Jul
26

Creating a New Wrong Way when the Right Way seems to be a Wrong Way

written by JD

We often talk about going and sharing the good news. Yet some of the saddest words in the Bible are: “But he went out and began to talk freely” (Mark 1:45, ESV).

Jesus just healed a man with leprosy and gave him stern instructions:

“See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them” (Mark 1:44).

We may think our way is the best; clearly, it makes more sense. Our way reaches more people. After all, didn’t Jesus say make disciples of all nations?

The disobedience of the healed man in the name of wide dissemination of the message hindered the mission of Jesus.

This man was sent to be a proof to the priest. He refused to go, but he did go and proclaim. Isn’t that enough?

What doesn’t make sense to us, is clear to Him. Failure to go to the priest will keep Him from the towns, will force Him into desolate places where not as many people will be able to make it to Him (v. 45), and will leave the priest without a witness.

All because we want to do it our way. . . in the name of the Lord, of course!

———-

Casting a vision for church multiplication is a critical step in leading your church to be involved in church planting. That was my topic on last week’s episode of Strike the Match. Check it out! iTunes | Android | RSS

Jul
23

Art of Vision Casting for Church Multiplication

written by JD

Strike the Match Your church is not involved in church planting. How do you begin to cast such a vision to move from where you are to where you need to go? Proverbs 20:5 notes, “A plan in the heart of man is like deep water, but a man of understanding draws it out” (NASB). Vision casting is more art than science. As a leader, you need to be a person of understanding and paint a picture of the possible future to come by God’s grace.

In this episode, I talk about the art of vision casting and 5 steps involved in casting a vision for church planting. And in appreciation to you for listening, here is a link to a corresponding article I wrote on this topic a few years ago: http://northamericanmissions.org/files/Casting-Vision-Article.pdf

Jul
22

A Danger of Innovation

written by JD

“but you make it a den of robbers” (Mt 21:13, ESV).

Here is a danger in innovation, efficiency, and so-called progress. It is possible to turn a house of prayer into a place of thieves, even in the name of Kingdom stewardship.

A little pragmatism here and some capitalism there, add a dash of materialism so we can accomplish our goals, and we may one day see Jesus at the door with whip in hand.

Here is a danger. Beware. Let’s make sure we know what we are talking about when it comes to a biblical stewardship of innovation and then work the field from there.

———-

Do you subscribe to Strike the Match? Some of my guests have been David Platt, David Garrison, Dean Merrill, Werner Mischke, Samuel Chiang, and Enoch Wan. Subscribe: iTunes | Android | RSS

Jul
21

On Indie Publishing

written by JD

To the Edge: Reflections on Kingdom Leadership, Mission, and Innovation is set to release one month from today. This is another one of my indie projects, and the third time I have used CreateSpace as my platform. While Kindle will allow for pre-order sales of the book, CreateSpace does not at this time. . . the only significant fault I have found with them to date. Other than this limitation, they are great.

In this post, I continue to share my periodic thoughts on writing.

I consider myself a hybrid author, believing in and operating within both the traditional and indie worlds. Before I continue, please understand that I am a strong advocate for publishing via the traditional publishing paradigm. I have done this many times and, Lord willing, plan to continue in this model with Apostolic Church Planting scheduled to be released this November through InterVarsity Press. I hope to share more about this paradigm in a future post. But here is my comment on independent publishing.

A simple Google search reveals numerous articles on the pros and cons of being an indie author. Check it out. There are strengths and limitations to publishing with any model. With indie publishing, the author has control over everything. Yes, he or she has the final say in the product and can set a higher royalty rate, but is also responsible for all of the important components trained professionals with publishing houses oversee, such as: editing, proofreading, internal formatting, cover design, marketing, and promotion. Google the pros and cons and read about them in detail.

After praying about a book project, how do I usually decide which publishing route to take?*

I ask myself: How niche specific is this book?

The Christian audience is a niche within the general book-buying market. I typically write in the category of missions. That is a niche within the Christian niche. And some of my books are even more specific than that niche, maybe even two additional degrees of specificity. Most publishers usually do not publish a large number of books related to the missions niche. Even fewer publishers will go to the next level, such as writings on church planting. And no one (William Carey being the exception) wants to publish beyond this level. . . based on my experience.

