empowered by the spirit for mission

My Google A to Z of Missional

A quick way to research what people are searching for on the internet is to use Google’s predictive feature. You start typing a word and Google with give you a few suggestions based on popular searches. By typing a word followed by each letter of the alphabet it is easy to collate an A to Z of that topic by just picking one of the four words or phrases that Google gives you.

google missional

A is for Missional Alliance

B is for Bible – ten scriptures on missional by Ed Stetzer

C is for missional communities as in CMS’s small missional communities

D is for Defining Missional – what does it actually mean?

E is for Missional Entrepreneur – making social enterprises missional

F is for missional formation – see these top ten books from Jesus Creed on missional formation

G is for God of Mission or Missio Dei

H is for hermeneutics – watch this video on how we interpret the Bible in the light of mission

I is for imagination. Here is Mike Frost speaking on Missional Imagination

J is for joining God in the neighbourhood. This is what missional is all about. Buy the book Missional: Joining God in the Neighborhood from or

K is for Keller as in Tim Keller. In this short but important video he distinguishes between missional and evangelistic

L is for leadership as in the MA in Missional Leadership at Springdale College

M is manifesto. Read Ed Stetza’s blog posts under the heading Missional Manefesto here

N is for Network as in The Missional Network – a team of ministries coaching and supporting missional leaders

O is for order – missional orders are related to new monasticism. As in this post by the Blind Begger

P is permaculture as in the Missional Permaculture Network – Christians seeking to be missional through permaculture – an organic approach to gardening. They are on facebook here

Q is for quotes. There are some missional quotes from Good Reads here

R is for Rhythms. Missional Rhythms by David Fitch

S is for Songs – a playlist of missional songs on YouTube here

T is for theology. There are four elements of missional theology from Jesus Creed here

U is for urban. God is moving in the inner city with organisations like Urban Expression

V is for verses as in missional verses evangelistic (see K is for Keller) or missional verses attractional. Mike Frost explains this here:

W is for Missional Wear – come on! Is wearing a t-shirt with a Christian slogan on it really being missional?

X is for Generation X which has been a topic discussed in missional circles. There is a cool looking guy talk about this here

Y is for Youth Ministry. How can we make youth ministry more missional? asks Steve Knight.

Z is for zip code – in the UK we call it a postcode. Demographic data on your area can be important in assessing the culture and the needs of the people you are aiming to reach.

April 30, 2013 at 5:24 pm Comment (1)

Do you know more Christians or non-Christians? – the Results

missional pollHere are the results from the poll I ran the other week: 92% said they knew a good balance of Christians and non-Christians and the other 8% felt that they knew more non-Christians.

These results appear to be very encouraging. If we are to be truly missional we do need to mix beyond our Christian circles and it looks like most of you are. You feel that they know a good balance of both Christians and non-Christians. Not knowing non-Christians isn’t a problem for you.

Of course it could be you tend to have closer relationships with people who are also Christians. I wonder if the poll might have got different results if I had referred to friends rather than just people you know.

It is interesting that one comment did indicate awareness that this might be problem for Christians. “I think there is a real danger to becoming cut off” my friend Ann said.

Speaking as someone who remembers “experiencing exclusion in many areas” she wrote: “I am determined not to do what was done to me – how ever I can see and do experience people who say they are Christians… [who] are selective in who they are Christian towards”

Perhaps how to get to know people outside Christian circles isn’t the issue. But perhaps you need help developing or maintaining those relationships? Or could it be serving those you know whether they are Christian or not is more important as well as how to have conversations about spiritual issues them?

April 23, 2013 at 6:00 pm Comments (0)

What if Genesis was a Creation Myth?

Today for April’s Synchroblog several bloggers are posting on the question “What if some or all of the Bible narrative is not necessarily true history, but is myth of one sort or another?” This video post is my contribution. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for a list of other contributors.

Evangelical author Peter Enns has recently suggested we interpret the early parts of Genesis not as literal history but as the unique style of writing of a creation myth. This leaves room for evolution to have taken place.

We often use the word myth in a dismissive way implying that a story is a hoax. But scholars have understood for some time that a creation myth can be allegorical truth. This is an issue of interpretation of the Bible not a question of its reliability.

Where does creation myth become actual history? Genesis 11 perhaps? But what to make of the genealogies that go all the way back to Adam? I don’t know.

I’m a lot less comfortable with the idea that the later Bible stories are mythological. If I came to believe that I might feel more at home in a more liberal church. If we took this idea to its extreme then Jesus death and resurrection would not be historical fact. What would be left of the Christian faith and even the Church?

