#IAmGoing Weekend Reading

The Geography of the Great Commission: Greg Mathias

Jimmy Kimmel recently surveyed average Americans on their knowledge of geography. Each person stood in front of a world map, was given a pointer, and asked this question: “Can you name a country on the map?” The responses—or lack thereof—were both hilarious and horrifying.

After some mumbling, blank stares, and nervous laughter, the most common response was “Africa.” Since Africa is a continent and not a country, the answers only went downhill from there. Thankfully, at the end, a young kid saved the day by rattling off multiple countries across the world.

How would you do if you were stopped on the street and asked to identify countries on a world map? My fear is that many of us would do about as well as those surveyed by Kimmel. After all, geography is just about maps, globes, and land formations, right?

For me, geography is more than the boring study of the world. It is a window into people and places. When I was younger, my interest in the world was initially piqued as I participated in Royal Ambassadors. Regularly, my friends and I heard from a missionary who served in some far corner of the planet.

As these missionaries told stories of their country, people, and ministry, my mind would ignite with the possibility of visiting there one day. Later, my studies in geography only cemented my love for the places in the world and the people who lived there. Now, I might be an outlier when it comes to a love for geography, but I believe Christians should have a decent grasp on geography for the following three reasons. …Read More.

Moving Past the Rhetoric of Multiplication: Keelan Cook

“We need more planters.”

I hear it more than in the past. I can remember, only a few years ago, speaking with representatives at some of our national church planting agencies (and even some of the smaller church planting networks) and hearing they were at capacity. At the time, the conversation  was centered on increased efficiency in equipping. Processes needed to be streamlined in order to run through more planters. Capacity was the issue back then.

Today, the conversations I have with other network leaders are taking a different tone: scarcity. Now, to be sure, many networks are planting more than they ever have. Church planting is definitely on the mind of many. But now that pipelines are more efficient than ever, the hopper for some is looking less full. …Read More.

Why Is Expressive Individualism a Challenge for the Church? Trevin Wax

The first reason why expressive individualism poses a challenge is that we’ve been commissioned to proclaim a message that is radically God-centered. The gospel challenges the “Me” with “I Am”—the One who created and sustains us. Expressive individualism would have us look deep into our hearts to discover our inner essence and express that to the world. But the gospel shows how the depths of our hearts are steeped in sin; it claims that what we need most is not expression, but redemption.

The world says we should look inward, while the gospel says to look upward. In an expressive individualist society, that message is countercultural. Such instruction is easy to resist, because looking up implies that something or Someone stands outside us and above us. Something that stands above us may exert some sort of authority or claim upon our lives. And like most good Westerners, we chafe against claims of moral authority. We push back against institutions that demand something from us. …Read More.

3 Ways Seating Arrangements Communicate: Art Rainer

You walk into your boss’ office. He sits behind his desk and you sit in front of it, directly across from your boss. In that moment, how do you feel?

For many of us who have found ourselves in that setting, we remember feeling uncomfortable or maybe even intimidated. But why?

Proxemics is the study of the space around us. Believe it or not, how you use space communicates something to those around you. Including seating arrangements. …Read More.

Caring for Customer Service Workers

Imagine your car is having some engine problems. You drive to the repair shop and leave it in the capable hands of the repair technicians. As you peruse the magazines in the waiting room, a repair technician comes out to you with the bad news: your car’s engine is worse than they thought. The original problem not only remains, but during the repair an unforeseen accident occurred and now the car’s engine problems are worse.

You can’t believe what you are hearing. What was supposed to be a routine repair has turned into an inconvenient nightmare. Your mind races as you think of how to break the news to your spouse and that your family will need to dip in your savings to cover the steep price tag. You can’t believe the so-called “professionals” you trusted failed to deliver on their promise. In your frustration and anger, you unload all your pent-up emotions onto the service technicians and demand that something be done immediately to rectify the situation.

Does this scenario sound familiar? These negative customer interactions occur frequently, and all of us have probably reacted in a similar way towards a service worker. …Read More.

On Anabaptists: A Panel Discussion Featuring Malcolm Yarnell, Bruce Ashford, Stephen Eccher and John Hammett

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Who were the Anabaptists, and what did they really believe? For centuries, historians had a skewed perspective of this religious tradition, but recent research has unearthed a more accurate picture of their beliefs, practices and more.

Malcolm Yarnell, Director of the Center for Theological Research at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, recently visited Southeastern Seminary to present a series of lectures on the Anabaptists. In this panel conversation, he joins Southeastern Seminary professors Bruce Ashford, Stephen Eccher and John Hammett to discuss Anabaptist history, their view of scripture, what we can learn from their example and more in a wide-ranging conversation. …Read More.

The Beauty of Age Diversity in the Church

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Six months ago, my worship-leader husband and I felt a call to a church in a town an hour away. On our first Sunday, I craned my neck, scanning the congregation for someone, anyone in our age bracket.

Who would we ever be friends with here? I thought to myself and then said out loud to my husband the moment we returned to the car. I had seen a lot of people over 35, and very few other young 20-something married people in the crowd. Yet after much prayer, we moved forward, convinced that we would find them (“them” being our new 20-something best friend couples to replace those we were leaving behind), even if it took a little while.

Now, it’s been a little while, and after some point, I realized that there aren’t very many 20-somethings in the church we joined not because they are hiding from us, but because there simply aren’t very many 20-somethings where we live.

As someone who has lived the greater part of her adult life in college towns, this lightbulb moment brought a slight bout of panic, followed by a long bout of laying sprawled out on the floor. I need friends, I whispered over and over, hoping He was listening.

Of course, He was. While I was busy lamenting the loss of a city and a church full of people my age, the Lord was busy surrounding me with an unexpected beginning of a very different community. …Read More.