"If any one of you has material possessions and sees a brother in need, but has no pity on them, how can the love of GOD be in you?"
-1 John 3:17
Recommended Reading List
This list of reading materials has been complied for those who want to make a difference in this world. Whether you just want more information on the current state of the world orphan crisis or if you are ready to take the plunge into a short or long-term mission trip, you will find these materials to be helpful. This is a dynamic, changing list, so check back frequently for Additons and updates.
James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says”
Change the World: Recovering the Message and Mission of Jesus by Michael Slaughter
Something is not working. Despite the church's place of prominence in American culture and the ubiquity of the church in every American town, misconceptions about the faith of Jesus Christ run rampant today. Christians are known more for exclusivity than for love, more for potlucks than for solving world hunger.
It's time for churches to get over the cruise-ship mentality of being a program provider, and reconnect with the true message and mission of Jesus: to bring good news to the poor, release to the captives, and freedom to the oppressed.
Pastor Mike Slaughter challenges church leaders to look at the future of their congregations and make tough but necessary choices.
· Will you send the church out into the world?
· Will you focus on building disciples or tallying decisions?
· Will you multiply your impact or expand your facilities?
· Will you step out in courage or comply with the status quo?
The answers to these and other questions determine how your church will focus its time, its energy, and its budget to work for real change in a hurting world.
From Publishers Weekly
In a time when the congregations of many mainline churches are ebbing in the U.S., the success of a booming multi-campus congregation in the Rust Belt is certainly worthy of analysis. In this provocative, passionate and often critical book, Slaughter, lead pastor at Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church, takes a hard look at the seeker-sensitive, attendance-focused strategies that have driven the church growth movement for the past 20 years-and finds them severely lacking. "Let's quit worrying about numbers in the pews," asserts Slaughter, "and begin to be the hands and feet of Jesus in our homes, our communities, and the outermost places of the world." In such chapters as "Disciples vs. Decisions," the author describes the mission-driven, locally-focused and challenging philosophy of congregational life that's made a significant impact in places like Darfur, Sudan. It has also, ironically enough, fueled growth in the Ginghamsburg congregations. Chapters conclude with questions for individuals and congregations. Because he writes chiefly from his own experience, and doesn't draw a lot on that of other congregations, readers are mostly going to have to figure out how to apply Slaughter's ideas to their own church communities.
About the Author
Mike Slaughter, lead pastor at Ginghamsburg Church, is the three-decade dreamer of Ginghamsburg Church and spiritual entrepreneur of ministry marketplace innovations. His life-long passion to reach the lost and set the oppressed free has made him a tireless and leading advocate for the displaced children, womenand men of Darfur, Sudan, named by the U.N. as the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today. Under Mike’s leadership, Ginghamsburg Church has become known as an early innovator of small group ministry, the Church “media reformation” and cyberministry, with the Ginghamsburg website averaging 50,000 visits monthly from around the world. Since initiating The Sudan Project in January 2005, Ginghamsburg has invested over $5 million into humanitarian relief in Darfur. The resultant agricultural project, child development program and safe water initiative are expanding to reach a quarter of a million Sudanese refugees and villagers. As a mentor, Mike travels globally to speak and use his “gift of irritation” to equip ministry leaders to minimize brick and maximize mission so that they may fully deploy the mission of Jesus into the world. Mike is the author of multiple books for church leaders including Change the World, Spiritual Entrepreneurs, Real Followers, Momentum for Life, UnLearning Church, and Upside Living in a Downside Economy.
It's easy for American Christians to forget how Jesus said his followers would actually live, what their new lifestyle would actually look like. They would, he said, leave behind security, money, convenience, even family for him. They would abandon everything for the gospel. They would take up their crosses daily, but who do you know who lives like that? Do you? In Radical, David Platt challenges you to consider with an open heart how we have manipulated the gospel to fit our cultural preferences. He shows what Jesus actually said about his disciple-then invites you to believe and obey what you have heard.
Orphanology: Awakening to Gospel Centered Adoption and Orphan Care by Tony Merida and Rick Morton
Orphanology is a practical response to God’s command to care for the fatherless told through the stories of families and ministries who are responding. Orphanology extends the call to minister to the nearly 150 million orphans in the world with real-world ideas and illustrations for engaging in orphan ministry. Containing concrete ideas for how Christians, their churches, and groups of churches can respond tangibly to God’s call to care for the fatherless, Orphanology demonstrates how adoption, foster care, and other forms of orphan ministry are accessible to every believer and every church and introduces innovative approaches to orphan ministry including orphan hosting.
