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At the May meeting of the new mission agency board, the name 'Resonate Global Mission' was approved by the agency board and endorsed by the CRCNA Board of Trustees.

May 5, 2017 1 6 comments
Discussion Topic

What methods are you or your church using to be fair to those you support and yet keep it fresh?

May 4, 2017 1 3 comments
Resource, Curriculum

Changed for Life is a free downloadable resource that equips short-term mission teams, the hosts who receive them, and the congregations who send them, to craft a well-organized mission experience with the potential to catalyze lifelong change.

May 3, 2017 0 0 comments
Blog

Home Missions and World Missions have been talking about becoming one agency for around 10 years now, but actual work to do so started in 2015. Two years later, we are almost ready to make it official.

April 25, 2017 1 1 comments
Resource, Conference or Event

On this 11-day trip, explore the sites you've read about in the Bible and meet people who are ministering, living, and struggling in this part of the world today. 

April 13, 2017 2 0 comments
Resource, Conference or Event

Join a Christian Reformed World Missions missionary and fellow volunteers in teaching English and sharing the Gospel with children in Asia from July 11-30, 2017.

April 12, 2017 0 0 comments
Resource, Video

Avenue church isn’t a service provider, they’re a neighbor. “Where I worship, where I live, where I pray—all this can happen together. It doesn’t have to be separated,” says pastor Aaron Au.

April 5, 2017 1 0 comments
Discussion Topic

Imagine someone comes knocking at your door or at your church door asking for help. What are the first questions you ask them? 

March 27, 2017 2 0 comments
Discussion Topic

For the past nine months, staff from Home Missions and World Missions have been working with a branding company to develop the new brand identity for the mission agency. And now we need your input! 

January 25, 2017 1 11 comments
Resource, Devotional

To help you make the most of your short-term service team experience, ServiceLink is pleased to offer the following devotions and discussion starters, as well as an extensive list of ideas from past teams and leaders.

January 1, 2017 0 0 comments
Resource, Litany

Here are a few Commissioning Service guidelines and litanies that you are free to use as prepared, or modify to meet your needs and circumstances.

January 1, 2017 0 0 comments
Blog

I'd like to propose a question: Can a one-week experience actually change the trajectory of a young person's life toward Christ?

December 22, 2016 1 0 comments
Resource, Calendar

During Advent, World Renew will post a picture, meditation, and word of the day. You are encouraged to participate and help create the Global Advent Calendar via social media.

November 29, 2016 1 0 comments
Resource, Policy or Guidelines

Fundraising is as much a participation in ministry as it is a necessity to support ministry. Here's a list of over 25 fun and practical ways to help fundraise for your ministry.

November 10, 2016 0 0 comments
Blog

Sea to Sea 2017 is looking for people to ride, to pray, to donate, to volunteer, or to become a Tour Partner or Route Partner. The uniting vision? To see the world poverty-free. 

November 9, 2016 0 0 comments
Resource, Article

I suggest that one of the greatest challenges facing Africa today is that Christians have not had a truly transformed worldview, based on the Bible. Perhaps this is still a problem in America too! 

November 8, 2016 0 10 comments
Resource, Article

Should we send "ordinary Christians" as missionaries? A major biblical theme is that God likes to use weak people, sinful people. But on the other hand, shouldn't missionaries be trained and well-prepared?

September 19, 2016 2 3 comments
Resource, Lesson or Study

Momentum is designed for young adults who are looking for intentional discipleship as well as an opportunity to serve for a month internationally with Christian Reformed World Missions.

August 17, 2016 0 0 comments
Resource, Sermon or Message

On November 29, 1868, Charles Spurgeon preached a sermon on the subject of effectual calling by using the call of Abraham in Genesis 12 as his example.

The sermon is a gold-mine of advice for missionaries and evangelists who would call people to follow Christ. Here are a few nuggets:...

July 7, 2016 0 0 comments
Blog

Whenever someone tells me I’ve really sacrificed, I almost feel guilty or like a fraud. Because even though I've left family and friends, God has provided me with so much and all my needs are met. 

June 30, 2016 1 1 comments
Blog

  Introduction:

            There is a statement floating around in mission circles that has been attributed to St. Francis. Likely he never said it, but lots of people like to repeat it. It goes: "Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary." This statement has then been used...

