The Missionary Dream by Rev. Dr. Robert Scudieri

In a recent Mission Nation blog posting, Rev. Dr. Robert Scudieri tells the story of Kasongo Gui Kabeo:Mission

When Kasongo Gui Kabeo left the Democratic Republic of The Congo in Africa, he had no idea he would become a missionary to America.

A revolution in the country forced him and his family to leave. Because he was well educated, with degrees in finance and banking, he thought he would come to America and make a lot of money; but today his prophets are of a different kind.

One of the banks he was working with helped Kasongo and his family settle in Chicago. He immediately began looking for work in finance. While he was job hunting the Lord opened another door. Kasongo, a mature Christian, organized a Bible study in his apartment for his family. More than 230 languages are used in the Congo, but because French is spoken by more than 80% of people the Bible studies were in French.

Kasongo led the studies, and, because he is a gifted teacher and leader, more Africans started coming. Soon there were more than forty and the Bible study was moved to space in a local church.

Read more: Missionary Dream

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“Speaking Up” by Rev. Dr. Peter Scaer

speak upDr. Peter Scaer authored an interesting article in “For the Life of the World” (pages 4-6) that discusses the need for Christians to speak up in the public square.  Scaer begins his article asking, “Why should Christians speak in the public square? St. Paul says, ‘For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved” (Rom. 10:10).  Why should we speak in the public square? Jesus Himself says, ‘What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops” (Matt. 10:27).

Scaer observes some troubling trends in the USA where Christians have been taken to court or fired from their jobs because they practiced their faith in their vocation.  He writes, “The trends are disturbing.  As sexual orientation and gender identity laws are enacted, traditional Christian teaching is being labeled as hate speech and traditional Christians are called bigots.” (p. 5)

What should a Christian do in such a climate? Scaer counsels: “First, we must all rush to the Scriptures to be fed and instructed by God’s Word. … We need to take heart. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus tells His disciples to be of good courage. He reminds us that God is watching over us, and even more, Christ promises to be with us always.” (5-6)

Dr. Scaer states,

These are not simply social issues. When we defend marriage as one man and one woman, we are in fact praising the God of creation, knowing that marriage is no arbitrary law, but that it is put in place for the good of men, women, and yes, children.  When we speak for true marriage, we are proclaiming our fidelity to Christ who taught marriage and who is Himself the Bridegroom who gave His life for the Church. Make no mistake, this is not simply a political issue but goes to our very heart and soul as Christians. The world desperately needs to hear the truth of God’s love in salvation, to hear the truth of His good creation.  This means kindness and forgiveness, but also calling a thing for what it is, knowing that repentance and forgiveness go together. This means calling ourselves to account as well, recognizing in humility the need to go back to God’s Word, which must be our life’s guide. (p. 6)

To read the entire article, click on “Speaking Up”.

NOTE: Rev. Dr. Peter Scaer serves as associate professor of Exegetical Theology at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana. He is president of Allen County Right to Life and a found member of Shepherds United, an ecumenical Christian group formed to defend life, natural marriage and religious liberty.

Posted in Christian Apologetics, Christians in Politics, Concordia Theological Seminary (Fort Wayne), Discipleship, Evangelism, Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, Missionary, Priesthood of all Believers, Witness | Comments Off on “Speaking Up” by Rev. Dr. Peter Scaer

Verge Network Provides Free Resources to Assist You in Discipling Jesus’ Followers

VergeMichael Stewart (“Stew”), the Founding Director of Verge Network & Conferences, writes,

God’s hope for the world is the local church. The local church is His Plan A, and there is no Plan B. God’s agents of implementation are the people of the local church. New believers, volunteers, lay leaders, church staff members, and pastors are all called to fulfill the Great Commission. Christians are not just to be disciples but are tasked to make disciples. We must never forget that God didn’t just save us from something. He saved us for something.

Paul lays the groundwork for church leaders in Ephesians 4:11-13, “And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness.”

These verses remind church leaders that our work is the development of God’s people under our care. Nothing is more sacred or more strategic in His kingdom than this responsibility to equip others to serve in ministry. God did not intend for His church to be a community with a gifted pastor and staff members but to be a community of gifted people.

An inextricable connection exists between discipleship and leadership development.

Discipleship and development are two sides of the same coin. One side is character and the other side is competency. The Great Commission calls us to develop, not just do. We must make disciples, not just be disciples. We must build an army, not just an audience.

The majority of church leaders express conviction regarding the importance of leadership development, but few actually do it. Four main barriers stop them.