It is at these highly-specific levels I often turn an idea into an indie project.

For example, The Barnabas Factors was a message I felt compelled to share and met a need in the church planting world related to teams. That is several rungs down the niche-ladder. Though the book continues to do well in sales, there is not a large audience for it.

While it is difficult to get any book published via the traditional route (I plan to do a post on rejection letters.), and very hard work to self-publish, my encouragement to you when considering which option** to choose is to ask: “How specific is the audience for this book?” If very specific, do not attempt to shop around your idea; you are wasting time. Go indie.

*If you are one of few people who has a massive platform and leads a large tribe, then I have a different thought for you. Write me at jpayne@brookhills.org. My platform is about the size of a diving board with a tribe that could fit into a Volkswagen Beetle.

**A third (and very popular) option, which I have also used, is partial investment publishing. I hope to share more about this option in the future.

———-

To my regular readers: As mentioned above, indie authors have to do it all. I would greatly appreciate it if you would consider helping me spread the word on To the Edge. To show my appreciation to you, I plan to provide you guys with a deep discount on hard copies when the book is first released. I’ll share that discount code on the blog. Thanks, friends, for your consideration on this matter!

Jul
20

“Until I’ve been Dead Ten Years”

written by JD

Roland Allen’s influence greatly shaped 20th century missions and continues to influence the expansion of the Church. Though best known for writings such as Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours? and The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church, his thoughts were not always appreciated.

His adolescent grandson once asked to read his writings. Allen’s response was simple but troubling: “Oh, yes, you can read them by all means–but you won’t understand them; I don’t think anyone is going to understand them until I’ve been dead ten years” (Hubert J. B. Allen, Roland Allen: Pioneer, Priest, and Prophet).

While it was not hardly ten years, people began to heed Allen’s words shortly after his death. He was a misunderstood prophet in his day.

And here is something even more troubling:

Missionary Methods was published in 1912, 35 years before Allen’s death.

Spontaneous Expansion was published in 1927, 20 years before Allen’s death.

The Church had decades to listen to and engage this brother but gave him the time of day when his voice was no more.

Who do you need to listen to today while there is still time for engagement? Better today, than when it is too late and you find yourself saying, “I wish we could talk with him on this topic. It would be great to get his wisdom on this matter. If only we could go back ten years!”

———-

Enoch Wan was my guest on last week’s episode of Strike the Match. Check out our conversation as we discuss one of the most important topics in the area of missions studies today: migration and global disciple making: iTunes | Android | RSS

Jul
19

A Bittersweet Commissioning

written by JD

Today is a bittersweet Sunday.

Bitter, because dear friends are leaving our church to move across country; sweet, because we commissioned them to go as part of a church planting team.

Bitter, because unreached people groups still exist; sweet, because they are going to share the good news with them.

Bitter, because so few evangelicals know that the United States is home to the third-largest number of unreached people groups in the world; sweet, because they said, “We see at least one of them in our backyard.”

Bitter, because few evangelicals are laboring to reach this large Arab Muslim population; sweet, because they said, “We’re willing to sacrifice, serve, and love them.”

Bitter, because evangelicals widely believe no ordinary, Spirit-called believers can be church planters without giving up their day jobs; sweet, because they are taking their marketplace skills and health care practice and relocating as church planters.

Bitter, because most evangelicals consider this team’s way of thinking about church planting in North America as the exception; sweet, because they read the Word and believe an apostolic approach should be the expectation.

———-

Jul
16

Enoch Wan on Migration and Missions

written by JD

Strike the MatchThe 20th century has been called the Age of Migration. Presently, 232 million people live outside of their countries-of-birth. They move for different reasons. Some are relocating for a better standard-of-living and education; others are fleeing persecution, war, disease, and famine.

In this episode, I speak with Dr. Enoch Wan, one of the leading global experts in the area of migration and missions. Several years ago Dr. Wan pioneered a new area of study in missiology that he labeled, “diaspora missiology.” And this burgeoning field is one of the most important areas of study today.

