Archive for missiology
Over the past several years, I have often been reminded of a simple truth that impacts my perception and responses to others. It has impacted my lifestyle and my missiology. Ultimately, it even impacts my views on ecclessiology. The statement is this:
Lost people have a propensity to act lost.
When I forget this, I can easily be lured into a mission of moralism where I want to help make people be better. With this reality firmly embraced, however, I have a passion to be sent as Jesus was sent.
(Emphasis is mine.)
Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and glory are in his sanctuary.
Ascribe to the Lord, O families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth.
Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.”
The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.
Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fileds be jubilant, and everything in them.
Then all the trees of the forrest will sing for joy; they will sing before the Lord, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his truth.
Here is the latest video installment with Michael Frost as he gives an example of a way that people can build community by focusing on mission. His answer includes short-term mission trips. This is a follow-on to the previous video Mission Catalyzes Community and Worship.
Having some technical difficulties getting the normal format to upload correctly to YouTube, so this one is a lesser quality look. Hope to get this fixed before future videos go up.
Let me encourage you to register for email updates or add this site to your reader to learn about future videos and posts. Also, if you would like to view the previous Frost videos as well as other “favorite” videos that present ideas important to the church, you may visit or subscribe to the almost an M YouTube channel.
- According to a 2007 edition of the New York Times, “Nonwhites now make up a majority in almost one-third of the most populous counties in the country and in nearly one in 10 of all 3,100 countries” (Another Man’s Sombrero).
- DHS estimates that the illegal immigrant population grew by 27% between 2000 and 2009 (HS: Estimates of the Unauthorized Immigrant Population: January 2009).
- Estimates of permanent expatriates residing in the U.S. legally allow for half of those to have achieved their legal status since 2000 (HS: Estimates of the Legal Permanent Resident Population in 2008).
While a significant percentage of the foreign residents are from Mexico, the reality is that the spectrum of nations are here. Personally, I see them in all my travels in various cities and states. They are patrons at Starbucks coffee and Cici’s pizza.
The significant growth of foreign residents in the U.S. are one significant reason that the U.S. church must begin to “think and act like a missionary.” The implications are mutliple. One major issue the church must address is the issue of how will we choose to pursue or avoid relationship with select ethnic groups that have not assimilated into a more homogenous U.S. culture.
This week The Upstream Collective is conducting a JetSet Tour spending time in a number of places including Copenhagen, Denmark. Seeking to make a small contribution to this week’s discussion and vision trip, I suggest a little reading…
Learning the literature of another people or country is key for a couple of reasons. First, the process aids the learner in acquiring cultural insight. This, I believe, fits with 2 Timothy 2:15. We are to have some insight into how the Scriptures may be perceived by other cultures. For example, in an animistic culture where people are seeking to understand how things began, the genealogy in Luke has proved powerful in some contexts. When working in a former Communist culture, use of a text that may have been used as a tool to disprove God (e.g. John 3:16) may not be the best place to start explaining the Word.
Second, being a student of literature communicates to the nationals that you are entering as a learner wanting to be enriched through their heritage. At some levels, the ethnocentric tendencies are suspended. Many healthy conversations may center around their national heroes. Not only does this firmly place the foreigner in the role of the learner and the national in the role of expert, but this can also lead to meaningful relationships and opportunities to deal with the big issues. These topics may include wisdom, social justice, love, the meaning of life, God, eternity, existentialism, hope, etc.
Thankfully, there is a rich trove of authors that are Danish and even more that are Scandinavian. Some authors to spend time reading would include:
- Hans Christian Anderson – a Danish author that is one of the premier children’s story-tellers in all of history. Some of his famous tales include The Ugly Duckling and The Little Mermaid.
- Søren Kierkegaard – another Dane that was philosopher, theologian, and so much more. Exploring his frustrations with the state church among a host of other ideas may prove helpful for the individual as well as gaining insight and access to future conversations.
- William Shakespeare – though he is a touch less Danish than the two writers above, the famous tragedy Hamlet occurs in and around the Kronberg Castle.
A Greek maxim that was important for Oedipus in the past and through Neo’s life in the future, “know thyself” is key to understanding and influencing future actions and outcomes. In this brief clip from one of Urban Entry’s recent DVD releases, Mark Charles–a Navajo indian–shares about the importance of understanding one’s own culture first in order to be able to communicate with integrity and effect.
In the midst of a windstorm this week in the beautiful state of Alaska, I had a brainstorm. For now, my plan is not to write this book…
While I do have a cover worked out just in case, I thought maybe I would make a few consecutive posts on this blog site with others spread over time that would be excerpts from this book I am not planning to write.
Disclaimer: Please note that there may be some similarities between the cover of this book and another book. If you stumble upon the other book, please note that I am a fan of said book by a Mr. Jim Collins. Any similarities or differences with said book cover are for the purpose of fun and communication. All original ideas in his book continue to be his while all ideas in the book I am not going to write are mine or somebody else’s and probably of very little interest to him.
