Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Book Notes - Tradecraft

A few years ago, I outlined some training notes for future student missionaries called The Global Leader Guide. Instead, I should have just waited for Tradecraft: For the Church on Mission written by Larry McCrary and some of his friends at The Upstream Collective. Many of the concepts in the book are right on target with ideas that Ember believes students should be exposed to and taught - its wonderful to see it all put together. I think Tradecraft may become essential for us.

Some of the these concepts include:
::: people of peace
Jesus did not send out the 70 with a mission to find a partcular few who would be persons of peace, per se. He had sent them out to represent the Kingdom and proclaim its message, which would inevitably lead them to those whom God had prepared, immediate or not.

Now, the person might well be a person of high reputation, as were Cornelius, Lydia, the Ethiopian enuch and others. But consider the demon-possessed slave girl with the spirit of divination, or the Gerasenes man among the tombs with an unclean spirit. No one was able to bind him anymore. But everyone knew of him. He was a person of reputation, and he manifested himself to be a person of peace. [Expanding on the idea that persons of peace have a reputation but it might not need be a good one.]
::: indigenous
Model - Assist - Watch - Leave
::: mapping
Mapping is an invaluable skill for all ministries... As you study the city, you come to understand its people. This is the first step in incarnation - putting yourself in the shoes of those to whom you want to minister....Ideally your map would have at least three layers: geographic, social and spiritual.
::: exegeting culture
Andrew Jones, missionary, blogger, and global nontraditional church guru, has often said that his job is to 'throw parties and tell stories.' Thom Wolf taught that the missionary's role is to retell people's stories back to them in light of the gospel. This is very good missionary tradecraft indeed: find out what people are talking about, and show them how it all relates to the Most High God.
: contextualization
For the sake of mission, contextualization means adjusting how we communicate the gospel so that people do not need to join a new culture in order to hear and understand the message.

One final thought - the Following the Spirit chapter was very thought provoking for me. It's a chapter devoted to missions strategy and makes the case for following the Holy Spirit, especially at the beginning of trying to define a strategy for a church or organization. I really appreciated the chapter, especially since I've been involved in a lot of this recently. I wish the chapter gave more structure to this idea, but that's the exact problem they are writing about. Sometimes we want exact directions when it's a lot more 'mystical' than that.

Thanks Larry and Upstream for writing this book.

Disclosure: I was provided a copy of this book for review purposes.

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