Jul
5

When There are No Stories

written by JD

Evangelicals love stories. We greatly delight in hearing what the Spirit is doing in local churches and across the world. Such reporting is encouraging and biblical (Acts 14:27).

We love missionary biographies. In fact, I’m reading The Life of David Brainerd at the moment. The Church needs stories about ministry and life.

But what happens when there are no stories? No stories of how you are to lead your church at this time. No stories of this unreached people group being reached in China or the United States. No stories of “success” that you can draw from that provide you with a safe and secure strategy, method, or vision.

Most evangelicals would rather sit still and wait, wait for someone else to do it first, to go there, to try that.

What happens when there are no stories? You have to write one. We need you to write it, to go to the edge and beyond for the Kingdom.

———-

On Strike the Match last week my guest was GMI president and CEO, Jon Hirst. Check out our conversation. iTunes | Android | RSS

Jul
2

Jon Hirst of GMI

written by JD

Strike the MatchOne of the cutting edge organizations out there is GMI. They have been thinking and leading on an innovative plane for 30 years. With a mission statement like: GMI leverages research and technology to create, cultivate, and communicate mission information leading to insight that inspires Kingdom service, you know they are involved in some exciting and different work!

In this episode, I speak with their new president and CEO, Jon Hirst.  We talk about GMI’s history, what they are doing, and where they are going as well as the changes influencing mission agencies and churches. During our conversation, Jon notes, “We are in a significant paradigm shift in missions. . . . The old levers and systems. . . that were fairly staid, accepted, and understood in the 20th century, fundamentally don’t work the same way anymore.” This is a fascinating conversation. Check it out and share with others!

You may find Jon on Twitter @jonhirstgmi

Take a look at their excellent missiographics too!

Jul
1

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

written by JD

We all know the limitation to this statement. We are quick to say this describes those who do not practice what they preach. It describes the hypocrite, the sloth, the uncaring.

I agree, to a degree.

However, while there is much value and wisdom in modeling and following one’s example, there is another side to this statement. If missed, leaders can miss out on equipping, empowering, and releasing people for gospel advancement.

The wise Kingdom teacher knows that those who can’t do, teach. No one is omni-experienced. And it is not the reality of the Ephesians 4:11-12 leader.

The agency leader calls people to go and serve this or that unreached people, a people he has never lived among, served among, or even met. The academic tells others to write this or that paper, having never written it herself. Developing leaders means it is wise to do as one says, not as one does. To follow the misguided belief of “do as I do” means cloning not contextualization, and definitely not the spirit of 1 Corinthians 11:1 and 2 Timothy 2:2.

As a leader you must model and set an example, but you must also have the courage to communicate to others to follow your example to a point and then take that next step. If you are equipping them with the skills to know how to live, think, make disciples, and plant churches, then that next step will be an easy one for them to take.

———-

Check out last week’s episode of Strike the Match! I shared about my forthcoming book To the Edge: Reflections on Kingdom Leadership, Mission, and Innovation. This week’s episode has Jon Hirst as my guest discussing GMI. Subscribe: iTunes | Android | RSS

Jun
30

8 Guidelines for Reaching the Strangers Next Door

written by JD

I recently wrote an article for Facts and Trends on reaching the strangers next door. Check it out.

Here is a list of 8 guidelines to help you get started in reaching the unreached people groups living around you. I noted these in the article. Take them, apply them, and share them with others in your church.

Be Intentional. Reaching the strangers next door will not happen by happenstance. Being a wise Kingdom steward means being intentional about it.

Learn as You Go. The best time to start is now. Not after you have attended this or that seminar, and not even after you have read Strangers Next Door (but definitely read it later). You will never know enough. Your learning will never be complete. You must learn as you go and adjust as necessary.

Be Willing to Make Mistakes. You’ve got to, or you will never do anything. Stay humble and do not expect perfection of yourself or the people you lead.

Recognize the Bridges of God. God has established social networks among the strangers next door. These often stretch across this country and into other countries. Reach and teach new believers to run with the gospel across these relationships. Consider using these transnational social networks as a guide for where you and your church will go on short term mission trips in the near future. Ever considered staying with an unbelieving family in India who is connected to your new Indian friend next door in the U. S.?

Look for Receptivity. Share the gospel with everyone, but spend most of your time and energy with those asking (or coming close to asking) the Philippian Jailer’s question (Acts 16:30).

Pray in All Things. Need I say more?

