How migration affects the mission of the church

Stetzer, Ed. “4 Ways migration impacts the mission of the church.” Christianity Today, 3 Nov 2014. This article is written primarily about the way it affects the church in the United States. We should remember migration also impacts mission strategy: it may be very appropriate to send people on mission to Germany or the UK in order to reach migrant Persians or Turks or Somalis or Pakistanis there, for example. No longer can we assume that people working in nominally Christian countries are working with nominally Christian people; “who are you working with” must be the next question we ask.
Also: Fox, Justin. “The World is still not flat.” HBR Blog Network, 3 Nov 2014. Reports “the overwhelming majority of commerce, investment and other interactions still occur within–not between–nations.” Very interesting is the chart at the bottom: immigrants calling home seem to drive a major portion of telephone traffic.

How long until they are permitted to obey the Great Commission?

Part of making disciples is giving them the freedom to make mistakes and to take on leadership. How long before the person you are discipling is “permitted” to obey the Great Commission and make disciples as well? That time lag is a big limiter on the growth rate of the church.

The stateless, "legal ghosts"

More than 10 million people have no nationality. They have been rejected by the countries they call home. How can statelessness be ended?

Single Men in Missions, 1

Some things heard/theorized about single men and women in missions
1. Men aren’t in missions because they aren’t in church.
2. More single women are in missions because opportunities are there; men take pastorates closer to home.
3. Emotional issues for single women in missions who reach 30s, 40s: unmarrieds, no kids. (Are these emotional issues for men? hidden?)
4. Single men in missions marry–other women in missions or nationals. Single women mostly do not marry nationals; go home instead.
5. What % of couples in orgs today started as singles? found singles within the org? otherwise?
6. Urbana: an equal % were filling out the forms. Why are an equal % not making it to the field? How to interview sample of Urbana participants, students, as follow up?
7. Role of parental pressure, levels of spiritual maturity.
Is single men vs single women a real “issue” to solve? What are the implications?


Relationships are more difficult than Presentations

I often read statements about people who have no knowledge of the Gospel, who have never heard the Gospel, who have never received a Gospel presentation. We say “why should anyone hear the Gospel twice when some have never heard it once?”
But, Biblically speaking, salvation isn’t about knowing the Gospel or even God so much as it is about following and obeying Jesus (James 2:19). Research indicates people need multiple exposures to the Gospel before they decide to follow. Further, Rodney Stark’s research on the process of conversion indicates the bigger influence in someone’s decision to follow Christ is relationships with other Christ followers: they do what their friends do (be it church-going or Christ-following) before they ever come to express belief in specific doctrines.
Most typically obedience precedes belief, and relationships that model what to obey predate obedience. Therefore, the factor we should be concerned with is not how many times (or lack thereof) a person has heard the Gospel, but how many relationships with Christians a person has.
That 86% of Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists do not personally know a Christian is thus a big deal. Those who have access to the Gospel–those who have heard the Gospel–are mostly people who know Christians (and most of those are due to Christians in their family).
Getting Christians into the daily lives of Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists requires intentional action that is far more challenging than simply purchasing radio broadcast hours, donating to the distribution of Bibles, or leaving tracts in bathrooms.

Congo DRC photos

A month of slaughter in the Congo. Mashable.

Missionary Biography: George Liele

First ordained black Baptist preacher in the 13 colonies, sailed to Jamaica as the first Baptist missionary, black or otherwise, from the New World.

Vanity metrics

Our church has 1,000 members!
Measuring numbers of the current moment alone (a snapshot) is a vanity metric: any number looks good, but the number alone tells you little. Often, the number is just used to make you feel or look good.
Two numbers over time can give you growth rates, which show the reality of the situation.
Our church had 500 members in 2005, and 1,000 in 2015–we doubled in a decade.
To calculate the exponential growth rate, the formula is ((Present/Past)^(1/(years))-1.
Or, in the above example, ((1000/500)^(1/10))-1, or 0.071, or 7.1%.
The rule of 72 (72/AGR, or 72/7.1, or 10.1, tells you how long it will take to double again at the present growth rate.
Numbers without growth rates can hide the reality of stagnation.
Growth rates without numbers can hide the reality of small numbers.
We grew by 100% per year! (We went from 2 members to 4.)
Measuring numbers against a goal gives you scope of task remaining.
Our church has 1,000 members, and there are 100,000 people in our city. 99% of the task remains. It took us 20 years to get to 1,000 members. At that rate, it would take 20 * 99 or ~1,980 years to get to the whole.
Measuring current position against position last year and against goal in the future gives you strategic critique:
Do we want to take two millennia to see our city largely Christianized?
Anything that isn’t (and, most likely, can’t be) measured against a goal: I suspect it’s a “vanity” metric meant to look good on a report.

Pandemics and Multiplication

Tufekci, Zeynep. “Ebola: the real reason everyone should panic.” Medium. A very useful exploration of the power of exponential growth. While in the context of pandemic diseases, there are many applications to other viral movements (including CPMs).

Perilously Positive

The problem with positive thinking.” New York Times, 24 October 2014. Positive dreaming about the future saps you of the energy to make the necessary changes. Mental contrasting is a better approach.

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