Intermission

Our quarterly magazine aims to equip and inspire the Church for missional engagement here and abroad. Each edition looks at a missional issue from a variety of angles, giving you and your church ideas of how you can put what you’re reading to action. To make this accessible to the widest audience, the articles from new editions are posted to this site. Feel free to print and use them in your small group or youth group.

Be alerted when new articles are posted to the website by filling out the sign up form at the top of the page, or use the Intermission RSS feed with your favourite feed reader. To receive Intermission in the post click here. For additional copies or back-issues email office@nzcms.org.nz

Latest articles

  • The stories of those who come to us (Intermission – Issue 35)

    The stories of those who come to us (Intermission - Issue 35)
    13 June, 2018

    There is a need literally three metres outside the doors of our church. Every day hundreds of students walk past. So many have come so far to be here but they don’t seem to have anyone who cares about them. They fall into a world where there is only a lecture theatre, a shoebox apartment ...

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  • A giving heart (Issue 33)

    A giving heart (Issue 33)
    30 November, 2017

    “Whatever the capacity for human suffering, the church has a greater capacity for healing and wholeness” Bill Hybels, Willow Creek Community Church A great capacity for giving comes from a generous heart, and a generous heart always finds the motivation and the outlets to love all people (including difficult people). The Bible challenges believers to recognise each ...

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  • We’re All Called to Give (Issue 33)

    We're All Called to Give (Issue 33)
    31 October, 2017

    A wealthy businessman had just gone through a heart-wrenching divorce. Burnt out and broken, he went along to a church to try finding some solace. He was delighted when he was invited home for dinner – finally it looked like someone was going to take the time to listen to him. But he quickly discovered he’d ...

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  • When Prayer Meets Calling (Issue 32)

    When  Prayer  Meets  Calling (Issue 32)
    21 September, 2017

    By Steve Maina (NZCMS National Director) I remember it clearly. Floating above the earth, glancing down at the world, wondering where I’d land. When my feet finally rested in Saudi Arabia, I was a little caught off guard. No, I’m not an astronaut, and no, NASA hasn’t invested in a base in the Middle East. Let me ...

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  • Learning to Pray (Issue 32)

    Learning to Pray (Issue 32)
    18 September, 2017

    By a friend serving in the Middle East As I write I hear the familiar voice of our local ‘spinach lady’ in animated conversation on the street outside. Hearing her prompts me to ask God to have mercy on her and let her come to know him. Earlier today I sat with a new neighbour for an ...

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  • Reacquainting our knees with the carpet (Issue 32)

    Reacquainting our knees with the carpet (Issue 32)
    8 September, 2017

    By Katie (Serving in Spain with NZCMS) “I pray but I could always pray more.” I hear myself say that time and time again. But why should I? Why are we ‘all called to pray’? Living in Spain in the midst of a different culture and language has taught me a lot about the importance of ...

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  • The Moment I realized I couldn’t be a Monk (Issue 32)

    The Moment  I realized  I couldn’t  be a Monk (Issue 32)
    1 September, 2017

    By Rev Joshua Taylor (Vicar at St John’s in Timaru) Just over four years ago my life took a dramatic turn. My wife Jo and I entered the unknown territory of parenthood. We now have two lovely girls, Phoebe (4) and Esther (1). I think it would be fair to say that I underestimated the impact having ...

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  • Learning to Breathe (Issue 32)

    Learning  to Breathe (Issue 32)
    26 August, 2017

    By Jeremy Harris (Grace Collective Auckland) Prayer is a beautiful thing. When we pray we’re participating in Jesus’ relationship with the Father through the Holy Spirit. We enter the Triune dance between Father, Son and Spirit of God through Jesus who is our Great High Priest, sitting at the right hand of the Father and ...

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  • We’re all called to Pray (Issue 32)

    We're all called to Pray (Issue 32)
    23 August, 2017

    In the latest Intermission we’re looking at the link between mission and prayer. Below you’ll find the introduction – we’ll post the articles from the magazine over the next few weeks. To receive the Intermission in the post fill in this form or email office@nzcms.org.nz A group of us on a mission school, frustrated at our own apathy, ...

