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)

 

Peoples on the Move: A God-Ordained Opportunity for Reaching the Unreached by J.D. Payne

Frank Obien, in his book Building Bridges of Love: A Handbook for Sharing God’s Love with International Students, wrote that in the 1960s he noticed that while missionaries were traveling the world, international students were coming to the United States—only to return without anyone sharing the gospel with them. Don Bjork, in a 1985 Christianity Today article, attempted to raise awareness of the migration of the nations to the United States. Commenting on the realities in the 1970s and 1980s, he wrote:

Millions of strange new faces began appearing on the streets of American cities, collectively changing the face of the nation itself. But who in the church really noticed? Unseen or unheeded, the fields at home were long since ‘white unto harvest.’ Yet right down to the end of the 1970s, few missions leaders really knew what was going on. The ‘invisible migrants’ took no pains to hide, yet it seemed few missions took pains to seek.

Progress has been made since Bjork‘s article, but unfortunately it is too little and too slow. While such discussions have taken place in the past, most evangelicals have been slow to respond. The good news is that more and more people, churches, networks, denominations, societies, and mission agencies are talking about this topic once again and starting to act on the need.

…read the rest of this article in Mission Frontiers – Peoples on the Move: A God-Ordained Opportunity for Reaching the Unreached.

In Memory of TRUE World Changers: Jim & Lyn Montgomery

Today I went to a Celebration of the Life of Lyn Montgomery…who entered eternity earlier this week to join her Lord and her love Jim. I have known Lyn only in these last 4 years, but I know I missed her most fun and fruitful days. The years wore on her beautiful body and soul, yet I long to know the woman that I heard the stories of today…at least to taste her carrot cake!

I’ve had the privilege of knowing the Montgomery’s son Len (who is an amazing man in his own right) and Len’s wife Mishal (amazing too!). My two boys are the same ages as their three boys (they have twin 6th graders). In fact, all those boys are right now at our house enjoying video games together!

I never had the privilege to know Jim either, as he passed in 2006. Never-the-less, I’ve been deeply impacted by his work, vision and writings.  He brought us in the church/missions world the idea, strategy and success of saturation church planting. On his shoulders, the ministry of DAWN (or Discipling A Whole Nation) was birthed. The most popular work of his, was DAWN 2000: 7 Million Churches to Go.   In modest numbers, the implication of Jim’s ideas have catalyzed more than 3 million churches around the world.  What a wake!

In a time of hype about movements and changing your world, Jim and Lyn are the true thing. I truly believe that even though less than 100 people gathered to celebrate the life of Lyn Montgomery in Anaheim today, there are thousands of saints in glory who welcome Lyn home because of her influence for Jesus around our globe. Certainly her Lord Jesus said, “Well done good and faithful servant!”

 

Links for you:

Jim Montgomery’s Writings – Free Downloads from DAWN

Jim’s Impact in starting DAWN Ministries (Discipling A Whole Nation)

From 2006 – Tall Skinny Kiwi: In Memory of Jim Montgomery.

Jim Montgomery telling the story of Campus Churches, Students of Peace and @JaesonMa

Foreigners and Aliens – quote from Roland Allen

Roland AllenThis year is exactly one century since an English missionary named Roland Allen wrote
a ground-breaking book, Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours?  In the book, Allen wrote truthfully and prophetically,

“Foreigners can never successfully direct the propagation of any faith throughout a whole country. If the faith does not become naturalised and expand among the people by its own vital power, it exercises an alarming and hateful influence, and men fear and shun it as something alien.”

 

Other Articles on Roland Allen:

The Legacy of Roland Allen: Part One-His Life
The Legacy of Roland Allen: Part Two-His Philosophy of Missions
The Influence of Roland Allen on 21st Century Church Planting
Audio Presentation on Roland Allen by Dr. J.D. Payne

 

What’s happening to missions mobilization? by Kurt Miller

Kurt Miller

World mission mobilizers are confronted by a bewildering array of opinions, facts, and new realities. Among them: The MARC Mission Handbook reports a leveling off in long-term missionaries. Patrick Johnstone of Operation World reports that 10,000 of the world’s 12,000 ethnolinguistic people groups have church-planting teams.

Field missionaries describe extra work generated by short-term teams and fear the consequences of some inappropriate conduct by “prayer walk” teams.

