'Mission' tagged posts

Do We Change Our Last Name?

One of the most important questions that 2 boys pondered as their mom and her fiancé discussed marriage. Clark was much easier to spell and pronounce. Little did we know that a new last name would present all manner of pronunciation woes for the rest of our lives: Weideman. It is pronounced, “We-da-men” but without […]

Halloween & Jesus: 6 Ideas for Making Halloween Meaningful

Every year we get this strange opportunity… Here’s how the Zinn family does Halloween! ———— Halloween is weird. Cute kids and large quantities of sugar. Yards strewn with synthetic spiderwebs and battery-powered cackling skeletons and gigantic inflatable witches. A background that includes remembering the dead, pacifying ancient Celtic gods, prayer and fasting… and smashed pumpkins. […]

Why I Do What I do


Guest Writer: Clair Bolender

I was recently reminded of an event that happened to me about 30 years ago that changed a particular area of my life. It came to me as a “calling” to a specific ministry and, to this day, I am still answering the call and reaping the benefits of being obedient.

As missions go this one may be relatively insignificant and certainly won’t qualify me for sainthood, but there are small tasks that need to be done in the Kingdom as well as large jobs. I wish that I had been as willing and obedient on other occasions when I was asked to do important kingdom work.

I have not been bashful about telling this story many times before, but I don’t think that I have ever put it to paper, and it is too important to be lost from my history. It is about an event that happened roughly thirty years ago, but still affects how I act today. If you have heard it before you are excused from reading this account but the moral of the story is worth remembering, and it may change your life in the same way that it changed mine.

Failing Retirement

“So you failed retirement?” The question was asked in jest and I laughed, but it made me think. I retired several years ago from a career that I felt God had designed for me. He had given me the skills and abilities that I used every day, developing and writing help systems, business practices, and […]

Mission: What, Where and How, Part 3

go_by_sethtothebrown-d4hsqyzLet’s start with a brief recap of the previous two posts.

Our mission as followers of Christ is simply to be disciples who make disciples all for the glory of God. And we do this wherever God has placed us, whether its work, school, our neighborhood, etc. That’s it in a nutshell.

Seems too simple right? But once we have the confusion over mission and context cleared up then what? How do we actually go about making disciples once we’ve taken a fresh look at our context? How do we live it out?

Mission: What, Where and How, Part 2


If mission is the what, context is the where.

Considering the confusion we so often experience around clearly defining mission, it’s no wonder that identifying our mission context is so difficult.

Our mission is to be disciples, who make disciples, for the glory of God.  That is true wherever we are.  But how do we identify the context in which we live out this mission?  And for those of us who have clearly identified our context for mission, how are we helping others do the same?

There are plenty of challenges in this process. 

Mission: What, Where and How, Part 1

May years ago, I stepped away from working in college ministry.  In some ways it was devastating for me.  My sense of purpose, my mission, had become so tied up in that ministry.  In the 15+ years since, I’ve faced similar challenges multiple times over.  And each time that big question of purpose raises its […]

Celebrating Dr. King: Five Ideas from My Family to Yours

The focus of our attention indicates who and what we will become—both as an individual and as a people. Reflecting on the monuments of our past, then — monuments of both good and of evil — can build in us resolve and direction for the character of our future. And for the follower of Jesus, these monuments serve also to build in us gratitude and confidence in the activity of God — as well as to build a horror of the ways that the ‘normal’ sins of pride and self-indulgence and mindless conformity inevitably work to compound into monstrosity. We do not look back to become mired in the past — we look back to build into ourselves character that propels us forward.

This weekend, Americans celebrate a magnificent monument of our past — a monument that reminds us both of the haunting expanse of evil and of the brilliant momentum of good. For much of my life, I missed what that meant, and, aside from an obligatory school assembly, I gave little thought to the significance of the Martin Luther King, Jr holiday.

The result of my white privilege? Absolutely. Of the self-centeredness of my youth? Yeah… that too.

A number of years ago, however, I began to recognize an opportunity — the opportunity to honor a noble man, certainly, and thereby to honor and strengthen the values for which he stood … and in doing so, to build for myself and my family a forward-propelling character.

Here are some ideas, from my family to yours, for honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr — and perhaps, for gleaning some of his character to build into your own:

I Did a Strange Thing: Part Two

The half-naked young man before me lay stretched on a table, his lifeless limbs unnaturally awry. Long and lanky like many a twenty-year-old, his light-bronze skin, dark hair and angular facial features made him look the Arab that he was, while his clean-shaven face identified his Islam as moderate. He lay in Yemen, half a world away from me, but as my host held the screen and its image before me, the pain behind his eyes made death a palpable presence in the room. Adel, the youth in the image, was his little brother, killed two weeks ago.


Truth? Six months ago, I could have shown you Yemen on a map, and given you some basic cultural information — but while I may have had a nagging sense that things like human starvation, and violence, and oppression physical and spiritual should have prompted some kind of response in me — well, I may just have found it hard to care. I’ve heard this called “Compassion Fatigue”  — which sounds so much better than “self-centered callousness”, the phrase I suspect may be more apt.


The difference now? An unlikely friendship.


I am a Jesus-follower, a “person of the Cross”, one who believes that real, vibrant, forever-life is found only through the person of Jesus, who is God-in-flesh, full of inexplicable love… and power… and goodness. And my heart cries, “Glory!”


My faith is irreconcilable with that of my Yemeni friends. The divide between us as bloody today as at any time in history. And yet…


In early March of this year, not even two weeks before the country of Yemen would plunge into civil-war-turned-international-conflict (or is it international-conflict-turned-civil-war?), our family received a remarkable invitation from people we had not yet met in person. (You can read here for the story leading up to this invitation)

Mission Week 3 – FAT

When I mention “dodge-ball” what images come to mind?  I think most of us think of that terror, not of red rubber gym balls zinging by our heads, but rather the greatest terror a third grader could face: the picking of the teams!  At least for me, it seemed easier to just head to the nurse’s office before the game started than to face the agony of being picked dead last….

When God does something in a family, a company, a school, or a generation He always does it through a person.  This is His strategy – always has been and always will until the end of time.  When God brings change, He simply looks for a person.

But what kind of person?  What characteristics is He looking for?