God Directed Deviations

Culture, Discipleship, Gospel, Leadership, Making Disciples, Ministry, Mission, Scripture, The Gospel

If you’re Making Disciples like Jesus and the early Church did, then what more is needed?

10736228_10152865916590087_1424323255_nAn interesting question came up in our Discipleship Group last night.  The question came out of a bit of frustration experienced by local church leaders who are consistently on mission in their own and nearby communities. Some folks in those communities  seemed ill-equipped to carry on the work.  The answer to these frustrations, said one, is that “we need to equip them by giving them more biblical knowledge and ‘structure.’

To me, this always seems to be the answer. More sermon series, Sunday school classes, programs, training, development courses, books, conferences, seminaries etc. All of these are thought to be ways to better capacitate believers for the work of the ministry.

I then posed the following question to the leaders;

If you’re Making Disciples like Jesus and the early Church did, then what more is needed?

There was silence in heaven for about a half an hour…

How would you have answered that question?

Christianity, Culture, God's Kingdom, Missiology, Mission, Missions

Are the Jewish, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, New Agers, and Non-Religious ‘Unreached?’

unreached_points_worldAccording to the Joshua Project, the world has 7,000+ unreached people groups. ‘Unreached,’ according to them, are groups that “lack enough followers of Christ and resources to evangelize their own people.”

Is it right for Christian mission organizations to classify the Jewish, the Muslim, the Hindu, the Buddhist, the New Ager, and the self-proclaimed Non-Religious as ‘unreached?’

Blogging, Christianity, Culture, Mission, Philosophy

The Language of Conquest and Colonialism in Missions

world_war_ii_soviet_flag_in_berlin_drawing_by_beefcakepantyhose-d667g4uIt is essential, in my view, to abandon altogether the talk of “redeeming the culture,” “advancing the Kingdom,” “building the Kingdom,” “transforming the world,” “reclaiming the culture,” “reforming the culture,” and “changing the world.”  Christians need to leave such language behind them because it carries too much weight.  It implies conquest, take-over, or dominion, which in my view is precisely what God does not call us to pursue. ~ James Davidson Hunter, To Change the World.

Is Mr. Hunter correct?  Use the comment section below.

Christianity, Discipleship, Evangelism, Evangelists, God's Kingdom, Gospel, Ministry, The Gospel, Theology

Mission, The Work of an Evangelist, and Going Beyond Soul Winning

bowling-strike-black-and-whitefree-bowling-clip-art-is-a-strike-4qecpwhoThe evangelist is less easy to identify in the New Testament, because almost everyone did the work of evangelism. Philip is the only one actually called an “evangelist” (Acts 21:8)  It often perplexes me how easily evangelism is reduced to ‘soul winning.’ The term “evangelist” comes from the Greek and means “one who announces good news.” The word evangelist occurs only three times in the New Testament:

Philip is called an evangelist in (Acts 21:8).

Among God’s gifts to the churches were evangelists (Eph. 4:11).

Timothy is urged to “do the work of an evangelist” (2 Tim. 4:5).

The word ‘evangelist,’ is even applied to God;

The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU.”

And the Lord;

“On one of the days while He was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders confronted Him.

The Apostle Paul charged Timothy to;

“Preach the word/logos/message of the new covenant. Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long suffering and teaching.” (2 Timothy 4:2)  Now, either these are separate from ‘the work of an evangelist,’ or are part of it.  I’d venture to say that there are those components and much more. 

 

So, besides soul-winning, what else is these in ‘the work of an evangelist?’ 

 

 

 

 

 

Christianity, Culture, Evangelism, Making Disciples, Mission, Missions, The Gospel

She’s Been ‘Saved’ 4 Times by 4 Mission Teams in 4 Years.

silhouette-woman-profileI see her walking around town, in stores, and taking her children to school. I’ve even seen her in church a couple of times. I often wonder “what her angle is,” but I think she’s all too well aware of what she’s doing.

It’s the mission teams that I worry about. I often wonder if they’re likewise well aware of what they’re doing. We don’t ‘facilitate’ mission teams anymore, but instead offer our service when they come. Not ‘service’ in any sort of formal capacity, but more like serving along side of them as they serve people.

I love when teams come inclined to discover and do the Lord’s will in the spur of the moment. I don’t like it so much when they come without having done their homework, with an attitude that they’re going to save the world, or are so intent on delivering their rehearsed programmatic message that they fail to see and listen to people.

Our small town has been ‘evangelized’ numerous times by foreigners as well as locals. The woman I mentioned earlier has little or no interest in listening to local Christians who consistently deliver the good news and live accordingly, but is always in the midst of short-term missions team when they come around.

After all, they bring good stuff for free. All she has to do is listen and act interested for a time to reap whatever benefit she perceives possible. After the team goes, after they’ve put her name on their registry, after she’s prayed that prayer, and after she ‘confessed Jesus is Lord,’ she likewise goes back to the same life she’s lived before unaffected by, or possibly, even inoculated to the Gospel.

I can’t always be with every team member from ever short-term missions trip, but I do like to roam amongst their divided up groups and watch them work. I have arrived too late on the scene 3 times with this particular woman only to see her being coached into praying a prayer and receive ‘salvation.’ I have personally witnessed her being ‘saved’ at least 4 times.

What am I supposed to do? Should I interrupt the evangelizers and explain the situation?  Should I call her out in public? I didn’t do either of those in these instances because I thought it would be unfruitful and maybe even a harmful endeavor. Should I counsel with this lady and those like her not to take advantage of visiting missionaries like that? That too seems unproductive, controlling, and disheartening.

I once asked a congregation to stand up. I then said “If you have ‘accepted Christ’ only once, sit down.” About half the congregation sat. I then said, “If you have ‘accepted Christ’ twice, then sit down.” About half of those sat. Three, Four, Five times… the same results. After I got to 6, there was one woman still standing. I asked her “Dear one, how many times have you ‘accepted Christ?’ She stood a bit taller, smiled, and proudly said “SEVEN!”

It’s not their fault. At least not initially. It’s the way we’ve been conditioned to get results, get them saved, and ‘get our money’s worth’ on mission trips. In truth, it saddens me when I see the same scenario played out over and over. I think to myself, “Surely mission teams will grow out of these sorts of silliness,” only to see it happen over and over.  I’ve even seen the same set of people respond to the same mission teams over  and over.  Everyone just seems to pretend that they’re not the same people or even worse convince themselves to the contrary.

 

What would you do or say to the woman who has prayed to receive Christ 4 times with 4 teams in 4 years?

~

How would you counsel a missions team to avoid these sorts of scenarios?