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MOST RECENT ARTICLES
From the Archives -- at Upstream we wish to not only push forward with new ideas for your consideration, but we also wish to look backward and put before you useful blog articles from the past that we think merit a second read.
This week we look back at a revised "C2C" narrative and a story from Bradley Bell (previously published under the pen name Zach Bradley), which inspired this revision. Have we forgotten to include the church in our actions and words when we share the gospel? How can we emphasize covenant community as gospel alongside personal relationship with Christ?
Developing a leadership pipeline is a trending topic among many growing churches today. Instead, Larry McCrary advocates in this article for a "Sending Pipeline," and provides the blueprint needed to get started.
New Director of Content Strategy, Derick Sherfey, cuts right to the chase with five basic components for church leaders to emphasize in equipping their members live on mission in community: people, places, proclamation, plan, and prayer.
Larry McCrary looks back at God's grace over the last decade as The Upstream Collective celebrates 10 Years of helping churches send locally and globally. Larry shares the story of how and why Upstream exists and some of the key developments that has shaped The Collective.
Zach Bradley wrestles with the familiar missions categories of goer, sender, or disobedient. Has erecting such black and white dichotomies given us the fullest picture of Christians on mission? Zach presses into how every Christian's sent identity informs this discussion.
Mission pastors sometimes suffer from unspoken insecurities as they send off those they mentor into the world. Feelings of loneliness, insignificance, and even jealousy may swell unbidden in them. Zach Bradley reflects on his own experience in ministry and finds rest in the gospel.
Missionaries aren't islands to themselves. They need the care of their pastors and gospel community, just as much as other believers. In this article Zach Bradley encourages pastors to know and stay connected to their sent ones, and he offers practical advice on the unique challenges of caring for those overseas.
Man will always plan his way, but his actual steps are established by God. For the missionary, our best laid plans often become our biggest morale killer when things turn out differently than we expect. Zach Bradley explores how we can have genuine hope in God that pushes us forward, while not grasping tightly to our own ideal outcomes in seeking to live a life worthy of Christ.
What does the story of Jesus healing ten leapers have to do with a missionary's duty? While churches are often ready to applaud missionaries as they run themselves dry, Jesus stands ready to rejuvenate them, take their burdens, and send them on their way.
You can always count on Upstream pointing you to great books. One of the books we love is Introduction to Global Missions by Zane Pratt, M. David Sills, and Jeff K. Walters. Closer back to when this book came out, Zach Bradley was able to ask Jeff Walters himself what makes this particular book on missiology unique and helpful to the church today. This is a republication from our old blog.
Why can't missions and dating just learn to get along? There are many people and entire sending agencies that think mixing the two is impossible -- or at least not worth the risk. After all, how could you mix the two endeavors without destroying one or both of them? But then again, what if emotions don't care about such logic? One thing is clear: our hearts refuse to keep this topic out of sight and out of mind. Zach Bradley delivers a hard-earned perspective based on his own experience.
A couple years ago we sat down with our co-founders, Larry McCrary and Caleb Crider, a series of practical missiological questions we called Adventures with Larry & Caleb. We're pleased to present the series again in its entirety, freshly resurrected from our old blog! Come check out our most popular series from 2015 again or for the first time.
This series unpacks Sending Church Element 04: Involving the Entire Church. In Part Five, Zach Bradley explains how sending churches can make use of a "sending pipeline" to inform every member of their sent identity. He also discusses the necessity of including missionary thought and practice in the churches' basic discipleship.
Advent is one of the best times to stop, be still, and soak in God's presence. God doesn't dispassionately stand at a distance and speak at us. In a digital age, let's remain awed that the Son, Jesus Christ, has a body and is God with us. Merry Christmas from The Upstream Collective.
In the first two parts of this series we said that before you can start doing well together on mission, you must first embody being on mission. We don’t send well until a sent identity has collectively permeated our minds and hearts. In part three we examined an actual church that keeps its staffing and programming low because they want to see regular members bearing the load of ministry to their neighbors. This week we will dig further into practical ways to involve the entire church in a sending vision.
