It was early 2008 when I was first introduced to movement thinking at a world wide gathering for the mission agency I was working with at the time. I was new to the mission field, to church planting and so the week long seminar I attended rocked my world. There were so many paradigm shifts in what I was hearing, so much that was counter intuitive to what I'd done my entire church life in the U.S. It was disorientating at first but it struck a chord deep in my soul.
Church planting movments (CPM), disciple making movements (DMM), the spontaneous expansion of the church - all of it seemed born in the pages of scripture. Reading the case studies of movements happening in Asian and Africa looked like the book of Acts far more than my own church experience. And we we living in a country that was less than 0.01% Christian.
Doing what we'd always done was just not an option.
Over the next several years, we got some great training, had a great coach and dove into our own personal journey of rewriting the paradigms of church that had been embedded in us by a lifetime of North American church culture. I also began reading everything I could get my hands on in order to help me grow in my understanding and practice of all that it would take to see a church planting movement birthed where we were.
The first book that I read over and over again was the book of Acts. It is where everyone should start. But after that I began to find other books that helped me learn what God was doing in the book of Acts.
And so here are seven books that I found helpful on that journey.
These seven books will do much to help anyone interested in multiplication and movement. The paradigm shifts needed to begin to apply the Biblical principles of multiplication are enormous. These books will help you make those shifts.
A few other helpful books:
Jesus instructed his followers - which includes us - to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to observe all that He had commanded.
It was the last instruction that he gave to his first disciples and as they obeyed, the gospel quickly spread out from Judea and into all of the surrounding regions and it kept going.
In the process of moving out, the disciples who carried the gospel, quickly began to cross linguistic and cultural barriers and they began to wrestle with how to communicate the gospel well. This has been an ongoing challenge for every generation of disciples as they strive to obey Jesus.
It is a challenge for our generation as well.
Doug Birdsall says that, "The Great Commission is for every church in every culture in every generation. There are no exclusions. But . . . every church in every culture in every generation must determine the way in which they respond to this responsibility -- in a way that is appropriate to time and context."
Here are seven books that I think you will find helpful for learning how you should respond as you have opportunities to cross cultural barriers with the gospel.
What is it that has shaped the way you think about the world around you?
What is shaping your worldview right now?
I often say that we are all, always being discipled by something. We don't have a choice. The things we listen to, watch and read are shaping us. They are shaping how we think, forming our character and driving our interests.
It is a reality.
If we go to church for an hour and a half each week and then spend two hours every day watching Oprah or listening to Rush Limbaugh, guess what? Our thinking, character and interests will look a lot like Oprah or Rush. We don't have a choice. That's just what happens.
The choice we do have is in the content of what we listen to, watch or read. We are in control of those choices.
Our Multiply team was reflecting today on the desires of our heart. It was during this time that I began to think back over my life and the things that shaped some of my strongest desires. One book in particular came to the forefront of my mind. I read it first in college and it began to shape my thinking in powerful ways. It was the missionary biography Through Gates of Splendor by Elizabeth Elliot.
There are others as well and with today's post I want to share with you 7 missionary biographies that I think will fuel your missions fire. They certainly have for me!
You'll probably be able to find most of these in a church library near you, but if not, you can purchase them from Amazon at the links given.
I in no means intend to say that these are the seven best missionary biographies that are out there, but they are seven that get me excited and they are stories that will both inspire you and help to shape your heart for the nations. I hope you will find time to read them all in the next year!
Perhaps you have a favorite missionary biography - if so, please share it in the comments below.
As we head out into diverse neighborhoods in our city, we often run into new Americans, people who've just recently come to North America and who have yet to master the English language. Like first generation immigrants from years past, they'll probably never master English, working rather to earn a living and give their children a chance at a better life than they had.
As someone interested in sharing the good news of Jesus with these new neighbors, this poses an interesting challenge.
Technology offers a way around this challenge. There are some amazing apps that you can use to help share the good news of Jesus with the nations among us. These can be found by searching for the apps below on either your iPhone or Android phone.
Here are seven smart phone apps for reaching the nations among us that we have found helpful. As always, if you know of others, please share them in the comments below.
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Bible.is has a number of features that are helpful. If there is an audio version of the particular language, you can use it to listen to the language. I know a friend who was doing a creation to Christ Bible study with a Somali family and he'd simply place his phone in a bowl on the table (for amplification) and play the chapter of the Bible they were exploring that week. The family would listen in Somali and then they'd discuss the passage.
Learn more here: http://www.bible.is/
We pray because our vision exceeds our ability. Prayer is the soul's deepest cry of rebellion against the way things are, seeing the lost of this world and crying out, "This does not glorify God, and so, by God's grace, it must change!" Prayer comes from God and ascends back to God on behalf of those who do not know God. Extraordinary prayer lays a firm foundation for a movement of God."
