Saturday, May 26, 2007

Getting Your Church Involved In Missions- Part 1

Just before Christ ascended to the Father he gave a charge to his disciples to teach all that he had commanded them to others, as well as to baptize and disciple those whom they taught. This, of course, has been passed onto the church. Currently, missions looks a lot different from what it did back then. We hop on an airplane and can be all the way around the world in less than twenty-four hours. To the disciples a short-term mission trip would have been several months, not several days. Indeed, the way missions is done has changed drastically.

So, you or your church could, theoretically, open up an encyclopedia of world cultures, find a people, hop on a plan, pass out some tracks and come home to catch the Sunday football games on T.V. But, I believe that we should give more thought and care to the mission efforts of our local brothers and sisters than that. And, I am sure that most of you agree.

What I will be encouraging here is a long-term commitment to people groups by your church. And, it just does not have to be one people group. It can be as many people groups as you have people interested in going to people groups. But, that is beside the point. What I am hoping to talk about in these series of posts is simply how you and your church can get involved in missions anywhere. We’ll discuss some things that have been thought through by several people, and I’ll even ask for you to help me think of other things that we may consider as well as what I post here. But, my main commitment is to give you the tools and resources that I have to help you communicate, educate, and equip the people of your church to go anywhere and do missions/plant churches.

I’ll break it up into two main parts. The first, which we will spend the most time on, will be related to how your church can engage people groups. People groups are the key, not so much the missionaries in a church that engages missions. Now, I’m not saying, “Don’t support missionaries.” In fact, that is why I have a second part. But, the main thing is that sometimes missionaries are sent home for reasons they cannot control; they get sick, they die, they get too old to continue to work the same way they did before. Therefore, the main goal is to commit to working with a people group.

The second part will be dealing with the missionary—especially those that come from your own congregation. What are they going to be looking for when you want to help them? How can you help them before they even go? These are things that will be looked at in this second part.

This is a forum. We welcome discussion and there are many of you who read this blog with plenty of experience that will be helpful concerning this subject. We do ask that you share as freely as possible about the things that you have learned.


Through Christ,


Saturday, May 19, 2007

To Partner or Not To Partner that is the Question!

Recently I have come across some interesting discussions. So, I figured since I know several missionaries frequent our blog, I decided that I would throw out that discussion to you guys and ask you what you think about it.

Let me paint a picture for you; one that I know many of you have experienced before—or, at least, some variant of it.

You meet with a fellow missionary working in your area for coffee to discuss partnering in evangelism. He tells you he met a man who would like to do some evangelization in your area and wanted to partner with you. Now, he's not of your denomination. Would you partner with him?

Well let's speak a little more about this man whom you have been asked to partner with by your missionary friend. You actually have read something he wrote before and you know that there he advocated inclusivism at least, maybe even pluralism. Now, would you partner with him in doing evangelism and planting churches?

Let me know why or why not and then I'll respond with a later post. PLEASE! PLEASE! PRETTY PLEASE! RESPOND!


Sunday, May 13, 2007

SPECIAL: Zaramo of Tanzania

We have slightly detoured our top 10 most unreached people groups from the Joshua Project to highlight the Zaramo of Tanzania.

Who are they? The Zaramo of Tanzania are farmers who live mainly in the area surrounding Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. There are about 737,000 Zaramo, all of them surprisingly living in that green blob on the map to the left. There are only about .73% of them professing to be evangelical believers (about 5,380). Their society is an agricultural society; they raise mangoes, cashews, oranges, coconuts and rice, with a few other crops like tobacco and corn. Livestock is also important in the life of the Zaramo and for them, none more important than the chicken. Their society is matrilineal, which means that the family lineage is traced through the mother. Despite the fact that the society is matrilineal, they still practice polygamy.

What do they believe? A few centuries ago the Zaramo were introduced to Islam. Like most African Muslims they practice a mixture of Islam and tribal superstitions. For instance, the Joshua Project says that most Zaramo fear witchcraft and poison and they blame nearly every death on this.

Status of Evangelization/Needs: As mentioned above, only about .73% of all Zaramo are evangelical believers. Several societies have committed to working amongst them, as well as a group of churches. They have the NT in their language, but they do not yet have the Jesus Film or any radio broadcasts in their language.

How can you pray? As always you can learn about the Zaramo at the Joshua Project. But I've summarized that information for you here.

Other places you can visit:

Global Prayer Project

Global 12 Project

Also, visit Faith Comes by Hearing to learn how you could sponsor MP3 bibles in their language, or any other unreached people groups language.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Waking up Dead

It's _____ o'clock in the morning and your alarm goes off. It's time to get up and spend some time with God in prayer and reading the Bible. But, you've had a rough night. Your kids woke up in the middle of the night or you ate that certain something you shouldn't have after 8 pm and it kept you up all night (wow I'm actually old enough to know about that). And what do you do? You set your alarm for one hour later so you can get up and go to work. Clearly the thing you need now is sleep.

You wake up, get dressed and head off to work. Then you see your co-worker who is going through a tough time. But, you don't have time for that. You've got work to do and you want to surf the Internet for a new ____ to buy. Clearly that new _____ is what you need right now. You don't have time to hear their problems and offer them the hope that is in the gospel. Not thinking of all those times you've needed someone to talk to about your own problems.

Before you know it, the work day is done and you purchased your item. You head to your car in the rain and as you drive home you see a stranded motorist. You don't think to stop. Your family is waiting for you or maybe you're really hungry and besides you don't want to get wet. You pass buy thinking, "Surely someone else will stop."

I think you get the picture by now. The day is being lived for whom? That is a question that is coming to my mind when I lie down at night and the day is spent. My day was lived for whom? And most days, I have to admit I want to have that question in my mind at the very beginning of the day because I've lived it selfishly for myself.

Whom will I live for today?

We are called by Christ to die to ourselves daily. Many times I wake up in the morning and I see my alarm as a nuisance. Rather, I should see it as a bugle call to war—A war against my flesh, the devil and this world. And yet, most mornings I treat it lightly.

The call goes out to me, and I snuff it with the snooze. I ignore the scriptures about bearing one another's burdens or helping those in distress or loving my neighbor as myself etc., etc., and I live my life for myself.

So, what is the exhortation here? For us to wake up already dead. Dead to self that is. Then God can use us as we were intended to be used since the time Christ purchased us—as servants of God. Then, we'll see the hand of God in the world, we'll see God change people's lives. We'll see God change our lives and we'll know God more. If we wake up dead, we'll see true life.

So, it's _____ o'clock in the morning and our alarm goes off...Do we wake up dead?

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Update on Martyrs in Turkey

Over on another blog I read they have a letter concerning the Christians who were killed in Turkey . I will warn, it is not for the faint of heart. You will find their killing graphically detailed. The link is here. Please be in prayer for the families of these men. Pray for their killers to come to faith. And, pray for our persecuted brethren around the world. You can learn more about them here.

Through Christ,