August Mobilization Update on Coalitions, Mission and more from @MikeJentes

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Mobilizing the Church for the Sake of the Least Reached

August 2015

The summer has been full with activity and ministry, too full to even write a newsletter ;-).

In July, I had the privilege to share in the Sunday morning service on Disciple Making & Mission @ Norwalk Grace Brethren Church, in Norwalk, CA. (hear’s therecording and powerpoint) What a neat church family with a heritage of engaging the world!

In late July, I was off to Atlanta for Encompass Family Reunion where it was great to catch up with many of our deployed staff who were back in the USA for home ministries. This time was rich for relationship renewal and even for the connections of future partnerships.

To wrap up that week away, I was in New York City (okay staying in Newark, NJ) at theFlinch Conference with our Grace Brethren Family. The theme on taking RISKs for Jesus was very powerful through messages and testimonies. You should check out some of thevideos of main session talks and audios of the workshops online.

I had the privilege to lead 2 workshops:
1) A Candid Conversation about Bi-Vocational Church Leadership with a whole panel of leaders, and
2) The Great Debate: Missions Vs. Missional with John Ward (handout)

Neither of these workshops got recorded, but I posted my powerpoints at the links above for you.

From a family side, we also sent our oldest daughter, Kayla, off to Grace College.  Here’s a little pic of us at a send off for her the night before she left!

(Thanks Flinch Conference for the selfie stick…we used it in Long Beach too..not just in NYC.)

Coalitions

Over the summer, we made some significant traction with a variety of coalitions:

Chad Educational Coalition:

Partnering with the Chadian church to help start new Christian elementary schools and help their teachers get the training/certification they need to lead those schools. We are looking to raise about $7000 per year to send 5 teachers to the training. Ways to give will be open soon!

Chad Medical Coalition: Partnering with the Chadian church leaders and evangelists and to aid their self-sustaining medical clinics and build a new surgical center where it is really needed. This one is still in development, but hopefully by the end of the year will be moving forward significantly.

St. James Way Coalition
A unique evangelistic opportunity is afforded by thousands of pilgrims walking on the Caminho de Santiago or the St. James Way. In Western Europe, where spiritual conversations are a rarity, this experience is fertile ground for the church to relationally and spiritually connect for evangelism, discipleship and leadership training. The faithful Via Portus Cale ministry in Porto, Portugal has become a strategic dual initiative: along the caminho and in therefugio.

We’ve had two different Teams to walk the St. James Way and to serve pilgrims over this summer. Also we had two interns serving consecutively for one month each.  One of the outstanding young ladies–Mariah Shope–was from our Los Altos Grace Brethren Church. There is much to be learned and prayed for in this ministry as we hope to send 20 international teams over the next 3 years! We are excited that Grace College will be doing a special mission project this fall (with solar panels) and taking teams next year!

Encounter SoCal

A cross-cultural experience in one of the most ethnically diverse geographic regions of the world — Southern California (pic from ChinaTown in LA). This pilot program from August 10-14 was a great success!
The participants had an eye-opening time and four people expressed faith in Christ for the first time through the ministry efforts of the team!  

Donate nowThanks for your support!

I wanted to thank you for your prayers, they make all the difference! Also, if you want to continue to mobilize the church for the sake of the least reached, you can make a tax-deductible donation to support my work using the Donate button.

Press on,
Mike

Mike Jentes

Coordinator of Mobilization Initiatives
Encompass World Partners

 

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A Great Debate: Missions VS. Missional

For the conference on RISK (FLINCH Conference), my friend and team leader John Ward & I were asked to lead a workshop on how missions and missional relate.

Here is the workshop description:

The new word missional is now everywhere in Christian-ese. The word missions has been around for centuries. These two words often create very different ministry targets. You are invited to a lively debate highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of polarizing missional and missions.

Unfortunately, this session wasn’t recorded, but I have posted the powerpoint for you to see the direction we headed with this workshop. Below is an outline with the major items of discussion:

The first exercise we had the group do was to take 5 minutes and do their best to define the two words: Missional & Missions.

I’d invite you to take a few moments and take a stab too!

 

Here is where John and I landed for our definitions:

Missional:
The Word missional is simply the adjective form of the noun missionary, and like any adjective it is used to modify a noun.*

Missions:
Missions is to move towards or go to those different than us –culturally, socially, ethnically, economically– by crossing over those barriers and sharing the gospel with the compassion and love of Jesus.

