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

 

 

June Mobilization Update on Coalitions, Family and more from @MikeJentes

 

Mobilizing the Church for the Sake of the Least Reached

June 2015

I know I didn’t get this out at the beginning of the month, but since we are at the halfway point, I wanted to still send something out to you.

These last 6 weeks have held special times for our family…as we have multiple birthdays, end of the year concerts, award ceremonies, promotions, and a graduation from high school. Congrats to Kayla who graduated with honors from Los Alamitos High School.


We were blessed to have my Dad as well as Mindi’s Mom and Dad with us to celebrate several of these special milestones.

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

Coalitions

Last month I shared about a vision trip heading to Chad, and that trip was a great success.  We are actually in the process of building at least 3 coalitions to aid the indigenous work there:

1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Reaching the Least Reached: Relational bridge building and future church planting in the capital city of N’Djamena.


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.

Because of the potential of this ministry, we have a St. James Way Coalition to help the ministry prosper for the sake of reaching the lost, discipling believers and equipping leaders.

Two different groups (one pictured above) have gone to walk the St. James Way and to serve pilgrims in this last month. I was also able to help one of the outstanding young ladies from our church, Mariah Shope, to go and serve as an intern later this month! Pray for her and for the equipping of more hosts and guides for the ministry!

Encounter SoCal

A cross-cultural experience in one of the most ethnically diverse geographic regions of the world — Southern California.When: August 10-14, 2015 (Monday 9am thru Friday 4pm)

Who: A learning community of only 20 High School Seniors, College Students, and Adults

Individual/Group Sign Up: For applications and info email Haley, or call 678-992-5313 x49.

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

September E-newsletter from @MikeJentes

September 2014 E-Newsletter

Meeting in SoCal

Mindi and I meeting with ethnic leaders from SoCal! On Saturday, August 30 we had a little gathering of leaders from Cambodia and Latin America for a little breakfast get together with Jesús Muñoz (our Cambodian brother left before the picture and our Japanese friends were on a retreat!). This gathering may emerge into a network of ethnic leaders who can spur one another on to make disciples and plant churches in the nations of our world!

WHAT’S HAPPENED WITH ME
The Latest Scoop

Sorry it has been a while since I’ve communicated to you via this means.  The past few months have been full, as I’m sure they have for you!

Engagement Stations &
E Talks @FellowSHIFT

At the FellowShift Conference this summer, Encompass sought to do something which would engage people in reaching the nations. We set up stations we called “Engagement Stations” with a variety of different ways to participate. We also created an online version of the Engagment Stations so you can participate right now! Check out all 7 online!

We also shared a variety of short 8 minute or less Engaging Talks which we dubbed
E Talks. These were all videoed and will be available for viewing soon!  I was able to share on Coalitions as well, so stay tuned! If it turned out well, I’ll pass it on and if not, well…you’ll never know! 🙂

Cameroon Leadership Training Coalition

Just yesterday, I talked via Skype with Jason Carmean in Cameroon!  He and his family have been on the ground for one month and are adjusting well.

   I’m excited to be part of a coalition that has committed for 5 years to seeing dozens and dozens of pastoral leaders trained for the more than 45 churches and 30+ church plants in Cameroon.

   Dave Guiles has described this “as the greatest leadership development need the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches has seen in several generations.”

One of the ways you can help is by supporting the first modules of Bible training supporting the first modules of Bible training–please consider a gift!

Château

Pray for the Ongoing Ministry of the Château de St. Albain      

Yesterday, September 3, 2014, was declared as a Day of Prayer for the Château by

Joël Rongier, president of Château Association.

Please join in praying and fasting for God to supply the following personnel needs for the Château so that ministries will continue without interruption:

1) A European business manager and coordinator: Pray especially for wisdom and direction for the Château steering committee to find the right people to fit into ministry leadership.

2) An American support couple: To care for the responsibilities of welcoming visitors, preparing and serving meals, maintenance and grounds work.

Our Château Coalition is seeking to publish a coffee-table book (in English, French and German) to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of ministry and funds are needed to get it rolling.

