Blogs & Opinion

By Scriptures In Use
Oral Learning People Groups in the US: Refugees and Immigrants

There is an incredible opportunity in missions right here in the US, at our own doorsteps! As you probably know, there are many thousands of unreached people throughout our country who have come as refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants from some of the mo...

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Using Arts in Trauma Healing

Imagine living in a society where you are considered garbage. Women in Sierra Leone already face challenges, but the women in a recent workshop have the added stigma of being blind, deaf, or disabled in other ways.

The Clarification Factor: Fruitful Living and Ministry

We are certainly living in a time where we need a lot of clarification on a wide range of issues.  Many people make judgments based on limited awareness and knowledge.  Often the problem is being exposed to the wrong source or a distorted perspective.  Of c...

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Comprehensive Oral Bible Strategies: Essential to Effective Kingdom Building

It is a fact that many of the unengaged and least-reached people groups in the world live in hard-to-access places and belong to traditional, oral cultures. Books and printed materials are not part of their everyday experience.

From Rejection to Hope

The Kurdish people have a history of rejection. They do not have a country of their own but live in an area known as ‘Kurdistan’ that spreads across Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq. The majority of the Kurdish people speak Kurmanji, one of several Kurdish lang...

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The story of Global Recordings Network

How do we tell the story of Jesus to those who can’t read or write? Kenny takes you on a tour of Global Recordings Network where audio Bibles in more than 6,000 languages are changing lives every day.

https://www.facebook.com/WycliffeBibleTranslatorsUK/videos/1255818167932912/
Characteristics of “Healthy” Oral Bible House Churches

As the leader of SIU, I often am asked what I consider a success in terms of new church plants. What is a “healthy” oral Bible house church? It's most important to seek out those who live, breathe and participate in these oral Bible house churches in the fi...

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The Place of Orality in the Marketplace

Many of those who are new to the Orality domain are still thinking about a foreign mission strategy.  However, the concepts, principles and practices of Orality are beginning to be recognized as important in many other areas, including the marketplace and t...

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If Only God Spoke My Language – Introducing Render

Imagine this: You’re sitting on a worn, wooden bench—or even the floor—of a tiny church in a rural community. Maybe you walked hours just to be here, carrying the weight of the troubles from this past week into this place of rest. Your feet hurt, your lips ...

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Prayer, the Word, and the Great Commission

Prayer leaders and mobilizers are saying that there are more people praying for revival and spiritual awakening now than ever before.  The Prayer Movement, over the past four decades, has gained momentum with a focus on World Evangelization.  Researchers te...

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What’s the best story you’ve ever heard?

Our lives are full of stories, big and small: thrillers, romances, adventure, tragedy and the stories of everyday, seemingly mundane, life. We’ve had stories read to us as children, we’ve shared stories with others, we’ve watched stories unfold in front of ...

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Integrating the Traditional Oral Arts

The drama ended with song and dance in celebration of God’s miracle.  The first time we saw this story from 2 Kings performed among the Banjara tribe of Andhra Pradesh in southern India, we were delighted. This narrative had suddenly become unforgettable, f...

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Growing orality trends impact how we share the Gospel

Instagram and Facebook are expanding their TV platforms. Podcasts are growing in popularity. More and more, people are ditching written text in favor of audio and visual communication. These modern developments are not only shifting how society shares infor...

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What is Bible storying?

Probably every people group in history has used stories to record important events, pass on their beliefs, teach correct behaviour or reflect their world view. Much of the Bible itself was transmitted orally for centuries before it was first written down.

Why the Community Caste Focus is Needed

Let us start with how people perceive themselves. There is too much of classifying people by who we think they are, rather than who they perceive themselves to be. That is arrogance on our part, not a respect of people as people who are living as members of...

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Animating the Bible for Children

In an effort to engage Persian-speaking children with stories about Jesus, the creative team at SAT-7 Persia are producing a new animated Bible series. These unique animations depicting the life of Christ are bound to draw the attention of children and adul...

