Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Christian Publishing Reaches Beyond Itself

Christians can get too comfortable communicating only with other Christians. We see this in the Christian publishing world, where books often target only Christians--even in places where the vast majority of readers are far removed from the church.

So, I'm excited about the upcoming Europe Publishing Forum, because the theme will be "Publishing for the General Market." This is the first time our training ministry has devoted an entire conference to this focus.

Some 50 Christian book and magazine publishers from East and Central workshop will gather April 25 to 29 in Austria to explore ways to get books with a Christian message into the general marketplace (

We'd appreciate prayer that God will use this conference to equip and energize European Christian publishers to communicate Christian truth in compelling, winsome ways that "connect" with the unchurched reader.

John Maust - CEO of MAI and Innovation in Mission author
Chapter 5 - "Innovation in Training Writers and Publishers"

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Church Marketing 101

In the Innovation in Mission book, we have a chapter dedicated to how churches and missions relate. Ellen Livingood - Catalyst Services - did a great job sharing how some new churches are looking at this dynamic.

One of the realities of innovation between churches and missions goes back to how the church views marketing and connecting with their community. In fact, I would say that if you understand a church's marketing strategy, you will understand their approach to missions even better.

Why is that????

Simple, if marketing is a dynamic part of a church, then they will be designing their missional focus around the felt needs and passions of the community. If marketing isn't even on the horizon, then they may be doing the same things they were doing years ago but without much interaction or buyin from their community.

So if marketing really drives how churches look at missions, then lets understand church marketing. And there is no better innovator in this area than Richard Reising. He has just come out with a new book - Church Marketing 101. Check it out and think critically about how it changes your missions relationship with your churches.

Courage + Obedience = Peace

As we take a serious look at innovation, we can't help but look long and hard at the courage of those who have followed Christ throughout the centuries. COURAGE is a big word that few of us live up to. In fact, we do more than not live up to it - we run from it. Courage is hard, it looks foolish and it looks very dangerous.

I have been studying one individual who is an excellent example of courage - Caleb. And as I have studied, I have found out that courage is just the beginning. Courage is not the end result but the launching pad to something much greater.

Take Caleb
Caleb showed great courage when he stood up to all of Israel and to the 10 spies who said that they should not go into the promised land. That courage was the glue that held him together as he wandered the desert with the other Israelites suffering for a crime he did not committ.

But here is the incredible thing - when he finally got into the promised land, he drew from that courage to do the thing that God had originally asked of him - to take Hebron and the giants that ruled that rich and fruitful place. His courage was what helped him to rely on God and be obedient.

So what is the result of this courage that leads to obedience? It is peace. Most people don't read on in Joshua, but in Chapter 20, God lays out a new concept - Cities of Refuge. These are places that you could go if you were framed or if you accidentally killed someone. These cities were places of justice and protection so that the tribal revenge killings would not spiral out of control. And guess which city was a City of Refuge. You guessed it - Hebron.

Caleb showed courage in the face of giants, followed up his courage with obedience to God's call to take Hebron and he was rewarded by the people of God who made his city a place of safety and justice.

Innovation Application
When we are striving to be innovative in our ministry settings, courage will always be required. Many times we see courageous innovators. The problem is many times that innovation is not followed by obedience - and so it dies.

Only when we courageously innovate and obediently serve will we find peace and rest in new ideas and new strategies that create significant Kingdom Impact.