June 21, 2024
Learning Attitude, Gospel, Disciple-making, Lifelong Learning, Book Reviews, Evangelism

Adopting the Mindset of a Scout

Why are some people more open to the truth? As missionaries, we want people to change their minds about God and their relationship to him. We frequently are dismayed at how unwilling people are to change their thinking. They resist beliefs that are at odds with those of their parents and culture. But thankfully, sometimes we encounter people who are amazingly willing to reconsider their beliefs and look seriously at the truth claims of Scripture. We rejoice at what God has done to prepare them for the Gospel. We may find out that there are circumstances and past events in their lives that have made them more open than their neighbours. But how do we describe this openness and how do we cultivate this openness in others and in ourselves? I believe we can find some answers in Julia Galef’s book, The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly… Read the whole post
Assessment Tools, Resilience, Training

Do we naturally look for shortcuts?

In my previous blog post, I reviewed a book that argues that there are no shortcuts in missions. Why was this book written? Because supposedly we like to find shortcuts! Those who study cultural differences tell us that Americans and Canadians have a strong short-term orientation. Americans have a reputation for their fast pace of life and desire for quick results. We see their desire for instant gratification in the prominence of American fast-food restaurants and the fact that the USA has the highest average national credit card debt in the world.1 See 30 Credit Card Debt Statistics – 2023 Update | Balancing Everything. So we should not be surprised that shortcuts to achieve mission results are a hot topic in our North American churches. At the same time, it is also not surprising that those who understand the American preference for quick results are cautioning us about adopting these… Read the whole post
Church Planting, DMM, Book Reviews, Missiological Issues

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
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