Now, I don’t keep up with church VBS materials and their markets. As a matter of fact, I didn’t realize until recently (two days ago) that VBS curriculum is big business.* Apparently, it’s very big business. Let me tell you…”vast amounts of money can be made in the service of God Amighty.”**
It was Paul Wilkinson, on his blog (a good one, by the way, to which I’m subscribed), who informed me the sale of VBS materials is indeed big business. I also learned from Paul that a lot of companies are creating these materials really heavy on entertainment and really light on Bible. While I suppose this is a concern to me, it’s not why I’m writing this blog post. Something MUCH more important is taking place. Continue reading
Steve Childers of Reformed Theological Seminary stated recently that the key to evangelism in the 21st century will be hospitality.
I can’t help but think one thing….
Hospitality has always has been the key to evangelism. But not in the way one might assume.
While talk of hospitality in evangelism brings to mind Christians having non-Christians into our homes, inviting pagans to dinner is not exactly what I read in the New Testament. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not at all arguing against being kind to strangers. Inviting the neighborhood over for a barbecue is a great way to build relationships. So is hosting the little league end-of-the-year party.
But my understanding of hospitality’s primary role in evangelism is exactly the opposite. Continue reading
Last week, I spent three nights and parts of four days in Mwakiwasha village, teaching a seminar on CPM. [To read more on what I taught and the nature of that seminar, see cpm training: a turning point in my ministry.] This is an initial report on how I believe that seminar went — both the good and the bad.
There were 15-20 people in attendance at each of the sessions, representing three churches. The group was about half men and half women, with the Mwakiwasha church (the host church) represented far better than the others — as was expected. We spent roughly 20 hours in class and also ate most of our meals together, sometimes discussing further what we’d studied that day. Continue reading
Tomorrow I’m going to Mwakiwasha village to teach the Discovery Bible Study process and Church Planting Movements. I’m posting today, partly to (as per usual) let you guys know what we’re up to in Geita, but mostly to ask you to pray over the seminar.
[If you don't care to read about my plans for evangelism in the villages surrounding Geita, I understand -- this is a long post. But please skip to the end and pray over the requests I've listed. I very much would appreciate that.]
There will be representatives present from four or five churches in the area, totaling 12-20 people. We will begin the seminar with worship on Sunday evening and then three days of classes, likely four classes per day with a time of worship each evening.
The first things I’ll teach (and briefly) are:
- Why group Bible study is important (vs. a lone teacher)
- Why obedience-based Bible study is important (vs. knowledge-based)
- How to do an oral inductive Bible study (a sort of 3-column Bible study)
The reason I’m wanting to teach the above subjects quickly is that once we’ve worked through the above material, the remainder of the seminar’s studies will be done in small groups using the inductive Bible study method. I will very much limit my actual teaching beyond initially touching on these three subjects. Continue reading
As I turned to leave Ibondo village, I realized I’d forgotten to pray for the interns I was entrusting to Matayo for the weekend. So I turned to the preacher and said (in Swahili), “I want to pray for these guys before I head back to Geita.” Continue reading
Last week I enjoyed studying Matthew 15:1-9 with our interns. The teachers of the law and Pharisees were upset about Jesus’ disciples failure to follow their traditions by not washing their hands before meals. Jesus responded by pointing out that the religious leaders were placing their own traditions above God’s commands.
The Pharisees, instead of honoring their parents by helping them financially, claimed that those moneys had been given to God. It seems to me they’d found a way to count twice the money they were placing in the collection tray. The Pharisees’ tradition, then, was in direct conflict with God’s commands.
Obviously, the story teaches us to check our traditions, that they not oppose God’s desires or force us to be disobedient to God. Traditions which are in conflict with God’s commands are wrong.
But even church traditions which do not directly oppose God’s rules can be dangerous. Here are two other reasons to check our churches’ customs and rituals: Continue reading
I wrote a little the other day about short-term missions and mentioned I intended to write more on the subject soon. I even made an outline. But then that outline got really long, and I became overwhelmed. So I’ve decided instead to do something even longer! I’m going to use some space up on the blog writing about missions in general — and eventually I’ll get back to the specific topic of short-term missions (though I think each of these general missions posts will help to inform our study of short-term missions). So here goes part one (or two?) of what will surely be a meandering study of missions (that really ought not be numbered). Let’s look some at how Jesus sent (short-term) missionaries out.
Jesus sent missionaries out two by two (Mark 6:7; Luke 10:1). Why was that important?* Continue reading
Forgive my tone today. I’ve been reading in preparation for Easter sermons, and I’m in a bit of a bad mood. Just before being arrested and crucified, Jesus prays for all the future believers in the world, and much of his prayer is for unity. But we’ve apparently opted to read his words in this way: Continue reading
About the most painful things you can experience is giving birth. I know this for a fact because it even hurts to watch. Continue reading
Ted Dahlman, part 3 of 4. He has his own blog.
Probably the most important choice people can make is what to use as a profile picture on Facebook. Continue reading