Find Connecting Points. Talk about their interests. Share your interests. Ask questions about their religious and political views (everyone in the world loves to talk about these matters in private conversations with strangers except Americans, and Canadians, some Australians. . . okay, most people do, anyway). Connect over coffee, tea, kids events, sports. Share your holiday traditions with them; learn their traditions.

Make Disciples. Preach the gospel. Call them to repentance and faith. Baptize. Teach obedience.

———-

Jon Hirst, President of GMI is my guest this week on Strike the Match. Don’t miss our conversation! Subscribe: iTunes | Android | RSS

Jun
29

Evangelical Missiological Society

written by JD

One society I have been a member of for many years is the Evangelical Missiological Society (EMS).  EMS was birthed in the late 1960s when certain missiologists believed the study of missiology had moved away from an evangelical foundation and was no longer focused on missiology.

According to the EMS web site:

The purpose of the Evangelical Missiological Society is to advance the cause of world evangelization through study and evaluation of mission concepts and strategies from a biblical perspective with a view to commending sound mission theory and practice to churches, mission agencies, and the schools of missionary training around the world.

This body cooperates together around theological and missiological research, discussions, and the dissemination of information to assist with global disciple making. I served for several years as the regional vice president for the Southeast and then as the Executive Vice President for Administration. It is a great group of women and men.

While the majority of the members serve in the academy and on staff with mission agencies, pastors are also involved. And as a pastor, let me say to the other pastors, we need your participation.

Check out the site and consider joining with us. Maybe I’ll see you at one of our regional or national meetings.

———-

The most recent episode of Strike the Match addresses my forthcoming book To the Edge: Reflections on Kingdom Leadership, Mission, and Innovation. Subscribe: iTunes | Android | RSS

Jun
28

Living in the Shadow of June 26

written by JD

The Supreme Court’s decision on marriage was not a surprise, but it was wrong on a multitude of levels. I do not need to repeat those here. There are many other blogs that have offered excellent wisdom since last week. I do not wish to be redundant.

My question to you (and myself) is: How will we now live come June 29?

If the answer is radically different than how we lived on June 25, then we have a problem.

Oh, we will have to make new decisions, consider new challenges, and be faced with new troubles. The evils of a fallen world have always been with us and always will; they did not begin on June 29. However, the fallout from June 29 will bring new variations on themes that have existed for thousands of years.

As sojourners (1 Peter 2:11) who happen to be blessed to have residency in the greatest country in the world (for my U. S. readers), if we fundamentally shifted our way of thought and life on June 29, then that is more troubling than the Supreme Court’s terrible decision.

——–

Last week on Strike the Match, I shared about my next book to release this summer: To the Edge: Reflections on Kingdom Leadership, Mission, and Innovation. Check it out. iTunes | Android | RSS

Jun
25

To the Edge

written by JD

Strike the MatchMy next book, To the Edge: Reflections on Kingdom Leadership, Mission, and Innovation, is scheduled to be released this summer. In this podcast, I share about the book and my reason for writing it. I even read an excerpt for you! Most of what I share in this episode about this book, I have not shared with the public yet. You are hearing it first on Strike the Match!

As Jesus builds His Church, His Church must keep going to the edge and beyond. The edge is a scary place; it is where change happens. Many people fear the edge. They try to stay as far from it as possible because it comes with risks. But being on the edge means being on the frontiers of Kingdom expansion. And going beyond the edge means blazing new directions as the Builder leads. Jesus is with us. It is an honor to be working with His Spirit.

Not only should we expect change, but we must be wise stewards with it.

Check out this episode. And thanks for listening! Keep watching for the release date of To the Edge and the opportunity to make pre-orders. I will keep you informed via social media and at jdpayne.org.

Jun
24

Early Moravians, Where and How? (Part 3)

written by JD

This post concludes my three-part series (part 1, part 2) on the early Moravians. Today I draw attention to some of the places they served and elements of their missionary methods.

The Moravians had a global vision and acted upon it. Missionary activity was not something they simply discussed; it was something that was expected of their members. According to some estimates, they sent 1 missionary for every 60 Moravians (Ruth Tucker, From Jerusalem to Irianjaya, 2nd ed., 99).

It is amazing how they were able to travel to various points on the globe with the transportation of their day. It was not unusual for Moravian missionaries to spend weeks, even months, traveling by foot to a boat, to then travel for another several weeks by sea, and to then spend another several weeks or even months traveling by train, foot, or beast of burden to their final destinations. Getting to the field came with great sacrifice and much danger.

