The Missions Podcast

The Missions Podcast

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Answering Hard Questions About Missions, Theology, and Practice


Disciple-Making Movements: A Critical Discussion With Dr. Glenn Sunshine
Oct 20
Disciple-making movements (DMM) and church planting movements (CPM) are more than just buzzwords—they represent controversial methodologies that are dividing missionaries along organization and theological lines. Do these methodologies represent faulty…
C.R. Wiley on Missions, the Household, and the Cosmos
Oct 13
In much of the contemporary missions conversation, the good, ordinary gifts of God—like marriage and family—are often spoken of mainly as things to be sacrificed, not as things to be cultivated as a part of the church’s mission. This week, Chris “C.R.”…
Why Theology Must Shape Mission: A Chat With Zane Pratt
Oct 6
It’s our 100th episode! Listen all the way through the episode for details on how to win our podcast anniversary giveaway. In honor of the occasion, we brought back a favorite friend of the show—Zane Pratt, vice president for global training for the…
Christopher Yuan on Holy Sexuality and the Gospel
Sep 29
The current flood of issues relating to sexuality isn’t just a challenge for pastors in the West, but for missionaries abroad—especially those serving in Asia, where gender fluidity has been accepted into the cultural assumptions of certain countries for…
Why Character Matters in Ministry: Paul Davis on Knowing Christ
Sep 22
When pastors, missionaries, and others in ministry fail to actively abide in Christ, that’s when pragmatism becomes most tempting—and most dangerous. How can missionaries remain rooted? ABWE President Paul Davis stops by the studio this week to share what…
What Happens When Missionaries Get Kicked Out? John Klaassen Answers
Sep 15
Missions always comes with risk, and nothing is guaranteed—especially in hostile, unreached contexts. What should missionaries do when they get kicked off the field? How should they adjust their own expectations when God closes ministry doors? In this…
Michael Foster on the Crisis of Masculinity and Missions
Sep 8
Why are there so few men in missions? Does the cultural mandate conflict with the Great Commission? And how has the overall downgrade of teaching on biblical manhood in evangelicalism adversely affected the cross-cultural witness of the Christian family…
Special Episode: What Do the Hong Kong Protests Have to Do With Missions?
Sep 1
Between 1-2 million people have been taking to the streets in Hong Kong—even singing Christian hymns—in peaceful protest over a new extradition law representing China’s continued aim to tighten its fist and squelch political and religious liberties in the…
Race, Evolution, and Missions: Charles Ware Speaks
Aug 25
If missionaries are to carry the gospel across cultural and national lines, it’s critical that they have a thoroughly biblical theology of race and ethnicity. And while much of modern progressive, secular culture repudiates anything remotely “racist,” Dr.…
Brooks Buser on the Urgency of Eternity and the Dangers of Pragmatism
Aug 18
Do we really grasp the urgency of taking the gospel to those who have never heard? And if the task of making disciples among the unreached is so urgent, why shouldn’t we employ every pragmatic means at our disposal to finish the task? Brooks Buser weighs…
Is ‘Marketplace Missions’ Sustainable? Mark Silvers Talks Mobilization
Aug 11
Increasingly, Millennials and young people are redefining “long-term” missions. At the same time, fewer are willing to raise missionary support. Is recruiting marketplace missionaries—many of whom are short-term tentmakers—a sustainable solution? And if…
What Missionaries Need to Know About the Faith and Works Debate: Chris Bruno on Justification and the Missiology of Paul and James
Aug 4
For New Testament students, fewer topics are more frequently studied and debated than the relationship between faith and works in the book of James and the letters of Paul. The question “how are we justified?” isn’t just a question asked in churches and…
What Is the Mission of God’s People?
Jul 28
What is the mission of the people of God in the world? Christians often get this basic question wrong. Are the people of God primarily called to social work, church planting, evangelistic campaigns, or all three somehow? This week, Scott Dunford explains…
How Much Do the Unreached Know? Natural Revelation and Evangelism
Jul 21
When we consider unreached and unengaged people groups, we typically think of them as knowing nothing at all of God. But a biblical theology of natural revelation and common grace drives us to a deeper understanding of the fact that all human beings are…
Brad Buser on Tribal Religion, Contextualization, and Disciple-Making Movements
Jul 14
When we think “missions,” we tend to think jungles, tribes, animism, strange languages, and thatched roofs. That impression isn’t always accurate. But for veteran missionary and legendary mobilizer Brad Buser, that’s exactly what he experienced. In this…
Longevity and Endurance in Church Planting: Bob Trout Shares
Jul 7
In our impatient, have-it-now society, it’s difficult to think long-term about serving in one field of ministry for decades—much less healthy church planting and multiplication over the long haul. In this episode, ABWE veteran Bob Trout shares the…
Benjamin Vrbicek: Don’t Just Send a Resume to a Church—Or a Missions Agency
Jun 30
Too often in pursuit of full-time ministry abroad or at home, ministry applicants simply email a church or missions agency their resume and leave the rest of the hiring process to chance. Whether you’re fresh out of seminary or transitioning to ministry…
Are Honor and Shame the Keys to Cross-Cultural Evangelism?
