VIDEOS: Stories of the Gospel Lived Out

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We Are the Salt is a two-minute clip about reaching the unengaged people of Mali, West Africa. See also the longer film, Light on the Way.

Source: Moving Works

Looking for free, well-made, films that lift up Jesus and tell personal stories? Moving Works, a non-profit ministry in Austin, Texas, has quite a few you may be able to use. Films include two-minute shorts, some simply scripture with music and images, like Run the Race. Others capture short testimonies of God’s work in people’s lives, like Spirit of Prayer, which shares how God is stirring Egyptians to pray.

Blessed, eight minutes long, tells the moving story of a young missionary couple anticipating the birth of their first child and how it changed their lives and ministry. Disciples is a 15-minute film about two Brazilians transformed by God’s grace (in Brazilian Portuguese with English subtitles). Some of the videos are also available in other languages.

On January 29, Moving Works will release a 44-minute film called The Foremost, their most ambitious film to date. It tells the story of a Cambodian pastor who escaped the clutches of the Khmer Rouge regime only to return with a message of forgiveness.

By the way, they’re always looking for great stories of what God has done around the world and for partners to help with translation, so feel free to contact them.

» Visit Moving Works to learn more and view or download videos.

BOOK: Contagious Disciple Making

Source: Thomas Nelson

Contagious Disciple Making: Leading Others on a Journey of Discovery, by David Watson and Paul Watson. Thomas Nelson: 2014. 256 pages.

Perhaps you read Miraculous Movements: How Hundreds of Thousands of Muslims Are Falling in Love with Jesus, or The Father Glorified: True Stories of God’s Power through Ordinary People (which goes beyond the Muslim world). We reviewed both when they were released. The recently released companion volume, Contagious Disciple Making, covers the nuts and bolts of how people in any context can make disciples who make disciples by investing heavily in prayer, engaging with lost people, finding people of peace, starting discovery Bible studies, and more.

This highly practical book also deals head-on with how the methods the authors advocate differ from many standard practices used in evangelism, discipleship, and church planting. Depending on whether you accept these practices and the reasoning behind them, you may see that as either the book’s strength or its weakness. Either way, it’s clear that the kind of results the authors encourage readers to seek could not come about by doing things the same way we always have. Read and be challenged.

» Preview the table of contents, read some helpful reviews, or purchase the book from Amazon (or elsewhere) for US$7.59 (Kindle) or US$10.43 (paperback).

BOOK: Where There Is Now a Church

Source: GMI Books

Where There Is Now a Church: Dispatches from Christian Workers in the Muslim World, edited by James Nelson. GMI Books, 2015. 210 pages.

Just released from GMI, Where There Is Now a Church provides seven case studies showing how God has established churches and church-planting movements among some of the world’s Muslim peoples. Each case study is accompanied by thoughtful discussion questions and a list of the church planting practices it illustrates. An appendix, more than 50 pages long, explains, categorizes, and describes a more complete list of 68 “fruitful” practices for evangelism and church planting in Muslim settings.

This readable and encouraging book would be a great resource for church planters to read and discuss with teammates. It may also be of interest to future church planters, students, missiologists, and supporters. The language is non-technical, the stories are written in an engaging way, and many of the practices could also be applied in non-Muslim contexts.

Though it can stand alone, this book is the sequel to a helpful 2010 publication, Where There Was No Church; you may want to read them both as well as From Seed to Fruit: Global Trends, Fruitful Practices, and Emerging Issues among Muslims (2nd edition). All three are based on the work of a multi-agency team that conducts primary research, analyzes data, and trains field workers in fruitful practice principles.

» Learn more or purchase Where There Is Now a Church for US$4.99 (ebook editions) or US$12.50 (paperback). GMI is also distributing the two-book set for US$9.25 (ebook editions).

TRAINING: Seminars on Strategy and Sending

Source: TRAIN International

TRAIN International in Joplin, Missouri has long been on our list of places to send cross-cultural workers for training in language and culture acquisition and help with debriefing and re-entry. But they also offer seminars for churches.

ACCESS (“Assisting and Coaching Churches to Effectively Send and Sustain”) is a weekend workshop designed to help local churches move to the next level with their current missions strategy and learn how to better care for their missionaries so they may more effectively partner with them on the field. Your local church can discover ways to raise the bar of your missions program or discover a place to start if you don’t have one.

» Learn more about TRAIN’s programs.

 

EVENTS: February Calendar

Source: Missions Catalyst Events Calendar

February 4-7, International Conference on Computing and Mission (De Betteld, Netherlands). An annual event.

February 5, Missionary Effectiveness and Intercultural Competence (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus.

February 6-8, Missionfest Manitoba (Winnipeg, MB, Canada). Free, annual, community-based mission festival for all ages.

February 7, Beyond the Veil (Bloomington, MN, USA). Seminar on ministering to Muslim women, from Crescent Project.

February 12-15, TENTmaking Course (Korntal, Germany). Provided by Tent Norway and Global Opportunities.

February 13-16, World Christian Conference (Boulder Creek, CA, USA). An annual West-coast event sponsored by The World Christian Fellowship – mobilizing Asian-American Christians (and those who identify with them) to disciple all nations.

