Modern Pensées

Reconsidering theology, philosophy, culture, economics, and politics

Posts Tagged ‘Discipleship

3 Month Introspective

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Introspective

So, I’ve been blogging consistently for three months.  This is the week of Christmas and I’ll be all over the place.  I thought I would briefly summarize the 3 months of blog series on here:

Blaise Pascal:  We took a look at Blaise Pascal’s thinking, its use of aphorism and its relationship to both tri-perspectivalism and presuppositionalism.  We also looked at his use of aphorism and his warnings against deism and atheism.

Thoughts on Evangelicalism Past, Present, and Future, Parts 1-7:  We defined the term evangelical.  We looked at its historical roots in the First Great Awakening, Second Great Awakening, and its ties to celebrity culture, democritization of knowledge, and modernism.  Then we looked at the roots of liberalism, the Protestant split and suburbanization, and defined and outlined evangelical populism and their game plan for reaching America.  Finally we assessed the current status of American evangelicalism and then made some predictions of future trends.

Introduction to Apologetics, Parts 1-7:  We looked in broad strokes at the various schools of apologetics.  We then took a more in-depth look at:  Classical Apologetics, Evidentialist Apologetics, Presuppositional Apologetics, and the specific apologetics of Blaise Pascal and Alvin Plantinga.  Finally, we employed the three phases football as an analogy for the different apologetic schools and I likened Tim Tebow to the presuppositionalists.

Thoughts on Evangelicalism Moving Forward, Parts 1-10:  We looked at some analysis of some shifts evangelicalism will need to make moving forward:  Doctrine, Worldview, Urbanization, Globality/Mobility, “Post-Modernism,” American Culture(s), Contextualization, Balance, and Final Analysis.

Top ~10 Books by Topic:

Top 10 Systematic Theology Texts

Top 10 Devotional Classics

Top 10 Books on the Church

Top 10 Books on Science and Christianity

Top 10 Books on Christian Biography

Top 10 Books on Culture

Top 10 Books on Eschatology

Top 5 Books on Worldview

Top 15 Books on Status of American Evangelicalism

Top 10 Books on Church History

Top 40 Books to Read While in College

Top 10 Books on Missions, Discipleship, and Evangelism

The 25 Most Destructive Books Ever Written…

Top 10 Apologetic Works

Top 10 Books on Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility

Top 10 Books by John Piper

Top 5 Children’s Books

Best Creeds, Confessions, and Catechisms of the Christian Church

A Comprehensive List of Top 10 Book Lists of 2009

Up Next:  We will be looking at some thoughts on the economy and investment and then delve into the mind of Friedrich Nietzsche…

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Written by Michael Graham

December 19, 2009 at 11:29 am

Top 10 Books on Missions, Evangelism, and Discipleship

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Let the Nations Be Glad by John Piper

These books are books that are excellent concerning Missions, Evangelism, or Discipleship.

1.  Let the Nations Be Glad by John Piper  [y, l, e, p, s]

This classic elevates worship as the goal of missions.  It is an easy and enjoyable read.

2.  The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert Coleman  [y, l, e, p, s]

Coleman takes a thorough look at Jesus’ method of discipleship.  A short and easy must read.

3.  From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya:  A Biographical History of Christian Missions by Ruth Tucker  [c, y, l, e, p, s]

Missionary biography is fascinating and oftentimes hilarious.  See my previous write-up here.

4.  Tell the Truth by Will Metzger  [y, l, e, p, s]

Great book on evangelism written from a Reformed perspective.  Metzger challenges people to tell the whole gospel to whole people, causing you to ask the questions, ‘what are the essentials of the Gospel and people?’

5.  Operation World by Johnstone and Johnstone  [y, l, e, p, s]

Operation World is essentially several dossiers on the remaining unreached people groups, giving analysis on how you can pray for them.  Also, Window on the World is like Operation World for kids.

6.  A Faith Worth Sharing by C. John Miller  [c, y, l, e, p, s]

Jack Miller lived a pretty crazy life.  These are some of his stories.  It is a short, encouraging, and easy read.  Also, Miller’s, Heart of a Servant Leader is excellent – it consists of letters he has written to various people under his care throughout his ministry.  Really valuable wisdom.

7.  Transforming Mission by David Bosch  [p, s]

This is a deep, dense, and thorough look at missionary paradigms.  It is not an easy read but patience will be rewarded with excellent deep thought.

