Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Published by Mark Morris on 10 Oct 2014

A Theology of Strategic Risk

Anthology Magazine of MissioNexus recently published an article I wrote on the issue of Strategic Risk and the theological and practical questions churches, agencies and missionaries face regarding Risk and the advance of the gospel.

Excerpt

“Two pressing questions drive the discussion. The first is personal: would our sovereign God knowingly direct us to engage in dangerous gospel witness, even to the point of death? The second question is institutional: How should the church and mission-sending institutions respond when the ones we send insist on obeying God’s direction, even when it means entering or remaining in harm’s way. The answer to both questions will have a drastic impact on the way we do missions. As we will see, Scripture and history are not silent in regards to costly mission.”

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Published by Craig Schmidle on 16 Mar 2011

Japan

Another major disaster this time in Japan and rippling out. The first reaction for many is how can I help. For some that means grabbing that checkbook and pen but to others it is how can I put boots on the ground fast. The first is always easy because there are many groups that will put their hands out, some are reputable and some are not. I am not going to voice my opinion on who is who, just let me say do your own homework based on prior events. Some money is in limbo doing nothing from the last tsunami.

Now the boots on the ground process becomes a lot more complicated for a number of reasons. The first is the logistics. The last thing a disaster needs is another disaster to fly in. Teams with great hearts showing up without a plan or resources just adds to the stress on the ground. Second, great hearts but no training is a bad combination. A great heart will go far but if you are not trained in something that is needed stay away. If your heart hurts every time a disaster occurs God is telling you to get prepared for the next one. Training is available through FEMA, denominations, Red Cross and many other independent organizations. If you have a specialized field, such as medical or engineering, etc. check with the association to see if they have training. Third, if you plan to go prepare yourself for what you are about to see. Over the years I have been involved in responses to hurricanes, tornados, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis and war. Each has had a physical and emotional cost. Prepare your heart and mind through prayer.

I write this on a plane coming home from Bangalore, India were I have seen another disaster. Unfortunately it is one that is duplicated around the world. As we see the immediate devastation of a disaster may our eyes be opened to the constant needs around the world.

More details on hoe to prepare to help coming soon.

Published by Mark Morris on 01 Jun 2010

Missionary Prayer Updates

Here’s a quick note to let you know about a new blog which posts the prayer concerns and reports from missionaries around the world.

Add this one to your prayer list.

The most recent prayer request follows.

Mark

MissionaryBlogDigest

“God loves me very much. My wife has died, my children have died, but I am not dead yet. So, today I have heard the news of the sacrifice that Jesus died for me.”  This man, along with over 60 others suffering the effects of HIV/AIDS, received in home health care kits provided by Baptist Global Response. The kits were distributed by the area Baptist churches. Most of the patients are bed ridden. All are unable to care for themselves and require assistance from family members. As supplies were delivered, instructions were given on how to use the contents. Included are things such as bed sheets, latex gloves, vitamins, soap, nail clippers and others. They were packed in 5 gallon buckets by volunteers in the US.

While church members delivered health care necessities that most of us would not dream of being without, they also took time to share the News of God and to pray. At least three of the patients asked Jesus to be their Savior. All were touched with the love of Christ demonstrated through the hands on ministry of local Baptist believers.

Editors Note: Pray that the recipients of the health care kits would know the hope of Christ.

For more information on the health care kits or how you can be involved, visit: www.inhomecarekit.org

Published by Mark Morris on 27 Feb 2010

Chile Quake -BGR Response

On the heels of Haiti disaster, BGR mobilizes for Earthquake response in Chile.

Sign up on www.gobgr.org for updates.

See latest article below.

Please help us spread the word! Do you know other believers who care about helping people in need?
Why not forward this e-mail and encourage them to subscribe by visiting gobgr.org!

BGR moving to assess needs after 8.8 Chile quake

Feb. 27, 2010

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Baptist Global Response is moving quickly to assess relief needs in the aftermath of an 8.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Chile at 3:34 a.m. Saturday, killing at least 78 people, collapsing buildings and setting off a tsunami.

Disaster relief specialists from South Carolina and California are on standby to respond, said Jim Brown, director of BGR’s U.S. office.

