A couple nights ago I was able accomplish one of my “fun” goals while being back in the States for this maternity leave. My brother-in-law Davy, future brother-in-law Nathan (in one week) and I went to go see one of my favorite authors teach at his church in Columbus, Ohio!
We aren’t supposed to put people up on a pedestal and the last thing I want to do is idolize someone. At the same time, I want to recognize that there are people in the body of Christ who are older, wiser and all around more mature believers with a lot of faithful ministry experience that we could all glean some wisdom from.
Dennis McCallum is one of those guys, and I felt like it would be cool to meet him, shake his hand and thank him for his ministry.
Dennis is lead pastor & founder of an incredible church called Xenos Christian Fellowship committed to culturally relevant- yet biblically solid evangelism, teaching, discipleship and home church planting. They are a church made up of over 600 home groups and have seen massive growth over the years, surprisingly not transfer growth from other churches. In fact, they claim that some 80% of their church is made up of people not from other churches, but rather of people who came to Christ through the church!
I’ve been reading some of his books over the last year and have some of his sermons on audio. He’s a solid Bible teacher and a true shepherd devoted to making disciples. We read portions of The Death of Truth in Bible school (of which he was the General Editor), and had his book Walking in Victory recommended in our Christian Life class. Then later, we were given his series on Romans as part of our orientation material when arriving on the field of Papua New Guinea. Recently I just finished his book Members of One Another, which was awesome. We’ve given away several copies of it already.
I’ve really enjoyed his work a lot in two major areas, First, he has a clear understanding of God’s grace and all that we have in Christ, with a commitment to teach what that means practically in our Christian lives. There are not many Bible teachers out there who do this, or do it effectively. In everything he teaches and writes, he is consistent to take the believer back to who he/she is in Christ. This is important for me, since I have a background in an extremely legalistic circle. The tendency when confronted with sin & failure in the Christian life is to revert to a list of rules or to try and make promises to do better, when in all reality this is not the Biblical solution.
Secondly, as church planters living in a cross-cultural setting, we ask ourselves the questions all the time, “What is the New Testament Church, what do we do here in America that is not actually New Testament, and how do I avoid importing those things into a foreign context?” Those might not seem like very difficult questions, but they are for those of us desiring to be used of the Lord to plant churches in other cultures. McCallum asks those same questions of our own culture in his newest book Members of One Another, revealing that maybe some of the forms we have in our American churches, while not entirely wrong, may not be the most conducive for the what the New Testament church was meant to be.
Anyways, here’s some recommended reading if you want to check him out:
Walking in Victory “This book is the ultimate guide to understanding the premiere passage on grace in the New Testament– Romans 5 through 8. What we do arises out of what we are. So who are you? If we can believe God’s word, you are a new creature in Christ–already alive from the dead and as close to God as you could possibly be. But do you really believe that? If you did, you would be experiencing the joy and victory God intends for you.”
Members of One Another “Dare to face an uncompromising look at the real need in modern western Christianity. Does a church’s strength come from a stage, or from its members? In this training manual for church leaders, McCallum discusses something far more important for local churches than methods, structures, or gimmicks: ethos. If you build a biblical ethos into your group they will be ready to handle any obstacle and continue to thrive, regardless of your church model.”
Satan and His Kingdom “Pastor and teacher Dennis McCallum clarifies what the Bible teaches about Satan, evil spirits, demonic control, and spiritual warfare–and how it applies today. McCallum covers all the key topics, including: Who is Satan? Where did he come from? Why is he still on the loose? How do evil forces operate against individuals? Against churches? What steps should we take to resist temptation and other attacks? How can we keep our focus on Christ, not Satan? Comprehensive, reliable, and balanced, this book avoids extremism and sensationalism, making it the ideal resource for pastors, lay leaders, and any Christian wanting to know more about the work of evil in the world.
- For free online at Xenos.Org you can also get Dennis’ lectures on most of the books in the New Testament.