127-NoPlaceLeft Austin TX [podcast]


Garret Lawrence tells the story of NoPlaceLeft Austin TX with a little help from Pete and Colin.


European Forum for Church Multiplication: Barcelona 2017

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I’ll be one of the speakers at the European Forum for Church Multiplication: 8-10 February, 2017.

Training in Manchester UPDATED


Nick Duffy and Russell Godward are training in Manchester, Nov 25-26. It’s the equivalent of our Following and Fishing training.

More details to follow.

UPDATE: Follow this link for the details.

126-From church to movement — Exponential workshop 2016


Ray Vaughn, Troy Cooper, Ron Surgeon, and Steve Wright share what they are learning about the transiton from church to movement.

Photo: The five of us at Exponential 2016. Steve Wright wasn’t there for the photo so I popped his head on the body of Alan Hirsch.

Subscribe to the Exponential podcast for more great content.


Well done

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via Oggie

Taking ISIS seriously as a movement

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Scott Atran understands movements.

In a penetrating essay Atran argues that,

[we have not grasped the] revolutionary character of radical Arab Sunni revivalism. Its revival is a dynamic, countercultural movement of world-historic proportions spearheaded by ISIS.… In less than two years, it has created a dominion over hundreds of thousands of square kilometres and millions of people. And it possesses the largest and most diverse volunteer fighting force since the Second World War.

ISIS has a plan.

[It is] a purposeful plan of violence that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State’s self-anointed Caliph, outlined in his call for ‘volcanoes of jihad’: to create a globe-spanning jihadi archipelago that will eventually unite to destroy the present world and create a new-old world of universal justice and peace under the Prophet’s banner. A key tactic in this strategy is to inspire sympathisers abroad to violence: do what you can, with whatever you have, wherever you are, whenever possible.

Atran and his team conducted dozens of interviews and behavioural experiments with youth in Paris, London and Barcelona, as well as with captured ISIS fighters in Iraq and members of Jabhat al-Nusra (Al-Qaeda’s affliate in Syria).

His conclusion? ISIS has “a profoundly alluring mission to change and save the world.”

Atran understands ISIS as a movement.

Ultimately the West’s greatest challenge in facing the threat of ISIS is not military hardware but a lack of meaning and purpose.

Nathan Shank on No Place Left

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Great news Nathan Shank is writing!  Here’s his Biblical foundation for a No Place Left strategy.

No Place Left is the focus of the October 2016 edition of Global Missiology.

Persecution makes a comeback in China

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The new laws will put the state firmly in charge, giving the Communist Party the ability to hire and fire church leaders and change religious doctrine to make it more Chinese.

That means churchgoers will have to pledge loyalty to the Communist Party first.

China correspondent Matthew Carney

China is set to launch a nationwide crackdown on the Christian churches.

The Communist Party has just enacted much tougher laws that criminalise Christians if they don’t pledge loyalty to the state.

The Chinese President Xi Jinping has warned that all religions now have to become ‘Chinese’ and the new laws will attempt to bring churchgoers and their leaders under party control.

Christianity Today sums up what the new regulations are likely to include:

  • No religious activities that are not approved by the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) .
  • No one may provide a venue for religious services that are not approved by SARA.
  • No one may use their home for religious practices that are not approved by SARA (including home or family Bible studies).
  • No publishing religious materials without approval from SARA.
  • No foreign or domestic donations may be made to any religious organization that hasn’t been approved by SARA.
  • No one may call themselves a pastor without the approval of SARA.
  • No international religious exchanges may happen without the approval of SARA.
  • No one may study theology at school without the approval of SARA.

Across Beijing, church leaders are waiting for the first round of arrests and detentions. It seems the harassment has already begun.

Matthew Carney’s report from the (Australian) ABC is worth listening to. You get the feel of what it is like for the ordinary Chinese believer.

There are 25 million believers registered with the official church and around 75 million believers in unregistered churches. By 2030 China may have the largest Christian population in the world.

InterVarsity did the right thing

 Walk in action

Scripture is very clear that God’s intention for sexual expression is to be between a husband and wife in marriage. Every other sexual practice is outside of God’s plan and therefore is a distortion of God’s loving design for humanity.


InterVarsity has made clear its position on marriage and sexuality. This is a rare thing, many Christian organisations, leaders and churches would rather duck the issue.

We live in strange times when it’s news that a Christian organisation believes what Christians have universally taught on sexuality for 2,000 years.

The Atlantic warns:

Organizations like InterVarsity are not infrequently torn between older, conservative donors and powerbrokers, and the younger donors and activists who hold the key to their future.

If public-opinion polls are any indication, a polarizing position like this may sharply limit the field of future supporters. 

If that’s the case the mainline churches must be bulging with a surplus of young activists and donors. Instead they’re in an unending spiral of decline and decay.

This is the lesson of history — move away from Biblical orthodoxy and you’re finished as a movement. There is no other pattern.


Exponential Europe

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I’ll be doing a session at Exponential Europe this week, Oct 12-13.

Look forward to meeting up if you’ll be there.

If you can’t be there, it will be streamed live for free