June 28, 2016 1 3 comments
Blog

By now we’re starting to adapt to the rhythm of life in Nicaragua and I think I speak for several of us when I say that the days seem to be slipping through our fingers and we want to stay longer.  

June 24, 2016 0 0 comments
Blog

Carlos and Sharla Martinez (Directors of FIT) explained to us the adoption process, what the families involved go through, and what their role is in supporting families as they welcome new children into their lives.

June 23, 2016 0 0 comments
Blog

Today’s agenda was dominated by three events: a presentation by Alcides (Paola’s dad), a stunning trip to Volcan Masaya, and a trip to the University of Nicaragua.

June 23, 2016 0 0 comments
Blog

Mondays are a bore. But this was not the case at all today! I'm still reflecting on our visit to Tesoros de Dios (a school for children with Disabilities), House of Hope, and a fair wage coffee company. 

June 22, 2016 0 0 comments

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After hearing the new name I resisted posting a comment because I wanted to wait to see if my initial reaction would last.  After all, I'm sure that much time, thought and prayer went into the process that resulted in the suggested name.  But after two weeks I find the name still fails to resonate with me.  Perhaps it's because I like jazz and appreciate dischords.  Or perhaps it is my limited experience of church always being messy.  We don't always get along but get along anyway because we recognize that our mission is more important than our relatively petty squabbles.  Resonating sounds like something to dream of but I don't think will ever be achieved on this side of life.  

I can see the desire to have some kind of descriptor before "global mission " but personally don't think "resonate" works.  Too bad World Renew is already taken.  

Some of the us and them mentality is also found in scriptures.  "If they are not against us, they are for us."   but also "they went out from us"   "Being in the world, but not of the world."   There is an antithesis between good and evil, between right and wrong, between God and Satan.   In that way, the muslims are an example to Christians.   Even Jesus said, "Love your enemies.", knowing Christians would have enemies, and Jesus did not say, "have no enemies".   Jesus said that daughters would be set against mothers , and sons against fathers.  That he did not come to bring peace, but a sword.  Again, Jesus highlighted the dramatic changes that would occur, which were life changing.  Part of the struggle.  The antithesis.  Not peace at all costs, but surrender to God.  

 

On the other hand, Jesus did say, "Love your enemies."  Go the extra mile.  Give the extra cloak.  Forgive seventy times ( or more).  Follow the example of the Good Samaritan.  The sword Jesus talked about was not a sword of steel, but the sword of the word of God, the sword of the spirit working in men's hearts.   The armor was the breastplate of righteousness and the helmet of salvation.  

 

Muslim book, muslim faith, and muslim practice does not follow Jesus, but follows the sword carrying Mohammed, who has only one book, Quran, and did nothing more than many other leaders did who merely attempt to gain a following and gain earthly territory.  At most, he was a king like Alexander the Great, or Julius Ceasar of Rome.  At worst, he was a fraud and a charlatan, like the emperor Nero, or the leader of the Moonies, Sun Myung Moon.   In no way could he be shown to have a legitimate revelation from God, or to be a true prophet in the order of Elijah, Elisha, Nathan, Moses, Isaiah, Nehemiah, Jeremiah, the apostle John.   By neglecting the writings of these prophets, and the writings of the gospels, and of history, he has even lost the title of scholar or preacher or teacher of God's truth.  

That does not mean that everything that Mohammed has written or spoken is false.  Some things are true no matter who says them.  There are some truths in every faith and in every culture, and in every religion.   But these truths should not obscure the fact that the underlying basis is shaky, unstable, or false.  The bible clearly says that in the last days there will be false prophets and anti-christs.   

It is no good to merely say that Jesus was a prophet, and then ignore the most credible witness accounts of what Jesus said.  Ignoring those accounts (the gospels) is merely a way of making Jesus into the image of man, into a follower of other men such as Mohammed, rather than actually treating Jesus like a prophet.   It would be more honest for Moslems to say that Jesus was not a prophet at all, than to give him a superficial lip service.  It would be more honest to say that Jesus was not a prophet at all than to ignore the witness and testimony of those who lived with him for three years before his death, and talked with him for forty days after his resurrection.   Those followers followed Jesus teachings, and followed Jesus example.  Mohammed did not do so, and thus in practice disregards Jesus as a true prophet.  

