Regarding the Christian’s options for missions involvement, John Piper once famously offered three: “Go. Send. Or disobey”(from his sermon, “Let the Nations Be Glad,” preached June 15, 2000). In one sense, we are all sent. Jesus has given the Great Commission to all Christians. We are all to go and make disciples (Matt. 28:18-20). But regarding world missions, and to Piper’s point, we should recognize that there are some that God calls to cross-cultural ministry and there are those who co-labor behind them. Paul explains this relationship to the church in Rome: “And how are they to preach unless they are sent?”(Rom. 10:15, ESV) Go or send. Those are our options for world missions involvement.
One of the tools we can use for training people to get comfortable talking with others, inviting them to our weekend worship gatherings, and eventually sharing their faith is through special events. Special events can include the more popular ones like Easter and Christmas, but also can include Parent/Child Dedications, Mother’s and Father’s Day, and the beginning of a new sermon series.
I recently hosted a conference with the North American Mission Board on Islam and North America: Loving Our Muslim Neighbors (videos below), which coincided with the release of a B&H book of the same name.
In the book, I discuss two primary realities regarding immigration that we must consider to better understand the future of Islam and engage Muslims in North America.
My neighborhood in Detroit is rightly classified as “the hood.” To be sure, there are more dangerous areas in the world, but my block isn’t Mr. Rogers’s neighborhood.
Here, “neighboring” has become a lost art. People live in close proximity, but most are relationally distant, if not complete strangers. Constant crime, mistrust, fear, and poverty are pervasive and have shattered notions of being neighbors for many Detroiters.
When LifeWay Research studied the unchurched, they found many were willing to have spiritual conversations and even open to attending church, but specific types of evangelism and invitations to church were more effective for certain groups.
Confrontational evangelism: “the kind of evangelism that communicates the Gospel in an abrasive, in-your-face way.”
I’ll never forget taking an outside escalator in Las Vegas down to the street level with my then 12-year-old daughter, Kailey. There were hundreds of people on the sidewalk below us as we descended toward the large crowd.
The tagline “gospel-centered” has become commonplace in the church-planting world. In many ways, this is a good thing.
But we do well to ask: What exactly does the phrase mean? Does the planter have to be committed to mention Jesus in every sermon? Must there be a mandatory invitation to salvation in each service?
Part of the seeker-sensitive movement in churches was to make “unchurched Harry and Mary” comfortable if they came through the door. Songs were easy to pick up. There were great visuals and intriguing dramatic sketches. Instead of sermons, there were talks. Everything that happened on the stage was dynamic and well rehearsed.
Most Protestant churchgoers say they are eager to talk to others about Jesus and are praying for opportunities to share their faith, but most say they have not had any evangelistic conversations in the past six months.