 

Another exercise for the group was to ask this question:  Does the church have a mission or does the mission have a church?

We realize it is a “both/and” answer.  Yet thinking about our God being a missional/sending God reframes our orientation to see mission as bigger than merely a “job” of the church, but to see mission as part of the very character of our God.

Along this line, we shared the following quote:

“Our task as His people is to discern what God is doing and join with Him. It is not so much that the church has a mission but that the mission has a church.”

– Alan Hirsch (The Permanent Revolution, p. 148)

 

Don’t we need to be reaching out in my neighborhood before we go to the rest of the globe?

global_localThe tension of Global mission and Local mission is a one that everyone sensitive to the mission of Jesus feels at a gut level.

In China, the country with the most Christians on the planet–87 million– hasn’t really made a dent in the total population of 1.3 BILLION people!** So we are delighted that there is great progress of the Gospel, but there are millions (a billion!) more people to reach!

Even here in the USA where there are approximately 84 million evangelical Christians, a much higher percentage than China, yet we still have 234 million people to reach!** So do we need more disciples, leaders and churches in China and the USA? Absolutely! We need to take serious the opportunity to reach those in our community who don’t know our Jesus yet!

At the same time, we must know about the plight of billions of people outside of the easy reach of the Gospel. Billions of people on our globe don’t have a Bible, Body of Christ or even a Believer in Jesus in their lifepath! We must be informed about this reality!

To close our time we watched the following CONVICTING video–You Should Know:

We hope that sharing this outline of our workshop has been helpful to you!  If you would like to chat with John or myself, please reach out to us via email at the links on our names above!


The Key Articles / Resources shared below were on a worksheet we gave to all the of the participants:
Missions vs Missional Resource Sheet [PDF]

Seed article for this Workshop:
Missions vs. Missional? Why We Really Need Both by Ed Stetzer 

http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2013/september/missions-vs-mission.html

Online debate about that article:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/missionalshift/2013/09/missions-vs-missional-what-ed-stetzer-gets-wrong/

Make sure to check out the video in that article:

Other Resources on the Topic:

Seamless Garment of Christian Mission:  http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-seamless-garment-of-christian-mission

Leadership Network article Defining Missional by Alan Hirsch:   http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2008/fall/17.20.html

Ed Stetzer on why Missional Churches don’t do Global Missions:  http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2009/september/five-reasons- missional-churches-dont-do-global-missions.html

*”History of the Missional Church” by Brad Brisco:
http://missionalchurchnetwork.com/history-of-missional-church/

Four Reasons We Should Be Passionate About the Nations by Matt Carter:  http://ow.ly/PUEd5

Institute of International Education. (2014). Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange. Retrieved from
http://www.iie.org/Research-and-Publications/Open-Doors/Data/International-Students

Video: You Should Know https://vimeo.com/32125879

Joshua Project: Research on Unreached People Groups – http://joshuaproject.net/


**Data via the Joshua Project. Retrieved from http://JoshuaProject.net on July 9, 2015

 

 

The Candid Truth about Bi-Vocational Church Leadership

flinchconference2015For the conference on RISK–FLINCH Conference–I was asked to lead a workshop on bi-vocational leadership for the church.  Rather than me talking about this, I decided to pull together other leaders from around the country who have been doing it to share about the candid truth.

Here is the workshop description:

Since the beginning of the Church, her leaders have not all been fully salaried staff pastors. The Apostle Paul even made tents for a season in his ministry. One of the questions facing many of our leaders is “how to support my family and do the ministry that God has called me to?” We have a panel of leaders who have experienced the reality of bi-vocational ministry — earning income from the ministry and from some other source. So as we think about raising leaders and church planting, we should hear the stories of those who have embarked on the bi-vocational journey.

