Archive for the ‘Ministry’ Category

MissionShift Conference

I’m excited to be a part of the MissionShift Conference July 12-15 for alot of reasons, not the least of which hearing guys like Alan Hirsch, Matt Chandler, JD Greear, and Ed Stetzer speak.

But the biggest reason I’m excited to be leading a workshop there is because of the subject matter of the conference. There is a buzz word in Christian circles right now – “missional.” Everyone wants to be missional. Missional individuals, missional churches, missional communities – you name it.

But as is often the case when a word catches on, there seems to be alot of confusion about what this word actually means. Is it evangelism? Is it social justice issues? How do those things fit together? And am I supposed to be moving to subSaharan Africa to do it?

That’s what the focus of the conference is about. It’s about defining what we mean as believers in Jesus when we talk about being “missional.”

Got any plans for a summer conference? I think this one will be worth your time.

They’re running all kinds of specials right now, including some book giveaways for those who register today.

Check it out. Hope to see you there.


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A little background to this story. When she was 58 years old, Muriel McQuilken was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. At the time, her husband, Robertson, was the president of Columbia Bible College and Seminary, world renowned as a New Testament scholar and speaker.

They had been married for 40 years. She lost her basic skills to speak, reason, dress and feed herself. In 1990, Robertson resigned his post and went home to care for her wife. He had to say “no” to his calling. His career. His ministry. This audio was from his resignation speech.

What shall we say in response to this? Many things, but at least this much: God will not call us to do something that violates what WE KNOW He’s called us to do already.

(HT: Stetzer)

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There is an ongoing argument in most educational circles about the level at which one is supposed to teach. The two sides of the argument go something like this:

“We must teach to the lowest level present in order to ensure that no one is left behind.”

“We must intentionally teach slightly over people’s heads in order to challenge and draw people up.”

Both sides have some merit to them, but if we simplify them, it seems to me that at least one of the core issues is in the realm of expectations. The first opinion is built on the assumption that people are going to be left behind if we challenge them, and none of us wants that to happen. The second opinion is based on the belief that by setting the expectations high, the vast majority of people will be drawn up to those expectations.

See the core issue? To me, at least, it’s about the level of expectation. The first option expects failure and wants to guard against it; the second option expects success and paves the way for it.

I saw this lived out recently at Passion 2010. It was a conference for college-aged young adults, and many might consider it to be foolish simply because it targeted that age group. After all, college students are lazy, just coasting through life on mommy and daddy’s dime. They only study when they have to, and they certainly don’t have any money. It’s this last reason that motivates lots of churches in the setting of their budgets, for college students are seen as a drain on church finances. They don’t put much back in, so financial resources are better spent on young families or the youth group because those are the people that give.

That all feels like option number 1 to me. Low expectations.

But at Passion, the expectations were just a bit higher. Not only did they expect over 20,000 college students to pay the entrance fee and show up, but they actually expected something of them while they were there. A great portion of the rented space at the conference was filled with global causes to which students could give and participate in right then. But let’s be honest – these “kids” had already paid to come to a conference – how much is it really fair to expect from them in addition to that?

Check it out:

Building an education center for the Dalit people of India through Operation Mobilization.  Goal–$75,000. Given–$92,753.91.

Small business loans for women in Haiti through Hope International.  Goal–200 x $200 loans. Given–$64,412.34 for 322 loans.

Bible translation for Shatika and Rom People of SE Asia with OneVerse.  Goal–translate 4000 verses at a cost of $100,000. Given–3134 verses/$78.359.

Sponsor 100 seminary students in the Middle East with E3 Partners.  Goal–$30,000. Given–$45,318/151 students.

Build 10 wells in Guatemala with Living Water.  Goal–$50,000. Given–$113.865/22 wells built.

Provide 100 cleft palate surgeries for children in Afghanistan with Cure International.  Goal–$55,000. Given–$68,160.54/111 children get surgeries.

Package and send Bibles to unreached people in Asia through Bibles Unbound.  Goal–3000 Bibles packaged and $3000 to cover cost. Given/Done–3000 Bibles packaged/$9,530.56 given to send more.

Build a border outpost in Nepal to intercept sex trafficking victims through Not For Sale.  Goal–$25,000. Given–$86,516.72 for 3+ border outposts.

Support a Child Survival project in Indonesia through Compassion International.  Goal–100 students x $20 a month for one year = $24,000. Given–205 students x $20 a month for one year = $50,170. (The 12 month commitment represents pledges for this cause).

Package meals through our partner Feed My Starving Children.  Goal–package 100,000 meals at Passion 2010 and give $17,500 to cover costs. Given/Done–108,432 meals packaged and $17,533.32 given.

Sponsor children affected by HIV/AIDS in Mozambique with World Vision.  Goal–200 students x $35 monthly/package 1000 Caregiver kits. Given–174 students x $35 monthly/1000 caregiver kits assembled.

Drink coffee and fund projects in Ethiopia through our partner Gobeana Coffee.  Given–$24,548.

Total given at Passion 2010 = $724,480.42.

IN ADDITION, a family at Passion 2010 matched the total as of Tuesday morning with a gift of $668.597.00.

