GatherCom·mu·ni·ty  (\kə-ˈmyü-nə-tē\)  is defined as a group of people who share a feeling of fellowship with one another as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.  Community seems to be the elusive unicorn many individuals and churches are chasing.  The desire for deep, long-lasting friendships is a core value of most people.  Yet, loneliness is a part of the American ethos today.

The American culture is not naturally bent toward a community living that goes deeper than brief encounters and planned social activities.  We are highly independent and time/schedule oriented (vs. relationship oriented).  “Community” often ends up being a scheduled weekly event rather than a group of people who have a sense of fellowship and deep connection while living life with one another on a daily basis. Read the rest of this entry »

Young man thinkingOur church culture is one which often inadvertently marginalizes singles.  Let’s begin to intentionally and strategically create communities that honor the image of God in single adults – not as an afterthought, but as a purposeful focus.  If half of our population is single (never married, separated, divorced, or widowed), then we need to realize this demographic is not marginal. Missiologically speaking, we are not reaching a huge demographic of our population because our church does not reflect the single population rise in our society.

David Platt urges us in this video (Radically Single) to value singles:  “Church, let us affirm singleness as a good gift from God.  That portrays the Gospel of God.  And let’s exhort our single brothers and sisters alongside their married brothers and sisters.  To use His good gifts in all of our lives for His great glory in the world…”

Read the rest of this entry »

Encourage M's

  1. Pray specific Scripture for them and their ministry, and then email/mail the prayer to them.
  2. Donate frequent flier miles to them or sponsor a family vacation for the whole family.
  3. Purchase an iTunes gift card for them.
  4. Keep track of the family’s birthdays and send cards to each family member.
  5. Provide books, DVD series, bible studies, Christian music, etc. to the family.
  6. Send them a care package once a quarter with goodies, gifts, snacks, and a note of encouragement/prayer.
  7. Find out if their kids have any particular needs – clothing, shoes, games, books, etc.
  8. Send them a gift card for a Bible Study platform like OliveTree or Logos.
  9. Make a monthly commitment to support them financially.  This can be on an individual basis, as a Sunday school/small group, or as an entire church family.
  10. Lead your church in officially adopting the missionary family in prayer.  Get on the missionary’s newsletter list and lead regular prayer times for the family and the ongoing ministry.

If you would like to adopt one of our North American Mission Board  or International Mission Board missionaries in Prayer, just let me know & I will put you in contact with the right people! (tsmith@namb.net)  We can connect you with one of our missionary families in one of our Send Cities or other areas of interest.

Encouraging the saints should be on the “To-Do List” of us all.  What a joy it is to hear what God is doing in their lives and ministry!  It emboldens my faith and expands my view of what God is doing around the world!

Download this list as a PDF to use in your church or ministry.

5 Questions M Teams Need to AskThere are some significant questions to ask when you are leading or participating with a missions team – either here… or there….  Take time to be in sync with your mission partner on the ground and explore these 5 questions:

  1. Does my team have its own agenda?  Or are we following the lead and the strategy of the church planter, pastor, or missionary?  If we go into a location wanting to accomplish x,y, and z…. it may not actually be the best and most productive ministry for that time and context.  Rely on the church planter/missionary to drive the agenda and strategy.
  2. Am I focused on the project or the people??  There are times when the “assignment” does not seem “productive” if it is not building something or doing a particular event/activity.  Remember that building relationships is more important than projects.  It is all about the people.  The projects and events are the platforms we use to begin deeper relationships with people.  This is especially true when dealing in cross cultural ministry.  Americans are more time/event oriented while other cultures or more relationally oriented.  Make sure to be extra sensitive to building relationships and invest deeply.

Read the rest of this entry »