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The Missions Podcast

The Missions Podcast answers hard questions about theology, missions, and practice to help goers think and thinkers go. We are conservative, evangelical, and gospel-centered.The Missions Podcast is powered by ABWE International, a missions agency with a force of about 1,000 workers serving across 70 countries with a focus on evangelism, discipleship, and church planting.

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A Theology of Language: Dr. Vern Poythress Speaks

The inconvenience of learning a foreign language is a major reason people choose not to pursue cross-cultural missions. But, as Dr. Vern Poythress explains, language isn’t just a barrier; it’s a gift from God that displays his creativity. In this special interview, Dr. Poythress explains why language itself finds its source in the Trinity, how missionaries should approach language learning. Later, we address how missionaries can use presuppositional apologetics in dealing with pagan religious cultures. Rev. Dr. Vern Poythress (Ph.D., Harvard; D.Th., Stellenbosch) is professor of New Testament and biblical interpretation at Westminster Theological Seminary, where he has taught for 43 years. Dr. Poythress’ academic interests include how Christianity and the Trinitarian nature of God impact all areas of life. He has also spent much of his career studying and teaching biblical interpretation and hermeneutics. A few of his notable books include Redeeming Science, Redeeming Philosophy, or Chance and the Sovereignty of God, and In the Beginning Was the Word, which looks at the Trinitarian foundations for language. Remember to share, rate, leave a review, and subscribe. Together we can bridge the gap between the worlds of theology and missions. Want to ask a question or suggest a topic? Email us. The Missions Podcast is powered by ABWE International and the Global Gospel Fund. This episode is also sponsored by Radius International.

11 Nov 2019

Rank #1

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Where Did the Gritty Missionaries Go? David Joannes on Missionary Motivations

C.T. Studd is credited with saying, “Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.” But in today’s world where everyone is encouraged to “live on mission,” this classic missionary grit is increasingly absent. What happened, and what are the internal and external motivators that lead someone to risk everything to serve abroad? To answer that question, we invited missionary, author, and researcher David Joannes.David Joannes is the co-founder and president of Within Reach Global, which serves the advance of the gospel in some of Southeast Asia’s most difficult places. He is the author of The Space Between Memories: Recollections from a 21st Century Missionary. David has a love for language, culture, and creative writing, and he lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with his wife, Lorna, and their daughter, Cara. Follow David on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin.Want to ask a question for a future episode? Email alex@missionspodcast.com.Powered by ABWE International.

5 Mar 2018

Rank #2

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How to Build a Sending Church Culture

Thousands of people groups remain unreached—so where are all the new missionaries we need? They're in the church. In this episode, Scott Dunford and Alex Kocman explore seven ways to build a sending church culture in your local congregation, whether you're a pastor or layperson, and how these solutions are the key to mobilizing the next generation of missionaries God has sovereignly placed in the pews.Want to ask a question for a future episode? Email alex@missionspodcast.com.Powered by ABWE International.

13 Nov 2017

Rank #3

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Josh Daggett on Personal Evangelism and Prayer

We’ve all struggled to share our faith in one-on-one conversations. We also struggle with personal spiritual disciplines intimately connected to our effectiveness in evangelism—i.e., prayer. On this episode, Josh Daggett, lead pastor at Living Waters Fellowship in Des Moines, Iowa, shares his own encouragements, failures, and victories in these critical areas of ministry. We dig into a theology of evangelism, God’s sovereignty, and human responsibility in the process of conversion, then move deep into the practicalities of how we can all improve in our personal discipline. You’ll be deeply encouraged and challenged.Josh earned his Bachelor’s degree (Pastoral Major, Greek Minor) from Faith Baptist Bible College in 2004 and earned his Master’s degree (Biblical Studies) from Faith Baptist Seminary in 2005. Josh and his wife, Danielle, have been married fourteen years and have four children.  He has been an ABWE Board member since 2012 and has been an ACBC Certified Biblical Counselor since 2017. Follow Josh on Twitter.Remember to share, rate, leave a review, and subscribe. Together we can help bridge the gap between the worlds of theology and missions.Want to ask a question for a future episode? Email alex@missionspodcast.com.Powered by ABWE International.

