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”.
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.
Upstream is celebrating 10 Years of helping churches send locally and globally. We've asked people who have been part of 'The Collective' over the past decade to look back on how God has used our relationships & resources to help push mission 'upstream!'
We'll be sharing some of these stories throughout 2018. Want to include your voice as we look back on God's grace & faithfulness?
We'd love to hear how Upstream has been part of your journey!
Email your thoughts to email@example.com!
Written by Paul Davidson
When I think about the resources that have most influenced my ministry over the past ten years, an array of websites, blogs, podcasts, articles, books, and leadership retreats come to mind. However, there has been no greater resource that has shaped my ecclesiology, and in particular my missiology, than The Upstream Collective.
The Impact on Church Planting
I remember having coffee with Larry McCrary almost a decade ago as he shared with me the vision of Upstream. As a young missionary, I knew I didn’t have the whole “missions” thing figured out. However, I knew enough to see that most churches suffered from a lack of equipping for the Great Commission, along with an unhealthy view of who was to carry it out. Upstream’s vision made sense: equipping churches with the training that had traditionally been reserved for paid professionals. In other words: enabling them to think and act like a missionary.
Since that meeting, Upstream has provided me and the churches where I've served with practical training on how the church can embrace and fulfill its missionary identity. I have personally participated in some of their roundtable discussions with mission-focused leaders from all over the country. The takeaways from those gatherings guided me as a young missions pastor in laying a healthy foundation for a church plant. They put us on a trajectory that approached God’s mission far from the status quo. Instead of leaving it in the hands of outside organizations, the guys at Upstream pushed us through a necessary missions identity crisis and gave us concrete tools for sending our own people.
The Impact on International Missions
Most recently, as an international missionary who is leading teams of young adults, Upstream has provided pre-field training for all of our two-year interns. I completely trust in this training because I know it’s led by missiological practitioners who have dedicated their lives to reshaping missions. Thanks to their training, our new teammates arrived with healthy expectations, contextualized evangelism training, tools to transition well, on-the-field support, and so much more.
As a former missions pastor and current missionary, I cannot overstate the value that The Upstream Collective has added to my ministry. There isn’t a single network out there that can do a better job of equipping you and your church to live out a healthy ecclesiology and missiology. If you only have the time to connect with one organization in 2018, make it Upstream.
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?
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.
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.