Archives For Missions

A few weeks ago I was a part of The Nines conference. During my presentation, I spoke on the importance of social justice in the church, and how it really is an evangelistic effort. Last night, while sharing dinner with our community group, a friend shared how he thought that recent events on Long Island gave the church an incredible opportunity to care for people, and share Christ with them… I couldn’t agree more. Earlier this week, Theresa and I shared an experience that confirms this:

As many of you know, in the aftermath of Sandy there were (still are) a great deal of homes without power. One of those homes was across the street from us. While we waited for their power to come back on, we made sure that they had the electricity they needed to heat their home and provide them with a modicum of normalcy in the midst of an extreme situation. We made sure they had a hot meal, that their generator was topped off with fuel, and checked in with them on a regular basis. When their power came back…

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Feed the SheepCalling an intentional interim pastor should be the first thing a church does when the pastor resigns, especially if the church meets any of these criteria:

  1. The pastor is leaving after a lengthy tenure (experts differ over”lengthy tenure”, with figures from 7 to 15 years).
  2. The church churns its pastors (a new one is called every few years).
  3. The pastor leaves under duress (forced out) or due to moral failure.
  4. The church’s leaders can’t identify or agree on the church’s mission.
  5. It has been three years since the last ministry audit (everything is reviewed for “mission fit” and amended as needed).
  6. It is a “commuter church” (members are very different from those who live near the church).
  7. Attendance has plateaued (people coming in offset those who leave).
  8. The church faces significant financial challenges.

Any church entering the transition between permanent pastors should pay careful and prayer attention to these danger signs. If not there is a danger the leadership team might utter five very dangerous words. If these words become a mantra the leadership could unwittingly inflict serious damage on the church that take years to repair.

Five words church leaders must avoid

“We can do it ourselves.”


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Recently, I posted an interview with Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola. I appreciate both of their passion and enjoyed their recent book, “Jesus: A Theograhy.” Len is an evangelical United Methodist theologian. Frank is probably best known for his (sometimes controversial) advocacy of simple church, but now is focusing on deeper life issues. Their book, interestingly, ties into a theme that is becoming more common: to see the big picture of what God is up to throughout the scriptures.

In the comments from yesterday, Frank explained:

The cross — the death and resurrection of Jesus — bleeds through the Old Testament Scriptures in virtually every OT book. Beginning in Genesis Chapter 1, 2, and 3 — it’s there in abundance. We trace these images in detail throughout the book and connect the dots to their NT counterparts.

What is interesting, I think, is that this is not a new idea (though it is getting more press lately). Well-known pastor Herschel Hobbs put it this way:

The Bible speaks of God’s redemptive purpose. It reveals how God proposes to bring sinful man back into His fellowship and to use…

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Cross, Community, Culture

God has called us to proclaim His gospel to the ends of the earth.  According to Matt. 4:19 if we are following Christ we are fishers of men.  The logical conclusion is that if we are not fishers of men we are not following Christ.  Partial obedience is still disobedience.  The truth of the gospel is unchanging and His children are the carriers of that truth.  Interestingly enough, one of the primary challenges to carrying out our mission is the Christian subculture many churches have created.  This has caused them to turn their focus inward instead of outward on those who desperately need Christ.  The challenge for every believer is to transform from a consumer of Christian product to a compassion for those without Christ.   

There is one act of obedience that we can do on earth that we cannot do in heaven.  That is sharing the gospel with our lost friends and family.  The goal in our churches should be to help people get over their instincts to stick together and form a “holy huddle” and empower them to live their lives on mission for…

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By Jeff Brawner

Mormons are family oriented, clean-cut, and prominent in political and economic circles, fervent in their faith, and all-around nice folks. In so many ways one could erroneously assume that Mormons represent just one more facet of fervent evangelical Christianity.

Many would like to think that theological differences between Mormons and evangelical Christians aren’t enough to have any real significance. Sadly, they are badly mistaken.

According to Scripture, being nice, family oriented, clean-cut, and fervent fulfills none of the requirements to be right before the Lord. Consequently, we can respect Mormons (who call their religion The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) for much of the way they live, but we also need to accept that their understanding of God, Christ, Scripture, and salvation as well as other matters of faith are outside what Scripture teaches.

Here are a few of the highlights of the theological differences between the Mormon belief system and what evangelicals believe, drawing from my book, “How to Share Christ with Your Friends of Another Faith“:

God: Mormons believe that God is the ruler of our planet. He is the ruler of only this…

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You’ve heard it suggested the U.S. is simply Europe on a 50 year delay. Supposedly most churches will be museums before our grandchildren reach adulthood.

Though new numbers from Pew Research released this month point to a decline in American Protestants, no serious scholar believes Christianity in America is on a trajectory of extinction. And, as a Ph.D. researcher and practicing evangelical Christian, I say to those who’ve read recent reports and come to that conclusion, “Not so fast.”

You see, many in the U.S. who identify as Christian do so only superficially. These cultural Christians use the term but do not practice the faith. Now it seems many of them are giving up the Christian label, and those cultural or nominal Christians are becoming “nones,” people with no religious label.