The AD2000 and Beyond Movement reports progress toward church-planting movements among the unreached, while missiologists track increasing resistance among Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims.

Such trends, among others, point to a significant division among mission mobilizers and strategists, perhaps one of the most important shifts since the end of World War II. The increased emphasis on the challenge of unreached peoples has highlighted two major streams of action.

(More here)

From thechurchplanter blog by Kurt Miller

Lessons Can be Learned from Successful Cities by Kurt Miller

In the May 3, 2007 issue of “Economist” magazine there was an article entitled, “The Reinvention Test.” The article was about durable cities and pointed the reader to the idea that successful cities must expect to go through several rebirths over time. Enjoy a portion of the article and then respond to my musing at the end.

“CITIES are durable. Most last longer than the countries that surround them, or indeed any other human institutions. But some thrive, whereas others merely mark time (Cleveland, Minsk, Pyongyang), go into apparently long-term decline (Detroit, New Orleans, Venice) or disappear (Tenochtitlán, Tikal, Troy). What are the characteristics of a successful city? The short answer is good government and a flourishing economy. But such attributes may come and go in the life of a metropolis. In order to be continuously successful, a city has to be able to reinvent itself, perhaps several times.”

Harvard’s Edward Glaeser describes how Boston has done this three times—“in the early 19th century as the provider of seafaring human capital for a far-flung maritime trading and fishing empire, in the late 19th century as a factory town built on immigrant labour and Brahmin capital, and finally in the 20th century as a centre of the information economy.” On each occasion, human capital provided the secret to Boston’s rebirth. A strong base of skilled workers, writes Mr Glaeser, has been a source of long-run urban health.

Education was important from the first in Boston. But Mr Glaeser draws attention to other characteristics of the city that were present even in colonial times. It had a strong set of community organisations, because of its church structure, and something like the rule of law. It also had a tradition of “democratic egalitarianism”.

Law has been essential for urban life since Babylonian times, both because cities have usually been centres of commerce, and trade needs regulation, and because cities tend to draw different kinds of people, whose success in living together depends on common rules of behaviour. Democracy, too, has served cities well, providing a shock-absorber for changing economic times and a mechanism whereby immigrants can join the mainstream.

Immigration, or at least an ethnic and religious mix, has also been closely associated with urban success. As Joel Kotkin points out in “The City”, Chinese towns at the end of the first millennium AD showed the same cosmopolitan mixture as did Alexandria, Cairo, Antioch and Venice. Pre-1492 Seville, 16th-century London and 19th-century Bombay (now Mumbai) all contained a variety of different peoples, whether Muslims, Jews, Parsis or others.

Throughout history, cities open to the world have benefited both from an exchange of goods and from a trade in ideas from abroad. Japan, by closing its doors to foreigners, condemned its cities to slow marination in their own culture until the country’s opening up after 1853. Today the burgeoning cities with the best chance of overcoming their difficulties are those in Asia and Latin America that can gain from globalisation. Africa’s cities, largely excluded from this phenomenon, are winning relatively little investment, trade or entrepreneurial fizz from foreigners.

Some cities in the rich world, too, have been much more successful than others at exploiting globalisation. The ones that have done best are those that have plugged into global industries and been able to capture the headquarters or lesser corporate centres of globalised companies, especially banks and other financial firms, argues Saskia Sassen, of the University of Chicago. London, New York and Tokyo are pre-eminent in this, but some other cities—Paris, Frankfurt, Zurich, Amsterdam, Chicago, Los Angeles, Sydney, Hong Kong, São Paulo, Mexico City—are not far behind.

Not every city can “go global” or will even want to. There are other types of raison d’être. One is simply to be a pleasant place to live and work, pleasant meaning different things to different people, of course. In the developing world most people would be delighted to live in a city that was prosperous and well governed, if that meant jobs were available, officials were honest, the streets were safe, housing was affordable and transport, sanitation and basic utilities operated to minimum standards. Even in rich countries not all these things can be taken for granted.

Mercer, a consulting firm, publishes a ranking of big cities each year based on an assessment of about 40 factors falling into ten categories (political, economic, cultural, medical, educational, public-service, recreational, consumer-goods, housing and environmental). Last year the top ten cities were Zurich, Geneva, Vancouver, Vienna, Auckland, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich, Bern and Sydney.