Enoch and I talk about the international movements of both Christians and non-Christians and how such movements have created a paradigm shift in Kingdom work. The lines are now blurred between domestic and international missions. Will churches, denominations, and mission agencies be wise stewards and adjust accordingly? Check out this exciting conversation and share it with others!

Be sure to visit EnochWan.com where you may find out more about Dr. Wan’s work and publications.

Jul
15

Returning to China

written by JD

ChinaIMG_0891I want to share one more photo from our time on Ellis Island. Sociologists talk of transnational migration. This simply means that movers often return to their countries of birth.

This photo addresses Chinese migration to the U.S. and is a simple reminder of transnational migration.

Here are some excerpts from it:

Some Chinese immigrants return to China to join family members. . . . Others lead lives that span the two countries and cultures.

The Chinese now compose one of the largest immigrant groups in the country. Many remain here permanently; others do not.

In 2006 alone, over 50,000 Chinese college students [The number was over 274,000 in the 2013-14 academic year!] studied at American schools. Many returned to China after finishing their studies, while some chose to remain to begin their careers.

China’s booming economy and low cost of living are attracting returning Chinese nationals and Chinese-Americans.

In today’s global marketplace, some families live as part of a transnational social and economic network. . . They pursue their education and careers in both the Untied States and China. They are equally at home in two cultures, and comfortably belong to both.

What is said here about the Chinese may be said of many other peoples who have come to the United States.

The lines between international and domestic have been blurred for many years. When will we cease to dichotomize our theology of mission along geographical lines? When will we recognize the need to integrate “home” and “foreign” strategies? When will denominations, agencies, networks, and churches shift their structures from nineteenth and early twentieth century models for the transnational world of today?

The peoples are coming. . . and returning. . . and coming. . . and returning. . . .

———-

Brad Wall with Global Gates was my guest on Strike the Match last week. Check out our conversation on unreached people groups who have moved to the United States. Subscribe: iTunes | Android | RSS

Jul
14

No Place is too Far Away

written by JD

Up and Away IMG_0889Sarah and I celebrated our 20th anniversary earlier this month in New York. We ventured over to Ellis Island and went through the museum on immigration. If you have never been there, you need to do so. The entire island is a testimony to the outworking of Acts 17:26-27.

I took this photo related to global travel. It is amazing to think the first trans-Atlantic flight with passenger service took place in 1939. In a mere 76 years, we have gone from primarily long ocean voyages to faster and safer air routes (Here is a link I tweeted earlier this week to a video showing average daily flights over Europe.).

According to this sign, 51 million travelers came to the U. S. in 2007. And don’t you just love the last two sentences:

From Europe and Africa, from Asia and South America, immigrants now reach the United States in hours instead of weeks. No place on earth is too far away.

“Oh, God! Over the centuries, we have neglected many opportunities to join you as you orchestrated the movement of the nations (Acts 17:26-27) for your glory. Forgive us. Shake our generation; give us eyes to see your hand at work, hearts filled with passion, and movement toward making disciples of the unreached people groups you have moved to our communities!”

Jul
13

Discipline before Discipline

written by JD

Three writing resources I regularly use are WordPress for this blog, Hootsuite for scheduling many of my posts at Twitter, FB, and Linkedin, and Blubrry for hosting my podcasts (which syncs with WordPress). They are all excellent resources when it comes to scheduling blog/podcast posts and updates.

I returned to the office today. I have been on vacation for the past two weeks. While I was tempted to put a note on my blog that I would not be posting Sunday-Thursday for the next two weeks or take time away from family vacation to write posts, I decided to write and schedule two weeks of blog posts and podcasts, allow them to post at a designated time each day, and follow up with two weeks of scheduled Hootsuite posts. All of this was a first for me.

Was it difficult to write and schedule this much content in advance? Yes, it was challenging.

Was it worth it? Absolutely! I care about my family. Nothing took time away from family and rest.

Why did I not just take some time off from this blog? Because I care about my readers too, and greatly value their time on my site.

Sometimes the routine discipline we set ourselves to requires another level of discipline. One that is harder, more challenging, but worth it for those you care about.

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