Blog

The Missional Helix: Example of Church Planting

In the last missiological reflection I described the Missional Helix and attempted to show the intertwining, inseparable nature of theological reflection, cultural analysis, historical perspective, and strategy formation in the practice of ministry. Developing practice of ministry was understood as a helix because theology, history, culture, and strategy build on one another as the community of faith collectively develops understandings Read More …

From Theology to Practice: The Helix Metaphor

Something needs to change! Theologians are fond of denigrating strategy.  One of my colleagues will speak at a leadership meeting on “What the Church Needs Most.”  The description of his presentation says, “What we most desperately need today is not better strategic planning or even better leadership skills–we need true saints.”  Obviously there is truth in this statement:  Holiness is more Read More …

Competing Worldviews: “Why Can’t You See the Gospel Like I Do?”

“Differing worldviews compete within me!” I was struck by this realization as I ministered to a small group of new Christians and seekers in Kenya during a time of famine. Crops were dying in the fields. Women were walking miles to carry water on their backs to their homes. Everyone realized that if rain did not come soon, current crops Read More …

The Missional Helix—Cultural Analysis

In the previous missiological reflection, I described theological reflection as the beginning point of ministry. Missionaries (that is, all Christian leaders) must yearn to know the heart and motivation of God— what God is about in his world and why he is doing what he is doing—so that their ministry aligns with the purposes of God. Theology is always contextual—always Read More …

The Missional Helix—Theological Reflection

The previous missiological reflection described the Missional Helix and attempted to show the intertwining, inseparable nature of theological reflection, cultural analysis, historical perspective, and strategy formation within the context of spiritual formation. This blog describes the role of theology within the Missional Helix. A theology of mission describes the heart and motivation of God and thereby defines the rationale for mission. It Read More …

The Missional Helix—The Story of Jim and Julie

Paradoxically I begin this Series about Missions: Biblical Foundations and Contemporary Strategies, not with Chapter 1 on “The Biblical Narrative of Missions: Entering God Story” but with Chapter 13 about “The Missional Helix.  Why?  The Helix reflects the heart and soul of the book—the working DNA that stands behind its writing! Perhaps a key word in the chapter is “discern”.  Read More …

Why Missionaries Fall

Within the last three years two long-term missionaries in East Africa, men I count as personal friends, have fallen into sexual sin. “Impossible!” you say? That can not be!! Most “regular church people” perceive missionaries to be super-saints, just a little lower than Jesus. They surely could not sin! But the reality remains: Within the last three years two long-term Read More …

Doing “Missions” without the Local Church

The Demise of the Church? Paradoxically one can do missions today without involvement with local churches. Many missionaries are sent out by para-church organizations to translate the Bible into vernaculars, dispense aid to needy people, enhance the development of nations, and train national church leaders in school settings without significantly relating to national churches or their leaders on the field. Read More …

Modernity sweeps Africa

Missionaries and evangelists must learn to read time and culture.  For example, what worldview type is most prevalent in Africa?  Is Africa secular, pantheistic, theistic, or animistic?  The typical assumption is that Africa is primarily animistic.  This judgment is based on our vision of Africa:  ritual drums being beaten, diviners casting cowrie shells, a dervish possessed, and ceremonies to appease Read More …