Posted tagged ‘People Groups’

“The Great Imbalance”

March 26, 2013

“Only 24,000 missionaries out of the Global Evangelical Missionary-force of 253,000 are working within the estimated  8,000 unreached groups. That means that 9 times as many foreign missionaries work within reached people groups than those doing the more difficult work of establishing breakthroughs within unreached peoples.”

Or, to put it another way, 90% of all evangelical missionaries in the world today work with the 11.9% of the world’s population that are professing Christians, the 20.5% of the world’s population who are nominal Christians, and the 27.3% of the world’s population that are non-Christians within reached groups. Only 10% of the world’s evangelical missionaries work among the 40.3% of the world’s population who are non-Christian within unreached people groups. (Perspectives, A Reader, p.543)

In Matthew 24:14, the Lord Jesus Christ said –

“And this gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations (“people groups”) and then the end will come.”

If we say that we know Jesus as our Savior …

if we are serious about our faith in and commitment to Him as our Lord, and …

if we are going to be obedient to His will and command to carry the Gospel to all of the people groups of the world so that His Name might be known among them …

we must take a look at the numbers and percentages above, repent of our failure to obey Jesus’ command to disciple all nations (‘people groups”), deny ourselves, and commit ourselves afresh to His use for the fulfilling of the Great Commission, for His glory.

Then, and only then, will the end come.

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Note: I posted this article a couple of days ago, but because of some formatting errors, I have re-written, editted, and re-posted it.

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David Garrison On Church Planting Movements

May 2, 2012

If you have visited my blog in the past, you have probably read posts about church planting and Church Planting Movements (CPM). In them, you have heard me make reference to David Garrison and his book, Church Planting Movements – How God Is Redeeming A Lost World. Even if you have never read my blog but are interested in CPMs, you certainly know about the book.

Garrison is an International Mission Board (Southern Baptist Convention) missionary and Church Planting Movements researcher. His book, published in 2003, defines CPM, identifies characteristics found in most CPM, and reports on CPM occurring in the world at the time of the writing of the book. Garrison is perhaps the foremost “authorities on CPM today.

Below is a short video of David speaking at the VERGE conference. I hope you will enjoy it.

You can read the Church Planting Movements – How God Is Redeeming A Lost World booklet here.

Agenda: Campus Ministry and T4T

July 18, 2011

I am excited about this week. I will be having two meetings with area ministers to discuss ministry and missions.

My first meeting is in the morning. I will be drinking coffee with a young man who has recently joined the staff of an area campus ministry. This ministry ministers to students enrolled at Texas A&M University (TAMU) in College Station, Texas. TAMU is the 7th largest university in the nation with the 17th largest international student enrollment in the country. This young man will have the responsibility of leading his campus ministry’s evangelistic outreach to the “nations” of the world who are pursuing their academic studies at A&M. We will be discussing international student ministry in general and his ministry and its start-up, in particular.

On Wednesday morning I will meet with two staff members from a fairly new church in our community. One of the folks is the church’s lead pastor. The other is a staff minister whose responsibilitie’s include ministry to international students. While I am sure we will discuss ministry to international students, the main purpose for our getting together is to discuss a “training” resource material called T4T – Training for Trainers.

T4T is basically a discipleship material that can be used to disciple new followers of Christ. It is much like the six-session discipleship material you may have gone through at your local church when you first became a Christian. But, T4T is much more than a knowledge-based discipleship material. T4T is designed to instill within the heart and life of new believers a vision for and commitment to evangelism, the making of reproducing disciples of Christ, and the starting of new (simple) churches that start new churches. The bottom-line objective of T4T is, therefore, the expansion of the Kingdom of God through church planting movements.

I trust that the two church staff ministers and I will not only discuss the T4T material, but ways that we can work together to implement the material and its church planting principles as we seek to reach Texas A&M University and our community for Christ.

I would ask you to pray these I have mentioned in this post and me as we meet and pray together this week. Please pray that we will know how we might best work together to reach Bryan-College Station, Texas for Christ.

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T4T – Training for Trainers was developed by a church planter in East Asia who was confronted with the challenge of how to reach an unengaged mega-city for Christ. This material is now being used around the world by many different churches and denominations as they seek to fulfill the Great Commission is our life-time.

Help Me Read

July 9, 2011

Whether you are visiting my blog, tangiblethoughts, on purpose, or you are surfing the net and have stopped here just to check me out, may I ask you to do something for me?

May I ask you to scroll down on this page until you come to the category “Books” in the right-hand column? There you will find two links. One is to Monergism Books, the other is to WTS Books. When you click on them you will be taken to the on-line book stores of Monergism.com and Westminster Theological Seminary. At each of the stores you will find excellent conservative and Reformed books and resource material for your head and heart.

Each time you click onto the stores from my blog site I receive credit for your visit. When I have earned enough credits, I receive a purchase certificate which enables me to purchase books for my head and heart.