Christian nominalism is nothing new. As soon as any belief system is broadly held, people are motivated to adopt it, even with a low level of connection. Yet, much of the change in our religious identification is in nominal Christians no longer using the term and, instead, not identifying with any religion.

In other words, the nominals are becoming the…

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Several years ago a study by the largest Protestant denomination in the country found a startling relationship between the length of time pastors had been in their churches, and the growth or decline of those churches.  Their finding?  Approximately 3/4 of their growing churches were being led by pastors who had been in their church more than four years, while 2/3 of their declining churches were being led by pastors who had been in their church less than four years.  Their conclusion (with which I agree):  Long-term pastorates do not guarantee that a church will grow.  But short-term pastorates essentially guarantee that a church will not grow.

So, why do pastors leave their churches?  Here are the results of one study where pastors were asked that question …There is an undeniable relationship between pastoral tenure and church growth.  While most growing churches have long-term pastorates, and some non-growing churches have long-term pastorates, it is almost unheard of to find a growing church with many short-term pastorates.  Frequent change of pastors seems…

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By Craig Sanders

“One of the greatest things you can do is to become a missiologist in your community and a mission strategist for your people,” says Ronnie Floyd, pastor of Cross Church, Northwest Arkansas. Floyd recently spoke at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Floyd recounted his experience as pastor of the former First Baptist Church in Springdale, Ark., which transitioned from a mega-church to a multi-site church with four campuses, adopting the name Cross Church in 2011.

“People are drawn to fellowships that are on mission,” Floyd said, noting that the intimacy of multi-site churches also helped promote the church’s growth in recent years.

Floyd described the initiative of Cross Church members to study people groups in northwest Arkansas, enabling them to minister to an ethnic people group related to the Marshall Islands in the northern Pacific Ocean. When several in the Marshallese community became Christians, they collaborated with the Jesus Film Project to bring the Gospel to the unreached in the island nation.

“One thing Southern Baptists understand is lostness,” said Floyd, who mobilizes small groups to share the Gospel by illustrating to them the dire need of unreached people groups.


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Most of us have been to a pep rally at some time in our lives or a sporting event where we cheer for our team.  There is some humor and a lesson that can be learned from our participation as fans at one of these events.  The trumpet blows followed by everyone standing and yelling, “Charge!”  Then we all sit down to eat our hot dogs, popcorn, and nachos.  We aren’t in the game and we do not know the game plan.  We are only spectators!

Every team has a particular cheer or song that unites everyone in the stadium.  In high school my sons played sports for the Ft. Gibson Tigers so every game we heard “The Eye of the Tiger.”  In college football the Razorbacks call the hogs, Oklahoma has Boomer Sooner, and Georgia has “Who Let the Dogs Out!”  In churches today we have a “Vision Statement’ that is meant to rally the troops in our churches to carry out God’s Great Commission.

Vision has the ability to excite people, rally them, and urge them to join in the game.  Vision statements are worthless without…

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SurveyFor the past week, I’ve blogged quite a bit on statistics and their use. I’ve discussed the misuse of stats, how to discern which stats are good and which are not, and even presented some new research on pastors’ views of the election and the use of stats.

You’ve responded with good questions and robust discussion (especially on my Facebook page). Through it all, I found a common theme in your tweets and comments: Where do I find accurate stats? While I can’t vouch for every research study conducted at every research firm under the sun, there are many trustworthy sources out there. You know their names, and I consider many of their leaders personal friends.

Since many of you use stats (as the research I presented yesterday showed) and want trustworthy ones to use, I thought I would share these stats I compiled for the Exponential Conference held this past April. These are as up-to-date as I could make them. But like any stat, they could be updated and changed. So before you use them, be discerning and…

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Throughout 2012, we have been releasing groundbreaking new research from LifeWay Research’s Transformational Discipleship study. In the study, we were able to identify eight attributes which consistently show up in the lives of believers who are progressing in spiritual maturity.

The latest data released focuses on the need to make personal, sacrificial decisions in order to better obey Christ, or as we have titled it “Obeying God and Denying Self”. The study found that less than one-third of churchgoers strongly agree they are following through in specific aspects of obedience.

From the release:

The survey reveals 64 percent of churchgoers agree with the statement: “A Christian must learn to deny himself/herself in order to serve Christ.” Nineteen percent disagree with the statement.

The survey measures confession of sins and asking God for forgiveness as one component of ‘Obeying God and Denying Self.’ When asked how often, if at all, they personally “confess…sins and wrongdoings to God and ask for forgiveness,” 39 percent indicate every day and 27 percent say at least a few times a week. Eight percent of respondents say they rarely or never confess sins and wrongdoings…

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Share Your Faith AppNew social technologies have enabled people to share their faith at unprecedented rates, which makes this a great time in which to pass along tools and resources to the people in the pews to help them along. One such great tool is the How to Share Your Faith app. It’s free, and it’s available on a variety of platforms.

Check out the demo video:

Read More About the App

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