May
28

Your Church is Closer to Planting than You Think

written by JD

Strike the MatchOne reason churches do not participate in church planting is because they believe it is beyond their abilities. And I would agree that church planting is beyond most churches as long as we use the typical western definition of church planting. 

When we turn to the Scriptures, we do not see church planting as something complex requiring high-capacity charismatic leaders, great children’s programs, amazing praise music, and enough money to start a small business. When we turn to the Scriptures, we come to see church planting as evangelism that results in disciples made that results in those disciples self-identifying as local churches.

In this episode, I address the simple nature of church planting and cast a vision of the possible for your church.

Other resources to assist you:

Here is an article I wrote on casting a vision for church multiplication.

Here is my free ebook on leading your church in church planting.

Order a copy of Apostolic Church Planting.

May
27

Ministry Jazz

written by JD

I like orchestral music. Classically trained players are taught to interpret what is on the score before them. Deviation is generally frowned upon. “Rondo alla Turca” sounds the same each time it is played. I like that.

I like jazz music. While jazz players are trained to read compositions, improvisation is expected within designated parameters. There is certainty, but there is uncertainty as well. I like that, too.

When it comes to ministry, most of us would rather play classical. Familiarity, constants, and certainty are comfortable. There is nothing wrong with this.

However, we are serving people in a changing world and not robots in a constant universe. There are norms, but there are uncertainties. And it is the latter that requires Spirit-led improvisation (within biblical parameters, of course).

If you are serving the Body of Christ, you are called to ministry jazz. To operate from a ministry model that never changes will hinder sanctification and gospel advancement.

We must come to know that God is not a god of chaos. He is our Good Shepherd (Psalm 23) and will lead us as we lead others, even when we don’t know which notes to play next.

———-

Last week on Strike the Match, Werner Mischke and I talked about honor-shame cultures and his new book on this topic, The Global Gospel. Subscribe and listen: iTunes | Android | RSS

May
26

Developing a Strategy for Missions–Korean Edition

written by JD

Developing a Strategy for Missions KoreanI am pleased to share with you that Developing a Strategy for Missions (co-authored with John Mark Terry) is now available in Korean.

When I served as a seminary professor at Southern Seminary from 2002-2012, I was both surprised and delighted to see the number of first generation Korean students at our school. I think, at one time, Koreans were the largest number of international students on campus. Their numbers at seminaries in the West is a small representation of what the Spirit has been doing in Korea.

The first Protestant church was planted in the country toward the end of the nineteenth century. In one century, the gospel not only spread rapidly but the Church started crossing cultures to make disciples elsewhere. According to Operation World, over 20,000 workers have been sent from the country to make it “the second-largest foreign-mission-sending nation on earth” (510).

It is my hope and prayer that with such a missionary force coming from this country, this book may be of assistance to many of our brothers and sisters.

I greatly appreciate Baker Publishing Group for having the strategic vision of getting this book into this important language.

If you know of a Korean who would benefit from this work, I would be honored if you would share this book with them.

Of course, the English version is still available.

———-

Last week on Strike the Match, Werner Mischke and I talked about honor-shame cultures and his new book on this topic, The Global Gospel. Subscribe and listen: iTunes | Android | RSS

May
25

In the Beginning…Mission

written by JD

When it comes to a proper understanding of mission, most of us are quick to begin with the New Testament. We are not alone here for Köstenberger and O’Brien noted:

Many biblical scholars (as distinct from missiologists), who have written on mission in the New Testament, have failed to examine adequately issues relating to salvation for the nations in the Old Testament. . . . So, for example, Hahn ([Mission in the New Testament] 1965:18-20) devotes only three pages to the subject; Bosch ([Transforming Mission] 1991), although touching on several important theological matters arising from the Old Testament, gives four pages to the subject in a book of six hundred, while Kasting ([Die Anfänge der urchristlichen Mission] 1969: 11) begins his study on mission within Judaism, thus omitting the Old Testament entirely! Senior and Stuhlmueller ([The Biblical Foundations for Mission] 1983:7-138), with their section, “The Foundations for Mission in the Old Testament”, are a notable exception. (Salvation to the Ends of the Earth, 25).

I was reading through Newbigin’s The Open Secret: An Introduction to the Theology of Mission (originally published in 1978) today and noticed that his biblical starting point is Mark’s Gospel. Maybe the Old Testament foundation comes later, but I have yet to see it.

While such conversations are shifting (at least in missiological circles) since Köstenberger and O’Brien published their work in 2001, we still have a way to go in both academia and local churches.

Ask most seminarians or church members what contribution the Old Testament makes to the Church’s missionary task and you are likely to get confused looks. You may even get, “Absolutely nothing. That’s a New Testament thing.”

We have got to change this.

When we talk about the Church’s missionary activity, we must begin with “In the beginning, God…”

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Much of the 4 billion live in honor-shame societies. However, many of us in the West have not recognized this when it comes to our preaching. Last week on Strike the Match, Werner Mischke and I discussed this matter and his new book The Global Gospel. Subscribe and listen: iTunes | Android | RSS

May
24

The Limitation of Your Strength

written by JD

They will tell you:

Play to your strengths not your weaknesses. 

Don’t work on your weaknesses, if so, you’ll avoid hitting your full potential.

The cost of improving your weaknesses is far grater than focusing on your strengths.

Keep to your strengths.

Focusing on your strengths is good advice as along as your strengths are strengths within a system that is getting the work done.

But whenever the culture shifts (every generation or two) and the system is no longer accomplishing its original purpose, the necessary strengths of yesteryear–the ones in which we continue to train subsequent generations–are no longer the strengths they once were. Those strengths are now limitations.

It takes great courage not only to recognize this but to change. No more more of what we know, time for faithful-doing. “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it” (Proverbs 22:3, ESV).

To hold constant today means more familiarity, stability, comfort, and kudos from those who continue to value the good ol’ days. You can still coast a while on your strengths, but one day change will come and will be even more difficult to make.

Better to recognize the limitations of our strengths now and pioneer a new path, developing the new necessary system and new strengths.

———-

Much of the 4 billion live in honor-shame societies. However, many of us in the West have not recognized this when it comes to our preaching. Last week on Strike the Match, Werner Mischke and I discussed this matter and his new book The Global Gospel. Subscribe and listen: iTunes | Android | RSS

May
21

Werner Mischke and The Global Gospel

written by JD

Strike the MatchThere is much in the Bible that addresses the topic of shame (referenced more than twice as often as the notion of guilt). This is good news as we labor among the 4 billion! For most of the world is not as individualistically-oriented as we in the West. Matters such as honor and shame affect daily life much more in the Majority World than here.

As we share the gospel, we often emphasize biblical passages related to guilt while overlooking those passages addressing honor and shame. And with the 4 billion primarily living in honor-shame societies, this means we have something to work on in our preaching.

Werner Mischke, Executive Vice President of Mission ONE, and I recently spoke about his new book on this topic: The Global Gospel: Achieving Missional Impact in our Multicultural World. Listen to our conversation.

The Global Gospel is a reminder that we in the West have much to learn about honor and shame which the New Testament world—and Majority World today—lived with on a daily basis. This book has influenced my understanding of the gospel and missions. I want to encourage you to get this book, read it, and make application to your life and ministry.

You may find Werner at his blog or at Mission One.

May
20

My Approach to Writing

written by JD

People periodically ask about my writing methodology. While I do not consider my approach the best or that I am a great writer, I do enjoy sharing what the Lord has taught me over the years. I am not a writing teacher, my grammar and speling ain’t great, and I don’t know all the comma, rules out there. However, I am able to share what I know after ten books (and three more this year). And since I regularly encourage you to tell your stories through the written medium, it is time for me to share some of my story.  I pray this contribution will assist you in equipping the Church for the multiplication of disciples, leaders, and churches among the 4 billion.

Lord willing, I’m going to write some periodic posts over the next few weeks on my philosophy and approach to writing. Stay tuned or subscribe to this blog so as not to miss them.

Here are some thoughts to get us started:

I enjoy writing. It is not always easy. It is not always fun. Sometimes it is fun. It is always a blessing to me.

I do not consider myself a great writer. I am prolific, but not great. I describe myself as average. I am always critiquing my style and trying to learn from others. I have much to learn.

Writing is art. Writing is Kingdom stewardship. It is an opportunity to sculpt a concept, an idea, a vision the Lord has placed within your heart and then make it public.

The only way to become a writer is to write. The best way to improve as a writer is to write. The way to develop your style is to write.