Doubting the historical accuracy of the Bible could destroy our faith. But for each part of the Bible we do need to understand the style of writing. Is it history, poetry or allegory?

I’ve no problem with the idea that God may have used evolution to create us. I believe that if we interpret the Bible correctly it doesn’t have to be at odds with science.

I wonder what you think of this.

Below is the infographic Is The Theory of Evolution True? courtesy of showing some of the history and current state of the creation-evolution debate.

Further reading on Peter Enns

PDF Summary of Peter Enns’ Inspiration and Incarnation
PDF Summary of Peter Enns’ Evolution of Adam
Peter Enns own blog
Peter Enns at Biologos

Other posts from this month’s synchroblog

April 16, 2013 at 6:00 pm Comments (7)

My Google A to Z of the Holy Spirit

A quick way to research what people are searching for on the internet is to use Google’s predictive feature. You start typing a word and Google with give you a few suggestions based on popular searches. By typing a word followed by each letter of the alphabet it is easy to collate an A to Z of that topic by just picking one of the four words or phrases that Google gives you.

googling Holy SpiritUsing this technique here is my Google A to Z of the Holy Spirit:

A is for “aint got a pen” as in “the Holy Spirit ain’t got a pen” Russell Brand’s response to the members of Westboro Baptist Church when discussing inspiration of scripture

B is for Bryan and Katie Torwalt from the Jesus Culture Music of Bethel Church who sing about the Holy Spirit

C is for Bryan and Katie’s ‘Holy Spirit Chords’

D is for dove and then when you’ve typed dove Google then suggests “dove tattoo”!

E is for experience such as the tremendous experience with the Holy Spirit described by Denzil Washington

F is for female depictions of the Holy Spirit – controversial!

G is for Gettymusic resources for churches by Keith & Kristyn Getty.

H is for hymns such as “Holy Spirit Living Breath of God”

I is for “in the world today” as in “Holy Spirit in the World Today” a conference organised by Holy Trinity Brompton’s Alpha ministries

J is for Jesus Culture

K is for Kim Walker another American singer, songwriter and worship leader

L is for “living breath of God”

M is for “move me now” as in “Holy Spirit Move Me Now” another song this time by Vinesong

N is for novena – prayers for nine successive days such as the nine days before Pentecost (a Catholic tradition)

O is for “of fire” as in “Holy Spirit of Fire” a more traditional hymn

P is for Pentecost

Q is for quotes about the Holy Spirit from the Bible and from Christian writers and speakers, which abound on the internet

R is for “rain down” as in “Holy Spirit Rain Down” by Hillsong

S is for school. It is amazing how many Catholic schools are named after the Holy Spirit. You need to put “sp” before you get speaking in tongues!

T is for “thou art welcome in this place” as in “Holy Spirit Though Art Welcome in This Place”

U is for university – as well as schools there are other Catholic educational institutions such as the “Holy Spirit University of Kaslik” in France

V is for videos not just of songs but of people encountering the Holy Spirit in some unusual ways

W is for worship songs such as “Holy Spirit We Welcome You” by Chris Bowater and many of the others already mentioned.

X is for XVI as in Pope Benedict XVI (although I have heard a rumour that Pope Francis I is more open to the Holy Spirit than his predecessor)

Y is for “you are welcome here” as in “Holy Spirit You Are Welcome Here” by Bryan and Katie Torwalt

Z is for Zac Poonen – a preacher, teacher and writer who among other topics has written about the Holy Spirit.

Please try this yourself to see if you come up with something similar or try different words.

April 10, 2013 at 6:00 pm Comments (0)

Do you know more Christians or non-Christians?

One vital key for Christians to be missional is to have some influence on people outside of the Christian faith. God’s heart is to reach the world. He wants us, as Christians, to be rubbing shoulders with people outside our faith.

I believe God wants us, as Christians, to know and build relationships with non-Christians. He wants to us to be having genuine conversations with people who might see things very differently from us. God especially wants us to be chatting about our faith.

Do you feel that you know many people outside of Christianity? Perhaps you know lots of people from a variety of backgrounds including those who are Christians and those who aren’t. But it may be that most or even all your friends are Christians.

Please let me know your response to this poll. It is completely anonymous. If you want to discuss this further please feel free to leave a comment on this post. If you have a tip of how to get to know people outside of your Christian circles or any insight on this issue I would be pleased to hear from you.

I will post the results of this poll in a week or two and discuss the points it raises.

April 2, 2013 at 5:00 pm Comments (2)