Getting Ready for Summer Missions by Phil Kesler

Schools are out soon! Vacation time is coming. Churches have been planning summer mission trips. Here are a few things to consider before heading out to the country or state where you will serve:

  1. Make sure that what is needed is what the people need, and not just what your church is good at and that will make your church feel good doing. Good coordination between your church and the missionary /national church on the field will go a long way to make the trip truly strategic.
  2. Make certain that the project is something that will help the entire community, not just a few people in the community. A water well that benefits many is better than just one house that creates envy / strife after you are gone, for example.
  3. Make sharing the Gospel the primary aim and use social work / compassionate work in balance. There will always be those that want whatever you are giving, building, doing, etc and will feign interest in the Gospel to get that thing. Don’t stop doing some good things but on the other hand, make sharing Jesus and developing ministry points that others can follow up later the priority!
  4. Make sure that someone on the field (missionary, church in that country) is going to follow up with those folks interested in or that accepted Jesus. Be certain that contact information given (telephone numbers, emails, addresses) is passed along to someone that will go back and continue to make disciples out of the harvest gathered!
  5. Spend time praying for the people to be visited. Pray for the mission team. Pray for the work to be done. Pray for safety. Study all you can about where you are going and try to learn a few words and what is culturally appropriate to say and do – as well as things to avoid!
  6. Do take photos to show back home. Do avoid taking indelicate photos and posting them on Facebook – national brothers and sisters have digital devices and you may unwillingly post something that you think is innocent but may offend them. Ask yourself before posting – would I want someone to take this photo of my country? Of my family? Of this suffering?

If you do these few things, no doubt your summer missions experience will be a good, strategic trip that will glorify Christ, bless the national partners, and leave everyone feeling good that God used you to advance His Kingdom!

Kingdom Principles Model For Others by Ron Roy

Be an Example worth Following

     John C. Maxwell writes that the number one management principle is that: “people do what people see.”

Management principle or not, most parents would say the same thing as they watch child after child begin to pick up naturally the good habits as well as some of the bad from both parents. Children learn to tie shoes by watching and then doing. Words are repeated with the same inflection in the voice.  Phrases are repeated even though the meaning may not have been learned yet by the child.   Life principles are also part of the modeling chain.

I have also seen this principle lived out in the discipleship chain as life principles and values are passed from disciple to disciple from generation to generation.  People, disciples, children learn to do what they see others do.  How important it is for us to model for those who are watching, learning, forming and expanding their concept of life.

 

Review the last 72 hours and the persons who saw you in action living life as it came to you.  What did you model to them?  Where did your decisions point them?  When did they see you at your best and worst?   What are your observations from these same 72 hours: who did you watch to see how they did life?  Who/What were they listening too?  How did they react to conflict, praise, stress, laughter?  What did they model for you positively or negatively?

Here is my “Big Ten” list that reminds me not to forget to MODEL for others.

  • Stay up to date on your own connectedness with Jesus your Model

Listen to His voice, Learn from His word; Love Him as you trust and obey, 

  • Let your heart set the pace in your life flow

Leading, Parenting, Ministering from the heart keeps us in a listening mode. Being transparent, honest, open, and vulnerable allows you to keep fresh modeling relationships.  (See Proverbs 4:23)  If we are an example that is only “head” driven than those who follow may develop tendencies that ignore soul care. 

  • Remember the skipping rock principle of modeling

Someone skips the rock and you watch.  Then you try.  The person helps you make adjustments.  You watch again, try again and the process is repeated until one day you are “the someone” in another persons life.  Modeling has a ripple effect to it.  You never know when what you are modeling will be repeated again, again, again, again and again.   What a responsibility!  What an opportunity!  

  • Being a good model, is another form of passing on Blessing. You model well. You bless. Choose to model well.  Choose to bless. Be a blessing.
  • You model for others 24 / 7.
  • You will model what you have learned and observed in others. Choose wisely.
  • Others will model what they have seen you do, say, react, decide. This can involve multiple generations. (See II Timothy 2:2) Live wisely.
  • You cannot, not model.
  • Your life influence continues in others. As your life’s: values, priorities, principles and purposes are adopted in the lives of others, your legacy example is multiplied in future generations.
  • When you model life, you are helping to design, sculpt and shape another person’s life and ministry. Enjoy your artwork.  Stay on target.