Catalyzing Networks

Over the last few months, I’ve been part of catalyzing two really important networks:

One is around Women in Church Planting. All over the world, women are involved in the church planting endeavor– moms, businesswomen, educators, missionaries, single women, etc.  Many of these ladies don’t have a place to connect with others. Through the leadership of my friends Louise Klawitter and Jessica Robertson, this network has formed a Facebook group that is nurturing this network. It’s a secret group to hide the identities of some of our bravest women who are in closed countries, but if you send a message to Louise, she can get you synced up.
A second network is forming for those who are passionate about Adoption, Orphan & Foster Care.  This budding network, in addition to it’s Facebook Group is holding monthly Skype calls where folks from all over the world can call in and participate.  Find out more on my blog about this group.

 

THANK YOU!

I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank YOU for your prayers and support which are vital to the Lord’s work in our world.  I’m humbled and privileged to serve our King and alongside you!

Thanks so much for your financial gifts to support the work of reaching the least reached! Some of you have remained very diligent even without a lot of info from me! My work continues to be fruitful, so I want to encourage you to continue your pledge or consider a monthly gift!

 

Read the entire September 2014 E-newsletter online 

My E-newsletter Archive:
Read my February 2014 e-newsletter

Read my December 2013 E-Newsletter
Read my August 2013 e-newsletter
Read my June 2013 e-newsletter
Read my May 2013 e-newsletter
Read my April 2013 e-newsletter

HonorShame Conversation for Happy Hour in Long Beach July 1

honor_shame_logo_web1

HonorShame Convo for Happy Hour

Jayson Georges & Local Organizer Mike Jentes

Tuesday, July 1, 2014 from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM (PDT)

At SEKA Coffee on campus of Grace Long Beach, 3590 Elm Ave. Long Beach, CA

Have a conversation with an expert on HonorShame cultures! Jayson Georges is the missiologist-in-residence from Encompass World Partners. He will be here from Atlanta to share some of his latest learning on HonorShame cultures and how we can better sow the Gospel and grow relationships across cultures!

Continue reading “HonorShame Conversation for Happy Hour in Long Beach July 1”

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?

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)

 

Turning theory of church planting movements into practice by Steve Addison

MovementsThatChangeTheWorldEarlier this year Australian Missiologist Steve Addison did an interview with Dan Harding of Mission Platform. Dan asked about how Steve got interested in Movements and what he’s learning about turning theory into practice. This engaging interview has some good movement principles and good practices as well:

Reposted from Steve Addison’s Blog — Movements.net
Turning theory of church planting movements into practice.

The Essence of the Church by Tom Julien cited by @JD_Payne

This post is a connection of 3 influential missiological thinkers in my life:

1) I saw this post on Kurt Miller’s blog (thechurchplanter) – @KurtMiller01 is my father-in-law and one of the sharpest thinkers about church planting in the USA.
2) Tom Julien wrote most of the content, and he is the Director Emeritus of my current agency Encompass World Partners. From the time we shared a meal at my parents home when I was a little boy, I’ve hung onto the wisdom he has spoken.

DiscoveringChurchPlanting-JDPayneThose first two were plenty of reason to repost, but then as I did some more research, I realized that
3) missiologist J.D. Payne included this in his 2012 book Discovering Church Planting. I’ve learned from Payne in his merging of global mission & church planting over several years of collaborating with @CMAResources.

Sorry for the long intro, now to the content of “The Essence of the Church”:

 

“In his article, “The Essence of the Church,*” Tom Julien discussed the fact that many church planters often define the local church in terms of their cultural preference, which can lead to problems on the field.  Julien admonished church-planting teams first to come to an agreement on what the local church is so they will know what they are planting.

“Our problem is that we identify the local church by her cultural and historic expression, more than by her biblical essence. To arrive at a clear definition of the local church we must make a distinction between the two. Sluggish thinking here will lead to differing assumptions in the church-planting team that will affect the basic principles of any church-planting ministry. The more focused we are on essence, the less attachment we will have to any particular cultural expression of the church. On the other hand, if the form or cultural expression of the church becomes our reference point, adapting to different cultural situations will create tension.