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The Trimtab Factor and Church Multiplication

Trimtab was an entirely new term to me until a friend of mine explained it to me several years ago.  Every aircraft and ocean going vessel has a rudder that guides and directs the airplane or ship.  On the tip of the rudder is a smaller rudder, known as a t...

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One Great Tool to Explain the Gospel in Real Life

Missionaries working in countries where there is no printed gospel available in the heart language of the people use a method called storying to present the gospel message. Story sets help create bridges and address barriers to the gospel.

The Kindness Factor and Kingdom Impact

The gentleman was a little surprised as I smiled and greeted him as we crossed paths through a revolving door at a major convention hotel.  So surprised in fact, that he immediately turned around and followed me back into the lobby of the hotel and asked, “...

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Hearing the Truth at Last

Imagine this: You’re sitting on a worn, wooden bench of a tiny church in a rural community. The pastor speaks, and your ears tune in to hear a life… but there is a disconnect. Confused, you begin scanning the pages of your precious Bible; but to your dismay...

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The Tree of Life and Worship!

We recently sent a team to South Asia to teach about using the arts to reach out to communities. Participants from a previous workshop worked together with the American team to facilitate this year’s training. The group stayed in a beautiful area full of ru...

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The Trust Factor and the Good News

When you hear news reports, or when someone tells you something, how do you know if it’s true or not?  How much confidence can you have in the source of information you receive every day?  These are pretty important questions, and in some cases, could be a ...

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Lazarus

Lazarous, a missionary with OM Zambia partnering with Davar Partners, describes his vision for using Audio Bibles and storytelling to minister to the people in Makululu.

https://vimeo.com/101001128
An Open Door Opens Hearts

God works in many ways to reveal his love for people – through acts of kindness, a word timely spoken, and truth from the Bible. One Christian Lenthomi woman could never have imagined where an unexpected visit from a neighbor in need would lead.

Worth and Value in the Kingdom of God

In many parts of the world, women and children are not seen at the same level in society as men.  Actually, a number of regions where Living Water International has operations, children are not given names until they’re one or two years old. 

Waves of Hope to Central Asia

In countries in Central Asia where the church is subject to persecution and government pressure, TWR is using radio transmissions to encourage believers and spread the Good News.

https://vimeo.com/295585599
From Commission to Completion

A recent Barna group study found that 51% of churchgoers are not familiar with the term “Great Commission.” Hold on a second… what?!

Orality Missiology: The Discovery Factor and Life Encounters

A study conducted several years ago showed that almost every Christ follower acknowledged that a priority in their lives should be sharing their faith, communicating the Gospel and advancing the Kingdom of God. 

Forbidden Words Over the Air Bring Salvation

As college classmates in northeastern Africa, Beza and Naomi spent a lot of time together studying and enjoying each other’s company. Their abiding friendship helped save Beza’s life – physically and spiritually.

Equipping Little Musicians

SAT-7's Persian children’s series Little Musician is teaching young Persian-speakers how to play a musical instrument. Some of these young viewers may go on to lead Persian-speaking believers in worship in Iran and beyond.

Where do we start when the world is so big?

The Great Commission sometimes seems just a little too... great: 7.6 billion people, 7 continents, 7000 languages, 17,000 people groups. Jesus must be made known in all those languages. I do not know where to begin.

Orality Missiology: The Organic Factor and the Gospel

Organic anything seems to be a preference for many these days.  Go into almost any grocery store and you’ll probably find an organic section or department.  The definition of organic is related to or derived from living matter or living organisms.  It also ...

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Is It Time to Declutter the Great Commission?

Started by a Japanese woman, a recent viral movement is spreading rapidly. All over the world, people are growing more and more enthusiastic—to declutter. More and more, I’m thinking the global mission community should take Kondo’s advice about decluttering...

