Archives For Missions

“Now those who were scattered went about preaching the Word.” – Acts 8:4
“Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch…” – Acts 11:19

Those who read the book of Acts will notice the influence of two major churches: the church in Jerusalem and the church in Antioch. Jerusalem was the city where the New Testament church started through the preaching of Peter at Pentecost, and Antioch became the missionary sending center for Paul and Barnabas throughout the Gentile world. But there is an amazing connection between these two churches that can get easily overlooked while reading about Stephen’s martyrdom, Paul’s conversion, and Peter’s dreams. It’s the ordinary life on mission from the no-named army of disciples who preached Jesus everywhere they went.

In Acts 8, the church scattered from Jerusalem to Judea and Samaria due to persecution from the hand of Saul and his accomplices. They were identified as “those who were scattered.” The persecution that sent them did not stop them or silence them. Providence pushed them toward proclaiming Jesus, and they “went about” their lives doing just that. How did the gospel get from Jerusalem to Judea and Samaria? It happened as Spirit-empowered disciples bore witness to Jesus and His resurrection and preached the Word as they stepped out on mission.

Fast forward a couple of chapters and you see that same gospel seed spreading from Judea and Samaria to the Gentile world, completing the promise of Acts 1:8. But how did it get there? More specifically, who took it to the Gentile world? Did God use Phillip, Peter and Paul? Absolutely. But notice the language of Acts 11:19.

“Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arise over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch…”.

The gospel went from Jerusalem to Judea and Samaria because of no-named disciples on mission to make much of Jesus. And the gospel went from Judea and Samaria to the Gentile world because of no-named disciples on mission to make much of Jesus. Is it any wonder, then, that the church in Antioch would be the sending center for the early church in the book of Acts? It was comprised of disciples whose spiritual lineage descended from disciples who made disciples who preached Jesus in the power of the Spirit. They had the missional DNA from the beginning because the gospel seed was so generously and faithfully scattered by ordinary disciples “going about” their ordinary lives on mission to preach the Word and tell others about Jesus.

We will never know the stories and the sacrifices of “those who were scattered” in the early church, but they have a legacy that continues generation after generation among people from all lands and languages of people who have no name or recognition other than the everlasting fruit they leave in the wake of their life on mission.

May that be true about our generation and our cities today. The way God will reach our world may be through a Peter or Paul. But it also may be through “those who were scattered” that went about their lives making much of Jesus and sowing that gospel seed day in and day out.

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In recent weeks, I have found myself reflecting quite a bit on the past 15 years of my life. I am not exactly sure why (perhaps it is because I have been an adult for almost 50% of my life?), but as I shared with a college-aged student yesterday, there is no way I could have mapped out the course my life has taken.

When I came to embrace the doctrines of grace, I did not enter the typical “cage stage” that people talk about. For me, the sovereignty of God was my lifeline. Either God was in control of every detail of my life for my good and his glory, or I had really no point in believing or living out my faith. In a short period of time, my world was rocked time and again.

In my first position at a local church, I served with several of my roommates and friends, all who came to embrace the doctrines of grace at some point in that journey of college life. While I was the least Reformed at that point, I guess you could say I had the roughest experience. My tenure at the church did not last long as I was physically threatened while being “kicked out” (not excommunicated but threatened to leave) by the senior pastor and education pastor (who called me “Absalom” and verbally assaulted me for 3 hours). That’s not the way you want to begin a lifelong call to gospel ministry to say the least. What happened in those early days were formative moments that would mark my life forever, and I am profoundly grateful to God for the brothers He placed in my life.

Over time, all of my brothers from those college years went their separate ways. We represented, I suppose you could say, the early stages of the young, restless, and Reformed movement. In the following years, the debate over Calvinism would hit a feverish pitch, mostly with charges that Calvinism stifles missions/evangelism and kills churches. This blog was very involved in the early years of the debate to offer rebuttals to many of the critiques that were leveled against Calvinists in the SBC, and it is without question that people loved to debate Calvinism (my stats were way higher then than they are today).

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Yesterday, I provided 4 reasons why David Platt should be the next president of the IMB. Within a few hours of posting that article, it was announced that he was indeed elected to this position. News about his election reverberated across social media to the point that his name was trending nationally on Twitter. I tried to keep up with several of the responses to the breaking news, and you can find those highlighted responses and articles at the bottom of the right sidebar where my twitter “favorites” can be found. But of all the responses I am most desiring to hear is the men and women who are on the front lines with the IMB giving their lives for the unreached peoples of the world. What do they think of David Platt as their new president?

