Erich at the FORGE Scotland Conference

Dear Friends,

Over the past 4 days, I had the great privilege of attending a conference in Glasgow, organized by FORGE Scotland, entitled “Reactivating a Missionary Nation.” For those unfamiliar with FORGE, they are an international missionary training network which exists to “birth and nurture the missional church worldwide.” While the conference was hosted by FORGE Scotland, the topics covered applied to any missionary context. My main reason for joining this conference was to network with the FORGE leaders present, and explore the idea of starting FORGE in Taiwan.

 

What does FORGE do?

FORGE International is an inter-denominational network of leaders who invest their time into encouraging Christians everywhere to see themselves as missionaries who are sent by God to different non-Christian cultural groups. They help accomplish this through:

  • The FORGE Course. This is a 1-year training time to equip and encourage people who are already active in missional church planting. The course is designed for people with regular jobs, and involves extensive reading, regular discussion with other course participants, and 4 weekend intensives. More info here (example from the Dallas Hub; the content of other courses might vary slightly).
  • Hubs. These are networks of missionaries within a certain city. They provide ongoing training and support.
  • Coaching. The FORGE leaders are incredibly generous with their time, and offer regular 1-on-1 coaching in person, or over Skype. Over the past 8 months, I have had several very helpful Skype conversations with FORGE leader Mark Michael.

 

Why FORGE?

Our world is currently undergoing tremendous shifts. One of the major changes is taking place on the level of people’s worldview. Especially in the West, we are moving from a modern way of thinking to a post-modern one. In the modern world, the church had a leading voice in shaping culture. But most would agree that this voice has been lost, and the Christian church moved increasingly to the margins of society. This new cultural environment has been described as Postchristian. FORGE was started by missional church gurus Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost in response to this pressing challenge.

 

People on Mission

If we are serious about fulfilling the Great Commission, we need to change the way we operate, in light of these changes. One major change that we desperate need to make is to start seeing ourselves in a missionary context. Instead of expecting our non-Christian co-workers and neighbors to come to our church buildings, we need to see ourselves as missionaries whom God is sending to them instead.

 

A Missionary God

All throughout the Bible, we see that God is actively on mission to reach humans with His love. He walks with Adam and Eve in the Garden, He seeks out and calls Abraham, Moses, and the prophets. And God’s active engagement with humans culminates in the ultimate missionary act of becoming a human himself in the man Jesus of Nazareth, and living among us. This has been called the Missio Dei, or mission of God.

[quote]If this is the kind of God we follow, how can we not be on active mission ourselves?[/quote]

No longer can we sit in our comfortable churches, and wait for them to show up at the door (which usually doesn’t happen anyway). We need to go to them!

 

But How?

A helpful question to ask yourself is: “If my non-Christian friends never step foot into a church building, how will they ever become disciples of Jesus?” There is really only one answer to this question.

[quote]You must band with other believers to bring the church into their life.[/quote]

The kind of church community which you start will look wildly different depending on who you are sent to. A Jesus community among retirees might gather several times a week at 7am at the local McDonald’s. A missional church among upwardly-mobile urban singles might meet in apartments or trendy cafes. The location, time, and style don’t really matter, because that’s not what defines church. After all, the church is people.

 

Next Steps

If you recognize the need to actively engage with the mission of God to reach your family, friends and co-workers with the Good News of Jesus, I would encourage you along these lines:

  • Pray. All mission should be saturated in prayer. Since we are unable to change anyone’s heart, we desperately need the Holy Spirit to touch those to whom we are sent.
  • Share. Grab some of your friends for coffee, and share your heart with them.
  • Dream. Imagine if God told you: “Whatever mission you choose, I guarantee success.” How would you respond? To whom would you become a missionary?
  • Act. Gather some some like-minded friends, and go for it! Together, start praying regularly for the group you are sent to. Begin spending most of your free time with these non-Christian friends. And watch for ways to partner with whatever the Holy Spirit is already doing among them.
  • Grow. It’s likely you won’t feel up to the task. So start with reading through some of the best missional material out there. Our Resource Page outlines some of the blogs and books we’ve found helpful. If you need more help, get in touch with us, or find out where the next FORGE Course will be held.

2014_03_15 Schindler Update

Dear Faithful Friends and Supporters,

Greetings from Taipei! It’s hard to believe mid-March is already upon us- 2014 is flying by! The past month has been a busy one, and, as always, we have been humbled by the Lord’s grace and goodness to us. Each day we feel immeasurably blessed that God allows us to serve Him here in Taiwan.

How can you be praying for us?

  • The Lord has been adding to our numbers! Our house church group is growing, and within the next weeks will be multiplying into 2 homes. Please pray for this transition, and for our co-workers who will lead the new group.
  • We have all been sick on-and-off over the last month. Coughing, sore throats, wheezing (Max), etc. Please pray for restored health and physical protection(esp. for Max, as the cause of his wheezing is perhaps the bad pollution in the city).
  • Erich will be traveling to Glasgow, Scotland March 26-April 1, to attend a conference on new church planting methods in urban settings. Through this, we hope to become better equipped at training Taiwanese Christians to take the church into their homes and communities.

Let’s praise the Lord together!

  • God has answered above and beyond our requests! We are moving this weekend to a bigger apartment, located just 50 yards down the street from our current place! The location is perfect, size is good, and price is right in our budget. God is good!
  • The Lord has brought people into our life very unexpectedly this last month, who are great connections in terms of doing ministry in the neighborhood we are living in. We had been praying for these relationships, and in one month God allowed us to meet several people. So thankful!
We trust that each of you are experiencing the joy and love of Christ every day!

For the Glory of God,
Erich and Kelley Schindler


P.S.: Our new address is:

Erich and Kelley Schindler
9Fl., No. 105-2, Section 2, Zhong Hua Rd.
Zhong Zheng District 100
Taipei City, Taiwan
台北市中正區中華路二段105-2號9樓
台灣

We strongly suggest our address being printed out to include the Chinese characters when mailing things. That is the only way to ensure we get them. Thank you!!

 

Max_with_Di_Bao

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The little boy in the picture is our neighbor and also born last April. We are thankful to have gotten to know them this month, and look forward to play dates together!

 

Max_being_prayed_for77326e

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Max being prayed for during a weekly prayer meeting at Truth Church while he was sick.