I’m so glad to share that a collaborative work with Upstream Collective leaders has finally dropped. Check out Tradecraft: for the church on mission. We wrote this book to help make nine basic missionary skills available for the whole church, not just for the “professionals.” It is designed to help train churches, organizations, and individuals to begin thinking and acting like a missionary.
I encourage you to pick up a copy and read it because I genuinely believe that it will help you as you seek to live missionally where you are. If you do and find it helpful, consider passing it along to someone else to help them live as a missionary too. Also, if you do like it, consider posting a review on Amazon. This will help others as they consider the book.
If you don’t like the book, feel free to take it on your next camping trip and use it to start your campfire. I promise it will be effective at that.
What if this was the beginning of training for living on mission? Here are some guys that took some extra efforts to prepare before returning to a people to tell their story to encourage and challenge others to live different lives.
“…the church needs to realize that an informed, effective, and culturally appropriate sending of her people will include both traditional and alternative paths to mission.”
This excerpt comes from my contribution to an upcoming book with The Upstream Collective. To learn more about Tradecraft for the Church on Mission, check out Exploring Alternative Paths to mission. I’ll share more about the book when it is available.
I have been working for several months with SkyBridge Community to evaluate how we can better help expatriates live on purpose. There are significant changes coming very soon. More on this in the days to come possibly here and definitely at the SkyBridge site. I would encourage you to check it out if you are open to considering what it might look like to live as a sent one to the nations.
Am reposting this video here as it sums up well what it looks like to live differently. What it looks like to be a trader.
Been away for a while for several reasons. During the time, I’ve been worshipping a good bit with music from Jenny & Tyler. As they just released this video and not enough people know about this couple, here it is. Enjoy!
Often people ask me what I do. The answer is pretty straightforward. I help people and organizations live better stories. At least that’s the intent.
To live a better story, the goal must be worthwhile. Thanks to Donald Miller for this. He writes in “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” that wanting a Volvo is not a worthy goal for a good story. A meaningful goal must have some greater good and it must cost something. Giving yourself away for the good of others makes for the beginning of a possibly heroic journey.
This goal leads to the conflict around which a story revolves. Conflict is critical for a compelling story. For a hero to be developing in degrees of niceness from nice to nicer and then nicer still until the end is not a story worth reading or watching. It also is not a story worth living. Ours is not a struggle against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces in high places (Eph 6). We don’t enter into the conflict alone. We would not fair well. We go under the covering of Christ.
Another key to a better story includes better characters. Christ followers should pursue character diversity in their stories. There actually need to be bad people in a good story. These are the ones that Christ died for. These are the people that were often found gathered around Him–the sinners and tax collectors. There will often be an array of characters that look and think differently in a good story. Being involved in the lives of people from other peoples or nations is part of living a better life. Just think how different and bad the Star Wars story would be without the diverse inter-galactic persons. Hans Solo’s bar scene in the desert is compelling because of the unknown.
In our stories we can be the hero, but there is always a far better and much greater Hero. We can be the ones that give ourselves away whether in a time and place of
peril or a period of calm. We know that many have and still more will be martyred for their faith. Regardless of what sacrifice is required of us, a better story requires a selfless abandon. This is key for a hero. But we go out living our story at the command of the one true Hero. His story makes ours possible. Because He has been unfolding a story throughout history better than any master storyteller could conjure up, we have the privilege of playing a small part.
This week I am with the Upstream Collective crew in Western Europe. Our journey will lead us and others to examine and modify our story so that it fits better with the story of God. Follow along as we share some of that journey here and on other sights around the digital neighborhood.
David Platt speaks strongly against the modern church’s creation of the need to “say this prayer” and “accept Jesus into your heart.” Instead, we are to be about making disciples. Through this process, we are to communicate a “full picture of the gospel.”
For a number of reasons, I am in an extended period of deep introspection. While I think this is a good exercise from time to time, it can feel a little weird–at least it does for me.
During some times of solitude in the midst of travels this week, I have been meditating on 2 Timothy 3, especially the first 7 verses where Paul warned Timothy about some people that he would encounter. The list of attributes is downright awful. Paul included that some would be: brutal, treacherous, abusive, greedy, heartless, unappeasable. Paul warned about some who would take advantage of women, be burdened with sins, and overcome with uncontrollable passions. They would lack self control. Timothy was to avoid these ungrateful, unholy people. But of course. It only makes sense.
But in the whole of the letter and at several points in chapter 3, it seems that Paul was saying that these were people in the community or, to be more specific, people in the church. These are ones that had an appearance of godliness but denied its power. And then a conviction hit me with force…. What if that is me in some ways?
Now I don’t want to start bleeding all over blog posts here, but what could be worse than to be one who had an appearance of godliness all the while not experiencing His power? What, I wonder, could be more frightful than to be one who chose to follow Christ who does not fully trust Him? Profoundly convicted, I am certain this is me all the while that I am set on the course of mission with only a passing interest in prayer. This is me when I am seeking to bring about transformation while not begging him to transform others and to still be transforming me.
Paul’s list is terrible period. But it is frightful when I look honestly and see my picture there in too many of those descriptions.
God change me.
Over the past weeks I have been busy with travel, meetings, and a writing project. I am expecting news to be available on the writing project soon, but it is under wraps for now. I can share that my writing has involved a good amount of research which has turned up all kinds of interesting things as usual. One of those, I wanted to go ahead and pass along. It is a video of Caesar Kalinowski, one of the planters and elders of Soma Communities. He has spent time learning from missionaries about the process of storying with pre-literates and now is advocating use of story with post-literates.
Storying has potential application in urban centers among nationals and what some may consider an emerging people group of transnationals–people that are more at home in international cities than they would be in smaller towns or villages among people that share a language and cultural background. I have used elements of storying with post-literates among multiple cultures and feel like this deserves more trial both in the U.S. and among the nations.
There is a lot of great stuff coming out of the Verge Network right now. This video from Soma Community pastors Jeff Vanderstelt and Caesar Kalinowski is a great look at making disciples. I recommend you read the latter half of John 8 and then compare your understanding with what Caesar shares in the piece.