Here is the list of panelists:

Manuel Espinosa:  Pastor – Iglesia Cristiana de la Comunidad  (Lakewood, CA), Prison Evangelist, House Painter

Angel Ortiz:  Pastor – First Alliance Church NYC (Christian & Missionary Alliance Church; the church Dr. A.B. Simpson started), Freight Supervisor – Javits Convention Center in NYC

Jack Brown:  Pastor – North Shore Bible Church (Essex, MA), Realtor – Sotheby’s International Realty, Grow New England – Regional Church Planting

Javier Forero: Pastor –  Iglesia Comunal La Esperanza (Lithia, FL), Chaplain – Crush It, Dominion, & more!, Coaching & Recruiting Church Planters –   Encompass World Partners

Plus via Video– Hugh Halter:  Church Planter – Adullum (Denver, CO), Author, Trainer with Missio, House Painter

Here’s his video that set up our conversation (the first 7 minutes):

bivo-bookI’d recommend his book: BIVO: A Modern-Day Guide for Bi-Vocational Saints as well.

 
Unfortunately, our workshop didn’t get recorded, but I posted my PowerPoint online here

 

 

America’s Changing Religious Landscape – Pew Research and additional thoughts

Changing Religious LandscapeA couple of my mission leaders, friends and mentors were part of a discussion about the study released this week by Pew Research entitled:
America’s Changing Religious Landscape: http://www.pewforum.org/2015/05/12/americas-changing-religious-landscape/

Posted and first thought by John Ward 

Mobilizers, we have an important role to play in helping the church in North America embrace a vision for local and global mission.
Follow-up from Jay Bell

I decided to chime in some thoughts as well:
Thanks John for sharing and Jay for adding Stetzer’s thoughts to the discussion.One of the article around the Pew Research was on CNN “Millennials leaving church in droves, study says” – http://ow.ly/3xS14A 

The last sentence of the article gave me GREAT Encouragement that we don’t need a more nominal faith, but a more radical & risky faith to reach our world.

“If it is the case that millennials are less ‘atheists’ than they are ‘bored,’ then serious engagements with Christian social innovation, and with deep intellectual reflection (and these two things are connected), would offer promising signs of hope,” Jones said.

May the Lord make us radical and influence those millennials in our spheres to be serious in their engagement with Jesus and taking Him to the nations!

May Mobilization Update on Iraq, Chad, Communications and more from @MikeJentes

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Mobilizing the Church for the Sake of the Least Reached

May 2015

April held a special time for our family…as we got to take a special vacation. While we all looked pretty dapper, we got a family pic:

We are so blessed! Thanks for praying for us and standing with our family over many years!

Networks

Last month, I shared about being involved in creating, facilitating and resourcing networks for Great Commission good. Two of the networks had special events in the month of April. I thought I would share those events with you:

Connect & Equip

  1. Communicators Network: This isn’t one I started, but a group of Grace Brethren communications folks have been getting together for a while now. They asked me to plan their April get together…and it was a very insightful time. I wrote a blog post with a recap, so if you are interested in more info about the Church & Social Media check it out: Communicators Communal Learning with special guest DJ Chuang.
  2. Northern Iraq Summit:  A variety of churches and ministries were called together around their work in this region to a one-day Summit at our Encompass headquarters in Atlanta. We had 13 people from 8 different churches and 7 different states for the day. Many stories were told and prayers were lifted for the peoples of this region.  If your church is involved in Iraq and wants to know more, send me a message!

Great people are involved in each of these networks and I’m so privileged to be able to connect and resource so many great efforts!

Chad and Coalitions

A short-term vision trip team is heading to Chad this month (but not me this time). The team consists of several pastors (who represent churches considering partnering with Chad), Encompass leadership, and individuals that are considering long-term work in Chad.

The overall goals of the trip are:
1. For Encompass leadership to meet with, encourage, and teach Chadian church leaders and evangelists and to discuss together the direction of the ministry.
2. To visit different ministries in the capital and to brainstorm how churches can partner with in N’Djamena.
3. For 3 prospective people to get a first taste of Chad and to pursue God as to whether or not he is calling them there full time.
4. For partners to be cultivated for 2-3 different coalitions to work together with the national church for greater fruitfulness!

I am very excited about this team of 18 people! (Special Note: this is the largest short term team Encompass has ever sent to Chad)

I want to encourage you to join with a some of my colleagues in a 10 day journey of daily prayer for this trip. They will send out daily prayer requests specific to each day beginning on May 6th and ending May 15th. Please make the commitment to praying for this trip by joining the  email group “10 Days of Prayer for Vision” by clicking here: 10 Days of Prayer for Vision.