“I’m in conversation with those leaders and we will decide within the next 12 hours what our initial response will be,” Brown said. “If our ministry partners on the ground in Chile request it, we will have an assessment team on the way immediately. Southern Baptists are blessed to have on-ground partners in Chile who will be able to help respond immediately with the basic necessities.”

The epicenter was located just 70 miles from Concepcion, a city of more than 200,000 people, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. A tsunami wave struck the Robinson Crusoe Islands, 410 miles off the Chilean coast and tsunami warnings have been issued for Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand and Asia. Chile’s president, Michele Bachelet, declared a “state of catastrophe” in three central regions of the country. Several hospitals were evacuated and communications with Concepcion were knocked out.

“We know that immediate needs usually include things like food, water, shelter and medical needs,” Brown said. “We have emergency response funds available to help with the crisis response. Southern Baptists always respond quickly when a disaster like this strikes. They pray and give from the heart. We’re glad to know so many people who care are ready to spring into action to help people in need.”

Baptist Global Response will issue further announcements about needs and response as more information becomes available. For updates, watch www.gobgr.org, subscribe to the BGR AlertNet e-mail or follow twitter.com/GoBGR.

http://www.baptistglobalresponse.com/new/details.php?id=110

Published by Mark Morris on 23 Feb 2010

The GCR Recommendation-Bare Bones Version

Are you wondering what Southern Baptists are buzzing about? I’ve seen more tweets on this than warts on a frog. (Do frogs really have warts?)  So after viewing the 90 minutes and reading the full paper along with it – I’ve stripped the 90 minute presentation and 32 page report down to the pure and simple recommendation.

The 6 components of the recommendation include a new SBC vision with 8 core values. The North American Mission Board is asked to reinvent itself around urban church planting. The International Mission Board is entrusted with the Unreached of the World plus the Unreached peoples of North America. This change removed geographical restrictions for work among the least reached peoples which is the IMB’s forte.  In addition the report affirms Cooperative Giving while also affirming direct designations to SBC missional causes and entities.  This one point throws its weight behind the holy grail of the Cooperative Program while challenging the traditional Southern Baptist mentality which nearly condemns designated giving as if it were unbiblical.  (Traditionalists will hate this one while others will be saying – duh!)

The job of promotion of the Cooperative Program is shifted to State Conventions. Wow – this one surprised me. It will be interesting to see how that fleshes out.  Finally we come to the allocations – the recommendations is that the average allocations shift to 51% toward International Missions. With the IMB taking on North American Unreached Peoples this makes good sense.

Ok – that’s my GCR for dummies version. Enjoy this light version – but if you want the full ninety minutes and the 32 pages – go for it.

GCR Recommendation

Component #1: We believe in order for us to work together more faithfully and effectively towards the fulfillment of the Great Commission, we will ask Southern Baptists to rally towards a clear and compelling missional vision and begin to conduct ourselves with core values that will create a new and healthy culture within the Southern Baptist Convention.

We believe our missional vision needs to be the following: As a convention of churches, our missional vision is to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every person in the world and to make disciples of all the nations.

A new and healthy culture within the Southern Baptist Convention. These core values articulate what we stand for, how we should work together, how we govern our personal relationships, and how we should be guided in making decisions.

Therefore, we desire that these eight core values be embraced:

CHRIST-LIKENESS We depend on the transforming power of the Holy Spirit and prayer to make us more like Jesus Christ.

TRUTH We stand together in the truth of God’s inerrant Word, celebrating the faith once for all delivered to the saints.
UNITY
We work together in love for the sake of the Gospel.
RELATIONSHIPS We consider others more important than ourselves.
TRUST We tell each other the truth in love and do what we say we will do.
FUTURE We value Southern Baptists of all generations and embrace our responsibility to pass this charge to a rising generation of every age, faithful until Jesus comes.
LOCAL CHURCH We believe the local church is given the authority, power, and responsibility to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every person in the world.
KINGDOM We join other Christ-followers for the Gospel, the Kingdom of Christ, and the glory of God.

