Archives For Missions

Jesus Washing FeetWith whom are you doing life? What I mean is, with whom do you spend time hanging out and talking about the deepest things of life? Whom do you sharpen, and who sharpens you?

Jesus lived toward the cross and the resurrection, and his singular focus on his end game motivated him to live very intentionally. He depended on God for constant guidance and made choices rather strategically. For example…

One day soon afterward, Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night. At daybreak he called together all of his disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles.

– Luke 6:12-13 NLT

Jesus had thousands of followers.
He had dozens of disciples.
He picked twelve to train more deeply and send out.
And he had three that were with him even more often.

I think there’s a pattern there for us to follow when it comes to the goal of our lives as Christians. Whether you want to call it discipleship, leadership development, or just plain friendship, I’m convinced we need to intentionally develop relationships with these circles of people in our lives. We need to pour ourselves into others,…

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Why Is Discipleship Lacking?

We were called to make disciples, but there seems to be a discipleship deficit in many churches. And it isn’t for lack of conversation and resources.

Leaders are asking questions like, “What should we do?” and “How should we do it?” They want to know the best ways to turn this discipleship deficit into the kind of robust discipleship that will matter along the way.

The Internet is full of discipleship models—some good, and some not so good. But what can we learn about discipleship from the scriptures? In this series of articles, we are looking at four discipleship principles found in the Bible.

  • Maturity is a goal for disciples.
  • God wants you and your church on a clear path toward spiritual growth.
  • God involves us in our own growth, as well as our church’s growth.
  • God calls you and your church to be spiritual leaders.

I Know . . . I Know . . .

As we start, let me just say what we all know: Only God can truly grow anything. God doesn’t need anyone to do anything for Him, or for anyone else. He is quite capable of doing everything that needs to…

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At some level, all Christians want their churches to be influential in carrying out the work of God. One pathway to increased influence is a road we often overlook – the one behind us.

Looking back can be good. It can give us wisdom and perspective. It can also help us look forward to what God is doing next in your churches and ours.

This helpful book looks back at ten historic spiritual shifts of the last century and identifies a church closest to the center of each one. You may not have heard of these pioneering churches and their leaders, but we suspect you have been influenced by them far more than you realize. And we strongly suspect that after reading each of their stories, you’ll be glad you did – and you’ll have a better perspective on your own church and how God is at work in and around it.

It is hard to imagine anyone more qualified to identify and describe these trends and the personalities behind them than our friend, mentor, co-author and fellow researcher Elmer Towns. Starting in the 1960s he became the nation’s leading figure in…

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I am so excited to announce the release of our brand new evangelistic app called “Life in 6 Words.” Based on the Gospel video produced by Dare 2 Share and delivered with astonishing excellence by Propaganda, this app is simple, clear and very easy to use.How it works is simple. You ask someone how they would describe their life in 6 words and then show them the app. There’s a list of 20 words for them to choose from that range from “adventure” to “broken” to “money” to “fun.” Once they choose their six words they push “Next” on the screen and their words appear in the order they pushed them.Then you can ask them why they chose those particular words. This is a great opportunity to listen to them deeply and get to know them more.Finally you ask them if they’d be interested in how the best selling book of all time might describe their lives in six words? If they say yes you swipe through six beautifully illustrated screens with six words and six sentences (based on Dare 2 Share’s GOSPEL acrostic as well as…

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MoneySince the turn of the century, many denominations have made a strong effort to funnel resources toward church planting. This support helps to secure facilities, execute marketing campaigns, provide equipment for ministry, and even underwrite pastoral support.

That’s a good thing.

More denominations are prioritizing church planting—and that’s a good thing.

Not only have denominations created departments that financially support church planting, the church planters have the blessings of the denomination’s leadership, which often helps them gain access to established local churches to seek financial sponsorship.

In the new millennium, networks have followed a similar pattern, though to a lesser degree due to their smaller resource base.

The Landscape Is Changing

Fast forward to today.

I am often asked, “How do you see the funding options available to church planters changing in the future?”

My view is that there will be less funding readily available to church planters from the current sources. But before we get discouraged about the future prospects, we need to realize that we can’t—and shouldn’t attempt to—buy our way into a church multiplication movement in the West (North America, Australia, England, etc.).

The truth is: most denominations and church-planting networks run out of money for church…

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Water Sunday

Water Sunday is one Sunday your church or small group sets aside to focus on the global water crisis, through a variety of activities, studies or sermons that bring the congregation into solidarity with people all over the world who lack safe water. It includes a special offering to provide safe water and the Living Water message for those in desperate need.

Here are three simple suggestions for making an impact with Water Sunday…j

  • Beverage Fast – Challenge your congregation to skip all beverages except for water for a designated amount of time. You can participate for a week, a full month, or even as a Lenten fast! Calculate what you would normally spend on drinks for that amount of time and donate it to provide safe water to people around the world.
  • Six-Week Small Group Study – This transformational small group study will walk through three people from the bible, starting with Jesus calling Peter out onto the water, as they take steps of faith and will provide actionable steps that participants can take each week as they grow in their faith.Each session includes a powerful 4-5 minute video with…

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OscarsRecently, as I’ve been speaking at conferences and events around the world I’ve been urging Christians to stop looking at Hollywood as the enemy, and start looking at Hollywood as a mission field. After all, what if Christians stopped just criticizing, and actually started praying for the most influential industry in the world? Something amazing might happen. But that’s long been the focus of two very effective ministry organizations based in Hollywood: The Hollywood Prayer Network and Mastermedia International. Now, both organizations are asking churches to do something many would never expect:

On Academy Awards night – February 22nd – have an “Oscar Party” at your church.