Donate nowThanks for your support!

I wanted to thank you for your prayers, they make all the difference! Also, if you want to continue to mobilize the church for the sake of the least reached, you can make a tax-deductible donation to support my work using the Donate button.

Press on,
Mike

Mike Jentes

Coordinator of Mobilization Initiatives
Encompass World Partners

How Jesus Sends YOU

I found this post from JS Shaw on the Verge site and wanted to share it:

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” (John 20:21 ESV)

As the Father sent Jesus, so Jesus has sent us. That means that if we can discover how the Father sent Jesus, then we will see how we have now been sent.

sentSo, how was Jesus sent?

Tweet this: As the Father sent Jesus, so Jesus has sent us. So, how WAS Jesus sent? @VergeNations

The Father sent Jesus. . . .

Continue reading “How Jesus Sends YOU”

Urbanization – Hope or Despair?

There is Hope for the City!
Cities will clearly dominate this century; with up to 70% of the world’s population living in an urban setting by 2050. What does this mean for reaching the lost and representing Christ? How do we deal with the paradox of urban settings that promise new opportunity but many times deliver pain and suffering?

Continue reading “Urbanization – Hope or Despair?”

On Mission in a Moving World

missiographic - On The MoveIf you have ever moved, you know the disruption it causes to your life. Now imagine millions on the move sometimes in less than ideal circumstances. Some are simply moving to start a new life, but others are under much more extreme pressures. With a background of war, trafficking, job loss and countless other disruptors, people are finding themselves in many new places. What are you doing to meet them as they move?

Personal Reflection
A great place to start on the issues that surround the global movement of people is to identify with them. Think about a time when you have been new to a place. What feelings were dominant? What opportunities and challenges did you face? Then consider the people of Israel traveling through the desert, Jesus as a young boy in Egypt and Paul sitting under house arrest in Rome. What must they have been going through? As your empathy brings you face to face with real people in these situations, ask God how you should respond in love.

Engaging the Church
Do you know which communities of immigrants are within 20 miles of your church? It is easy to end up on Spiritual journeys of “sameness”. We can neglect those who are very close by but different than we are. Start by looking online to find out which immigrant communities are nearby. Then identify some of the ministries in town who are serving those communities. Also, find out if some of the countries where you are supporting mission work globally have communities of immigrants you can also be reaching out to. Find ways to include these communities within your community of faith. How can you show them God’s love as you invite them into your midst?

Bonhoeffer on Christian Community

dietrich_bonhoefferI wanted to pass on a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer from his book Life Together (actually in German it was Gemeinsames Leben —that’s for Mindi!)  You may have heard of him, but in brief he was a noted Christian pastor and author who was killed by the Nazi’s in 1945. (For more check out www.dbonhoeffer.org/who-was-db2.htm ). 

In the first few pages of this book, Bonhoeffer references that those followers of Jesus who live in isolation–“the imprisoned, the sick, the scattered lonely, the proclaimers of the Gospel in heathen lands”*–crave community.  The old adage…absence makes the heart grow fonder…is really true about those who are alone or separated from Christian community.

I’ll never forget when I heard the testimony of a man from Somalia who heard the Gospel through radio broadcasts into his country and gave his life to Jesus.  From that time forward, he lived out his faith through his relationship with the radio.  He hadn’t met another follower of Jesus in person.  He continued to follow Jesus but it was VERY difficult.  About 5 years later when he discovered a person who also followed Jesus, he exploded!  Can you imagine that…5 years of no one to encourage you, to pray for you, to love you in Jesus??? 

Back to the comment that Bonhoeffer made in connection to this was:

“Therefore, let him who until now has had the privilege of living a common Christian life with other Christians praise God’s grace from the bottom of his heart.  Let him thank God on his knees and declare: It is grace, nothing but grace, that we are allowed to live in community with Christian brethren.”*

With that in mind, I am thankful to our God that I’ve been able to walk in community with so many followers of Jesus over the years..  I praise Him and am thankful for His Grace.  Would you stop and praise Him too?

* Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together  trans. John W. Doberstein, Harper & Row: San Fransisco, 1954, p. 18.  ** p. 20
Reposted from http://www.thequestcolumbus.com/resources/bonhoeffer.htm

Here’s where to get the book:

Life Together
Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 

Kindle - Life Together
Kindle Edition – Life Together

Coalitions: A Model for Meaningful Engagement

The task of mobilizing churches and leaders for the sake of Jesus to our world is huge! Yet it is simpler today than in other eras because of: 1) globalization – the world is smaller (via technology, travel and social networking) and 2) collaboration – the atmosphere of work is in teams and groups together.

EncompassIn my role with Encompass World Partners, we want to leverage a new model of engaging our world. We want to see leaders, churches and ministries working together to get the Gospel to the least-reached on our globe. Below is a brief outline of what we are calling coalitions.

Coalitions:
A model for meaningful engagement

Definition
A coalition is covenant group of churches, leaders or ministries
cooperating in joint action together for a common purpose.

Values

1. Focus on Collaborative Mission
Coalitions are created to meet needs, whether spiritual or material. Members of coalitions understand that they are a joining an action group that shares a common commitment to pool resources to achieve a specific purpose. While reflection and discussion are an important element in developing appropriate responses to needs, members understand that they are working together to do ministry in viable and meaningful ways.

2. Submit to the Guidance of the Holy Spirit
Above all, Coalitions recognize the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the vital role of the Holy Spirit. Toward that end, the members of Coalitions commit to prayer that leads to vision that leads to risk-taking faith. Coalitions must be birthed in prayer, their goals must be forged in the crucible of prayer, their members must be selected as a result of prayer, and their actions must arise from an ongoing commitment to prayer.

3. Build upon Mutual Trust
“Can two walk together if they are not in agreement?” asked the prophet Amos. Teamwork is essential to any meaningful spiritual endeavor, and building the trust needed for effective teamwork requires a ongoing commitment to walk in the Spirit, to listen to our brothers and sisters, and to submit to one another out of love for Christ. Members of Coalitions are willing to invest the relational time required to develop mutual trust.

4. Organize around Gifts and Experience
When Christ places us in his body, we acknowledge that he is our head, and that we flourish in an interdependent relationship in which unity and diversity are encouraged and valued. In the same way, Coalitions embrace the fact that their members come to the table with a variety of gifts and ministry experiences. Coalitions should define the roles of leaders and members in such a way as to value experience and provide opportunities to exercise spiritual gifts.

5. Commit to Sound Missiology and Cross-cultural Sensitivity
In the crucible of its successes and failures, the modern missions movement is creating a wealth of principles and practical resources. Coalitions should build upon this reservoir of knowledge and experience to ensure that their efforts reflect ‘best practices’ in the mission world and sensitivity to local cultures. Since most Coalitions will consist of partners from more than one cultural context, it is essential that members avoid superimposing their cultural values on others.

 

Here is a fuller document for download:  Coalitions: Definition & Values (PDF)

Thoughts on Thanksgiving

GiveThankstoYouThis morning, I just typed “thank*” into my Bible’s search engine and began to scroll through 100+ places where the word is used.  One in particular made me take pause. Here are some lyrics of a song which was written to praise our God:

All Your works shall give thanks to You, O Lord,
And Your godly ones shall bless You.
They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom
And talk of Your power;
To make known to the children of men Your mighty acts
And the glory of the majesty of Your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.

We see that it is good to thank and speak praises about our God to others. Not only is it good for us, but all of creation will thank Him (yes, that is what “all of Your works means”)!
Sometimes we think it is enough to just be thankful in our minds and hearts. I tend to be in that place and continue to have my faith be deep, but muted. This Psalm really challenged me to open my mouth and speak aloud about the greatness of our God and His Kingdom!
Won’t you take the opportunity this weekend to “speak of the glory of God’s Kingdom” or “talk of God’s power” or “make known to children God’s mighty acts”?  That is what blesses our God!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Behind the “Goers” – What did the Church do in the Book of Acts?

book_of_actsI just wanted to share with you a little Bible study that was enlightening to me.  In reading through the book of Acts, I looked at the back story…not the leading characters who were “going” but the churches and believers who were literally behind the scenes.  I then compiled all these “incidental” verses which survey what happened “Behind the Goers.”  I thought there were some interesting things to be uncovered.

What did the church do? You will see it for yourself in these verses!

Examine for yourself the support and relationship that sending / receiving churches had in the story.

Download / Print “Behind The Goers” (PDF)

 

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