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God Speaks My Language

World Mission works closely with a network of national partners who speak the language and are working to create relationships within the indigenous communities where they minister.

https://vimeo.com/103931707
Orality Missiology: The Memory Factor

We often say that the Kingdom of God is based on relationships.  Of course, our relationship with the Lord is the first and foremost relationship.  When we are in a right relationship with our Heavenly Father, the Creator God of the Universe, it makes it po...

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Understanding the Remaining Mission Task

Have you wondered which peoples are still waiting to hear about Jesus for the first time? This illustrated video can help.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVmTU13rgo8
Fula Stories Spread Rapidly

It was a special night for the Fula OneStory team. They had worked together for a year producing a set of Bible stories for the Fula in their language. Fulas in Guinea Bissau, West Africa are almost exclusively Muslim.

The Dialogue Style of Jesus

Very early in our ministry we often asked some “analytical, expository” questions about the Bible. In our ignorance about oral tradition and learning styles, our dialogue attempts met with awkward silence. But one day  we were struck by the simplicity of Je...

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Orality Missiology: The Relationship Factor

We often say that the Kingdom of God is based on relationships.  Of course, our relationship with the Lord is the first and foremost relationship.  When we are in a right relationship with our Heavenly Father, the Creator God of the Universe, it makes it po...

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Honor, Shame and the Gospel: Reshaping the Messenger

Sam Winfield teaches about the dynamics of honor / shame cultures at the Honor Shame conference at Wheaton College in 2017. He puts forward the case that the cultures of the Bible were based on honor / shame, and unless Western missionaries consider seriou...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ao_o_k5rbss
Miguel’s Dream

Miguel awoke from a dream early one morning at his home in Honduras. He couldn’t figure out what it meant, but he had experienced it so many times now, that he remembered it vividly.

New Songs to Help Spread Message of Transformation

Our team watched as thirteen pastors danced and sang in praise to God, nearly hitting the microphones in front of them that helped to record this newly written song. The song told the biblical story of Peter and John healing the lame man (Acts 3:1-10). Five...

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Orality Missiology: The Kingdom Leveraging Factor

Strategic Resource Leveraging is something I first heard about years ago from Dr. Ron Jenson, known as America’s Life Coach.  Some of my friends in the business world use the term Force Multipliers. These are powerful concepts that can take on many forms of...

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Remembering Pioneer Jim Slack

“Hello World!” was Jim Slack’s enthusiastic greeting to coworkers and his exclamation whenever he learned something new. An unassuming man always in good humor, Slack became one of Southern Baptists’ most influential missiologists during a 50-year career wi...

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We Have Never Heard Anything Like It!

A church congregation in Cameroon hears the Easter story in their own language for the very first time.

Orality Missiology: The Simplicity Factor and Oral Learners

Simplicity and reproducibility are vitally important factors for spreading the Gospel and advancing the Kingdom of God. The simplicity factor and oral learners is not about being simplistic in the context of communicating the Good News of Jesus and making ...

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A Gospel Patron

As Jesus and His disciples benefited from individuals working behind the scenes to supply their needs for ministry, Gospel patrons have quietly undergirded the work of the Great Commission throughout history. We discover an inspiring example of Gospel patro...

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Orality Missiology: The Redemptive Factor

In a recent conversation, my wife and I were discussing some experiences over the past few years, reflecting on how God always brings positive outcomes from our negative experiences.  One of my mentors was Norman Grubb, who I can remember saying, “Every neg...

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Potential Harvest

Even though StoryRunners has never worked in Niger, a 99.5% non-Christian West African country of 22 million people, StoryRunners is still having an impact in Niger!  With few believers and a literacy rate of only 19%, Niger is a perfect place for sharing t...

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Orality Missiology: The Perception Factor

Over the years I’ve often heard people say, “perception is reality.”  Actually, perception is reality for those who have that perception.  This is an important challenge that we encounter often in the Orality Movement. 

