Welcome! If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’ve been to my website before, probably clicking on an article somewhere along the way. Historically, many of my site visitors are repeat offenders, but that is what I hope for when it comes to the purposes of this site in the first place.
For those of you who have seen it before, you will notice the site is completely redesigned. This new look and functionality mark a turning point in my plans for this online space. With my move back to Southeastern as the Associate Director for the missions center and my work in the classroom, I hope to make this a hub for my research, writing, and resources for both students, churches, and other entities involved in Great Commission ministry.
A Work in Progress
Pardon the dust.
I probably launched this new iteration of the site prematurely. I am doing all the front-end work on this site myself. Like some others, the pandemic allowed me to pick up an extra hobby during lockdown. I started fiddling just a bit with web design. Since sharing resources online is such an important piece of my work, I wanted the freedom to do it on my own terms. The freedom comes at a cost. This website is admittedly not as slick as a professionally designed site. In my opinion, that is a feature and not a bug.
Over the past few years, I’ve become more critical of the inherent consumerism and self-promotional platforming that accompanies a web presence. As one who sees the real importance of sharing work online but does not want to fall into the trap of self-importance that the social internet (falsely) promises, I believe less is probably more when it comes to this site. It is simple and hopefully easy to navigate, and though it will not win any awards, it is mine.
I am still finding a few broken links and missing pictures. The functionality is 90% of the way there, though, so you should be able to take it for a spin. Keep coming back and you should see it become more polished as we go. You can also follow updates to the site with the RSS feed, and perhaps soon, I will have an email update option as well.
Where this Site has Been
I’ve had a presence online for a long time at this point. I started this website over a decade ago while I was serving as a missionary in West Africa. It was part missionary newsletter for updating my church and partners back at home and part my own means of processing all I was experiencing in my field of mission. It has been with me ever since, and over the years it has picked up new purposes along the way.
For the last 6-7 years, this website became the home of the Peoples Next Door project. This project was an initiative we birthed at Southeastern Seminary in the Center for Great Commission Studies to resource and equip local churches in North America for the work of diaspora missions. Since then, the project spawned loads of research, articles, and opportunities to cast a vision for local churches to engage in this increasingly important field of ministry. Much of that content has been housed here on this site along the way.
The Future of Peoples Next Door
Today, we’re making some changes for the Peoples Next Door initiative. To be clear, it’s not going away. Instead, I hope that its best years are in front of us, and we will see even more opportunities to help churches engage the least reached that are now in arms reach of our churches in North America.
To that end, the Peoples Next Door now has a new website dedicated solely to the project, which can be found at peoplesnextdoor.com. This website will house a growing supply of resources for the local church and serve as a connecting point for consultation. In addition to launching a new website, the Peoples Next Door team is growing to include a number of experienced consultants to help churches engage in cross-cultural ministry locally. The team and the resources are growing, so check back often and follow along as we work to provide more helps for the church. And if your church wants to engage in diaspora missions, reach out to us and we will connect with you to begin that process.
Where this Site is Going
With my transition back to Southeastern, I saw an opportunity to do something with this site that I’ve wanted to do for a while. The past few years, I’ve felt confined in my writing by the narrow focus of the Peoples Next Door project. As much as I love that conversation (and it is still a primary emphasis for me and our missions center), creating a separate, dedicated space for my diaspora missions work frees this site to be more general in nature. I hope that both online spaces can grow this way without one being hindered by the confines of the other.
For certain, the vast majority of things that make their way onto my primary site will still be focused on church and missions. My heart for this website is that it is a tool for pastors, ministers, and laypeople alike to be better equipped for that most important task given by Christ to his church. I want all that I do to point to the priority of gospel proclamation among the nations in the mission of the church.
However, this site can now tackle that purpose with a wide-angle lens. Future posts may deal with pastoral ministry, theology, church history, current events and cultural exegesis, or even practical advice for students on how to be faithful in their studies.
For now, I believe this website will accomplish this in at least three ways:
Articles have always been the backbone of this website, and that is not going to change. The site is still equipped with a blog where I plan to continue writing for the church and hopefully incorporating other voices as well along the way. In addition to this new content, this website hosts hundreds of articles I have written over the course of a decade.
I want all of that content to be as accessible as possible, so the new format allows multiple ways to interact with these articles. First, you can find the normal blog feed of articles at keelancook.com/blog, or by clicking on the Blog menu item at the top of the main page. All of the articles are listed there, but this is the best place to follow along with new content. Second, I’ve added an article archive to the website. You can find all of the past articles broken down by year under the Article Collection section on the main page of the website.
The Commonplace Book
In addition to complete articles, I am trying something new on this site by including a live look at many of my research notes with an online commonplace book. On this portion of the site, you can scroll through linked notes of research and smaller, often incomplete notes concerning church and mission. I am hopeful that this experiment serves as another resource in addition to helping me “think in public” along with the input of others.
Videos and Sermons
Finally, I included a place on this new site to pull together some video content from teaching and preaching opportunities. I often get asked for video content concerning different issues, and I plan to include links to those for others. You can find those at keelancook.com/videos.