  1. They don’t know how.
  2. They don’t have time.
  3. They don’t have a framework.
  4. They don’t have the resources.

There is a solution: developing a leadership pipeline.

Pipeline is a system and structure that churches of any size can put in place, a culture of developing leaders at every level. Leadership pipeline isn’t a silver bullet or quick fix or magic growth strategy. It’s something that churches of various sizes and polities and implement to help both the leaders and the congregants for the sake of the ministry.

The team at LifeWay Leadership has developed a number of resources to help you begin developing a leadership pipeline at your church.

FREE Webinars – Helping you develop each role in your ministry. Register for a Webinar here: live.lifewayleadership.com

 

 

Posted in Church revitalization, Discipleship, Evangelism, Missional, Missional Communities, Missional Leadership, Priesthood of all Believers, Revitalization, Rural evangelism, Small Town Evangelism, Urban Outreach, Verge | Comments Off on Verge Network Provides Free Resources to Assist You in Discipling Jesus’ Followers

The BC Mission Boat Brings God’s Word of Hope to British Columbia Coastal Communities

BC Mission Boat In The Compass, the Spring newsletter of the BC Mission Boat, BC Mission Boat Director Marcus Huff tells the story of the “Night Watchman” in the community of Klemtu.

John is the “Night Watchman”. In the dark hours of the night, John walks the streets and paths of the community, watching over the community while many sleep. John also serves as the community’s minister. Marcus tells of John’s conversion and life as a Christian:

John’s testimony of coming to faith is one that he shares with great joy and to which he holds fast. For him, it truly is a situation of death and life, because if it wasn’t for his new life in Christ, he might not be with us today. Stuck in a life of addictions and a broken marriage, he was beaten down and lost. Yet, in the midst of all this, God sent a missionary to his house, and despite John’s efforts to dodge him, the missionary continued to return — day after day, sometimes weeks or months later in fact, but he kept coming back. It was through this relationship that John heard of the hope, freedom, love, and forgiveness available to him through Christ. Soon, John’s old life died and he started a new life born in him through Christ! He shed the life of addictions, sought to restore his relationship with his family, became a father to his three children, and began spending daily time in prayer and the Bible. It’s an amazing narrative and one that still continues to this day.

If you want to read more about John and the amazing work of the BC Mission Boat, please click on: Boat.

The BC Mission Boat requests your prayers and your participation in their mission efforts by participating on a team and by contributing financially to the mission.

Posted in Alberta -- British Columbia DIstrict (LCC), BC Mission Boat, Discipleship, Evangelism, Lutheran Church -- Canada, Missional, Missional Leadership, Missionary | Comments Off on The BC Mission Boat Brings God’s Word of Hope to British Columbia Coastal Communities

What is the Essence of Being a Lutheran Christian in Mercy?

mercyRev. Dr. Mattthew Harrison, President of the Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod, writes,

What is the essence of being a Lutheran Christian in mercy?  Christ!  What does Christ do? He speaks Law and Gospel. He speaks consolation.  He speaks His Word. He makes promises, and He acts in love. What do we do as Christians? We speak. We speak of Christ. We can’t help but speak of Christ. The fundamental truth of the Bible that there is no salvation outside faith in Christ and His merits animate the Church’s work for those in need.  If this is not so, such work becomes merely secular and may be performed by any entity in society.

The Gospel gives forgiveness and begets merciful living. Lives that receive mercy and grace cannot but be lovingly merciful toward the neighbor. The merciful washing of Baptism in Romans 6 produces the merciful living in Rom. 7:4-6. I noticed when Paul taught about the Sacraments or the Gospel, the consequence was also always a life of mercy and service. In absolution, the merciful Word of the Gospel begets merciful speaking and living.

Repentance ought to produce good fruits, the greatest possible generosity to the poor (Apology 12, 174). When we refuse to address the needs within the community as people of God and particularly as the Church of God, we are not merely breaking the Law, but we are also denying the Sacraments.  We are denying what we are made in Baptism. We’re denying what Christ’s body and blood is for us  Christ’s mandate and example of love for the whole person remains our supreme example for life in this world and for the care of the needy body and soul. …

The call to mercy is particularly addressed to Christians as a corporate community, church, whether local or synod, even national or international. …

Source: “Being Active in Mission”, by Matthew C. Harrison in Mercy in Action: Essays on Mercy, Human Care and Disaster Response. Compiled and Edited by Rev. Ross Edward Johnson.  St. Louis: The Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod, pages 40-41.

Posted in Church revitalization, Discipleship, Evangelism, Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, Lutheran Missiology, Missional Leadership, Missionary, Priesthood of all Believers, Rural evangelism, Small Town Evangelism, Social Ministry, Urban Outreach, Witness | Comments Off on What is the Essence of Being a Lutheran Christian in Mercy?