Yes – you read that correctly. As Dr. Larry Poland, founder of Mastermedia International stated in a recent email blast:

Would you like to see how God could use you and your church to impact Hollywood for good? To impact media eternally? Well, it could happen through prayer . . . in your church!

What if Hollywood’s biggest day of the year was also your church’s biggest day of prayer . . . for media and entertainment?

What if pastors and congregations and Sunday school…

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Purpose Driven LifeEveryone in your congregation wants to know if life really matters. Members, visitors, even your staff want to know, “What on earth an I here for?”

They’re asking three basic questions:

First, there’s the question of existence: Why am I alive? For thousands of years people have asked this question. Many people of the Bible did. Jeremiah asked this question, “Why was I born? Was it only to have trouble and sorrow? To end my life in disgrace?”

Second, there’s the question of significance. Is there some meaning and purpose to my life? Is all that I’m doing just a waste of time and energy? Is my life significant?

In Psalm 89, David asked, “I remember how short my life is . Why did You create us? For nothing?”

Job asked the question, “Why should I work so hard for nothing?” If there’s no meaning and purpose, why am I even doing this?

Solomon even questions the significance of pleasure. He says, “Laughing and having fun is crazy. What good does it do?” Is there any significance to what I do? Why keep…

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doneenough

By Bob Smietana

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Sunday morning remains one of the most segregated hours in American life, with more than 8 in 10 congregations made up of one predominant racial group.

And most worshipers like it that way.

Two-thirds of American churchgoers (67 percent) say their church has done enough to become racially diverse.

And less than half think their church should become more diverse.

Those are among the findings of a study of church segregation by Nashville-based LifeWay Research. Researchers surveyed 994 churchgoers—who attend worship at least at holidays or more often—about race and the church. They also surveyed 1,000 Americans as well as 1,000 Protestant senior pastors.

needstobecomemoreChurchgoers, researchers found, are lukewarm about diversity. More than half (53 percent) disagree with the statement, “My church needs to become more ethnically diverse.” Four in 10 agree.

Researchers also found churchgoers who oppose more diversity do so with gusto. A third (33 percent) strongly disagree that their church needs to be more diverse. More than 4 in 10 (42 percent) felt strongly their church was doing enough.

Evangelicals (71 percent) are most likely to say their church is diverse enough,…

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Is your community glad your church exists?  In the Atlanta suburb of Marietta, GA, local businesses and schools are thrilled Piedmont Church is there.  Led by Ike Reighard, Piedmont is committed to blessing its community and has seamlessly woven itself into the daily fabric of North Atlanta life.  Nowhere was this more apparent than this past Saturday when the church put on an event called Christmas At Piedmont.

As a gift to the community, Piedmont partnered with local businesses and schools to host over 20,000 visitors during this two-day event.  The church’s Senior Associate Pastor Marlon Longacre, and for my money the best community pastor in America, first made me aware of Christmas At Piedmont back in November.  But when I read about it on the front page of the Marietta Daily Journal as “One Of The Top 5 Things To Do In Marietta This Weekend”,  I knew my family needed to stop by.

The following is what I and thousands of others discovered upon arriving at the church (and I want to emphasize – this a church:

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Little ChurchFacts are our friends, and we need to use them with care. A church assessment is about giving you the facts you need, even if a lot of people don’t recognize that. Churches of all sizes, even small ones, should engage in some form of assessment because it is necessary, legitimate and beneficial.

Is It Necessary?

Whether you know it or not, from the classroom to the doctor’s office, we use assessments every day. My auto mechanic uses certain tools to assess the health of my car and determine if there are any problems we need to address. Most accept those types of assessments, but when it comes to the assessment of churches, the conversation can get sticky.

Pastors and leaders should know the state of their church, regardless of its size.

While I don’t think most people ask their doctor why he needs to measure their blood pressure, people regularly ask me, “Why should my church care about measurements?” There’s a whole category of people who are fundamentally opposed to the idea that we should ask questions of “how many” when it comes to the church.

I understand the hesitancy. We can become so…

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Heat“I contend for this, that to gospelize a man is the greatest miracle in the world. All the other miracles are wrapped up in this one. To gospelize a man, or, in other words, to convert him, is a greater work than to open the eyes of the blind.” Charles Spurgeon

Gospelize” is an old English word for “evangelize” (but just sounds way cooler!)

So how can you gospelize your 2015? Here are 5 quick ideas:

1. Pray for an opportunity everyday to share your faith! You’ll be shocked how many opportunities God brings your way!

2. Learn how to ask, admire and admit. Ask great questions (moving from everyday topics to spiritual ones), admire what you can about what they believe and admit the reason you’re a Christian is that you needed someone to rescue you spiritually.

3. Carry Gospel tracts with you or Life in 6 Words cards and use them when you leave a tip at a restaurant (and tip really big!) Here’s another blog I wrote called “10 tips on tipping if you’re a Christian.”

4. Ask the server at the restaurant you often go to or barista at the coffee…

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