I have different writing styles. The style used for this blog is not found in any of my published books (yet). The styles found in my books are different from the style I use for an academic paper to be presented at a society meeting. And I use a different style when I write for my church family.

After I finished my doctoral studies, I wrote like a Ph.D. student for seven years before making necessary stylistic shifts. If you develop different styles, you will be able to connect with different audiences. These connections provide an opportunity for you to lead those audiences together that they may learn from one another.

I am a non-fiction writer. Don’t ask for my guidance on writing fiction. While I did fold a fictional narrative into Evangelism: A Biblical Response to Today’s Questions, I am far from writing novels. But who knows what may come (I do have an idea for a book about a witch, a wardrobe, and a lion, but I’m not ready to share that with you.).

———-

Last week on Strike the Match, Dean Merrill was my guest and we discussed urban missions and the new book he produced with Patrick Johnstone, Serving God in Today’s Cities: Facing the Challenge of Urbanization. Subscribe and listen: iTunes | Android | RSS

May
19

Carl Henry, Apostolic Task, and Blurring the Lines

written by JD

I met Carl F. H. Henry several years ago. He was one of the most influential theologians of the 20th century. I greatly admired him and deeply appreciated his stance for truth. Though his magnum opus is the massive 6-volume God, Revelation, and Authority, his brief book The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism has been read by more people.

There is so much excellent material packed in The Uneasy Conscience. My copy is filled with my notes and markings. Here is one of my favorite quotes from this book–a quote overlooked by most:

“Without purposing to minimize the foreign needs. . . . The distinction between home and foreign missions is a generation outmoded; Christianity again faces the apostolic task of seeking to transform an environment that is quite unilaterally hostile” (69).

The year was 1947.

We have listened to Henry on other matters. Maybe we should listen to him on this one too. If we need another 68 years to think it over, then that should make us more than uneasy.

———-

Last week on Strike the Match, Dean Merrill was my guest as we discussed urban missions and the new book he produced with Patrick Johnstone, Serving God in Today’s Cities: Facing the Challenge of Urbanization. Subscribe and listen: iTunes | Android | RSS

May
18

Shepherd Your People to the Marketplace

written by JD

Part of shepherding your people to the field means knowing about marketplace needs.

Countries often frown upon natives from other countries coming in and taking jobs–unless it has been difficult to find a national for the job.

Here are the ten-most difficult positions to fill across the world. Do you see the Kingdom possibilities for your people?

1.  Skilled Trades

2. Sales Representatives

3. Engineers

4. Technicians

5. Drivers

6.  Management/Executives

7.  Accounting and Finance Staff

8. Office Support Staff

9. IT Staff

10.  Production/Machine Operators

(source)

———-

Last week on Strike the Match, Dean Merrill was my guest as we discussed urban missions and the new book he produced with Patrick Johnstone, Serving God in Today’s Cities: Facing the Challenge of Urbanization. Subscribe and listen: iTunes | Android | RSS

May
17

New Church Planting Book

written by JD

Apostolic Church Planting CoverLast month I shared a glimpse of the cover of one of two books I’m publishing this year. I am extremely excited that Apostolic Church Planting is now available for pre-order.

This is my third work on the topic of church planting which builds from the foundational work established in Discovering Church Planting and the importance of the right team members noted in The Barnabas Factors.

I wrote this brief book with members of The Church at Brook Hills in mind. I wanted something concise, grounded in the Scriptures, practical, and helpful to our members as we commission and send them.

Over the past three years, we have embraced two expectations for our church planting teams whether they serve in Birmingham, across North America, or throughout the world:

1) Our teams are expected to embrace an apostolic approach rather than a plant-and-pastor model.

2) Our teams are expected to serve among unreached people groups rather than reached people groups.

Apostolic Church Planting: Birthing New Churches from New Believers addresses these two expectations and is unlike most of the church planting books on the market today.

I hope you will pre-order a copy and let others know about this book.

If you are interested in reviewing a draft for your blog, journal, podcast, or to post at Amazon, send me an email (jpayne@brookhills.org) no later than May 31. I’ll put you in contact with InterVarsity Press and see if they can get you a pre-release draft for review.

———-

We now live in an urban world. Last week on Strike the Match, Dean Merrill was my guest as we discussed urban missions and the new book he produced with Patrick Johnstone, Serving God in Today’s Cities: Facing the Challenge of Urbanization. Subscribe and listen: iTunes | Android | RSS

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