In late July Becky and I finally finished writing and editing the second edition of Missions: Biblical Foundations and Contemporary Strategies. Completing this missions text is very significant for Mission Alive. Writing the chapter on “Planting, Nurturing, and Training: An Incarnational Model for North America” (in the context of the other chapters leading up to it) has helped to sharpen our thinking and led us to be very intentional in the process of church planting and renewal. This text has nine new chapters and moves more intentionally from theology to practice than the 1996 edition (http://zondervan.com/9780310208099). This first edition has gone through 12 printings. Its publication will also be significant for us as a ministry.
In the next few weeks I will continue blogging a few excerpts from this text. We invite you to read and to respond.
God’s Ministry through Jim and Julie
Jim and Julie discerned that they were naturally gifted as evangelists and this understanding amplified their interest in missions. As youth ministers, they felt the calling of God to begin Missional Communities, meaning in this case, Christian relational networks within schools to help searchers know God and walk with him. With other leaders of their church, they conceived of multiple Missional Communities, embedded in neighborhoods and relational networks, as extensions of their public Worship Gathering on Sunday morning. The seeds of the communities were planted when they began to pray with Christian student leaders about their schools and to minister with these students during campus activities and in coffee houses. They were present for many school activities; it was their arena of mission. Soon Jim and Julie were ministering to a broader group of students who were friends of the core group within the church. After a student’s death, Jim and Julie were at the school to comfort, counsel, and pray. They attended many sports events and the coaches frequently asked them to pray for and minister to struggling students. Jim and Julie attempted to model Jesus’ ministry on earth in their campus environments by teaching, listening, praying, and healing. Reflecting the ministry of Christ, they also prayed diligently for the students from their church who ministered with them. After extended prayer, they selected twelve students, six from each of the two high schools in their area, and invited them into two discipling huddles. The huddles’ focus was to help the students grow as disciples of Jesus and partner with them to be Christ to their campuses. As a result, within a year missional communities of about 40 students were ministering in the name of Jesus on each campus and worshipping in the church’s public gathering. Mission had gone out of the church building and into the schools and homes of the community.
What do you think are Jim and Julie’s assumptions about the nature of ministry?