Component #2: We believe in order for us to work together more faithfully and effectively towards the fulfillment of the Great Commission, that our North American Mission Board needs to be reinvented and released. Therefore, in order to do this, we will ask Southern Baptists that the North American Mission Board prioritize efforts to plant churches in North America and to reach our nation’s cities and clarify its role to lead and accomplish efforts to reach North America with the Gospel.

Component #3: We believe in order for us to work together more faithfully and effectively towards the fulfillment of the Great Commission, we will ask Southern Baptists to entrust to the International Mission Board the ministry to reach the unreached and under-served people groups without regard to any geographic limitations.

Component #4: We believe in order for us to work together more faithfully and effectively towards the fulfillment of the Great Commission, we will ask Southern Baptists to move the ministry assignments of Cooperative Program promotion and stewardship education from the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention and return them to being the work of each state convention since they are located closer to our churches. Our call is for the state conventions to reassume their primary role in the promotion of the Cooperative Program and stewardship education, while asking the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention to support these efforts with enthusiasm and a convention-wide perspective.

Component #5: We believe in order for us to work together more faithfully and effectively towards the fulfillment of the Great Commission, we will ask Southern Baptists to reaffirm the Cooperative Program as our central means of supporting Great Commission ministries; but in addition, we will ask Southern Baptists to celebrate with our churches in their Great Commission Giving that goes directly through the Cooperative Program, as well as any designated gifts given to the causes of the Southern Baptist Convention, a state convention or a local association.

Component #6: We believe in order for us to work together more faithfully and effectively towards the fulfillment of the Great Commission, that a greater percentage of total Cooperative Program funds should be directed to the work of the International Mission Board. Therefore, we will ask Southern Baptists to support this goal by affirming an intention to raise the International Mission Board allocation for the 2011-2012 budget year to 51%, a move that is both symbolic and substantial. At the same time, we will ask Southern Baptists to reduce the percentage allocated to Facilitating Ministries by 1% as part of our initial effort to send a greater percentage of total Southern Baptist Convention mission funds to the nations.

Published by Mark Morris on 20 Sep 2009

Six Reasons The First Chapter of Acts Needs A Fresh Look

Today marks the first of several posts which essentially make available to you portions of the Missional Discipleship Guide written by Mark Morris called Acts 1:8 Now. The intent is to provide fresh eyes and application for a local church, a small group, or an individual establishing a personal World Christian plan for missional living. The entire study will be available later for download on this site.
one eight cover

Acts 1:8 Now

Preface: Acts 1:8 Now

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8


There are at least six reasons
that Christendom needs to take a fresh look at what has become a status quo, self-serving utilization of this familiar mission passage. Theologians and preachers work diligently to rightly divide the Word of Truth. Interestingly, we have a bad habit of taking this familiar passage and simply riding the wave of rhetoric, accepting a less than thorough examination of its meaning. Without praying over, studying, and exploring these well-used passages, missionaries, preachers, and writers alike have merely co-opted their predecessors’ conclusions. If the same level of scrutiny, prayer, and study were applied to Acts 1:8 as we apply to other less familiar passages, then Acts 1:8 Now would be unnecessary. Six reasons follow.

Acts 1:8 is commonly interpreted with an incorrect verb tense. (Was Jesus commanding His disciples to go and be His witness or was he prophetically stating an eternal reality? Is Jesus saying “GO!” or is He stating, “You will go.” What’s so important about the verb tense?)

Acts 1:8 is most often used to articulate a mission strategy of proximity which ignores historical and factual data. (Jesus’ home town was not Jerusalem, yet we apply this passage by advocating a strategy based on Jerusalem as my “hometown” mission field. We extrapolate from this passage that Jesus is commanding us to witness to “my Jerusalem” or my hometown and my family and friends. If that was Jesus’ message, why didn’t he say, “you will be my witness in Nazareth?”)

Acts 1:4 has been used to mandate a strategy of inaction. (Just wait. If God doesn’t call you to go, then you are only responsible for ministry in your hometown.)

The places of Acts 1:8 –Jerusalem, Judea & Samaria, and the ends of the earth– have been used almost exclusively to advocate a strategy of proximity without any thought to the more significant theological underpinnings. (What is the theological significance of the places of Acts 1:8? What is the theological significance of Jerusalem as a center of Truth and a hub of the dissemination of spiritual Truth? How does a theological view of Jerusalem affect the way we apply Acts 1:8 in contemporary missions?)