What’s our big hang-up with the local church and the Great Commission? And more importantly, are we minimizing the importance of parachurch ministries for the mission of the church? What are the respective roles of the local church and parachurch ministries? Caleb Crider tackles this topic in this week’s Ask-a-Missiologist. This is a republication from our old blog.
Celebrate with us as we remember what God has done at Upstream over the past year! It's that time of year again that we get to pause, reflect. Enjoy a tasty infographic and visualize some of the tangible ways we have seen our mission move upstream, helping churches to send locally and globally.
We're excited to announce the release of a brand new Upstream resource: Developing a Sending Pipeline. This 8-page PDF and .png graphic unpacks a system for churches to establish a clear, step-by-step process in sending their members on mission.
You don't have to be a full-time, traditional missionary to play a significant role in cross-cultural missions. This week, Andy Jansen relays a story from Bob Carlton about how he intentionally leveraged his vacation time and yielded to the Spirit's working to advance the Kingdom.
Smaller churches are easily overshadowed by the sending capacity of big churches and sending agencies. But practically speaking, is this a sound way to think? In this article from our old blog, Zach Bradley interviews Pastor Luke Holmes to find out exactly how much we're losing out by ignoring the vast number of smaller churches, and he presents a few challenges to be overcome.
The Sending Church Elements are a framework for growing as a sending church. This is a series about Element 04: Involving the Entire Church. Building on the idea from Part Two that missions culture should be built slowly in order to permeate the entire church, this article gives a real-life example thanks to Antioch Church in Louisville, Kentucky.
A few months ago, Larry McCrary, the director of Upstream, wrote an article called Slow-brew Missions. We all loved it, and in it he uses a vivid analogy for why it is a better approach to sending to first saturate the minds of every church member with mission identity. In this updated article, Larry explains how thinking holistically and having patience can result in a pervasive rather than limited church involvement.
The Sending Church Elements are a framework for growing as a sending church. This is a series about Element 04: Involving the Entire Church. In this introductory article, Andy Jansen makes a connection between embracing a sent identity and the practical ways the sending church lives out her mission as a whole body.
With poignant simplicity, Greg Kinnard cuts through the missions rhetoric and gets straight to the point. We must stop relying on human-centered wisdom and strategies and trust in the power and proclamation of the gospel in missions. This article was first published on the Sojourn International blog and we commend it to you.
At Upstream we sometimes point out that missions can get so practical, you have to trace backwards from a practice to find its root in theology. Well, there is no step behind our triune God for grounding our identity as senders and sent ones. For that reason, we love Michael Reeves' book, Delighting in the Trinity, and how it points us back to our sending God. This is a republication from our old blog.
We were very pleased with the results our latest Pre-field Missionary Training in Louisville, KY. A lot of ground was covered, both figuratively and literally, over the eight days that participants came to learn vital missionary skills. Listen to some testimonials of those who came as we give some of the highlights.
In this article, Upstream co-founder and director Larry McCrary reflects on some big picture strategies that will be useful in our current day and world, which the sending church in North America will do well to consider. Here are five areas for improvement, which are especially pertinent for our present sending culture.
The Sending Church Elements are a framework for growing as a sending church. In this fourth post in a series about Element 02: Embracing Spiritual Conviction, Zach Bradley discusses the importance of repentance for a church's development of genuine conviction in God's mission.
On Saturday October 7th, Antioch Church in Louisville, KY will host a one-day Missional Skills Training event based on our book Tradecraft: For the Church on Mission. Besides learning about the 9 basic missionary skills from Tradecraft, attendees will each receive a copy of Upstream's new Tradecraft Workbook.
In our aim to help every church see themselves as a sending church and every Christian as a sent one, we want to recommend great books to help along the way. From our old “Recommended Reading” series, Zach Bradley took a look at Tim Chester and Steve Timmis’ Everyday Church: Gospel Communities on Mission. This book is both a biblical and practical look at how churches can live out their faith in a post-Christian context.