Tori sent me an early copy for my endorsement, and here is what I said about this book:
“When we encounter the dark night of the soul, we need someone to meet us in our anguish. We need wounded healers to come alongside us, to utter words that breath life into us. Tori Lane is that someone, and she speaks these words with amazing depth in The Beautiful Ruins.”
If you are in the D.C. area this weekend, you should really try to get to this event.
“The purpose of history is the evangelization of the world by the church so that there will be some from every tribe and nation to praise God around the throne. The role of the church is to bear costly witness to the Lord Jesus in word (the preaching of the gospel) and deed (loving acts of reconciliation). The witness is costly because the powers, which have not yet submitted to Jesus’ lordship, are still dangerous and hostile. - Craig Carter (The Politics of the Cross)
Are you a worship leader? Then is here is possible opportunity for you.
Oakdale Church, in the Washington DC area, is seeking to hire three talented and experienced worship leaders to help plan, produce, coordinate, and lead worship across three campuses. The positions are part time right now but with the potential for becoming full time. Oakdale is a growing, multi-site, multi-generational, Jesus-centered, evangelical congregation with multiple worship gatherings of varying styles. We are located in Montgomery County Maryland just north of DC. We have two campuses in Olney and are launching our third campus next year in Clarksburg. We need worship leaders who will help lead us to the next level in engaging seekers and believers alike across multiple campuses and venues through powerful and transformative worship that is relevant to today’s generations while staying focused on Jesus. If you believe God is calling you to one of these positions, please send your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you live in Los Angeles, please join us for the New Hope FUNdraising event. New Hope rescues impoverished youth from landfills, child slavery and streets of Kenya. We provide education, food, shelter, daily needs and much needed love.
At this event, there will be a live auction, live art, live music, a silent auction, raffles, cocktails, hor d’oeuvres and move. The dress for the event is cocktail attire.
Date: Saturday, December 7th, 2013 Location: Gallery SIXTY29, 6029 W Washington Blvd 90232 Time: 6:30 pm to 10 pm
When it comes to sharing our faith in wisdom, it is vital to understand a couple of concepts, the person of peace and their “oikos“. I’ve known and used the person of peace approach to evangelism for some time now.
I was recently talking with Linda Bergquist a church strategist in San Francisco and she was telling me that origins of the idea of the person of peace can be traced back to Dr. Thom Wolf, Mission Professor and Gold Gate Theological Seminary, and founder of Church on Brady, currently named Mosaic in Los Angeles, led by Erwin McManus. The person of peace concept has been popularized since by a number of people, including Bob and Mary Hopkins and Mike Breen.
Thom Wolf gives us a “sticky” way to think about the person of peace. First, take a moment to read one of the key passages on this topic, Luke 10:1-12. There are three ways to describe a person of peace.
First, they are a person of receptivity (Luke 10:6). People of peace are people whom God has been working in before we even meet them. This approach to evangelism is all about recognizing where God is at work and joining him in the process. It is based on the missionary nature of God. Cornelius and Lydia are some examples that we see in the book of Acts.
Second, they are a person of reputation (good or bad). The demoniac is an example of this. In Mark 5, Jesus begs to go with him, but Jesus sends him back to share with others.
Third, they are a person of referral (Acts 16:6-34). In other words, the person of peace is influential with a web of relationships in which they invite you to influence. When you take this approach to evangelism, you want to consider not only what God is doing with the person of peace, but what the Spirit is doing among the person of peace’s oikos, their extended relationships. The greek word oikos literally means household, in the past it typically involved a persons extended family and servants. Today you can think about it as someones primary web of relationships. The story of the Philippian Jailer in Acts 16:31-34, how he and his entire household came to faith is an example of this approach to evangelism.
With the person of peace concept in mind, let’s move to the octagon, as developed by Bob and Mary Hopkins in their ebook Evangelism Strategies. Here is my summary and reflection on working with the people of peace and their oikos. Refer to the diagram as I work through the basic concepts.
When walking with the person of peace and their oikos, you first want to perceive where the person and their web of relationships are at spiritually. How close are far away are they from God? How hungry or thirsty are they? How fast or slow is the person of peace and their oikos moving toward the Lord? These questions help us perceive how God is at work.
PASSING OR PERMANENT
The next thing you want to consider is: Is this person in a passing relationship or a more permanent one? In other words, the other day I met a person of peace on my plane ride to Miami. This was someone I had a passing relationship with. But upon further conversation, I found out he was from Northern Virginia, close to where I’m living now, so because we exchanged numbers, our relationship may become a more permanent one. The reason this might be important is because the nature of the relationship we have with the person of peace and their oikos will shape our approach.
PROCLAIMING AND PRESENCE
In other words, depending on the guidance of the Spirit, we can engage passing relationships in a more forward way than our permanent relationships. God has likely put this person in our life so that we might plant some seeds of truth in them, that we might proclaim the good news to them. On the other hand, those we are in a more permanent relationship require our presence and actions. In this approach, it is important for us to love them till they ask us why. While this is the general approach to passing and permanent relationship, we need to grow in wisdom in discerning what and when God wants us to share the good news, because faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of God.
POWER AND PREPARATION
When it comes to our passing relationships, we should be open to what John Wimber called “power” evangelism. This is where we ask God to intervene in a dramatic way through things like healing prayer, a prophetic word, Spirit inspired dreams, answered prayer in regard to a crises in their life. We should seek to see God’s power work within our permanent relationships as well, but with passing people, we want to leave them with a sign of God’s desire to bless them and be in relationship with them. With our permanent relationships, our approach would be to partner with God and till the soil and plant seeds, to prepare the person of peace and their oikos to hear the good news at the proper time. This would be more of a process, like an Alpha course, or hosting a six week study on Jesus.