For a Passion 2010


As well, 14,820 towels and 72,600 pairs of socks were given to assist the homeless shelters of Atlanta.

That is audacious. It’s astounding. It’s unbelievable.

And perhaps there’s a ton we can learn there. Maybe in discipleship as a whole, the problem isn’t that people are getting left behind; maybe it’s that we’re not expecting enough from them. Not expecting enough financially. Enough commitment. Enough intellectual output. Maybe Christ was onto something when he said that if anyone wants to follow Him, they should come and die.

That’s a pretty big expectation. Maybe we can learn something from that, too.

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And the Winners Are…

I’ve been collecting names for a drawing to win 2 copies each of the leader kit to my Bible studies, The Tough Sayings of Jesus and The Tough Sayings of Jesus 2. Each kit contains the book, a leader guide to facilitate a small group, and 4 videos that coordinate with each session of the study.

And here are the winners with a little help from my son, Joshua…

Congratulations Roman, Stephen, Alisha, and Lica. I’ll be in touch soon.

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Digesting Passion

I was in Atlanta, GA, last week along with 23,000 college students and leaders after experiencing Passion 2010. I had the prililege of serving there as a community group leader, which means I did a morning and evening Bible study time with a group of about 500 students.

What an incredible time of encountering the Lord in a fresh and intimate way. I’ve got tons of notes from folks like Louie Giglio, Beth Moore, Francis Chan, John Piper and Andy Stanley. I’ll be posting about the experience from time to time, but I wanted today to put down just a few memories I’ll take from these days.

1. 23,000 students lifting up the name of Jesus in an arena that, only a few days before, hosted 2 Widespread Panic shows.

2. Louie Giglio: “Passion is about trading something very small in for something very big.”

3. Using the bathroom next to Francis Chan. I decided that wasn’t the moment the engage him in conversation.

4. Beth Moore: “Regardless of what pain exists in your past, the very fact that God allowed it into your life in the first place is proof that it’s meant to be part of your ministry.”

5. Andy Stanley: “You’ve got to decide who you want to be before you decide what you want to do.”

6. Seeing those 23,000 students give over $650,000 straight to missional causes for the kingdom of God.

7. John Piper: “Heaven will not be a hall of mirrors; it will be an era of self-forgetfulness.”

8. Leaving Passion in the middle of the night because my wife was going into labor.

All great things to remember. Were you there? What will you take with you?

**Don’t forget to enter the drawing to win a a copy of my Bible study. Click here for details….

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Tough Sayings Giveaway

I wanted to call your attention today to 2 small group Bible studies I’ve written for Threads called The Tough Sayings of Jesus and The Tough Sayings of Jesus 2. Along with the Bible study book, each of which contains 4 interactive sessions, each one focusing on a difficult saying of Jesus, there is a leader kit.

These leader kits contain video segments, audio recordings, and a host of other tools to help you facilitate a small group study of the material.

So how about a New Year’s giveaway?

If you would be interested in starting a small group of either volume 1 or volume 2, I’ve got 2 copies of each leader kit (priced at $69.95) to give away here on the blog. All you have to do if you want to be included in the drawing is send me an email with your name and address. I’ll compile all the entries and do a drawing and then ship them out to you at no cost.

If you wouldn’t mind posting on your Facebook, twitter, or blog that you entered, and then that you won and are doing the study if indeed you do, I’d really appreciate it.

Send the email entry to: michael.kelleyatlifeway.com. (Pretty sure I’m supposed to do my email like that to keep the spammers away). I’ll draw the morning of Wednesday, January 13.

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Tim Keller Profile

If you haven’t ever heard or read Tim Keller, let me encourage you to do so. He’s the pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, and he’s been doing ministry there in a missional fashion before it was even cool to say “missional.”

But here’s the thing about Keller: In a landscape of church-planters wearing black glasses, tight t-shirts, and tribal tattoos, Keller is… well… boring. He’s bald. He’s pretty old. He wears suits and ties. If you go to his church, you’d encounter classical music and a choir.

But New Yorkers (and folks across the evangelical world for that matter) are flocking to him. So mysterious is his appeal that New York Magazine ran this profile about him. Here’s an excerpt:

Keller is a 59-year-old bald, large-framed man, dressed today in a blue blazer and gray slacks. For those expecting hellfire and brimstone, the first surprise is the voice. Keller doesn’t speak in theatrical, over-the-top tones but in a soft, conversational manner, as if he’s sharing a confidence with a friend. For today’s sermon on a passage from the Old Testament Book of Habakkuk, in which a minor Jewish prophet rails about the misery brought on by the Babylonians in the seventh century B.C., Keller jumps to the recession and what he sees as shameful finger-pointing by both liberals and conservatives. “The Bible doesn’t let you do that,” Keller intones from the pulpit. “The Bible is nowhere near as simplistic, dare I say it, as either the New York Times’ or The Wall Street Journal’seditorial page. You can write that down. Put it on your blog, I don’t care.”

Read more: Why Are So Many New Yorkers Flocking to Evangelical Christian Preacher Tim Keller? — New York Magazine http://nymag.com/news/features/62374/#ixzz0YRnrObK5

(HT: Z)

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