Giving ourselves away

December 1, 2014

“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.” – Mark 8:35 (NIV) I recently read about a congregation in Texas that has routinely given away some of its best leaders, most committed members and significant financial resources in its […]

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In step with the Spirit

October 1, 2014

“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” – Galatians 5:25 On a warm January evening in Colombia, our church planting team gathered under a campground pavilion, with pastor Martín González leading us in worship and prayer as part of our retreat time. While we were praying for each […]

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Will our faith have children?

August 6, 2014

[The LORD] brought [Abram] outside and said, “Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed the LORD; and the LORD reckoned it to him as righteousness.” Genesis 15:5-6 Outside of Europe and North America, the church […]

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Partnership as mission

May 27, 2014

A few months ago I had the opportunity to hear César García, General Secretary of Mennonite World Conference, speak about the role of North American mission agencies in the global church. García comes from the Mennonite Brethren Church of Colombia, a church birthed through the mission efforts of North Americans. When someone asked him whether […]

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People-fishing, Jesus-style

March 20, 2014

As a mission agency, what are we supposed to do? Evangelize? Plant churches? Train leaders? Provide education? Work at relief and development? Care for refugees? “Yes, but…” to all of the above. These activities do not define our core mission. Our mission is “to invite people to faithful living in Jesus Christ.” We seek to […]

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Ending and emerging

December 6, 2013

I come to the end of my presidency of VMMissions at the conclusion of 2013. As tenures go, eleven-and-a-half years is not so long. Earlene and I for the most part are not record-breakers. Add to these years, however, our years assisting two church plants in Virginia Conference, pastoring other churches, serving overseas with VMMissions, […]

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Start here

September 24, 2013

I like the tagline of Hesston College in Kansas, “Start Here, Go Everywhere.” I wish I’d thought of it. It makes a bold statement about Christian college education as a launching point from which people go virtually anywhere in the world. It implies that a college can broaden horizons, deepen perspectives and add to the […]

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Why short-term missions?

July 19, 2013

We are in the midst of another summer, the typical peak season for short-term missions (STM). With the dollars reportedly spent by Americans on STMs now exceeding those spent on longer-term missions and with some congregations and families experiencing financial strain from the repeated requests to fund a two-week service trip halfway around the world, […]

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Word and deed

March 28, 2013

An interesting dichotomy has been argued in Christian mission. Should the Christian’s mission in the world focus on verbal witness, or should acts of care and compassion be our priority? Word or deed? I answer the question with a resounding, “Yes…both!” Jesus illustrated a seamless concern for peoples’ hearts, bodies and relationships and the early […]

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Giving one’s life

February 26, 2013

During our Christmas holidays my five year old granddaughter came to me and said, “Do you know what, Grandpa? I gave my heart to Jesus.” Bless that little heart! She told her mother, “When Jesus knocks, you must let him in!” I was much older when I accepted Jesus. I was all of eleven! I […]

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