Archives For Missions

Hard WorkI have been leading a ministry called “Dare 2 Share” for the last twenty years or so. During that timeframe we’ve had the privilege of inspiring and equipping a half million teenagers to share their faith. We truly believe that, because 85% of those who trust in Jesus do so by 18 years of age, a student-led movement of teenagers reaching teenagers with the gospel can transform this nation for Christ.

But, over the course of the last two decades, I’ve also encountered the reality that getting Christian teenagers to consistently share their faith is a challenge…a serious one. Yes, teenagers share the gospel when they’re at our training conferences but six months later the majority of them are back to their old non-faith sharing habits. Again and again we have seen that it takes youth leaders to, well, lead their own youth in this area. We can give them the basic faith-sharing tools they need to get started but youth leaders must use them and continue to use them throughout the year if evangelism is going to be a lifestyle for their teenagers.

What’s true of teenagers is especially true of…

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Church health is dependent upon the health of the pastor and its leadership.  If leaders are going to help people follow Jesus more closely and deeper then they must be setting the example for them to follow.  In Leading on Empty Wayne Cordeiro says, “Wisdom and understanding are not built in a day, however they are built daily.”  Your daily walk with God must be consistent to show others how to develop an intimacy with God.  Cordeiro goes on to say, “We don’t forget that we are Christians.  We forget that we are human, and that one oversight can debilitate the potential for our future.”

The ministry is not easy!  It is a calling, a privilege, very rewarding and a blessing beyond description but it is not easy.  When consulting with pastors and training church planters I always remind them, “you are in trouble if you are in the ministry.”  C. H. Spurgeon said, “The ministry is a matter which wears the brain and strains the heart, and drains out the life of a man if he attends to it a he should.”  The devil…

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“Turf wars” can be brutal –especially within ministry.

As a young minister in the Eighteenth Century, John Wesley was chided by the Anglican Church for preaching across parish lines (invading another pastor’s turf).

When approached, Wesley famously explained, “The world is my parish.” In other words, Wesley did not draw boundaries for his ministry. He saw a world full of opportunities.

Usually when we think of ministry “turf wars,” we think about boundary disputes between two churches. However, I think we should be more worried about the boundary disputes pastors place upon their own churches!

Wesley was right –the world is (your church’s) parish. I can say that confidently, because the Bible states is clearly.

In the beginning, God gave Adam and Eve the task of multiplying and filling the earth (Genesis 1:28) with the people made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). This was the first call to discipleship in history.

In the very same sentence, God gives Adam and Eve every resource they need to fulfill the task when he says, “fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the…

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MegachurchAs the saying goes, “The world is going to hell in a hand basket.”There’s never been a greater challenge for world evangelism, there are plenty of social problems like hunger and homelessness we face here in the United States, Christians are being marginalized more than ever, religious persecution is rampant on a global basis, and that’s just the beginning. But what are we still debating in the Church today?

Megachurches.

Hard to believe but I sometimes think we Christians spend more time criticizing large churches than anything else. Are there problems in 2,000+ member churches? Of course. But I work with churches of all sizes for a living, and I can tell you that for every case of shallow teaching, bad theology, leadership failures, financial improprieties, or whatever the criticism du jour happens to be, I can point to a long list of 50+ member churches guilty of the same things.

From the perspective of a person passionately interested in how Christians engage today’s culture, here’s some reasons I think it’s time for a moratorium on megachurch criticism:

1. You had a bad experience at a megachurch? Grow up. There are plenty of bad experiences to…

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There are so many beliefs and religions out there it’s not even funny. It’s probably extremely confusing to read about so many different beliefs, talk to others about what religion they believe in, or even live within a family that has certain traditions or practices that you’re not even sure where they came from. So why are there so many different beliefs anyway? What makes Christianity any different from all the other religions and why is it important?

“For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” -2 Peter 1:16

Peter states that following Christ has nothing to do with a following a myth, but how following Christ can be built from facts. Especially because he and the Church were eyewitnesses the whole time Jesus was here. Jesus is not just a made up story that we tell people so we can live good moral lives. Jesus is real. It’s a fact.

What happened when Jesus was here really happened. There’s evidence all over the place…

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A seismic shift is taking place in American church facilities, a shift that will become even more noticeable in the years to come. Church worship centers or sanctuaries will become smaller than they were the past 40 years. As church leaders decide to build, a large number of them will decide to build smaller than most of their predecessors have in previous years.

The trend for the past four decades has been to build increasingly larger worship centers. And while the large worship center will not disappear, you will notice more intentionality to build or buy smaller. Why? As I look at the church landscape in America, I see seven reasons, and only two of them are related to declining attendance. I will note those two first.

  1. Decreasing frequency of attendance among church members.  I noted this trend in a previous article. The informal definition of an “active” church member a decade ago was a member who attended worship services an average of three to four times a…

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1. It’s like sharing with a person who is broke that they just won the Lotto (only better!)

2. You enter a struggle with the forces of darkness in a battle over a soul’s eternal destination (Epic!)

3. When you share the gospel you are put in a position where you are forced to rely on the Holy Spirit for wisdom (James 1:5,6), courage (Ephesians 6:19,20), and clarity (Colossians 4:4.)