 

Just as many atheists attempt to discredit the scriptures (unsuccessfully), by attributing human failings to writing, transcribing and translating, so Muslims put themselves into the same camp as atheists by using the same reasons for discrediting scripture.  So how are Muslims and atheists then different in this regard?   Do they not both attempt to impose their own wishes and desires on who Jesus should be, and on what Jesus can do?   Would this not be like attempting to say that Mohammed was actually Chinese, or Norweigan, instead of an Arab?   It would be false, just as the Moslem portrayal of Jesus is entirely false. 

The irony is that it is harder to love your enemies than it is to hate them.  It is harder to surrender to God, than it is to commit suicide.  It is harder to give your life for others, than it is to take the life of others.  Unless you have the spirit of God in your heart.  Unless you really know the Lord Jesus.  

Greetings all:

   Global Mission. Amen to that.

Resonate. For all the nice talk given above and in the video, a few vital items are missing:

a. The whole counsel of God, proclaimed in power, can cause a resonance which is nothing less than open hostility. Think of the sneers and jeers received by Jesus and the Apostle Paul. If one delivers a message that tickles the ears of its auditors, yes, it will resonate, but not in the right way.

b. It is possible to resonate with the values of secular culture more than with the Gospel proclaimed in power. That is why the Apostle Paul said that he would not employ "plausible words of human wisdom." The mission might respond that it has built in safeguards, but if a survey of 15 local CRCNA churches is done in the area where I live, the influences of the culture are strong, if not growing stronger.

c. What about the word, 'resolute' ?Sure it is not as soft and cuddly as resonate, but it implies direction, conviction, being constrained---all which are pregnant with theological value. Is resonate pregnant with Reformed theological value? To this reader, not at all on a first reading, and perhaps not at 5th reading.

I can't escape the force of 'resolute' on a first reading.

Resolute:  marked by firm determination

"The love of Christ constrains me" (2 Cor. 5:14) =being marked by firm determination.

 

Blessings

John Span

Global Missions Capacity Builder

Serving in a partnership between CRWM and Interserve

 

Sorry about that. It should have ended by saying "how it translates into all the language BTGMI uses". I stopped because I translated "resonate" in to those languages and it was interesting the words that came up. Of course I am not familiar with the Chinese, Arabic etc. that use other lettering forms. 

Some of the board members of the NMA shared why they were excited to bring the name Resonate Global Mission for approval to Synod 2017.

Why Resonate Global Mission? (https://vimeo.com/216665966)

Always interesting to see how folks in the HO culture of the CRC "presume" synod will approve something it has not yet seen. If that is true for other routine stuff why is it even on the Synod agenda?  This is not a complaint but a complement.. I wish the folks who operate these ministries just get on with it and report like above. Synod would simply ratify the decisions of the Executive Director.  It would help focus synod on the the strategic issues facing the CRCNA. 

Hi Harry, 

Looks like the last part of your comment did not come through. Please let me know if I can help. 

Thanks!

BTGMI spent a lot of time getting to the name REFRAME. By using the word Global in the new name it will soon morf into "Global" or better yet "World" anyway. The latter would prevent major redesign of yet another name in the CRCNA lingo. CRCNA already has World Renew and that name was thought about long and hard.  My suggestion would have been to keep it simple.

It's like modern art. If it takes 100 words to explain a painting, the vast majority of people (those the Mission is trying to reach) will never get it. Name branding is all about recognition not words.

The article does not state how the word translates into the other major languages supported by the CRCNA via BTGMI. And it is only a matter of time before BTGMI gets swallowed up into this new  agency.

The article does not state how the

Perhaps it's time to evaluate where your church's gifts and passions and interests are in the area of missions. Finding a focus can spark new interest and help ensure that your dollars are being used effectively. One resource to help you do that is Catalyst Services http://catalystservices.org/. Several World Renew and World Missions staff have been trained as missions coaches if you would like to go that route. Feel free to email me if you would like to learn more.

Mission Emphasis, Faith Promise, the "List"

 

Thank you for your thoughts on Acts! These are some of the very questions I wanted to address in my book, "Together for the World: The Book of Acts." Thanks for keeping the conversation going on a book that's what we need these days as we learn to re-evangelize our culture. 