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  • A Rocha’s Rich Living

    A Rocha's Rich Living
    3 August, 2017

    Last year’s Intermission on sustainable living and mission mentioned that A Rocha would be producing a resource for churches and Christian groups. It’s finally here! They’ve made it available for free online, so we encourage you to check it out and consider how your church can engage with the material. It’s important to remember that this ...

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  • Dreaming with God (Issue 31)

    Dreaming with God (Issue 31)
    6 July, 2017

    One of the most encouraging trends I’ve witnessed in the global church is an exciting wave of creativity which is igniting new ways of being church and is bringing the flow of God’s regenerating life into communities and families, especially those that linger in the margins of culture and the shadow of abundance. In every ...

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  • 100s and 1000s in mission mobilisation (Issue 31)

    100s and 1000s in mission mobilisation (Issue 31)
    30 June, 2017

    By Mike Robb (NZCMS Personnel Team)  Hanging on the wall of my house is a small framed picture of those little ‘100s and 1000s’ sprinkles you put on ice-cream. At the top we’ve written “Train 100s to win 1000s.” This was a word God gave Ruth and I about 25 years through a preacher and it’s ...

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  • Joining God’s missional breed (Issue 31)

    Joining God's missional breed (Issue 31)
    22 June, 2017

    I’ve just come back from the Philippines. No, I wasn’t there to have a holiday or to work on my tan. I was part of a team of Samoan women who all desired an experience of cross-cultural mission. We had the privilege of visiting NZCMS Mission Partner Dianne Bayley and the Children’s Bible Ministries team ...

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  • Death by a comma (Issue 31)

    Death by a comma (Issue 31)
    19 June, 2017

    Let’s eat Grandma.  Let’s eat, Grandma. One comma can be the difference between a polite invitation and a threat of cannibalism. Punctuation saves lives.  The comma that almost killed the church In ancient Greek, punctuation basically didn’t exist. In fact, it typically consisted of a non-stop series OFCAPITALLETTERS. For the most part we’ve had no trouble working out what punctuation ...

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  • Who’s telling the story anyway? (Issue 31)

    Who's telling the story anyway? (Issue 31)
    9 June, 2017

    By Kate Dugdale (Bishopdale Theological College). My sisters and I are fairly rambunctious, and talk over each other a lot (to my parents’ frustration!). We also do it to our parents, and I can recall a number of times when Dad would turn to the person who had interrupted and ask, “Who’s telling this story!?” When we ...

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  • We’re all called to Participate (Issue 31)

    We're all called to Participate (Issue 31)
    31 May, 2017

    In the latest Intermission we’re looking at ways that each of us can get involved in mission, whoever or wherever we are. Here’s the introduction – we’ll post the articles from the magazine over the next few weeks. To receive the Intermission in the post email office@nzcms.org.nz Maybe you feel like the frog above. He’s a hard worker ...

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  • Short-term Mission – further reading

    Short-term Mission - further reading
    22 April, 2017

    As a follow up to our issue of Intermission about ‘short-term mission’ here’s some useful online articles that capture some of the pitfalls of short-term mission and ‘voluntourism.’ A Cautionary Tale. A brilliantly funny short video from the Helping Without Hurting training mentioned at the end of this Intermission.  The Voluntourism Paradox. How your visit to orphanages could ...

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  • Community is not the Goal (Issue 30)

    Community is not the Goal (Issue 30)
    7 April, 2017

    When I think about belonging or community, I always think of my time with a large mission training centre in Australia. For almost four years I journeyed with a group of people who were all deeply passionate about knowing God and making him known. In the midst of all the busyness and excitement, I felt ...

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  • Transformational Community (Issue 30)

    Transformational Community (Issue 30)
    31 March, 2017

    Ruby’s dad finally succumbed to cancer a few Saturdays ago. Her visa for our country was due for renewal just a few days later. So first thing Monday morning, fellow students took her to the visa office, explained the situation about her having to get back to her home country, and encouraged them to quickly ...