The New Testament reveals the church both in her essence and expression. With regard to the essence of the church, this revelation is given in images and presented as fact; with respect to the cultural expression of the church, this revelation is given as example and is descriptive rather than prescriptive…

Let us come back to our original question: “What is a local church?” We have said that a local church is a visible manifestation of the biblical essence. Most of us, however, need something more concrete to work with. It is crucial that every church-planting team agree on a working definition, in concrete terms, that grows out of essence, and not expression. This definition must include those elements that are indispensable to the identity of a church, and omit those that are not. This definition identifies the seed for church planting.

Here is an attempt at such a definition. Members of every church-planting team need to be unified with respect to what they are planting, even if it takes months of struggle to agree.

A local church is an organized body of baptized believers, led by a spiritually qualified shepherd, affirming their relationship to the Lord and to each other by regular observance of the Lord’s Supper, committed to the authority of the Word of God, gathering regularly for worship and the study of the Word, and turned outward to the world in witness.”

Questions to Consider:

  1. What do you think Julien meant by “If the form or cultural expression of the church becomes our reference point, adapting to different cultural situations will create tension”? Can you give an example of such tension?
  2. Do you agree or disagree with Julien’s definition of the local church?
  3. Have you and your church-planting team taken the time to agree on a biblical definition of the local church? f not, why not? How do you know you are all on the same page when you talk about church planting?

*Taken from Tom Julien, “The Essence of the Church,” Evangelical Missions Quarterly (April 1998): 148-149, 152.”

Photocopy original citation in Discovering Church Planting page 44
Photocopy original citation in Discovering Church Planting page 45

Kindle Version:

My highlights from Western Christians in the Global Mission by Paul Borthwick

All of the following are direct quotes from the  book by Paul Borthwick Western Christians in Global Mission: What’s the Role of the North American Church?

 

Miriam Adeney echoes the same call: “Our music and our worship must be multicultural, not simply because our society is multicultural, but because the future from which God is calling us is multicultural…. Not just so that those from other cultures may feel at home among us but also so that we may feel at home in God’s future.”

I believe that we in North America must take initiative in becoming more intentionally international and intercultural.Consider four actions: get to know the world, develop multicultural fellowships, view business as kingdom work and get connected to the global church.

“With two eyes and two ears and one mouth, try to observe and listen four times as much as you speak.”

…I have not yet heard any leader say, “Well, you really set the pace in teaching us how to be servants.” We in North America know how to be in control, but do we know how to follow the orders of those who will lead Christendom through this century?”

“For us in Africa, we think from a family paradigm. When we come together in partnership, it’s a partnership based on relationships (not tasks), and we stay partners for life.”

In a relational view of partnerships, I don’t need to have all the answers, all the money or all the ideas. We come together as family to chart the way forward. We need each other, as Andrew Walls suggests: “Crossing cultural frontiers constantly brings Christ into contact with new areas of human thought and experience. All of these, converted, become part of the functioning body of Christ. The full stature of Christ depends on all of them together.”

The greatest challenge in building effective partnerships between Westerners and non-Westerners is control.

Unfortunately, for the most part, the North American mission force talks a great game about partnership, but paternalism and colonial patterns still predominate. My sense is that the global church would love to partner but isn’t interested in the strings that are attached or the models of ministry we bring. Rather, they are looking for friends who model Christlike family…

“we who live middle-class lives in North America or Europe are living a lifestyle that is, materially speaking, “better than 99 percent of all the people who have ever lived in human history.”

On the one hand, we might raise and spend more money on short-term mission airline tickets than the annual budget of our host church; on the other, many in North America cannot grasp the reality of the poorer world without a firsthand visit. There is simply no substitute for going and visiting our Majority World coworkers in the kingdom where they live and serve.

