The Burden of Mission

Not a second that goes by that God isn’t on his mission. The triune God plotted history with the mission of new creation in mind.

The Father sent the Son to defeat sin, death, and evil and put creation back on track. Together, they sent the Holy Spirit into the church to spread the good news that Jesus has defeated sin, death, and evil through his own death and resurrection and is making all things new, even us.

The church has been sent into the world: a missionary people cut from the cloth of a missionary God. When we are saved, we are saved into God’s mission. But, the burden of mission does not fall on us.

The burden of mission fell on Jesus so the blessing of mission could include us.

The burden of mission fell on Jesus so the blessing of mission could include us. We don’t carry the ultimate burden of redemption—that is Jesus’ job—but we do get to share his liberating news. We don’t have to talk anyone into anything. We just get to share the greatest news ever. We get in on the greatest mission hatched in history.

What to Do with News Fatigue


Impeachment hearings. Mother allegedly kills her three children. U.S. drinking water filled with “forever chemicals.” Coronavirus in China. Unsanctioned bombings by Iran. It seems like a new crisis hits the headlines everyday.

This is why I wrote Our Good Crisis.

Overwhelmed, I needed to find a way to cope with the calamity. Turns out many of us feel the same way. In 2018, 70% of Americans reported feeling news fatigue. When we’re worn down, it’s easy to cave into despair and check out, or click into outrage. Perhaps even worse, go numb.

How do we navigate what feels like constant crisis? Is it possible to make some good of it all? I believe there is. I want to do my small part to help. We’re giving away the first chapter, well ahead of the book release (March 17).

I hope it brings you hope and gives you light.

Elder Development & Holiday Reading

This Fall we started the fourth round of Elder Development at City Life Church in our 12 years as a church. We deliberately cast the net wider than those who are ready for eldership so that we can also develop leaders. This Fall was the richest round we’ve had to date. I think this was because of the high level of transparency and commitment to repentance and faith in Jesus.

Those who participate commit to meeting early on Friday mornings, taking City Seminary classes, writing papers, getting real with their fight clubs, and meeting with an elder mentor. In the Fall we focused on developing character and shepherding skill. In the Spring, we’ll focus on theological maturity and missional leadership. Here is a link to our foundational documents for the entire process

While all of the training is spiritually formative, we’ve asked our participants to read one of the following books and write a reflection paper over the holidays. I’ve found the practice of reading spiritually formative books over the holidays a great way to stay engaged with the Spirit while on vacation. I’ll be re-reading Dynamics of Spiritual Life, among others.


My Endorsement for A Big Gospel in Small Places

“There are billions of people living in small places, yet they are often ignored by ministry-minded people like me. Sure, rural areas are downstream of mainstream ideas, innovation, and trends, but small places are thick with culture and rife with opportunity for gospel ministry: poverty, depression, suicide, racism, injustice, and souls stranded in sin unacquainted with the love of God in Christ Jesus.

As Stephen points out, both rural and urban places are easily romanticized. What the world needs is Christians who value the small even in the big—disciples who move slowly and are attentive enough to bring a grand gospel into the nooks and crannies of life. This book has just about everything you need to help you do that, especially if you live in a small place. It offers rigorous research on rural trends, demographics, and the subtleties of smallness; it motivates ministry in those areas with the gospel of grace; it equips you to develop a theological vision for the place of your calling; it immerses you in real stories of rural ministry; and it challenges urban ministry biases with winsome wit, but most of all it calls us to love in place and discover something more of the immeasurable love of God in Christ Jesus for all the world.”

Jonathan Dodson, lead pastor of City Life Church, Austin, founder of, author of The Unbelievable Gospel and Here in Spirit

Go get a copy!

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