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  • Towards Team-hood? (Issue 30)

    Towards Team-hood? (Issue 30)
    24 March, 2017

    Here’s a little ad I just whipped up: Cheap avocados. 50c bags of mangos. Hobbit-worthy grass-thatched dome housing. An orange flowering vine winding over the veranda. Living 100% off the grid. It’s the dream! The sun’s energy to charge your laptop and rain to provide water to hand-wash your clothes (which is very idyllic and not ...

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  • Tethered to Christ, Tethered to Each Other (Issue 30)

    Tethered to Christ, Tethered to Each Other (Issue 30)
    15 March, 2017

    By Scottie Reeves In Jesus we see this most powerful picture of inclusion. This man of immense integrity, character and holiness is always inviting those to the table we would never expect. The prostitutes, the thieves, the loan sharks and the violent extremists. At Christ’s table there’s room for Trump, room for refugees, room for beneficiaries ...

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  • We’re All Called to Belong (Issue 30)

    We're All Called to Belong (Issue 30)
    13 March, 2017

    In the last edition of Intermission we explored how we’re all called to be missional. Mission isn’t just for some elusive ‘Christian elite.’ We’re all called! We identified five missional postures and gave some ideas of what these could look like in each of our lives. But we only scratched the surface. We’re going to go through the ...

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  • We’re All Called to Go (Issue 29)

    We’re All Called to Go (Issue 29)
    3 March, 2017

    “There’s just no opportunities.” That’s what my team said to me as we sat in a radio station break room in the Middle East. No opportunities?! Simply to prove a point, I told them I was heading out for 10 minutes and would return with a story. Well, it took 20 minutes, but in that time I ...

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  • We’re All Called to Give (Issue 29)

    We’re All Called to Give (Issue 29)
    2 March, 2017

    By Zane A couple of weeks ago I held in my hand my first million. There’s a lot of power in those words: ‘my first million.’ There isn’t space here to establish a comprehensive theology of giving, but perhaps the most important aspect can be summed up with one word: ‘stewardship.’ As caretakers of God’s creation Adam ...

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  • We’re All Called to Pray (Issue 29)

    We’re All Called to Pray (Issue 29)
    22 February, 2017

    We’re all called to pray. This statement appears in the middle of the five missional postures discussed in this Intermission. But I wonder if it should be in the middle. I wonder if praying is where we ought to begin. Or is the middle exactly where it should be – central to everything else? In John 15:5 Jesus ...

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  • We’re All Called to Participate (Issue 29)

    We’re All Called to Participate (Issue 29)
    19 February, 2017

    Only about 10% of Kiwis go to church, and that number hasn’t changed in decades! The average church sees only about two (or less) people come to faith each year, and that’s while many others walk away from the faith. And importantly, up to 80% of Kiwis are beyond the reach of a Gospel witness – either ...

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  • We’re All Called to Belong (Issue 29)

    We’re All Called to Belong (Issue 29)
    1 December, 2016

    By Paul Thaxter (CMS UK). The Church Mission Society emerged from an informal mission community, the so called Clapham Sect. This group of people met together, ate and prayed together, and were in and out of each other’s homes. It was energetic group of diverse, influential leaders being shaped by God’s mission in Christ. Led by the Spirit ...

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  • We’re All Called (Issue 29)

    We’re All Called (Issue 29)
    16 November, 2016

    By Steve Maina (NZCMS National Director)  I’m often asked to speak about mission. At churches, in small groups, in Bible College classes, that’s the topic they all want me to share about. But the word ‘mission’ carries a bit of baggage with it – we all have an understanding of what it means, and more importantly, ...

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  • Making Mission the Centre (Issue 29)

    Making Mission the Centre (Issue 29)
    9 November, 2016

    The latest issue of Intermission explores what it means to belong to the NZCMS family. Over the next few weeks we’ll be posting these articles to our website to highlight the fact that we’re ALL called to be part of God’s mission in the world. Join us as we seek to Make Mission the Centre ...

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  • Helping Without Hurting in Short-Term Mission (Issue 28)

    Helping Without Hurting in Short-Term Mission (Issue 28)
    28 October, 2016

    At the end of a trip, one of the students uttered the words every leader hopes to hear: “This was the best short-term mission experience I’ve ever had, and I’ve had a bunch.” I’ve led my fair share of teams, so what made this one so good? Was it my amazing, charismatic leadership? … Actually, no! Perhaps ironically, it’s because we ...

