Comprehensive Church Planting Among the Global Poor

When Bárbara and I began Living Bread Ministries in 2004 our heart was to spark a movement to plant churches among the global poor.  Even more, we wanted the movement to be comprehensive in nature, planting churches and equipping them to minister directly in their communities.  Finally, we wanted it to be a movement that is participated in by the whole Church working together.  In this video you will see a concise presentation of our mission, our story, and our vision for the future!

If you would like to learn more about Living Bread or partner with us visit us here.

Do Not Choose Between Church Planting and Humanitarian Ministry

When Bárbara and I began Living Bread Ministries ten years ago we had a vision to minister to the comprehensive needs of the poor.  We had seen, within the North American church, two ways of viewing church and mission.  In our little corner of the world most churches were in one of two camps; the churches that cared for physical needs and those who cared for spiritual.  Often both camps held an air of superiority over one another.

We saw the biblical call to both and wanted to plant churches among the poor and needy who understood this as well.  What developed was a comprehensive, whole gospel, approach to ministering among the global poor.  Central to our efforts is church planting among the poor which is in itself unusual.  In addition, we go a step further and equip each of our church plants to minister in a comprehensive way in their community.

We are church planting among the most needy, and through our church plants we are addressing the real physical, educational, relational, AND spiritual needs of the individuals and communities we work in.  When you support Living Bread you are supporting a comprehensive work that is involved in church planting and, through those church plants, aid and development work.  You really don’t have to choose between church planting and humanitarian ministry when choosing how to invest in the kingdom of God.

 

Service: The Way of Thriving in the Kingdom

In Mark 10:35-45 Jesus explains to His disciples how His kingdom is different from the World.  He calls His followers to lives of service because of and empowered by His service on their behalf.

 

He Has Made Us One – Free Download

My friend, Nate White, recently recorded an EP and I must say it has been in my CD player for months. The theological depth and his understanding of the Church and her mission is captivating.  Nate recently made the EP available for free download on NoiseTrade.  He believes in the message of his music and wants to see the Church blessed by it.  To this end, should you choose to leave a tip, Nate and Dianne have committed to giving 100% of the tips to Living Bread Ministries to fund church planting among the global poor.  Go pick up a copy, be blessed, and be a blessing!

The Mission of the Church – Luke 9:1-6

This is a message I recently shared on Luke 9:1-6.  In this passage Jesus is giving the new humanity, the Church, their creation mandate just as God commissioned Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:26-28.  For this reason this passage has significant implications on missiology.

 

True Sacrifice: Planting Churches Among the Poor and Undesired

Globally there is not a organized vision to plant churches among the very poor, but there should be.  I addressed this issue in an article I wrote for Church Planter Magazine.  You can find True Sacrifice: Planting Churches Among the Poor and Undesired on page 26 of the premiere issue of the magazine.  If you would like a subscription visit their page in the App Store.

I would love to hear your feedback on the article.

My Concern with the Adoption Movement

Since the title of this post is sure to lead to assumptions and possible misunderstandings let me begin with my affirmation of adoption.  Adoption is central to understanding the gospel.  Christ died, not simply to secure my ticket to heaven, but to reconcile me to God; that is to restore my relationship to God through adoption.  In Christ I am a son and as a son a co-heir with Christ.  The adoption of orphans is a beautiful picture of this, much like marriage is a picture of our relationship with Christ.

Furthermore, though I did not grow up in a Christian home my parents were foster parents and provided a safe home for many children over the years.  They eventually adopted both of my brothers out of foster care and provided them the same upbringing and opportunities they provided their biological children.  For this reason I have financially contributed to friends who are seeking to adopt.  As you can see, I am a fan of adoption.

After reading the above you may be thinking, “What possibly could this guy be concerned about rescuing orphans he’s seen the need and fruit first hand?”  This is true, but I have seen something else firsthand.  You see, I lead a ministry that plants churches among the global poor.  I’ve seen poverty up close and personal; desperate poverty.  The type of poverty that leads, primarily women, to do the unthinkable; to abandon or even sell their children.  Our immediate response to this is shock and horror because we’ve never been that desperate.  Rest assured, if you spend enough nights listening to the children you love so dearly crying from hunger and seeing other children die of hunger, as a mother, you might gain a different perspective.  You might begin to see this as the height of sacrificial love.

This brings us to my concern.  Maybe I have just missed it but I don’t hear enough talk from adoption advocates (primarily international adoption) regarding the building up of poor families among the global poor so that we can reduce the need for adoption.  I hear much about the need to make great sacrifices to rescue children, including the great financial cost, but I don’t hear much about making the same sacrifices, including financial, to aid poverty stricken mothers and families so they can raise their children.  I won’t speculate as to why.

Please don’t misunderstand, there is and will continue to be great need for the Western church to adopt children.  The AIDS epidemic and other diseases as well as wars and natural disasters will always create orphans.  I praise the efforts of those championing the cause of orphans globally.  I’m just asking the leaders of the movement to consider two things.

  1. Take a balanced approach and advocate for poor mothers and families to care for their children.  Call on the Western church to take this aspect of the orphan problem seriously and to demonstrate their seriousness with financial investment.
  2. Consider the importance of indigenous Christians in confronting this humanitarian tragedy.  The church is growing by leaps and bounds in the global south and they too care about orphans.  We have realized the significance of working with indigenous pastors as we seek to expand the kingdom of God globally.  We need to consider the potential of unleashing the church in the global south to care for the orphans among them.  It has been my experience that the willingness is there but what is often lacking is the financial resources.  We can help with that.  What if we began to equip indigenous Christians with the necessary discipleship and financial resources to care for the orphans among them.

After we have done these two things the numbers of children needing to be adopted by Westerners might be drastically reduced and, long term, far more children could be helped.  Maybe I’m out of touch and we are already doing what I have described above.  Do you think my concern is valid or am I just worrying for no reason?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.