Tag Archive: evangelism


Impact Taiwan

As our Outreach team at OAC changes and grows so does our e-newsletter. This is a post for a  campaign released today written by Michele and her YWAM experience last summer.

link to newsletter

To Taiwan and Back

This past summer I had the opportunity to travel to Taiwan on a summer mission trip. I enrolled in a performing arts summer discipleship training school with Youth with a Mission (YWAM) in Lakeside, Montana. The school was made up of fourteen musicians and nine dancers from all over the world; we all had a passion for God and a passion for music and dance. During our time in Montana we had one month to take classes in our field of study, music or dance, and we attended lectures learning about God and how to apply what we learned in the mission field. I was in the dance school, our team prepared by learning six dances that we would teach and perform on our four-week outreach to Taiwan.

The YWAM group reaching out in Taiwan

The YWAM group reaching out in Taiwan

Taiwan is a developed island nation in Asia. It has a population of 23 million people, and only one percent of the population are Christian. The most popular religions are Buddhist, Taoism, and Confucianism. Religion is often a frightening subject as it is associated with a dark spiritual realm. While walking down a busy market street it was common to see garbage cans on fire and shopkeepers tossing fake paper currency into the blaze. We learned that this is a religious practice based on fear and superstition where living family members are passing this money to their ancestors; a tradition that it is up to the living to provide for the dead. In Taiwan we partnered with the local YWAM office in the capital, Taipei. They had planned for our teams to have outdoor concerts at public venues, teach dance workshops at high schools, volunteer at VBS’s, share testimonies at coffee shops, and perform all over the city.

God did amazing things on our trip. During our last week in Taiwan we travelled to a college campus to minster at a weekend camp. We got to teach dance classes, perform, lead worship, and build relationships. During our last worship session we decided to have an altar call. At that altar call nearly two dozen people came forward for prayer. I had got to pray with a young lady who gave her life to Christ. For me this was the best part of the trip.

I am so thankful that God used our team in such amazing ways this summer I continue to hope and pray for the people of Taiwan.

winter fieldFarming is a major analogy in the bible. Seeding, growing, and harvesting. The harvest is what farming is all about. In the Church harvesting is seen as people responding to the Gospel and believing in the work Christ has done for us. In farming the harvest is what brings the food to the table. The harvest for the Church is what brings people to the great feast in heaven.

Where is the harvest?

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:37, 38). This idea of harvest has been miss placed and misinterpreted in the Church today. Where was Jesus when he harvested? Where were the disciples? The Bible tells us clearly where the field is that needs to be harvested. We have many promises that working the field will bring a plentiful harvest. “Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense” (Proverbs 12:11).

Where should we be if we are looking to be a worker in the plentiful harvest?

In the church?

Not all, but a majority of Christians today do not look at the harvest. Is the harvest meant to be an altar call at the end of a church service or some event that you brought a friend to? Today we, pulling the log out of my own eye, tend to be dependent on these alter calls and crusades to reach out dumping the harvest on our pastors and those brave enough to say that evangelism is one of their gifts, but is this what Jesus was meaning?

Seeker sensitive churches come at the expense of discipleship and in an effort to make the Gospel understandable we lose theological understanding. Instead of being driven by our understanding of who God is we become driven to just increase our numbers or serve physical worldly needs.

These are good things, but we have become reliant on the “church” to do all the harvesting instead of the way God has chosen to use us all and send us out into the field. “The  Lord  had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). God calls us into the field, so where is the field?

The Field!

The synagogue is not typically the scene of the harvest. We are called to action, to serve those around us, and as we go to make disciples. Interestingly Matthew 9:37-38 is sandwiched between Jesus being out in public and him sending his disciples out into the area villages. When he is talking about the harvest he is not in a church but in the world. He is where the sick are and he is among them seeking them out (Romans 3.11) and being the great healer. You look at the story of Zacchaeus and see a similar thing. “Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through.  A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy…  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:1, 2, 10). Christ was there to seek and to save. He does not sit on the sidelines waiting for people to seek him out for he knows that they cannot. And if we call ourselves Christ’s disciples then we must follow him into the field.

We must be willing and able to share the Gospel with the people we meet Monday to Saturday, with the people we spend 40 hours a week with, the parents who we see every practice, the kids we play with at recess. The key is to be open about what you believe. Acknowledge the tragedies of this life, big and small, it all starts with the brokenness we all share.

Where are you?

The church is a great place to grow and can serve as a place to harvest, however the bible clearly calls us to get out into the world around us. We must leave our homes and seek out the sick. “Then Jesus came to them and said,  “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:18, 19). While we are going are we harvesting?

