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  • Justin Long 11:38 am on July 13, 2015 Permalink |  

    Islam has the largest number of under-30 believers in China? 

    Christian Today has a post up with this headline.
    The lead statement says:

    Islam has the largest number of young believers in China, new research has found, despite the growth of Christianity in the country and an atheist government.
    The China Religion Survey 2015, released by the National Survey Research Centre at Renmin University of China,  found that 22.4 per cent of Muslims in China are under 30, with Catholicism following closely behind at 22 per cent aged 30 or under.

    (My emphasis added.)
    The article is getting some linkages and was referred to me by a friend involved in ministry there. It appears to me the lead is unclear, and in its unclarity, wrong.
    I think they said “largest number” when they meant something more like “largest percentage” or “largest share.”
    Let’s do the math:
    Muslims in China number at most 24.4 million.
    If 22% are under the age of 30, then under-30 Muslims number about 5.3 million.
    Catholics probably make up about 20 million (both Asia Harvest numbers and the World Christian Database agree on that).  The study cited seems to suggest Catholics also have about 22% (slightly under Muslims) of their membership under 30. So Catholics would likewise have slightly fewer people in absolute numbers: 22% of 20 million = 5 million.
    But Protestants number 84 million.
    If even 10% (half) were under 30, then under-30s would equate to 8.4 million.
    If 20% are, under-30s would be 16 million, or 3x the number of Muslim under-30s.
    It’s not likely that less than 5% or so of Protestants are under the age of 30!
    This article in Breitbart goes further:

    The study, conducted between 2013 and 2015, found that 22.4 percent of people under 30 years old identified as Muslim, while 22 percent identified as Catholic. Buddhism and Taoism were the two most popular religions among people over 60 years of age.

    Now, precisely how many people does “22.4% of people under 30” equate to? The UN has China’s population by 5-year age group, as of 2015: 0-4, 91.2 million; 5-9, 85.2 million; 10-14, 78 million; 15-19, 82.6 million; 20-24, 107.8 million; 25-29, 133.2 million. Add these together: 578 million. 22.4% of them are Muslim? About 130 million. That’s about 6 times the total number of Muslims in China right now, or about 10% of China’s population. If they were all under 30… that would be a massive people movement, and how would that be ignored and suddenly discovered in a research study today?
    Anyway, the Breitbart report cites this Global Times report, which says “Islam has the largest number of young believers, with 22.4 percent of them aged below 30.” So Breitbart gets it wrong through unclear writing.
    However, I think the Global Times report is wrong too, since it claims most religious Chinese are younger. There are 1.4 billion people in China, and if 578 million are under 30, that leaves about 900 million who are over. A good chunk of those would be Buddhists and Taoists, and you have to count them as religious. Without doing extended analysis, my money’s on there being more older religious Chinese than younger – invaliding the Global Times statement.
    What I think the original study was saying is this: of all religious groups, Muslims in China have the highest percentage of members (not the highest absolute number of members) who are under the age of 30. Or, more simply stated: the average age of Islam is younger than any other group. I haven’t seen the original study yet, so I don’t know for sure, but this is about the only thing that isn’t immediately falsifiable. Muslims do tend to have a higher birth rate, which would skew toward a younger population.
    Another possibility: Muslims in China may very well be the fastest growing religion among Young Chinese, too. Small groups do tend to be faster growing than large groups, so this would be unsurprising. Rapid growth when small is not maintained when groups become large, however.
    This just goes to show that we need to be careful in how we say these kinds of things, and just think for a moment about what’s being said.

    • John T. 4:45 pm on May 26, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I think you’re right. I had the “Muslims are 22% of young people in China” story forwarded to me and I didn’t think it made sense – the numbers couldn’t add up. If they’re saying that 22% of Muslims in China are under 30, that would make sense.

    • John T. 8:46 am on July 20, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I think you’re right. I had the “Muslims are 22% of young people in China” story forwarded to me and I didn’t think it made sense – the numbers couldn’t add up. If they’re saying that 22% of Muslims in China are under 30, that would make sense.

  • Justin Long 8:30 am on July 13, 2015 Permalink |  

    How 10% can shape a broader community 

    A study from scientists at the Social Cognitive Networks Academic Research Center at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is reported here and in “Minority Rules,” posted by the Freakonomics blog.