Bravery to Proclaim the Gospel Boldly

In October, Heart Sounds International sent a team to Southeast Asia to record some of the first worship songs amongst a people group. As the team prepared to depart, they became aware of the government’s tightening of religious activities. Many missionary ...

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Orality Missiology: The Leadership Factor

Good leadership is needed all over the world. There is global awareness and recognition of the need for good leadership. The important question is, what is good leadership and how does one become a good leader? 

What’s an endangered language?

Pandas. Elephants. Monarch butterflies. We’ve all heard of endangered species (especially the cute ones), and know there’s value in preserving them. But what about endangered languages?

Orality Missiology: The Networking Factor

Almost everything in life works better together.  That is, two is better than one, and a threefold cord is not easily broken, as the Scriptures tell us.  While there is general agreement that networking and cooperative efforts are important, it’s often a ma...

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Overcoming Fears to Reach Our Neighbors

One of the things our SIU team looks forward to the most is hearing new testimonies of impact from people who attend one of our Bridges training events held around the world. We know these testimonies will be coming, and to be honest, I kind of get giddy wi...

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Orality Missiology: The Multiplication Factor

When I think about Orality Missiology, I ask what does it take to ignite a movement, to build a business, or grow a church or organization?  What are the principles, methods or strategies that enable each of us, as followers of Jesus, to make the greatest p...

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Orality, the Bible, and the African Imagination

What are the links between orality and literacy? Is one method better than the other? Dr. Gregg Okesson discusses the effects of modernity and how it mistakenly posited literacy against orality as part of the Seven Minute Seminary series.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duQyVD5PrM8
Samuel Chiang on Orality

Samuel Chiang speaks about Orality and the differences between an Oral Culture and a literate one. He guides us through some eye opening excercises and challenges the Church on the importance of adapting to oral cultures at the Issachar Virginia Beach 2015 ...

https://vimeo.com/126963284
Simple. Organic. Reproducible.

As I traveled to a number of missions conferences last year, I so enjoyed meeting missionaries with different personality types and ages. They were each unique and their callings different, yet they had learned many similar patterns in their journey with Go...

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Orality Missiology: A New Reformation?

When I think about Orality Missiology, I ask what does it take to ignite a movement, to build a business, or grow a church or organization?  What are the principles, methods or strategies that enable each of us, as followers of Jesus, to make the greatest p...

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The Magi: Kings, Priests, or Enemy agents?

Omeed Jouyandé explains why Herod and “all Jerusalem” had good reason to be alarmed by the arrival of a group of Magi from Parthia. But their mission was not as Herod feared – and their faith and identity remains an inspiration for Iranian Christians today.

Seeking God’s Favor

Formerly, Deladem served as the mediator between the living and the dead at his shrine. He was the most feared among the community of Tamerko village. But something amazing happened in Deladem’s life—light entered the darkness!

From Atheist to Bible Translator

Growing up in a restrictive West Asian country, Reza never embraced Islam, which is the majority religion of his country. Instead, he considered himself an atheist. As a college student, he vocally shared his opinions on his university campus. One day, his...

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The Active Word

Our roads are often marked with suffering, and it can be difficult to see God at work when we are confronted with dark circumstances, but through faith, we trust that He is and He rewards those who diligently seek Him. We also trust that He who began a good...

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Women Finding Hope in Despair

Being a woman in the Middle East can be challenging at the best of times. But what if you are a woman struggling with financial insecurity and raising children on your own? Nasrin, a SAT-7 viewer from Iran, was one among the millions of women searching for ...

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Influencing the Hearts and Minds of the Youth

The youth of every generation all over the world strive to break free of tradition; to be different from what they know and find their own identity. Considering that the arts and creativity strongly influence culture and the hearts and minds of any given co...

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Orality Missiology: Cultivating a Prayer-Care-Share Lifestyle

In a recent effort to activate individuals to more intentionally reach out and share the Gospel, a group in a local congregation launched a prayer walking initiative.  Actually, it’s more than praying, and more that walking.  The idea of cultivating a Praye...

