June 21, 2024
Missiological Issues, Church Planting, DMM, Book Reviews

Are there shortcuts in missions?

The book, “No Shortcut to Success: a Manifesto for Modern Missions” by Matt Rhodes piqued my interest as soon as I saw the title. Over the past couple of decade, I have often reflected on the question of what success means for missionaries. A number of the posts on this blog present those reflections. How does the author define success? Despite my expectation, Matt Rhodes does not put much effort into defining success for missionaries in his book. While admitting that every missionary dreams of success (p. 53), the author is quick to question the validity of many so-called “success stories” in missions (p.47). He is adamant that success can not be measured by numbers alone. Ultimately, “success” in ministry isn’t a matter of numbers but of ministering in a way that honors the Lord. Rhodes, Matt. No Shortcut to Success (9Marks) (p. 56). Crossway. Kindle Edition. According to Rhodes,… Read the whole post
Cross-Cultural Living, Book Reviews, Cultural learning

Cultural Views on Wealth

When I was growing up, my parents were very clear about what I should talk about with others in order to respect what our culture saw as being polite. There seemed to be a very long list of taboo topics that people weren’t supposed to talk about. I chuckle now as I think back to the line “and never, EVER discuss politics.” My, how things have evolved in my home culture in my lifetime!  Another topic one did not discuss was money. Wealth (or lack thereof), debt, spending habits and amount of one’s income were all generally off limits. We should not discuss these topics with people outside of our immediate family. I observed that this was an accepted cultural attitude—your money was no one else’s business. I remember once asking my parents if one of their friends was RICH. By their response, you would have thought I swore or something. But I guess asking… Read the whole post
Hardship, Resilience

The kingdom of God – in clay pots

The weakness of the kingdom In the past couple of blog posts, I have talked about the weakness of the kingdom of God. By this I mean, the kingdom that Jesus proclaimed and inaugurated was a kingdom that was not impressive or powerful. Jesus came to an inconsequential Jewish backwater province as an itinerant preacher, without status, money or military might. He saw the need of the people, and sought to address it, but his kingdom was sorely understaffed. To the disappointment of his little band of followers, the movement he started did not expel the Roman conquerors. Instead, this humble king was arrested and executed as a criminal by these Romans. His poor, uneducated and apparently unreliable disciples, were deemed incapable of carrying on the vision of this upstart king. But Jesus’ kingdom proved to be remarkably resilient and defied all expectations. Crucifying the King did not destroy the… Read the whole post
Christ, Evangelism, Church

The Kingdom of God: the workers are few

Over the 35 years that I have been working in cross-cultural missions, I have seen mission organizations highlight many different needs, opportunities, and strategies. Countries open and close. New methods gain prominence while others are abandoned. Younger generations are motivated by different themes. But one characteristic of mission work never changes. We need many, many more workers to address the opportunities before us. “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few,” as Jesus said. According to Joshua Project, 7,423 people groups with a total of 3.37 billion people remain unreached.1“Unreached” is defined as less than 2% evangelical. Joshua Project: People Groups of the World | Joshua Project Missionaries and local Christian workers to these unreached people total about 32,200 people.2 from Missions Statistics — The Traveling Team. Therefore the ratio of UPG workers to the total unreached world is 1 Christian worker or missionary for every 105,000 unreached people.… Read the whole post
Hardship, Missionary Roles, Christ, Gospel

The Kingdom of God: what you see is what you get

Gordon D. Fee | Faculty | Regent College (regent-college.edu) A few months ago, I saw the news that one of my professors in graduate school, Dr. Gordon Fee, died at the age of 88. Dr. Fee taught with fervor and intensity, often slipping unconsciously into passionate preaching in the middle of a lecture. He was also an excellent biblical scholar. For many years, he served as the general editor for the acclaimed New International Commentary series. I am very grateful that I had the privilege to learn from him. The absolutely crucial term for understanding Jesus My favourite course with Fee was on the life and teachings of Jesus. I sat spellbound in one of the front rows of the lecture hall as he unpacked the message of Jesus from the four Gospels. When Dr. Fee came to Lecture #13, “The Proclamation of the Kingdom”, he announced that this was… Read the whole post
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