    The study’s abstract says:

    We show how the prevailing majority opinion in a population can be rapidly reversed by a small fraction p of randomly distributed committed agents who consistently proselytize the opposing opinion and are immune to influence. Specifically, we show that when the committed fraction grows beyond a critical value pc=10%, there is a dramatic decrease in the time Tc taken for the entire population to adopt the committed opinion. In particular, for complete graphs we show that when p<pc, Tc~exp[a(p)N], whereas for p>pc, Tc~lnN. We conclude with simulation results for Erdos-Rényi random graphs and scale-free networks which show qualitatively similar behavior.

    And this is important, with implications for everything from church governance to church planting movements.
    Perhaps one of the most critical lines here is: “randomly distributed committed agents who consistently proselytize [their] opinion and are immune to influence.”
    This is related to church planting movements & the conversion process, because conversions most always happen in the context of relationship (Stark, Rise of Christianity, p. 16-17, see here, herehere and here).
    1. This principle, if true, would work in both small groups and large. In an organization of 500 (the size of a medium-sized church or mission agency), just 50 committed agents would (probably) be enough to change any policy within it.
    2. Simply holding an opinion is not enough to change the winds of culture. If the Tenth Column [like that?] isn’t proselytizing their beliefs, nothing will happen. Sharing your opinion–through speaking, writing, webinars, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, over coffee, in workshops, at Sunday School, whatever–is important. You have to take the risk, speak out, and find others who share your ideas–even though you are in the minority in the larger community. (This doesn’t necessarily mean speaking out very publicly, which is where wisdom and discernment come in.)
    3. The rate of conversion to the new idea determines the speed at which transformation occurs. The study says nothing about how long this process will take. Indeed, there is some debate about its parameters. In the study, (1) “listener” talked with a “speaker”; (2) if the listener’s opinion differed from the speaker, the listener moved on; (3) if the listener then encountered a second speaker with the same opinion, the listener adopted the new belief. In real life, it could take a lot more time and exposures before someone changes their mind. Therefore, the chief goal should be to increase the rate of exposure to an idea, try to determine the “threshhold” of exposures it takes for a listener to change their mind, and accelerate to reach that threshhold in 10% of the population.
    4. The reason the threshhold of 10% works: with every person added, there becomes an increasing chance of encountering someone who holds the opinion positively. Think about it: if you have 1 person in 100, there is no chance of growth on this model–because it takes exposure to 2 different people to “convert.” (You might disagree with the math, but set that aside for the moment and consider the process). When there are 2 people, there is a very small chance  of conversion of a third (probability theory: encountering one individual is 1/100, and you multiply the two together, so the overall chance is 1/100 of 1/100). However, with each additional person added there is a greater chance of hitting the 2-exposure threshhold, because there are more “speakers” to talk to. Once you get to 10%, each individual (because of connectedness) likely knows a number of people and will easily shift. (In a crowd of 100, you know 10 with the opposing attitude. If it takes 2 exposures, you have 5x what is required in exposures to shift.)
    You can see this kind of thing in models for everything from fax machines to Facebook. “Follow this link–you’ll need an account on Facebook. It’s free.” If you get more than a few of those from people whose links you want to follow, you’ll get yourself a free account. Once there, it’s a short jump to, “Let’s start a Facebook group to discuss this.”
    5. Just because an opinion becomes the prevailing opinion does not mean it will remain so. Consider: “Freedom is good.” From there, quickly to “I ought to be free of government control in the decisions I make.” And from there to, “everyone else ought to be free too.” But will it jump from there to “people should be free to change their religion?” The Arab Spring may be a test of this: one idea jumps to majority, but what minority ideas can reclaim thought space. It works both ways.
    6. Small threshholds of bad ideas need to be responded to early. If you are a thought leader in an organization, it behooves you to know what is being discussed in small groups–because small groups have less incentive to compromise, more incentive to spread quietly, and can fairly easily get to the “magic 10%” needed. Respond to ideas when they are at the “1%” level and they are much easier to deal with. This is why China is working so hard to regulate its people.
    7. Conversion requires not just taking on a new opinion, but also becoming a proselytizer. The only way this works is if the “listener” likewise becomes a “speaker.” For an idea to spread, the newly converted cannot simply hold the opinion. It is great if they speak up about the opinion. But for it to really spread, they must also make listeners into speakers. Therefore, one way to mitigate the spread of a bad idea is to prevent this “leaders-make-leaders” phenomenon. And one key ingredient to spreading a good idea is to codify it, teach people to spread it, and inspire them to do so.
    This is a critical piece of research. The original article is $25 and likely worth the purchase for you. How will you review this, test it, and pursue its use in your own work and ministry?