Hello Josh and company:

       The survey lacks the ability to suggest other names than the ones presented. Sure, one can comment on them, but it has the feel of being corralled somewhat.

     I agree with some contributors below that it is very useful to affirm the fact that we are Christian, Reformed and we believe in missions. I also do agree that a shorter acronym is easier to handle.   

     As well, I would suggest that this agency does not need a name that says, "we only speak English" or understand the world from a very limited North American context. This could put some of the names suggested in the survey in a new light.

    It seems the name has to depict its core value, or its core business and should be explicitly theological.

Here are a couple of other suggestions:

NChristos  --sure it sounds like a Greek island, but it does say that what we do is because we are "in" Christ. Sure doesn't sound overly English or North American either. Anyone in the world who partners with CRCNA mission agencies, and knows some Greek likely will understand it. 

Crossland(s) --slightly plagarized, this is a place in Kansas and New Mexico and the name of a church in Newmarket Canada. It does, however, give the idea of the cross at its center, it crosses lands, ie. builds bridges between peoples, and it is easy to say. It could also read, Crosslands Reformed Mission or CRM.

Vidalogos. Something that communicates life, is found in the living word of God. Might be close to Galapagos, but then who is counting? Certainly, has a global feel to it.

 

All the best with the process.

John Span

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

I agree that "Christian Reformed Missions" is simple direct. But let's translate that name into the 20 or more languages that it will be communicated in. I have been in countries like China, Iran, Japan etc. where the translations would not work well in print, on buildings or any public places. 

If memory serves me right World Renew did a lot of research into that and maybe we could learn from what they did.  BTGMi also has a lot of experience with non English language use in their media outreach. 

Consensus may not be as important as ensuring a name that "will work" in all the languages the church uses. So maybe full circle and call it World Missions!

I too like "Christian Reformed Missions."  To me, that name sounds like we are trying to be direct, descriptive, humble and simple.

The CRC is an opinionated denomination. We wanted to make sure we gave people an opportunity to voice those opinions at some point in the process. We are not relying on consensus to guide our process. People have strong relationships with these agencies and ministries and any change is going to be tough and full of negativity. Thank you for filling out the survey and adding your voice to the already 550+ people who are also letting us know their thoughts!

Hi, Josh.

It wasn't clear in your ministry survey that the ministry description was intended primarily for internal use. Either way it should clearly communicate who you are, what you do, and why. It doesn't.

Like you, I'm someone who works in the area of communications, marketing, branding and graphic design. I deeply believe in the power of creative that reaches and inspires people -- to me it's a reflection of who we are as creatures made by a creative God. In my experience, the best way to do this is rarely to throw a bunch of ideas at the wall and rely on the consensus of the general population to choose a brand identity.

I have deep concerns about a 9-month process that yields the kind of results we're seeing in this survey. Either you are receiving poor consultation, or you are not allowing the branding consultant to do their job properly.

I've provided lots of feedback, both in this string and in the survey, not just for the sake of being critical, but because I care and I'm concerned that you are going down a path where people are going to be far more critical than me. In a denomination that is increasingly voicing its concerns and demanding accountability for how ministry resources are being used, I believe you are on a dangerous path.

I'll leave it at that.

I pray for wisdom and discernment and the Spirit's leading as you move forward.

James

 

Thanks James, 

What you described as the "ministry description" are more-or-less personality characteristics that try to describe a little bit of how we talk about our work and the agency (it is more of an internal tool than anything else). The survey of the names is about how well these names fit with those attributes. There are a wide variety of people who have already responded to the survey and their responses are quite diverse. Some feel these names are too "edgy" or "abstract" while others believe these are too traditional and common. Most are somewhere in the middle. Our months of research has led us to this point. There are so many groups and perspectives to consider when naming the agency (young and old, International partners and North American church members, staff and pastors, etc) that there is no way to make everyone happy. What we have to do is find something that is useful, communicates well, and continue with the work of proclaiming the Gospel around the globe. 

Thanks.

It does let you continue. You just have to click on them in the lowest position to have that be your selection. I would encourage you to try to complete the survey. Only a fraction of the survey is asking whether or not you like the name, the rest is about criteria, taglines, modifiers, etc.

