VIDEO: Is Every Christian a Missionary?

the Mission Table 2

Source: The Mission Table

Every follower of Christ is a missionary… or are they? Missions has traditionally consisted of international or cross-cultural ministry for spiritual purposes, says Matthew Ellison of Sixteen:Fifteen. But today in many churches missions has come to include outreach ministries that are within our own community and culture. This broadening definition of missions has inevitably led to a philosophy that says every follower of Christ is a missionary. What are the implications of this philosophy? Is it biblical? Is it helpful? Does it lead to more missions work being accomplished, or less?

This is the first in a series of free, web-based dialogues about critical, controversial claims made about missions today. Each includes a video about 15 minutes in length, followed by a live webinar discussion a few weeks later (in this case, March 3). A May episode will explore whether native missionaries are more effective, and one in July will ask, do missionaries destroy cultures? If debate is not your cup of tea, these conversations may make you squirm, but they may also make you think (and see another point of view).

» Join the conversation. Watch the first video or subscribe here to be notified when each video episode is released and registration for each live webinar begins.

BOOK: Overcoming Obstacles to Serving

Hold Fast: The Mission of God & the Obstacles of Man, by Josh Cooper. Book Villages, 2013. 160 pages.

In his ministry with The Traveling Team, Josh Cooper has visited more than 150 U.S. college campuses to teach students about God’s heart for the world and challenge them to consider their part in world missions. He came to recognize nine frequent obstacles these students faced which kept them from full-time missionary service: unawareness of God’s mission purposes, a focus on needs closer to home, materialism, romantic relationships, family opposition, theological issues (e.g., pluralism), uncertainty about their calling, the burden of debt, and concerns about raising support.

Hold Fast addresses each one of these struggles, shares stories of those who have overcome them, and provides encouragement to keep moving moving forward. This is the kind of book you could put into the hands of college students to help them recognize what might be holding them back and find courage to press on. Better yet, ask them to read it and then discuss the points they find most relevant. Some of the illustrations, drawn from a variety of sources, are quite powerful and memorable. I may snag some of them for my own use!

It should be noted that this book does not attempt to provide a balanced view of ways one might live a missional life; it’s really written for would-be missionaries and encourages them to consider serving among the millions of people without access to the gospel. In places it seems to assume too close an equation between following God and going to the unreached.

» See the book website to learn more. You can purchase the ebook for US$7.99; the paperback is US$14.99. Bulk discounts are available. You might also want to learn more about The Traveling Team and see if they’re coming to your region.

BOOKS: Disciple Making Movements Books on Sale

In January we reviewed Contagious Disciple Making, the new book from our friends at City Team and Thomas Nelson. The Kindle edition of this book, by David and Paul Watson, and its two companion volumes Miraculous Movements (by Jerry Trousdale) and The Father Glorified (by Patrick Robertson and David Watson) are all currently on sale at Amazon. All three tell the stories and describe the methods behind some of the world’s fast-growing disciple making movements.

» Buy Contagious Disciple Making or either of the other two books for US$2.99 (if you live in the US). We don’t know how long the sale will last.

ARTICLE: Where Do We Start?

Source: Catalyst Services

Maybe your church finds itself at a ministry crossroads, and you don’t know where do start. Where Do We Start is a thoughtful, practical article with suggestions for churches asking these questions:

  • Where do we start to begin missions in our church?
  • Where do we start as new mission leaders?
  • Where do we start to ignite excitement if interest has waned?
  • Where do we start to develop clear missions strategy?
  • Where do we start to move from good to great?

» Download the PDF and share it with your church. Readers might also appreciate Catalyst Services’ list of more than 150 Short-term Ministry Ideas. This may help you brainstorm about the kinds of projects you want to pursue or support.

EVENTS: March Calendar

Source: Missions Catalyst Events Calendar

March 1-6, ABIDE (Joplin, MO, USA). Re-entry and debriefing for singles, couples, and families provided by TRAIN International.

March 4-8, TENTmaking Course (Fort Myers, FL, USA). Provided by Global Opportunities.

March 5, E-Care: Using Email as an Effective Tool for Member Care (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus.

March 6-7, People Raising Conference (Chicago, IL, USA). Be equipped for raising personal support.

March 6-7, Muslim ConneXion (Portland, OR, USA). Learn how to engage your Muslim neighbor; an annual event.

March 7, Bridges Seminar (Indianapolis, IN, USA). Building bridges to reach Muslims. Provided by Crescent Project; regularly offered in various locations.

March 8-13, Launch Training (Richmond, VA, USA). Be equipped to work abroad and make disciples; sponsored by IMB and Skybridge, open to all.

March 11-12, Support Raising Bootcamp (Tucson, AZ, USA). From Support Raising Solutions, regularly held in various locations.

March 12, The Mapping Center (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus.

March 18, Thinking and Acting Globally in Christian Mission (online). Webinar from Missio Nexus.

March 20-21, Kingdom Business Conference (Charleston, SC, USA). Provided by Charleston Southern University.

March 21, Disciple Making Movements Training (Plano, TX, USA). Provided by Act Beyond.

March 23 to June 13, Encountering the World of Islam (online). Twelve-week class will help you discover God’s heart for Muslims, offered online several times a year.

March 25, Moving from a Reactive to a Proactive Mission Vision (online). Webinar from Sixteen:Fifteen; free.

March 27-29, The Journey Deepens (Farmington, MI, USA). A weekend retreat for prospective missionaries; regularly held in various locations.

March 27-29, Jesus to the Nations (Halifax, NS, Canada). Free, annual, community-based mission festival for all ages.

March 30 to April 25, COMPASS (Palmer Lake, CO, USA). Language and culture acquisition course from Missionary Training International; held multiple times throughout the year.

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

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 supporters, students, future church planters, missiologists, and instructors. 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).