  • Justin Long 2:00 pm on July 11, 2015 Permalink |  

    Quotes, 2 

    1. “Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” ~Winston Churchill.
    2. “I cannot do what I want to do without becoming the person God has made me to be.” ~Kirk Anderson.
    3. “Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” ~Abraham Lincoln.
    4. “God will get you through times without money better than money will get you through times without God.” ~Homeless Proverb
    5. “Don’t fall into the trap of studying the Bible without doing what it says.” ~Francis Chan (@crazylove)
    6. “Never expect that the world will be friends with the Church.” ~Charles Spurgeon
    7. “We live in a day when people believe something to be true not because of the facts and evidence behind them, but because of where the statement comes from.” ~Michael Jaffarian
    8. “It isn’t the person with the best idea who wins, but the one with the greatest understanding of what really matters to people.” ~Bernadette Jiwa
    9. “A hypothesis is not scientific unless it is falsifiable.” ~Nate Silver
    10. “Muse = consider, meditate at length. Amuse = a (=not). To be so entertained as to not think or consider at all.” ~Randy Newman

  • Justin Long 8:45 am on July 11, 2015 Permalink |  

    Tools I regularly Use 

    Now, updated for 2015. Now reduced to 22 commonly used tools.
    1. Gmail+Outlook: all of my email comes here. Can’t beat its anti-spam and virus protection. After nearly a decade, Gmail is still my go-to spot, and retains the top slot on the 2015 list. That said, I rarely ever actually go to the Gmail web client nowadays, because the latest editions of Outlook have, for me, been so powerful and easy to use. Outlook on the iPhone quickly won my heart when it came out – it was so much simpler and faster than any other client (including the Apple Mail app) in my experience. Based on that, I quickly tried out Outlook on the Mac, and found it equally useful – and then installed it on my PC at home. Haven’t looked back after that.
    2. Evercontact: This is an indispensable pay service, but it’s pretty cheap. It works with Gmail. It scans incoming email for contact information and automatically updates your Google Contacts list, bringing in things like email addresses, phone numbers, physical addresses, etc. It’s a great time saver. Since my Google Contacts address is automatically synced to my phone, and becomes my phone address list, it’s also helpful for updating the phone book on my phone. Now, the trick with this is, since I’ve started using Outlook, I have yet to figure out the best way to integrate Google’s Contacts list with Outlooks. Evercontact has a variant that works with Outlook as well as one that works with Gmail, but the two aren’t the same and don’t sync.
    3. Dropbox: I abandoned Google Drive back in 2014 because I had so many files that they became problematic to find and organize without folders. (Google Drive’s folders were always problematic for me, and I just didn’t have time to mess around with it.) I tried Sync for a bit, but I’ve run into a lot of people who have problems with Sync, so I have reverted to Dropbox. I have a Pro account and this is where I store most of my files. As of 2015, I have nearly every file I own in a 1TB Dropbox, and right now wouldn’t think of changing. I also use it to store my photos; the Dropbox App Carousel has completely replaced Picasa for me.
    4. Twitter. Twitter is the center of my news world. I have several carefully curated lists which cover breaking news, top news sources, global thinkers and influencers, activists, mission agencies, and the like. I use Flipboard on the iPad to access this, as well as Tweetbot (and often Twitter on my desktop Mac).
    5. WordPress+Siteground is where I host my blog. I moved there from Hostgator, because it seems to have better integration with WordPress, and it’s relatively cheap. However, I have a founder account at TheGrid, which is what I’m planning to try out (once it gets out of Beta). So I may be moving there, and eliminating both Siteground and WordPress.
    6. Mailchimp. This is my email newsletter manager of choice. I do an autofeed from my blog to a daily Mailchimp newsletter, and also send out a weekly detailed report on a different email list.