I started the survey but didn't finish because I didn't like any of the choices, and it wouldn't let me continue when I had kept them all on dislike.

I second James Bosma's title of Christian Reformed Missions.  Simple and clear.  Or CRCNA Missions.

I may be alone on this, and hate to be a naysayer, but I completed the survey and I was disappointed with all of the name choices presented. I was especially disappointed with the ministry description. It lacks clarity and meaning and is full of jargon.

To me, all of the names are missing the mark. There is an art to branding and art is not best done by survey and consensus.

At the same time, I agree with Harry. Invest time and energy in revitalizing the CRCNA's brand identity and then present the agencies of the CRC as clearly named divisions of the parent organization. There are already too many sub-brands within the CRC and it's confusing to people.

Why not keep the name of this new organization practical, straightforward, and clearly associated with the denomination? LIke "CRCNA Missions"? Or "Christian Reformed MIssions"?

 

Good points, Harry.

I think Faith Alive would actually be a better name for this new agency than any of the choices presented. But that would probably lead to even more confusion.

My favorite logo used in the CRCNA was the one used by Faith Alive. Now that this agency is no longer formally in play maybe their logo should go to this new agency.

I am still confused how the Back to God Ministries fits into this Global Missions mandate that was really initiated by the two Directors of the two missions agencies that are now supposedly one.

In general the "branding" of the CRCNA is a bit of a mixed bag with still some five to six logos in use. If you are going to spend money every time an agency folds or amalgamates to "rebrand" the outfit you should really come up with a CRCNA brand. But then we should first divest Calvin College and World Renew. 

 

 Thanks Bill.......Is there a legislative definition of "culture"?

There is no official legislative definition of "religion" in the US. An organizations applies to the IRS for tax exempt status and it is granted or rejected.  Apparently a "church" is not required to "believe in" any sort of God.  I think I could get tax exempt status for a house of prostitution. If one combined the published "legal" details of Scientology and the LDS with classes of memberships and fees for educational services, AND secret ceremonies . . . . 

http://freebeacon.com/issues/irs-denied-tax-exempt-status-57-religious-g...

https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p1828.pdf

Tax-Exempt Status Churches and religious organizations, like many other charitable organizations, qualify for exemption from federal income tax under IRC Section 501(c)(3) and are generally eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions. To qualify for tax-exempt status, the organization must meet the following requirements (covered in greater detail throughout this publication): n the organization must be organized and operated exclusively for religious, educational, scientific or other charitable purposes; n net earnings may not inure to the benefit of any private individual or shareholder; n no substantial part of its activity may be attempting to influence legislation; n the organization may not intervene in political campaigns; and n the organization’s purposes and activities may not be illegal or violate fundamental public policy. Recognition of Tax-Exempt Status Automatic Exemption for Churches Churches that meet the requirements of IRC Section 501(c)(3) are automatically considered tax exempt and are not required to apply for and obtain recognition of tax-exempt status from the IRS. Although there is no requirement to do so, many churches seek recognition of tax-exempt status from the IRS because this recognition assures church leaders, members and contributors that the church is recognized as exempt and qualifies for related tax benefits. For example, contributors to a church that has been recognized as tax exempt would know that their contributions generally are tax-deductible. 

This is an interesting topic because of a recent case by a parent on Vancouver Island who went to court objecting that her children (in a public school) were "forced" participate in some aboriginal smudge ceremony and prayers and considered that to be an infringement on her and her children’s religious liberty (i.e. being forced to participate in a religious event). The local Indian band dismissed the complaint, that while they would certainly exempt people from participating, the event itself was "cultural".  The judge will have to make a decision, I guess, unless the parent withdraws the case.

From your article it was not clear to me how we distinguish between religion and culture. And certainly in Africa where does religion start and when does culture end.

This issue was indirectly handled many years ago when the Canadian Federal government did not allow Christian schools to declare that all subjects were religious. It took a few years to define what Christian was and was not.  This, in Canada, had some very interesting financial implications (good or bad depending on your views) for folks who sent their children to Christian schools.