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When your Bible is Illegal

Suspecting that Lily might be a religious extremist, they confiscated the phone and detained her at the airport for questioning.The interrogation lasted two hours, as the officers tried to make her incriminate herself. But Lily felt no fear as she calml...

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Sharing the Incredible Faith of Brave Syrian Children

Many young children in Syria have known nothing but war. Their entire lives have been marked by violence and loss. But the children SAT-7 KIDS met on a recent visit were anything but broken. Despite their sadness, many were also full of hope, joy, and faith...

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Music & Drama in Tanzania

Harvest season (June-August) is when ngoma (traditional music, dance, and storytelling) is danced, people have time on their hands and a little extra money in their pockets. It’s the best time to visit. We shared stories, studied the Bible together and cre...

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Getting Resources to the Least Reached

I’m shocked and saddened when I hear that less than 1/100 of .1% (which equates to .0001) of the world’s annual charitable giving goes to places in the world needing the gospel the most.Did you hear that?

Sadder and Sadder

Stop! What’s that?” Our non-Christian translator, Edward, held up his hand. His face was pale, as we sat under the mango tree outside our training room translating stories from the Passion Week. We all listened. We heard one of our trainers calling one of o...

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The Speaking Word

God spoke the world into existence. Everything that we see, He created by His Word, filling the void of darkness with light and abundant life. In Exodus 20, God spoke again directly to Moses on Mount Sinai. With His Word and with His hand, he gave to Israe...

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Igniting New Albanian Worship Music

Heart Sounds International (HSI) is a ministry of OM Arts that helps churches all around the world create new worship songs, using their own local expressions of music and arts. In April, a team of five traveled to Kosovo to hold songwriting workshops for l...

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Sharing Spiritual Light With Those Who Cannot See

Raahithya is a 32-year-old young man from India who is continually hungry to know more about God. Employed at a local bank, he is the only Christian in his family.Two years ago, Raahithya came across a TWR India radio program. This is his story: "I rea...

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What’s Culture Got to Do with It?

Have you ever done something completely unfamiliar to you? Perhaps you’ve traveled to a country you’ve never been before, moved to another city, or started a new job. Do you remember that initial feeling of unease or discomfort you felt?

A New Day Dawns for the Deaf

Bible translation has been around for centuries, with missionaries venturing out into people groups near and far to make God’s Word accessible. As we steadily count down the number of languages left without Scripture, a people group seems to have gone overl...

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It was a dark and stormy night…

How many of our Halloween stories begin this way? Even though many people tell such stories for fun at Halloween, for others fear characterizes their daily lives. Voodoo practitioners are not myths or stories in West Africa–they are all too real. Jesus rec...

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Discovering God’s Truth Through Story

Have you ever had one of those moments in which you get so excited about discovering a new truth that it causes you to look at things entirely differently? Your pulse quickens, your eyes light up and something that seemed so distant and non-personal suddenl...

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The Power of the Family of God

A woman listens as another sings. Tears flood her eyes. This is the first time that she has attended a prayer meeting that has ended with music ethnically her own and not borrowed from another language. She only knows of perhaps 60-70 believers in her coun...

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“Faith Comes Through Hearing” and Understanding

Take a moment to reflect on the last lecture or sermon that captivated your imagination, resonated with you in a meaningful way, and ultimately transformed your thinking. What elements of this particular talk especially impacted you?

Carlos Found a Father

As a young Colombian boy, Carlos left his family and moved to the north. There he learned how to grow and make cocaine and became deeply involved in drug dealing. Every day, Carlos got more responsibilities. Eventually, he started his own farm and made lots...

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Are orality methods useful in literate contexts?

In a Western society, literacy is often assumed and even taken for granted. But the beauty of orality methods for communication can tend to be lost in Western contexts — including with how we present the Gospel. Orality is essentially the reliance on non-wr...