    7. Microsoft Excel (+Word). Despite what most might believe, I’m presently simply using Excel sheets for virtually all my database work. The District Survey is an enormously large spreadsheet but Excel handles it with ease. I will say that Excel on a PC works faster than Excel on a Mac, but Excel on a Mac is still fine. And I use Word for documents on the Mac, when I need that (but most often I’m working on Indesign documents, see next).
    8. Adobe Indesign. This is what I use when I’m writing any reports or longer documents (e.g. the Outlook the Cluster Forecasts, etc). I have a subscription.
    9. Scrivener. I use Scrivener less right now, but I still recommend it and wouldn’t delete it from my system. I mainly use it for long-form writing. I have used it in the past for Cluster Forecasts, essays and other projects. It’s available in both Mac and Windows editions.
    10. Vsee. Organizationally we use VSee as my primary VOIP application now, thanks to its better security model and low bandwidth footprint. For those who aren’t on VSee, I do Skype.
    11. Facebook. I normally go here about once a day. Twitter dominates my social networking time. If you want to catch me online, is your best bet.
    12. Camtasia Studio. This is what I use for recording videos. I got it pretty cheap through a non-profit license via Techsoup. (I haven’t made a video in a very long time, unfortunately.)
    13. Tripit maintains my travel calendar automatically. Anytime I purchase a flight, Tripit (which monitors my Gmail account) automatically sucks the flight data in and gives me a nice itinerary. It syncs to the iPhone/iPad app as well, so that’s always up to date, and shares the itinerary with my wife, so she has quick access to my schedule.
    14. Kindle: I love Amazon Kindle. I probably have 200 books/files in it. Apple’s iBooks is nice, but at this point I have so much in my Kindle that I would be hard pressed to abandon it. I actually use my Kindle App on iPhone/iPad far more than I do my actual Kindle, at this point. I’m also on a 30-day free trial of Amazon Unlimited.
    15. Paypal/Gumroad. I have used both services. We use Paypal at ActBeyond for monthly donations; I use Gumroad to offer small files for free/donation-based download. I’ve found Gumroad to be exceptionally easy to use and well integrated with Twitter.
    16. FileZilla: this is my FTP transfer program of choice. I’ve tried a bunch (including CuteFTP Pro) but this is the one that’s the simplest.
    17. Putty: This is my SSH terminal of choice. I use it when I need to login to my host server and make minor changes or run programs on it.
    18. Sketchbook. This is my Mac-based drawing pad. It’s not as nice as Smoothdraw, but it works.
    19. iTunes: what I use to play and scan in music. I know, others find it kludgy. It works for me. Besides I pretty much need that because of the iPhone and iPad.
    20. Pandora: what I use to play streaming music (radio); I’ve tuned some channels for instrumental music that plays during work.
    21. LastPass: my password manager. My passwords are typically phrases (not crazy alphanumeric codes) but Lastpass is great for automatically logging me into sites so I don’t have to remember all the passwords I’ve used. (Wish it worked with Safari.)
    22. Chrome/Safari. Since moving to a primarily Mac client, I have switched to Safari. I wish Safari was available for Windows, but it’s not, so on my Windows box at home I use Chrome.

    • Al Stewart / RadioAl 3:52 pm on July 26, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I have kindle on desktop … but just can’t get used to it. … I have a GMail account as an extra, but it is set to automatically forward everything to my regular email address. Works for me. FTP here is WSFTP — used it for years, and staying with it. Tried CuteFTP but wasn’t satisfied with it… Everything on PC. No mac here.

      • Justin Long 10:08 am on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I use Kindle on Desktop these days only when I’m hunting for something that’s in one of my Kindle books (for example, I have a number of books on China & India as references). When I’m “reading” a book, I’m doing it either on my Paperwhite (Kindle) or on my phone. My FTP client is rarely used, so I just stick with the one that I know and that does the job.

