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Welcome to NCI. We’ve been building and equipping churches and church plants for over 20 years. We are pioneers, practitioners, and students of church multiplication. This site is where we share some of our insights for growing your church. About NCI

How Do We Defend and Commend Our Faith?

2-men-talkingI’ve always been concerned for people who are far from God. When I first engaged with the Christian faith as a pre-teen I was taught that it is every Christian’s responsibility to share their faith. Over time it became more than a duty, it became a deep concern for others.

Through the years this burden for others has not ceased but has become stronger, particularly as I’ve experienced friends and loved ones rejecting the truths of my faith.

I’ve attempted to think deeply about truth, life, relationships, and spirituality. I have been willing to step back from my cherished faith assumptions and re-evaluate, examine, and question. This has not moved me away from my Christian beliefs but has in fact solidified my convictions about God, Jesus, the Bible, and the Gospel.

Today I think I am more open than ever to critically examine what I believe. But honestly, the more I do, the more I discover what I have come to believe is enduring truth, that which I continue to find in my orthodox Christian beliefs.

Over the past 10 years I have been a serious student of culture, both in the West and around the world. Most of this research was in the context of missions and particularly church planting, and most of my work over the past 2 decades has been centered on church planting, both locally and globally. However, over the past year I have begun to think more about culture and how it relates to religion, politics, and economics. I hope to start a new journey in my blog now of reflecting on what I see and learn in culture.

I have become increasingly aware of the fact that my country, the United States of America, is decreasingly a Christendom culture influenced predominantly by Protestantism (like it was in the first 200 years of our nation.) But it is increasingly becoming a pluralistic culture influenced by many ideologies. In fact, the privileged place that Christianity once held is being attacked and replaced by not only secularism, but almost anything other than Christianity. This influence is becoming evident in legislation, politics, economics, education, as well as religious practices.

The question I ask myself today, more than ever, is this: “How do we, as members of the Christian faith community, properly offer what we take to be the blessings of our faith, to others? How can we both defend and commend our faith without needlessly offending our friends and loved ones and exacerbating the tensions now being posed by pluralism, and particularly secularism?”

Yes, the message of the cross will always be an offense to some, but how do we share it without us being the offense? If you have thoughts, I would love to hear your comments.

Convergence Event in Puebla, Mexico

Tom Basile, our NCI Team Leader in Puebla, Mexico, recently hosted a powerful event uniting multiple ministries. He called this event “Convergence.” Enjoy the video.

Confluencia 2011 – ENGLISH from Rebecca Vanderwerf on Vimeo.

Tom reports:

“The BAM Center (business as missions) or Centro BAM sits on 1.1 acre of property in the center of the thriving metropolitan city of Puebla – the fastest growing and safest city in Mexico. It boosts the same low percentage of homicides equivalent to that of Vermont and Wisconsin. In the BAM Center (Phase 1) there are a host of different ministries who are committed to ministry resources and who pay rent for both office and storage space. These ministries range from New Church Initiatives (specializing in Church Planting) drilling wells and providing clean water (Living Water International), Puppet Praise, Community In Acts (pre-evangelistic activities), Beck Vanderwerf Audio/Visual Technologies, Ultra Modern Dentistry, Campus Crusade Jesus Film Project and the list goes on. I am happy to report that phase 1 is up and running.

Phase 2 will involve the build out of a medical facility whose purpose will be to first provide healthcare, secondly jobs and finally resources that will finance the above ministries. Using the venue of ministering physically to gain the opportunity to minister spiritually is our MO. We ask that you would prayerfully consider participating in Phase 2 as a donor who would be willing to adopt a project. All donations will go through NCI in Houston. Thank you for your willingness to be part of this BAM endeavor.”

Are Church-Goers Too Fat?

Interesting report came out this week from ABC News in Austin, TX. Take a look and let me know what you think!

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Psalm 119 – Loving God’s Word

Psalm 119 has been a deeply meaningful psalm to me my whole adult life.  I also love its sister psalms, Psalm 1 and Psalm 19.  All three of these psalms spur my passion for God’s Word. This past week I’ve been reading 119.  First I read it in its entirety, yes, all 176 verses at one […]

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Church Planting Does Not Guarantee Missional Focus

New churches can become trapped in a routine of aimlessness and irrelevance just as easily as an existing church. This dynamic happens because every Christian leader has a mental model of church.  These mental models govern our behaviors, often on an unconscious level.  So while we talk the language of a new paradigm, we typically behave […]

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Exploring God in the New Year: 5 Questions for Church Planters to Begin With

I’ve been fascinated recently by some research I have been doing for a ministry client. This research has significant bearing for church planters in the U.S. and around the world.We have been trying to identify the spiritual questions that are most common among people. So far we’ve come up with about 70 questions. However, 5 […]

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