“So you got into a fight with several boys on the bus….What happened?” the principal asked. The student responded, “When they were making fun of me and my clothes, that was fine. But then they started making fun of my sister and I couldn’t help myself anymore.”
The outburst earned the young man a couple days of in-school suspension as well as the attention and compassion of the middle school principal. And based on previous history with the principal, our family would soon get involved.
For some time now my wife and I have wanted to change the focus of the Christmas season from getting a whole bunch of stuff that we don’t need to serving others that are truly in need. Instead of seeing our children turn glassy-eyed thinking about presents they may receive, we feel compelled to teach them to serve others. So a few weeks ago I began a conversation with my extended family about changing the family tradition. Though I can’t say there weren’t any bumps along the way, I have been so encouraged to see how we are, as a family, now focusing our energies on blessing others that are in need. Great need.
Just to paint the picture a little, the dad recently lost his job as a garbage collector. The mom spends most of her time in bed on strong medication with a chronic disease. The two kids who are still living in the home have learning disabilities and are picked on at school for any reason including clothing that is out of style. From preliminary conversations with the family, we learned that food was also a need.
This past week we were able to go with my parents and my immediate family to take a Thanksgiving meal and a bunch of groceries to the family along with some job applications where we have family history. While we were standing there talking, the kids were unloading the bags. Immediately, the boy washed an apple and started eating it while his sister began to peel an orange. Both commented about how good it was to have fruit. These were the very apples and oranges that our kids had picked out at the store just a couple hours prior.
After Thanksgiving, we met as an extended family to plan what we would do for this other family for Christmas, for job, and more. We really were seeking to answer the question how can we be the image of Christ to them. After that we went to different stores and shopped for various things for the family. With my wife and kids, we immediately started shopping for the young girl in the family. My children were delighted to pick gifts to give to this girl that they had already met. They wanted to pick clothes that would help her be warm…that she would really like…that would reduce some of the peer scrutiny for the future.
I think we are all going to learn more about the sacrifice of Jesus this Christmas than so many in the past. I am not certain today of all of the thoughts my daughters are having about building this relationship and being a blessing to others. They are enthusiastically working on a play that will tell the Christmas story as we share a meal together around Christmas. They are learning so much more through this hands-on approach than I could ever teach them in a countless number of lectures. This is obedience for us. It is pragmatic discipleship for them. It is a blessing for us all.
After a short time shopping we met back as an extended family at Chik-fil-A. While we were sharing ideas and showing what we had purchased, one of the employees came up and greeted my brother. We learned that their children went to school together. Upon hearing of the family’s need, he brought us an application and gift cards for the whole family to be the store’s guest for a chicken sandwich meal (woohoo for the #1 combo!). We were traveling back home when my parents called to share that the family was really appreciative. The dad was excited to be able to eat at Chik-fil-A for the first time in his life. My girls could not believe that there was a grown man in the U.S. that had never eaten at their favorite restaurant.
The discipleship continues….
When discipling, Jesus uses a pragmatic philosophy of education. Evident throughout the gospels, it is clear in his interaction with followers after his resurrection. One key example follows (quotes from The Message):
Ten guys: (many voices) We saw the Master.
Thomas: Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my fingers in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I won’t believe it.
(8 days later)
Jesus: (to all 11 disciples) Peace to you.
Jesus: (to Thomas) Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don’t be unbelieving. Believe.
Thomas: My Master! My God!
Jesus: So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.
Thomas needed to see it. His worldview was in disarray and conflict having received new information about the resurrection of Christ while lacking a personal experience of seeing and touching the risen Jesus. When graciously confronted by the Savior, he realized that touching was no longer an issue for him. Seeing him and hearing his voice was sufficient experience.
This event among others impacted all of the disciples. To make a gross understatement, their time with Christ changed their lives. But it did. It changed everything including how they made disciples. This became evident as they wrote down the gospels to tell the stories of the Savior. His divinity was made clear in contrast with their humanity in each account.
Keeping with the pragmatic model in the letters in the New Testament, it is fascinating to read John’s first letter where he repeatedly writes about what the disciples had seen, heard, and touched. He seeks to make clear that these are not simply facts that they learned. Being a follower of Christ is not, according to John, simply a creed to be memorized by others. It is a story about how their lives transformed because of their experience with the Savior. It is a story about his goodness and the desperate need of the disciples and others. The letter is a challenge to walk as Jesus did.
It is essential that we evaluate our discipleship methodology. We must move from a neo-scholastic to a pragmatic approach….
This missional conversation between Ed Stetzer and David Fitch treats the meaning (and growing lack of meaning) of the term missional and what that means for church. Many thanks to Bill Kinnon for making this and other quality videos available.
Produced by Toronto’s mkpl.tv for the blog kinnon.tv and the new social network, Missional Tribe, this video features Ed and Dave in conversation about what missional is, missional vs attractional and missional church & converts. Engaging, funny and yet serious, these two well known writers and missional commentators help expand our understanding of missional.