    • Walt Dowdy 11:37 am on January 27, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Have you used TheGrid anymore? Curious your thoughts. I personally run WordPress Multisites with the ability to create multiple sites from one install. Yes it is a lot of work and learning. TheGrid seems great in theory, but optimizing your website for a content marketing strategy or a sales funnel seems to be the sacrifice. For you, email subscriptions are pretty key. Can you trust TheGrid to lead your sites visitors in the right direction? Could it cost you subscriptions for the simplicity of adding content and ai designing your site for you?

  • Justin Long 2:00 pm on July 10, 2015 Permalink |  

    Futures Perceived, 2 

    1. “Babies halt the Great Commission“: Christian researchers think population growth will stall the Gospel’s spread. Christianity Today.
    2. “How Mexico is becoming the drone capital of Latin America.”
    3. “Chances are, your smartphone is constantly betraying you.” New Scientist. Traveling missionary, beware.
    4. Fewer people are being killed by natural catastrophes.
    5. Mergers & Acquisitions among US churches in the Multisite Church Movement. Christianity Today.
    6. China’s hunger for robots marks a significant shift: having devoured many of the world’s factory jobs, China is now handing them over to robots. WSJ.
    7. DeepStereo: takes multiple pictures and synthesizes new views, walk thrus. Google.
    8. “More data, more problems: surveillance and the information economy.” Book reviews of “Data & Goliath: the hidden battles to collect your data and control your world” and “Disruptive power: the crisis of the state in the digital age.” Foreign Affairs.

  • Justin Long 8:45 am on July 10, 2015 Permalink |  

    Why should missionaries be sent to Europe? 

    Q. I wonder why missionaries should be sent to Europe.
    First, let’s ask – should we send no workers to Europe, at all?
    A lot of people who advocate work among the unreached say we should preference sending workers to the 10/40 Window over sending workers to Europe. What gets lost in the soundbite is the reason: there is an enormous imbalance between missionaries sent to the 10/40 Window and those sent to “Christianized” places (like Europe and Latin America).
    Divide the world up into Worlds A (unevangelized), B (evangelized non-Christian) and C (professedly Christian), and look at the missionary resources spent on each: roughly 90% is given to World C, 9% for World B, and a smidge for World A. This is an enormous imbalance.
    Why does this imbalance exist? A few reasons:

    • World C (the Christianized world, North America, Latin America, Europe, Australia, etc) is generally easier to get to.
    • World C is generally easier to understand: there are language and cultural similarities.
    • There’s a long history of work in World C, so people know how to ‘do missions’ there.
    • World C is generally safer, which makes it easier to send short term teams – and where people go on short-term trips, they are often inclined to go for long-term work.

    These aren’t bad reasons. They are simply reasons why it’s easier to send workers one place, and harder to send them to another. It’s very difficult to send workers to Afghanistan at all, for example–so the church can hardly be blamed for not sending many workers there.
    Should we send no workers to Europe? No. But we should, insofar as it is possible, work very hard to correct the imbalance.
    Can we not send as many workers/resources to Africa and Asia as we do to Latin America and Europe? Could we not send as many per capita (e.g. if we send 1 missionary per million to Europe, can we send 1 per million to Africa and 1 per million to Asia – knowing this means more workers for Africa & Asia)?
    Now, let’s consider the inverse question: why should we send workers to Europe?
    I define a “missionary” as one who is sent on a mission; specifically, to plant the church where it is not.
    Some note, rightly, we are not commissioned to “plant churches” but rather to witness, evangelize and make disciples. The church is built when disciples are made. While true, the soundbite can conflate the individual congregation with the larger Church. When we make disciples, those disciples gather together, and their gathering is a church, which is a local expression of the Church.
    For witness to be offered, the Gospel to be shared, and disciples to be made, the Church (in some form, whether local believers or foreign workers) must be present. The missionary task is to plant the Church (which is a far different matter from starting individual local churches). While missionaries may witness, evangelize and make disciples, local believers can do this far better. So the missionary really should only do this to the extent required to get to the point where local believers are doing it. At that point, the missionary task for that place/people is finished, and the local responsibility begins.
    Europe is controversial. The “Church” is arguably present. Depending on whether you count Anglicans, Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestants or not, it’s either present in large numbers or small. Whether the evangelization of nominal, cultural Christians is a missionary task or not is a matter of no small argument. For me, I say “no.” But, if you argue the growth functions of the church (witnessing, evangelism, disciple-making) are not being done, then this would (to my mind) justify the deployment of missionaries.
    However, there is another reason to send missionaries to Europe: to work among the many thousands of non-Christians (e.g. atheists, agnostics, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists), whether local or immigrant (and there are obviously many thousands of immigrants coming in to Europe). London, Birmingham, Paris, certain sections of Germany, parts of Eastern Europe, and Turkey (if you count Turkey as part of Europe) are obvious locations for this kind of work (as are other places I’m sure many could name).
    Europe is also often a good proximity base to support work being done in other places (e.g. broadcasting into the Middle East, or translation support, or follow-up for Internet or broadcasting-based programs, etc).
    The most important reason one could have for sending workers to Europe is that God called that particular person/agency to go. If God says ‘go,’ don’t listen to me say ‘stay.’ (Just make sure that God really called you.)