The Economist Intelligence Unit, a sister organisation to The Economist, carries out a similar exercise (see table). Five of its top ten cities for 2005 were also in Mercer’s top ten. All ten in each list, with the exception of Sydney and Calgary, might be considered rather homely, even dull. The cities that have done most to excite attention the world over—New York, Chicago and Los Angeles—are also-rans. Smallish countries mostly do well, and Australia, the most urbanised country of all, ranks notably highly, at least in the EIU list.

No list includes the ability to reinvent itself among the desirable qualities of a city. That may, however, be increasingly put to the test, for some people believe that cities have had their day.”Kurt Miller

Could the Church learn lessons from the histories of cities? If so, what might they be?

_________

From thechurchplanter blog by Kurt Miller

 

Interesting Facts for Global Church Planters

  • There are 9,608 ethnic people groups and 15,942 people-in-country groups, counting each group once per country of residence.
  • Of the 15,942 total groups, 6,430 are Least-Reached, totaling 2,576,038,000 individuals.
  • Of these 6,430 groups, 4,975 are in 10/40 Window countries. That means 77% of the unreached / least-reached people groups are in the 10/40 Window.
  • The largest least-reached group is the Japanese, with over 120,000,000 individuals.
  • 3,285 groups are primarily Muslim, totaling nearly 1,300,000,000 individuals.
  • 2,436 groups are primarily Hindu, totaling about 900,000,000 individuals.
  • 561 groups are primarily Buddhist, totaling nearly 375,000,000 individuals.
  • 6,486 groups are primarily Christian, totaling over 2,000,000,000 individuals. “Christian” is defined here as Christian adherents, not restricted to evangelicals.
  • The Mandarin Chinese is the largest people group, being in 98 countries with a total of about 793,000,000 individuals, and with 783,000,000 of those in China.
  • Jews are found in 130 countries, Arabs in 84 countries, and Chinese groups in 117 countries.

There is still lots of work to be done!

Here is the latest from thechurchplanter blog…the blog connected to thechurchplanter mini-magazine of Kurt Miller

The Least-Reached and Secular Humanists in America Need the Lord

Never before has the climate for evangelism and church planting been riper for taking the love of Jesus to least-reached people right here in America! Not only are there over 800,000 least-reached people living within our shores, but there is a tremendous spiritual vacuum created by three generations influenced by secular humanism. People are searching for meaning, security and significance. New churches are timely, relevant and connect easily with their communities. Now is the time to plant more and better churches! Now is the time for existing churches to multiply and reap the harvest fields around them. Historically, church planting is proven to be the most effective form of evangelism.

Here is the latest from thechurchplanter blog…the blog connected to thechurchplanter mini-magazine of Kurt Miller

Least-Reached in U.S.

Reaching the least-reached in the United States with the love of Jesus
Here is the latest from thechurchplanter blog…the blog connected to thechurchplanter mini-magazine of Kurt Miller

Definition of an Unreached People Group

The Joshua Project gives the following definition of an Unreached or Least-reached People Group:

“A people group among which there is no indigenous community of believing Christians with adequate numbers and resources to evangelize this people group.”

The original Joshua Project editorial committee selected the critieria less than 2% Evangelical Christian and less than 5% Christian Adherents. While these percentage figures are somewhat arbitrary, there are some that suggest that the percentage of a population needed to be influenced to impact the whole group is 2%. Joshua Project uses the terms Unreached People Group (UPG) and Least-reached People Group interchangably.

If they are to be reached, churches must be planted.

Here is the latest from thechurchplanter blog…the blog connected to thechurchplanter mini-magazine of Kurt Miller

God Desires to Bless the Nations

Psalm 67

God be gracious to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us–that Thy way may be known on the earth, Thy salvation among all nations. Let the peoples praise Thee, O God; let all the peoples praise Thee. Let the nations be glad and sing for joy; for Thou wilt judge the peoples with uprightness, and guide the nations on the earth. Let the peoples praise Thee, O God; let all the peoples praise Thee. The earth has yielded its produce; God, our God, blesses us. God blesses us, that all the ends of the earth may fear Him.

Here is the latest from thechurchplanter blog…the blog connected to thechurchplanter mini-magazine of Kurt Miller
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