8.  Perspectives on the World Christian Movement by Ralph Winter  [y, l, e, p, s]

This is the classic introduction to the task that lies ahead for the worldwide church.

9.  Breaking the Missional Code:  Your Church Can Become a Missionary in Your Community by Ed Stetzer  [l, e, p, s]

Stetzer is quite knowledgeable on how to create church cultures that have real Gospel impact on their community.  Also, Lesslie Newbigin’s, The Open Secret, and Darell Guder’s (editor), Missional Church are excellent.

10.  Re-Entry by Peter Jordan  [c, y, l, e, p, s]

Going from living in one culture back to your culture can really mess you up (just think of the stereotype of the socially awkward and/or out of touch missionary who comes back to give a powerpoint presentation to your church).  Long-term missionaries invariably find themselves in a cultural no-man’s land as they have adopted many of the redeeming aspects of the people they are ministering to, while putting off many of the deplorable or unfortunate aspects of their former culture.  There is also the question of where is home?  The people you are ministering to or the place where you grew up?  Re-Entry is a helpful guide for the returning missionary.

Update:  Highly Recommended

Church Planting Movements by David Garrison

I have heard this book recommended several times (including the comments from this post), so I thought I would put it up here.

(c=children; y=young adult; l=lay leader; e=elder; p=pastor; s=scholar)

Thoughts on Evangelicalism Moving Forward, Part 5: Globality and Mobility

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Mobility

Are you investing in the new mobile class?

I recall twice during my time at Creekside Community Church in Gainesville (FL), Pastor Parker polled the congregation seeing how many people had been at the church 4 years or less.  Both times, at least 50% of the congregation raised their hands indicating being there less than 4 years.  If you are in a college town or a city that has a University or has major office parks, you may notice the revolving door of a good percentage of your church.  Globalization, the abundance of English, the ease of travel, and electronic communications have shrunk our world and have increased mobility within countries and across countries.  Lets define our terms:

Globality is the the theoretical end-state of globalization – a world and economy without national borders.

Mobility is the idea of population migration or population turnover.

Much of this blog post is inspired by a speech that Stephen Um delivered at the Gospel Coalition ’09 entitled, “On Ministry and Revolving Doors: Practical Challenges and Ideas for Ministry in a Mobile Society,” (audio).  In his speech, he likens the issues that the early Christians faced in Acts, to the complexities of doing ministry in the 21st century – namely, mobility, globality, urbanality, and pluralism.

The 2st century is becoming a globalized, urbanized, and post-secular world again.  I say ‘again’ because this means that the 21st century will be more like the 1st century AD than has been any of the centuries in between.  -Tim Keller, Theology and Practice of Church Ministry:  Ministry and Leadership in the City (Unpublished private notes, 2004), pp. 90-93.

Evangelical churches, particularly the ones in more urban areas, near employment hubs, or near Universities, are going to have to learn how to train up people who will be sent out elsewhere.  Churches will need to be able to take people who are under their care for 2-4 years, promote spiritual maturity, promote community, and connect them to mission at-hand.  Churches will need to invest in these people and not seen them as a poor ROI (return on investment) because some other church in some other place will benefit from your hard labor.  Before you say that this is impossible, recall that Jesus only spent three years in his public ministry and under three years training up His disciples.  These men went on to make huge kingdom differences as they were sent out and spread out following the Ascension and persecutions.  Consider also, if every church had the attitude of stewarding the migratory transplants in their flock, then when someone came from another church, they come to you already heavily invested.

Moving forward, the evangelical church is going to have to rediscover the art of disciple-making.  From my experience, most churches just hope that discipleship happens and have no real plan for doing it.  They could learn from organizations like Campus Crusade for Christ, who routinely take some of the most spiritually immature young people and turn them into passionate multiplying disciples in under four years.  Urbanization, globalization, globality, and mobility present incredible opportunity for the church.  The more mobile people are the higher the velocity of interaction in the world.  In The Rise of Christianity and Cities of God, Rodney Stark points out that one of the reasons that Christianity spread so quickly was because it was an urban religion and even though 98% of the population was rural, culture was created in the cities.  We must be investing in individual people following the discipleship model of our Lord.  If we do not, we will be further lost in the increasing complex web of interconnectedness and paradigm shifts.

Up next we will look at some of the false assumptions of the culture in evangelicalism’s game plan at reaching America.

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