Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Doing Church in Economic Crisis

Howard Snyder suggests in his book Liberating the Church that 3 out of 4 churches should not own their own buildings. While I (Kevin) don't completely agree with this statement he bases the claim on some important aspects of being missional.

1. Inability to change with the community. Often churches that have a building, do so for a specific purpose, however the community changes and the resources that churches have tend not to change with it. A more flexible meeting place allows the church to mold itself to meet the needs of the community. To push back on this concept however, having rootedness in the community and shaping the community might damper the inability to change with the community.

2. Building plans and rennovations tend to divert funding. This is quite pertinent to churches now in the current economic crisis. Large building debts have hampered ministry effectiveness for the sake of being attractional rather than missional for some time. Now some churches are having to close down because their financial flexibility is ruined. This is the time when churches need to step in as the Acts church did and provide for those hurting around them, but instead they have to cut programs and govern with a tighter financial fist to keep afloat.

The church can see this time as a purging of the unnecessary and a refocus on really reaching out to the communities in which they reside. Families need help and hope. The church as Christ initiated is pitted to provide both and do so better than any politicking or policy might. It is a time to get our priorities more in line with the mission of God (missio dei) than with with the flexibility of doing church in our own power. While specific missions can vary from church to church, community to community, we all fall under the mission of God - to proclaim the Good News and to serve those whom the world rejectes.

The times are hard, especially for those in ministry, but it is a joyous time to be reframed and formatted for the mission of God. Trials and tribulations are opportunities says the Bible to mold our character. No doubt following God's mission requires greater reliance and trust on Jesus. As Christians, there is no greater time than now to cast off our fears, and join together as the Bride of Christ to follow after the call He has put on us.

Somewhere Inbetween

Last week Kevin and I made a whirlwind trip to Southern California. A good chunk of our time was spent representing LAM at a missions fair, but we were also able to connect with some of our friends as well as visit our church. Every time I visit I am reminded of how much I love our friends and how much I miss them. But even as I am missing our friends in Southern California, I love being with my family here in Northern California, and am excited about some of the new friendships we are developing here. To complicate things even further, Kevin and I are both really ready to be able to start our life in Spain, and if the support were in, we would be willing to move tomorrow.

As I feel tugged in every which way, I begin to question where it is exactly that we belong, and if we will ever feel truly settled. I am neither here, nor there. Still, despite the confusion that sometimes seems to reign supreme in my life, I feel blessed that there are so many places I would like to be, and that we have so many wonderful friends.

In less than a month, April 17th to be exact, we will fly to Mexico City for the summer to serve with Spearhead. We are excited to spend time with our Mexican family again, and to be working with students. We will be returning back to Northern California in mid-August. Please be praying that this summer will be a time where our vision is sharpened and our call is deepened.

Thank you so much for your friendship and support, it is invaluable to us!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Saint Patty's Day Reflection

Today is the day to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day. While many of us, including me will wake up tomorrow with welts for not wearing green, I am green with envy about this man's missionary life.

St. Patrick was a creative missionary and reconciler, two values to Leah and I, and we can learn a lot from him.

Patrick early on was captured and enslaved by pagans in Ireland and Scotland. He escaped and returned home (with another capture having faced him on the way). There he found God or rather God found him. And what did his escape and conversion mean? It meant God sent him on a mission to the very people that Patrick had been a slave for.

This is a reconciling act - God's mission. In The Confession of St. Patrick he about floats off the page with joy for the work he's been blessed to do among the pagans, the very pagans that captured him and their surrounding tribes. Patrick was a missional missionary. He went and learned from the local tribe. He imbedded himself in the local community and lived the Christian life around these tribes. This was not without danger, as there were many hostile to the Roman-perceived religion, but he rejoices constantly in his confession despite the dangers.

A great book recommendation, besides his confession, is The Celtic Way of Evangelism, in which the author describes the work of Patrick and others in their mission to the pagans in Ireland, Scotland, Britain and Wales. Identity and solidarity were crucial to the mission.

