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Missions 101

Why Spend My Time in Theological Education When There Are 2.6 Billion "Unreached" People

Oct. 31, 2014By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

A sermon that lays out the reason for why TLI exists.


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Thursday Statistics

Oct. 30, 2014By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

Some interesting statistics from chapter 1 of Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (And How to Reverse It)

  • Africa has recieved $1 trillion in benevolent aid in the last 50 year and per-capita income is now lower, life expectancy has stagnated and adult literacy is lower.
  • 85% of aid money flowing to African countries never reaches the targeted areas of need.
  • U.S. missions teams who rushed to Honduras to help rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Mitch spent on average $30K per home - homes locals could have built for $3K each.
  • The money spent by one campus ministry to cover the costs of their Central American mission trip to repaint an orphanage would have been enough to hire two local painters and two new full-time teachers and purchase new uniforms for every student in the school.


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Dear Brothers, Disciple the Nations

Oct. 29, 2014By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

Dear Pastor-

I know you are busy, but I am want to plead with you - disciple the nations.

There is one formally trained pastors for every 450,000 people outside of the United States.  That does not mean that all of them are not trained.  There are plenty of people who have been trained without going to school. 

I have met many good men around the world who have a significant portion of Scripture memorized and have very little understanding of what it means.  I have heard sermons that do not resemble anything Christian (of course, this happens in the United States!).  I know a pastor of 20 years who asked a friend, "When was Jesus converted?"  I have seen churches who act as if the OT was written after the NT.  When a church does not have a pastor that can rightly handle Scripture, that church is in peril.

Consider the beast of the earth and sea in Revelation - a terrible picture of how Satan attacks the church.  The first beast kills the saints.  This seems clear enough and there are large Christian organizations that focus on relieving our brothers and sisters in hard places.  The other beast deceives the saints, looking like a lamb but speaking like a dragon.  You only know it is a beast by what it says, not what it looks like.  

Now, which attack is harder to deal with?  It seems pretty clear when Satan is attacking the church by sending saints to heaven.  We can see it happening with our own eyes and mourn the loss of our brothers and sisters.  But when it comes to false teaching/teachers, we can hardly agree!  

So brothers, let's get people overseas who will disciple the nations.  Pastors - free up your week of meetings and go teach people how to preach.  Turn off your blog and Google reader to teach our brothers biblical theology and give them the tools to understand the Scriptures.  If you are reading this you have probably read more books on theology this month than most pastors I train in their lifetime. They need our help.  

I know being missional is important, but you can not ignore the explosion of Christian faith (however shallow) in the global south.  I know that some of you are reasoning that their are different nationalities right in your neighborhood and that is your way of reaching the nations.  But honestly, these people who live in the US have access to solid training.  You have lay elders who are more equipped theologically for ministry than most pastors overseas.  I think you can pass off some duties and take 2-3 weeks a year to impact entire congregations.

Just one last thing.  Don't go big.  Huge conferences won't help that much.  Who is taught preaching by a weekend conference with 5000 pastors?  Only those who already have a solid foundation to work from. Instead, take 10-15 guys and commit to them for a few years and help them understand their Bibles.  The impact will be felt in ways much greater than if you went to paint a house or dig a well. You have other church members that can do those things.  Go and teach.


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What is Leading Cross-Culturally?

Oct. 23, 2014By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

From Leading Cross-Culturally: Covenant Relationships for Effective Christian Leadership by Sherwood Lingenfelter.

 "Leading cross-culturally…is inspiring people who come from two or more cultural traditions to participate with you…in building a community of trust and then to follow you and be empowered by you to achieve a compelling vision of faith" (21). 

And the challenge:

 "The complexity of leading cross-culturally lies in the challenge of building a community of trust among people who come from two or more cultural traditions that provoke a clash of worldviews" (20).  

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Does the Old Testament Have a Role in Missions?

Oct. 22, 2014By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

From Aurthur Glass, on the weakness of missions in China:

The real flaw in the missionary movement was its inadequate use of the Word of God.  It took seriously only part of the Bible, the New Testament and the Psalms...The Bible not only contains the Evangelistic mandate of the New Testament.  It also contains God's call to the cultural task: a stream of obligation that courses throughout both Old Testament and New Testament.  Where as the New Testament focuses largely on the individual before God, the Old Testament stresses his corporate relationship (family, community and state).  At Sinai, God gave his people a style of life that was both egalitarian and humane....In short, the Old Testament teaches a way of life in which the rights of man are safeguarded. (New Forces in Missions, ed. David Cho, Seoul, 1976, pp. 194-195).

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