation misses the mark at all, in my humble opinion, it seems to be skewed a bit toward analyzing one’s current approaches, then deciding how to prioritize among those. While this would be a helpful approach, from what we see in this article, we don’t really seem to be directed much at the Bible to determine biblical mandates. Without the Bible as our guide, wouldn’t our strategies be adrift, and therefore somewhat vulnerable to the latest trends or fads in world evangelism? In addition, to my mind’s eye, the work seems highly skewed toward the question, “How will we prioritize what we’re doing now,” instead of asking the more fundamental question, “What do God and the world need us to do, regardless of what our church or our leadership would prefer?” These are bolder questions and some missions teams might not feel empowered enough to ask them. But I can pretty much guarantee, God is wishing that we would. (Thanks for the tip, Marti!)
I’m reading Richard Stearns’ [relatively] new book, “Unfinished.” (It’s published 2013 by Thomas Nelson. But, since we can Google a book title and author these days, do publishers and dates really matter anymore? I guess if there are multiple editions of the same book — and you’re seeking a particular edition? Anyway, I digress.) He begins at a starting point that seems so critical for today’s era: Do we really believe? And does faith matter?
Here’s my theory: It all starts with a clarion call to faith. If we don’t sort out the belief card, nothing else matters. We can’t establish the priority of the Good News. We can’t lay a foundation of absolute truth. We can’t clarify what happens after we die.
Bottom line: If we don’t share a common faith, we’re toast.
The bad news is — we can no longer assume a common faith. Take Britain for instance. As recently as 2001, 71.7% claimed to be Christian in Britain. As of the end of 2011, that number had fallen to 59.3%. By contrast, the overall number of Muslims, taken among all ages, climbed from 3% to 4.8%. True: Much of that rise was due to an influx of foreign born. [See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20675307 ] But a closer look reveals that among younger populations, the number of Muslims has now climbed to 10%! [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/10062745/Christianity-declining-50pc-faster-than-thought-as-one-in-10-under-25s-is-a-Muslim.html ]
We could provide THOUSANDS of stats to support this same trend, in so many other lands that were historically Christian. My conclusion: I’m convinced that Stearns’ beginning point must become a starting point for practically everything we do. Please understand: I’m not calling his a crisis of faith. Rather, it’s a CANYON of faith. It’s empty. Void. And we’d better address it.
Your thoughts? Agree? Disagree? Just click in the comment box following the online version of this item at the link below. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
Are you a church leader looking for help on specific missions mobilization topics? … A missionary who wants to help churches expand their missions involvement? … An agency staff person seeking to better resource churches? Each month Catalyst Services publishes Postings, an online article on some practical aspect of church missions mobilization. And it’s free! Here are a few recent topics:
*** Questions to help determine fit on a field team (June 2013)
*** How to involve a church’s high-capacity leaders in missions (February 2013)
*** Gifts that may indicate who God is tapping for cross-cultural ministry (July 2012)
Sign up for a free subscription and access all of our searchable past issues at
Kingdom Come Training offers a low-cost full package of training, coaching and accountability that typically brings faith missionaries to 100% funding in a few months. You save the cost of meals, travel and lodging by engaging right at home, even at your field location, over live, interactive videoconferencing. Jessica, a missionary in Eastern Europe writes, “The prospect of seeking support terrified me. Yet He is rich in mercy and love. He provided KCT to train me. In spite of my fears, the weekly accountability motivated me to make calls, set appointments, and share my stories. God blew me away by providing more than what I needed, and He did so in just five months – a whole month earlier than my goal! Now I have an incredible team of partners who are also committed to seeing Jesus exalted in the far reaches of the earth. I can leave for my field in full assurance of God’s grace upon my ministry.” Get more information and registration at…
about unengaged Muslim Groups. It would be a great session-starter or “countdown” video before a special focus on Muslim peoples. Of course, who will be remaking these as we send new teams of witnesses to these people groups? :-) I ask because I’m assisting with one new team who has already been working in one of these [now previously-] unengaged groups for nearly two years. I guess Finishing the Task is helping with that question. Anyone else tracking this data?
Thanks to Russell, who tipped us off to the fact that John Piper has provided some excellent missions sermons and panels, originally staged at a missions conference in 2011, at…
Speakers include Louie Giglio, Jason Mandryk, Greg Livingstone, David Platt, and, of course, Piper himself. Excellent stuff. (Thanks Russell!)
If your buddy in the cubicle next to you shouts that he’s seeing God on his computer monitor, he might not be joking. Global Outreach Day (“G.O.D.”) is coming up on May 25th. The inaugural event happened last year with so many amazing reports from around the world of people sharing Jesus with others and Jesus changing lives. Check these links out for ideas on getting prepped for GOD 2013.