Contemporary Christians tend to view biblical place-references (Judea & Samaria) from a Western view of geo-political entities, i.e. nations. However, the biblical worldview is much more influenced by people-group thinking than by geography. (Dividing up mission organizations and mission strategies into local and global, near, far, and farther is organizationally helpful. Perhaps we should not focus as much on the places, rather on the peoples of Acts 1:8: their worldview, their ideology, and the status of their spiritual health.)

Theologically sound exegesis has been ignored for the sake of convenient rhetoric. We mean well, but familiarity with this passage has bred a casual approach to Acts 1:8. We are so ready to jump to Acts 1:8b that we pay no attention to Acts 1:8a. (How does the application change if we view the places mentioned in Acts 1:8 not as my places of mission activity, but as God’s arena of mission action?)

May God open our eyes, our ears, and our hearts and may He kindle fresh insights into local and global ministry. It is time to evaluate church missions activity, organizational missions priorities, and personal missions values through a new lens.

(More from Acts 1:8 Now in the next post)
© mission leader, inc.

www.missionleader.com

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated are taken from the Holy Bible, NIV.

Published by Kate Taylor on 03 Aug 2009

Missions is Ageless

“Age doesn’t matter… God doesn’t need us to do His work.  He can do that Himself, yet He allows us and demands of us the opportunity to do His will for the betterment of His kingdom, His glory, His power and our relationship with Him that we have through the Cross.  God can use anyone of any age,” said Will Chavez.

Will just returned from a short-term mission trip to Roatan, Honduras.  A 21-year-old college student attending Florida State College at Jacksonville, he traveled with a team of high schoolers from Chets Creek Church in Jacksonville, Florida.  “I feel like I should go back,” he said, “Something about that place has captured me and I want to go back.”

The purpose of the Roatan team was to help build piping to houses in a poor mountain community, giving them access to running water.  Chets Creek Church has partnered with an organization called Living Water 4 Roatan and this team was working on an ongoing project to bring clean water to the village.  Additionally, the team from Chets Creek put on a Vacation Bible School (VBS) for the children and passed out things like toothbrushes and shoes to various houses.

Will didn’t plan to go on this mission trip, he said, but God opened all the doors.  As college students understand well, money is always tight.  “For this mission trip, I didn’t have to pay to go, save for my passport… God made it so available for me to go,” said Will.  An anonymous donor from Will’s church gave the full amount to send one person on the mission trip.  Will heard that they needed someone to lead worship and handle music for VBS and he jumped on the idea.

“I have a calling to lead worship,” said Will.  “His desires are made my desires through Him… If you had told me four years ago that I would actually be singing and leading worship, I would’ve thought you were crazy.”  Will never saw himself where He is today but said, “God had other plans for me.  So my calling, desire and mission is to lead worship.”

“If you are called to go (on a mission trip) then it is more than worth all the time, money and hassle needed to go,” said Will.  “…We are called to go and tell, and to love God and love people.”

Will (center, green shirt) leading children's music in Honduras.

Will (center, green shirt) leading children's music in Honduras.

Published by Kate Taylor on 12 Jul 2009

The ones left behind

Most of us realize the enormous sacrifices which long-term international missionaries make when they go overseas.  They are willing to walk away from their country, their home, their families and their comforts for the sake of Christ.  It takes an incredible leap of faith to love a people enough to step outside everything you have known so they would come to know the love and peace that flow from the hands of Christ.

What few of us truly understand is the sacrifice made by those left behind.  Loved ones sacrifice much for the cause of Christ when missionaries leave the States.  When a couple answers the call of Christ to love the unlovable in the slums of India, two sets of parents lose their beloved children.  Two loving families have fewer members at the Christmas dinner table and fewer stockings on the mantle.  When God blesses that couple with children, two sets of grandparents miss the chance to play hide and go seek in the backyard or unload the bags for a long weekend sleepover.