 Let the blessings overflow through your example. People ARE watching.  

Ron Roy –

Glocal Focus Associate

Interchurch Reconciliation and Why it is so Hard by Phil Kesler

More and more churches in the cities of the USA are realizing that it is high time that something be done to reconcile the divide between traditionally Anglo and Afro-American communities.  It is a great thing that at least there is a feeling that the divide as it stands must not continue. Why is it so hard to find a way to bridge this gap?

Unlike most of the rest of the Christian world that regularly gathers together in small groups — many American churches have lost the vision, if they ever had it, for true KOINONIA. Most traditional churches DO church and many religious activities but never really fellowship deeply with each other in their own church. People gather for meetings and know each other professionally but rarely encounter each other socially except for programmed social events. In other words, people in traditional churches rarely if ever open their homes to others for breakfast, lunch, dinner or meet someone from the church just to encourage one another and get to know each other. The exception to this rule is when the church has an active cell church / house church ministry where regular KOINONIA takes place. The author has been a member of two different churches since returning to the USA and, while he has invited people to his home – rarely if ever has he or his family been invited to the home of another church member just for KOINONIA. If Christians are “too busy” to meet with each other and get to know each other in a deep Koinonia sense in their own church – how will we ever get to know people from other churches that are of other races/ ethnic heritages?

It should go without saying that ministers and staff must model KOINONIA among their members of all ethnic groups so that others in their congregations will follow.

Another significant concern is that few traditional churches are evangelizing in the neighborhoods where they are based. Many don’t even realize that the demographics have changed right around their church – and in fact – other races / ethnic groups occupy what used to be the “church community”. This pattern is common in many downtown areas in cities around the world.

It is noble that pastors want to have meetings to get to know each other, trade pulpits from time to time, march together, attend conferences that address race relations – but if we as the church do not regularly practice KOINONIA – praying for each other, bearing each other’s burdens, becoming more Christ like, and reaching the lost — we will continue to become more and more irrelevant amongst ourselves and in the communities we ought to be serving.

If real change is to occur within and between churches, then pride and power must be put aside in favor of KOINONIA and Kingdom advance. Developing a Kingdom focus to do God’s will in unity should be THE priority.  The model is one of servant leaders working together to promote, create, and model KOINONIA and Kingdom advance within their congregations regardless of ethnic heritage. The author has been privileged to work for leaders in several different countries with various ethnic backgrounds – and has seen firsthand how God blessed those relationships and God’s mission multiplied!

What can be done (if there is a genuine commitment and will do to so):

  • Sharing meals with each other in our own church
  • Actively inviting others that come to our church to lunch / dinner – especially those from other ethnic groups
  • Purposely look to meet and eat with members of other churches – to get to know them.
  • Purposely have joint celebrations, worship in the park, etc.
  • Purposely look for joint mission projects where we can enjoy each other and enjoy serving Kingdom expansion together.
  • Purposely seek to conduct joint mission mobilization and mission training events.
  • Purposely share leadership in sports evangelism like Upward Basketball, Upward Baseball, etc.
  • Prayer-walk, evangelize, start Bible studies in homes in multi-ethnic pairs when possible.
  • Purposely seek to unite social ministry projects /outreach (meals on wheels, recovery groups, counseling, teen pregnancy, etc)
  • Purposely seek to develop cell church networks together
  • Purposely plan and conduct mission trips together with shared leadership
  • Purposely plan and conduct marriage retreats together – perhaps develop ONE marriage enrichment group.
  • Purposely plan and conduct pastoral / ministry enrichment conferences together
  • Purposely seek to develop a colorless staff – where leaders are selected and serve based on spirituality, leadership competence, trust, and shared Kingdom focus.
  • Purposely seek to send out missionaries not as one church but from the mission team /pastors of the city. The author has seen this in practice overseas. It really does work!

As we start heading in this direction – brothers and sisters of different ethnic groups will leave behind days of having to tip toe around each other. Instead, we will genuinely know and love each other, work together regularly, see each other as disciples making disciples, and watch the Kingdom grow in partnership.

Using Your Profession to Extend the Kingdom by Phil Kesler

Since the time of the early church, missionaries have gone out from one country to reach another. Many of these missionaries were sent in a “traditional” way – people trained in seminaries, largely with pastoral skills – and supported by churches. Many countries were reached and churches were planted in many countries around the world.

