Archives For Books & Media

Have we forgotten that the gospel mandate is actually to “make disciples of the nations”? Missiologist and author Alan Hirsch believes that we have. In this new eBook, Hirsch highlights the missional priority of discipleship and helps leaders reframe their understanding and practice of evangelism in the context of disciple making. By reframing mission and evangelism around discipleship, not only do we grow more obedient, but also make space for long-term, authentic, loving relationships with the people in our lives. Hirsch points out that if every follower of Jesus simply did this with just two or three people in their lifetime and asked those people to do the same—disciples making disciples making disciples—in just a few generations we would accomplish what we have sought to accomplish through most of our reductionist evangelistic efforts. “Disciple making lies at the very core of the church’s ‘sentness’ and mission,” he writes. “It has never been an optional extra.”

Key highlights:

In this eBook, Alan Hirsch helps us discover/rediscover:

  • Why reimagining evangelism through the lens of discipleship is crucial to the local church and accomplishing the Great Commission.
  • The theological significance…

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I was their church consultant in 2003. The church’s peak attendance was 750 in 1975. By the time I got there the attendance had fallen to an average of 83. The large sanctuary seemed to swallow the relatively small crowd on Sunday morning.

The reality was that most of the members did not want me there. They were not about to pay a consultant to tell them what was wrong with their church. Only when a benevolent member offered to foot my entire bill did the congregation grudgingly agree to retain me.

I worked with the church for three weeks. The problems were obvious; the solutions were difficult.

On my last day, the benefactor walked me to my rental car. “What do you think, Thom?” he asked. He could see the uncertainty in my expression, so he clarified. “How long can our church survive?” I paused for a moment, and then offered the bad news. “I believe the church will close its doors in five years.”

I was wrong. The church closed just a few weeks ago. Like many dying churches, it…

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UniqueI love creativity and think we should all be more creative. Some people think they simply aren’t creative, but the truth is, we’re all born with wonderful imaginations. Just put a group of toddlers in a room and you’ll see they’re all wildly creative. So everyone is born creative.  But something happens around elementary school that starts pushing that creativity to the back of the room.  But the more important question for today is, considering the millions of writers, artists, inventors, and filmmakers that have gone before us, can we actually be creative or original in the sense of being true innovators?  How often can we actually be the first to come up with an idea?  Creativity is a wonderful thing, but can we really be original? How many times can we actually do something that hasn’t been done before?

Mark Twain said that Adam was the only person in history who when he said something, he knew it had never been said before.  So true originality isn’t the real issue.  The real issue is to think less about creativity and more about being yourselfWriting great stories, preaching powerful sermons,…

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Yawning at TigersIn our increasingly shallow, self-centered world, quaint notions such as timeless truth and reverence for a holy, awe-inspiring God seem irretrievably lost. They’re not.

Many of us have fashioned a domesticated deity—a casual, malleable source of love and good feelings as we define them—and yet our spiritual lives are sedate, dry, devoid of passion or purpose.

Even so, today’s postmodern epidemic of rampant restlessness—and our failed, often destructive attempts to ease it—may be evidence of an ancient ache, a deep hunger for transcendence in all of us.

Drew Nathan Dyck makes a compelling case that the more we all seek is available by knowing and worshiping the dangerous God of Scripture—a God who is paradoxically untamable and accessible, impossibly mysterious and intimately knowable, above and beyond our physical world yet powerfully present within it. He is a God who beckons us to see him with fresh eyes and let him lead us to a faith that is wild, adventurous, and rooted in a deep understanding of his eternal character.

Yawning at Tigers charts a course away from the “safe” harbor of sanitized, predictable Christianity, into deeper…

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Are you a leader in a Christian organization? Is your church, ministry, or business lacking innovation? Perhaps you’re experienced in trying new things and moving in new ways, but you haven’t ever tried anything strange. Truly innovative leaders are often considered strange. Don’t settle for everyday leadership; immerse yourself in Strange Leadership!

Greg gives 40 different ways the Bible teaches us to be strange leaders. Greg pulls from Scripture to illuminate these concepts and, from the words and writings of other leaders, to drive them home. Strange Leadership is practically an encyclopedia on the subject of innovation.

Here’s what some key leaders are saying about the book:

Innovation is imperative in today’s leadership culture. Strange Leadership reminds us all that innovation is about doing a whole new thing, that ultimately flows from God, the Chief Innovator. Thanks Greg for pointing us back to our true source for innovation and inspiration.
– Brad Lomenick, President and Key Visionary of Catalyst and Author of The Catalyst Leader

Strange Leadership provides leadership help to teach you how innovation can come about in your life and organization by keeping God at the center and will equip you with practical thoughts to lead…

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Mission Creep Larry OsborneEvangelism and discipleship aren’t rocket science. When Jesus sent out a ragtag team from Galilee with the expectation that they would evangelize and disciple the world, they pulled it off as a natural and spontaneous outworking of their faith.

Yet 2,000 years later, this same natural and spontaneous process has been turned into a complex and highly programmed skill left to the professionals. In this free resource, pastor and author Larry Osborne exposes what’s gone wrong and the five subtle shifts that sabotage our best efforts to reach the lost and bring them to full maturity.

Key highlights:

  • What happens when we count and report the wrong things.
  • Why too much knowledge can be a bad thing.
  • God’s game plan for fighting the culture wars.
  • Why assimilation and membership are meaningless.
  • What Protestants failed to learn from Roman Catholics.