The North American church must move

  • from being primarily doers to primarily equippers
  • from being in charge to being equal partners
  • from ownership and control to “We own nothing, control nothing and count nothing as our own”
  • from Western missionaries to global missionaries
  • from unhealthy dependencies to indigenous self-sufficiency and the promotion of dignity
  • from competition to cooperation (from an emphasis on “my” brand to a focus on “his” brand)•from agency-based missions to church-agency synergy

 

Faith in God is so important. Am I letting him direct my steps? Westerners (and I include myself here) are such driven people. We rely on statistics, we rely on technology, we rely on news and we rely on our experiences and gifts. But we are not always good at learning to wait on the will of God. I have learned and seen true faith in some of these leaders who are being persecuted and have nothing. They truly understand Paul when he writes, “I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil 3:8).

 

It takes everyone to accomplish the mission, and the body is better because of that.

One of our slogans is this: “Building crosscultural relationships is easier if we accept the fact that 40 percent of the time we will have no idea what’s going on.”

The key issue, as we’ll see later under the topic of partnership, is building relational trust as we grow as a family. And just like a family, when one of us needs money, we might ask a brother or sister for help. But even if that brother or sister cannot respond, we’re still family!

Being in reciprocal relationship with brothers and sisters will force us to focus first on relationships rather than the creation of global strategies.

We need to learn to receive as well as give….we, the rich, go to help you, the poor, or that we, the educated, go to help you, the illiterate. We think that the word resource means money first and education second. Reciprocity teaches us that our brothers and sisters are rich in many other ways.

“Too often, we who go to serve on crosscultural short-term missions practice self-congratulatory servanthood. We live in the hut, eat the local food, endure the heat and use the squat toilet, all the time quietly congratulating ourselves on our willingness to serve.The irony is this: I might be feeling proud as I “sacrifice” my North American comforts to be with my Majority World family, but they don’t necessarily see me as a servant. They welcome me as a guest, but to them, I am just living the way they do all day every day, fifty-two weeks a year. I am not acting as a servant; I am simply a new member of their family.True servanthood is serving people in a way that they interpret as servanthood.”

Christian missionaries actually helped to preserve cultures and languages. According to Sanneh, rather than serving as a tool for Western cultural domination, the translation efforts of European and North American missionaries provoked: (1) vernacular revitalization: the preservation of specific cultures by preserving their language; (2) religious change: people were attracted to Christianity and a “God who speaks my language” over Islam, which is fundamentally not translatable; and (3) social transformation: the dignity associated with God speaking indigenous languages revitalized societies and laid the foundation for the eventual ousting of colonial powers.

 

…to grow as the global body of Christ characterized by

  • interdependence rather than independence and individualism
  • reciprocity, by which all members contribute to the benefit of the others (and all members realize that everyone else has something to offer)
  • humility, equality and mutual respect, with a stress on honoring the less significant-seeming parts of the body
  • learning and discovery together.

 

The common thread is this: God’s people, relying on God’s power and presence, go out and look for opportunities to share and demonstrate the love of Jesus to all peoples everywhere.

Jesus says to his followers “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you,” he affirms the same truth (Jn 20:21). We don’t need to ask if we are sent; Jesus says we are. What we need to ask is where and to whom.

In one respect, the big question is not “Where do we fit?” but “What is God doing?” Joining God in his global eternal mission is our first priority.

 

What’s the first small step of intentionality that you need to take to start expanding your global vision?

 

The common theme is this: intentionality. Without intentional efforts to build our diversity, we will find ourselves in isolated, monocultural churches and fellowship groups.

 

We in our peaceful North American surroundings often forget that sixty-five of the sixty-six books of the Bible were written either from or to a context of uncertainty, political violence, oppression, poverty, exile and military force.

Until the Western church can learn what it is like in the rest of the world, it can only be a spectator, not a participant.

Those of us who want to interact globally will have to suspend some of our theological judgments and listen to how someone from another land is hearing the Scriptures, experiencing the power of God or applying the Bible to daily life.

“Missions is now mutual exchange among multiple centers of influence and learning and resources traveling all directions, not only from here to there.”

