Archives For Missions

Leading the CrowdMission builds community.

If you try to build community with no mission you will end up playing at life and going through the motions.

It’s the ascent up the mountain, checking gear, adjusting to breathing different than everybody else in the valley, and making sure those taking the journey with you aren’t getting left behind that will develop you to peak potential. But it will also surface your fears.

And this is how your leadership grows!

You alone have the power more than anyone else to wreck your journey. The potential of self-sabotage is your greatest threat. You are wise to be afraid.

Notice the fear. Let it be a compass.

Because if you are going to take significant hills with your life you need to notice the fear. The fear reveals a place you will wreck your leadership.

1. Go to Jesus and ask for clarity for what your fear really is.

2. Wait for Him to speak/lead/comfort, etc your fear.

3. Move forward with a deeper passion knowing that you can be certain your identity is in Him.

4. You will never have 100% certainty in your mission but because of #1-3 you can be…

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What follows below is a post from Guy Kawasaki who was for many years a “chief evangelist” for all things Apple and who continues to write about excellence in design, marketing, innovation, and retail. In this piece he summarizes some key insights from a book about the phenomenal retail success of the Apple store. As I was reading Guy’s post, I couldn’t help but think about how many of these same insights might apply to the ways we think about church.

So I’ll place the whole of the original post below so that you can read Guy’s insights. But I’ll also comment (in italic) after each section, offering a “translation” intended to suggest how we might apply this to our congregational lives. They won’t always be a perfect fit – like any translation, there are always some things that get lost. Still, I found it a helpful exercise and hope you do, too. So please feel free to add your thoughts and suggestions in the comments and if you find the post helpful share it with others.

One brief note before getting started: some of us…

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By Daniel Akin

Missionary A. T. Pierson well said, “If missions languish, it is because the whole life of godliness is feeble.” To this powerful and convicting statement we may add, “If the whole life of godliness is feeble, it is because prayer is feeble.”

James Fraser was a pioneer missionary to the Lisu people in Western China. He would labor more than five years before seeing his first convert. It would be an accurate assessment to call him a “prayer missionary.” He understood the essential nature of prayer if the Gospel was to reach and change the world. He understood that anything lasting and eternally significant would be the result of waves of prayers that believed God to do something great for his glory. Fraser wrote, “Solid, lasting missionary work is done on our knees. … The Spirit must be continually maintained in strength by unceasing prayer, especially against the powers of darkness. All I have learned of other aspects of the victory-life is useless without this.”

The work of reaching and changing the world is, indeed, a work done on our knees. And, it is a work…

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Statistically, you can see a recurring pattern: Bible engagement is directly related to spiritual growth.

While it may be possible to become a “better person” by attending church, it is not true spiritual growth. New life in Christ, the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, are regular Bible engagement is evident in the lives of growing believers.

God’s Word is truth, so it should come as no surprise that reading and studying the Bible are still the activities that have the most statistical influence on growth in this attribute of spiritual maturity. As basic as that is, there are still numerous churchgoers who are not reading the Bible regularly. You simply won’t grow if you don’t know God and spend time in God’s Word. Bible reading won’t make you a Christian and you can’t grow without the power of the Spirit, but engaging the word deeply matters.

However, if tangible life changes are statistically related to Bible engagement in the life of a disciple of Christ, why aren’t more reading and studying the Bible?

We’ve released new research as part of the Transformational Discipleship study that shows only 19%…

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QuestionOne of my greatest joys in research is talking to and listening to those who clearly identify themselves as non-Christians. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not celebrating their absence of faith in Christ. My joy comes from listening to those who don’t believe as I do, so that I might be better equipped to witness to them.

Over the past several years, my research teams and I have interviewed thousands of unchurched non-Christians. Among the more interesting insights I gleaned were those where the interviewees shared with me their perspectives of Christians.

In this article, I group the seven most common types of comments in order of frequency. I then follow that representative statement with a direct quote from a non-Christian. Read these comments and see if you learn some of the lessons I learned.

  1. Christians are against more things than they are for. “It just seems to me that Christians are mad at the world and mad at each other. They are so negative that they seem unhappy. I have no desire to be like them and stay upset all the time.”
  2. I would like to develop a friendship with…

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Top 5 Mistakes Pastors MakeThis 35 page ebook outlines the mistakes you could be making that are hindering your church.

  • The 1 absolute MUST of casting vision
  • The toughest person to lead in your church (it’s not who you think)
  • The 3 reasons people don’t respond to vision
  • How ignoring one skill can completely limit your church ability to reach people
  • The 4 absolutes of outreach
  • The most important ministry in your church (that few are engaged in)
  • How a change of perspective can save you thousands in outreach dollars
  • Discover the 1 secret that will make or break your outreach efforts

Download From the Source

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Our church conducts a lot of Block Parties. So many we decided to get our own Block Party Trailer. Recently I was asked if Block Parties are effective or just something else to add to a long list of things that keep Christians busy, but not bearing fruit. Here’s a few reasons why I think Block Parties are a great tool in the outreach strategy of a missional church:

1. GATHERING. Someone said there is three keys to church planting or church growth: 1) Gathering people, 2) Gathering people, 3) Gathering people. The Evangelistic Block Party is a great way to gather people or gather where people are & build relationships, share the gospel, cultivate community, & have fun doing it.