I was reading in Luke 11 today, through the passage where Jesus teaches us His prayer and then goes on to tell us to, "ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, recieves, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened."
It reminded me of the Garrison quote above and of the many resources available to help the body of Christ focus "extraordinary prayer" on the nations. And so today I want to share Seven Prayer Resources To Fuel Your Missions "Prayer" Fire.
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Prayercast Video for North Korea
I'd have to say that one of the biggest influences on my heart for the nations and the fullfilment of the great commission has been books. As I first read biographies of missionaries and now more and more often, educational and inspirational non-fiction around missions, books have shaped the way I think about the world, the values I hold and the place in my heart that missions holds.
And so I'd love to encourage you to consider reading these books to fuel your missions fire. These are not necessarily in any order and aren't in any way thought to be the best seven books. And it certainly isn't an exhaustive list.
As always, if you have a book that has been instrumental in growing your heart for the nations and the completion of the great commission, mention it in the comments.
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Author: Russell T. Hitt
Nate Saint was one of the five missionaries killed in Ecuador by the Waodani Indians in 1956. Their story caught the attention of the church and God used their martyrdom to ignite a new passion for frontier missions - it certainly did for me. While Through Gates of Splendor is the most famous of the books on this incident, Jungle Pilot is an inspiring look into the life of Nate Saint and the motivations and love that drove him.
Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret
Author: Dr. Howard Taylor
A missionary biography classic, this book about Hudson Taylor's life looks into a time when missionaries were first pressing into the inlands of places like China, Africa and India. Filled with stories of risk taking obedience to Jesus and great faith, this missionary biography is one everyone should read.
Eternity in Their Hearts
Author: Don Richardson
Don Richardson was a missionary in Indonesia in the 1960s and while there discovered a principle: God has been preparing the peoples of the world to know him. Through the lense of twenty five uniques stories from all across the globe, Eternity in Their Hearts proves the truth in the words of Ecclesiastes: He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
Let the Nations Be Glad
Author: John Piper
With deep Biblical insight and reflection, Piper forcefully makes the case that, "Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn't. Worship is ultimate." This is a great resource for everyone interested in learning more about why we do missions and why it should be in the mind of every follower of Jesus.
In the Gap
Author: David Bryant
In the Gap lays a foundation of understanding for what it means to be a world christian, those who are (in Corrie Ten Boom's phrase) tramps for the Lord who have left their hidding places to roam the Gap with the Savior. They are heaven's expatriots, camping where the Kingdom is best served.
Out of the Comfort Zone
Author: George Verwer
George Verwer is the founder of Operation Mobilization where he now serves as the "Special Projects Dude". This small book has been used to mobilize many to the mission fields of the world. You can even get this book and others free when you email George.
Western Christians in Global Misssion
Author: Paul Borthwick
As the state of Christianity increasingly shifts to the global south, our missionary strategies and thinking will need to adapt to new realitites. Borthwick presents a thoughtful book to help the church navigate these new realities with honest self reflection and missional determination.
This list of seven books is in no way exhaustive and so I want to encourage you to share the book that has helped you catch the missions vision in the comments below.
*all links to books are affiliate links
Last week we shared seven podcasts that we have found helpful to fuel the missions fire. Today we’d like to add to that list of resources and share with you seven video channels that will help you train unto the harvest and cast vision for the great commission. Some are focused purely on training and equipping the local church. Others are focused on helping the local church catch God’s vision for the nations. All have been inspiring and helpful and we hope they will do the same for you.
Everywhere to Everywhere (E2E) works to multiply healthy disciples and raise up missional leaders. We are challenged to inspire believers to cultivate a heart for the least reached locally, nationally and globally and to provide tools that will help them make a difference.
We hope that these seven video channels will support that effort.
At the bottom of the post, we’ve shared one video from each of these sites to give you a bit of the flavor of their content and we hope you will explore more.
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MB Mission believes in the power of story. Their videos will take you into the heart of mission all across the world, telling the stories of God’s engagement with and through his people. Powerful testimonies will encourage and inspire you.
Global Frontier Missions
Their GFM 101 series of videos have been especially helpful for casting vision with local churches and individuals. These short videos do a great job of unpacking the great commission and some key concepts that missionaries are wrestling with today.
Frontiers is one of the largest mission agencies focusing specifically on the Muslim world. These inspiring videos tell the story of God's working through his people across the Muslim world.