The reality is that there never have been, nor ever will be, enough “professional clergy missionaries” available to reach the unreached in the entire world. That is because we are all supposed to be using our profession to extend the Kingdom of God wherever we are and wherever our job takes us!

Paul used his profession of leatherworking /tent repair to sustain him and to provide a forum where he could regularly engage “normal folks” in the city commercial districts. Moravian missionaries used their professions in the countries where they felt God sending them. Today, some agencies specialize in facilitating the sending out of highly qualified workers in a variety of professional capacities.

It would probably surprise most folks to realize that the job they currently are doing is probably highly coveted overseas in more than one place – and many of those places are unreached with the Gospel. Jobs in the areas of health care, education, sports, social work, and business are available and in some cases – the need is urgent for competent professionals. Each region of the world has its own special needs and salaries vary, but many good paying jobs can be found around the globe!

Have you ever put your job before the Lord and asked Him if He might have you work somewhere else – that has never heard the Gospel? Are you ready to go where He leads – and take your spouse and family – if you have them – with you too? Imagine for a moment your family having the adventure of a lifetime, seeing God work through your lives together! It may be that God wants you to be the best engineer, teacher, business professional, sports leader, health or social worker that you can be and share Jesus with those that have never heard!!!

Are you ready to ask Him today?

May you be receptive and obedient to whatever He says!

The “Cross-Cultural Missions” Challenge by Jim Spikes

Many in church today probably feel they have a clear idea of what “Cross-Cultural Missions” means. The term often elicits visions of faraway lands and people who look and speak differently.  Carrying the Gospel cross-culturally means going to a different place, learning a different language and culture, and building bridges for the Gospel.  With reason, most missionary training programs have strong elements of ethnolinguistic training and cultural and worldview research.  Yet this understanding is only the tip of the iceberg regarding the true cross-cultural challenge facing us as the church in North America.

As many have observed, our cross-cultural challenge is complex.  No longer are people who look and speak differently located in lands far away. They are now our neighbors, co-workers, and friends. Not only are our churches still challenged by the need to remain committed to sending and supporting missionaries abroad, they are also being challenged to think and strategize as missionaries in their own communities – often for the first time. I touched on this challenge briefly in a previous article. What does a congregation do when, suddenly, it finds itself in the middle of a city or a neighborhood that no longer looks like or speaks like most of the church members?  Some congregations react well and make the necessary adjustments in their ministry and their thinking. Others re-locate to continue their ministry to the same type of people as before. Sadly, still others have a hard time making any adjustments in paradigm and often face decline and closure.

If this were not enough, the “cross-cultural” challenge has an even deeper implication.  Experts and church leaders are recognizing that the most important cross-cultural challenge facing congregations today has nothing to do with language or ethnicity.  Some of those around our churches who are farthest from the Gospel are those who may look the most like us. Never has the “Generation Gap” been so wide as it is today.  Of course, one could say that there have always been generational differences that the church has had to overcome in passing the Gospel from one generation to the next. It must be recognized, however, that in previous generations, there were shared cultural understandings, beliefs and core values that were similar enough to allow effective bridges to be built. The assumption was that, eventually, these younger generations will take up the task and follow our footsteps because, at their core, they were like us.  That reality may be changing. The challenge is to recognize that we are dealing with a significant cultural difference.  Our children may speak the same language and be like us in many ways, but they also reflect the mindset, belief systems, and attitudes of a growing global community around them. The global community is fueled by changes in communication, access to information, and global social interactions. These younger generations think differently, they view truth differently, they judge worth differently, and they view right and wrong/good and bad differently. In many ways, they have moved away from the basic Judeo-Christian heritage that characterized their parents and grandparents.  They are a different “culture.” It is a culture that requires us to engage it with the same level of intensity and intentionality we have traditionally reserved for the “mission field”. Experts say that our churches need to confront this challenge. The first question is Can our churches do it? The more important question is Are they willing to do it?