2. INCARNATION. “The word became flesh & blood & moved into the neighborhood” John 1:14 (MSG). A Block Party is a great way to get the church building relationships where people are. We do Block Parties in neighborhoods & subdivisions, at local parks. I also love to incarnate at the communities Block Party type of events. Why try to gather people when they’re…

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Twitter-Style Evangelism

I’m learning to tweet. It’s amazing what can be said in 140 characters—just a sentence or two. Snippets of info can be motivating. Informative. Inspiring. Captivating.

Now imagine what would happen if you decide to speak a tweet-sized word about God in everyday conversations with people around you. Just a sentence or two about God’s greatness, the joy He gives, or what He’s doing in your life.

I once worked in a high-rise building. I decided to share a word about Jesus each time I had an elevator conversation. It was surprisingly easy. With just a little forethought, it became a natural part of every chat. I’d become an elevator evangelist!

Webster defines an evangelist as an “enthusiastic advocate.” In Greek, evangelism means, “to tell the Good News.” God has called every Christian to enthusiastically advocate His Good News. You can do that.

Step #1: Read the idea-starters below. Where does life take you where you can be an enthusiastic advocate for Jesus? Create a unique evangelistic title that fits your lifestyle.

  • I walk my dog. I’m a dog-walking evangelist to other dog-lovers and neighbors.
  • I take breaks…

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Legendary NBA basketball coach Pat Riley has led multiple teams stocked with superstars, so he knows something about dealing with egos.

He also knows about winning and losing. What prevents potentially great teams from winning championships, in his view? Not lack of size, speed or talent. Rather, they are sabotaged by what Riley calls the “disease of Me.” Selfish stars focus on themselves. They resent others getting any glory. They’re frustrated, even when the team is winning, if things aren’t going their way.

“The most difficult thing for individuals to do when they become part of a team is to sacrifice,” Riley says. “It is much easier to be selfish.”

That pretty much describes the central challenge of the spiritual life. Following Christ requires sacrificing your own agenda. To do that, you have to get your eyes off yourself — and onto Him. You don’t have to be a superstar to struggle with that. As human beings, our natural tendency is to focus on ourselves, our wants and our needs. Others, including the Lord, get the leftovers.

“I start many sentences both out loud and in my heart with the words,…

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Roy FishIt saddens me to hear of the death of one of my heroes, Roy Fish.

I had the privilege of knowing Dr. Fish for many years. Dr. Fish was the kind of man I aspire to be. He was focused on evangelism, had a distinct passion for wanting to see men and women won for Christ, and was an encourager to me and many others for decades.

He served as Distinguished Professor of Evangelism and held the L.R. Scarborough Chair of Evangelism at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary prior to his retirement. Dr. Fish was further honored in 2005, when Southwestern’s division of evangelism and missions in the School of Theology was reorganized as the Roy Fish School of Evangelism and Missions.

In addition to serving Southwestern, Dr. Fish held several prominent denominational leadership positions, including being interim president of the North American Mission Board– his leadership was key in a crucial and difficult time. As a NAMB staff member at the time, I remember how we all breathed a sigh of relief when he was announced.

He served as pastor or interim pastor at more than 20 churches, and his speaking opportunities…

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ServingWe called ours We Love NWA because that’s how people refer to our community. Whatever you call it, we’re glad we took a weekend away from having a worship service in our theater to serve our neighbors. We’re not the first, by any means to have a weekend to “be” the church instead of “doing” church. Other churches have cancelled their regular weekend worship time to go serve in various capacities. But why?

As we geared up for our big weekend, contacted local charitable organizations, and signed up volunteers, we kept the conversation going among our leadership about why we were doing this to begin with. Ultimately, we decided the concept reflected the culture of our church very well, and would accomplish some big goals for us. Let me clarify first, however, the reasons we ruled out:

  • We will not do this simply to attract attention. Attention is valuable, but is never the big goal.
  • We will not do this to “get people to come to church.” It wasn’t about serving in hopes of the return favor of a visit.
  • We will not do this to “take a break” from worship. If this isn’t…

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questionmarkI’ve asked advice from a lot of people– and greatly benefitted from it. My belief is that I can best learn from those who have gone before me. So, I often seek such people out because I am convinced that one of the greatest ways to learn is through seeking the counsel of others.

Most of us quickly learn we need to regularly engage with certain key people (e.g. coaches, mentors, professional peers) from whom we can seek advice, encouragement, and feedback on issues we are facing in life and ministry. The difficulty, however, is that we are often ill-prepared when seeking advice from whom we desire to learn but do not know particularly well. Below are a few of the things I have learned about being a good steward of time and resources when seeking out advice.

Information or Relationship

Is an advice conversation primarily for relationship-building conversation, or for information-transference? There are certainly times when you should lay the groundwork for a deeper relationship. But many times when asking for advice, especially with someone you are meeting for the first time, you simply need to be prepared to…

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