Posts Tagged ‘Mission Frontiers’

Looking for good reads

January 20, 2009


I am getting together a “book wishlist” to go through. I’ve got some on the shelf I am going through I will list for you below, but I would love to hear your top 3 reads. Comment below for me.


Perspectives on the World Christian Movement (all new 4th ed.)
The Mission of God by Christopher Wright
From Seed to Fruit Edited by J. Dudley Woodberry

Mission Frontiers
International Journal of Frontier Missiology


The Flying Man Pt 11: My Summary

January 9, 2009

I have enjoyed reading, analyzing, and reflecting on the recent mission frontiers article.  I take away new knowledge of China, Mission Strategy (kingdom vs. Church Mission), Muslims, Dr. Winter and so much more.

Next time I hope to post on the main articles, or those that specifically peak my interest, instead of committing to review each article individually.

Let me know the content you felt was helpful and interesting, and the posts (reviews of articles) that were bland and not needed.  And let me know if there is an article/book you would like me to read and give my feedback for.

The Flying Man Pt 10: Further Reflections by Greg Parsons

January 8, 2009

(Read the original article published in the Nov/Dec edition of Mission Frontiers magazine)

Parsons short reflection doesn’t cover the topics of the magazine like Dr. Winter’s editorial did.  Instead he tells the story of a conversation with his friend, and ways we can engage Muslims in our workplace and neighborhood.  He recommends a book called Muslims, Christians and Jesus by Carl Medearis and shares the practical advise to share Jesus with friends (specifically a Muslim friend) by asking them to pray with them.

The power of prayer is amazing.  We can so easily share our beliefs about Christ through praying for our friends and co-workers in front of them.  A lot of times we are afraid to share steps to evangelize, fearing that we will shove our “religion” on others.  How easy is it for us to pray for those around us; most people are willing to allow prayer and see it as a non confertational.

Take opportunities people give you to share Christ with them through prayers.  When they share hurtful things in thier life, health issues, or joys, ask to pray with them and follow up.

The Flying Man Pt 9: Rice Missions and Rice Christians by Rick Johnson

January 7, 2009

(Read the original article published in the Nov/Dec edition of Mission Frontiers magazine)

Johnson’s article hits on some of the same topics as the previous post did, just on an individualized area.  He tells stories of how a few the poor in Mexico find an easier life receiving handouts then actually finding a steady job and working.  In order to receive this “aid” these men and women must stay in the dump.  This is the problem with relief efforts.  They are only temporary and don’t help the people in the long run.  Also with sustained aid (as opposed to development) people can learn the system to more or less take advantage of it.  We need to learn to provide for the long-term needs of the individuals as well as the community as a whole.

Let me quote Dr. Winter’s comments on this article:

“This actual account illustrates very well the inherent flaw in what could be called ‘felt need’ or ‘symptomatic’ aid.  Not all homeless people are willing to ‘get a job’ when handouts supply their basic needs.  In this case, however, it is clear that the dump dwellers were already working for a living (isolating different metal or glass items, flexible items, ect.) and would have welcomed a more humane activity for making a living.  But instead of mission workers going to the trouble of helping them find that more humane role, they are meeting their immediate (‘felt’) need for handouts they can sell.  That can continue forever.  In order to qualify for handouts they are forced to stay ‘in the dump.’  In a case like this something more is needed than ‘discipling.’ “

The Flying Man Pt 8: Raising Local Resources by Glenn Schwarts

January 6, 2009

(Read the original article published in the Nov/Dec edition of Mission Frontiers magazine)

This article concerns the issue of how do local congregations in poorer areas provide for the needs of the church.  A secondary issue I want to address is dependence these local congregations can have on outside (Western sources).

Schwartz uses mostly examples to express his main point: local congregations have the resources they need for themselves, if they are creative.  He backs up his argument with the Apostle Paul’s comments in 2 Corinthians 8.  In this case, Paul asks a planted church for funds for the mother church (Jerusalem).  He describes the Corinthian church as being in severe trial and poverty, but they begged for the privilege of giving.  Again, he gives great examples of how local believe can rally to provide for their own needs.

An issue behind local believers providing for themselves is the ability to detach themselves from foreign resources.  Missionaries must be careful with what they spend their money on, the habits they are building and training pastors to be bi-vocal.  It is so easy for this issue to be put on the back burner and then the church not be able to survive because they haven’t taught themselves to provide for their needs.

What do you think?  What are good solutions for local congregations to be self-sustaining?

The Flying Man Pt 7: Lifetime Achievement Award by Rick Wood

January 4, 2009

(Read the original article published in the Nov/Dec edition of Mission Frontiers magazine)

This article announces that Dr. Ralph Winter received the lifetime achievement award in the September 2008 joint meeting in Denver of The Mission Exchange (formerly the EFMA) and CrossGloabl Link (formerly the IFMA).

The article gives a short bio of accomplishments and reasons why he was given the award.

I am again honored to serve under this brilliant and dedicated man of God.  I am glad to meet him, hear from him and be a part of his community.  Dr. Winter is one of my heroes and it is good to see him receive this award from the top mission alliances in the country.

I am amazed at what he has accomplished, the ideas he has came up with and the fact that despite cancer and other aliments, he is still going forward working in the missions realm after his 84th birthday.  He could have retired years ago, but he is still burdened for Christ’s lost sheep.

I celebrate you Dr. Winter.

