Archives For Missions

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…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

Jesus Film Mobile App ScreenshotThe story of Jesus Christ is one that is unchanging, no matter how you present it. But technology and our way of communicating is changing, and so is the way we share the gospel. Through a link on any social media site, or via a text message, or even chatting over coffee with someone, we can share the Bible with others. But what if there were a simpler way to witness to others at your fingertips?

Literacy rates, electricity or even speaking different languages is no longer a barrier for sharing the gospel with others. The JESUS film project has created a way to ease the burden of how to share Jesus’ story with everyone. Jesus Film Media app, available on iOS now and soon out for Android, is just the way to do it. This new app allows users to access the complete library of The JESUS Film Project, some 66,000 video clips. Providing the original 2-our film, JESUS, with 61 teaching segments in more than 1,150 languages; Magdalena, The Story of Jesus and My Last Day, all subsequent films about…

Continue Reading

When I led a church consultation company, one of the more common facets of my consultation was an on-site visit to a worship service. The person I hired to conduct the visit could know nothing about the church. Ideally this “mystery guest” would be an unchurched person, so that he or she could give an honest assessment from the perspective of someone who knows little about churches.

I requested that the mystery guest evaluate different areas of the visit, but I was always most interested in the overall score. They submitted a score of one to seven. The lowest score meant that the visit was terrible, and they would not return under any circumstances. I recently retrieved some of these “one” reports. Inevitably there was one event that took place that made the visit so bad. Let me share eight of those events in eight different terrible church visits.

1. “I was asked to introduce myself in the worship service. There were probably 150 or so present, so all the members knew I was a guest. I had no choice but to speak up and…

Continue Reading

CoachingMy son, Matthew, began playing football at a young age.  He was doing ok and getting in the games but it was not until he had the right coach that he excelled.  As a senior he dominated defensive linemen and I have very vivid memories of him opening up gaping holes for their running backs.  He got all kinds of honors and was recruited by several colleges.  He has often commented on that coach who believed in him, built a relationship with him, and pulled skills out of him he thought were there but wasn’t sure.  Yes, he had the size and skill but the game changer was a coach who invested time and energy into him.

This principle can easily be seen in sports but it is even more important in the local church.  There are many people who want to serve and believe they can be used of God but they need someone to invest their time and energy in them.  A good coach can be one of the most important high impact volunteer leaders in your ministry.  Think of all the examples we have in the New Testament…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

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%…

Continue Reading

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…

    Continue Reading