5) How do we Reverse the Decline of Cultural Christianity in the West?

empty churchThe report at…

is indeed rather of a downer. For all intents and purposes, it would appear that Christianity as a way of life is not only on the decline, but in addition, it’s practically dying.

And yet.. take a look at…

This is one area of growth for Christianity. There are others as well. Bottom line: as we crumble culturally, let’s strengthen as disciples. What’s your take? Just click “comment” after the web version of this item. Thanks in advance for participating.

4) Get the East-West Church and Ministry Report for Free

The impact of the Ukraine crisis on the church and ministries in Ukraine and Russia is the subject of the latest issue of the East-West Church and Ministry Report. Editor Mark Elliott
emark936atgmaildotcom shares that grant funding is permitting the distribution of the Ukraine theme issue free to non-subscribers in English, Russian, and Ukrainian via the EWC&M Report website home page:

This website also makes available at no charge the full text of all other issues of the EWC&M Report more than one year old. Since its founding in 1993, the EWC&M Report has covered all aspects of church life and ministry in the former Soviet Union and Central and
Eastern Europe.

14) The BackPage: “More Progress than Ever on Unreached Peoples”

Last week, I shared some great progress being made by those focusing on unreached peoples. It’s encouraging news. In fact, it’s so encouraging that the Director of Research for one of the largest missionary-sending agencies in the world (the Southern Baptist International Mission Board or IMB) concluded in his summary statement that he’s “seen more progress in fulfilling the Great Commission in the past 5 years than throughout his entire 30-year career as a researcher and missionary.”

I trust this is as exciting for you to hear as it was for me. The bottom line on his numbers: His research is showing 3142 remaining unengaged, unreached people groups (UUPG’s) of all sizes. (This number differs from Finishing the Task’s (FTT) current number because FTT is currently looking only at groups greater than 25,000 in population.) The IMB, for their part, is asking their regional leaders (referred to as Affinity Group Leaders) to submit a plan or explanation of literally each of the UUPG’s in their region. This plan could propose any number ways to handle each individual group, but it must address each group intentionally. Some groups might be dismissed (either because, in the opinion of the regional leader, they don’t exist or they’ve now been engaged or they’re no longer “unreached” — meaning that enough have been evangelized). But for the groups that remain, the Affinity Group Leader must either write a plan for the IMB to embrace and launch a plan to evangelize the group — or they must hook up with another Great Commission agency (another mission agency or church) to do so.

I like this approach for several reasons. First, it’s intentional. Second it’s strategic. Third, by doing so, the IMB is indicating all the more its profound commitment to interact and integrate with other “Great Commission Christians.” This posture seemed to become even more profound following Avery Willis’ now-famous address at the Global Consultation on World Evangelism in 1995. By the grace of God, it happened that I chose to attend Avery’s session. Without knowing what I was about to hear, I wandered in, seated myself, and began to listen to this great man of God as he was, at first, repenting for his previous sin of excluding others from data-sharing and assuming that Southern Baptists had to “go it alone” in completing the Great Commission. That one talk seemed to do more to bring evangelical unity (at least as it relates to the Southern Baptists) than any other talk in the last century.

So this Christmas, I’m praising God not only for unity, but also for the progress that it is observing. I’m thankful to be on the side of the guys who are definitely destined to win the battle for right and not-so-right. Because, you see, I’ve read the last chapter of the book, and the guys covered with the blood of Jesus win all the battles — because Jesus wins all the battles for them. God be praised or unity and progress!

Merry Christmas!


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