So, linger here a moment longer … scroll down and click  … and peruse the sites.

Thank you for your great help.

Tears of the Saints

February 23, 2010

This is a very heart stirring video about the great needs of people around the world.

It is also a video about the greatest need in the lives of men, women, boys, and girls around the world –  the need for a personal relationship with Holy God through personal faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.

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” … to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.” (Matthew 25:40)

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“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

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“And this gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come.” (Matthew 24:14)

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(“Tears of the Saints” is sung by Leeland.)

CPM Principles For North America

January 11, 2010

Last night I was going through some files of church planting-related papers and articles that I have collected over the years and found an article that I was excited to read again.

The article is entitled “Lessons on Evangelism for North America Church Planting.” I first read it in 2005 when I found it on the Church Planting Village website of the North American Mission Board (SBC).

The author of the article, a missions professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary by the name of Dr. Morgan, writes about three particular principles and lessons found in CPMs that are occurring around the world that he believes “can be especially useful in establishing an evangelistically effective church plant” in North America.

The three principles are:

  1. Immediate Redeployment of Converts in Evangelism
  2. Obedience-Based Evangelism
  3. Discipling New Believers in Groups of New Believers

Under the “Immediate Deployment” heading, Dr. Morgan makes a reference to the T4T (Training for Trainers) “system” of training new believers how to share the Gospel with their networks and organic (natural) connections. I was interested to see the reference to T4T, something I had forgotten was included in the article, because I have recently been exposed to the  T4T material and am currently working my way through it and the accompanying facilitator training material.

While we know that CPMs are the result of the activity of the Lord of the Harvest, these three principles can, and should, be intentionally integrated into the ministries of established and new church ministries. If we do so, I believe that we would discover that our churches are more effective in their making of disciples, the spreading of the Gospel, and the starting of new churches that penetrate and saturate our communities and world for the cause of Christ.

Read the “Lessons on Evangelism for North America Church Planting” article here.

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“CPM Principles For North America” was orignially written and posted on the taethnenetwork blog, November 27, 2009.

Movements That Change The World

January 9, 2010

Movements That Change The World is a great little book that I first learned about while perusing one of the church planting blogs that I visit frequently.

In the book, author Steve Addison writes about and discusses five core characteristics of missionary movements that he has discovered as he has studied Christian movements throughout the ages and around the world. These core characteristics are : 1) white-hot faith, 2) commitment to a cause, 3) contagious relationships, 4) rapid mobilization, and 5) adaptive methods.

Addison makes two statements in the Introduction of the book that established the tone of the book for me.

The first is his very succinct definition of a “movement”:

In general, movements are informal groupings of people and organizations pursuing a common cause. They are people with an agenda.”

The cause that we are concerned with here is the cause of Christ and the agenda is the expansion of His Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven.

The second statement is:

In the renewal and expansion of the church, the breakthroughs always occur on the fringe of the ecclesiastical power – never at the center. In every generation, in some obscure place, God is beginning something new. That’s where we need to be.” (p.33)

And that is exactly where I want to be.

Below are a number of quotes from the book’s chapters as well as some of my own comments on each characteristic.

Chapter 1 – White-hot Faith

Church history is not made by well-financed, well -resourced individuals and institutions. History is made by men and women of faith who have met with the living God. Without faith it is impossible to please God. (p.36)

You can run an institution with systems of command and control, but Jesus founded a movement…. A passionate faith is at the heart of every dynamic missionary movement. It is the greatest resource. Today, where Christianity is expanding quickly in the developing world, it is often the only resource.” (p.49)

Chapter 2 – Commitment to a Cause

Movements that change the world deal with the ultimate issues. They are causes that make demands on followers. Apathy changes nothing, and it is the surest sign that a movement, organization, or society is in decline. Change takes place because people care enough to act on their deeply held beliefs. They choose ‘to live divided no more’.” (p.56)

Addison points out at the end of the chapter that commitment does not necessarily guarantee the rightness of a cause. Any one of us can think of evil causes and movements that were and are characterized by the commitment of their adherents.

But we are talking about the cause of Christ, His glory, and His Kingdom. So, the author reminds the Christ-follower that “Jesus expected the same unwavering commitment from His disciples …. to make the same sacrifices and demonstrate the same commitment that He did” to the will and purposes of God. (p.65)

As we make this commitment to Christ and His cause, we must remember that Christ said if we are going to be His disciples, we must deny ourselves and take up our crosses daily, and follow Him (Luke 9:23), and that unless we place Him above all others and all affections, we cannot be His disciples (Luke 14:26,27).

Chapter 3 – Contagious Relationships

This chapter, and the next, were my favorite chapters in the book. In fact, it was as I was reading this chapter that I decided to read The Bridges of God by Donald McGavran (posted on below) because of the emphasis of both on “people movements,” organic connections, and the multiplication of churches.