So Abram went, as the  Lord  had told him; and Lot went with him… Genesis 12:4

“The distance between the cradle and the cross is slight”
Reverend Terry Lee

 

Over the Advent season at church we have been looking at the words of Isaiah and reminded that even though we celebrate the birth and resurrection at different times in the year they are not that far a part. Together they are the fulfilled of God’s plan to rescue the lost. Over the last few months I have not really blogged, I left part way through a series I was putting together on the two kingdoms of the already and not yet. The last few months have been some of the most stressful I have ever experienced and through this time have had many
already but not yet moments. This series has reminded me that many parts of this world remain broken and that there is something more, something eternal that needs fixing.

nativity

Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.
Isaiah 9:6-7
 

 

Part of the sermon today Pastor Terry looked at how Christ fulfilled the promise of being the prince of peace when the world seems to be so broken. The world is broken, we see that all over the news, in our homes, at our jobs, but the peace Isaiah is looking at is something more, something eternal. The world is not our enemy, God is. Our relationship was broken when man bit into the forbidden fruit in the garden. The peace that Christ brings now is peace with God. Through Christ we are reconciled to Him (Colossians 1:19-22).

This Christmas don’t forget that the baby that came from God also went to the cross for our sins.

As I started out on this discipleship journey of posts I thought it would be quick. God had a different idea and led me down a path that took a little more time. I have had the chance to listen to several great podcasts, read a couple of books on discipleship, and spent time with seasoned friends learning more about the importance of being a disciple. Several of my posts over the last few months touched on this topic, but this post is a continuation of True Discipleship – Part 1 .

How do we get from a church full of infants to having a church filled with people digging deep into the Word and discovering who Christ is and who they are? How do we become true disciples, someone becoming more like Christ? What does true discipleship even look like?

Three Options for Discipleship

In Larry Olson’s book Sticky Church he states that there are 3 kinds of discipleship models. There is a mentoring model, an education model, and an apprenticeship model. Mentoring is one on one and relational. It is best over time and is not effective in a fast paced changing environment. Education is long-term and requires a large commitment. It works best with linear goal-orientated personalities and is highly structured. Apprenticeship lets people do a task and be the leader is there to help them pick up the pieces. The nature and dynamics of life demands that we really need to use a combination of the three as they all have strong advantages but fall short in other areas. For example, I love going to school and loved learning about the history, traditions, and methods of the church. Yet when I started applying the things I learned they always needed tweaking to fit the ministry of where I was at. At this point the apprenticeship model kicked in and a seasoned leader was able to help guide me through the issues in a way that stayed true to biblical principles and was able to respond to the human factor of the situation. The mentoring model is also part of my life and it keeps me in check with my motives and my own issues. These three discipleship models when in sync with each other can propel us to grow deep and stretch us in growing wide.

Building a Church Culture of Discipleship

Discipleship requires commitment from both the disciple and from the mentor. This means we must be intentional and open about how we disciple. The C&MA has put together a few examples of different discipleship plans by its member churches called Discipleship Pathways. If we want to get out of the pastor-do culture that is prevalent in the North American church today we must present and implement an alternative culture. A culture that raises Christian adults, mature followers of Christ, true disciples. As Paul says in Hebrews 5.14 “Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.” If we desire to grow deep we must allow ourselves to be held accountable and learn the difference between what is right and what is wrong.

Held Accountable

My wife and I love giving our kids gifts, but we also love watching them grow as they become caring, compassionate, and God centered. This is not developed by simple showering them with gifts, but also, when needed, to give correction and discipline. Too often in the church today we resist giving and receiving discipline. The Father loves giving good gifts (Matthew 7), but He also disciplines out of love so that we can grow and share in His holiness (Hebrews 12). In a blog post by Jared Wilson, he says “In discipling relationships, we are always disciplining one another, not chiefly or only in the fight against sin but largely in our encouragement of each other, edifying one another, teaching one another, and sharing one another’s burdens. In short, disciples know each other. And so Matthew 18:15 might be happening all the time, perhaps weekly within loving relationships where there is no imminent danger of somebody being kicked out of the church but rather a constant iron sharpening of iron” (5 Ways to Keep Church Discipline from Seeming Weird). To be discipled we must allow others to call us on our sin so we are held accountable for what we do, otherwise we will stay as infants and our paths will remain crooked and broken.

Why?

Discipleship gives us the tools and skills to take the Gospel out into the world. As we go we will be able to share His great name. Faith in Christ is not meant to be kept to ourselves, but shared with fellow believers and shared with non-believers as a testimony of God’s glory. Why do we attend church? Why do we go to small groups? Why do we serve the poor? Evangelism and discipleship are not the same thing however they do work intertwined with each other. “If you think your heart is growing in love for God, but your heart is not growing in love for lost people, you  are deceived.” (Chip Ingram- High Impact Church Law 8).