  • Justin Long 2:00 pm on July 9, 2015 Permalink |  

    Life among the Unreached, 2 

    1. Why India & Bangladesh have the craziest border. Economist.
    2. To the Mountains, a glimpse of the lives of the hidden peoples of the Caucasus. IMB.
    3. Benghazi, Libya, now a shattered city.
    4. Half of Syria’s 22 million have fled their homes. Photo essay.
    5. The impact of rapid development on nomadic life in Mongolia. Photos.
    6. Trapped in Bangladesh’s brick factories. CNN.
    7. The Time of the Kurds. CFR.
    8. Nowhere to turn: a Nepali cab driver in Qatar. Wilson Quarterly.
    9. The destruction in Gaza is vast: 100,000 homeless, half of all schools & universities destroyed. See it from a child’s viewpoint. HRW.

  • Justin Long 8:30 am on July 9, 2015 Permalink |  

    A team of 1 

    Many times I’ve been asked a question about our agency, ActBeyond, “How big are the teams?” For us, the average size of a team is probably about 2 or 3 people. Rare is the team in one city that is much larger than that. The second question I am then asked is, “How is that a team? How is a husband and wife couple a ‘team’?”
    ActBeyond is not the only organization with ‘teams’ about this size. I know of at least one other very large organization where the local teams average about 4, and many of their teams are far smaller than that.
    I’ve tried to communicate how this works before, but today a colleague of mine, Jim H., gave me a great illustration. “How can you be on a soccer team of 1? You can’t be a team of 1.” I laughed, as did he–but then he snuck the “clincher point” in. “But if I go into a poor community with a soccer ball, and I kick the ball out into the air over the field, before that ball hits the ground there’ll be 20 people ready to play. Then it’s just a matter of setting the goals. The team comes from the field.”
    This is exactly what I’ve tried to say, but this illustration caps it. There are places where a couple go and they labor, and they try to get in short-term workers to help, and they try to recruit long-termers as well, and fail. They try to reach the people–and fail, because they can’t recruit enough workers from home to join them in the work.
    There is another approach: a small team of Westerners builds a larger local team. One couple I interviewed during our recent Worldwide Conference went to a very unreached area. After a long effort, they found a “near culture insider” who was inspired and motivated by the idea of a movement. He began working, and they supported him by cross-pollinating best practices, tools, and thinking. As a result of the insider’s work, more workers were raised up. Using movement thinking and reproducible processes, they were planting churches. After about 2 years, they were at nearly a thousand churches.
    If we try to recruit a “soccer team” from the West to come and play in a spot, all we’ll get is an audience.
    But if we just bring the soccer ball, pretty soon we could have lots of local players–and maybe, pretty soon, those players will want to “compete” with us to make “team players” of the rest of the world. The team is in the field.