Jun 23
In the West, we tend to think in terms of law, justice, guilt, and innocence. Our gospel presentation naturally picks up this flavor. But in many Eastern cultures, honor and shame are the dominant values—and in tribal contexts, it’s fear and power that…
Your Questions (Finally) Answered: Mailbag Episode
Jun 16
Is it biblical for a missionary to change sending churches or agencies? Is there a right or wrong way to do it? How often should pastors visit their missionaries? Is it worth it to start a family on the field? Is missions easier or harder as a single?…
Rachel Jankovic on Identity, Christian Women, and the Mission Field of Motherhood
Jun 9
How are Christian women to respond to the onslaught of lies barraging them from the surrounding culture about who they are and the basis of their identity? And how is motherhood a “mission field” for the Christian woman? This week Rachel Jankovic,…
Faithfulness or Pragmatism? Andy Johnson on Methodologies
Jun 2
What are the non-negotiables of how we do missions? Is it possible to reverse-engineer what’s “working” on the field to build our methodology, or are we locked in to a finite set of prescriptions from Scripture about how to do ministry—thinks like…
Fouad Masri on What Christians Get Wrong About Reaching Muslims
May 26
What is it like for a Christian living in the Middle East? What do believers usually get wrong about Islam and how to share Christ with Muslims? These questions are especially pressing during the month of Ramadan. This week Fouad Masri shares his personal…
Should Missions Be ‘Radical’ or Ordinary? Michael Horton Answers
May 19
Radical. Transformative. Impact. Crazy, even. These words fill the atmosphere when Christians discuss the sacrifice and risk involved in missions. But has all this talk of “radical” living left us unable to cope with regular life, ordinariness, boredom,…
Why Aren’t We Talking About ‘Gospel Privilege’? Chad Vegas Answers
May 12
The social justice controversy echoing across conservative evangelicalism has brought terms like “privilege” into the Christian vernacular, but in all the discussion of rights, equity, and cultural engagement, we’ve missed a critical category: gospel…
Dean Inserra on How to Reach America’s Most-Underrated Mission Field
May 5
Christmas-and-Easter Christians. Mainline Protestants. Nominal Catholics. Bible-Belt believers. Let’s face it—cultural Christians are everywhere. And the problem is that we see cultural Christianity as a discipleship issue rather than an evangelistic…
Culture: When to Bend, When to Break—Kenneth Nehrbass Explains
Apr 28
Everybody talks about “engaging culture.” Culture is a slippery concept. When should missionaries break from their host culture, and when should they bend with it? Is missions mainly about creating countless contextualized Christianities across various…
Do We Need to Redefine Unreached? Matthew Bennett Answers
Apr 21
For decades, missiologists have assumed the priority of the “unreached”—and for good reason—building entire organizational strategies around it. But do we need to redefine this term? Matthew Bennett, Ph.D., former IMB missionary and current Assistant…
What Every Missionary Needs to Know About Lament: Mark Vroegop Explains
Apr 14
Lament—though it litters the psalter—is a lost art form in modern evangelicalism. In a culture as torn-apart as ours, it makes sense that engaging grief biblically can open spiritual doors previously shut. Not only that, but embracing the grace of lament…
Muslim Refugees Meeting Christ: Darren Carlson on ‘Jesus in Athens’ Documentary
Apr 7
Are all the accounts of miraculous conversions among Muslim refugees true? What is unique about Athens, Greece amidst the ongoing people displacements in the Middle East? And what can U.S. churches learn from the hospitality and evangelistic zeal of Greek…
The Life of the Missionary Mind
Mar 31
Reading well in Scripture, theology, culture, and literature in general is key to preaching and teaching that connects—especially for the cross-cultural worker. What should we be reading? Why does it matter? And how can we who are busy working and doing…
Tom Ascol and Jared Longshore on the Priority of Preaching, God’s Sovereignty, and Discernment
Mar 24 • 41 min
Is preaching essential to missions, or is it a Western tradition that can be sacrificed for the sake of contextualization? Some advocates of disciple-making movements (DMM’s) claim the latter. In this interview, Tom Ascol and Jared Longshore of Founders…
Should We Stop Sending Indebted Missionaries? Luke Womack on Student Loans
Mar 18
The average college student in the U.S. leaves with about $30,000 in educational debt. At what point do we stop sending missionaries to the field with students loans? Is it immoral to send expensive Western missionaries to serve where national partners…
Why You Should ‘Adult’ Before Pursuing Missions: A Chat With Lori McDaniel
Mar 10
What’s the danger in missions conferences and serial short-term missions trips? This week, we welcome back our friend Lori McDaniel, Church Initiatives Manager for IMB and also a pastor’s wife, to give her take on trends we’re seeing among Christian…
The Number One Reason Missionaries Go Home
Mar 3
Globally, 71% of missionaries who return home each year leave the field for preventable reasons. What might be the biggest factor? We believe it all comes down to team dynamics. What is it about cross-cultural ministry that is so uniquely stressful for…