Are you being discipled?

Here are a few resources I found:

 How to Build a High Impact Church – Chip Ingram

 & the post 5 Ways to Keep Church Discipline from Seeming Weird

 C&MA Discipleship Pathways & Southview Alliance’s Aspen Strategy

If you think your heart is growing in love for God, but your heart is not growing in love for lost people, you  are deceived.

Chip Ingram – Law 8 – The Law of Focus

 

Download the series for free from Walk Through The Bible

 

Inside & Outside

Artist: Perugino
Year: c. 1481-1482
Type: Fresco
Dimensions: 330 cm × 550 cm (130 in × 220 in)
Location: Sistine Chapel, Rome

The Law of Liberation – Growing churches train their members to discover and deploy their spiritual gifts and passions both within and outside the church.

Chip Ingram – Law 4 in How To Grow A High Impact Church

In my attempt to write part 2 of my True Discipleship post I have started to come across some pretty great articles, books, & podcasts about what discipleship is and is not. One being the How To Grow A High Impact Church series by Chip Ingram.  We have been liberated from sins grasp so that we can fulfill our purpose to glorify God (Isaiah 60.21, Romans 11.36). “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God”  (1 Corinthians 10.31). The role of the church is not to do the work, but to empower and release the workers within and outside, as they are driven by the grace that Christ has shown them.

Stay tuned part 2 will be posted soon.

I recently posted about a booklet called Why be Missionary? and found this video by the author, Dr. Arnold Cook, interesting.

The Global Vault

Dr. Arnold Cook – What Burns in My Heart Today

“I find myself still concerned about what I was concerned about most of my leadership days…” Find out what those concerns are in watching this video.

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According to the 2001 Canadian census Canada has 22,851,825 Christians. Our population was 29,639,035 which means that Canada is 77% Christian. It also means that we have a ratio of more than 3 Christians to every non-Christian in our country. In the world today there are 2.27 Billion Christians and 2.84 Billion unreached people. The Joshua Project defines unreached as:

 

From this overall ethnic people group list, a subset of unreached / least-reached peopleshas been identified based on the criteria of less than 2% Evangelical and less than 5%Christian Adherent. This subset helps focus attention on the unfinished task of the Great Commission. We desire that this list be used by mission agencies, denominiations, churches and missionaries to accelerate the Gospel’s advance into each of the least-reached people groups. Joshua Project has also developed a Progress Scale indicating a spectrum of reachedness rather than a simple on / off indicator.
 

Global Statistics

Peoples-by-Country Individuals
All People Groups 16,655 6.87 billion
Unreached People Groups 7,056 2.84 billion
% Unreached Peoples 42.4 % 41.3 %
10/40 Window Total 8,687 4.53 billion
10/40 Window Unreached 5,995 2.75 billion
10/40 Window % Unreached 69.0 % 60.8 %
  Count
Affinity Blocs 17
People Clusters 253
Peoples Groups (without reference to Countries) 9,989
Unreached Peoples Groups (without reference to Countries) 4,373
Countries 237
Languages 6,517

As a person who feels strongly called to reach out to all people in the world (Matthew 28.19-20) with the message of who God is and what he has done for us I don’t think we can just stay home and say “I am not called to global missions”. I know and understand that we all have different gifts and abilities which allow us to reach different people, however it seems that we have huddled up in a corner and are failing at reaching out to all the people groups in the world. John 3.17-18 says “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.  He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” A lost soul is a lost soul and the Good Shepherd will leave the 99 to find the 1, “it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish” (Matthew 18.14). We must reach out to both the lost here and over there, that is what we are all called to as followers of Christ.

Are we following Christ’s footsteps and looking for the lost?

http://www.joshuaproject.net/

The gospel is so much more than something that saves us from God’s judgement. Christ’s death pays the penalty for our sin, justifying us before God but it is also the starting point for our journey towards being fully restored to what was lost at the fall. Once saved do we continue on the same path? By no means, we must deny ourselves and pick up our cross daily and follow Christ (Luke 9.23). That is what it means to be a disciple.

