I don’t know who created the idea of an “episode 0,” but I like it. It allows for a test run to work out the bugs. 0 says, “We’re not there yet; please be patient with us.”
Since you are readers of my blog, I wanted you to have the first exposure to this new resource. It is not available on iTunes or any other podcast site yet. However, such subscriptions are coming.
Check out out Episode 0 (see player or download below) and please help spread the word. I’m excited for what is coming in future episodes. Episode 0 gives you a look at the story behind this podcast and where it is going.
I feel; therefore, I do.
I like this philosophy. Zeal is there. Passion is there. Motivation is there. It’s easy to get ‘er done.
But what happens if the feeling is not there? That’s when it becomes difficult.
I know; therefore, I do.
If it ever comes down to feelings or knowledge, knowledge wins every time. It is the wise thing to do when we know what God has spoken.
My feelings may wither and fade, but the Word of our God will stand forever (Isa 40:8).
Robert Coleman has been a personal blessing to me and has influenced my thinking. I’m certain many of you are able to say the same thing. He is the author of several books, but best known for one in particular.
The Master Plan of Evangelism has a 1963 copyright and has been through at least 66 printings.
The book has sold millions of copies.
The book has received outstanding reviews.
The book has been been a major influence on thought-leaders representing four generations.
As of today, it ranked #9 in the evangelism category at Amazon.
There is a very high probability your pastor has read the book.
You have likely read the book.
52 years. Millions of copies sold. Incredible cerebral stimulation.
However, very few people have consistently applied the teachings in the book. Let’s ask why.
Dreaming as a Kingdom citizen is important. This is not a futile humanistic exercise. It is an opportunity to use our God-given missiological-imaginations as we prayerfully consider God’s Word, God’s world, and our responsibilities as Kingdom citizens.
However, if you are always dreaming and never developing and executing strategy, then you are a perpetual dreamer. Theory is your only friend, and you never move forward. Wise stewards dream much and often, but do not stop there. They move, by God’s will.
“By God’s will I may now at least succeed in coming to you. For I long to see you” (Rom 1:10-11, ESV).
“So that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company” (Rom 15:32, ESV).
“I will visit you after passing through Macedonia, for I intend to pass through Macedonia. . . .I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits (1 Cor 16:5,7, ESV).
Dream of Spain and Corinth, but don’t just dream. Move for the sake of Christ and His Church.
If you are a perpetual dreamer, then one day you will wake-up to the troubling reality that you have moved nowhere.
Any missiologist worth his or her salt is a student of both God’s Word and God’s world. He keeps his ear to the rail and sometimes hears rumblings others will not hear for years to come (e.g., the recent NPR story noting the value of using “Majority World,” a label used by missiologists for years).
I remember hearing an emotional presentation from a reputable theologian about problems within my denomination. As I listened, I quickly realized missiologists had been addressing those concerns for about a decade. Few paid attention to them.
He, however, spoke as if his address was striking something new. People listened.
I asked the missiologist sitting next to me, “We have been talking about these matters for a decade; how they are just now getting his attention?” My older and wiser friend smiled.
Missiologists do not have all the answers and are unable to predict the future (beyond biblical revelation). They are not superheros. However, by studying Scripture, missions, global realities, and church history, they often hear, smell, and see things others do not.
If you are a missiologist, then keep up the good work for the sanctification of the saints and salvation of the lost. Do it if only a few people are listening to you.
If you do not know any missiologists, then find some.
If you know some, then listen to them. Discern what they say (1 John 4:1). They are often your canaries in the mine.
The Badjao live on the sea. We don’t see them because we live on the land.
The Rat Tribe lives underground. We’re not going to see them either, unless we are ready to go spelunking.
I live in Birmingham, Alabama, population 1.5 million. But I don’t believe we have that many people. I only see a few thousand. My lifestyle and routine keeps me on the southeastern side of the city. My traffic patterns have been the same for almost three years. I shop at the same stores, frequent the same restaurants, and get gas as the same gas pumps. I hang out with the same people. Only a few thousand people live in Birmingham, with very little ethnic diversity.
Out of sight. Out of mind.
It is no wonder we don’t believe there are at least 360 unreached people groups in this country and at least 180 in Canada. It just can’t be true that the United States has the third largest number of unreached peoples in the world and Canada has the fifth largest number. And, there’s no way 3,000 people groups in the world really exist in an unengaged-unreached state.