Thanks for the reply. Theologically agree but pragmatically taking human nature and social contract into consideration, street corner preaching, for example, is no longer useful. As a cynic, CRC policy and publications would read differently if CRC "professionals" followed St Paul's example of earning his living expenses outside his spiritual/church activities.

Decades ago I worshipped with the Plymouth Brethren when they (still) had no paid preachers yet they pragmatically "invented" dispenational theology and influenced 80% (?) of the books in "Christian" book stores. 

 

http://www.plymouthbrethren.org/  

 

Thanks Anthony for your response to Bill Wald.  It seems as though you put a lot of stock in Reformed theology to explain the effectiveness of the gospel and to further explain the effectiveness of your teaching, as to whether your students grasp and take hold of it.  You explain that your teaching is simply the human means that God uses to effectually call students to commitment to Christ above culture.  The bottom line, it’s not your fault if they don’t fall, hook, line, and sinker, for the message you’re trying to convey.  That’s the work of the Holy Spirit who does the convincing.  You can rest at peace and in comfort, that you’ve done your work.  I’ll assume that you do an excellent job in your teaching, although some might theoretically question whether your teaching was truly effective.  The deeper problem I see, is whether the message you are conveying is really reasonable and therefore palatable.  If the message doesn’t meet a rational standard why accept it as true?  Why shouldn’t your students also see value in their own religious traditions?

As I see it, Reformed theology (the five points of Calvinism) is just a clever way of explaining why most people aren’t interested in the Christian message.  The truth may be that the gospel is unreasonable and therefore unbelievable.  But Reformed Christians (and the apostle Paul) would try to claim that such refusal is only because these refusers have not been chosen or elected unto salvation.  The rational explanation is that the claim of the Christian gospel is unreasonable and unbelievable.  

I’m quite sure you think that your students (who are holding on to parts of their old religion) are being unreasonable in trying to accommodate both religions or to holding on to any part of their old religion.  Christianity makes so much more sense.  But it makes sense because you are looking at Christianity from within the box of Christianity.  You are not looking at Christianity objectively  from outside the box.  An objective look at Christianity from outside the box will show that Christianity is no more reasonable than other religions.  You seem to be asking your students to evaluate Christianity from within your particular box (a Reformed Christian perspective) rather than stepping back and evaluating your claims objectively from outside of the box.  From outside the box, some people objectively see value in a variety of religions and might want to acknowledge and accept the good in each.  But you seem to fault some of your students (and some Christians in the U.S.) for wanting to do this.  Again, you seem naive in wanting your students to acknowledge the same narrow view that you hold of Christianity.  If I were you (and I'm not), I would be glad that my students accept the core of Christianity, even if they don't accept it in every detail as you understand it.

I would like to suggest that we take more seriously what we read in Genesis 1 about God creating humans to be his image, particularly in the matter of "subduing the earth."  This means that God wants us as humans to create our civilizations in such a way that they incorporate the virtues of God such as honesty, love, justice, truth, etc. in the way our culture functions.  History is the process of our learning how to do that, so that the closer any culture gets to this standard the more godly it will be.  African cultures need, as to all cultures, to be analyzed in this respect.  How truthful, just, loving, etc is our culture?  Christianity exists for that purpose, to disciple the nations, as Christ commands us.

Edwin Walhout

Yes at the end of the day, it is the Holy Spirit who changes hearts and minds, we cannot do so.  But he also uses means to accomplish that, and he can use us to try to convince others of the truth.  That is what preaching is.  Before regeneration there is effectual calling, through the means of preaching the Gospel.  While our preaching efforts can do nothing without God's election and the work of regeneration by the Holy Spirit, God has not only chosen those who will be his, but he has also planned ahead to use us and our preaching, to call people to that salvation, those whom he has chosen.  There is no reason to think that evangelism and Reformed theology don't work together.  In fact, Reformed theology gives us comfort.  For example, with my students, I didn't have to teach with anxiety and pressure, because I knew it is the Holy Spirit's job to change their minds, not my job, but I had the privilege of God using me in it.  Your idea of evangelism seems to lack the idea of preaching, read Romans 10.  Your definition seems very different from Paul's.