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Narrow Minded EvangelismThe Golden Rule is one of the best-known and most quoted scriptures in the Bible. But, what if we have it all wrong? What if The Golden Rule was never meant to be a simple and safe mantra—recited to children to get them to see the importance of sharing their toys with one another? What if we’ve looked at that verse too narrowly and missed Christ’s point altogether? What if The Golden Rule is really a profoundly dangerous mission statement—to be embraced by Christ followers and lead people away from the broad way that leads to death and back onto the narrow way that leads to life? In this FREE resource, and using The Golden Rule as a mission statement, pastor and author Arron Chambers shares the keys you and your church can use to help more lost people find the narrow way that leads to life.

Key highlights:

    • Thorough exploration of Matt. 7:12-14 and historical origins of The Golden Rule
    • Contextual biblical analysis of when Jesus spoke these words, who He spoke them to and why He spoke them
    • Why these verses speak into the ethics of how we treat each…

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Giving Blood Len SweetOver the past thirty years, shifts in technology have displaced the Enlightenment culture of the book with a new visual and aural culture that is profoundly changing our homes, workplaces, and churches. The church must learn to speak to people who hear and learn in ways that are different from how the church has communicated in the past.

In this groundbreaking resource, bestselling author Leonard Sweet introduces readers to what he terms a “transductive” epistemology, a new model for understanding and communicating truth that will profoundly affect the way the church communicates to a new generation. Sweet argues that “knowing” is no longer simply a linear movement from propositions (deduction) or toward propositions (induction). These classical models have lost their efficacy.

Instead, Sweet offers an alternative to traditional approaches, showing us how to communicate the Bible as God’s storybook, divine handiwork – and not just a rulebook of “do’s” and “don’ts” or a handbook for living. He challenges long-held assumptions about communicating the Bible, offering a fresh paradigm for preaching and teaching in the twenty-first century church.

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Repent Into“The goal of evangelism is to make disciples, not merely get people to make decisions. Once the right people are in the room, churches must be ready to receive these new believers,” writes John Teter, pastor and church planting team leader for The Evangelical Covenant Church. “Otherwise, ‘decisions’ will never become disciples. We must also focus on long-term goals for disciples and invest in their spiritual development.”

Teter explores Acts 1-2 as an example of how disciples flourished in the midst of the crucible of adversity and gives today’s church a blueprint for making disciples, not just decisions. Peter encourages the 120 disciples in the upper room, and then stands again to preach a sermon that will cause 3,000 people to covert. In this free resource, Teter points out that Christians often speak of repenting “from,” but forget to think about or share what we repent into? In Acts 2, the new believers live lives devoted to God’s Word, fellowship, prayer, breaking of bread, and generosity. In each of these key areas of being a believer, the first disciples repented “from” the world and devoted themselves “into” these life-giving rhythms…

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Evangelism-and-Discipleship-Cover-Final-copyEvangelism or Discipleship: Can They Effectively Work Together? by Bobby Harrington and Bill Hull Evangelism and discipleship are not two things; they are one. Jesus has commanded us to “make disciples.” In this new eBook, veteran discipleship leaders Bobby Harrington and Bill Hull focus on the need for leaders to bring together discipleship and evangelism and plant churches with that mindset. The two authors offer Bible-based insights into how evangelism and discipleship work together to accomplish the Great Commission, sharing stories and examples of leaders and churches that have successfully brought the two together for kingdom impact.

Jesus’ Matthew 28 commandment included the expectation of reproduction—that new disciples would become well-taught disciples who would in turn embrace the mission and make other new disciples. Anything less is to sabotage the master plan. Evangelism is simply a form of pre-conversion discipleship. When we engage in this disciple-making process, Jesus tells us that He will be present with us—to the end of the age (Matt. 28:20). Download the free eBook.

Key highlights:

  • Helpful observations of the state of evangelism and discipleship in the West
  • The theological significance of discipleship and how it encompasses evangelism.
  • Experienced perspective from…

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Serve StrongSpiritual warfare.
Feelings of inadequacy for a called task.
Relationship conflicts.
Apparent lack of results.
Failure in an endeavor.
Weariness from overwork.
Discouragement due to weaknesses of temperament or personal battles with temptation.

No matter what joy or other benefits you derive from serving the Lord, the factors previously listed threaten motivation for and resiliency in ministry.  I want to introduce you to a resource that explains and illustrates the Biblical principles that have sustained me for almost 45 years of vocational ministry (as a Biblical university prof, church staff member, itinerant Bible teacher, and trainer of national workers in 13 countries).  It’s my new book, now available in bookstores or at amazon.com:  Serve Strong: Biblical Encouragement To Sustain God’s Servants (Leafwood).

Every chapter offers a reassuring Biblical perspective, and illustrates it in the life of someone who was or is engaged in ministry.  Historical figures whose stories dot the pages of Serve Strong  include, but aren’t limited to, David Brainerd, D. L. Moody, Hudson Taylor, William Wilberforce, John Newton, Charles Spurgeon, and CIU’s own  legendary professor, the late James “Buck” Hatch.

Robertson McQuilkin, former CIU president, says this about Serve Strong: “I can’t remember reading a more powerful book of encouragement for…

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The Social ChurchThe world runs on relational connections.

From the beginning of time, we’ve been sharing stories, anecdotes and insights about who we are and where we come from.

  • From the days of tribal cultures huddled around campfires, passing their history down through the generations …
  • To the advent of the printing press, which allowed us to share our stories with people very different from us…
  • To the emergence of radio and television, which gave us the ability to connect untold amounts of people to a common message…

We are hardwired for communication—to share, build, and connect. We literally cannot help ourselves. It is at the heart of humanity—the core of who we are.

But you and I both know we live in a different world. Things aren’t just changing—they’ve already been changed. The digital era of human communication has ushered us into a world we’re still trying to grasp and understand.

We sense it when we connect with loved ones, our friends, and colleagues.

We sense it as we watch oppressive governments topple; as we watch savvy political candidates leverage new media to raise funds in unprecedented amounts.

Schools and educational institutions are moving curriculum online to…

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