These stateside families offer support to their long-distance relatives in whatever way they can.  They take care of things in the states for them, send love-filled care packages and offer up ceaseless prayer on their behalf.  Please remember in your prayers today the parents and loved ones of missionaries who have sacrificed for the Great Commission.

Much like the one described above, my family has been a constant support system.  My parents were appointed to missionary service before I was born and, because of the late stage of my mother’s pregnancy, left for the field six weeks after my birth.  Our family always supported us and loved us in every way they could and, in many ways, our service would not have been possible without them.  Now I’m in college and bracing myself to wave goodbye to my parents and eight-year-old brother at the airport, when I’m the one being left behind.

When they’re gone, I won’t have a dad to take over when something in my car goes terribly, terribly wrong and I won’t have a mom to make me a tea in the lazy summer mornings.  I won’t have a brother to wrestle with or tickle fight and I won’t have a house to come home to for spring break.  But as much as I’d like to keep them here, I would fear lightning from heaven if I tried to stop my family from answering God’s call.

So after their plane takes off, I will be the one here praying and loving them from afar.  For the ones left behind, it is love which sustains us.  Our love of them, but mostly our love of Christ.

Published by Mark Morris on 21 May 2009

Gloves Off Over International Missions’ Meager Cut

The economy is a great motivation for the mammoth SBC denomination to address the elephant in the room of the denomination’s allocation of missions funds.  Pres. Johnny Hunt is attacking it as a spiritual battlefield.

At the heart of Southern Baptist life is a passion for the lost. The mechanism for doing missions has been through cooperative giving and colaborative implementation of North American and Global Missions.  Yet, Dr. Jerry Rankin points out the disparity between the location of the lost and the allocation of Southern Baptist’s funds.  The two are so out of whack that is frightening.

Today, for the first time that I  can recall, the President of the International Mission Board is publicly challenging the State and National distribution of funds toward international missions. Hurray!  Of  course I’m biased but have known this to be true since the first time that I delved into the subject in 1997.

The game we play is to call any thing that moves (or does not move) “missions.”  So one can easily challenge the claim that too little goes to “local and global missions” with a description of why this or that institutional endeavor is “real missions also.”  But the day is gone when the church of today and tomorrow buy that bill of goods. Information about the bottom line is available for all to see.

Thank you Dr. Rankin for pointing out that of the $12 billion that Southern Baptists received in offerings, only 2.5% serves international missions.  Yet the SBC was born for the purpose of International Missions.

Thanks Johnny Hunt for “taking off the gloves” to attack the issue. Imagine the impact if the percentages were reversed – if 90% of the $12 billion were spent on International Missions, and North American church planting.  Isn’t that what followers of Christ would expect – More for Missions – Less for Us?  Of course that’s what Jesus Would Do!

Read the article below for a fresh, authentic look at how conviction, stewardship and passion for the lost are rising to the surface of one of the largest mission sending forces in the world.

Mark Morris

TAG: Taking off the gloves

TEASER: SBC and IMB presidents say it’s time to refocus on the Great Commission and ‘rise to the occasion.’

Hunt says take off the gloves, Rankin challenges Baptists to adjust priorities

By Shawn Hendricks

DENVER, Colo. (BP)—After a vote by International Mission Board trustees to suspend some short-term appointments and limit the number of new missionaries it can send, Southern Baptist Convention President Johnny Hunt told trustees it’s time “to take the gloves off.”

“We need to take the gloves off in Jesus’ name and tell the truth so the people will know,” said Hunt, as he spoke at the IMB’s trustee meeting May 20.

Lack of funds is forcing the IMB to limit the number of missionaries it can send to the field.

“I think Southern Baptists are going to say there are some things we can cut, but sending missionaries is not one of them,” Hunt said. “That is not an option.

“I personally believe that with all my heart that the people of God will rise to the occasion.”

Hunt’s message echoed an earlier report by IMB President Jerry Rankin.
In that report, Rankin gave unequivocal endorsement to the concept of a Great Commission Resurgence as advocated by Hunt. He indicated that the health and vitality of Southern Baptist churches and the future effectiveness of the denomination are dependent on reclaiming this focus for which the Southern Baptist Convention was formed.

Rankin also challenged Southern Baptists to retool “outdated” denominational formulas to reach a lost world for Christ.