February 15-18, 19-22, Thrive Retreats (Phuket, Thailand). For North American women serving cross-culturally.

February 16-17, Support Raising Boot Camp (Atlanta, GA, USA). From Support Raising Solutions.

February 18 to March 29, Seek God for the City (global). Annual 40-day prayer campaign. Materials available from WayMakers.

February 19, Churches Shaping the Missions Journey (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus.

February 20-21, Midwest Conference on Missionary Care (Roseville, MN, USA).

February 20-22, Missions Fest Alberta (Edmonton, AB, Canada). Free, annual, community-based mission festival for all ages.

February 26, Frontier Mobilization: The Powerful Potential of the Unsent (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus.

February 27, Cross Conference (online). Free, live simulcast featuring powerful worship and speakers; geared for young adults.

February 28, Bridges Seminar (Dayton, OH, USA). Building bridges to reach Muslims. Provided by Crescent Project.

» View the complete calendar and/or submit an item.

Missions Catalyst News Briefs

Missions-Catalyst-no-tagline_largeIn this Issue: Stories from Niger, New York, and North Africa

Dear readers,

Our last edition of News Briefs featured a piece from Justin Long analyzing the annual status of global mission for 2015. You might also want to take a look at a follow-up article which points out that 70% of the least evangelized people live in just 70 states and provinces.

This week, we point you to an analysis piece from Wycliffe Global Alliance on the status of worldwide Bible translation.

Readers may have already seen another piece of recent global analysis, Open Doors’ World Watch List. The annual list ranks the top 50 countries where Christians face the most persecution and reports that it wasn’t an increase in violence, primarily, that drove religious persecution to record levels in this last year but rather increased “cultural marginalization” of Christians. Take a look at the report itself, Open Doors’ press release, or Not Forgotten: The Top 50 Countries Where It’s Most Difficult to Be a Christian (Christianity Today).

Finally, we hope you’ll appreciate more personal stories from Niger, New York, North Africa, and France.

Blessings,

Marti Wade

WORLD: Latest Statistics on Scripture Access

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Source: Wycliffe Global Alliance, November 2014

Today, millions more people around the world have access to God’s Word in the language they understand best. God is accomplishing his mission through his power and through partnership.

There are about 7000 languages in active use and at least one book of Scripture exists in almost 2,900 of these languages.

There is known active translation and/or linguistic development happening in 2,195 languages across more than 130 countries.

As of October 1, 2014, estimates suggest around 180 million people speaking at least 1,860 languages are understood to “likely need Bible translation to begin.”

» Read full article (available in six languages) and view related charts. As the authors helpfully point out, “Statistics are rarely as simple as the numbers imply. Please read the FAQ sheet before quoting these figures.”

» See also an animated slideshow based on this data (Wycliffe Canada) and 23 maps and charts on language (Vox.com).

NIGER: 10 People Killed, Churches Burned

Source: Mission Network News, January 20, 2015

Picture this: You go to church one Sunday. You worship God, hear an inspiring message, pray, talk to friends and then you leave, hoping to return the following week. Unfortunately, when you return, your church has been burned to the ground by protesters.

That’s exactly what happened to 61 churches in Niger over the weekend, says missionary Neal Childs who’s working there. “Last week, churches all across the nation went on without any idea that churches would be burned.”

Childs works with churches in the region. “Four of our churches were attacked. Three [they] actually got in and did great damage. Two of our pastors’ homes were also burned. A Bible school was also burned.”

Childs says the attacks happened simultaneously in Niamey. It appears police and other security officers were overwhelmed and couldn’t control it.

How has this affected the church? “The church is strong in Niger, and it’s growing. And we believe that as a result of the persecution, it’s going to grow even more. All this senseless attack will only be turned around for the growth of the church.”

» Read full story.

» Editor’s note: Reports from the BBC (and elsewhere) mention only 45 churches burned in Niger but also attacks on French-linked businesses. The violence is connected to anger at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, also felt in other former French colonies. See also Niger: Christians, Churches Targeted in Protests (Open Doors).

UNITED STATES: Discipling toward Faith

Source: Pioneers, January 13, 2015

We filled the house with joy and food, and then we packed in 30 international students for a holiday meal in our tiny New York City apartment. I watched the organized chaos and wondered if their first impression of a meal in an American home would forever be tainted with having to crawl under the table in order to get to the kitchen for refills?

For the past few months, these students have been participating in Bible studies. We, like so many others around the world, use a method that disciples people toward faith in Christ—before they have faith in Christ. They are in the process of discovering for themselves who God is, what the Bible says, and whether he is worth following?

Each week we ask them these simple questions:

What are you thankful for this week? (teaching them to thank God)
What problems do you have this week? (giving them opportunity to intercede for others)
What can this group help you with this week? (teaching them to serve one another)

Then, while studying scripture, we ask:

What does this passage teach me about God?
What does it teach me about man?
If this is true, how does this change the way I view God?
Is there anything I need to obey from what I just learned?
Who can I share this story with this week?

Each week they amaze me with their desire to learn from the Bible. They wrestle with hard truths and eagerly share what they learn with others. But they have not yet expressed faith in God.

» Read full story.

» See also Training without Speaking (Act Beyond).