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Witness to New Beautiful Worship

Three years ago, a team from HSI and an American church visited South Asia to survey the worship life of churches and make plans for a songwriting and recording project with local musicians and pastors. After many years of prayer and preparation, this proje...

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3 Ways to Share Jesus Christ With Your Community

Have you ever had one of those moments where you know you should share Christ with someone but you aren’t sure how? Maybe you were in line at the grocery store and the cashier told you their day wasn’t going well. Perhaps you were at a friend’s house for di...

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Contagious, Passionate Disciples, Where are They?

Contagious, passionate followers of Jesus! Have you ever met one? You know it when you do. Recently one of our pioneering SIU partners from Nepal came through town to visit our team. He is a soft-spoken, humble “Man of Peace” who smiles often. The light of ...

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Experiencing God Among the Unreached

The road seemed to go nowhere“Tall, African bush almost towered above us,” Michael reported from a story movement trip in Africa. “I looked around and all I could see was grass-carpeted vast land dotted with flat-topped trees. We had covered quite a dis...

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Flipping the Leadership Model “Upside-Down”

One of the most disheartening things I’ve seen in Western missions is leadership that continues to drive an attitude of “I know all the answers” and “I need to be the one making the decisions” and “Nothing happens without my being there, providing my input....

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Biblical Content for a Movement

My first two visits to a small group that was trying to multiply disciples in a diverse international city were filled with anticipation. My heart thrilled to see them organize their time into looking back for worship, encouragement, celebration and account...

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Orality Missiology: Lessons from the Original Jesus Movement

Avery Willis and Henry Blackaby popularized the phrase “On Mission with God” several years ago through their books and other resource materials by that title. It has been a delight and tremendous blessing to have known and benefited from both of their lives...

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Community Transformation in Tanzania

During my time in Tanzania in June, I went back to Vunde, a small village in the Tanga region, where I had worked earlier this year. I facilitated a 4-day class called WASH that teaches about water, sanitation and hygiene, using Bible stories as examples fo...

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Becoming Fishers of Men

And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19 One of the most rewarding parts of working with a culture is when you witness an amazing new connection of that culture and the Gospel.

A Skeptic Starts A Strong Movement of Disciple Making

A pastor named Roba came to Agali and expressed serious doubts that existing churches could change to become disciple making movements.  Agali did not argue but challenged Roba to start the process in his community. Roba took the challenge and went to his c...

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Reproducibility DNA

While interviewing candidates for missionary service, one missionary couple came through who were church planting candidates for a mega-city in Northeast U.S. After getting to know each other a bit, I asked, "What are you going to do differently to address ...

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A Clear Picture of Purpose

Have you ever seen an “autostereogram”? It’s a picture that initially looks like a mess of patterned colors and designs until you stare at it for a while. Gradually, a “hidden 3D image” becomes visible. Pretty neat! Jesus discussed with His disciples His re...

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Orality In the Academy and Beyond

Increasing numbers of missionaries, mission executives, pastors, and cross-cultural church planters are coming to an awareness and recognition that the Orality Movement is transformational in our time. In fact, some now acknowledge that Orality is changing ...

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Teaching and Equipping Christians in the MENA

Take a moment to reflect on the last lecture or sermon that captivated your imagination, resonated with you in a meaningful way, and ultimately transformed your thinking. What elements of this particular talk especially impacted you?

Connecting for Change: Worth and Value in the Kingdom of God

There is a lot of talk these days about inequality and the need for more fairness and equality. People often get the idea that their worth or value is based on their salary, possessions, title or position in an organization or society. However, God’s Kingdo...

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Captivating Oral Cultures Through Story

What 5 things do people need to know? Jerry Wiles and Living Waters International provide a brief explanation why stories are so powerful at providing these answers.

https://vimeo.com/67598709
Orality Missiology: Being “On Mission with God”

Avery Willis and Henry Blackaby popularized the phrase “On Mission with God” several years ago through their books and other resource materials by that title. It has been a delight and tremendous blessing to have known and benefited from both of their lives...

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