Mission: Where? What? How?

This morning I am teaching a module on mission for Praxis training.

Mission praxis new zealand teaching

Part of the session will include looking at 3 missionaries that kicked butt but for some reason never made it into the popular evangelical mission history books. Although some of them are making a comeback. I'm talking about Charles de Foucauld, Toyohiko Kagawa and Roland Allen. In particular, Charles de Foucauld because of the huge amount of people he influenced (Little Brothers of Jesus, Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day, worker-priests in Belgium, etc) including many that are now a part of our present mission practice.

And a little bit of recent mission history never hurt anyone, even if it is a little skewed. (Click image to enlarge)

Edinburgh 1910 mission

Insider movements, Wycliffe's translation and missiological controversies

There is a kerfuffle on the internet that might be worthy of some exploration. The controversy around Wycliffe's Bible translation, currently on the back burner and under the WEA spotlight, has created a lot of talk about insider movements, contextualization, dynamic equivalence, postmodernism, and the connection between the emergent church and insider movements among Muslims. 

 And it raises a series of other questions about the integrity of missional practice on location vs. satisfying the accountants in the home country, sustainability vs. dependance, colonialism vs. equality, missionary paternalism vs. freedom for younger churches to self-theologize, etc.

I was thinking about doing a weekly post to flesh out some of these issues, probably each Sunday.

Is this of interest to anyone? If so, lets start chatting about it Let me know in comments below. If not, lets move on to another diversion.


Nomads, Itinerants, and Diaspora Missiology

Some conversation and action today regarding "people on the move", global nomads [see my post], and "diaspora missiology".

Screen Shot 2012 07 05 at 11 54 35 AM

Firstly, I am happy to announce my e-book is nearly finished, based on my travel adventures and extraordinary moments through 30+ countries in the past 3 years in our 4x4 truck named Maggie. The name of the book will be No-t-mad and I will be sending it out to those who sent a donation to get our truck over to NZ. Still room for more donations btw since we didn't raise enough money for the whole project.

Secondly, Lifeway is releasing its Mission of God Study Bible. They are sending me 10 copies because I  contributed a short piece on itinerant ministry which, as you know,  is the narrative environment for much of God's revelation (Abraham, Issac, Luke) and certainly for the expansion of the early church and later mission movements. Here is part of what I submitted, although the published version might be different [more eloquent, I hope]. 

An ‘itinerant’ is a wanderer who travels from place to place without a home. Stereotypes are demeaning: drifters, hobos, vagrants, bums, squatters, tramps, and carnies. Some are neutral but few are positive. And yet there are some who have voluntarily embraced itinerancy for the purpose of the gospel, including circuit riders, pilgrims, mendicants and wandering monks. The worst examples of the latter were frowned on. Benedict called them ‘gyrovagues’ (lit. “Those that wander in a circle) and Augustine called them ‘circumcelliones’ (lit. “Those that prowl around the barns”).


However, despite the stigma of being homeless ragamuffins, it was often the wandering missionaries who enabled the church to accelerate its mission into new spheres: extraordinary itinerants including Jesuits, Franciscans, Methodist circuit-riders, tent-revivalists and the Celtic “peregrine’, who one writer described as “intrepid Irish adventurers”. 

Well said, if I don't mind saying so myself. Thanks to Ed Stetzer and Philip Nation for your hard work and your wise inclusion of my thoughts. You can already buy a hard copy of The Mission of God Study Bible here.

Thirdly, fellow-blogger Cody Lawrence just told me that The Global Diaspora Network, part of the Lausanne movement, are meeting right now. 

Lausanne 3 in Capetown was a great experience for me but there were a few frustrating moments for me, as a global nomad. One of them was deciding which geographical gathering of homies to attend each day. I just didn't know which country or continent I was from. On the Lausanne website I was from USA. The Lausanne preparary meetings placed me in the UK, as part of the Europe group. But when I met the Aussies and Kiwis I decided to attend a few of their meetings, having lived in both countries. But generally, I felt quite homeless and unassigned to any geographical area.

Why is having a geographical location so important to everyone?????? Would they make the Apostle Paul attend the Tarsus group? Would Jesus be assigned to the Galileans? Would Abraham be stuck in a room drinking coffee with the residents of Ur?

Ur .  . Ur . . . Ur . . . urrrr I think NOT!

Another issue of frustration was the questionnaire that all 4000 of us were supposed to fill out. I got stuck on the part where you had to describe the country or geographical area you were working in. Ahhhhh . .   how about ALL OF THEM!!!  I had no idea what to fill out so I threw the form in the rubbish bin. 

