Open Doors has been releasing it’s World Watch List since 1992, informing the Church what we should know about the countries with the highest levels of persecution, and how we can pray for the believers in those nations. Check it out, but more importantly, consider praying for a country on the list.
Because we might be talking with someone about Church Planting doesn’t necessarily mean we are talking about the same thing. The methodology, end goal and the understanding of what is, or isn’t, taking place may all be very different. What’s important is to establish a biblical ecclesiology, a biblical understanding of what we are talking about when we talk about the big “C” Church and little “c” church.
The way we talk about Church Planting at Connect is by using the W.I.L.D. framework. In Modules 7 & 9, there are over 40 tutorials that help us establish a biblical ecclesiology in a way that practically helps us work with the Master Builder to disciple people individually and corporately to establish healthy churches.
Whether you have completed Modules 7 & 9 or attended some of our recent workshops where we have discussed the W.I.L.D. framework, I think you’ll find this article by Mack Stiles, a church planter in Iraq, helpful as he highlights our need for a biblical understanding of what we mean by church planting.
So how was 2020 for you? For some of us it was ghastly. Restricted, isolated, and out of routine. For others, life was less interrupted and actually allowed for some time to rest and reflect. As we all come to the end of 2020 and look to the New Year, the next couple of weeks gives all of us a chance to rest and reflect. As we have applied ourselves to learning, equipping, and thinking about how God is fitting us into His purposes to take the gospel to the lost, we mustn’t forget that the gospel is for Christians too. For you and me, now!... read more
If your Pastor announced that he was going to start a 10-week series on “The Gospel”, how would you react? Does it sound a bit like “Christianity 101”, something that you’ve moved on from? Or would your reaction be, “I can’t afford to miss one of those sermons”?
Why is it important for us to always be hearing the gospel? Paul tells us in Romans 1:16, “It’s the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes … “. We know it is the power of God to save those outside the Kingdom who are perishing, but literally Paul says that it is the power of God to everyone who keeps on believing. That’s right, believing is in the present tense, an ongoing activity of believing not just at the moment of conversion, but throughout the whole of our life, the gospel saves us. Paul makes this clear in 1 Cor 15.1, “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand and by which you are being saved…”.
I am weak, frail and I am inconsistent. Like you, I have times of suffering and affliction, I am sometimes discouraged and lose my joy. I get entangled in the temptations of this world causing me to lack in my love for Christ. I need to “keep on” believing and the gospel is the power of God giving me all I need to transform my heart, mind and will. Everything I need is in the message of the gospel. Nothing else in Scripture, except Jesus Christ himself, is described as the “power of God”. The gospel is the ultimate working of the power of Almighty God. Think about all the incredible acts of God recorded in the Bible. Creation, the parting of the Red Sea, the plagues in Egypt, the flood, the conquests of Canaan, none of these are ever described as the “power of God”, but the gospel is. How powerful then must the gospel be to be merit such a title?
So, as we rest and reflect over the next couple of weeks, let’s “gospel” our Christian friends and each other regularly. We need it. To us who are being saved it is the power of God. We need to hear the gospel and believe it every day.
Have a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year. Keep your eyes on WhatsApp and your inbox for information about our Summer Workshop and Webinar coming up in 2021.
When people ask about how we are progressing with being equipped for mission, are we bold enough to return the question with “How is your mission work going?” You are the epicentre of what God is doing in your life, but there is an outward ripple effect. As Sharon Sampson says, “As a stone dropped into water makes rings which move outward, so Jesus moves us outward”.
When I was making a career decision a few years ago I needed to make a choice which had monetary implications. When I asked a friend for advice, he said to me, “Brad, don’t worry about the money, always chase value”.
Sometimes we look at what we’re giving up instead of what will be replaced by what we’ve given up. We’ll never know what God will replace those things with until we are willing to give up the things we hold onto. So, chase value. Where is the real value found? It’s in what God replaces those other things with. But you’ll never know if you don’t give up the things that might stop you seeking first His Kingdom.
In this article, Tim Chester, writes about Jim Elliot and his co-workers who chased real value.
If you were at our Spring Connect Workshop, you’ll remember we traced God’s heart for the Nations and how, while we must Enjoy His Grace, if it stops there it is incomplete. Together with Enjoying His Grace we must always seek to Extend His Glory. As his Image-Bearers, that is what we are made for.
I enjoyed reading how John Piper expressed this same idea. I think you will to.
Real opportunities exist among the First Australians who want to learn and be taught in their heart language. Richard Trudgen, CEO of Why Warriors, and an interviewee on W.I.L.D. Australia, explains how the original Australian languages are what Indigenous groups – like Yolngu people – speak, think and learn in.
This article by Chris Watkins is helpful as you progress through Modules 4 and 6. Here, Chris Watkins shares a tool he developed to help breakdown a local culture down into seven key questions that can be loosely mapped onto a creation-fall-redemption-consummation schema, and make it easier to compare a local culture to the Biblical Narrative.
It doesn’t matter what your goal is, what strategy you have, how gifted you are or how impressively resourced you are; if you don’t have both the humility to learn and the humility to invite others to help you do that, you will always struggle in cross-cultural ministry.
If you’re interested in learning about church planting in hard places, 20Schemes is a great resource from a team of people seeking to plant churches in the housing schemes of Scotland. Read how a 20Schemes worker learnt the importance of adopting a posture of humility.
I appreciate resources such as Radical.net and the books which started these kinds of blogs like David Platt’s “Radical”. They give us a kick in the pants and from time to time, we all need that. But what resources and books like these do, even if unintentionally, is discount the ordinary.
Ordinary! Just writing and saying that word in my head, almost feels less than ordinary. It feels sub-ordinary. But it’s not. In fact, it is normal and good. I mean let’s face it, we all wish we were much more “excellent” and “radical” than we really are. But for most of us, wearing that mantle leads to comparitive living and striving. To illustrate a better way, can I talk about a cricketer? (Sorry ladies, please stay with me).
Glen McGrath is one of Australias finest fast bowlers. He has taken more wickets than any other fast bowler in Australian cricket history. Why was he so good? Was he the fastest? No. Was he unplayable? No. Did he have a trick ball that mesmerised the batsman? No. Glen McGrath gift was that he was very good at being ordinary. He would consistently land the ball in the right spot on the pitch that stood the best chance of getting the bastman out if he continued to keep landing the ball in the same spot, time after time after time.
As we seek to equip ourselves for cross-cultural ministry, let’s focus less on being “radical” or “excellent”, but rather let’s seek to do the ordinary things well, time after time with consistency, believeing that God will sustain us to endure and be effective in long-term minsitry and extending His Glory among the Nations.
In closing, here is a recent article from Radical.net, calling for less “radicalness” but rather, “faithfulness”.