Leah and I prepare ourselves to move to Spain. Our ultimate goal is to be so imbedded in the culture that we can live in solidarity with the madrilenos. Patrick is a good model for us to follow as missionaries and a good model for all of us disciples.

God is a reconciling God and he will use our greatest pains to impact minisistry and mission. He causes us to be reconciled to our offender and through that reconciliation, he gives us the love that allows us to minister. God reveals himself through brokenness reconciled; through love of enemy; through going and living in solidarity.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

To Not Try

Today's sermon message was, "It is ok to fail, it is not ok to not try." This is an idea found all over scripture and it usually comes in the vein of trusting God. This is not an easy lifestyle. In our "Be Prepared" lifestyle often we deem preparation as the need to have all the ducks in a row before heading out.

I (Kevin) happen to like the Boy Scouts' motto "Be Prepared." I find it quite prudent.

That said, living this pre-missionary life teaches us a lot about Be Prepared AND Trust God philosophies of living. They need not be mutually exclusive ideas, but they need not be synonymous either.

How are we being prepared? I think for both of us, the opportunity to be spiritually ready is the number one. We have been able to devote so much to spiritual development and learning. We are preparing by learning the culture and language in which we are to minister to. We are preparing by building a support team around us as we go (we don't want our ministry to be an island). The majority of these things we can control.

But there are many things outside of our control that we've really learned to have to trust God for. We have had to trust God for a living situation - provided; we have had to trust God to continually confirm this calling - confirmed; we have had to trust God with incredible support and encouragement - provided; we have had to trust God to lead us to a ministering church - done.

And as we prepare and trust God we are set out to try. What happens if we fail? Thankfully we have the family, friends and church to support us. They are our safety net and our launchers into the grand sky of missions.

So often the amount of things that people have to trust God for is so difficult they don't try. We want to thank all of you for your encouragment and your safety net that allows us to both Be Prepared and Trust God.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Duty of Minister/Missionary

I (Kevin) am in a class called Personal Transformation. It has been an amazing class, full of learning. We are currently reading a book about the anatomy of the brain and how its design for relationships is what spurs transformation.

This has great implications for ministers and missionaries. We have three brains that process data, and though they are interconnected, they work autonomously as well. While our culture often praises the Neo-cortex for its cognitive ability, it is the limbic brain that actually forms long-lasting transformation through emotional understanding.

What does this mean? It means for ministers that we can preach doctrine (statements) until we are blue in the face, but without the positive emotional attachment (please do not read emotionalism) to faith, doctrine has very little impact. That means the minister and missionary must share life in relationship with the people they minister to. Our limbic brains formulate emotional bonds almost telepathically, and these emotional bonds, while influenced by doctrine (statements) are formed through relationship.

The book talks about the "therapist" as one who must enter into the sphere of the patient, that it is limbic restructuring that provides emotional healing. This model works for formal therapy or for ministry. The minister/missionary must be willing to enter into life with the one being ministered to. This in evitably means that the minister/missionary will be the one ministered to as well, because there will be a mutual limbic exchange.

We learned through an anthropological exercise while I was in Portland, that positive limbic resonance cannot happen where superiority is involved. An easy example is ministering to (read "with") a homeless person, while not as a homeless person. Superiority makes it easy to minister to a homeless person, but horrible to be ministered to BY a homeless person. However eliminating this dichotomy and entering into a learning relationship allows then for actual, mutual ministry to take place.

When we take a look over our scripture we find God who makes statements (10 Commandments) but really enters into a transformative process with the people. He walks with Adam and Eve; he speaks directly to the Patriarchs; he comes as a cloud and pillar of fire to the wandering Israelites; he is encapsulated in the arc of the covenant. God makes himself known through the prophets and the angels.

In the New Testament God appeals to the limbic brains he created in us by becoming human, actually walking with us, not in a method of superiority, but in service. While we like to think of Jesus as the suffering servant, he allowed himself to be ministered to also. There was a mutual exchange limbically. He then left us the Spirit, who has relationship with us not in such an imperical knowledge (5 senses), but we can recognize the Spirit by our trust and experience.

