Posts in Missions

Should a Church Sing (American) Patriotic Songs During Its Worship Services?

By Kenneth Berding Jul. 4, 2016 9:00 a.m. Church Life, Culture, Ethics, Ministry and Leadership, Missions

I was serving as a worship pastor in a church in one of New York City’s suburbs when the attacks of September 11, 2001 were launched. Soon after the attacks, a small contingent of vocal church members began to demand that we start to sing American patriotic songs during our worship services. That suggestion didn’t sit well with me so I began trying to work through some of the relevant theological and practical questions one by one. I wrote these questions and answers on September 29, 2001, only 18 days after the attack on the World Trade Towers in New York City. The following is by no means the final word on the question, but it might provide categories you can use to think through this subject for yourself ...

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A Different Kind of Love Song

By Kenneth Berding Jun. 28, 2016 7:00 a.m. Marriage and Family, Missions, Spiritual Formation

Today is my 30th wedding anniversary. Thirty years ago I vowed faithfulness, friendship, and my entire future to Trudi Lynn Wilson. Apart from following Christ, it was the best decision I ever made. Trudi has shown more love, compassion, and grace than I could have ever hoped for, and far more than I deserve. She has willingly tramped all over the world with me, setting up home, family, and ministry in Portland, Berlin, two cities in Turkey, Los Angeles twice, Philadelphia, and New York. But this post isn’t a veiled attempt to get you to send notes of congratulation (though gifts are welcome). I decided today might be a good day to share a song I wrote for Trudi about five years into our marriage ...

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Underutilized Resources

By Dave Keehn Jun. 20, 2016 9:00 a.m. Christian Education, Church Life, Culture, Evangelism, Ministry and Leadership, Missions, Theology

Images of extreme poverty motivate those with financial resources to donate their money to help alleviate poverty; or that is what the producers of the images hope occurs. However, reducing the terrible and often deadly ramifications of poverty is not as simple as signing the ONE petition or buying RED products (both of which I have done). The problem is also not as straightforward as the global 1% of wealth (the “haves”) giving of their means as handouts to the “have-nots.” The position of wealth in the Global West often leads to a mentality that says we know what is best for the Global Rest – we assume that if they just do what we did then they will get the same results. However, this classification of foreign aid ignores the resources of the Global Poor and their local churches, and instead creates an unhealthy dependency on handouts undermining the dignity of the materially poor, while “their poverty is actually deepened by the very churches and organizations that are trying to help them” (Fikkert & Mask, From Dependence to Dignity, 2015, p. 20) ...

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Did the Apostle Thomas Die as a Martyr?

By Sean McDowell Jun. 1, 2016 9:00 a.m. Apologetics, Evangelism, Missions

In my last post, I evaluated the tradition that the apostle Thomas ministered in India. While the evidence for Thomas in India is not as strong as for Peter and Paul in Rome, it is at least probable that he founded the church in India. But did Thomas die as a martyr?

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Did the Apostle Thomas Minister in India?

By Sean McDowell May. 30, 2016 9:00 a.m. Apologetics, Evangelism, Missions

In my recent book The Fate of the Apostles, I examine the evidence the apostles of Jesus died as martyrs. Because the evidence is early and consistent, there is widespread agreement that Peter, Paul, and both James died as martyrs. But scholars are much more divided over the tradition surrounding “doubting” Thomas. Did he really make it to India, as tradition suggests, and die there as a martyr? ...

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How Do We Truly Help Those in Need?

By Karin Stetina May. 5, 2016 9:00 a.m. Church Life, Culture, Missions

As the Gospels proclaim, the poor will always be with us (Mt. 26:11) and we are called to help those in need (Mt. 25:31-46). The problem is—how do we do that without causing more harm than good? Anyone who has served in charities in a long-term capacity can recognize a common pattern that author Bob Lupton points out in Toxic Charity ...

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Thoughts on Spring Break Missions Trips: Do They Help or Hurt?

By Dave Keehn Apr. 5, 2016 12:30 p.m. Church Life, Ministry and Leadership, Missions

Let me begin by saying I am passionate about exposing teenagers to the work of God around the world, as well as to using their talents to help continue that work both where they live as well as other locations both near and far.

However, I am concerned about how most short-term mission trips are planned, administered and experienced in ways that demean and undermine the people and ministries we seek to serve, while impressing upon our teenagers “missions” is something you do (i.e. an event) rather than an attitude or lifestyle. I am concerned because for many years as a youth pastor, I was the problem ...

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