If you were unable to participate ‘live’ in last Wednesday’s Global Prayercast, never fear. The archive is here. Just browse to…
and see the one-hour Global Prayercast video at the top of the page. Scroll down a bit for a three-minute “behind the scenes” video about the making of the Global Prayercast.
This past week, a Brigada participant asked if there was any specific online forum (other than Brigada, of course) specifically for Missions Mobilizers. We knew about the Catalyst e-zine at…
But we wondered if there was some kind of regular physical gathering, or at least a regular online get-together of mobilizers around the world. If there are, and if that’s public knowledge, would you use the comment box below to share more information about it please? Thanks!
This weekend, I’ve been speaking and leading workshops at a local church in the Great Pacific Northwest. As I wrap up the weekend, I’m left with the question — Why does this one local church seem to “get it,” without even much help? Their elders understand unreached peoples and cities and have arranged the budget in such a way that they are giving them priority. Their minister just finished a four-Sunday sermon series on the church’s responsibility for the lost. They’ve set up a special fund to adopt an unreached people group and they plan to send a survey group, in conjunction with a prayer journey initiative, in the next 90 days. There are at least 5 people who will probably step forward to volunteer to be sent full-time, even though the church hasn’t yet fully decided on which people group or city they’ll go reach. Ever since they’ve started pursuing this course, they’ve run ahead of budget — so much so that they’re now $15K ahead, which was enough to cover the cost of hosting the Wall of Unreached Peoples
as well as a special focus weekend on unreached peoples and cities. (They flew me all the way in from Louisville to speak there — in 7 sessions over the weekend, with various groups, including the elders and staff, select missions families, and 3 sessions with the entire congregation.) My guess is, Lord willing, they’ll have “boots on the ground” in a new unreached people group or city within 18 months from now.
All of which prompts me to ask — why? Why does this one church get it so well, while so many others lag behind, losing their chance to flourish and make a deep impact, both at home and abroad? Whatever they’re doing right, it makes me want to bottle it up and release it worldwide. Because if we only had more of this spirit, within one generation, the entire globe would have been exposed to the Good News of Jesus Christ.
So what’s your theory? Why do some churches ‘get it’ and others don’t? If you have an insight, please click “Comment” below the online version of this item. (And by the way, before you ask, I should probably guard the identity of the church I’m describing lest they receive 1000 requests for support from thousands of Brigada readers who are raising support. Let’s give them a chance to get out of the gate first. :-) )
Sound too good to be true? Check again. After graduating from college (any college), just join a non-profit. Make 120 payments then burn your mortgage. Or the student loan papers at least. Read all about it at…
The fine print: If you’re the type that likes to tell people about Jesus, this program might not work so well for you. The program includes this disclaimer: “However, when determining full-time public service employment at a not-for-profit organization you may not include time spent participating in religious instruction, worship services, or any form of proselytizing.” You CAN, however, include the time spent drilling wells or researching rice farming techniques.
Some would say that culture and language are best learned through peer friendships, mission is best done through relationships, and children are a gift of God that He can uniquely use in his mission to lost and hurting people. In light of these truths, Friends4One offers an educational, missions engagement program that connects American Christian children with a child of the same age and gender in China. These 21st century pen pals use the internet to build a friendship and share Christ’s love. Check out…
to discover how you can connect more American children (12 and younger) in your family, church, Christian school or homeschool network with this unique opportunity to engage in relational, cross-cultural ministry. Write
infofriends4oneorg if you are interested. (Word to the wise: In today’s environment, obviously, you’ll want to build in every safeguard imaginable so that these children aren’t misled.)
Talking with these fellow CEO’s of mission agencies, the thoughts emerged — How do we simplify the story of our organization’s past, present and future. Several of my compadres had settled on a quest to come up with harder data categories. They had come to the point that they weren’t so fond of telling the “what’s” any more. They were realizing that people (prayer partners, donors, and friends) wanted to know the “Why’s” of our work. They were now investigating time and energy in figuring out how to INSPIRE the local church. A Bible translation group had sorted out the cost of translating each verse of scripture. A missions-focused seminary had figured out how much it would cost to double its student body. Their conclusion: Everybody’s looking for return on his or her investment. Bigger donors are asking the question, “If I give you $1000, what difference will it generate?” Interesting stuff.
(Thanks for the tip, Tony!)
Check out “Care ConneXion 2013,” April 19-20, 2013 at Village Baptist Church, Beaverton, OR. Register before April 5th to receive the early-bird rate. Care Connexion is a catalyst for mutual encouragement and sharing of best practice resources in member care. This conference is an excellent opportunity to network with others committed to missionary care and will focus on equipping and networking leaders to provide relevant and effective care for missionaries. Guest keynote speakers are Scott Shaum, Barnabas International and Senior Pastor Mark Hanke, Salem First Baptist Church. For more information, visit