Here is the challenge.  As hard as it is for congregations to adjust and change their strategies, mindset, and even their identities to reach and engage people around them who are obviously different in appearance and language, it could be even harder to make these same adjustments to reach and engage people who are just as different, yet not obviously so. We cannot rely on the fact that the generations coming up in our churches look like us and talk like us to eventually lead to winning their hearts and minds for Christ.  Can we do what it takes to not only reach the different cultures around us, but also reach the “cultures”, coming after us?  Being “faithful” is not just holding on to the truth when those around us condemn it or invalidate it. It is also doing whatever is needed to ensure that this truth is ignited in the hearts and lives of those who follow us who will carry the truth forward.

The Tension Between Planning and Going with God by Phil Kesler

Every Christian leader wants to go where God is at work and do what He is leading us to do! We also want to be prepared and responsible with the resources He has given us. Can we plan in a God guided manner? How can that work?

First – when it comes to developing a vision and mission statement – we should, as a leadership team, pray and ask God’s direction for the overall ministry.

Second – when it comes to examining the yearly schedule for mobilization events, mission trips, evangelistic /impact events, church planting /house church locations, new ethnic groups to be engaged – we need to seek the feedback from all ministry leaders as well as the church body as to where God is guiding us. Are doors opening in some new place or with certain people? This may mean deciding to NOT do some things that we’ve always done, so that we can do some new things that God is revealing.

Third – develop the calendar and budget in such a way that there is some flexibility built in and explain this clearly to the staff team as well as other key leadership. Help all to see that there is no fear or shame in saying that an event ought to be moved, the time changed, rescheduled, cancelled or completely new activity /ministry added because that is where God is moving. Also – have a special “God at Work” line in the budget (the author has seen a local church recently do this very thing!) and allocate resources for those new ministry opportunities that could present themselves during the year. Encourage ministry leaders to analyze their budgets as the year goes on for unneeded funds that could be released for use where God is at work in another ministry sector.

Fourth, when plans, budgets, and calendars are approved and as the ministry year progresses, help everyone understand that it is all subject to change at the whim of the Holy Spirit. The pastor and staff must be constantly discerning which way He is moving – so as to steer the ship to go with Him as He moves in a new direction.

Where is your Church by Jim Spikes

Many of us involved in local churches have heard this question before. In most cases, we take the question at face value and we respond with a physical location like “2434 Somewhere Street” or we say, “on Main street between Fifth and Sixth avenues across from the courthouse.”  While we know that a church is something completely different from the physical location where it meets, we accept the geographical identity so that people asking can locate us if they desire. We are, however, living in a time when this simple question is taking on a larger, more significant meaning. Rather than referring to a physical address, many of us are asking this question of ourselves as members of the Body of Christ. As we seek to remain true to the Gospel and to the practices we have known and loved, we also see the growing gulf between who we are as the Body of Christ and the culture that surrounds us. Where are we in trying to navigate these different realities.

 

Every congregation, no matter its size or its resources, faces the same call to reach out to the world around it and show God’s love forgiveness and call people to a living relationship with Jesus Christ. Fulfilling this call, however, is becoming ever more challenging. There is a great and growing difference between what the church and the surrounding culture says is true, important, relevant and of worth. How did we get here? And, more importantly, what do we, as the church, need to do?   Too many times we are tempted to ignore this reality, close our eyes to the challenges and just keep on doing what we have always done – trusting that in time, the society around us will return. The larger we are as a congregation, the easier it is to maintain and continue as we always have. It is sad to say, but the growing evidence seems to indicate that the culture is not returning.

The evangelical church in the USA is part of a long tradition of Western Christianity that is unique in the world.  For many years, Western Culture reflected clear Judeo-Christian values and norms. Christianity was for many centuries the dominant religious expression.  The observations I make regarding our Western culture do not hold true for those regions or cultures where Christianity did not become prominent or influential.  I have come to believe that we are now living in a period of history that is as close to the First Century as we have every experienced.  Just as in our day now, the first Christians lived lives that were radically different from the cultures around them.  Followers of Christ, because of their attitudes, actions and lifestyle, stood out.  Those mired in hopelessness, evil, and selfishness were drawn to the love, forgiveness and new life offered in the Gospel. Very quickly, these new Christ-centered values, attitudes and lifestyle began to draw the surrounding cultures closer and closer. For many centuries, Western culture became almost synonymous with Christianity.  Churches developed practices, patterns and expectations that proved effective in reaching people who shared similar cultural values, paradigms, and expectations– even though they may not have been active followers of Christ. We have now entered an era when the surrounding culture is leaving us again and is rejecting the values, priorities, attitudes and lifestyle that have characterized Evangelical Christianity for many generations. There is a growing rejection of our faith that is fed by many sources. As the culture becomes increasingly hostile and intolerant of our faith, what are our options as the church?