I don’t see them. They don’t exist. We should remember we also used to say this about microscopic organisms.
During the gold rush of yesteryear, treasure seekers had to sift through a great amount of riverbed sediment for the desired golden nuggets. No one would ever consider hauling a ton of silt and rock to the bank–even if it contained the gold. That extra stuff was unnecessary and unhelpful.
Life comes at us much faster than the flow of a river. Change is everywhere. There are many pressure points shaping the face of the Church.
As we examine books, attend conferences, listen to podcasts, and read blogs, we must learn to pan for gold. Such is the way of the wise Kingdom steward. Too many people believe they must collect every piece of sediment that comes their way. We need the golden nuggets that will apply to our contexts.
This means we not only expose ourselves to the right resources, but we understand our contexts–not the context of the presenter, not the context we would like to have.
Sometimes you have to sift through a great deal of unnecessary and unhelpful stuff to find the gold. Grab a pan!
I have discovered that every community in the United States has the most:
Unchurched per capita
Lost per capita
Homosexuals per capita
Atheists per capita
Muslims per capita
Agnostics per capita
Income per capita
Poverty per capita
New Age book stores per capita
Satan worshipers per capita
Witches per capita
Pot smokers per capita
Foreign-born per capita
Elementary school kids per capita
High school kids per capita
Stay-at-home moms per capita
Divorce rates per capita
Meth users per capita
Depression diagnoses per capita
Strip clubs per capita
In the past fifteen years of talking with other pastors, denominational leaders, and definitely church planters, I have encountered we have the most…per capita a gazillion times.
I am sure some of these statements were based on actual community facts.
What does it mean, if you tell me you have the most per capita and a month later someone in another location tells me the same thing, only to be followed by a similar statement by someone else in another location?
Answer: We evangelicals have the most members per capita who use the words, “per capita”.
Next month, I plan to launch “Strike the Match.” Each episode of this podcast will address matters related to missions, innovation, and leadership issues. I recorded this video for you, providing some details. Check it out! Please share with others!
If you caught my most recent interview with the guys at Salty Believer or my recent tweets, then this post will not come as a surprise.
I am working on three books for this year–two are already written, one I am presently editing. I am incredibly excited about each of these books.
Strike the Match: Reflections on Mission, Innovation, and Leadership is scheduled to be published in May. Check out the cover HERE. This self-published work is a collection of my thoughts over the past five years. It is written in a very informal style, divided into three sections (mission, innovation, leadership), and unlike any of my previous books. If you enjoy what I write at Missiologically Thinking, then you will like this book.
Apostolic Church Planting: Birthing New Churches from New Believers is scheduled to be published in October with InterVarsity Press. Building upon my other two church planting books (Discovering Church Planting and The Barnabas Factors), this book makes a strong appeal for doing evangelism among unreached peoples that results in new churches. Judge this book by its title and subtitle. It is a concise work, containing a great deal of material (including visuals) not found in my other writings. While it is written to compliment my other church planting books, I believe it is my most important church planting work to date.
The Ministry of Expansion by Roland Allen (title to be determined) is being published by William Carey Library. Last summer, Hubert Allen (grandson of the late Roland Allen) contacted me about an unpublished manuscript written by his grandfather in the 1930s. The manuscript has been resting in a dusty box at Oxford. Roland Allen, best known for Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours? and The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church, had a great deal to say about the non-ordained and the administration of the Lord’s Supper on the mission field. He put many of his ideas into The Ministry of Expansion. If you are an Allen fan, interested in missions and ecclesiology, then you will want to check out this work that few people have read. I am editing this project. It will include some outstanding contributions by Hubert Allen and other international Roland Allen scholars.
In addition to these projects, I am hoping to release another free ebook. If so, it will be out this summer and written to pastors about leading their churches into a world where they themselves cannot go. If you caught my presentation in New Orleans last year, then remember when I spoke of standing on the bridge–to give you the idea behind this project.
Please pray for me as I work on these projects. Once they are published, my desire is that you would read them and help spread the word about these books. I am not just filling space when I write: I deeply appreciate you reading my books, sharing your reviews at Amazon, et. al., and telling others about them. It is truly an honor. You could be reading other material and doing other things. You could be talking to others in your social networks about other resources. Thank you for your support and encouragement; it means more than you realize.