Anyway, I am happy to see that Lausanne are taking seriously the diaspora and "people on the move" on both sides of the fence. Some bedtime reading material courtesy of Lausanne:

The Soul Declaration on Diaspora Missiology (2009)

Diaspora Mission: Keeping Churches in the Conversation

Diasporas and International Students

Lausanne Diasporas: One Year after Cape Town


Baptists in the house

It's been an interesting weekend with a Baptist theme

.Spoons at ngatiawa

We enjoyed having Rodney MaCann here a few times. Rodney has been National Leader of the Baptists for most the past decade, and has recently handed over the reigns to Craig Vernall. Rodney's son, The Venerable Stu, is on the Ngatiawa team, where he functions, among other roles, as the official psalter. Which makes sense coz his dad is also an opera singer. 


But we also had a team from Carey Baptist College in Auckland as part of the UMEC urban missions training. We gave them a hard time, of course, making them do horrible mission related tasks like chopping chicken heads and carrying a pottery kiln that weighed a gazillion tons, and fed them Luwak poop coffee from Indonesia. Which Joseph didn't mind at all. 


Baptists chopping heads

They did really well. And they were a joy to have around. Although I was a little disappointed they knew so little about WIlliam Carey.

"Isn't he the founder of our school?"'

Ahhhh . . . . no . . not directly.

Umec baptists

Best time we had was doing a session in our yurt and our truck where we told stories of getting through borders without bribing corrupt officials, getting sensitive documents out of one country and into another, helping out with earthquake relief, and leadership training memories all done through the truck, the same truck 

there were sitting in. 

Hope to see this crowd again. They go from here to get some urban mission experience in Wellington area through the other UV teams.

Next month: Graham L. from the Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Australia comes here to teach on prayer. This Baptist monastery started in the 1970's and is still going strong. Looking forward to hearing their story. 

Videos from Underground Ministries Roundtable

I just uploaded some videos I took at the Global Roundtable of Underground Ministries which we held at Cornerstone Festival in Illinois last year. Sorry it took so long to get the videos up. Hope you enjoy them.

Attendance was a little spotty in places because most of us were also involved in Cornerstone Festival [I taught 3 seminars] but we managed to have some really good discussions about what God was doing in our countries and what new movements were springing up.

Here is a taste of our morning worship, this time led by an American, a Romanian and a Portuguese. And a Canadian on his big drum.


Olgalvaro Bastos Jr from Brazil kicked off some interesting discussion about the emerging church in Brazil and the need for "new wineskins for new wine." Denny Hurst (Portugal) added some history of the hippie movement in the 1970's, Calvary Chapel, the Christian rock scene and other precedents for this new movement. 

Other leaders shared their point of view on the new wineskins. In this video there are leaders from USA, Canada, Chile, NZ and Brazil.

The discussion on wineskins continued with Romania, Canada, and Brazil and America.

There are more videos. I will upload them when I get a chance.

My book - Your help


Last year was amazing. Your gifts enabled me to spend time in Turkey, China, Indonesia, Egypt, and Eastern Europe to equip missional leaders and their networks in those countries. And because we traveled most of those countries in our 4x4 overlander, the whole family could come along for free. It was a great experience. Life-changing, actually, for us and for the ministries we strengthened. And we did it on a shoe-string.

I want to write a book and give you copy. More about that in a second.

In 2012 we will be primarily in Asia, with NZ as our home base. The family is here in NZ now, living in a Mongolian style yurt. It has a dirt floor so its a bit cold at nights but we are building a platform for it. Being homeless is great for getting around on a budget but when winter comes its not as much fun. Bringing the truck (our home) over here will solve a lot of problems, as well as enabling us to continue the journey. From NZ, the next port of call would be Capetown when the time is right to return to Africa.

Yurt jones

We have 2 big needs right now.

1. I am flying overseas today to pick up the truck and continue the journey. I will be driving 4000kms through 6 countries. More details on which countries in my newsletter shortly. I need diesel money - about US$1500.

Paypal account is Jonesberries@gmail.com

2. Our truck is currently in Turkey but we need to ship it home to New Zealand where it will be our Asian base for the next season. Shipping cost is US$4,780. There is a container ship leaving early March which is not a lot of time but if enough of you kicked in a little bit, we could do it for sure.

The book.

Here's the thing. If you donate US$10 or more, I will send you a copy of my e-book based on my 35 country trek, a journey that has given me new perspective on the global Christian movement as well as my own life priorities. I hope to start a kick-starter thing but don't have time right now but if you give to PayPal and leave your email, I will make sure you get a copy of the e-book as soon as it is finished.


Can you pass on the need on your blogs? Facebook? other media? It would be a huge help. And we could also get the truck before winter.

And if you have a larger chunk to donate [God bless you] or want to do a bank transfer then read on for directions.

