July 13, 2024
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
Cultural learning, Training, Contextualization, Follow-up, Gospel

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
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