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  • Short-Term Mission Impossible? (Issue 28)

    Short-Term Mission Impossible? (Issue 28)
    19 October, 2016

    By Mark Barnard. Not many 14 year olds spend their summer holidays in the interior jungles of West New Britain. But in 1992, that’s exactly what I did, living in a thatched hut for a month with a crew of fellow Kiwis and Aussies. We were there with New Tribes Missions building a house for some missionaries. It was off the ...

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  • Through Their Eyes (Issue 28)

    Through Their Eyes (Issue 28)
    17 October, 2016

    “Finally got a cuddle with a white baby! #savingnewzealand.” Imagine me writing that in a support letter back to Kenya. Sound offensive? Yet how many short-term teams send home photos of themselves holding dark skinned orphans? It’s so commonplace that ‘instagramming Africa’ is actually a thing. We can be certain about one lasting change for almost every short-term team member: their Facebook profile ...

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  • The Romantic Allure of Exotic Problems (Issue 28)

    The Romantic Allure of Exotic Problems (Issue 28)
    6 October, 2016

    They say distance makes the heart grow fonder and I think it’s the same with the needs of the world. You see, there’s something about distance that seems to simplify problems. The unpleasant details are less distinguishable 10000 kilometres away. The sewage in the streets doesn’t smell from here, their cultural ‘baggage’ is easily overlooked and that complex political issue surely has ...

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  • Since When is a Flower a Whole Garden? (Issue 28)

    Since When is a Flower a Whole Garden? (Issue 28)
    26 September, 2016

    Let’s imagine I rang up my local builder, telling him about a team of youth coming to NZ from Asia to build houses. He’d have a few questions: Why are they coming? They’re moved by the Auckland housing crisis. Are they qualified tradespeople? Nope. Do they have any building skills? Not that I know of. How long are they coming for? ...

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  • From the Editor (Issue 28)

    From the Editor (Issue 28)
    15 September, 2016

    Short-term mission. Though less than 60 years old, it’s become incredibly popular… and notoriously controversial. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent on these trips each year, but is that justified? Do they produce any fruit? Do they cause more problems than they solve? Are they actually just a Christianised form of ‘voluntourism,’ a way to have a feel-good experience ...

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  • Waste Not, Want Not (Issue 27)

    Waste Not, Want Not (Issue 27)
    29 June, 2016

    Sometimes I feel as if I’ve graduated from a Recycling 101 class… and with flying colours. I work in a trauma hospital in Cambodia’s second biggest city. No, I’m not a doctor or a nurse; I’ve started a crafts programme to help with patients’ psychological recovery. Because of where I am, and because the project ...

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  • Integral Mission (Issue 27)

    Integral Mission (Issue 27)
    24 June, 2016

    By Dr Andrew Shepherd Since the 1970’s there’s been a reawakening within the evangelical Church to the socio-economic dimensions of the Gospel. Activities such as disaster relief, medical welfare, community building & empowerment, job & income creation, trauma-counselling, peace-building, tackling structural injustices, are all now affirmed as an integral aspect of seeking the Kingdom of ...

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  • Want a Flourishing Community? Care for God’s Creation (Issue 27)

    Want a Flourishing Community? Care for God’s Creation (Issue 27)
    21 June, 2016

    By Brittany Ederer (with contributions by Lydia Robledo) Caring for God’s good creation, and caring for the plight of those who experience poverty, unifies Christ followers all over the globe. In 2010, 4200 evangelical leaders from 198 countries met in Cape Town, South Africa for the third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization. Item 7 of the ...

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  • Souls, Seals and Creation (Issue 27)

    Souls, Seals and Creation (Issue 27)
    10 June, 2016

    When you hear the words ‘Creation Care,’ what immediately comes to mind? There are three typical Christian responses: Irrelevant. Caring for the earth isn’t important for Christians – we should be concerned about people’s eternal future, not this earthly dwelling. For these people, the Gospel is about saving souls, not saving seals, and environmentalism is a ...