Continue reading "My book - Your help" »

Pioneer Mission Leadership Training


Great news for training for Anglican ministry and ordination, especially young people working in pioneer urban situations. I have blogged about this a few times along the way because we have been supporting this process in a number of ways. Heres the news:

CMS has been given the BIG THUMBS UP to train ordinands in pioneer ministry. Press release here.


Well done, everyone. Especially Jonny Baker who is very very excited about it and also Mark Berry who is berry berry excited.

Practices of a new Jesus movement


I visited a number of Asian countries in 2011 and was amazed at the dynamism and commitment of the young Jesus followers.

One network, in a country that I will not mention, stuck out to me as an outstanding example. They have started almost a thousand new communities, many of them multiplying into the second and third generation. And like many new movements in the non-Western world, a Sunday worship service as an evangelistic entry point for potential members, has not been part of their ministry portfolio. Which was the subject of my somewhat provocative post a few days ago, 9 Reasons NOT to plant a church in 2012.

So if they didn't start worship services, how did they start a replicating movement of Christian communities and how do they maintain such a high level of spiritual growth?

Of course it's hard and a little presumptuous to claim which elements of their ministry are the most important but . . . here are 11 practices that I think have contributed to their success:

1. Bible study.

The Bible studies were simple and regular. And there was a lengthy program of discoving Jesus in the gospels which took months to complete. Most who completed the study decided to follow Jesus by the end. Discipleship was based on an "obedience-based approach" to the Scriptures that happened around their 3 simple Bible study questions [see 4. Simple habits]. When the group meets again, everyone is held accountable to do what they said they were going to do and this way the Word becomes an integral part of life.


2. Open houses.

The people were hospitable to visitors who seemed to come at any time of the day or night. Their houses were full of young people living there while their lives were being transformed. I did not see any buildings used for worship or church functions. Bible studies and events took place in the houses, with young people sitting on carpets and mattresses, but I would not classify it as a house church movement, since there was no regular worship service to invite neighbours into.

3. Fringe focus.

The primary influx was young people from the margins, the underbelly of society and those discarded by it, drug addicts, and postmodern sub-cultures rather than mainstream folk. I have seen this trend all over Asia including Japan. Most of the leaders I met had come from these backgrounds also.


4. Simple habits.

Nothing took a lot of skill. Teaching Bible, sharing jesus, leading AA-type meetings, no need for a charismatic superstar to attract an audience and in fact, there wasn't one. Anyone could lead after a short time of instruction. The Bible studies, for example, were based on the same pattern:

After reading a passage together, they all answered 3 questions:

1. What does it say?

2. What does it say to me?

3. What I'm going to do about it?


5. Good business products.

Financial sustainability came partly from their micro-businesses. The organic products from these businesses were among the best and healthiest in the country, even if they had not yet found a way to promote or distribute them widely. They had also innovated in the production process and believed God gave revelation that is helping them produce more and better goods and in a way that blesses the environment rather than taking from it.


Continue reading "Practices of a new Jesus movement" »

Growing Cafe Churches Singapore Style

Tim Wong flew home to Singapore yesterday but we are still talking about his cafe-churches or "missional cafe communities" as he calls them.

“It costs $20 million to buy land and build a church in Singapore. For that much money, we could buy 100 coffee shops.” Tim Wong

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What's interesting to me is that Tim's dad was the co-author of a church planting book that I was forced to read in Seminary called Growing Churches Singapore Style: Ministry in an Urban Context by Keith Hinton and James Wong.

Canon Dr James Wong, a speaker at Lausanne 74, has shared the same principles on sustainable church planting that his son espouses with his fresh expressions of church.

Less capital cost and funding is required to get new churches started. It also allows for more flexibility and mobility of the centers of witness and worship. The house-churches can always be located where people are found to be most responsive.” James Wong [Evangelism in High-Rise Housing Apartment Buildings, Lasuanne papers, PDF]

Want to read the full post? Go to this spanking new group blog and check it out.

Emerging Philanthropy: NOW Funding, not SOON Funding

Sometimes, you need NOW funding to assist an emergency situation. When an earthquake hits, people need resources immediately. They have no house and only the clothes on their back. If its cold, their families will freeze. Rescue workers need to be fed or they will stop shifting bricks and more people will die.

Fundraising takes time and you need the funds NOW and not SOON, not even THEN, and forget about LATER.

$1000 in the first week of an earthquake is like $10,000 in the second week.

In Turkey this month, we badly needed NOW funding to assist the earthquake relief in the first week.

Earthquake zone arriving philanthropy

But unfortunately, most foundations and trusts cannot act that fast. There is paperwork and permissions and the presentation of proposals and the estimate of expenses and the signing of papers, etc.  Most foundations can help with SOON funding but very few can help with NOW funding.

Continue reading "Emerging Philanthropy: NOW Funding, not SOON Funding" »