Here are several of Steve’s quotes from this chapter.

Like a virus, the Gospel travels along the lines of preexisting relationships.” (p.72)

Christianity’s spread was fast and spontaneous; it happened without a centralized coordinating agency.” (p.73)

Christian conversions followed networks of relationships. Missionaries often led the way, but their ministry focused on making initial contacts with members of a social group. Once some insiders were converted, they became the key to the Gospel spreading throughout the rest of the social network, ….” (p.74)

New religious movements fail when they become closed social networks. For continued exponential growth, a movement must maintain open relationships with outsiders, and it must also reach out into new, adjacent social networks.” (p.75)

These quotes in the chapter are followed by two insightful sections on “principles of contagious relationships” and “Jesus and contagious relationships.” Addison notes that “Jesus recruited His band of disciples through relationship networks” and that He “…turned individual encounters into opportunities to touch whole social networks.” (p.81)

If this was Christ’s missionary-relationship strategy, how much more should it be ours as we seek to reach our world for Christ?

Chapter 4 – Rapid Multiplication

The rapid mobilization of leaders and new churches are the subjects of Chapter 4.

A few pages are devoted to the teaching of Roland Allen, the Anglican missionary, best know for his Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours? and The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church. From Spontaneous Expansion, Addison lists Allen’s conditions that inhibit the spontaneous expansion of the church and those that enhance its expansion. Pretty interesting stuff.

The author then makes reference to Jesus and His ministry of mobilizing workers and leaders.

Jesus’ model of training assumed that the disciples did not know something until they had learned to obey it. Jesus’ teaching was obedience oriented.” (p.97)

This statement of Addison is characteristic of much of the material that I have been reading lately in which much is made of the need for obedience-based discipleship in our churches and church planting endeavors today. It is one thing to know about God and the Bible; it is a radically other thing to obey God and His Word.

I have read or heard the following question asked at least twice lately as I have been studying CPMs: ”Why is the United States not experiencing church planting movements like those occurring around the world?”

The answer: Failure to “obey every command that I have taught you.” (Jesus)

Chapter 5, the last chapter of the book is entitled, Adaptive Methods, Addison declares that it is important for movements to be flexible in their use of methods because “adaptive methods enable a movement to function in ways that suit its changing environment and its expansion into new fields.” (p.106)

The thought is furthered when the author states that,

Movements that drift away from their core beliefs are always at risk, but so are movements that regard the way they currently function as sacred.” (p.110)

I believe that this thought can not only be applied to materials, methodologies, and strategies, it can be applied to church form as well (traditional program based-design, contemporary, seeker, etc.)

Ralph Neighbour, pastor and cell church authority, wrote about this matter of adaptation (at the church level) in his book, The Seven Last Words of a Dying Church – We’ve Never Done It That Way Before. In the book, Neighbour tells his story, and that of the church he pastored in Houston, Texas, West Memorial Baptist Church, as it adapted and transitioned from a traditional, program-based design church to a small group-based church, and then, to a cell-based church in an intentional effort to better reach and ministry to its surrounding community and regional area.

A couple of last quotes from this chapter come from Addison’s discussion of “Jesus and adaptive methods.”

Jesus trained His disciples in a way that was reproducible and transferable. He did not place unnecessary restrictions on who could be trained and entrusted with significant ministry. He expected faithfulness to the Gospel in word and deed, but there were no artificial academic or institutional requirements for trainees.” (p.115)

Jesus did not come to found a religious organization. He came to found a missionary movement that would spread to the ends of the earth.” (p.115)

The Early Christians … wanted to win as many people as possible to faith in Jesus Christ and gather them into communities that became mission centers as they eagerly awaited His return.” (p.115)

Paul argued for cultural relevance, not cultural relativism (I Corinthians 9:19-23).” (p.116)

An important element in Paul’s strategy was the establishment of new churches. He did not just win converts, he gathered them into communities of faith.” (p.116)

This chapter includes a great chart in which Steve compares “Unsustainable Church Planting Strategies” with “Sustainable Church Planting Strategies.”

Finally, in conclusion from the Conclusion:

What would it look like to align your life with Christ’s command and join a missionary movement that will one day reach every tribe, every language, every people, and every nation? … What needs to change in you (in me)? What do you need to do differently? (p.128)

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Hey, thanks for hanging in with me on this post, even if you had to come back and visit the blog two or three times in order to get it all read. It was pretty long. But, I hope you have gotten something of a sense of what Steve Addison’s book is all about.

If you’re interested in such things I would encourage you to pick up a copy and read it for yourself.

God bless you as you commit yourself to being swept up in God’s great movement to reach the nation’s for Himself.

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This post was moved over from my other blog, taethnenetwork. It was originally written and posted in November 19, 2009.