This morning, one of my dear friends sent me this note (unsolicited by me). He has served with the IMB for nearly a decade and is a strategy coordinator who working among unreached peoples of South Asia. As you will see, he has actually worked with David Platt there. I asked for his permission to share this publicly (name and located removed of course), and he was glad for me to share this with others. I hope you are as encouraged by it as I am.

Hey Tim,

I appreciated your article about David. We have been blessed over the past few years to have him come and work along side our teams in [South Asia]. Through these encounters with him I have learned all the things you highlighted. His books have challenged us and his willingness to get in the trenches with us has blessed us. For these reasons we have prayed for years that God would lead him to lead us as our president. The news from yesterday of his election brought tears of joy and a renewed excitement for the future of our organization.

While we are excited about David being president, we are more excited about what this means for the 1.2 billion lost people in our country who desperately need an advocate like David to challenge the body of Christ to wake up and in joy sacrifice to make Christ know. I hope all is well with you and your family. We pray for you often.

Blessings in Christ,

May God indeed use David Platt to awaken us to the plight of those desperately need Jesus!

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Part 1: Relief and Development
Part 2: Incarnational Mission | Word and Deed | Responsibility and Sovereignty

In this final part of my reflections of integral mission from the life of Jesus, I want to turn once more to Luke 9:1-17 for some further observations related to the church. We see from the feeding of the multitude that Jesus had a plan and a people. He had provision and power to do all that was needed to see that the people were cared for and utterly satisfied.


When Jesus went about feeding the multitude, it is interesting that before He performed the miracle, He instructed His disciples to have the people to sit down in groups of 50. Seems like an unnecessary detail Luke included, no? Well, actually I find it really beneficial for integral mission. Jesus could have feed 20,000 in an unhelpful sea of chaos and confusion, but instead He chose a method that would best serve the people and make the greatest impact. I don’t want to read too much into this observation, but I believe it is accurate to say that this represents a strategic plan. Following this strategy came the supernatural work of God.

There are some who might think that strategic thinking and planning is unspiritual. Some may argue that it leads to pragmatism or doing work without God. While that is possible, simply because it has led some to pragmatism does not necessarily mean that it causes it. In fact, those working in difficult situations must have a strategic plan in place or the work will fall apart on its own. Having said that, we should pray and believe God to do what only He can do. He puts us in desperate situations where, if He does not come through, we are sunk. If you are not in a place where you are desperate and dependent on the sovereign, supernatural work of God, then you are in the wrong place.

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In my first post, I shared how Jesus demonstrated integral mission by balancing and affirming relief and development in His earthly ministry. Drawing from the same text (Luke 9:1-17), I want to continue with more observations for integral mission from the life and ministry of Jesus.


God sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins. God also sent His Son to dwell among us (John 1:14) so that we could see His glory. In Luke 9, we find Jesus in a desolate place among scores of people with all kinds of needs. While it may be easy to overlook this, let us not play it down. Jesus made Himself accessible to everyone in society, especially those on the margins. He was accessible and approachable, even for those who could not walk (the lame) and those who could not be touched (the lepers). Even those in the grave were not beyond the scope of Jesus’ reach!

Jesus had a plan. It was to pour into His disciples. Yet the multitudes pressed in on Him. What would He do? Would he tell them to get in a line and schedule an appointment with one of His disciples? According to Luke 9:11, Jesus welcomed them. He welcomed them because He was with them. He was with them because He was for them.

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As many of you know, I lead The Haiti Collective, an organization focused on bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ to the poorest country in the Western hemisphere by empowering indigenous churches to make disciples, train leaders, plant churches, and care for orphans in their midst. The needs are massive, even four years after the devastating earthquake. It can be argued (rather easily, I might add) that the needs are even greater now, after attempts of intervention have hurt the economic stability of an already fragile world. Needless to say, careful thinking about unintended consequences when doing relief and development work is critical to any long term success.

I am grateful for books like When Help Hurts and The Poverty of Nations that have come out from a biblical worldview of helping the poor. However, there is still a lot of tension when it comes to relief and development. Those I know who take When Helping Hurts seriously are so concerned about the possibility of hurting that they don’t attempt to help much at all. So the question comes – what hurts the people more? Not doing anything at all in fear of possibly hurting them by what you do, or making substantive, strategic efforts to make a big impact, knowing that you will likely hurt in ways you could not fully prevent?

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THC-Logo_VertThree weeks ago, a team of 16 from The Haiti Collective traveled to Haiti for a week-long mission endeavor. Every year, we host a network-wide Bible conference in a hotel, which brings in 65 pastors, deacons, and orphan school teachers. This year, the focus was on the primacy and sufficiency of Scripture for life and ministry. God put an amazing team together with a team of eight pastors from five different states delivering 12 messages and six panel discussions. We also gave away two books by John Piper in French (The Passion of Jesus Christ and Dangerous Duty of Delight), thanks to another supporting church’s generosity.