Christ also gave us the equipped disciples to be physical representations of him. They made disciples and so forth and so on. We are part of the limbic resonance that effects transformation within our Christian community and without.

If the Church is to be an effective body effecting transformation, and a superiority complex effects limbic resonance between people, how then must the church view itself?

Speaking at Church

Yesterday was such a blessing for our ministry and motivation. We had the opportunity to share at both services of our church in Oroville. Despite the change in time (which had us exhausted) there was a great turnout to the early service and a good one to the later service. It was great to be able to share with our home congregation who we are, what God has called us to and how they could partner. It was an honor to be able to share what God was doing with Free Methodists in Spain.

Most people seemed staggered by the statistics about faith in Spain. As is popularly believed, Spain is a Catholic nation, so very rooted in faith. What is staggering is that less than 20% of Catholics are faithful attenders. The Protestant church is about 0.4% of the entire population in the country, and atheism is on the rise. The fact that Spain is part of the 10/40 window is not common knowledge, nor the fact that it is one of the countries where the Gospel is shared the least in the world and the least in the Latin world.

Part of our heart for Spain is to see faith on the rise, this is the general hope for any missionary. We are excited that many from our home church will be praying for us and joining us on this mission to witness Jesus Christ.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Support us for FREE!

So maybe you have been thinking about supporting us, but for whatever reason just don't have the funds to do so. Well, now we have a new option for support which costs you nothing more than a second of your time. :)

Everyone uses Google to search the internet, right? Well now there is another option through Yahoo, called the BenefitBar, which every time you use 10 cents will be donated to LAM on our behalf.

This is how it works:

1. You think to yourself, "hmm, self, I need to look up how to make chocolate chip cookies."

2. You then type in "chocolate chip cookies" (or whatever else you might want to look up) into the BenefitBar search engine.

3. When the search results show up you then have to click on one of the sponsored links.
* How do you know which are the sponsored links? The sponsored links are usually the first
ones listed and are highlighted in blue.

4. Once you have clicked on the sponsored link ten cents is automatically deposited into our account.
* What if I don't want to go to any of the sponsored links? Often the sponsored links are not
the most helpful ones, however you don't have to stay on that link for us to receive our ten
cents. If you don't find it helpful, simply go back to the search engine after the page has
loaded and click on the link that actually is helpful for you.

5. Can I donate more than 10 cents per day? YES! Each time you use the BenefitBar and click on a sponsored link we receive money.

How does it all add up?

Our goal for the month of March is to reach $200. This means that, starting tomorrow (March 7th), if 20 people use the BenefitBar 4x a day, by April 1st we will have reached our March goal of $200.

Will you commit to support us through the BenefitBar? If you are interested in downloading this search engine, please follow the instructions below. If you have any questions please feel free to e-mail us:

Kevin & Leah Book-Satterlee and Fund-it BenefitBar Join Forces!

We are excited to announce that you can now financially support our organization without taking a dime out of your pocket…the dime comes from Yahoo! There is no cost to our organization and no cost to you. You can help us raise funds without writing a check or buying and selling products or spending any additional time. Thanks to our new relationship with Fund-it BenefitBar, we receive ten cents each time you click on a sponsored link when you search through our new customized toolbar. No purchases are necessary.

Fund-it has created a customized toolbar for our organization; you simply download it to your Internet browser and do all of your searches through the Yahoo! search engine. As an added benefit, our custom toolbar includes additional helpful links. There are no pop ups, spyware or adware; your privacy is protected and it will not replace your existing toolbars. The download process takes less then a minute and the toolbar is un-intrusive.

Please take a few minutes to go to and simply download our toolbar and help us meet our financial needs.

Thank you so much for your continued support.

* P.S. If you would like to make a financial contribution you can do so by directly donating through our LAM sponsorship page:

Thank you so much for all of your prayers and support. We would love to hear from you so please drop us a line!