Archives For Missions

The Church is the most magnificent concept ever created. It has survived persistent abuse, horrifying persecution, and widespread neglect. Yet despite its faults (due to our sinfulness), it is still God’s chosen instrument of blessing and has been for 2,000 years.

The Church will last for eternity, and because it is God’s instrument for ministry here on Earth, it is truly the greatest force on the face of the Earth. That’s why I believe tackling the world’s biggest problems – the giants of spiritual lostness, egocentric leadership, poverty, disease, and ignorance – can only be done through the Church.

The Church has eight distinct advantages over the efforts of business and government:

1. The Church provides for the largest participation.

Most people have no idea how many Christians there are in the world: More than 2 billion people claim to be followers of Jesus Christ. That’s one third of the world’s population! The Church has about a billion more people than the entire nation of China.

For example, close to 100 million people in the United States went to church this past weekend. That’s more people than will attend sporting events in the United States throughout this year. The…

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In light of modern cultural realities, here are three methodological shifts churches should consider to more effectively make disciples and reach our communities.

Consider scattering over gathering

Why not push more of the functions of church life to the periphery of church, including the amount of times we gather? I know this may sound counterintuitive and I don’t want to completely de-emphasize the large gathering. Gatherings are biblical.

But it would make more sense in our current context to do less gathering and more scattering. We are beyong the place where saying “Everyone come!” will bring unbelievers to a gathering. Churches need to have more of a “Let’s go!” mentality.

To be successful, leaders need to empower people. Church members need to be released as witnesses in their everyday lives—to be the “church scattered.”

In some cases, it’s helpful to empower small groups to have a broader functionality, even to the point of these groups functioning almost like little congregations. Some can be pre-church plants.

When ownership and responsibility is distributed, the more likely you are to have greater impact in a community.

Consider how to use pathways

We need a…

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Planting

I believe once a church celebrates five years of existence, they are an established church. With this premise, the vast majority of churches in America are established churches. Many of these churches are in need of revitalization.

When you look at the status of churches in America, you may read reports that seventy or even eighty percent are plateaued or declining. When a church gets outside of itself in a missional focus like planting new gospel churches, this can serve as a major part of revitalizing their own established church.

Among even the largest evangelical denominations and conventions in America, only a small percentage of established churches are involved directly in planting new gospel churches. This needs to change if we desire to reach North America and the world for Jesus Christ.

Gospel Churches Plant Gospel Churches

When you read and study the book of Acts, you discover that gospel churches are involved in planting gospel churches. Again and again, we see the biblical precedent of planting churches. When the apostles went into towns, cities, and regions where the gospel had never been before, they won people to Christ and planted a gospel church immediately.

Gospel advancement and…

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There is a never-ending need for new churches to be planted. From sea to shining sea, there is no community in America where we can hang a “mission accomplished” banner and stop planting churches. Wherever God is calling you to plant a church is a place where a church plant is needed.

“Studies and anecdotal evidence indicate that if there is one church per ten thousand residents, approximately 1 percent of the population will be churchgoers. If this ratio goes to one church per one thousand residents, some 15 to 20 percent of the city’s population goes to church. If the number goes to one per five hundred residents, the number may approach 40 percent or more. The relationship of the number of churches to churchgoing people is exponential, not linear.” – Tim Keller

That said, church planting is difficult, treacherous, and not guaranteed to succeed. While the survivability rate is not nearly has tragic as some church planting statistics often report, as many as 3 or 4 in 10 churches will not survive past three years. While we may say these statistics aren’t that bad—you won’t agree with that statement if…

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By Rachel Baker

It’s been nearly six months since the people of South Sudan have had government supplied electricity, only those with generators have access to this resource. Farmers are not farming and businesses are dying, as a baby country groans in its infancy amid tribal and political conflict. Africa’s 55th nation became its own in 2011, but quickly after its birth has experienced threat of failure and famine.

Currently the country, which is primarily composed of former refugees, faces staggering statistics. A mere 27% of the population aged 15 years and above is literate, with two-thirds of the population is under the age of 30. The infant mortality rate is 105 in 1000 and only 17% of South Sudan’s children are fully immunized. Roughly 38% percent of the population walks an hour round trip for drinking water and nearly 80% of the nation does not have access to any toilet facility.

Political tension keeps the country ravaged, as President Salva Kiir and his former Vice President Riek Machar are at war with each other, a feud that has resulted in 50,000 deaths, as guesstimated by the United Nations and ICG (International Crisis Group), though…

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Thin Ice

Churches do not automatically thrive. The American church, as a local institution, has proven that it can coast along in almost-dead mode for many years. But there are no churches that are effectively reaching and changing their surrounding culture by accident.

Rick Warren wrote a brief piece on Pastors.com about breaking three common barriers to church growth. In the comments, a troubling attitude emerged that is probably not too uncommon among believers in American churches – that growth is up to God (which I wholeheartedly agree with) and so any intentional effort to cause growth is somehow wrong (which I couldn’t disagree with more).

You can have “good Sundays,” but the natural tendency of a church will always be to drift slowly from the mission into autopilot mode. When that happens, we go back to doing church in the easiest way we know how rather than intentionally working to be the kind of church we need to be.

If we fail to intentionally be the church, we will unintentionally just do church. And that’s true, no matter how much we say we’re going to “be the church.” Doing the Sunday gathering thing…

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Poverty. When you hear the word, a predictable series of images probably flicker through your mind: A homeless man living under an overpass in Chicago. A shoeless child on the streets of Mumbai. A jobless widow in a Kenyan slum.

