September 29, 2023
Disciple-making, Christ, Contextualization, Evangelism, Gospel

Should we go to the most receptive?

As a young missionary candidate about 40 years ago, I considered various countries as possible destinations for my future ministry. One of the main criteria I used was receptivity. I wanted to go to a place where the church was growing rapidly. I was attracted to the harvest. In a harvest field, I reasoned, there would be a greater need for training of national workers, which was the area of missions I was most interested in. So, I chose the Philippines and the lowland work among Roman Catholics in particular. Experiencing the harvest Given that I was still in my early 20’s when I arrived in the Philippines, I realized that I first needed some experience and credibility before I could begin training others. My wife and I enjoyed ten years of wonderfully fruitful years in church planting and training in the Philippines. We were part of the harvest. The… Read the whole post
Cross-Cultural Living, Disciple-making, Christ, Contextualization, Prayer, Self-Feeding

Are missionaries called to be incarnational?

The incarnational model is how we often describe our decision to live among the people to whom we are sent. We learn to speak their language. We immerse ourselves in their culture, eating their foods and building deep friendships within that people group. The term “incarnational ministry” may also refer to adopting a living standard (e.g., the type and size of our house, the transportation we use, the clothes we wear) that does not create social barriers to the common people. But is “incarnational” the best word to describe our strategy of immersing ourselves in the culture of the people? Is the incarnation of Christ the model we should follow as we engage the unreached people of this world?… Read the whole post
Book Reviews, Contextualization, Evangelism

Stott on The Christian Life: a book review

John Stott’s messages at the Urbana Mission Conferences greatly influenced a number of missionaries of my generation. So, when Stott on the Christian Life: Between Two Worlds by Tim Chester came out this past summer, I decided to review the book. It is #16 in the Crossway’s series, Theologians on the Christian Life. See my post a few years ago on this series, and why it is a valuable resource. Why should missionaries read this particular book? I will focus on some key themes that make this book (and John Stott’s writings) an important read for missionaries. Shaped evangelicalism Throughout the book, Chester emphasizes how Stott’s life and ministry has shaped evangelicalism. The author writes in the Introduction: . . . the more I have explored his theology in its historical context, the more I have realized that it has been Stott, perhaps more than anyone else, who has influenced… Read the whole post
Training, Contextualization, Follow-up, Gospel, Cultural learning

Follow-up: Keep Culture in Perspective

Culture is high on the list of mission topics. For example, many colleges and seminaries have renamed their “Mission” departments as “Inter-cultural” departments or something similar. Certainly, cultural studies are essential for anyone proclaiming the gospel to people from other people groups. But we must keep culture in perspective. In 1 Corinthians Paul provides a perspective that both confronts and adapts to culture. Culture does not form the content of the gospel yet it is the context in which the gospel is proclaimed, understood, and lived. Culture is not the source of saving knowledge of God First of all, Paul announces that the wisdom of the world, which is part of culture, does not bring us a saving knowledge of God (1 Cor. 1:18-21). Knowing God depends on God’s revelation (1 Cor. 2:10-13), not on human wisdom. However, the wisdom of this world clearly impressed the Corinthian believers. So Paul… Read the whole post
Cross-Cultural Living, Training, Adult Education, Contextualization

Wouldn’t it be cheaper to train indigenous workers?

Why do we raise thousands of dollars of monthly support and move ourselves and our families to foreign cities? Why do we learn their languages and cultures, and seek to establish churches or disciple-making movements within those cultures? Because Christ tells us to go and make disciples of all nations. See Matthew 28:19-20. But here is the response we often get from those who have thought about the cost of human and financial resources in this effort: Wouldn’t it be cheaper and more effective to train and support indigenous believers to reach their own people? Why are expatriates needed? How should you and I respond to this pushback?… Read the whole post
Books, Disciple-making, DMM, Islam, Missionary Roles, Spiritual Formation, Book Reviews, Contextualization, Insider Movements

Effective Discipling in Muslim Communities – a review

In the last number of years, many books have been published about how to engage and do evangelism among Muslim peoples. But few books address the specifics of how to help new believers from Muslim contexts grow in their faith while remaining in their Muslim communities and families. Given that some claim that up to 90% of converts from Muslim backgrounds reconvert back to Islam, discipleship and support of these converts is clearly a critical need in mission work among Muslim peoples. A few months ago, in this blog, I posted a review of Evelyn and Richard Hibberts’ “Walking Together on the Jesus Road: Intercultural Discipling.” Now, I would like to highlight another book in this same vein, speaking even more specifically to the challenges of disciple-making among Muslim peoples – Effective Discipling in Muslim Communities: Scripture, History and Seasoned Practices by Don Little. This book is one of those… Read the whole post
Training, Contextualization, Evangelism

Why did Jesus prohibit his disciples from going to the least reached?

These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. – Matthew 10:5–6 Why did Jesus not send his disciples to Gentiles and Samaritans? The Gentiles were the people who knew the least about the true God. From a missiological standpoint, they were the least reached. The Samaritans knew something of the Law but were not accepted as genuine worshippers of the God of Israel. They were also unreached and proved to be among the most responsive to Jesus’ message. Among them, Jesus saw one of his greatest harvests (John 4:35-42). The Jews, on the other hand, had already received many opportunities to hear about God’s grace over the centuries past through the prophets and the Law of Moses. Many of them were very resistant to any message that would… Read the whole post
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