4. It’s like sharing with a cancer victim that you just discovered the cure for cancer (only better!)

5. Evangelism is the communication of the greatest love story in the history of the world (sorry Romeo!)

6. It’s like telling an orphan that they’ve been adopted into the family of the richest person in the universe (well, that’s exactly what it is.)

7. The pressure is not on you to convert them but to share the gospel clearly. wisely and lovingly. The Holy Spirit does the rest!

By the way if you don’t know how to share the gospel download the amazing Dare 2 Share app, watch the videos and you’ll be…

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In 1964 Bob Dylan released his third studio album “The Times, They Are a-Changin’.” As was typical of the music from the 1960s, political and cultural statements and protests were the norm. The times were changing. Some for the better (i.e. the Civil Rights Movement.) Others, maybe not (i.e. the sexual revolution.) Nevertheless, songs such as this and others that gained popularity became themes for a generation in flux.

Churches changed as well over time. Some for the better. Others. . .well maybe not. Over the last few decades we have seen the advent of the church growth movement, the growth of para-church organizations, the birth and subsequent death (well, basically) of the emergent church, the focus on being seeker-sensitive, the development of labels such as “traditional” and “contemporary” when it comes to worship styles (which by their nature are labels that mean different things to differnt people) and categorical shifts in emphases in areas such as youth ministry, family ministry, men’s and women’s ministries, and the like.

There are always those voices that speak of needed adjustments in church practice as culture changes. Some have wrongly attributed these changes to keeping the message “relevant.” That’s a misnomer. The Gospel is…

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Multi-EthnicThe Apostle Paul did not go into a Greco-Roman city and plant a church for the Jews and then a church for gentiles (non-Jews) because it would have been out-of-step with the Gospel he loved, lived, and proclaimed (Galatians 2:11-21).

Paul relentlessly believed that the power of the Gospel could create a new kind of humanity that was an altogether new ethnic group called the Church. The Church would be a community where racism, classism, and sexism would be defeated by Gospel-love (Galatians 3:24-28).

The Apostle Paul was so committed to the glory of God through the local church that eventually He was imprisoned and killed for planting Jew and gentile (multi-ethnic) churches throughout the Greco-Roman world.

“And he said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ Up to this word they listened to him. Then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he should not be allowed to live.” Acts 22:21-22

The Following are the 8 Reasons Why the Apostle Paul wants local churches to be Multi-ethnic, whenever possible:

SOTERIOLOGICAL (Doctrine of Salvation)

Beautiful PeopleI’m going to list the most beautiful churches in the world. Are you ready? Follow me: If I said, “You have a beautiful church”, would you reply, “Thanks. When did you visit our building?” or would you reply “Thanks. Who did you meet?”

It’s simple and subtle, but potentially dangerous. So often we refer to churches’ facilities or campuses and define that as a “church”, as if they’re synonymous. One of the reasons that I love church plants and those in portable facilities is that they don’t have to overcome this hurdle like churches with their own building.

We don’t go to church. We are the church. If you want to see the most beautiful churches in the world, you’ve got to spend some time with believers that are sold out to Jesus, filled with His love and grace, display the fruits of the Spirit and have a passion to serve their community.

While I’m thinking about it, read Dino Rizzo’s book Servolution – that’s a beautiful church and a beautiful vision/ministry. Each time I’ve visited a church that has a Dream Center, including the LA Dream Center led by pastor Matthew Barnett, I’ve seen a…

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AtheistLast week I sat next to James on a flight from St. Louis to Denver. As we talked the subject turned to spirituality and religion. I confessed that I was a preacher and he confessed he was an atheist. What unfolded on the rest of the flight was a deep, thought-provocative, laughter-laced gospel conversation.

Over the years I’ve had the privilege of engaging many atheists like James in various settings. I’ve discovered five helpful tips when sharing the gospel with someone who claims to not believe in God.

1. Don’t be shocked and do ask tons of questions.

Some atheists like to shock Christians with the fact that they don’t believe in God. This brand of atheist pulls the pin on the “there is no God”grenade and drops it in the middle of the conversation, expecting Christians to run for cover.

Don’t be phased. As a matter of fact start asking questions about their atheism. Find out what they mean by atheism (some are agnostics but call themselves atheists.) Ask questions about their background. Were they raised in church? Do they have any Christian friends? Where were they educated about atheism?

And remember that, as you ask questions, your goal is…

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I love that part of the story of the early church in which God allows persecution to scatter the Christians from Jerusalem like ants. The Bible says that everywhere they went, they preached the gospel (see Acts chapter 8). Phillip, in particular, headed to a city in Samaria and became the earliest cross-cultural missionary. When he preached there, the citizens listened and embraced Jesus. The Bible sums it up by saying, “So there was great joy in that city.” (Acts 8:8 NLT)

I’ve spent a lot of time lately reading Acts and other sources of early church history. I’ve found this theme to be recurring. The apostles enter a city and preach Jesus against the backdrop of creation and the story of God. People embrace Jesus and the city takes on new life.

The other reaction that happens is riots break out and people get upset, but it’s usually the established religious leadership, feeling threatened by the dethroning power of this new gospel, that stir up the crowds. As I’ve looked over the stories, from Samaria to Athens all the way…

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