6 Aug 2018

Rank #4

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When Everything Is Missions… (Nothing Is): A Chat With Denny Spitters and Matthew Ellison

Is every Christian a missionary? Is there a difference between "missions," "missional," and "mission?" Is volunteering at my local homeless shelter or sharing the gospel with my unsaved dad "missions?" These are loaded questions—questions which, if we get them wrong, could take the wind out of our sails in terms of engaging in actual cross-cultural ministry. Pioneers USA VP Denny Spitters and 16:15 President Matthew Ellison, authors of When Everything Is Missions, join us to share the hard answers from their new book.If there's a single, stand-alone episode of our show that's worth sharing with your friends, pastors, or acquaintances involved in missions, it's this one.Want to ask a question for a future episode? Email alex@missionspodcast.com.Powered by ABWE International.

26 Feb 2018

Rank #5

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How Does Hospitality Fuel Mission?

Starting gospel conversations—whether at home or overseas—is difficult in our distracted, technology-addicted world. Is returning to a practice of holistic, biblical hospitality part of the solution to strengthen our evangelism? Jeff Dalrymple, former president of Baptist Haiti Mission and president and founder of The Hospitality Project, helps us answer that question and explains why we struggle so much to let our neighbors into our homes. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @JeffDalrymple.In the episode, Jeff recommended a variety of resources on biblical hospitality. In case you missed it, those books were: The Hospitality Commands by Alexander Strauch Practicing Hospitality by Pat Ennis and Lisa Tatlock Making Room by Christine Pohl Table Grace by Douglas Webster The Art of Neighboring by Jay Pathak and Dave RunyonListeners: We need your help! If you’ve enjoyed listening to the podcast, you can help us bridge the divide between the gospel-centered theology movement and the world of missions. Remember to rate, review, and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play, or whatever listening platform you prefer. Also, don’t forget to share this episode and follow us to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Finally, please send your ideas or questions to alex@missionspodcast.com.Powered by ABWE International.

14 May 2018

Rank #6

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Church Planting: Multiethnic or Homogeneous Units?

Should churches aim to be multiethnic, or should we stick to the homogenous unit principle inherited from missiologists? In today’s episode, Brian (last name withheld), a former IMB missionary to the Middle East and current missions pastor focusing on diaspora ministries, shares why the answer isn’t as simple as it seems—and how globalism is making cultural boundaries fuzzier than ever.The church world is ablaze with conversation about multiethnic churches, racial reconciliation, and the social implications of believers’ fundamental unity in Christ. Meanwhile, expats and refugees from across the world are moving into North American cities in droves, but linguistic and cultural barriers prevent most churches from effectively engaging migrants.Brian is a missions pastor for Wilcrest Baptist Church, a dynamic church in Houston—one of the U.S.’s most diverse cities. In our interview, he also shares how in the process of trying to engage expats in Houston, their church “accidentally” became an effective missions sending church in the process.If you have been stumped by recent debates over the ethnic makeup of our churches, this episode will help you think in biblical categories—both in terms of our gospel unity, and the imperative to take the gospel into subgroups that wouldn’t otherwise hear the good news.Don’t forget to share this episode, rate the show, and leave a review in your favorite listening platform.Want to ask a question for a future episode? Email alex@missionspodcast.com.Powered by ABWE International.

18 Jun 2018

Rank #7

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How Can We Prevent Missionary Burnout?

Ministry burnout is real. On the mission field, the pressures are vastly multiplied. Cultural shock, marital strain, poor team dynamics, and temptation all threaten missionaries’ spiritual, mental, and emotional health. Better, more proactive member care is the answer. But how? Brad Winkler, ABWE's director leading member care and prefield ministries, joins us to explain.As a pastor for 17 years, Brad helped members of his congregation discover their call to missions and now he is doing the same thing on a broader scale. In addition to training our missionaries in fundraising and building prayer partners, Brad also coaches churches through the process of sending and sustaining their missionaries on the mission field.Brad also recommends the following resources for missionaries, pastors, and everyday believers seeking to provide better pastoral care for cross-cultural workers: Serving as Senders by Neil Pirolo Barnabas International conferences ABWE’s Sustaining Church WorkshopIf you want to reach Brad, we invite you to email him.We’re enormously grateful for the chance to spread this expert content. Would you help us by sharing the episode, rating, leaving a review in your favorite listening platform, and subscribing? Together we can influence more gospel-centered people to use their gifts where they’re most needed among the unreached.Want to ask a question for a future episode? Email alex@missionspodcast.com.Powered by ABWE International.