A Biblical Theology of Spiritual Warfare and Missions
Feb 24
Among the practical topics on which missionaries receive hands-on training, spiritual warfare can sometimes fall by the wayside—but spiritual warfare is crucial for missionaries to grasp and engage effectively. How should we understand spiritual warfare…
Micah Fries: What Christians Should Know About Islam in North America
Feb 17
The presence of Islam in North America is still a lightning-rod issue, even 17 years after 9/11. This week we return to the topic of how Christians can engage their Muslim immigrant and refugee neighbors—and wade through the complicated waters of related…
Paul Maxwell on What Missionaries Should Know About Trauma
Feb 11
Everybody is talking about trauma. Our culture is highly concerned with mental health, but a lot of half-baked opinions from pop psychology dominate the conversation. Simultaneously, those within the church are usually the last to show any willingness to…
Fighting Abortion in Ukraine With the Gospel: Holly Friesen on Medical Missions
Feb 4
According to some stats, Ukraine—in many ways a nominally Christian country—leads the world in per-capita abortions. One in three Ukrainian women has had an abortion, and many women have had upwards of seven abortions each. What is the role of the local…
Missions and the Need for Deeper Women: Karen Swallow Prior and Anne Kennedy
Jan 27
Across the Internet—the place where many missionaries away from home get much of their theology and encouragement—there is a critical drought of deep-thinking resources for women. Many of the women’s resources simply play to one’s emotions or repackage…
Breaking Down Cultural Walls to Reach Muslims: Mariya Dostzadah’s Story
Jan 20
Mariya Dostzadah Goodbrake comes from a Sunni Afghan background, dabbled into New Age mysticism, and found herself surrounded by Roman Catholics in Mexico—and it’s there that God brought her face-to-face with an evangelical Christian and the biblical…
Porn: the Killer of Missions—With Benjamin Vrbicek
Jan 13
In our culture, sexual temptation is hitting the church like a tidal wave, and those serving overseas as missionaries are far from immune. Porn is a fatal undercurrent that Satan uses to eliminate gospel workers sniper-style and cripple missions efforts,…
Danny Akin on Mobilizing Millennials — and Young Men
Jan 6
Where are all the qualified, seminary-educated young men in the missions world? How can a Bible college or seminary maximize its potential to mobilize students for the work of the Great Commission? Where is the modern missions movement going? This week…
How to Think Like a Missionary: David Doran Jr. on Missional Living
Dec 31, 2018
What does it mean to be “missional”? We asked David Doran Jr., church planter in Lincoln Park, Michigan, an urban center in the Detroit metroplex, how thinking like a missionary has helped him reach with the gospel different communities just a stone’s…
What Are Worldviews and How Do They Change? John Mark Yeats on Paul Hiebert
Dec 24, 2018
We use the word “worldview” a lot, but what does it actually mean? Does anthropology have anything to teach missionaries—and can it give us a model for how worldviews actually change as people are converted to Christ? To help us make sense of these…
How Many Unreached Are There Really? A Chat on Statistics With Justin Long
Dec 17, 2018
How do we really know how many unreached people groups there are—and is that the thing we should be counting, anyway? What can statistics tell us, and what can’t they? We ask these and other tough questions to expert missions researcher Justin Long,…
Special Episode: Scott’s Transition and Church Planting in Silicon Valley
Dec 13, 2018
In this special episode, we take a break from the normal flow as Scott Dunford shares an important update on his life and ministry. We’re also joined by Bob Bixby, lead pastor of Redeemer Church in Fremont, California, to talk about why the San Francisco…
What Is Gospel-Centered Missions?
Dec 10, 2018
What is the gospel? It’s a question missionaries can’t afford to take for granted. Specifically, what would a distinctly gospel-centered approach to missions look like, and how would it differ—or not differ—from forms of mission that focus heavily on…
John Chau: Missions, Methodology, and Martyrdom
Dec 3, 2018
Today we’re taking a break from our regular interview lineup to address the recent death of missionary John Allen Chau. In his final letter before being arrowed to death by the hostile North Sentinelese islanders, Chau penned, “It’s worth it to declare…
Mere Hope: Jason Duesing on Missionary Hope in a Cynical Age
Nov 26, 2018
We live in an age of perpetual outrage and cynicism, and lost hope takes its greatest toll upon the missionary endeavor. This week we spoke with Dr. Jason Duesing, passionate missions sender and academic Provost and Associate Professor of Historical…
Mentorship: the Missing Ingredient in Missions? With Marvin Brubacher
Nov 19, 2018
Is mentorship the missing ingredient in missions? This week, Marvin Brubacher, Executive Director of MentorLink Canada and ABWE board member emeritus, joins to share from his decades of experience in promoting deep, one-on-one relationships of…