The octagon is an important way to understand a general approach to people of peace and their oikos. While our general approach to passing and permanent relationships are different, there are always exceptions, thus we must depend on the guidance of the Spirit in everything.
“When we are not afraid to confess our own poverty, we will be able to be with other people in theirs. The Christ who lives in our own poverty recognises the Christ who lives in other people’s. Just as we are inclined to ignore our own poverty, we are inclined to ignore others’. We prefer not to see people who are destitute, we do not like to look at people who are deformed or disabled, we avoid talking about people’s pains and sorrows, we stay away from brokenness, helplessness, and neediness.
By this avoidance we might lose touch with the people through whom God is manifested to us. But when we have discovered God in our own poverty, we will lose our fear of the poor and go to them to meet God.” - Henri Nouwen
It was about a year ago that IVP released Creating a Missional Culture: Equipping the Church for the Sake of the World. Upon the anniversary of its release, I thought I would give some reflections on what has happened this past year, and how the book has influenced people and churches in positive ways. There is much to say, but I want to say it in as a succinct way as possible, sometimes using the words that others have written about the book.
First of all, I am extremely thankful for all the people who formerly endorsed the book. They lead full lives, so for them to take time to read and give their thoughts on the book was a very honoring thing. Thanks to Alan Hirsch, Jon Tyson, Darrell Guder, Linda Bergquist, David Fitch, Michael Frost, Amos Yong, Wil Hernandez, MaryKate Morse, and Dwight J. Friesen. You can read what they said about the book here.
“It’s like the Starfish and the Spider for missional leaders.” – J.R. Briggs (Author, Church Planter from the Philadelphia area)
“If I were to recommend one book as a starting place and overview of the missional movement, I would point to Creating a Missional Culture” – Patrick Oden (A top reviewer at Amazon)
“This is the best offering of anything associated with missional that I have encountered” – Kevin Sweeney, (Church Planter, Honolulu, HI)
“This is not just another book with a trendy title. Creating a Missional Culture is a gold mine for anyone desiring to see Christians flourish in their giftings. If you are new to the missional conversation (or skeptical of its veracity) here is an outstanding primer on the local church’s role in God’s redemptive purposes.” – Dan Stringer (Kailua, HI) Excerpt from Not Just Another Missional Book, Review
“Get this book if you are in the trenches, it’s an accessible text book on the missional frontier that is written with urgency, soaked in genuine experience.” – Dan White Jr (Syracuse, NY), Excerpt from his review on the book.
I’ve been extremely encouraged by the positive reviews on Amazon. Forty three different people have posted a review to date, with a 4.8 out of 5 average rating for the book. Go check out some of the reviews and take a minute to “like” those that you like. There are reviews from just about all fifty states. It has been reviewed by Anglican Priests and church planters alike. If you have read the book, and haven’t yet reviewed it, please do so. 50 people have rated it at Good Reads as well.
Last month, the kindle version went on sale, and Creating a Missional Culture HIT #1 for books on ministry for a full week. Within the first year, the book has sold 20% more than my highest goal for the book. It is already on its 3rd reprint, which means it has outsold my publishers expectations a couple of times already. In this past falls IVP catalog, the book was listed in the 50 core books for InterVarsity Press, and in the Winter of 2014 catalog, it is listed #30 in core inventory.
As people have started to put the ideas of the book into practice, they are seeing some incredible results. Listen to how one church pastor in Sacramento, California put it:
“Here is where I got the most out of this book. I realized as the primary leader, I was trying to fulfill ALL the roles and be a one man show over my ministry. My main gift is teaching. No wonder we were not impacting our community and those around us. Instead, I realized to impact our church community and the community around us, I needed to get out of the way and start allowing all the other giftings and roles of our body become known and used. We adopted the polycentric leadership approach from the book in our ministry and now our community is exploding. We have seen a tremendous outbreak of people discovering that they were not meant to sit in a pew and consume, but are supposed to be equipped and participate together. Our attendance has doubled and we are seeing people get involved, take ownership, find their place and start being used. This book has helped us get rid of the pyramid approach to leadership structure…” – Eric Knopf, Sacramento, CA (See the full review here.)
Eric was so excited about the book, that he designed a free-five fold equipping test, that has already been taken by over 10,000 people. I’m still planning on developing my own five-fold test in the near future.
A number of seminaries have Creating a Missional Cultureas an assigned reading for their classes, including Fuller Theological Seminary, Asbury Theological Seminary, Biblical Seminary and a half dozen others. I’ve started to do some Q & A over skype for some of these classes. If you were assigned it as reading at your college or seminary, let me know.
In addition, the book is being read in a number of countries like England, Korea, Indonesia, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Honduras, Australia, Switzerland, China, The Netherlands and others. A publishing company in India recently bought the rights to publish it in India. So it should be available there in about 6 months.
Finally, here are some of the cities I’ve been able to speak about Creating a Missional Cuture over the last year, at various churches and pastors conferences:
Los Angeles, CA
Cliff College, England
There is a lot more that could be said, but let’s just say that I’m totally thrilled about how God is using Creating a Missional Culture to see his kingdom become a greater reality on earth. Thanks for all the encouragement that you have given me about this book. If you want to keep up with the latest news on Creating a Missional Culture, “like” this author facebook page that IVP set up. God is good.