“How To Pioneer” – David Male – A good practical handbook for anyone who wants to engage missional in their community. An excellent resource that is practical, sensible and evidence that anyone can engage in pioneering ministry. 10/10
“Neighborhood Mapping” – John Fuder – A helpful book with practical wisdom for getting under the skin of your community in order to serve as a missionary church. You think you know your community but maybe you need to think again and put a strategy in place for getting to know it better. This book is gold dust for practical thinkers. 9/10
“Church Planting Thresholds” – Clint Clifton – A manual for church planters from a reformed theological perspective. It is very detailed and full of practical wisdom, biblically loaded. It is not for everyone but useful for church leaders who are looking to plant a new church and recruit a team. 6/10
Follow Jesus into your neighborhood with fellow followers of Jesus. Allow the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ to form your imagination for faithful presence. That means taking your bodies, your location and your community very seriously, as seriously as God in Christ took them. Faithful presence invites you to act on the belief that God is giving you what you need to be formed as disciples within your location.
Paul Sparks, Tim Soerens, Dwight J. Friesen
Yesterday we celebrated the Risen Christ, it was great seeing social media feeds full of talk about Jesus. Today we discover the difference that makes in community, in cities, in the world.As ministers of reconciliation, we are called to bring hope, bring change, to see justice and declare the Christ. Let our words of yesterday stay strong and let’s adorn them with action….we are in a new season that this nation may once again turn to Christ.
I wonder if the rise of courses like Alpha and Christianity Explored have encouraged Christian evangelists to lose some of their cutting edge in ministry? Before these courses, and others like them, it was not uncommon to hear those involved in evangelism make a direct call to either accept or reject Christ. Whether in the open air or from a church pulpit, there was a time when a call to stand, move forward or collect a tract would demand a physical and public response to the message of salvation that had been preached. Today, it appears that this is less likely and that there is usually an invitation to a course or a conversation, rather than a direct challenge to make a decision immediately.
This summer a question was asked of me; “have we gone soft in our evangelism?” The question was directly related to the lack of direct response when people shared the gospel of Jesus with others and the perceived reluctance to ‘seal a deal’ when talking to those interested in salvation. Salvation is a work of the Holy Spirit but there may be occasions when we have held back from asking for a response that would help underline the Spirits work. This may be down to a host of reasons such as fear, nerves, uncertainty and so on, but does it point to a loss of cutting edge? Does it suggest that we have ‘gone soft’?
Personally, I do not believe that we have gone soft but I do believe that we have sometimes taken an easier path by allowing courses (and their leaders) to do the work that we could be involved in. If we are truly unashamed of the Gospel of Christ then we would not be nervous of a negative response to the question, “do you accept Christ?” Asking such a question of others should be the responsibility of every christian and not just a select few, we must not abdicate our responsibility to be witnesses and we should not fear the responses we may receive from others by asking such a direct question.
This said, it is not always easy to be direct in a multi-faith and multi-cultural environment that requires sensitivity and political correctness but if we live for truth we can accommodate this and still be direct with others.
My experience tells me that people are far more open than we believe, more willing to listen than we have been told and happy to give an answer to the questions that we have. Let’s not be afraid but full of courage.
Finally, let me ask you, Do you follow Christ?