Masih ki Awaz: Christian Ministry For the South Asian Community

radio Masih ki Awaz (Voice of Christ) brings God’s Word to the large and growing Greater Toronto Area South Asian Community over the radio every Sunday morning on AM 770 WTOR and all over the world through the internet. People have responded locally and from Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.  The program educated, shares the Word of God, preaches in a gentle manner, and provides answers to important questions asked by the listeners. The radio message is an introduction to Christianity.

Masih ki Awaz features: prayers, Bible readings, hymns, a gospel filled message and a live phone-in segment where listeners can ask the broadcast team questions about the topic of the day or about the Christian faith.

The broadcast team reaches out beyond the radio show, through meetings with listeners and listener’s groups (Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs), and through phone and email conversations that follow the program.  Listeners are encouraged to attend Urdu and English services and events in Lutheran churches.

You can hear the broadcast at 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. (Eastern time) every Sunday morning. Tune in at AM 770 WTOR Toronto or on the Internet: http://tunein.com/radio/WTOR-770-s23236/.  You can contact the team at: connect@masihkiawaz.ca.

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Canvas: A Conference on Theology and Creativity — August 12-13 in Portland

The organizers of the Canvas Conference explain the vision of the conference organizers:painting

The Canvas Conference humbly exists to inform all acts of human creativity and beauty with biblical, gospel-centered theology for the worship of the triune God.

They further explain the reason for the conference:

By design, the Canvas Conference stands at the intersection of theology and creativity. Our hope and heart in this venture is gospel-oriented and gospel-driven. We want to help build strong theological foundations for the artist and, likewise, to push Christians to pursue creative orthodoxy in their theological craft. We have found that without theology, creativity wanders from its original significance and purpose; while without creativity, theology often becomes cold, distant, and futile.

In response, The Canvas Conference seeks to build bridges between the artist and the theologian by inviting God to take center stage in every human endeavor. We want to watch the Lord as he put theology and creativity in their proper place. We want to show that creativity begins and ends with the God of Christian Scripture. It is our Creator who created us in his image to create. Thus, we should do so for his glory, for our good, and for the benefit of all. To do this rightly, we need to hear God speak. So we gather together at Canvas to listen to the Lord and be changed by his thoughts on art, the creative act, what he thinks about us, what he has made us to be, and how he can transform our broken attempts at beauty into means of divine grace.

The Purpose of the Canvas Conference?

We want those attending the Canvas Conference to walk away better artist-theologians and better theologian-artists. Through our time together, we want to grow deeper in our relationship with the Lord and to understand our place in his kingdom with greater clarity. We want to show how each of us can reveal God’s image and how he transforms us into the perfect image of his Son, Jesus Christ. We want every act of our creativity—from writing to painting, from music to parenting—to be enhanced by the reality of the gospel, the hope it affords, and the future it offers. In short, we want to be worship. We want to worship with you. And we want to worship God in a way that changes everything about us and everything we create.

Click on the following links for information about speakers/performers and to register for the Canvas Conference.

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Five Steps to Firing Volunteers — Rev. Scott Gress

firedWhat? Do you really want to fire a volunteer? There are times when someone is so troubling in their role that you
wish they weren’t in that position of responsibility. It may be just an annoyance or it may be toxic. Volunteers are especially difficult because unlike paid workers they are there out of the goodness of their heart and the last thing you want to do is discourage volunteerism. Yet if you are at a troublesome spot, chances are that either you skipped some steps or you are putting off the inevitable. So what are those steps? In order of priority:

1. Paint the big picture first and often.

To continue reading, click on: You’re Fired!

Scott Gress is called by Lutheran Counseling Services and partners with the FL-GA District of the Lutheran Church as an independent contractor. He specializes in Leadership Training, Consulting, Coaching and Coach Training. Contact Scott to continue the conversation or experience a free sample coaching session. 561-542-4472, scottgress@me.com or scottgress.com.

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Six Practices of Multiplying Churches by Rev. Dr. Peter Meier

Go signDr. Peter Meier discusses the Six Practices of Multiplying Churches in the following essay:

In a previous post, I focused on Cultivating a Culture of Multiplication where church leaders help their churches to be intentional about starting churches that start new churches in order to reach new people. These multiplying churches (“Level 5” churches) are highly intentional in their efforts to multiply. You can read the entire post here.