I don't like the idea of doing good works only to earn a right to be heard.  Doing good works it part of the good news of God's Kingdom (Luke 4).  And we do them out of love whether or not it gives us a chance to preach the Gospel.  Good works are not just a means to an end of preaching the Gospel.  We love non-Christians whether they listen to the Gospel or not.  We love Christians even if they have already accepted the Gospel.  As we preach continually to all, we also continue to love all.

Thanks Anthony for this article on whether putting culture or putting Christianity should come first in one’s life.  Quite frankly, I think you are rather naive in thinking that Christianity should win the battle for dominance over culture.  On what grounds do you think your students should abandon their cultural values for those of Christianity?  What makes Christianity any more valid than the Islamic religion or the traditional religions of Kenya?  Are the core teachings of Christianity any more valid or verifiable than those of other religions?  Don’t the teachings of the Bible, especially the New Testament, have to be accepted by faith, apart from any verifiable evidence?  Is there any evidence to verify that God is a three person being or that Jesus is one of those three persons who has come down from heaven to be crucified and then rise in some kind of victory over the world which we can’t see or verify?  So why would or should your students so completely abandon their traditional beliefs for those of Christianity?  It can't be that our beliefs are more rational or verifiable.

You may suggest that the teachings of Christianity are true, maybe even verifiable, because the Bible, God’s inspired word, teaches those truths.  But the Koran, and I’m quite certain that Kenyan traditional religions, will affirm that their teachings are also completely reliable because they are also inspired of God and therefore completely true.  As to truthfulness, other religions make the same claim as Christianity. So, again, why should your students jump on your wagon and abandon what they have been taught all their lives? Certainly, the fact that you believe, shouldn’t convince them anymore than what they believe would convince you to change what you believe.  Again, it seems naive on your part to think that your perspective is any better than theirs. What is your rationale for saying that my religion is better and therefore it makes sense to jump all ships but mine?

I found this post challenging and encouraging! Thanks for sharing. 

Two or three observations:

First, Maslow's Hierarchy. For most humans, basic food and shelter comes before religion. If one's kids are hungry . . . .

Second, the first center  of Christianity was North Africa, then Europe, then North America. Seems like God has given up on North America. Next will be South America and then South Africa? History seems circular and cyclical.

Third, I spent my first 40 years in Dispensational Christianity and was then "Reformed." I confess I don't understand how Reformed theology supports Reformed evangelism. (I think) Reformed theology and evangelism should be based on regeneration temporally preceding conversion, conversion temporally preceding sanctification.  NOT convincing people to "believe in . . . ."

Thus the purpose of Reformed evangelism should be to identifying those whom the Holy Spirit is "working on," regenerating, and then inviting them to join the fellowship of those whom the Holy Spirit is also "working on." I was happy to support the (old) CRWRC because their philosophy seemed to be to  first earn the right to be heard through doing good works without any hope of gain for ourselves. Not even of earning higher status in the next life but simple because it is what Christians do. The (old) name "said it all." 

A coalition of CRC agencies have done some work on the challenges that you are describing. #1. They recommend partnering with a trusted agency--the agency will have a had a long term relationship with the community and help to ensure that (a) the participants are properly trained, (b) that the group's work plans, learning, and relationship building opportunities line up with a vision that the community has created for itself, (c) that the short term group plans ahead for how they will take their learning and experience back home and use it towards continued long term investment.

#2. They also created this video curriculum that groups can use to dig deeper into healthy practices for short term missions: http://www.bechangedforlife.org/

 

 

Thanks for this article, Anthony.  I think it also applies to who goes on short-term mission trips.  How much preparation is given to those who go on these trips?  Almost none.  My one and only service trip overseas was to the Dominican Republic, where I helped with school construction for about one week.  I knew very little about the country and culture of the people we were visiting in order to properly engage even the women who served us two hot meals per day.  I do not regret having gone on this trip, but if I were to go again, I would at least want to have cultural and language knowledge so that I would be a greater help.  Really, the air fare for a one-week trip would be better spent to equip nationals and well qualified others to do transformational work.

