Journeyman Project Dispatches from the Life of Patrick Fowler: Christianity Explored

6Oct/110

The Future of Missions Involves Effectively Reaching the Cities

The cities of America are filled with new ethnic groups that are virtually unreached. Surrounded by the megachurches of the majority, they go ignored because they are different, because they speak a funny language, and because the church members are absorbed in lives that barely notice them.

The International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention is working hard to re-educate the church on reaching the lost cultures inside their own American nation. If you are nearby and want to have your eyes opened, I exhort you to go to their conferences; New York, N.Y. (Oct. 20-22, 2011)     |     Houston, Texas (Nov. 17-19, 2011)     |     Vancouver, Canada (May 3-5, 2012)

20Apr/110

Could the Church Reach All the Nations in Your Lifetime???

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, ​teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20

"This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14

Christian leaders in the United States have high hopes for the near future. Christian movements in India, China, South America, the Middle East, and elsewhere seem to have tipped the scales in our favor, opening the floodgates of the gospel and for more workers to spread the message. For once, reaching all the nations seems to be a goal that we can reach in a generation.

Isn’t that exciting?!

New Evangelism Tools are helping with the spread of information, as radio transmitters, internet evangelism sites, cell phones, and other devices transmit Christian programming 24/7 audibly, visually, and in the heart language of people all around the world. The Jesus film continues to be one of the most amazing evangelism tools in the world today, available in over 1,100 languages at present.

So what does that mean for me? What does that mean for missions?

Unfortunately, the people groups left in the world today are some of the hardest groups to reach…and the quickly expanding body of Christ means we need more people who are willing and equipped to deepen new believers’ faiths – pastors, teachers, and lay leaders. There’s no shortage of need for workers or funding at the present time. More than ever, we need people who are willing to sacrifice the comforts of a ‘normal’ American lifestyle in order to work among people who don’t have written languages, bilingual people, or running water. We need people who will risk their lives to reach people who remain God’s enemies, and our enemies.

If you’re not involved, please, get involved with missions in some capacity. Go, Pray, or Give via the International Mission Board or another agency. www.imb.org

Read more on reaching the world at Christian Post.

24Feb/110

A Life-Changing, Paradigm-Shifting Book

It is not often that I read a book that radically changes my perception of my future career, my concept of what a church is, and my perception of the education I am receiving now. But I find myself a changed man—and I find myself in possession of a book that I MUST READ AGAIN in order to understand its implications for my life.

The book is called Church Planting Movements by David Garrison.

David is a long-term missionary who has coordinated the efforts of fellow missionaries through the largest mission board in the U.S. – the International Mission Board.

He writes this book to share the information they have collected about the churches that are multiplying and reaching entire people groups with the gospel. This is NOT a book about planting a church: it is a book about planting churches that plant other churches, that plant other churches, and plant other churches…until they reach everyone in their culture…and that’s REALLY EXCITING to me. If I help plant a church in the future, I certainly want it to reach more and more and more people until it can say that everyone in its culture has heard the gospel.

Beyond that premise, this book has taught me a lot about the proper and improper way to do church. Theologians, missionaries and missions agencies are often the greatest hindrance to churches that multiply—and even if I don’t work to plant a church, I certainly don’t want to hinder the evangelistic growth of one with my work as part of it. Importantly in this respect, it reminds me that the leaders of the church are typically the people who are willing to accept the largest commitment to discipleship, not the seminary students I am in class with. They are not any more prepared to lead than small group leaders when they begin—they are simply willing to grow through mentorship with an existing pastor and grow into leadership. 

It has also taught me that the New Testament style church still exists today: casting out demons, healing people, seeing visions, meeting in homes, sharing all their possessions together, etc.

If you want to know what missions is really all about, please, please read this book. Nothing could better shape your perception of what needs to be done across the world today.

Buy it at the IMB website here.

3Feb/090

A FREE map that will change your life

2008 IMB Map

I post a link to this map today because it has changed my life. I am a completely different person because of the presence of a bunch of dots on a piece of paper, representing the souls of hundreds, thousands, and millions of individuals in need of the gospel.

A few months ago I began asking the question, why don't I heard much about peoples of the world who have not heard the gospel of Jesus Christ? I've been under the conviction that worshippers from every tribe, tongue and nation are mentioned throughout the Old and New Testaments, and yet the bulk of our "missions" efforts are spent attempting to reach people locally and internationally who have already heard the gospel in the past, and who have the gospel readily available in their native language.

Why are many of us unaware of the 1.9 billion (1,900,000,000) people who have yet to have any opportunity to hear the gospel??? Why aren't more of us going to change that?

You can receive up to four copies of this map for free, without obligating yourself to receive emails, phone calls, or mailings of any kind (trust me, I've been waiting for them for two months). My challenge to you is to place the map somewhere where you will see it on a daily basis…let the peoples of the world be on your mind, more and more.

http://imbresources.org/index.cfm/fa/store.prod/ProdID/1428.cfm

3Jan/090

Thoughts from my World Missions class…

The Missional God:
There is a strong case to be made for the viewpoint that God's work in history...through Noah, Abraham, Israel, and the prophets has always been to make people a light to all people for his redeeming purpose. From that perspective, Israel failed in their understanding of that task and recognition of the Messiah, and the task was therefore given to the Gentile nations in the church. If this is an accurate viewpoint, then it begs the question...what will God do when the church gets complacent about being a messenger to the unreached??? Will our complacency usher in the "end times"?

The "true" task of missions: