Movement Characteristics

Mission control, we have a problem

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I’ve been away for the last two weeks. The trip gave me the opportunity to bump into a whole range of people engaged or thinking about overseas missions. They are all good people with a heart to serve God. They all hope their ministry will result in new disciples and new churches.

Some of their comments left me wondering if their hopes will every become reality.

Here’s a sample. . .

Mission by just being there

We’re off to a south Pacific nation on mission.
Q. What does that look like?
A. We’ll go and live among people and just see what happens.

Mission by foreign invasion

We’re a team of six westerners in an African village. We’ve been there four years learning language and reaching out to a town of 3-4,000.
Q. What’s the plan for reaching the 50,000 plus people beyond your town who are in the same people group?
A. We need to pray for teams of (western trained and funded) missionaries to go into every town and village.

Mission by stealth

We’ve been in an Asian city for two years building relationships. We haven’t had to initiate conversations with anyone. They come to us. Two have become Christians.
Q. How many new believers are now sharing their faith and making disciples?
A. None.

Mission by delay

I want to go to Africa and build an orphanage and school. First I need to get my degree so I can earn the money to fund the ministry.
Q. How long before you can get to the field?
A. At least five years.

Mission by wishful thinking

We're at college for another three years, then we want to go to the field and to do evangelism and plant churches.
Q. Have you had any experience in evangelism and planting churches?
A. No.

Followup Q. Do you have any idea of what you will be doing when you get there?
A. No.

As I mentioned, they were all dedicated people trying their best within a flawed paradigm.

The solution? Read the Gospels and keep asking, What did Jesus do? Read the book of Acts and keep asking, What did the risen Lord Jesus continue to do?

Et tu, Brute?

Brutus the Monster Croc

Brutus the Monster Croc

Monster saltwater croc "Brutus" thrilling the tourists on the Adelaide River, 100km south of Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia.  

His right front leg is missing, bitten off in a shark attack. Must have been some shark!

Anyone for a swim in the Adelaide River?

UPDATE

For those who don't know their Shakespeare, more on the Latin phrase Et tu, Brute? (You too Brutus?)

Barney's 10 Commandments for reluctant evangelists

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An important ingredient in every disciple-making movement is plenty of "mouth to ear" evangelism.

I'm a reluctant evangelist. So I sought wise counsel from "Barney," an experienced practitioner in sparking church planting movements. Following my confession and absolution he shared his 10 Commandments for reluctant evangelists.

  1. Shut the lid on your computer.
  2. Get out among people. When Jesus saw the crowds he was moved with compassion.
  3. Set aside a regular time/s each week to share the gospel. Don't come home until you do.
  4. Find a partner and go two by two.
  5. Look for "persons of peace"—responsive people who God has already prepared.
  6. Follow relational networks. When you meet a person of peace find ways for the gospel to go to their friends and family.
  7. Be accountable to someone to stay on track.
  8. Spend time with people who share their faith and make disciples. Learn from them and catch their heart.
  9. Have simple tools for sharing—your story and a gospel presentation. So simple that new believers can quickly copy what you do.
  10. Have simple tools for making disciples—7 Commands of Christ or Discovery Bible study. So simple that new believers can quickly copy what you do.

If, like Jonah, you would rather not obey these commands, there is one command you should obey—stay away from the ocean.

He who holds the creation in his hand . . .

From the birthplace of our faith, a hauntingly beautiful Christmas carol from Eastern Christian traditions of the Feast of the Nativity. Byzantine free chant in Arabic (Antiochian Orthodox) from a recording featuring both Melkite Catholic and Antiochean Orthodox chanters.

HT: Andrew Bolt