No Place Left Training
The No Place Left Network are a group of like minded individuals and churches who are working to see movements of disciples making disciples spread across the globe until there is no place left (Romans 15:23). In order to work toward that goal, they have been developing simple and accessible training tools. These they freely give to anyone who is interested in being a disciple who makes disciples and we have incorporated these tools into our Everywhere to Everywhere training events. The 411 Training module is a key component of E2E.
Curtis Sergeant Training for Multiplication
Curtis is one of the foremost trainers in movement methodology and has been a catalytic part of movements across the globe. His 28 multiplication concepts videos are a great first step into thinking about multiplication. They are accessible and easily understandable and at less than 10 minutes, each can be watched over a lunch break or after work.
Engage Africa has put together a series of five videos unpacking their work to see multiplying movements happen across Africa. Hosted by African pastors and practitioners, these videos allow us to learn from local leaders on the ground in Africa. Filled with powerful teaching and amazing testimony, these videos are a great tool for learning about missions and movement.
Pioneers is another large mission agency whose focus is on unreached people groups across the globe. Their videos do a good job of telling the story of what God is doing among the nations. They also have a series of videos to help train and equip sending churches - great for pastors and mission committees.
If you know of other video channels like these, feel free to share them in the comments below.
GLOBAL FRONTIER MISSIONS
NO PLACE LEFT TRAINING
CURTIS SERGEANT TRAINING
The path of the missional heart is often a difficult one. The distractions that life will throw at you are many and varied. The number of fellow sojourners with whom you'll be able to run daily are often few. There is little in the culture and sometimes even in the church that will encourage your heart for missions and the completion of the great commission.
Because the challenge is real and because I need all the encouragement I can get to help me stay the course, I want to take the next few blog posts to share with you resources that will help to continuously fuel your missions fire. Today we will start with seven podcasts that I listen to on a regular basis to stay encouraged, to be inspired and to continue to learn.
If you have a favorite missions podcast that helps you run the race well, please leave a comment and share it with the rest of us.
With all of these podcasts, if you search in itunes or your favorite podcast service, you'll be able to find them.
Global Missions Podcast
The Global Missions Podcast is hosted by Rob Magwood and in general, each episode is an interview with a missionary or missiologist or author about missions. The purpose of the Global Missions Podcast is to provide helpful resources and practical information to churches and individuals to help them effectively support and engage in global missions.
My favorites: What's the role of the North American church in global missions?;
Ministering to those from honor/shame cultures.
Author and mission leader Steve Addison hosts this great podcast which focuses on disciple making movements. Most episodes are interviews with movement leaders who are making disciples who make disciples. If you need help believeing that the harvest is plentiful, if you need encouragment to share your faith boldly, this podcast will inspire you.
My favorites: Ron Surgeon Interview; God, give us Austin or we die!; Reaching the world in your backyard; NoPlaceLeft Manchester
Host Bryan Entzminger does a great job of interviewing a wide range of missional people. Some are experienced veterans and recognized experts while others are young missionary candidates just preparing to move into ministry for the first time. It creates a great resource for anyone interested in missions.
My favorites: Brett Butler; Curtis Sergeant; C. Anderson
Strike the Match
J.D. Payne is an author of over ten books on missions and his experience and insight make this podcast a great resource to continue learning. Many of his podcasts are just him sharing his insights and wisdom on missions but he also has great interviews with missiologist and missionaries.
My favorites: Nathan Shenk on Church Multiplication and Health; John Klassen on Engaging with Muslims
The Storyline Podcast is part of Storyline Missions, an effort to equip local churches with great commission vision. The foundation of this is the Storyline Workbook, an 8 lesson curriculum which is great for Sunday school classes and small groups. The first 8 episodes follow and supplement the lessons in the workbook. The rest are interviews with global leaders about accelerating the emerging mission force in the world.
My favorites: Living the Wartime Lifestyle; Mobilizing the Russian Church for Missions
Crescent Project Radio
Crescent Project Radio is hosted by Matt Bonner and each episode is an interview with someone involved with ministry to Muslims or with former Muslims who have left Islam to follow Jesus. This is a great podcast to share with your friends who are struggling to understand how we as Christians are supposed to engage with the Muslim world.
My favorites: Nasser's Story (part 2); Standing in the Fire with Tom Doyle -Part 1 ; Tom Doyle: Standing in the Fire (Part 2); Ajla's Journey to Faith
The Sent Life
The host of The Sent Life is J.R. Ammon and he has spent the last several years reaching Muslims in a North American city. He builds each podcast episode around three rounds through which he unpacks missional principles and ideas.
My favorites: Status Seeking; Love for Timothys
The E2E Community
We are a collection of practitioners and trainers dedicated to equipping and encouraging everyone everywhere to proclaim the gospel and make disciples among the unreached locally, nationally and globally.