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  • Why Care About Climate Change? (with reading list) (Issue 27)

    Why Care About Climate Change? (with reading list) (Issue 27)
    30 May, 2016

    By Dick Tripp.  Creation care. Climate change. There’s two reasons I believe this is the most important issue the human race has ever faced, particularly at this present time. It’s about justice. It may come as a surprise, but I see climate change as an issue of human justice. Millions of people worldwide have suffered and are suffering ...

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  • From the Editor (Issue 27)

    From the Editor (Issue 27)
    28 May, 2016

    Does God care about his creation? Should we? They’re questions many Christians struggle to answer. Perhaps we’ve been told – directly or indirectly – that environmentalism isn’t important, that our mission is about getting people into heaven (and maybe looking after them during this life too). The ‘5 Marks of Mission’ keep our view of mission ...

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  • How Now Should We Shop? An Action Plan (Issue 26)

    How Now Should We Shop? An Action Plan (Issue 26)
    1 April, 2016

    “Now that I’ve seen, I am responsible” – Brooke Fraser Knowing what we now know, we have a choice: forget about it and do nothing, get overwhelmed and do nothing, or take steps towards change. Here are some tips I’ve found helpful to counter our culture’s consumerism while becoming more of a ‘Kingdom-shopper.’ Admit we’re wrong, admit ...

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  • The True Cost of Tea (Issue 26)

    The True Cost of Tea (Issue 26)
    18 March, 2016

    By Amanda (NZCMS Mission Partner in South Asia) ‘Fair trade’ tea. I’d heard of it, and even occasionally bought it in an attempt to buy more ethically. But it was my visit last September to a region famous for its tea gardens that truly challenged how I use my buying power. I was with a team ...

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  • Learning to Shop Ethically (Issue 26)

    Learning to Shop Ethically (Issue 26)
    14 March, 2016

    By Robin Raymond I’ve struggled for a long time to write this. As someone who’s paid to write, and writing about something important to me, this article should be easy. Yet I can’t shake the feeling this is all a load of sanctimonious nonsense from someone who doesn’t walk the talk. Confused? Earlier last year I set ...

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  • My 36 Slaves (Issue 26)

    My 36 Slaves (Issue 26)
    7 March, 2016

    By Kirstin Cant It was a casual Sunday afternoon. I went to the supermarket. I needed sugar. I got to the plethora of sugar options on the shelf and stared. And stared. I picked one up. I put it back. I couldn’t bring myself to buy it. Why? Not because of all the options before me. It’s because I ...

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  • Slave Wars (Issue 26)

    Slave Wars (Issue 26)
    2 March, 2016

    By Peter J. Mihaere This summer the world was treated to the long awaited Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It’s the story of the age-old battle of good versus evil, where evil is conquered once and for all – or so we thought – and the search for the last Jedi knight enchants a whole new ...

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  • From the Editor (Issue 26)

    From the Editor (Issue 26)
    2 March, 2016

    How will future generations talk about today’s world? What will we be remembered by? Perhaps at the top of the list will be the fact we could sleep soundly at night while millions were enslaved worldwide… largely because of our own greed! Maybe we’ve forgotten that we’re made in the image of a God who ...

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  • A View from the Outside (Issue 25)

    A View from the Outside (Issue 25)
    11 December, 2015

    By Kate Cremisino When my husband and I prepared to move as mission workers to New Zealand, the Lord gave us several words to help us gauge the spiritual climate of the land. We were made aware that New Zealand had moved into a post-Christian era but, putting a fire under our feet, God strongly spoke ...

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  • Reaching Secular Kiwis: What Will it Take? (Issue 25)

    Reaching Secular Kiwis: What Will it Take? (Issue 25)
    7 December, 2015

    By Ron Hay Two hundred years after the coming of Christianity to these shores we face a huge missional challenge: how to re-evangelize our nation, how to reach New Zealand afresh. There’s no question that we live in one of the most secular nations in the world. Even one of our leading literary figures, a self-declared ...

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  • Communicating the Faith in a Post-modern World (Issue 25)

    Communicating the Faith in a Post-modern World (Issue 25)
    30 November, 2015

    By Hamish Galloway It goes without saying that the world is very different to what it was fifty years ago. There’ve been changes and developments – both positive and negative – which have turned the West into a very different society. A major factor has been the rise of post-modernism, and unless the Church learns to ...

