image credit: john goode

Five-Fold Partnership: What Prophets Need

By Eric Rafferty

Of all the gifts in the body of Christ, prophets above all appear to function just fine on their own. The Bible is full of examples of independent prophets who were sent alone with a message or a task from God. They challenged leaders. They rebuked nations and societies. They stood alone in the gap between God and his people. Maybe this is why so many of the prophets of scripture responded to their initial prophetic calling by basically screaming, “NOOOOOOOO!”

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What’s Behind Their Questions?

Question Marks

By Eric Rafferty

My kids are in a serious question asking phase.  For example, two nights ago I woke up in the middle of the night to a voice whispering in my ear, “Daddy, do bees have families?”

What was going on in my four year old son’s mind?  Exactly what it sounds like.  He woke up at 2:30 and was thinking about bees and whether or not they have families.  So, naturally, he got out of his bed, came into my room and woke me up to find out.

That’s the beauty of curiosity in a child.  You can take a question at exactly its face value.  Curiosity springs up and a question is asked because an answer is needed.  Question = I want to find the answer.

When it comes to grown ups and the spiritual questions that our friends ask, I don’t think that’s always the case.

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How to Empower Apostolic Leaders

Young apostolic leaders have a spark that needs to be stoked into full-on flame!

Young apostolic leaders have a spark that needs to be stoked into full-on flame!

[Check out “How to Identify an Apostolic Leader“]

By Eric Rafferty

When we look around the landscape of the church something is missing. Far too often, apostolic leaders are exiled instead of empowered, or when they do try new things, they fail and fall into isolation. What does it look like to empower apostolic leaders into fruitful maturity? Here are five things that every leader can do to empower young apostolic leaders (whether you are personally gifted for apostolic ministry or not!)

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The Harvest is Waiting

empty field

By Eric Rafferty

The harvest is waiting where no one else is laboring…

The key work of planting ministry is finding the places where it’s harvest time. Often the places of plentiful harvest are the places where no one else is going. This is what Jesus found in a Samaritan town in John 4:

35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.

Sometimes the fields are just ripe for harvest time! Things grow easy. People are eager and ready to respond to Jesus. In the above passage Jesus spends a few minutes chatting with a promiscuous and poorly treated woman at a town well and within a couple days the entire city comes to faith in Jesus. That is harvest time! And Jesus had to point it out to his disciples because they couldn’t believe the spiritual landscape of Samaria would be one of harvest.

As we look back on eight years of campus ministry we recognize that the times we really experienced the reality of harvest was when we were reaching out to people that no one else was going for. Plentiful harvest is waiting in the fields where no one else is laboring.

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Jesus is Gone!?

memoBy Eric Rafferty

Last week my three year old son, Memo, had the experience of going through Vacation Bible School for the first time. As a three year old all I really wanted for him was to get through the week without hitting anyone (he did great on that front by the way). Learning deep truths about Jesus wasn’t really an expectation I had for him, and I definitely didn’t expect him to teach me a foundational truth about mission with Jesus. But that’s exactly what happened.

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Two Blocks To Incarnational Ministry

rafferty diagram

Any community that wants to be on mission with Jesus has got to be marked by incarnation. The heart of incarnational ministry is to encounter the love of God and to embody that love in a particular place with a particular people. Look at any community that has brought the gospel to a new environment in a transformational way and you’ll see them encountering the love of God and embodying his love in that place. They incarnate the gospel and lives are transformed. Sounds great right? So why isn’t every Christian community living incarnationally? We see two ways that a community can miss the mark of incarnation and fail to see transformation occur. We can fail to inhabit a community and we can fail to actually incorporate the gospel into our lives.

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Are You Stuck In The Middle?

middle

By Eric Rafferty

As another school year wraps up and we take account of some of the things Jesus has done on campus with students at UNO, we are recognizing that this was an incredible year. The ministry we lead at UNO had its best ever year of growth. We’re three years into planting at this commuter campus and we’ve seen the chapter grow from 30 students in 2011 to 50 in 2012 to 74 in 2013. We’ve seen the number of small groups grow from 7 to 9 to 14, reaching out to different corners of campus from athletes to international students.

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Give me Nebraska or I die?

nebraska

By Eric Rafferty

It’s pretty much universally accepted that driving across Nebraska is boring. It’s extremely flat, it’s a long drive, and this time of year it’s nearly lifeless. So why, when we’ve found ourselves driving across the state twice in the last two months, has it been so fun? On top of the general boringness, throw on the fact that we were driving across Nebraska on the way home from sunny, sexy California and we should have been completely depressed right?

But honestly, driving across flat, bland Nebraska has felt like a travelling celebration. We’ve been so filled with joy and love!

It’s because this place is our mission field and God has filled us with His love for it. There are 35 college campuses in the state of Nebraska and God has given us vision to see multiethnic and missional communities bring his love to every corner of every one of those campuses.

So when we drive across the state, even with two noisy kids in the back seat, we look out at the brown barren looking fields and we see the place that we love. We see good soil pregnant with potential and campus after campus that groan for something more.

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Proclaiming a Gospel that Breaks Down Walls

Border Wall

Is our gospel big enough to break down dividing walls between people groups?

[This is part of the series “Multi-Ethnicity in the Missional Church”. Read the other posts here]

By Eric Rafferty

With this series we’ve tried to highlight how multiethnicity can be so much more than another value on the long list of things that we should care about as Christians. Multiethnicity is APE! Multiethnicity is apostolic, rooted in a vision of reaching every people group in our cities or campuses. Multiethnicity is prophetic; it reveals an alternate reality, a living picture of the Kingdom of God. And today we want to highlight that building communities of reconciliation bears witness to the power of the gospel.

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Tutsi, Hutu, Genocide & Prophetic Multiethnicity

genocide

By Eric Rafferty

[This is part of the series “Multi-Ethnicity in the Missional Church”. Read the other posts here]

In 1972 an intentionally multiethnic community of college students made a choice to prophetically reveal the Kingdom of God in their love for one another.

They crossed ethnic lines, broke rules, and cared for each other so sacrificially that the Kingdom of God was undeniably on display for their whole country to see. Just like the great prophets of scripture, their counter-cultural and prophetic example pointed many back to the heart of God, but it cost most of them their lives.

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