Why wouldn’t a church be intentional about reproducing disciples and new churches? If an apple tree doesn’t produce any apples, you know that something’s wrong with that tree. In the same way, if a disciple doesn’t produce any new disciples, or a church doesn’t produce any new churches, wouldn’t you say that something isn’t right? Discipleship is always about reproduction or multiplication, rather than just becoming a better person or accumulating more Bible knowledge for oneself. New church reproduction and multiplication is always about reaching new people by starting new churches.

What are some of the intentional practices or characteristics of “Level 5” multiplying churches, and how might your church work toward becoming a multiplying church?

Six characteristics of a multiplying church have been verified in the recent State of Church Planting in the US 2015 Report, done by LifeWay Research, sponsored in part, by the Center for U.S. Missions. These multiplying churches are ones which started at least one daughter church within five years of existence. Ed Stetzer and Daniel Im identify these characteristics in their recent book, Multiplication Today, Movements Tomorrow (see Resources, below). Take a look and consider the attitudes and action of your church.

1. Kingdom Vision.
Pastors, staff and members have a larger vision than just what’s going on inside their own walls or on their campus. It’s not about the local church growing bigger and attracting more members. Its about God’s kingdom coming to more people, as we pray in the Lord’s Prayer. It’s about establishing vision, setting strategy, and aligning resources beyond “here” and toward the larger regional and global context. It’s about seeing God’s kingdom expand through the planting of new churches, near and far.

2. Planter Preparation.
This should go without saying. Intentional preparation of the church planter is absolutely necessary. Assessment, training, coaching and mentoring are vital. Planters must be intentional about forming prayer teams, personal spiritual growth and professional growth. District and/orNetwork support and a healthy mother church are factors in likelihood for multiplication.

3. Intentional Evangelism.
This is the secret sauce for church planting. It begins with a love for the lost, a love which reflects God’s own heart. The strategies and methods themselves are not the main thing; the main thing is intentional love and action to reach the lost. LifeWay’s research shows that mail invitations, door to door evangelism, sports leagues, door hangers, children’s ministries and more are all effective – the main thing is to do something, to be intentional. And a key component of being intentional is to verbally proclaim the Gospel!

4. Discipleship Commitment.
Multiplication begins with making disciples, one at a time. This needs to be the normal and expected activity of the congregation. That’s what Jesus expects His church to be about, Matthew 28:18-20. The goal is not to gather more people in the pews; the goal is to make disciples who make more disciples. Churches who intentionally welcome newcomers and have new member classes are more likely to start a daughter church. In addition, one on one discipleship or mentoring is highly effective and easily reproducible. Also those who are intentional about stewardship development have a higher likelihood of multiplying themselves and starting new churches. Again, the key word is intentionality.

5. Leadership Development.
Churches that multiply take Ephesians 4:11-13 seriously. They receive and make use of the gifts which the ascended Lord Jesus gives to His church. They see every baptized person as one called by God to be engaged in His mission. Multiplying churches are intentional about helping members discover their God-given calling and gifts. They help their members grow in using their skills so that overall, they will grow in Kingdom impact. Spiritual maturity leads to multiplication. But maturity doesn’t happen without a plan. Intentional development and action are key, and will make the difference between addition and multiplication.

6. Clear Strategy to Multiply.
The previous practices are all part of the likelihood of a church being able to multiply within their first five years. All churches may aspire to these, and practice them to some extent. But churches that multiply within their first five years do a few more things at a far higher percentage than those who do not. They are consistently ruthless about communicating their vision to multiply. This is done on a regular, monthly basis. It is done in their preaching, teaching, meetings, and more. They also partner with others to plant churches. Partnering with other churches is part of the kingdom vision, and is more effective than going it alone. Partnering includes investing time, energy, resources and finances into other church plants. Being part of a network, or a consortium of churches offers more churches the opportunity to engage in intentional multiplication strategies.

If you notice one thing about each of these six statistically verifiable characteristics of multiplying churches, notice this word: intentional. Intentional is more than a word, it’s an attitude that finds its way into every action and event planned by a church and its leaders.

Intentionality matters! Intentionality is the key to becoming a multiplying church!

NOTE: Rev. Dr. Peter Meier is the Executive Director of the Center for U.S. Missions. You may contact him at peter.meier@cui.edu

Posted in Center for US Missions, Church Planting, Church revitalization, Discipleship, Evangelism, Missional, Missional Leadership, Missionary | Comments Off on Six Practices of Multiplying Churches by Rev. Dr. Peter Meier

Looking for Some Brief Videos of Missionaries Talking about their Work in North America?

Mission Nation Publishing … has posted some brief videos of missionaries talking about their work in North America. These videos are ideal for showing before worship services or at Bible studies.

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