Blog

Let’s Grow the Crowd!

By Bill Mowry January 21, 2021

Crowds and disciplemaking go together. Numbers rule the day. Politicians count the number of people at their rallies. Churches count attendance. We count and compare our Facebook or Twitter followers. Numbers and crowds measure success. I’ve always had a “thing” with crowds. Disciplemaking is a ministry of the small and the slow, a work hidden from the public eye. I’m cautious about crowds because crowds can appear to be “a mile wide and an inch deep.” Disciplemaking seems the opposite of attracting crowds . ….

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What I’m Reading

By Bill Mowry January 14, 2021

The Color of Compromise: The truth about the American church’s complicity in racism by Jemar Tisby. Want a book that keeps you up at night thinking? The Color of Compromise is one of those books. Why is it so provocative? Pastor and author John Piper has been quoted as saying, “We all have blind spots and blank spaces.” This is particularly true in the white community when it comes to race and racism in the church. Tisby will expose some of those blind spots and…

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Advent, Adventure, and Me

By Bill Mowry December 24, 2020

The church’s seasons, like Advent or Lent, have been mostly irrelevant or a mystery to me. My “liturgical” friends make a big deal out of Lent, Ephiphany, or Pentecost. In my baptist tradition, no one preached against the church seasons, they just weren’t mentioned. It’s not unusual to have an Advent sermon series but we usually don’t light candles. This year is different for me. In my diverse reading cycle, I came across Mark Cosper’s book, Recapturing the Wonder. He caught my attention on the…

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Disciplemaking is Not For Fact-checkers

By Bill Mowry December 2, 2020

The fact-checkers met Jesus at every turn. Fact-checkers are religious people whose goal in life is to ensure that we’re obeying God in precise and pure ways. They help us keep the “i”s dotted and the “t”s crossed.  Fact-checkers are driven by obedience and doctrinal purity, good things to be motivated by. Unfortunately, they sometimes get carried away. In Jesus’ time, they fact-checked people’s obedience to the Law. They believed that true obedience could be precisely measured and one standard was applicable to everyone. Fact-checkers…

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Stewards of Eden

By Bill Mowry November 14, 2020

Stewards of Eden: What scripture says about the environment and why it matters  by Sandra L. Richter Richter’s book will turn the most conservative among us into “tree-huggers.” Like most conservative evangelicals, the environment hasn’t been on my radar. I’ve associated the environmental movement with restrictive policies on the advance of business and development. Richter, along with the author Wendell Berry, has challenged my assumptions by asking me to look at creation through the lens of the Creator. Richter returns us to the garden when…

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Disciplemaking is like joining the Starship Enterprise

By Bill Mowry November 8, 2020

I’m a delayed Trekkie fan. I missed all the hype with the original Star Trek series but became a fan of The Next Generation. The captain’s voice-over opening to each show makes me sit up straight in my recliner (my command chair!). Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise, it’s five year mission to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before! What a clear and simple…

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Disciplemaking Starts by Looking in the Rearview Mirror

By Bill Mowry October 22, 2020

You’ve just been hired for your dream job. You can’t wait until the first day of training. Then the text message arrives: “Report to our desert training outpost. Don’t bring any water or food. You’re going to be totally alone.” What kind of training is this? Now you feel a little like Jesus. After experiencing heaven’s opening, the Spirit’s descent, and the Father’s affirmation, He immediately gets a ticket to the dessert to fast and be tempted by Satan (Mark 1:9-13).  What’s going on here?…

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Living in the Whirlwind

By Bill Mowry October 1, 2020

The Monday afternoon conversation went downhill fast. “How’s your week starting out Bill?” asked a friend. “I’m overwhelmed already,” I replied. Some weeks are like this. Every Monday morning, I plan my next two weeks of life. I review my calendar, check my priorities, and make my “to do” list — who to email, people to call, tasks to complete, people to see. Writing it down helps me remember. But, this list can overwhelm. Sometimes I feel I’m living in a whirlwind of activities. Jesus…

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Stealth Leadership

By Bill Mowry September 17, 2020

The meeting had ended. I didn’t lead the meeting; I was a participant like the others around the table. As we gathered to leave, the leader gave me a compliment. “Bill, do you realize that you led that meeting by the questions you asked?” he said. I had no intention of leading the meeting. I had no desire to set or control the agenda. I was just curious about the issues. My curiosity prompted a lot of questions. The leader’s observation was a compliment and…

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Disciples Choose the Third Way

By Bill Mowry September 3, 2020

The first time I had the conversation I was a little surprised. September was like a starter’s gun when I ministered to graduate students. School’s start-up was the time to meet in-coming students. Our ministry team would set up a booth at the university’s welcoming events to meet, greet, and engage these eager young professionals in conversation. A conversation with a male student from Virginia was the first time it happened. When discussing his faith background, he made this statement: “I’ve thought about becoming a…

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