In addition to the Bible conference, we did conducted a medical and dental clinic in three of our churches in Haiti (Desarmes, Drouin, and Saint-Marc). Over $$16,000 free dental care was provided alone through the dental team, which included a dentist serving with the navy and hygienist/admin from Grace Baptist Church. For the medical team, we were blessed to have with us on this trip a doctor who is the chief of surgery at Walter Reed Medial Hospital (Bethesda, MD) as well as a former top domestic advisor serving under the Bush administration. Along with the medical and dental care during the week, we also we able to provide deworming medication for all 1,600 orphans in our 13 churches in Haiti. God providentially connected our team to a pharmacist in Canada who donated over $8000 worth of vitamins to supplement the deworming medication so that all of the orphans can have a strong recovery from the cleansing of all worms, whether from their intestines or on their skin.

This particular trip was a big undertaking with many other various initiatives, including enhancing microbusiness, facilitating vision trip for potential church partnerships with Haiti Collective, and consolidating community reform opportunities with education, health care, and family life. I am so grateful for this wonderful team God put together for this trip!

Below is a little video one of our team members made of the trip. We showed this last Sunday night at Grace in our mission report. God is doing great things, more than I could have ever imagined when this all began two years ago. If you would like to know more about The Haiti Collective, be sure to check out our website or follow us on Facebook. If you are a pastor or church leader and would like to discuss the possibility of getting connected with The Haiti Collective in the future, hit me up here or on my contact form.

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I know we find a lot to talk about these days in evangelical circles, and it is easy to get wrapped up in stories, controversies, and current events that will not be so current a few weeks from now. One of the things I’m grateful for each week is the opportunity to study about an unreached people group our church prays for each week. As part of the welcome and announcements, I share information with our church gathered about an unreached people group with little to no access of the gospel and call on us to remember them in prayer the following week.

This week, we are praying for the Aimaq, Jamshidi of Afghanistan. I would imagine that few if any of us have ever heard of this people group number 129,000 people. They are not 99.2% Muslim like many of the UPG’s in that region (with a scant number of Christians). They are 100% Muslim with no known followers of Jesus. Not only that, but there are no resources available to them in their language. No Bible, New Testament, or even the Gospel of John. No Jesus Film. No audio recordings. Nothing. According to the Joshua Project, they rank #2 in the world where the greatest persecution takes place of Christians. Not only is there no progress currently being made, any future attempt will likely lead to suffering, imprisonment, and death.

The Jamshidi are a nomadic people, highly tribal, isolated by the rugged geographical terrain and insulated by strong cultural boundaries. In order to even gain access to them, Christians must find a way to traverse the mountainous terrain and transplant themselves within their tribal identity. If, somehow, they are accepted into their nomadic lifestyle, they would then find opportunities to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, whom they have never heard, to what appears to be a militant Sunni Muslim people. There stands a significant chance they will die in the process.

Do the Jamshidi matter to the heart of God? I mean they are only 129,000 people of the nearly 7 billion people in the world. Absolutely, they do! In fact, I would venture to say they matter more to God than a lot of the things that consume our thoughts and affections. It’s a reality check to know that God’s redemptive purpose is to be worshipped among every nation, tongue, tribe, and people of the earth. There’s a lot of ways I could expend my time, interest, and energy in various discussions, debates, and controversies, but the greater issue has to do with what it will take to see many Jamshidi Aimaq’s treasuring Jesus Christ, if necessary, even to a martyr’s death?

In light of eternity, according to God’s global purposes in redemptive history, we find perspective and a reality check in the Jamshidi. May God help me, help us, to calibrate our lives accordingly so that our efforts are leveraged with maximum thrust to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to a needy world. God save many Jamshidi in our generation and use our please on their behalf as the means for sending out laborers into this harvest field!

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It has already been said that the sermon below by David Platt is perhaps the greatest missions message ever preached. I was a freshman in college when the buzz about John Piper’s sermon “Doing Missions When Dying Is Gain” filled the campus of University of Mobile. Not long after that, I embarked on my first cross-cultural mission trip and have not been the same.

I was privileged to hear this with 8,000 other folks at T4G last week. But more than that, I eagerly long to be in the company of those who heed the message as what I anticipate will be the call of this generation.

You can download the audio or read the live-blogging notes of Justin Taylor, or watch the video below.  If you have not listened or watched this message, please carve out an hour of your life and have the Spirit ruin you for the nations.

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