Here is an article I came across on the Gospel Coalition blog that introduces the idea well:

Breadth from Depth

By Kevin DeYoung

William Still was a gifted pastor in the United Kingdom. He has impacted the lives of great preachers in our day like Sinclair Ferguson, Ian Hamilton, and Phil Ryken. This is a quote from his book The Work of the Pastor. In our churches we need to labor for both breadth and depth. But as he asserts, the breadth, often and necessarily flows from the depth:

Some of the hardest nuts to crack in the Christian world are those who have been so busy evangelizing that they have never allowed the Word to be turned upon them, and who therefore regard the Bible as a mere book of Gospel texts to hurl at others, or at least to bait them with. The sad decline in the quality of Christian life and witness in our country (United Kingdom) is largely due to the fact that the evangelical church has for several generations been a huge nursery, not only of infant babes but, much worse, grown-up babes…If our use and direction of the power and gifts of the Spirit tend in practice towards a short-sighted tactic rather than to long-term strategy, then we shall precipitate a problem that we may not have the means to solve. As a result the whole school of Christ will become one vast kindergarten, overflowing the classrooms. Nor will there be any teachers for them, because all the should-be teachers are out driving more and more infants to school. And when the teacher is away, the children play! Here then we have a school overrun, almost infested with infants, and all the monitors, guardians and teachers are out looking for more!…It is doubtless, a fine thing to be evangelistic: who is not, who deals faithfully with the Word? But it is one thing to gain converts, another to produce evangelists, missionaries, ministers—not to speak of powerful witnesses for Christ in innumerable lay fields. The church’s task is not only to gain converts, but so to build them up that they are ‘thrustable out.’

Conversion is only the start of being recreated for what we were meant to be. I am looking forward to reading the book The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler when it comes out, as it seems like it will revolve around this idea. Check out the 2 minute video below:

Read This Is Discipleship… – True Dischiplehsip Part 2

via wikipedia.org

Maybe it is just me but over the last few years it seems like “today’s idols” has become a bit a trend topic. This discussion typically looks at the trends of culture and what pulls us away from God outside the church, but what about inside the church? What about the programs? Or even philosophies of ministry? Could something intended to bring us closer to God really be a distraction or even replace God?

Idolatry – noun, plural-tries
1. the worship of idols
2. excessive admiration

One area that I have been pondering about has taken on many forms and has been used in many different ways. It plays an important and vital role within the church however at times it has become an idol. We become obsessed with it and lose sight of God.

Could evangelism be given excessive admiration in the church today?

The Christian section at Chapters is filled with books that fall under the category Walter Kaiser Jr. calls “recovery & pop-psychology”.

There are several ways the evangelical church today typically measures the fruitfulness of a ministry. In regards to evangelism numbers tends to be the stick used. Numbers are quickly used to justify or cancel a certain ministry. Being “seeker sensitive”, preaching the health wealth & prosperity gospel , or making church into a rock concert have all proven themselves as great ways to have skyrocketing numbers. I have seen a church let a pastor go because the church was not showing a growth in numbers. Increasing numbers are seen as healthy and fruitful. Walter Kaiser Jr. warns us that “pastors have decided that using the Bible is a handicap for meeting the needs of the boomer and “X” generations; therefore they have gone to drawing their sermons from the plethora of recovery and pop-psychology books that fill our Christian bookstores. The market-forces demand that we give them what they want to hear if we wish them to return and pay for the mega-sanctuaries that we have built. Scripture, therefore, is lost in the shuffle for relevancy and “meeting needs.”(www.preaching.com). When preaching the Word of God doesn’t draw a crowd we look to be more relevant and culturally sensitive. Churches use evangelism as the driving force behind what they do. Is this what we are called to focus on as a church?

Paul was an evangelist. As one reads his letters you cannot help but see he had a heart to reach out into the darkness.  As he evangelized Paul also discipled those that believed. For the economy in Ephesus to change (Acts 19.21-41), the church must have been living lifestyles that were radically different from how they lived before converting to Christianity (Tim Keller – The Grand Demythologizer: The Gospel and Idolatry). Changed lifestyles are not something that happens at the time of conversion, but is part of the process of being sanctified as we work out our salvation (Philippians 2.12). We change as we are drawn closer to the Father and this in turn leads to people noticing that something is different. In Ephesus it resulted in a riot, but Christ warned that people would be offended. It also set the Christian community apart from the rest of the community and that would have given them opportunities to show who God is and why they no longer worship false gods. Healthy discipleship led to the changes, while evangelism opened doors.

You must also look at the question “are numbers count a true sign of success?” Numbers are mentioned in the Bible and how the early church grew, but we also see that true fruit is measured by less tangible things. Galatians 5.22-26 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. These are the things that show true belief and true transformation. Numbers are not bad and we should seek to spread the Gospel which will increase numbers, however, numbers that do not show true fruit are no numbers at all. Numbers and programs that are aimed at attracting numbers with no method of discipleship is  idolatry as they give the desire for numbers “excessive admiration”. The great commission calls us to make disciples not merely converts. David Platt reminds us in Radical Together we must remember that “the blessing of God does not mean acceptance by the world” (pg. 53).

This means that we must ask the question what is discipleship?

Dig a little deeper into this conversation by checking out this 8 min video from The Gospel Coalition that looks at quantity verses quality.

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