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There's a Sheep in my Bathtub: Birth of a Mongolian Church Planting Movement Paperback – August 1, 2008
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It is my delight to endorse my dear brother Brian Hogan's book. I have known Brian and his family for a long time. Without pioneer missionaries like Brian and Louise Hogan, the great awakening Mongolia experienced would have been impossible. With great sacrifice they laid down everything for God's Kingdom in Mongolia, but their sacrifice wasn't in vain. Erdenet Assembly, which their team established, has been a model to young Mongolian churches, and a great encouragement to indigenous believers to step up and take on leadership within their churches and in their communities and country as well. Brian has a heart for Mongolians. His great skill, biblical knowledge, respect toward Mongolian tradition, culture and history, and his sense of humor were easily embraced by the locals. His actions were louder than his words, for which he was loved not only by local Christians, but by non-Christians as well. No one can tell the story of Mongolian church birth, growth, and struggles better than Brian Hogan. His first hand experience is helpful to not only missionaries who are about to start their journeys, but also to local believers who are writing the history of Mongolian Christianity. That's why I am offering my support and if he wants to publish his book in Mongolian, I am honored to ask him to finish this task. --- Baika Puntsag, pastor, Amazing Grace Mongolian Church, Denver, 1st Mongolian church in USA. A great read. I was drawn in by the struggles and victories experienced by the Hogan family as they dreamed the impossible: to see a church planting movement established in Mongolia. This book is stuffed with powerful New Testament Apostolic church planting principles-something woefully absent in today's missionary literature. Brian writes from "hands on" practical experience and not theory. Excellent!! I highly recommend There's a Sheep in my Bathtub to anyone who dreams of the impossible. A must-read for any future church planter on all continents! --- the late Jeff Gilbertson, church planter to the Tajiks Brian keeps the story rolling. You won't put this book down easily. But while you're having fun turning the pages, you'll find yourself amazed at the God who puts the move in Christ-following movements. You'll find yourself coached without realizing it, learning all kinds of wisdom about how to over-achieve in seemingly impossible things. Mongolia may be one of the best laboratories to learn about how Christ becomes famous and followed throughout an entire people. And this could be one of the best bundle of lessons learned. Brian is transparent about his misgivings and mistakes, and at the same time he is disarmingly clear about the principles that he was proving true. It's hard not come away feeling that you are ready to attempt something great yourself. --- Steve Hawthorne, editor of Perspectives on the World Christian Movement I've known Brian and Louise for many years, and have been deeply impressed with their extraordinary commitment to the Lord and to His eternal purpose of spreading His love, mercy, tenderness, compassion and forgiveness to the ends of the Earth. Their lives truly demonstrate the Lord's Father Heart made flesh in a winsomely genuine way that is incredibly attractive and deeply compelling. I was unable to put this book down. This masterful and engaging story of their joys and sorrows, overwhelming challenges, perseverance in tribulation and astounding successes in Mongolia is a testimony to both their undaunted spirit and the unwavering faithfulness of God to accomplish His word with great power through normal people just like you and me. The timeless spiritual principles embedded in these pages will both inspire and instruct those who want to know and understand the Lord and His vision for the world in a deeper and clearer way. I can't recommend it to you highly enough! --- Fred Markert, director of the Center for Strategic Initiatives
About the Author
BRIAN HOGAN earned his Master's in Intercultural Studies/Ministry from Hope International University (Fullerton, CA) specializing in World Christian Foundations. He is a sought after speaker, trainer and coach. Brian serves full time with Church Planting Coaches, a global ministry of Youth With A Mission. He serves YWAM on the Frontier Mission Leadership Team. He enjoys being a catalyst, hanging out, reading books, traveling and trying anything new, novel, and different. Brian has participated in, led, and started organic expressions of Jesus' Body in the USA, Malta, and Mongolia both inside and outside the traditional wine-skin. He coaches those involved in these movements on five continents, especially focusing on where the church isn't. Brian and his wife Louise and their backyard chickens make make their home in the northwest Arkansas Ozarks.
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(For example, he initially struggled to make any converts because, it turned out, his Mongolian Bible translation was using the wrong word for “God.”) The story about the death of his infant son, and how both his family and his nascent church coped with it, was very touching. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in travel stories, and especially to Christians.
George Patterson, who is a missionary that God used to multiply churches in Honduras writes the preface and explains one of the reasons this Mongolian movement was effective. "Many church planters follow such a long list of things to do to start a church that they fail to give top priority to the few essential activities, and end up doing so many things that the key, pivotal elements of church planting a buried in the plethora of work items."
This simplicity of church was a key to the growth and multiplication of house churches in this difficult area. The author, Brian Hogan, shares the two reasons why church planting movements do not take place: "One, what we are doing is too complex" and "Two, we don't trust the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer" (251).
This prioritizing of the basics is seen throughout the book. Here are some examples:
First, they effectively discipled the new believers which led to growth by multiplication.
Second, they trained leaders in the local church and thus avoided separating them from ministry in an ivory tower academic context (210).
Third, they passed the baton to Mongolian leadership at just the right time. Some would say that they should have never passed the baton but let the locals carry the baton from the beginning. However, this did lead to solid growth both in doctrine and life. Part of their problem was the fact that the initial conversions were among teen-age girls (95).
Fourth, they were able to transition from the teen-age girl substance of the beginning church to whole families in a way that made the church much more reflective of the Mongolian culture as a whole.
Fifth, they understood the importance of small holistic small groups for solid growth rather than large "celebration" type gatherings. They learned the importance of contextualization and avoiding cultural baggage from the Western approach to church. This led to the multiplication of churches rather than one large church and penetrated the culture and made discipleship more effective (124-126).
As a missionary family they went through some very difficult situations including the sudden death of a new born son. Even this terrible suffering was used by God as they modeled for the Mongolians "Grieving with Hope" (title of the epilogue 247-50).
I would recommend that all church planters read this book even if they are planting a church in a more urban or western context. Lessons learned through real life history are a powerful means of church planter training.
This true story brought laughter, tears, and much awareness into my "tunnel vision" mind. I even found myself praying for the Hogan Family as I read of their struggles in Mongolia. I had to remind myself several times that these struggles are long gone as the book was set in the 1990's. However, I feel like I know them and still want to pray for them as they work for The Lord here in the states. May God bless their currant work and continue to bless the Mongolians they served 2 decades ago. Great story, great book!
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So much goodness in it
Highly recommend this book to anyone that is following Jesus.