As I tweeted the other day (Hey! You can follow me on Twitter: @HerfordDan), my Tradecraft mapping kit is in hand!  A couple of months ago the folks at The Upstream Collective put out a call for interested bloggers to join their Tradecraft mapping team.  Though I was wee in the bloggage, they heard my pleas to be included in this excellent experiment, and sent me the resources to make it happen.


The mapping kit includes a copy of the book they put out last year – Tradecraft: For the Church on Mission – along with a bunch of highlighters, a pen, and a notebook, to help apply the methods the book teaches.

The purpose of Tradecraft is to help all Christians engage their world with a missions mindset, and equip them with tools to better know and engage their communities.  The authors break the ‘tools of the trade’ into nine categories, which include:

  • Following the Spirit
  • Mapping
  • Exegeting Culture
  • Building Relationships
  • Identifying Persons of Peace
  • Engaging Tribes
  • Contextualization
  • Pursuing Alternative Paths
  • Protecting Indigeneity

I’m reading and seeking to apply the whole book (local people – leave a comment if you want to join with me in this in some way), and I hope to blog about much of it, but the focus of this blogging exercise is the second category – Mapping.

Mapping is the process of gathering and arranging the information you need to engage your city.  It’s more than knowing what streets go where.  It’s knowing how your city lives and breathes and works and plays and worships.  It’s finding the pockets of people that are scattered about, and identifying the paths and barriers that restrict them or allow them to move.  It’s finding the gathering places – the places that are alive, and the dark places – the places where fear and oppression dominate.

I was reading last night with some guys in a Bible study time, and we were in the 16th chapter of Acts, where Paul and Silas make their way to Macedonia.  I smiled as we read verses 12 and 13, and I saw how they arrived in Philippi and stayed there for a few days, getting the lay of the land.  Then, with some understanding of the rhythm of life in the area mapped into their brains, they were able to go where there was an opportunity to connect and share the Gospel.  Sweet!

Stick with me as I begin unpacking the Mapping chapter from Tradecraft, and using what I learn to map my city.  Check back, or sign up to get updates by email.  As always, your comments and questions are welcome!