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  • Crossing the Line (Issue 25)

    Crossing the Line (Issue 25)
    25 November, 2015

    By Sam Harvey There are those moments when you’re ‘all in.’ Palms sweaty, heart racing, trying to look cool on the outside but feeling the nervous excitement that comes when you’re taking a risk for God. There’s something about the in-breaking of God’s Kingdom that seems to centre around these sort of moments… but what do ...

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  • From the Editors (Issue 25)

    From the Editors (Issue 25)
    18 November, 2015

    “I’m not an evangelist.” Many of us have used this line to remind ourselves of the people in our churches who naturally talk about Jesus with whoever they meet… and that we’re not one of those people. But it seems assumed that if I’m not one of these natural evangelists, then I’m not really called ...

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  • Evangelism should be comfortable, right? (Issue 25)

    Evangelism should be comfortable, right? (Issue 25)
    6 November, 2015

    When the Holy Spirit nudges me to talk about faith, three soothing thoughts often come to mind. “Now isn’t the appropriate time or place.” “I can’t think of the right words to say.” “I forgot to brush my teeth this morning.” These convenient excuses mean I can get on with my day and no one ...

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  • Reclaiming the Discipleship Roots of CMS (Issue 24)

    Reclaiming  the Discipleship Roots of CMS (Issue 24)
    21 October, 2015

    Two thousand years ago the world’s true ruler came declaring that the Kingdom of God was at hand. He explained – and demonstrated – what that Kingdom looks like. He died for our sins and rose to inaugurate that Kingdom. But rather than continuing to gather followers and spread the Kingdom himself, he did something ...

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  • Discipleship in Relationship, Discipleship in Community (Issue 24)

    Discipleship  in Relationship, Discipleship  in Community (Issue 24)
    13 October, 2015

    By a partner working in Asia. In South Asia, relationship and community are central to discipleship. So often I’ve seen that this is what really grows people in their faith. Take the example of Shan. Shan is a new believer. Hungry to find a worldview that was consistent with the reality he experienced, Shan made the costly decision ...

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  • Information & Imitation: It’s both-and! (Issue 24)

    Information  & Imitation: It’s both-and! (Issue 24)
    9 October, 2015

    A couple years back I was in the UK on study leave, looking at Fresh Expressions and other forms of missional church. It didn’t take long to notice that the same word come up again and again and again in theological colleges, in bishops offices, and in new church plants. Discipleship. But it came up less ...

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  • Becoming Disciple Makers: A Church’s Story (Issue 24)

    Becoming Disciple  Makers: A Church’s  Story (Issue 24)
    28 September, 2015

    By Amy Page-Whiting.  “Go and make disciples of all nations.” That’s the final command of Jesus to all those who follow him, and if asked, most church leaders would say it’s the core reason we exist. After pastoring for over ten years I had a growing sense that ‘there must be more than this.’ It wasn’t that ...

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  • Messy Discipleship (Issue 24)

    Messy Discipleship (Issue 24)
    25 September, 2015

    The title on my Word document read “Alcohol in Gulu District: Health Impacts.” An army of Google tabs linked me to recent journal articles. A small ginger cat purred on my lap. A mug of steaming spicy tea sat patiently beside me. As someone who loves the calm methodical nature of research, I should have ...

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  • Words Becoming Flesh (Issue 24)

    Words Becoming Flesh (Issue 24)
    18 September, 2015

    By Bishop Justin Duckworth.  “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood” (John 1:14). At the heart of the Christian message is the incarnation: that God took on flesh and blood and became one of us in Jesus. It’s easy to forget the implications of the incarnation for mission. Caught in a modernist framework ...

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  • Growth by Discipleship (Issue 24)

    Growth by Discipleship (Issue 24)
    15 September, 2015

    By Rich Robinson & Simon Ford (from 3DM ministries Europe).  If you visit Berlin today you’ll find one place where the wall still stands. Written on it is this quote: “Many small people doing many small things in many small places can change the face of the world.” Long before the wall came down, a reformation ...

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