One option is to follow the culture.  This is almost an “if you can’t beat it, join it” philosophy. This option reflects the desire to retain the close relationship that existed between Christianity and the culture around it. Many congregations have chosen to let the culture guide their hermeneutic, their values and their practices.  Often, these congregations are large, popular and, on the surface, effective.  Yet, churches who choose this path lose their distinctiveness and their ability to produce true spiritual change in the society. As my pastor often says, to make a difference you must be different. A second option for is to hold on to long-standing paradigms and practices in the sincere belief that if we just “keep the faith”, the world around us will eventually get fed up with the emptiness of life and return. The problem here is that many of these traditional practices, strategies and approaches were only effective in a world of similar, shared mindsets and values. They are now being applied to realities and challenges they were never designed to meet.  The very people we are seeking to reach are now marching to a different drummer and have a very different view of life and truth. If we continue to reach out as we have always done, we will find ourselves like a group of tourists I saw who were asking loudly and continually in English for service in a restaurant where everyone else spoke only Spanish. The Spanish speakers wanted to serve, but they could not understand.  Churches choosing this option can feel content because they are remaining faithful to what they know is true, yet they often find themselves declining. The high number of plateaued and dying churches among Evangelicals today indicate where this path or option can lead. Why are churches closing their doors in the middle of some of the greatest lostness we have seen in generations? The surest way to irrelevance and decline is to continue approaches designed for a different reality. How effective would massive newspaper ads be in a world of ipads, smart phones, and declining readership?

Where is my church in this new reality? We at Glocal Focus Associates believe the key is to look back at how our brothers and sisters in the First Century began to change their world in a generation.  What were they doing that we, the fruit and legacy of their faithfulness, are not doing?  They faced evil just as we face evil.  They faced persecution just as we face growing rejection and persecution. These early believers grasped a truth that we need to rediscover. We do not need to let ourselves be deceived or diverted by our technology or our development. Our faith, at its core, is relational.  Discipleship, at its core, is relational. Many congregations are discovering and practicing this truth and they are having a tremendous impact in their communities.  In areas of the world where open persecution draw clear lines between followers of Christ and the society around them, growing churches in these contexts reflect the relational core of what it means to love as Jesus loved, forgive as Jesus forgave, care as he cared, heal as he healed.  Again, I raise the question, where is your church?  Is it on a path that reflects our changing culture rather than changing it? Is it on a path leading it to yell louder and louder to people who can no longer speak its language?   Or are you considering what it will mean to look behind the structures, the events, the plans and find what it means to engage people at the level where they hurt and where they need and learn their “language” so that they can clearly see Christ and his Gospel.  Our unchanging God has demonstrated his power and desire to change the world in the First century.  He calls on us – His church – to allow ourselves to be used to do the same in the 21st Century.

INCARNATIONAL LIVING by Ron Roy

A shout out to those of you who are living cross-culturally, either in the United States or internationally.  I applaud your concern, call, connection and acceptance of the challenge to live with a lens greater than your own comfort zone. I consider those who choose to interact and even live cross-culturally as a Lifeline of hope, grace, love, and friendship as they live and tell the Jesus Story.

Dear Incarnational Lifeline.

  • You are the bridge that people learn to walk over to get to Jesus.
  • You are the light that helps guide the lost out of their darkness.
  • You are the song that lifts people toward the True Source of Joy.
  • You are the voice inviting others to celebrate His presence.
  • You are living out His Name as you make Jesus real in practical ways.
  • You show that there is hope even during hopeless situations.
  • You are a road sign pointing persons to the One True Way.
  • You are that breath of fresh air for the one crippled with fear and doubt.
  • You are that listening friend concerned enough to share your Hope and Love.
  • You are the sail that catches the wind of the Spirit toward the next opportunity to connect.
  • You are the source of encouraging words to the needy heart longing for affection, affirmation, and acceptance.
  • Your life reflects: harmony, hope, love, calmness, power, purpose, joy and faith.
  • Your life instills: vision, endurance, patience, dependence and wisdom
  • Your life conveys: Christian principles, values and the Standard to base life on
  • Yes, Incarnational Lifeline, you are the one in the trenches.  That is why today, I want to Thank you.