7 May 2018

Rank #8

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Chris Bruno: Biblical Theology Versus Systematic Theology in Missions

Protestants in the West have a rich heritage of systematic theology—but it doesn’t always translate easily into new cultural contexts. Is a return to narrative-focused, biblical theology the answer? Chris Bruno, Assistant Professor of Greek and New Testament at Bethlehem College and Seminary, joins us to answer and weigh in on his own cross-cultural experiences in Hawaii. We also address ways for small, unconnected churches can pool their resources together to deepen their impact at home and abroad.Chris Bruno is a Christian, husband, father, pastor, and teacher who desires to give his life to helping others see the centrality of Jesus in all the Scriptures for the glory of God. He has served at Northland International University, Cedarville University, and Trinity Christian School in Kailua, HI. Before that, he was pastor of discipleship and training at Harbor Church in Honolulu, HI.He has written and co-written five books, as well as written articles and reviews for several publications and websites, including The Journal for the Evangelical Theological Society, Tyndale Bulletin, Westminster Theological Journal, Vetus Testamentum, Themelios, The Bulletin for Ecclesial Theology, Reformation 21, and The Gospel Coalition and has presented papers at the Tyndale Fellowship Triennial Meeting, the ETS Annual meeting, the SBL Annual meeting, and the CPT Fellowship. He is a member of ETS, SBL, IBR, and CPT. Chris and his wife Katie have been married since 2001 and have four sons who love to be outdoors playing ball or pretending to be super heroes, all while wrestling their dad.You can follow Chris on Twitter at @chrisbruno1.Here’s a recap of the resources we recommended in this episode: The Whole Message of the Bible in 16 Words (Chris Bruno) The Whole Story of the Bible in 16 Words (Chris Bruno) Churches Partnering Together: Biblical Strategies for Fellowship, Evangelism, and Compassion (Chris Bruno and Matt Dirks) The King in His Beauty: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments (Thomas Schreiner) Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church (Michael Lawrence) The Short Studies in Biblical Theology series (Crossway) The New Studies in Biblical Theology series (IVP)Remember to share, rate, leave a review, and subscribe. Together we can help bridge the gap between the worlds of theology and missions.Want to ask a question for a future episode? Email alex@missionspodcast.com.Powered by ABWE International.

23 Jul 2018

Rank #9

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Missions and the Need for Deeper Women: Karen Swallow Prior and Anne Kennedy

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 common tropes like “you are loved” or “you are beautiful.” How can we make sure that we are helping women deepen in their faith, their view of culture, and their heart for the local church—so that they can be more effective on mission?This week, we followed up with friend of the show Dr. Karen Swallow Prior of Liberty University, prolific author and research fellow with the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, to talk about The Pelican Project, a new resource designed to take evangelical woman deeper. Karen is the author of On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life in Great Books. We also spoke with Anne Kennedy, an MK, active church member, writer for The Pelican Project, and author of Nailed It: 365 Sarcastic Devotions for Angry and Worn-Out People.Click here to hear our original interview with Karen.Remember to share, rate, leave a review, and subscribe. Together we can help bridge the gap between the worlds of theology and missions.Want to ask a question for a future episode? Email alex@missionspodcast.com.Powered by ABWE International.

28 Jan 2019

Rank #10

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How to Raise Missions-Minded Children

Parenting is stressful enough—not to mention the crucial responsibility parents have to raise their children in the way of Christ. Is it worthwhile to expose children to missions, and if so, how early is too early? What are some best practices for instilling a global mindset in our kids?The director of ABWE's Next Generation Ministries joins to answer these questions—and hit on other important topics, like ministering to children of missionaries, helping children share their faith, and designing family devotions with global missions in mind. Parents: this episode is for you.Want to ask a question for a future episode? Email alex@missionspodcast.com.Powered by ABWE International.

29 Jan 2018

Rank #11

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Tom Schreiner: What Is the Role of the Holy Spirit and Miracles in Missions?