“God has blessed Southern Baptists in numbers and resources, and we will stand accountable before God for whether we use those resources to serve our own needs, church programs and denominational entities or fulfill our mission task to reach a lost world,” Rankin said.

With 95 percent of the world’s population living outside the borders of the United States, Rankin said the percentage of Cooperative Program funds being channeled toward overseas missions is not enough. In order for Southern Baptists to adjust to a changing world, that percentage needs to be increased.

Last year, the Annual Church Profile reported that Southern Baptists gave $12 billion in offerings. Of that amount, less than 2.5 percent made it to international missions through the Cooperative Program and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering — which provide the means to send and support overseas missionaries.

“The number of missionaries we can support is totally contingent on the voluntary giving of Southern Baptists and determined by the allocation of Cooperative Program resources as determined by state conventions and the Southern Baptist Convention,” Rankin said.

“Although we are driven by a vision to reach a lost world … we must operate within available resources.”

Rankin acknowledged that the problem begins with personal stewardship. The number of Southern Baptists who tithe regularly is diminishing.

Yet now is the time to act. The opportunity to reach a lost world has never been greater, he added.

Last year’s IMB Annual Statistical Report showed that 565,967 people had been baptized, and 26,970 churches had been started overseas through IMB missionaries and their Baptist partners.

“God is using global events to provide unprecedented opportunities for global advance,” Rankin said.

“The harvest is accelerating, unreached people groups are being engaged as never before, but we are on the verge of forfeiting the opportunity to fulfill the Great Commission.”

If the IMB doesn’t send those who have a passion for missions, Rankin said, many of them will find other channels, other mission agencies. Many of them will be forced to raise their own support. Churches then will begin diverting resources to support those called from their congregations.

“They will be forced to be obedient to God’s call by going independently,” he said. “The Cooperative Program will suffer as a result.”

“We need to recognize that we must get on board with God’s agenda of going into all the world and making disciples of all nations.”

Hunt’s letter to the Southern Baptist Convention calling for a renewed commitment to the Great Commission is available at greatcommissionresurgence.com. To see a chart on how Cooperative Program funds are channeled, go to imb.org/main/give/default.asp.

Shawn Hendricks is a writer with the International Mission Board.

Published by Craig Schmidle on 22 Feb 2009

Missions from the 2nd Chair, or the 3rd, 4th,5th ………..

Well it has been a while since I have posted a blog. A lot has happened since my last blog, including God calling me to a new ministry area and a move cross country.  There are very few things as frustrating as packing and unpacking, except maybe a moving truck getting caught in an ice storm for days.

My new full time ministry is as a business administrator at a church in the southeast.  Currently, the church does not have a mission’s pastor.  With God’s calling on my life to be a World Christian, I am looking for the opportunities to advance missions while not officially wearing that hat.  This is a challenge that many staff members find themselves in, so I want to open up the subject for discussion.  What I will attempt to do over the next few months is blog the steps and miss-steps I take to share the concept and vision of God’s heart for the nations.  Please comment and offer advice from your experiences and together we may find new and constructive ways to advance God’s work around the world, even when that is not in our job description.

Since my job title and description are limited to business administration, I have spent the first 6 weeks trying to get the lay of the land.  But I am anxious to stick my toe in the water to test whether or not the people of this congregation are ready to reach out beyond their immediate surroundings.  I have pulled together a list of a few people I believe have a world Christian mindset.  I have sat down with them over a meal to just listen to their heart and the history of missions at this church. I have allowed them to share their vision of missions for the future and their desire to expand the church’s outreach. 

I asked them to pull together a list of other’s in the church who they know have a heart to reach out.  We discussed starting small groups with a mission emphasis to start training up leaders to share God’s heart for the nations with everyone in the church.  I will let you know the outcome of that plan.

I already know that this will not be easy, and I have already felt the push back, the “it’s not your job” mindset.   But we are commanded by our Lord to go to the nations.  It was not a suggestion or restricted to only those who have a job title of mission’s pastor or missionary.  This call is for all of us, whether we are on staff at a church or sit in a service.  We do not need the title to advance the kingdom globally.

To be continued…..

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