Thank you because you:

  • Look for ways to connect lostness with the Lord of Light.
  • See ways to connect the helpless with the Lord of Hope.
  • Listen for ways you can bridge the hurts of others to the Source of Comfort.
  • Show people how to trust in Jesus through your own – – –
    • Life-style
    • Decisions
    • Family Life
    • Priorities
    • Friendships
    • Attitudes
    • Actions
    • Handling of conflict
  • Remember,      Don’t worry about life being “Fair”
  • Remember,      Don’t focus on what you are missing, but be concerned for people,

and what they are missing, JESUS!

  • Remember,      Don’t keep score, or keep up with your losses.          Release them!
  • Remember,     Don’t keep a “you did me wrong list”                        Rip it up!
  • Remember,      Don’t let anything, or anyone, hinder your testimony EVER!
  • Remember,      Don’t separate the spiritual from the secular.

Living as an incarnational lifeline means that:

Your heart is with you in your adopted country and culture.  You have unpacked and that includes your own heart.  It is not divided. Your own heart is at home and at rest, it isn’t on a journey back to where you came from.

Your life-style is lived in the NOW.  You are open to minister to others and be ministered to in NOW time. Some call this the Samaritan Principle.  The opportunity for service is now, not after the course, when the next term has started or is over, but now.   An incarnational lifeline has learned the “clock” of their host culture, if the host country even has or uses clocks.

Life is embraced as a journey of living in a different culture. Life is an adventure of reconciliation for his/her own life as well as those with whom he/she serves.

Hurt, pain, suffering, disappointment are part of the life of an incarnational missionary.  But these are not just his/her personal experiences. The incarnational lifeline feels the hurts, pains, suffering, disappointments of his/her host culture.

Being an incarnational lifeline means a life of service and saying no to selfish desires. The incarnational lifeline knows that he/she is a servant first, a servant second, and a servant third. He/she knows what it is like to play the “second violin” while others learn to take the lead.

“My way” may not be the “accepted way” is a principle the incarnational lifeline has learned.    Adapting to the culture when you are in the minority and saying no to judgmental and prejudicial feelings are marks of an incarnational lifeline.

An incarnational lifeline is one who desires to Reflect the love of Jesus, Mirror the values of Jesus, Hold up the Standards of Jesus and Allow His Light to illumine and be reflected.

An incarnational lifeline understands that his/her call is one of unlimited trust and obedience and that the harvest is in the hands of Jesus.

Incarnational life liners learn how to “read faces,” “read hearts,” “read lives,” and don’t simply try to convince their host culture of Truth.  They earn the right to be heard, by living and showing the message as well as telling the Gospel story. Truth is caught as well as taught.

Incarnational life liners, live with purpose, direction and vision.  They are willing to witness anytime, anywhere, to anybody as God leads in the heart language of the people.  Learning the language is seen as a vital part of the lifeline mentality of being incarnational.

Living the incarnational lifestyle, really is a God intentional way of saying “I Love You.” If you are a cross cultural life liner, in a way you are God’s love letter to your host culture.  He is telling them how much He loves them, not just by sending Jesus, but also by sending you to tell the Jesus story.  I trust that the love of God is flowing through your life ever more deeply, richly, embracing life and others with the very heart of God.

  • Who will read God’s letter, (your life) today where you live?
  • What will be their impressions of the Life Line pointing them to Jesus?
  • What is hindering you from living as an incarnational lifeline?

Diaspora Mobilized Disciple Streams

Diaspora Mobilized Disciple Streams

By Jim Spikes and Phil Kesler

Working with Diaspora peoples is nothing new; the Gospel has spread for years strategically through people from all walks of life. Paul and others made disciples among diverse people groups (PGs) through commercial, military, religious, and personal relationships. These disciples then took the Gospel to their own peoples and to others.  While some of those peoples remained in the vicinity of where they were led to Jesus, many of them moved on to other locations as their employment or life circumstances led them elsewhere.

It is important to recognize that, in today’s increasingly globalized world, Mobilized Disciples (MDs) – those that become disciples and are challenged to make disciples no matter where God takes them – are highly mobile people.