You will be empowered and find direction for approaching the task of ministering to the fatherless at home and around the world.
The book empowers:
- churches—to plan preaching, teaching, ministering, missions, funding adoption, supporting orphans;
- individuals and families—to overcome challenges and uncertainties;
- every believer—to gain insights to help orphans in numerous ways.
Discover how to:
- assist orphans in transition;
- engage in foster care;
- partner with faith-based fostering agencies;
- become orphan hosts.
Along with their families’ adoption stories, Merida and Morton give steps for action and features on churches doing orphan ministry, faith-based children’s homes, orphan-hosting groups, and other resources.
Where you go says a lot about who you are. Just look at Jesus. He traveled to places that one might not associate with a holy man; he spent time with people whom others avoided; he crossed the roads and barriers that other people detoured around. So where is God nudging you to go? In Why Jesus Crossed the Road, Bruce Main shows how God can use your own “crossings,” both big and small, to redirect your life and the lives of those you meet along the way. As you join Jesus and his ragtag band of followers in the lost spiritual discipline of road crossing, you’ll learn to enter the lives and stories of all people—and your own journey will be immeasurably richer as a result.
I've written this book because I'm bothered. The more places I go and the more I see, the more I believe there are places of hell on earth. There are villages where children have no shoes, cities where families have no homes, countries where people have no hope. It doesn't have to be this way. But it is. It's time to live differently. We have the ability and resources to do so much...but the key word is we.
Give your life away to change this world and God will change you for the best. A rising voice in the missional movement, Palmer Chinchen challenges Christians to a new kind of spiritual formation-one focused on pouring out our life for others and radical dependence upon God.
Loving Your Neighbor: Seeing Others
Through the Eyes of Jesus by Mark Labberton
In Bible times, God maintained a special provision for the less fortunate. As His people harvested their fields, they were instructed to always leave a portion of the crops for those in need.
Today, God's heart continues to beat for the poor, the widows, and the fatherless. And as His children, our divine commission remains the same, a directive that's nothing less than the heart of the Christian message.
Author Tom Davis encourages us to move beyond words and become Christ to those in need. Join Tom as he shares a journey from around the world and our own backyard as people's lives are changed through the power of compassion. Filled with remarkable stories of hope and mercy, Fields of the Fatherless will inspire you to love "the least of these," and discover the joy found in becoming the hands and feet of Christ.
Red Letters-Living the Faith that Bleeds by Tom Davis
Publisher David C. Cook, 2007
"I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me."
Matthew 25:42-43 ESV
In many Bibles, Christ's words are set apart with a red font. It should be obvious, but this distinction helps remind us that when God becomes Man and that Man speaks--it's probably something we cannot afford to miss.
So why doesn't the church take these " red letters" to heart? Why aren't we doing more to be Christ's hands and feet to the poor, the disenfranchised, the weary, the ill, the fatherless, the prisoners? It's all there--in red letters. Why has the Church shirked its responsibilities, leaving the work to be done by governments, rock stars, and celebrities?
The Gospel wasn't only meant to be read--it was meant to be lived. From the HIV crisis in Africa to a single abused and lonely child in Russia, the Church must seize the opportunity to serve with a radical, reckless abandon. Author Tom Davis offers both challenge and encouragement to get involved in an increasingly interconnected, desperate modern world.
Mission Trip Awareness
When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor and Yourself by Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert
Publisher Moody Publishers, 2009
Serving with Eyes Wide Open:Doing Short-term Missions with Cultural Intelligence by David A. Livermore
Publisher Baker Books, 2006
Hyper-spiritual approaches to finding God's will don't work. It's time to try something new: Give up.
Pastor and author Kevin DeYoung counsels Christians to settle down, make choices, and do the hard work of seeing those choices through. Too often, he writes, God's people tinker around with churches, jobs, and relationships, worrying that they haven't found God's perfect will for their lives. Or—even worse—they do absolutely nothing, stuck in a frustrated state of paralyzed indecision, waiting . . . waiting . . . waiting for clear, direct, unmistakable direction.
But God doesn't need to tell us what to do at each fork in the road. He's already revealed his plan for our lives: to love him with our whole hearts, to obey His Word, and after that, to do what we like.
No need for hocus-pocus. No reason to be directionally challenged. Just do something.