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Did you miss yesterday’s livestream with Ted Esler of Missio Nexus?

Quotes From the Broadcast:
  • “Obviously, there’s a mass demobilization that happened during COVID, and I think some of that demobilization became permanent. And we’re continuing to live in the fallout, fallout of that demobilization.”
  • “I’d say another effect of COVID in a positive way would be COVID caused many mission agencies, as well as globally focused churches, to ask very basic questions about: ‘What are we doing here? How are we delivering on that; and so, I think a positive outcome has been a resetting of expectations, resetting of roles in a, I’d say, kind of a top-down review of what we’re doing and how we’re doing it.” 
  • “I think there’s, you know, again, what you see in culture, you’re going to see in missions. Missions is highly relational. How we do fundraising? I just mentioned to you, I got mobilized because I heard an old timey missionary in a church service. It’s a web of relationships that made those connections happen.”
  • “But mutuality is something different. Mutuality is more about how we see the people that we’re ministering to. In fact, even the way that I just said that how we ministering to them is that it’s actually got to be changed into really understanding more how we minister with them. And when I say with them, I don’t just mean other missionaries. I mean, how are we working with the indigenous people that we’re trying to reach? And instead of seeing them simply as an objective mission, somebody we’re going to minister to, we want to bring them into that process and there’s adjustments being made to how we do church planning, how we conceive of projects and how we, you know, all of this.”
  • “You can’t really talk about missions today and not talk about migration, immigration issues. Yes, they’re huge. They’re not going away. And it’s not just in the U.S., it’s globally and some places, the world.”
  • “But the next trend I would just mention is declining population on a global scale.” 
  • “But all of the issues surrounding church growth and who’s leaving, who’s coming, etc., in the North American scene, those are those are trending issues that a lot of people are paying attention to.”
  • “And, you know, even in the unreached people group realm, you know, we’ve made progress, but a lot of our partners now are culturally closer to cultures that we should be working with. They may have advantages for working with those unreached people groups that we don’t have.” 
  • “We need to look for who is there ahead of us that might be good partners. I like to use the word might because sometimes those churches are not healthy enough, are not really in a great spot for us to partner with, but we should at least be taking the time to stop.”
  • “I wouldn’t call it an unreached tribe because missionaries are simply not allowed to go work with this tribe because of the government’s position. But they all got cell phones now and it was about the changing nature of that culture having nothing to do with missionaries, but it introduces pornography and all sorts of social ills into this completely untouched, unreached tribe that was down there that the government has basically, you know, tried to treat like they were animals on a reservation that nobody could have access to.  And as a result, they’re being brought into the into the modern world, some unhappy and not so fun ways. And that’s what digital is doing everywhere.”
  • “Let me just say, I’ve been a big proponent of innovation and I believe in innovation in ministry and the need for all that. But I also think as we utilize these tools, we’re lagging in our theological and theological reflection about what it’s doing to the message and how we are seeing technology influencing us as human beings. And some of the best work on this topic is actually not being done by Christians.”
  • “I’m not sure there’s a lot of models that we could point to that have been really outstanding examples of success. Let me just say that there’s a there’s a difference between what I call the Faith Works Movement and the Businesses As Mission group. The Faith in Works movement is their kind of their message is you’re a Christian, it’s your whole world. You can’t leave it at the door when you walk into your place of business. And they’ve really emphasized how do we draw in our faith when we’re doing our secular jobs? The BAM movement is really more about how we utilize business as a way to do redemptive ministry, whether that’s in access models or that’s, you know, some of them will say business itself is mission. Those two worlds are kind of separate in terms of how they approach this question. So that’s a challenge. How can we bring those together, so they’re not separate?” 
  • “The church that has engaged globally also engages locally. And I think that’s the positive message that we want to get out there and try to ignite a fire around. I do believe that there’s a difference between church and what I would call the missionary BAM or the missionary team as we see it in the New Testament. I think there are entrepreneurial mission leaders that are going to form their own structures.” 
  • “When we consider innovation, it’s change.  So, kind of the innovation piece where it was new has come and gone and now, we’re more into what I would call operationalizing phase when it comes to the digital. So, if there’s not a segment of your strategy that’s digitally focused, you’re probably missing out on opportunities. So that would be the first thing is that digital right now is not it’s no longer kind of a subset.” 

Watch the whole video for details and context! 

TED ESLER is the President of Missio Nexus, an association of agencies and churches representing about 30,000 Great Commission workers worldwide. He worked in the computer industry before becoming a church planter in Sarajevo, Bosnia, during the 1990’s. Ted is the author of Overwhelming Minority, which tells the story of their family’s ministry in Bosnia. In 2000, Ted became the Canadian director of Pioneers, and three years later moved to Orlando to join Pioneers USA’s leadership team. He was appointed as President of Missio Nexus in 2015. Ted holds a PhD in Intercultural Studies (Fuller Theological Seminary, 2012). His latest book, The Innovation Crisis: Creating Disruptive Influence in the Ministry You Lead has made him known in the community as the “Innovation Guru.”  He and his wife, Annette, have five children.

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