Monday, April 21, 2008
There's a Sheep in my Bathtub!
My latest read was a missionary biography called There's a Sheep in my Bathtub: Birth of a Mongolian Church Planting Movement, by Brian Hogan. Once I picked it up, I read this one so fast it didn't even make my 'currently reading' list before I was already done!
"What happens when you drop an American family with three small children into the remote post-Communist chaos of Outer Mongolia?
There's a Sheep in my Bathtub chronicles the adventures of the American Family Hogan as they try to follow God's leading into one of the world's most remote and mysterious enclaves. Disarmingly honest and laugh-out-loud funny, their tale will thrill you and bring tears to your eyes. An intensely personal memoir, this book still manages to pack a powerful dose of missionary insights and Biblical principles for seeing the Church explode into life among people that have never even heard of Jesus. Get comfortable. You will not be able to put it down."
One of my favorite parts of this book was the description of the tension the church-planters experienced when trying to balance weekly in-home small groups with larger Sunday celebration gatherings. When the ministry focus was on the small groups, the Christians grew deeper in their faith and the small groups grew and multiplied rapidly.
When they increased the frequency of Sunday worship services from monthly to weekly, everyone had a great time, many people attended, but participation in the small groups dropped off, meaning discipleship and accountability were compromised. I am very curious if churches in the United States, which focus their energies on one Sunday gathering, have had similar experiences when transitioning to a small group based ministry.
I definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in missions, church-planting, or experiencing life in a very different culture.
For those of you are interested in the story, but have shorter attention spans, you can skim a two page summary of Brian Hogan's fascinating ministry in Mongolia by clicking here.