What is an 'ordinary Christian'?  In my opinion that pretty much covers all of us. The pastors I know fit into that category as well.  Our daughter and her family have been in Africa for five years working with a group Take Action which is a Word and deed ministry.  Check that blog out as well as thefeyfamily.blogspot.com. Then go to Money saving Mom who is Crystal Paine and read what she just did and is doing. My husband, a very ordinary Christian, goes to Africa and Ethiopia twice a year and does TLT with pastors and other OC's. Besides that we have been in Cambodia five times, China and Korea. None of the above people are scraping buildings and putting on a new layer of paint.  There is way too much to do in God's Kingdom.  The world is so big so every ordinary Christian, of which I am chief, is needed both here and abroad.  Imagine if we did 'pray and give and go!' We are all capable of one of those.  Lastly every Christian, ordinary and extra ordinary, read another life giving book by Chris Marlowe 'Doing Good is Simple'.  Let us all get out to change our world one person at a time.  My e mail is pjvs50@gmail.com love to talk with you. Willie Van Schepen

Hello Alireza Amiri,

 

Thank you for your question and your interest in our discussion. I can say that there is no biblical evidence that Jesus pointed people to the appearance of Islam. I think that sometimes Muslims misunderstand Jesus' words that he would send a comforter - the Holy Spirit to come after him. So you may actually be referring to the Holy Spirit, who is indeed our comforter and helps us to follow our faith.

I hope that clears up any misunderstandings. Sorry to dissapoint you but Jesus is the only way.

Blessings,

Greg

 

 

Hey greg!

I appreciate that you make these things clear for people im a muslim myself and they thought us to love everyone and Christian people especially because they have a good religion

and we both believe in the only god, now i heard that Jesus told Christian people that a greater and better religion is going to appear(islam) and that they have to be muslim is that true?

Thanks for this. It reflects a lot of the same things we have thought and felt during our tenure in Japan 35 years and still ongoing). But yesterday we said goodbye to two very precious grandsons, and we're sad about that. And in a couple of weeks we will be saying goodbye to an aging parent, whose needs remain on our mind all the time. Still, the "benefits," if that's the right way to say it, are so much greater than the "sacrifices." 35 years ago, an international phone call from Japan to the US cost $9.00 per minute! Today we can Skype for free. Travel schedules are much more flexible than in the 1980s and 1990s, so we do get back more often. Sure, we have our frustrations and "if only" moments, but the Lord is faithful and gives us encouragement in so many ways. We're just finishing up home service, having spent almost 6 months meeting scads of people who care deeply for us personally and for the work of missions. We are indeed blessed! 

posted in: Do I Sacrifice?

Excellent article.  I have the same thoughts.  We of course need to share our faith with love and grace, but we also need to get over our fears and share the truth of the good news!

Go and Tell is a three hour evangelism seminar and is an easy and practical way to equip you to become a fisher of men (Matthew 4:19) based on the Heidelberg Catechism.

Go and Tell Testimonial from Chet Swearingen (President of Beautiful Feet ministry):

"Go and Tell is an inspirational and practical seminar on how to effectively and compassionately communicate the Gospel. The facilitator, Pastor Jim Halstead, goes beyond communicating methods and facts about evangelism, he transfers his passion and life experiences as well. I highly recommend this seminar to any church or denomination.”

 

The Go and Tell evangelism seminar is a free online seminar and includes videos, audio, booklet, and additional free resources. To access Go and Tell free online go to www.fortwaynecrc.com and Click on the Go and Tell tab. 

If you have any questions about the Go and Tell evangelism seminar or if you would like to host a seminar-please contact me.

 

Delighting in God,

Pastor Jim Halstead

www.fortwaynecrc.com

Muchas gracias!

Que Dios les acompanye.

 

Good post!

Hi Rick, 

Thanks for feedback! The video download has been fixed and the other materials should be easily viewable. 

Thanks again!
Staci 

 

posted in: Missions Tourism

Thanks for letting us know, Rick. We'll get these back up and running and keep you posted! 

posted in: Missions Tourism

Awesome Resource!!  But the Video download does not work and all the other information is shown in a very narrow window that cannot be enlarged.  I look forward to reviewing all the material.  Thanks to those who authored this resource.  

God Bless!!

posted in: Missions Tourism

The links are fixed now! Thanks, Anthony.  

posted in: Missions Tourism

Thank you for the article and for sharing this great resource.  However, I think the links are broken.  But I was able to find the website online still.  Maybe the links just need to be tweaked.

posted in: Missions Tourism

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