  • Justin Long 8:30 am on July 8, 2015 Permalink |  

    Knoxian Champions 

    One of the things recently (again!) pressed on my heart is the need to find John Knox-style champions for individual places.
    It’s the crying need of the future: someone who will say, “Give me _x [Scotland!]_ lest I die!”
    How do we find Knoxians? Here are some potential “indicators” we might be able to use to narrow the search pattern.
    1. They have a vision of God’s heart for the nations and for specific places, and champion that place/people to others
    2. They are people-oriented team-builders (whether extroverts or introverts, they remain team builders)
    3. They have an apostolic bent “beyond the borders” of the existing church – “go where the Gospel is not”
    4. They are concerned for “all” not “some” in an area – the idea of scalability, getting to 100%
    5. They have an eye for barriers that must be crossed, whether linguistic, social, economic, cultural, political
    6. They are resilient, ready to endure, run the race, with an idea that the race will be long
    7. They are learners and discerners, constantly experimenting, learning, listening, teachable
    8. They are planners and goal setters, ready to hold themselves accountable, measuring and optimizing themselves
    9. They are ready to plant something that grows beyond them – humble, no credit, “I must decrease” types
    10. Last, but not least (perhaps should be higher on the list) – they execute, they are willing to do the work.
    We are hunting for needles in haystacks.
    Who knows people with these kinds of bents? I’m looking for you!

    • Ted Miller 4:47 pm on May 26, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      John Knox did not have a cross-cultural vision. His was a a call out to God to convert/reform/revive his own people.
      It seems to me that the counterpart to John Knox in today’s missions is a Person of Peace (either within his culture or as part of the diaspora) who becomes so passionate about their own people that they believe it is better for themselves to die than for their people to not know the Savior.

    • Ted Miller 8:47 pm on July 8, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      John Knox did not have a cross-cultural vision. His was a a call out to God to convert/reform/revive his own people.
      It seems to me that the counterpart to John Knox in today’s missions is a Person of Peace (either within his culture or as part of the diaspora) who becomes so passionate about their own people that they believe it is better for themselves to die than for their people to not know the Savior.

  • Justin Long 8:30 am on July 7, 2015 Permalink |  

    Foreign vs Indigenous Missions 

    Generally speaking, non-Christians will not pay for an evangelist to come and preach to them. But someone has to pay the missionary’s living.
    There have been a number of approaches to this:
    1. the missionary raises funds from foreign Christians
    2. the missionary takes on a job among non-Christians
    3. the worker is paid for by local Christians (if there are enough)
    Money has to come from somewhere. It is not necessarily a bad thing — or necessarily a good thing — to take money from one region (such as the West) to support the missionary work of a church in another place (such as the East).
    So I don’t think it’s automatically bad or good for an American church to help an Indian church do cross-cultural missionary work.
    But there are some rules, to me.
    First, for me, it ought to be missionary work – which means crossing languages, cultures, and planting the church where it is not. Not subsidizing (salaries) of pastors in existing churches (who ought to be supported by the local church, in my mind).
    Second, I lean toward capitalizing mission work – not subsidizing workers – which means primarily getting things up and running and sometimes providing tools that make work easier (e.g. SD cards, bicycles, etc). But I recognize workers have to eat, and I struggle with how that happens. I think the best and least-dependency-oriented approach is the bivocational worker. (ActBeyond does not pay salaries for local workers, for example. And we have found in studies that subsidizing money tends to kill movements.)
    Third, at no time should the Western missionary vs the indigenous missionary be pitched as an either/or. No part of the church is excused from the “go into all the world and make disciples” commission.
    This is not an exhaustive list, but it may be helpful.

    • Nick Swanepoel 4:47 pm on May 26, 2018 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for the comments! We worked in Rendille, northern Kenya for 34 years with a pastoral people and the issue of finance was a huge one for me. I later thought that the Brethren model of not having paid pastors would have been so much better for such a community. However, as soon as a man was trained at the Bible colleges related to the church, the preferred way was seen to be the traditional Western model of paid pastors.
      I tried very hard to get the Rendille church to change from having a cash collection to giving of livestock, but the Western model has stuck, with the result that the collection ends up being a few cents each Sunday

    • Nick Swanepoel 5:10 am on July 8, 2015 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for the comments! We worked in Rendille, northern Kenya for 34 years with a pastoral people and the issue of finance was a huge one for me. I later thought that the Brethren model of not having paid pastors would have been so much better for such a community. However, as soon as a man was trained at the Bible colleges related to the church, the preferred way was seen to be the traditional Western model of paid pastors.
      I tried very hard to get the Rendille church to change from having a cash collection to giving of livestock, but the Western model has stuck, with the result that the collection ends up being a few cents each Sunday

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