Here are some early dates and locations of their missionary service:

1732- Virgin Islands, St. Thomas, Danish West Indies

1733- Greenland

1734-1736- St. Croy, Danish West Indies

1734- Northern Scandinavia

1734 & 1738- Georgia

1735- Surinam & South America

1736- The Gold Coast, Africa,

1737- South Africa

1738- Amsterdam, Holland,

1739- Algeria, Africa

1740- Eastern & Midwestern United States

1740- Ceylon & Romania

1740- Constantinople

1747- Persia

1752- Egypt & Abyssinia

1754- Jamacia

1756- Antigua

1759-1795- East Indies, Nicobar Islands, & Tranquebar

1765- Barbados

1777- St. Kitts

1787- Taboga

1815- 1822- Serving among the Kalmuck Tartars

1849- Honduras & Nicaragua

1855- Magdala

1859-1861- Cabo Gracias a Dios

 

1860- Wanuta-Haulouver in Ephrata

1864- Tasbapauni in Bethany

1871- Kukalaya & Quamwatla

1875- Karata

1884- Yulu

1885- Alaska

1886- Little Sandy Bay & Twappi

1890- California

1890- Trinidad

1891- Tanzania

1893- Dakura

1895- Edmonton, Canada

1903- Karawala

1907- Sangsangta

1907- Santo Domingo

1923- Musawas

1927- Bilwi Puerto Cabezas

1938- Bonanza

1938- La Luz

 

Dates/locations taken from James Weingarth, You Are My Witnesses (n.p. Inter-Provincial Women’s Board of the Moravian Church, 1981), 27, 31, 81, 89-90 and Ruth A. Tucker, From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1983, 2004), 102.

 

Here are 11 significant components that influenced their missionary methods:

Prototype Mission Stations. The Moravians pioneered a forerunner of the mission station model. As Moravians would leave Zinzendorf’s estate and travel to the field, they would begin by establishing their place of residence and attempt to replicate their community back home. In fact, their work in Greenland was named “New Herrnhut” after the name of the Saxony community.

Team Approach.  A team approach was always used with Moravians in their work throughout the world.

Pioneer Areas. Their missionary labors were to some of the most neglected areas of the world. They were willing to go to where others were not found.

Long-term Perspective. It was common for missionaries to spend their entire lives working among a particular people in a particular area.

Cultural Acquisition and Language Learning. Missionaries immersed themselves into the culture of the people and sought to learn their language. Even though they were using a forerunner to the mission station paradigm, the Moravians embraced an incarnational approach. In some cases, particularly among the Native Americans, the Moravians were mistaken for the natives themselves.

Bible Translations. Many missionaries sought to understand the local language so they could translate the Scriptures for the people.

Missionary Zeal. Zeal permeated the Moravian community. Zinzendorf made certain the entire community participated in decision-making and the sending of missionaries.

Priority on Prayer. The Moravians were known for a continuous prayer meeting that lasted 100 years. Individuals set aside an hour a day (around the clock for 100 years) to pray for laborers and their work.

Disciple Making not Moravian Making. The aim of the Moravians was to reach unbelievers (i.e., “First Fruits”) with the gospel. Though they did work to help revitalize established churches, under no circumstances were they to attempt to make Moravians from other Christians.

Tentmaking Expected. Though Moravian leadership would eventually set forth the challenge to the Church to support those sent, early missionaries went as tentmakers. Self-support was the expectation for all missionaries.

Sending was the Status Quo. Missions was a normative part of the life of a follower of Christ. According to William J. Danker, “[T]he most important contribution of the Moravians was their emphasis that every Christian is a missionary and should witness through his daily vocation” (Profit for the Lord, 73-74). The community was not surprised when someone made a decision to leave and make disciples. The decision was not heralded with pomp and circumstance. Such a decision was the expectation not the exception.

———-

This week on Strike the Match, I plan to discuss the contents of my soon-to-be-released new book: To the Edge: Reflections on Kingdom Leadership, Mission, and Innovation. Be sure to listen: iTunes | Android | RSS

Jun
23

Moravian Foundations for Missions (Part 2)

written by JD

In my last post, I addressed the origins of the Moravians. Now it is time to get a quick glimpse at Zinzendorf’s theological and missioloigcal foundations on which their field practices were built.

1) Let the Spirit Guide Your Work. The Holy Spirit was understood to be the only true missionary. Individuals were to be guided by Him and were in His hands.

2) Expect “First-Fruits.” Zinzendorf taught that the Holy Spirit prepared hearts like He did with the Ethiopian eunuch and Cornelius. Missionaries were to take comfort and encouragement in the fact that the Spirit was at work among any given unreached people long before the team’s arrival on the field. All peoples would be represented around the throne. Therefore, the “first-fruits” of the harvest would eventually come from any given people, even if that number was only a few.