The Christian church, especially in Global Cities, is really more of a liquid than a solid. Diaspora Christian meetings /services may form and appear to be solid like ice – but as ice eventually melts and flows away – often the Diaspora Christian MDs move to other locations within cities, within countries, or even move away to other countries – all the while seeking to form other MDs among their own PG as well as other UPGs.

Diaspora Christian MDs form semi-permanent church groupings that, though they may diminish in size or even cease to meet in one location, may blossom and multiply in other locations. Traditional means for measuring “success” related to some sort of permanent gathering with stable leadership presence may not be the best tools for capturing and understanding the impact and spread of these Diaspora MD assemblies or leadership development networks.

This is not to say that one cannot “track” or “count” Diaspora Christian growth. The challenge is to develop approaches and tools that take into account Diaspora realities and that can identify and measure significant elements. One of these elements could be the ongoing relationship and contact modern technology allows many of these MDs to have with their mentors. Through natural relationships, Diaspora MDs can be encouraged to report their progress, and are often quite joyful to do so! In some cases, for example, Diaspora Mobilizers have been invited to another country to witness firsthand the fruit of their labors, seeing how Diaspora MDs have planted multiple churches back in the MDs home country! However, it is important to recognize that, in normal conditions, after the 3rd or 4th generation of Diaspora Christian MDs /gatherings, reporting may be sporadic at best. In order to make the reporting work well, Diaspora workers must foster the spirit of family at all times in all gatherings and encourage their MDs to stay in touch no matter where they are, often by regular Skype or other social media communications.

When considering Diaspora Christian MDs, the best and most expected outcome is to see multiple “streams” of movement and exponential growth that ebb and flow and quite often cross cultural and geographic boundaries, regardless of which PG was the base group that initiated the network.

So what do we do with a missionary?

So what do we do with a missionary?

By Phillip Lee Kesler

Walking into the average church – most people are happy to greet a missionary. Some want to ask questions; others want to share where they went on a mission trip; on occasion, a missionary may be asked to come up front and give a testimony. Rarely a missionary will be called to preach.

That’s about where it stops.

If you asked most people what a missionary does, you would get a whole variety of responses. Some would say “preach the gospel to the lost”; some would say “plant churches”; others would say “organize mission trips for volunteers” – and that would be the extent of the knowledge of most members.

If they only knew.

If they only understood how much a missionary could help them!

  1. Missionaries do preach the gospel and help plant churches. But they also train and equip local pastors and missionaries to continue the work in an effective manner — which is vital to mission continuation and multiplication!
  2. Missionaries can teach how to effectively employ social work / compassionate ministry along with the Gospel message in order to multiply church planting efforts and not create dependency among the host people.
  3. Missionaries train, equip, and mentor future leaders – looking to empower the next generation of pastors, missionaries, and seminary professors. Some missionaries have helped start whole new conventions and mission agencies from scratch!
  4. Missionaries often interview, coach, encourage, teach, and prepare sports professionals, businessmen/women, educators, health care workers, and other technical /professional people to work overseas among unreached peoples – how to appropriately share their faith and plant simple churches among new disciples in countries where access is a challenge.
  5. Missionaries can help churches and church staff teams how to prepare their volunteers to go overseas and work in a responsible manner that leaves a lasting impact for the Kingdom; but all too often, what churches actually do is tantamount to “voluntourism”—an overseas experience that really doesn’t accomplish much, but uses an inordinate amount of time, resources, creates dependency, etc. — but the sending church feels good that they “did missions” and will probably do the same exact thing year after year, if not coached appropriately.
  6. Missionaries are connected to each other and know where the greatest needs are, for those serious about working overseas professionally in restricted areas (among Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Communists, etc).
  7. Missionaries know how to train people how to share their faith and make disciples among hard to reach peoples and to do so naturally in conversation. Ask them.
  8. Many missionaries can lead mission mobilization events, missionary training events, and pastor’s conferences – inspiring messages and dynamic teaching. They can teach potential mission candidates about basic anthropology, language classes, etc.
  9. Many missionaries can teach simple church planting strategies (i.e. cell groups) for expanding ministries into communities where most local churches have little or no influence – among Diaspora peoples (immigrants, refugees, etc).

So…..the next time a missionary enters your church…… what will you ask of them NOW?