A storehouse to equip Missionary Master Craft-Persons: Core Principles

For the past five decades our calling has taken us to different places and contexts, but central throughout has been a vocation as missionaries to a post-Christendom mission field.

The Holy Spirit has been pushing us and enlightening us, with the sharp focus of discovering more insights to further the missionary endeavour. Stimulating this quest has been the difficulty of the challenge of mission in a context of secularisation and church decline. Enriching the discoveries has been the diversity across the nations of Europe in both the Church (mission force) and the context (mission field).

We have worked with, encountered and read insights of many wise leaders from whom we have learnt most of the insights that we share. We are not principally original thinkers with gifts of creative, innovative ideas; rather we have been orientated to garner, sift and identify the thoughts and ideas of others. Wherever we can remember we reference and honour those sources.

Our aim throughout has been a drive to know what would equip a cadre of “Missionary Master-Crafts Persons”.

“Every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old” (Matt 13:52, ESV)

Our vision is of Missionary Master-Crafts persons with a workshops full of core missional principles, treasured up, ordered and identified so each can be accessed and applied to precisely the appropriate missionary task and challenge. We see this storehouse as the equivalent of a Master carpenters drawings, memos and diagrams. Of different joints, different designs for furniture legs, a range of techniques for gluing, plaining and polishing all and ready to use.

This growing collection of papers represent the accumulated core principles which seem to us most foundational to our mission challenges. We offer them in the hope they equip you to become a Missionary Master-Crafts person.

Changing all our instincts – Stop starting with Church!

Four approaches to enhance growth mission and multiplication

Jesus’ 4 streams of Kingdom Communication

Three ‘parties’ to mission understanding

Three Processes of Learning – Prof Ted Ward (1)

Three Processes of Learning

The principles explained here are my summary of presentations given by Professor Ted Ward at the week-long launch of YWAM’s University of the Nations in Lausanne in 1990. These insights have proved to be among the most transformative in our lives and ministries over the subsequent decades. However, in our experience they do not seem to be widely understood.

In the introduction to his presentation, Prof. Ted Ward explained that in the field of academic understanding of Educational theory, up until somewhere in the 1950’s, there were generally two broad processes or contexts of learning that were commonly identified, described and contrasted. Only around that time was the third process of learning recognised and analysed in its functioning with relation to the other two. In this introduction he stressed that all three processes are equally valuable and important – they just work differently and have contrasting characteristics and outcomes. Further, Jesus clearly used all three in his ministry as recorded in the Gospels.

He also emphasised that he considered the recognition and understanding of this third, most recently classified learning process, was of particular importance to all those involved in the mission and ministry of the church in our diverse and changing times.

Read the full article here…Three Processes of Learning – Prof Ted Ward (1)

Jesus’ Four Streams of Kingdom Communication

The Gospel accounts of the ministry of Jesus bring together how he “the Word” communicated the truths of God. We are used to thinking that truth is communicated verbally and in propositional statements. However, that was by no means the only channel or stream of truth that the New Testament shows us Jesus using in his ministry.

The four Gospel accounts together, portray the width of the ministry of Jesus: a ministry of the kingdom of God/heaven. Across the gospels we see four repeated ways Jesus communicates which we unpack and explore here.

Read the full article here…Jesus’ 4 streams of Kingdom Communication

Four approaches to enhance Growth, Mission and Multiplication

Church leaders are offered a range of approaches or strategies with the promise of enhancing growth and/or increasing missional penetration of their context(s). Often one such will be promoted as “the way forward” or preferred option. Since our overall aim is to help leaders become “missional master-craft persons” you will understand that we seek to provide a comparative analysis that helps assess what may suit where and when. Here we also identify where there are greater challenges and danger.

Read the whole article here…Four approaches to enhance growth mission and multiplication

Changing all our Instincts – Stop Starting with Church!

The trouble with us humans is that what we pick up and learn subconsciously through socialisation often affects us more than our formal learning, and certainly far more than we realise.

This is definitely true of our understanding of church and mission. Although we have become increasingly aware of the priority and call to mission, so much of the lives and experiences of church leaders revolves around church that we are often blind to its conforming power. And this blindness crucially disables us for that very task of mission.

Read the full article here…Changing all our instincts – Stop starting with Church!

Mistaken Identity – ‘Inner Security’ of Leaders

Inner Security of the Overall Leader.

Without this fundamental quality, both teams and church default to the unredeemed human tendency to CONTROL rather than RELEASE. Control does not deliver a missional movement of the sort initiated by Jesus. In our experience of working with many church leaders and in leadership teams, so often our leadership is hampered by an unhelpful level of inner insecurity.

Full article: Mistaken Identity – ‘Inner Security’ of Leaders: with DIAGRAMS

Alternative approach: Aware that some fine word pictures more helpful than diagrams, I add here the text of the same basic message given in St John’s Church in Hamburg in February 2020. On that occasion I was put in a pulpit with no flipchart of powerpoint, so had to use just Jesus’ word pictures. The principles here are so important and foundational to everything else that I want to repeat myself but in a different style: Mistaken identity – ‘Inner Security’ of leaders: with WORD PICTURES



Three ‘Parties’ to Mission Understanding

The Big Picture – the three ‘parties’

All mission engagement requires attention to three foundational factors that should shape mission responses. These three components are essential to be understood for existing churches but even more important in pioneering mission and planting fresh expressions of church.

Read the full article….Three ‘parties’ to mission understanding



Three mission responses

In seeking to lead a church into a more missional quality, it can be helpful to recognise that there are three broad options. All can be effective, but wise leadership will assess which is appropriate for the stage of the church’s life and the context. Some contemporary literature may suggest that one or other is preferable but it is our contention that best practice involves selecting the right option based on these highly variable factors. Continue reading “Three mission responses”

Jesus’ four “streams” of Communicating the Kingdom of God

The Gospel accounts of the ministry of Jesus bring together how he “the Word” communicated the truths of God. We are used to thinking that truth is communicated verbally and in propositional statements. However, that by no means the only channel or stream of truth that we find in the New Testament. Continue reading “Jesus’ four “streams” of Communicating the Kingdom of God”

Three Streams of Missional/Ecclesial Multiplication

It is becoming widely accepted that the church has to go on a journey of change to respond to our changed context.  Most agree that the change must involve discipleship and becoming missional.

But there are all sorts of models and principles being strongly promoted. Our experience of involvement with many of these is that we need discretion and clear understanding of what is involved in each if they are to be implemented healthily. Continue reading “Three Streams of Missional/Ecclesial Multiplication”