3) Preach the Simple Gospel and Hold to an Exclusive Message of Salvation in Christ Alone. Zinzendorf assumed that unbelievers already knew about God through general revelation, but needed to know of the Savior and His wounds from the cross. Missionaries were to preach to people’s hearts and not give theological lectures. Zinzendorf discouraged philosophical arguments and called for straightforward preaching of Christ, His death, His resurrection, and the hope that He alone provides.

4) Go to the Neglected Peoples. The focus was on the unreached. The first missionaries went to the Caribbean and served among the slaves. Some Moravians even sold themselves into slavery so they could preach the gospel to the slaves. Other early missionaries ventured into Greenland and worked among the native population. Going to the neglected peoples meant the Moravians went to some of the most remote places on the planet at a time when travel was both extremely difficult and dangerous.

5) Do not Take Members from Other Churches. Sheep stealing was not permitted when serving in areas where the Church already existed. The missionary task was an apostolic task. Missionaries were to focus on conversion growth and not attempt to transfer long-term Kingdom citizens into their labors. Though the Moravians became a denomination, Zinzendorf’s plan was never for them to be a separate denomination, or even establish “Moravian” churches. His desire was that they come alongside of other denominations and work to reform the Church already in existence. Though on few occasions the Moravians were encouraged to work among believers who migrated to the “new world” but were not attached to any particular church there, the focus of Zinzendorf’s missiology was on the expansion of Christ’s Kingdom among the lost.

6) Make Tents. Most of the early missionaries were self-supporting from the very beginning. Other than receiving some transportation expenses to get to the nearest sailing vessel, missionaries were expected to be self-supporting. As they traveled to various parts of the globe they went as artisans, craftsmen, and merchants earning a living to support themselves and their team members. As part of their pre-commissioning training, Zinzendorf taught the Moravians to develop highly marketable skills and trades. This practice increased the likelihood the teams would be able to support themselves anywhere in the world.

In my final series post, I plan to share the locations where those early Moravians served and missionary methods used.

———-

This week on Strike the Match, I plan to discuss the contents of my soon-to-be-released new book: To the Edge: Reflections on Kingdom Leadership, Mission, and Innovation. Be sure to listen: iTunes | Android | RSS

Jun
22

Who were those Moravians? (Part 1)

written by JD

During the Southern Baptist Convention last week, International Mission Board President, David Platt, made reference to the Moravians in his message (see 1h 34m). I was very encouraged to hear him reference their model (The Moravians were referenced over the years when he was serving The Church at Brook Hills, too.).

But who were the Moravians? And why would a mission agency president make reference to them?

The Moravians were part of one of the greatest missionary movements in Church history. While many people mark the beginning of the Protestant Missionary Movement with William Carey at the end of the 18th century, the Moravians had been preaching the gospel for decades in some of the most remote places on the planet.

When I wrote Discovering Church Planting in 2009, I had to include a chapter on their work. The story of the Moravians and their church planting activities throughout the world is a story of perseverance, simple evangelical faith, and missionary methods that influenced generations of missionaries. A Moravian was once asked, “What was it like to be a Moravian?” to which he responded, “To be a Moravian and to further Christ’s global cause are identical” (Kenneth B. Mulholland, “Moravians, Puritans, and the Modern Missionary Movement,” Bibliotheca Sacra 156, April-June 1999, pg. 226).

The Moravians trace their beginnings to the 15th century group known as the Unitras Fractum (also known as the Brethren). The Brethren were followers of John Huss, who was eventually burned at the stake for his Protestant views. After Huss’ death, his followers (including the Brethren) became a scattered and persecuted group. During the 18th century, some of the Brethren and other Protestant groups fled persecution and found refuge on a Saxony estate owned by Count Ludwig Von Zinzendorf. These believers came to be known as the Moravians.

In order to understand the Moravians’ missionary work as well as their theological convictions, one must understand the movement known as Pietism. Strongly drawing from the works of Philip Jacob Spener, the Pietists were a group of individuals following a very simple evangelical way of life and belief. Zinzendorf was strongly influenced by Pietism, and this movement was extremely influential on his mission theology. Zinzendorf was a well-educated man, but not an academic. He was very much a missions organizer and missions thinker.

In the next post, I will share 6 Foundations for Zinzendorf’s theology of mission and how it shaped Moravian practices on the field.

———-

Missed any of the past episodes of my podcast Strike the Match? If so, check them out here: iTunes | Android | RSS

Look for It


NEW PODCAST