When we think of these people, we rightly want to help. But good intentions are not enough. We often do inadvertent harm in our attempts to help people who are poor. Because we think of poverty as a lack of material things like money, food, or housing, our first instinct is to give those things to people who are poor. While that response is sometimes necessary, it typically addresses only the symptoms of poverty—not the underlying causes. In the long run, handouts can actually create dependency and exacerbate the sense of shame that often accompanies poverty.

We need a different framework for our poverty alleviation efforts if we want to help the materially poor without hurting them.

Here are three key things to remember:

1) We are all “poor” in some way. This principle is rooted in the grand drama of Scripture: God created a perfect world, but the fall marred our relationships with God, ourselves, others,…

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Saddleback 25th Anniversary

Easter is coming! And it will be one of the most well-attended Sundays for churches this year. Wise church leaders will take advantage of the opportunity to present the simple but profoundly hopeful message of Jesus’ resurrection to all of the extra guests who come.

One of the secrets to Saddleback’s growth over the years is big days. There are three holidays we’ve used powerfully – Easter, Christmas Eve, and Mother’s Day – and then a few other weekends such as the kick-off or celebration of a big campaign. We plan for those days and we use them as an evangelism tool and as a stimulus to motivate our members on to growth for the rest of the year.  These days are big high points and there are some real advantages to planning big days with a special emphasis, particularly around Easter.

Here are nine reasons why high attendance days can be so meaningful. 

1. Big days build morale.

Without a doubt, people enjoy being a part of something big, something exciting. It develops unity and pride among our people. When people work together, there’s just a sense of excitement. It’s hard…

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All Africa Pastors GatheringThe last of the pastors have arrived, from around the world this morning, for the next All-Africa Pastors’ Gathering here in Rwanda. This is the second gathering of leaders as we build toward the All-African Purpose Driven Leadership Congress in 2017. The next three days we will be moving leaders closer to catalyzing 54 nationwide movements of healthy, purpose driven churches who are transforming lives in their communities and planting churches where none exist. It is our desire to see the Great Commandment and the Great Commission fulfilled everywhere!

We are here in Kigali because what has happened in Rwanda is nothing less than miraculous! Romans 1:8 (TEV) says, “I thank my God… because the whole world is hearing about your faith.” The reconciliation, renewal and resurrection from the devastation of this genocide is inspiring and life-giving.

So, over the next three days, leaders from around the world will learn the story of Rwanda and the impact of The Global PEACE plan from the Rwandans who made it happen. Their stories of faith and perseverance along with the lessons they learned from this incredible journey are an example for a…

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If there’s one thing we know about Easter, it’s that many Senior Pastors go to great lengths to mobilize their congregations to get new people to attend on this day.

Many think this is a wasted attempt to pander to “Chreasters.” I completely disagree.

Increasing your Easter attendance is important, but not for reasons commonly thought. Here are four reasons why doing everything you can to increase your Easter attendance matters to the mission of your church.

1. More Than Likely 25% of All Your Visitors This Year Will Come On Easter

At CCV we know that roughly 50% of all newcomers will come at Easter and Christmas. The rest are evenly sprinkled throughout the year. That obviously means that half, or 25%, of all the visitors that come to your church this year will come this Sunday. Most outreach-focused churches have similar newcomer attendance and retention figures.

2. Only 10% Of Those Visitors Will Come Back

We also know that if 10 people visit our church, 1 of them will return and become a growing Christ Follower. Why is this important?

It’s important because if you are a church of, say, 150, that wants to break the 200 barrier and grow to…

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Rick and Kay Warren at the PEACE CenterBy Tommy Hilliker

It started with a bag of groceries to meet a serious need in our community. Our benevolence requests went from six a day to more than 40 a day, and 15 percent of our congregation was out of work. At the peak of the economic recession, our community was hurting and in need of real assistance. In response, Saddleback Church launched its food pantry, which two years later would turn into The PEACE Center.

Jesus said in Mark 9:41, “Anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name … will certainly not lose their reward” (NIV).

Everything we do centers on providing practical help and connection to the church and sharing the hope of Jesus Christ.

People came to our doors the first day we opened them. We have fed more than 80,000 people in south Orange County, Ca. We also provide free legal aid, immigration help, tutoring clubs, ESL classes, medical services, and much more. And the most amazing part is that more than 1,600 people have given their lives to Jesus because of the work done through The PEACE Center. People…

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I’m a church planter, and most of what I’ve learned about the church has come the hard way.

Thirteen years ago, on the first Sunday in January, I launched Eastpoint Church. In the 25 or so years before that, I had helped start or reboot six other churches.

None of that makes me an expert, just experienced. I’m still learning. My most recent lesson is one I didn’t especially like, but I needed it nonetheless.

Here’s my latest discovery: At some point in your pastoring journey, you may end up in the land between “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat,” and what you do then matters—a lot.

In this in-between season, things aren’t necessarily all bad. In fact, you might have much to be thankful for in your church. The bills are paid. The staff are gifted, capable, and faithful. People are showing up and still getting saved.

But the land between often means . . .

  • The buzz has faded, and you aren’t the hot new thang in town anymore.
  • The faithful are still with you but are much harder to inspire to sacrificial greatness.
  • When you announce a new series, the old regulars suspect it’s not…

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