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MOST RECENT ARTICLES
Our Executive Director, Larry McCrary, corresponded recently with Melissa Fu to get deeper insight into the beauty of using your vocation cross-culturally intentionally on mission.
This conversation is an excellent example of the stories & experiences which motivated Larry's forthcoming book, The Marketspace: Essential Relationships Between the Sending Church, Marketplace Worker, and Missionary Team set to release later this year!
This series of interviews zooms in on the development stage of the Sending Church Pipeline. Developing Sent Ones is one of the indispensable Sending Church Elements for being a healthy sending church. At Upstream we value listening to others in order to hear about the reality beyond the theory. Previously, we have focused on church planters. This week, we pass the mic to a prospective missionary, who plans on working in the marketplace.
Drawing from her years of experience, Susan McCrary speaks to the hearts of returning sent ones, identifying with them, encouraging them inwardly, and admonishing them onwardly. If you recently returned to your home country, or are planning to return someday, may these insights soften your landing, especially those turbulent first 30 days.
This series of interviews zooms in on the development stage of the Sending Church Pipeline. Developing Sent Ones is one of the indispensable Sending Church Elements for being a healthy sending church. At Upstream we value passing the mic to others in order to hear about the reality beyond the theory. Last week Andy Jansen interviewed a prospective church planter, and this week he corresponds with Upstream’s own Derick Sherfey.
When it comes to caring for the missionary’s soul, pastors must know and love their people.
It must be a knowledge and love that stretches across time zones and sky miles. Staying connected will take great intentionality. Though there are numerous well-known stereotypes of missionaries, in reality no two missionaries are alike. They cannot be pastored according to processes and policies. They are people. They need to be known and pursued, not exalted nor presumed. In this post from our archives we look at the biblical vision of caring well for our sent ones.
This is the beginning of a series of four interviews zooming in on the development stage of the Sending Church Pipeline. We wanted to hear from others who have either gone through the process of development recently or are regularly involved with developing others. This week Andy Jansen interviews prospective church planter, Terry Irwin.
The Upstream Collective is celebrating 10 Years of helping churches send locally and globally. We've asked people who have been part of The Collective over the years to share how God has used these efforts the past decade to help shape and empower them to live out their sent identity.
In this Guest Post from Marshall Dallas, long-time friend of Upstream and the Pastor of Preaching & Vision at Sojourn Montrose in Houston, Texas shares how God has used Upstream’s Jet Set Trips to shape the trajectory of life, calling, and ministry.
It is now known that the most common reason for sent ones returning home prematurely is conflict among peers. What’s behind this sad statistic? Bradley Bell points to the factor of lacking maturity rooted in lacking self-awareness. He also provides a few next steps for church leaders to help sent ones cultivate self-awareness.
From the Archives: This post originally published in 2015 is about a book that is still great. You can always count on Upstream pointing you to great books. One that is a bit dated but remarkably helpful to the sending church conversation is Today’s All-Star Missions Churches: Strategies to Help Your Church Get into the Game by Tom Telford. Telford is the vice president of mobilization for United World Mission and has been working for years to empower churches on mission.
Nathan Garth, Pastor of International Missions at Sojourn Church Midtown in Louisville, KY and Upstream Collective Board Member & consultant outlines 8 potential dangers of the increased intentionality of churches becoming sending churches. Originally published in 2016, these observations are still a timely word in today’s conversations around sending.
From the Archives: This post originally published in 2016 as part of our 'Ask a Missiologist' series. This week’s contributor is Matthew Ellison, President of Sixteen:Fifteen. With years of experience as a church missions coach, Matthew took some time to answer the question, Why is it essential for churches to ask for help in mobilizing their members for mission?
As interest and opportunity continues grow for people to enter the global marketplace with gospel intentionality, what exactly should church leaders do to shepherd church members with such an interest? Using insights from his forthcoming book on the topic, The MarketSpace, Larry McCrary provides guidance for church leaders in assessing the readiness of their potential marketplace workers.
If we're going to be faithful sent ones, we must do the work to know the actual culture & the actual people as they actually are, not as we assume or hope it to be. One of the first things to do "when we don't know what to do" is humbling ourselves as listeners and learners through mapping, an essential Tradecraft skill to live as a ‘sent one.’ In this Guest Post, Keelan Cook outlines one practical method of organizing what we learn through our mapping efforts.
It can be overwhelming to determine whether or not a church member is ready to be sent. Thus, many church leaders choose to let others beyond their church determine that for them. In this article Bradley Bell addresses the issue and provides a practical way to view the wider community who contributes to the assessment and development process.
Derick Sherfey reflects back on what he has been learning in his first three months in a new city beginning the journey of planting churches. God is inviting us out of our isolation and trying to live sent with the illusion of self-sufficiency and into greater intimacy with him and greater dependence on His strength in our weaknesses.
Church leaders are usually reactive when it comes to their members sensing a call to missions. What would it look like, however, to be proactive? In this article Larry McCrary provides practical steps for effectively identifying potential sent ones in your church.
How will the gospel ever advance among the world’s most resistant peoples? JB, a sent one in Asia, offers his perspective straight from the front lines. His answer? The church--through the unified community of the church the world is coming to know Jesus as Lord.
Is the so-called “missionary call” made up only of zeal, passion, heart, and hunger? What is the role of grace in the “missionary call”? Bradley Bell argues for the centrality of God’s grace in any sense of calling to mission, showing how grace removes self-actualization, obligation, and confusion from the process.
Pastor Lane Harrison celebrates the ten year anniversary of The Upstream Collective by giving a glimpse into his own journey with us. Lane joined one of our earliest JetSet trips while launching a church plant, which helped infuse local and global mission DNA into his church.
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.