Does the church in America have the humility to learn from us, or do they consider themselves to be the world’s teacher? Does the American church have the magnanimous spirit to work alongside us in genuine partnership that is based upon mutual respect and shared resources, or do they simply see us as their “partners” to fulfill their plans in our countries?

 

Even though the Western world has dominated Christianity for much of Christian history, Christianity is now primarily a nonwhite, non-Western, nonwealthy religion….Some estimate that 70 percent of the world’s Bible-believing Christians (as opposed to nominal or cultural Christians) now live in the Majority World.

Metaphors and the Church by Dave Guiles

DaveGuiles-Headshot
Dave Guiles

Encompass World Partners director, Dave Guiles, has been doing some intriguing study and work on “Conceptual Metaphors” and how they play a significant part in developing concepts and behavior.

Dave’s research shows that real change takes place when we are successfully introduced to new metaphors. This is true because:

1) Metaphors organize the way we think,
2) Metaphors enable us to gain new insights,
3) Metaphors create identity, and,
4) Metaphors serve as a guide to future actions.

To help illustrate this important truth, Dave explored how the self-concept of the early church was formed through the introduction of three important conceptual metaphors:

THE CHURCH IS THE FAMILY OF GOD
THE CHURCH IS THE BODY OF CHRIST
THE CHURCH IS THE TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

“The success of the early Apostles in establishing churches in the diverse cultural soils of their world was directly related to their ability to lead new congregations into a clear understanding and acceptance of these metaphors. Because of their importance in revealing the true nature of the church, these can be referred to as ‘essence metaphors.”

Praying for the “New America”

On this eve of the “National Day of Prayer,” I wrote a little ditty for @LosAltosGrace and compelled folks to actually pray on this day… and even tried to create some white space to help it happen.

Then I was scrolling through my email and came across a forward article about our nation from a patriot in our @LosAltosGrace Church family.  The title of the email article was “We Are Not Coming Back.” It caught my attention because it was written by a Rabbi…

It was written originally in the days following the 2012 Presidential Election (Read it on his blog here). It certainly talked about politics and was very insightful. The part that grabbed me was this paragraph:

Obama also knows that the electorate has changed – that whites will soon be a minority in America (they’re already a minority in California) and that the new immigrants to the US are primarily from the Third World and do not share the traditional American values that attracted immigrants in the 19th and 20th centuries. It is a different world, and a different America . Obama is part of that different America , knows it, and knows how to tap into it. That is why he won.

The bigger question for me is not how the elections will go in this different and new America, but how can we see the Gospel and disciples of Jesus penetrate this different…and new America.  This “new America” has long been rooted in our urban areas. I saw it for 8 years as I lived in downtown Columbus, Ohio.  And now I’m living in one of the largest urban areas in the world…I’m still praying and wrestling with what is it gonna take?

This different or “new America” provides us with great challenges and opportunities for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Let’s take our energy, prayers and creativity and leverage them toward seeing our Jesus draw many to Himself!

Many prayers in the next 24 hours will be made for “revival” and I’m in favor of that.  But what about our prayers for the thousands of people in our country who have never had a “__vival”; that is a “first life with Christ”, been “born again” nor even known about Jesus. We must pray for these and for the church and Jesus’ disciples to sow the Good News!

We see the fields white for harvest. Isn’t that what we should see in this different and new America?  God is bringing the world to us and let’s see Jesus bring the world to Himself through US.

 

Seed of the Gospel and Indigenous Christianity

“The Gospel is like a seed and you have to sow it. When you sow the seed of the Gospel in Palestine, a plant that can be called Palestinian Christianity grows. When you sow it in Rome, a plant of Roman Christianity grows. You sow the Gospel in Great Britain and you get British Christianity. The seed of the Gospel is later brought to America, and a plant grows of American Christianity. Now, when missionaries came to our lands they brought not only the seed of the gospel, but their own plant of Christianity, flower not included! So, what we have to do is to break the flower pot, take out the seed of the gospel, sow it in our own cultural soil, and let our own version of Christianity grow.”
-D. T. Niles ( from Sri Lanka)

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