Category: Ministry & Missions

What Do ‘The Undecided’ Want in a Religion?

railroad

My friend Gary Runn recently posted a link to a thoughtful New York Times article by Eric Weiner called, “Americans: Undecided About God?”

Weiner finds himself dismayed by his lack of religious options during the holiday season. Although he would once have described himself as an atheist, hitting middle age and weathering a health scare influenced him to become more open spiritually; now he would identify himself simply as “religiously unaffiliated.”

As Weiner “drifts” and “dabbles” in the religious world, he can’t find a place he feels at home. He belongs somewhere between the “True Believers” and the “Angry Atheists.” But where?  (more…)

On Campus Crusade for Christ Changing Its Name to Cru

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Last night the organization I work for announced its new name. After 60 years, Campus Crusade for Christ in the U.S. will now simply be called, Cru.

It was an emotional moment for all of us who work with our ministry. Fear, excitement, confusion, relief, then ultimately trust in and praise to the Lord filled Moby Arena, where all 5000 of us gathered to hear the news. As our emcee commented, it had to be the first time in our history when every single staff member arrived on time—if not early—to a meeting.

For many of you, the news of our name change isn’t even been a blip on your radar screen. But some of you have an emotional investment in the name, Campus Crusade for Christ. If you would like to read or hear more about why we changed our name, I encourage you to access the following resources:

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What Can We Learn from Clement?

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I’m in Colorado this summer, taking classes at the lay seminary the organization I work for hosts every other summer.

One of my text books is Church History in Plain Language by Bruce L. Shelley. I read a fascinating passage in the book about Clement of Alexandria, who is known as “the first Christian scholar.”  (more…)

Prayer Request for More Prayer

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Twice a year the missions organization I work for sets aside an entire day to pray. For one day in October and one in April all of us around the world stop our ministry activity and get on our knees to do the real work of the kingdom.

And twice a year, I balk at the idea. Because I’m a prayer pansy.

In theory a Day of Prayer sounds great to me. But this year, as always, as the appointed day (today) drew near, I came up with 1000 reasons to not pray, 1000 things that seemed more urgent to do than pray.

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Native American Leaders Are Changing The Face of Missions

sweatlodge

The September/October 2010 edition of Mission Frontiers, the bulletin of the U.S. Center for World Mission, featured a number of fascinating articles about how ministry among Native North American peoples is shifting away from a paternalistic model toward a new contextualized one.

The lead article by editor Rick Wood, entitled “Learning from Our Mistakes”, is a must-read for every white American who loves the Lord and wants all peoples to know Him. Wood answers the questions:

“What happens when missionaries teach that the only way of salvation is for a people to completely reject their own culture and accept the ‘Christian’ culture of the missionary? What is the result of not understanding God’s love for all peoples and His plan for every tribe and tongue to worship and glorify God in all of their uniqueness?”

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

The rest of the issue is filled with stories of how Native Christian leaders today are “making the gospel indigenous” for their peoples. I was so encouraged and inspired by these men and women, who continue to persevere in their faith despite overwhelming opposition from within their own culture and sadly, at times, from the greater (read: white) American Church.

Click here to see the list of articles available for viewing and/or download.

The sweatlodge pictured above was constructed in Colorado Springs according to traditional Native practices, but is now being used in new ways. Photo credit: Dot Everett

Which Cities Are The Most Global?

Earth-at-Night

Half the world’s population is now urban.

And as the worldwide shift from rural to urban continues, the influence of the world’s cities will continue to grow as well. But which cities are the most influential?

Foreign Policy magazine, management consulting firm A.T. Kearney, and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs recently posted an updated Global Cities Index, their second such collaboration. From the Foreign Policy website:

So what makes a Global City? Not size alone, that’s for sure… Instead, the index aims to measure how much sway a city has over what happens beyond its own borders—its influence on and integration with global markets, culture, and innovation…”

Given this criteria, which of the following cities do you think topped the list: Paris, Tokyo, New York, Hong Kong, or London?

To find out the answer and check out the rest of the list, click here.

For more about how the index was put together, click here.

How should this information impact those of us involved in world missions?

Uprooted

daisy

Recently I heard a message on a Matthew 9:35-38, a beloved passage of mine. It reads:

“Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 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.’”

This passage is so rich, I could write pages about it. But what struck me the other night was the specific phrase—“send out”—found in the last verse.

The original Greek word used is “ekballo.” Some definitions are:

  1. To tear out, with the implication of one force overcoming an opposite force
  2. To cast out, with the notion of violence
  3. To lead one forth with a force he cannot resist

It’s the same word used to describe Jesus “casting out” demons.

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