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MOST RECENT ARTICLES & Episodes
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.
Does every single local church have to participate in global mission? What does partnership look like for pastors of a small churches? In this article of our Ask-a-Missiologist series, Ken Winter lays out a plain view of the Great Commission and the gift of pastors to the Church. The is a republication from our old blog.
In this article of our Ask-a-Missiologist series, Sean Benesh nudges us to realize that the difference between foreign missions and domestic church planting is not a matter of principle but scope. Why is there such a gulf in our minds between the activities and skills of a church planter and a missionary? Perhaps we can learn from each other and close the gap a little. This is a republication from our old blog.
Because of globalization the world is growing smaller, and more and more denominations and networks are planting churches internationally. This is excellent news and marks a step forward in closing an artificial gap between missions and church planting, but we still must pay attention to lessons learned for cross-cultural ministry. Alex Hawke shares the wisdom of a missionary with new church planters rising to the occasion.
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. That's why we are kickstarting our old "Recommended Reading" series with Colin Woodard's American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America.
American culture loves things that are big, flashy, and immediate. This doesn't necessarily change when it comes to missions strategy, but a wise church will aim for a slower-paced strategy for a long-lasting effect. That's what Upstream Director Larry McCrary is describing as slow-brew missions.
When it comes to missions, we are used to thinking first in terms of geography. This is only natural given the history of modern missions, but is this the most helpful way for us to think about fulfilling the command to send in today's world? Missiologist J. D. Payne helps us to refocus our attention on the cultural and ethnic borders that need to be crossed with the gospel. This is a republication from our old blog.
Tradecraft Workbook is the companion to Tradecraft: For the Church on Mission, a 300+ page guide for any Christian to apply missionary skills in their everyday life. This post commemorates the official release of the Workbook and provides a brief descriptive excerpt.
This is the second part and conclusion to our interview with author and professor, Greg Allison. We wanted his take on a big picture missiological issue and it's practical ramifications--Who sends, the Church or the Spirit? Please enjoy a verbatim transcript of our interview.
We recently interviewed author and professor, Gregg Allison, for his take on a big picture missiological issue and it's practical ramifications--Who sends, the Church or the Spirit? Please enjoy a verbatim transcript of our interview. This is the first part of a two part interview.
Regardless of our political positions about refugees and immigration, few believers have actually engaged the rising number of internationals in our own neighborhoods and cities. Ben Schroering challenges local churches to view going to refugee and immigrant communities in the United States with the same enthusiasm as going overseas to reach the same peoples.