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MOST RECENT ARTICLES
How does the sending church and missions organization develop future missionaries together? Both have much to offer in effective sending, but can either do it without the other? Having been a leader in churches and orgs, as well as a sent one himself, Larry McCrary discusses a practical way forward.
Some articles are worth reading twice. This week we take a look back at an article written on the old blog by Bradley Bell (previously published under the pen name Zach Bradley). Bradley takes on the practical question of those who approach pastors with a missions interest. Rather than seeing this an a mere administrative task, we can take this as a sweet opportunity to make much of Jesus.
Earlier this year Andy Jansen interviewed church planter, Bob Carlton, about living intentionally on mission. We titled it, “A Tale of Relationships, Traditions, and German Pubs”. Along the lines of the topic, Bob introduced us to his friend Ashley Lamb. Although her story may not include German pubs, it’s clearly in line with the same theme as the original article, thus the continuation, “Part Two”.
Seeking to be a sending church and/or a sent one means volunteering for lots of transition in relationships. In today’s article, Bradley Bell shares his thoughts regarding this age-old missions dynamic, and how God is eager to redeem it for good.
The good news we are celebrating all around the world this weekend is the motivating factor of everything we do at Upstream. This Good Friday & Easter post is an invitation to remember, rest, rejoice, and be restored in the gospel. It is a prayer to live in light of our resurrected King's Great Commission to declare & demonstrate this good news to the nations, that we would also accept our Savior's invitation to the Great Communion of being with him- to receive his forgiveness, to experience his love for us, to know and enjoy him, and to continually be changed as we behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus.
One of the key phases of our Sending Church Elements is 'Development.' We all know that in order to be faithful to make disciples of all nations, we must be intentionally developing leaders to live out our identity of 'sent ones.' But we could all use more leaders in our churches and ministries.
Derick shares a paradigm for diagnosis from Eric Geiger & Kevin Peck's book "Designed to Lead" to help provide clarity on where to begin: conviction, culture, and constructs.
Our Upstream team has the privilege of learning from great sending churches all over the world. In this short article, Bradley Bell points to ten signs of healthy sending that he has observed in some of these churches. Is your church seeking to send well? You can probably identify with some of these signs!
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.