February 26, 2024
Book Reviews, Growth Plans

What’s Best Next

As we think about goals and priorities for the new year, we are frequently reminded of how often we have failed to reach our goals of previous years. Apparently only 8% of people who make New Year’s resolutions successfully accomplish their resolutions. In our mission organization, we are asking all of our members to put together an Individual Growth Plan for 2015.  Being intentional about and planning our learning is important.  People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions.   But planning is only the first step.   Unless we carry out the plan, we are no further ahead at the end of next year. How do we make sure that we get the most important things done?  How do we prevent our lives being crowded out by the tyranny of the urgent, leaving our good intentions and learning… Read the whole post
Church Planting, Disciple-making

You Are What You Do, Not What You Eat

In October of 2014, on my first trip to Japan, I was able to ride a bullet train, visit SEND church planters in the Tsunami stricken region, and attend the Asia Regional Equipping Seminar (ARES) hosted by SEND Japan. The topic of this training was Disciple Making Movements (DMM). I was confronted by a number of ideas about church planting, which rocked my thinking a bit. One of those ideas had to do with approaches to help integrate learning and doing, a key area of interest in my graduate studies on adult learning. In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus says “make disciples of all nations … teaching them to obey everything…”. For me, when I studied diligently and taught accurately, I was quite satisfied with myself. Teaching in a seminary for over 10 years has helped to reinforced this view. But that is not the whole of the great commission (see Gary… Read the whole post
Lifelong Learning, Growth Plans

Would the Apostle Paul Fill Out an IGP?

Would the Apostle Paul fill out an Individual Growth Plan (IGP)? YES! The Apostle Paul was committed to life-long learning. We see this very clearly in Philippians 3:12-16. I will start quoting from verse 7 to pick up the context: But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ, and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that comes from faith – that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,… Read the whole post
Lifelong Learning

Lifelong Learning Begins with Humility

We all need to be lifelong learners.  As David Mathis reminds us in a recent Desiring God blog post, Teaching and learning are at the very heart of our faith. To be a “disciple” means to be a “learner.” … The Christian faith is not a finite course of study for the front-end of adulthood. Our mindset shouldn’t be to first do our learning and then spend the rest of our lives drawing from that original deposit of knowledge. Rather, ongoing health in the Christian life is inextricably linked to ongoing learning. Questions Persist The first step toward being a lifelong learner is to admit that despite our experience and education, there is still so much that we still do not understand about life and ministry.   We don’t know it all. We haven’t figured it all out.  In fact, some of the most important questions are still mysteries to us.… Read the whole post
Disciple-making, Training, Book Reviews, Leadership Training, Church Planting

Reaching and Teaching in Animistic Oral Cultures

A review of M. David Sills’ book Reaching and Teaching the Highland Quichuas: Ministry in Animistic Oral Contexts In my last post we looked at Sills’ book Reaching and Teaching: A Call to Great Commission Obedience. This book is clearly a follow up to this work. It is in essence an application in practice of the principles in the earlier book. “This book explores how the Lord led missionaries to minister effectively among a specific people whom he called to himself: the Highland Quichua people of Andean Ecuador.”(pp. 2, 3).The book highlights the challenges of reaching and teaching an oral people group with a long history of syncretism:… Read the whole post
Church Planting, Disciple-making, Book Reviews, Leadership Training

Are We Reading All of Matthew 28:18-20?

A review of M. David Sills, Reaching and Teaching: a Call to Great Commission Obedience, Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2010. This book has sought to bring awareness to those who have been lulled into thinking that God wants us to simply reach them. He doesn’t. He wants us to reach and teach – reaching them with the saving gospel message and teaching them to observe everything that He has commanded. (220). So ends Sills’ book.… Read the whole post
Spiritual Formation, Training

Accountability – Asking the Hard Questions

Do you have anyone in your life who asks the hard questions? You know, the ones like “How are you doing in using your time wisely?” Or “How are you doing as a wife/ husband/ parent/ leader/ follower?” Or just the simple yet profound “How are you doing spiritually?” For some reason, we have such a hard time asking those questions, and yet I think a lot of us need and even long for that kind of interaction. Let me get personal and real here. I haven’t REALLY felt spiritually healthy for many years now. I’ve had a few bright spots over the years, and am confident God hasn’t given up on me. Yet I would have to say that “listless,” “wilting on the vine” and even “helpless and hopeless” describe how I have felt about my walk with God over the past decade.… Read the whole post
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