Dreams and visions in the Islamic world. Miraculous healings. “Power-encounters.” What is the role of the Holy Spirit in missions? Are miracles still normative in front-lines missions—and specifically, what about the apostolic sign gifts seen throughout the Book of Acts? There’s perhaps no one better to ask than Dr. Thomas R. Schreiner, one of the leading New Testament scholars of our day, and author (most recently) of Spiritual Gifts: What They Are and Why They Matter and articles like “Why I Am a Cessationist.”Thomas R. Schreiner has been a professor at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky since 1997 and is the James Harrison Buchanan Professor of New Testament Interpretation. He has also taught New Testament at Azusa Pacific University and Bethel Theological Seminary. He received a B.S. from Western Oregon University, a M.Div. and Th.M. from Western Seminary, and a Ph.D. in New Testament from Fuller Theological Seminary. Schreiner's writings include commentaries on Romans, Galatians, Hebrews, and 1–2 Peter and Jude, and forthcoming commentaries on 1 Corinthians and Revelation. He has also written a theology of the Apostle Paul, a New Testament theology, and a theology of the entire Bible. He is a pastor at Clifton Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. Schreiner is married to Diane, and they have four children and eight grandchildren. You can follow Dr. Schreiner on Twitter.In the episode, we mentioned some helpful resources including: Are Miraculous Gifts for Today?: Four Views (Gaffin, Grudem, Gundry, Storms)Remember to share, rate, leave a review, and subscribe. Together we can help bridge the gap between the worlds of theology and missions.Want to ask a question for a future episode? Email alex@missionspodcast.com.Powered by ABWE International.

24 Sep 2018

Rank #12

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Brooks Buser on the Urgency of Eternity and the Dangers of Pragmatism

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 in this week and discusses pioneer missions, disciple-making movements, church planting movements, and other important missiological issues from a mobilizer’s perspective. Brooks and Nina Buser planted a church among the Yembiyembi people in Papua New Guinea. In 2016, they returned to San Diego. Both Brooks and Nina participate in the teaching at Radius International as well as leading and traveling to spread the word about the necessity of training. Remember to share, rate, leave a review, and subscribe. Together we can bridge the gap between the worlds of theology and missions. Want to ask a question for a future episode? Email alex@missionspodcast.com. This show is powered by ABWE International and the Global Gospel Fund.

19 Aug 2019

Rank #13

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Does Business as Mission Work?

Tentmaking. Platform. Business as mission. BAM. All terms that are used sometimes interchangeably throughout the missions community—but what do they mean? Is it really practical to use a for-profit business venture as a ministry platform in another culture, and how can we make sure we’re doing it the right way? How can there be any time to make disciples if a missionary spends 40+ hours working per week in a “secular” arena? Is there a biblical basis for using business as mission? In honor of Labor Day, we pick Scott Dunford’s mind as he shares from his three years’ experience on the field and significant research in the area of work, vocation, and mission.If you missed any of the resources Scott mentioned, see below: Great Commission Companies by Steven Rundle and Tom Steffen Business as Mission by Michael R. Baer God Is at Work by Ken EldredDon’t forget to share this episode, rate the show, and leave a review in your favorite listening platform.Want to ask a question for a future episode? Email alex@missionspodcast.com.Powered by ABWE International.

3 Sep 2018

Rank #14

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Rachel Jankovic on Identity, Christian Women, and the Mission Field of Motherhood

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, pastor’s daughter and author based in Moscow, Idaho, tackles these questions with whit, flare, and deep biblical wisdom that’s rare. Be forewarned—Scott and Alex were a bit punchy for the recording of this episode. Rachel Jankovic is a wife and mother of seven children. She is author of You Who? Why You Matter and How to Deal With It and Loving the Little Years and has been featured on sites including Desiring God. She is heavily involved with the Christ Church Ladies Bible Reading Challenge and invites you all to join in that great movement of Christian women becoming women of the word. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram. Remember to share, rate, leave a review, and subscribe. Together we can help bridge the gap between the worlds of theology and missions. Want to ask a question for a future episode? Email alex@missionspodcast.com. This show is powered by ABWE International and the Global Gospel Fund.

9 Jun 2019

Rank #15

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How Many Unreached Are There Really? A Chat on Statistics With Justin Long

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, Director of Global Research for Beyond, adept cataloguer of missions statistics and enthusiastic documenter of missions movements. This interview will educate you, excite you, and break your heart for the lost. You can follow Justin on Twitter.Don’t forget our sponsor, the Global Gospel Fund. We believe missionaries should be free to do the ministry they’re called to—not to waste precious ministry hours handling logistics. The Global Gospel Fund provides 1,000 missionaries across 70 countries with counsel, support, and a team of experts who know them by name. If you’re burdened for missions this giving season but don’t know where to start, we invite you to become a partner.Remember to share, rate, leave a review, and subscribe. Together we can help bridge the gap between the worlds of theology and missions.Want to ask a question for a future episode? Email alex@missionspodcast.com.Powered by ABWE International.