The Flying Man Pt 6: The Missing Father by Leith Gray

January 2, 2009

(Read the original article published in the Nov/Dec edition of Mission Frontiers magazine)

This is a very interesting article on how to communicate the concept of the trinity to Muslims.  I don’t have any critiques or outside comments on my own so I will just summary the article for you.  Again, I urge you to read the article for your self.

He goes into great background of why Muslims have a hard time with this concept in general.  He refers to Surah 19:90-91 and also points out that the Arabic language uses neutral gender terminology for Allah.

“So what can we do?” he asks.

  1. Model the use of Trinitarian prayers in front of them
  2. Avoid language that may sound biological or sexual in their context
  3. Use comparative equivalents and similes to transfer meaning
  4. Refer to names in the “Ninety-nine beautiful names of Allah” to show father-like attributes.

Any other comments?

The Flying Man Pt 5: New Insights From Three Eras of Mission History by Robby Butler

December 30, 2008

(Read the original article published in the Nov/Dec edition of Mission Frontiers magazine)

This article is about the Perspectives course revision. The beginning paragraphs go over some of the milestones reached and influences of the course. The new revision is due January 2009. We were around when they were working 60-80 hour weeks editing and revision the reader. Also beginning in 2009, we as a staff will methodically go through the articles one by one and discuss their content. If you can’t tell we are excited about this.

The majority of Butler’s article covers concepts in the revision Dr. Winter’s article on the Eras of Protestant Missions. (NOTE: I have not read Dr. Winter’s revised article, I am simply reviewing this MF article.) Butler reviews the addition of a section comparing these eras with “kingdom mission” or “church mission.” You can read for your self the summary he gave of what kingdom and church mission are and how they apply to the three ears in missions.

Butler then takes Dr. Winter’s article and its kingdom/church mission definitions and critics each of them objectively. Butler says church mission often transforms individuals instead of communities and concentrates on salvation of the individual rather than the society. He says kingdom mission can be done without Christ (social action) and it is easy to get caught into just doing good things.

I think there is a need for the two to complement each other in order for mission strategy to be effective. The church, evangelism, development and society level change are all necessary for the true gospel to be preached.

The Flying Man Pt 4: How to Best Help China by Dr. Winter

December 23, 2008

(Read the original article published in the Nov/Dec edition of Mission Frontiers magazine)

Some of the themes discussed in my the last post will be repeated and elaborated on here. Again it is interesting to read Dr. Winter’s writings as he usually talks out the issues he writes about to our staff on Friday mornings. I remember him bringing up some of these issues and am learning his primary worldview.

Winter contrasts the lives and ministries of two China heroes. One is the famous missionary to China, Hudson Taylor, his less known contemporary is Timothy Richard.

First the similarities, both were evangelical in tradition and culturally sensitive (wore Chinese clothes and learned Chinese language.) Both were visionaries and pioneered organizations. Both also had a love for China, and devoted their lives to serving the Chinese people.

Since much is written about Taylor, Dr. Winter spends most of the article describing Richard and contrasting with known facts / practices of Taylor. Winter cited a history of missions book with information on both missionaries called These Sought a Country by Kenneth Scott Latourette.

The main dividing line concerns the issue of what do to on the field? Is it just service (a recent trend in developing organizations and the focus of North American people [read previous blog concerning these stats.]) Is it just evangelism and focusing on “the spiritual?” Or is it a combination of the two?

Taylor vehemently evangelized and concentrated all his eggs in this basket. He told his team members to not worry about planting churches, but only preach and evangelize. He strictly followed the Mark version of the Great Commission but seemingly neglected Matthew’s Great Commission covenant.

Richard on the other hand focused on evangelism with helping the people. Naming eliminating the horrible practice of foot-binding and developing nation-wide education. His strategy was to evangelize and sow widely, but focus and disciple those that favored the message. He developed leadership within the church structure and gained acceptance by community leadership and authority.

I have the utmost respect for Hudson Taylor and the things he did for China and the rest of the world. When it comes to strategy though, I am inclined to agree with Richard and have workers follow the more holistic model. To Taylor, I use him as an example of sacrifice and commitment to the task through his example. I also see him as an amazing mobilizer, getting more people to his go to China through his agency than all others.

What do you think? What are your impressions on both of these men and their strategies?

The Flying Man Pt 3: The Legacy of Love in China by Rick Wood

December 20, 2008

(Read the original article published in the Nov/Dec edition of Mission Frontiers magazine)

This short article gives a basic overview of mission history in China. I have two main reflections:

1) Wood borrowed a substantial amount of material from the online user-defined encyclopedia, Wikipedia. How amazing that this work is now being published in articles. It used to be that Wikipedia (online resources in general) were seen as unreliable and not scholarly enough to quote. Now it is beginning to be used more widely. A university recently did a study on the reliability and truthfulness of Wikipedia and found it to be more reliable and accurate than the Encyclopedia Britannica. Amazing.

2) Onto the content of the article itself. I knew that missionary work in many places not only evangelized, but also served the people through practical means. Wood argues that both the educational and medical systems in China can attribute their foundation of these missionary endeavors. I do not believe that at this point in time China would not on its own model the current Western educational and medical systems; however I did not know that it was missionaries serving the Chinese people in the 19th and early 20th centuries that introduced sciences and pharmaceutical medicine to China.

What do you think / hear about going on today concerning mission work abroad? Do workers adequately serve the people through development? Is evangelism without service all unreached people groups need? How can we best glorify God and serve primarily Him in this context?