17 Dec 2018

Rank #16

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What Is a Missionary “Calling”? Caleb Suko Answers

Announcement: It’s the show’s first birthday! As a way of thanking our loyal listeners, we’re giving away some great, free books and spiffy, new ABWE swag. Click here for details and to enter our drawing.What is God’s will for my life? Is God calling me to missions? Is there such a thing as a missionary calling—and if so, what is it? ABWE missionary to Ukraine Caleb Suko joins us this week to help us answer ten questions as it relates to the missionary call, desire, affirmation and counsel from loved ones, the local church, experience, prayer, opportunity, and more, based on his new book Is God Calling Me to Missions? 10 Questions to Help You Determine God’s Calling. Since 2007 Caleb has served as a missionary in Odessa, Ukraine where he is pastor at Hope for People Church and director of “Evangelism Today” center for evangelism and discipleship. Caleb attended Shasta Bible College and graduated from Northwest Baptist Seminary in 2005 with a Master’s of Divinity. Together with his wife Christina their desire is to help believers and churches to do biblical evangelism and discipleship through training seminars on evangelism and discipleship for churches, personal discipleship, and working closely with national pastors to help strengthen and multiply the church in Ukraine and beyond. The Sukos also have five children. Learn more on their site.You can listen to Caleb’s podcast “Now Is the Time” or follow him on Twitter.At the end of the show, we also highlighted some more key resources: Decision Making and the Will of God by Garry Friesen Found: God’s Will by John MacArthur Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoungBonus content! After we recorded this episode, we also joined Caleb on his own podcast to answer the question: “What is Missions Mobilization?” We think you’ll enjoy this bonus installment. Click here to listen.Remember to share, rate, leave a review, and subscribe. Together we can help bridge the gap between the worlds of theology and missions.Want to ask a question for a future episode? Email alex@missionspodcast.com.Powered by ABWE International.

15 Oct 2018

Rank #17

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John Morgan: Animism, Syncretism, and Witchcraft in West Africa

When the gospel enters a new place—like Togo in West Africa—those who hear the message have a tendency to interpret it through their worldview lens. This week, John Morgan shares the sobering results of his studies relating to how professing believers in this African nation are still wrestling with their traditional views of animism, witchcraft, and spiritual activity. You’ll be challenged to think biblically about the topic of angelic and demonic activity, and inspired as you hear about how he and other workers on the ground are helping national pastors receive the theological education needed to reverse these syncretistic trends. This is a don’t-miss episode.Dr. John Morgan, Ph.D., heads up ABWE’s Strategic Initiatives and Research. After serving as medical missionaries to Togo, he and his wife Michele returned to Ohio as church planters. They now minister at ABWE’s International Headquarters. You can read more about their work here.Remember to share, rate, leave a review, and subscribe. Together we can help bridge the gap between the worlds of theology and missions.Want to ask a question for a future episode? Email alex@missionspodcast.com.Powered by ABWE International.

20 Aug 2018

Rank #18

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Throwback: Is Every Christian a Missionary? Matthew Ellison and Denny Spitters Answer

As we leave the Advent season and enter the new year, it’s important to get back to the basics of the Christian life. Should we consider every Christians a “missionary”—and if not, why not? This week we’re diving back into the archives to enjoy our conversation with Pioneers USA VP Denny Spitters and 16:15 President Matthew Ellison, authors of When Everything Is Missions, all over again. Remember to share, rate, leave a review, and subscribe. Together we can bridge the gap between the worlds of theology and missions. Want to ask a question or suggest a topic? Email us. The Missions Podcast is powered by ABWE International and the Global Gospel Fund. This episode is also sponsored by Radius International.

30 Dec 2019

Rank #19

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Michael Foster on the Crisis of Masculinity and Missions

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 unit? Michael Foster joins this week to address these questions and offer insights on the cultural mandate in Genesis, the biblical view of the household, and why so many young men suffer from “failure to launch.” Michael is a director of It’s Good to Be a Man and co-host of the podcast by the same name. is a serial-entrepreneur who has been in bi-vocational ministry the better part of his adult life. God has blessed him with a beautiful wife and seven children. He is also an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). Follow Michael on Twitter. Remember to share, rate, leave a review, and subscribe. Together we can bridge the gap between the worlds of theology and missions. Want to ask a question for a future episode? Email alex@missionspodcast.com. This show is powered by ABWE International and the Global Gospel Fund.

9 Sep 2019

Rank #20