Exploring Kingdom Frontiers

In these last years, we've seen the Church experience strains and face challenges that we never imagined! It's become more clear than ever that we need to be willing to try an find new paths forward. My name is Putty Putman, and I'm trying to follow Jesus into some new frames for communities of faith in the 21st century.

Thriving During COVID Launches!

I'm very excited to share that my first ever e-course has just launched! This is a series of ten all-new lessons, each specifically created to give spiritual perspective and insight for how to thrive this is exact moment. I believe this season will be a once-in-a-lifetime change to accelerate and grow, and I want to share how that works!


My Assignment

The Church is facing challenging times, but I believe God is setting us up for incredible things ahead! I'm working to experience a new chapter that God is writing in this thing called the Church.

Church Pioneering

The last few years have made it clearer than ever that we need new approaches to Church. There are options on the table now that have never been possible before, and I'm excited to be exploring them!

Church Planting

Our church pioneering work can't just be on a whiteboard: it needs to be fleshed out in real life. We are working to plant a church with our experimental ideas in Phoenix, AZ.

Church Resourcing

Our pioneering and planting work flows into resourcing other churches with the ideas, models, tools, and ministries that are creating kingdom fruit.

latest articles & teachings

What I've been working on lately...

Phoenix Church
Future Church
Life Update
Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit
Life Update
December 20, 2023
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A regular dose of hope and insight

If you want to track with what I'm creating, the most sure-fire way to do that is to join illuminate, my resourcing email list. (Don't worry: I hate spam as much as you and won't send you junk.)

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upcoming events

Where I'll be coming up...

I'm on a bit of a travel break!

I've cleared my schedule for the next number of months to focus specifically on my Phoenix church planting adventure. Don't worry though, I'll be picking travel back up when it's sensible to do so!

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Want to put an event together?

I'd love to explore what that would look like! Let me know what you're thinking using this page:

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i love books!

Reading Log

Kingdom Expressions
J.D. Payne

I picked this book up because I came across it as a reference list for different expressions of church. It's Amazon description shares, "In Kingdom Expressions, an expert takes a look at some of the most significant, gospel-advancing movements and trends to take place in the latter twentieth and twenty-first centuries in the United States" As someone working to play around with expressions of church, I was curious to see if there was anything else out there that was near the same space as what we're working to create.

I found the book true to it's reference; it is essentially a list of a little more than a dozen different types of church that are currently active in the US. Payne covers each with a short history and a few observations of their unique elements. He explores the church growth movement, the house church movement, the emergent church, the missional church, and others. I found it informative, if not particularly exciting. But I suppose reference books rarely are exciting. I did find it interesting that I didn't seem to find anything that seemed especially close to what we are working to create. Perhaps that a sign we're attempting something impossible! Who knows, I guess time will tell.

Why Nations Fail
Daron Acemoglu, James A. Robinson

I picked this book up because I wanted to learn more about the dynamics of flourishing in open systems. As we're working to architect an open system for our local church, I've found myself thinking quite a bit about how open systems work and what causes them to flourish. Nations (at least ones with free markets) organize as open systems and I was curious to see what was to be learned here.

The scope of this work is quite impressive. The authors are working to create a more-or-less universal theory of poverty on a national scale. What causes it and why do some nations flourish and others decline? Acemoglu and Robinson argue that the critical factor is whether a nation has inclusive or extractive economic institutions. Inclusive economic institutions spread wealth around and encourage the kind of long-term thinking that drives investment, innovation, and expansion. Extractive institutions concentrate wealth in the hands of a few, resulting in gain in the short term for a few, and net loss for all over time.

Acemoglu and Robinson continue to argue that for these inclusive economic institutions to remain inclusive over time, they need to be matched with inclusive, not extractive political institutions. Where political institutions allow for the power of a few to become too deterministic, those in power will bend the economic institutions for their benefit. To that end, the two have to exist together: inclusive economic institutions that spread wealth around, and inclusive political institutions that spread power around. Where those both align, a nation is on a good long-term course.

I found the analysis in Why Nations Fail interesting and I think there are many elements of validity to it. It strikes me as a little overly simple - the book comes across as if this is almost the only factors that matter in determining the long-term trajectory of a nation, and I have to believe it's just not that simple. That being said, they survey a vast number of historical examples and make a compelling case. It's certainly made me reflect quite a bit on economic and political dynamics and what they create over time.

Remaking the World
Andrew Wilson

I don't exactly recall how I came across this book, but I picked it up because I thought the subtitle was really fascinating: How 1776 Created the Post-Christian West. I've been reflecting on culture lately and I thought this would be a read worth engaging with.

I found Remaking the World to be an interesting blend of cultural analysis, history, and (lightly) Christian response to all of it. Wilson opens by arguing that western culture has become WEIRDER: (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic, Ex-Christian, Romantic), and that the foundations of WEIRDER culture were laid in the late 18th century. Astonishingly, many of the representative events of that shift happened in one year: 1776. Most of the rest of the book then highlights key events in each of the WEIRDER sectors and unpacks them.

As an American, I found myself suspicious of how US-centric the book may be. 1776 is a year we look at as important! And indeed many of the events from US history that happened in 1776 were explored, but I was really pleased to see there was at least as much discussion of events throughout Europe than there was in the US. Through the bulk of the book, Wilson unpacks the events that have made western culture WEIRDER by threading through explorers, inventors, politicians, philosophers, historical events, and more and gives a snapshot of a culture in flux in 1776, and how the threads in process then have continued through to this day. I found it interesting and thought provoking!

The last section of the book is Wilson's response to our current WEIRDER culture. Honestly, I found this part a little weak compared with the rest of the book. His response was largely tantamount to an argument that all of this makes the Christian message even more central; and that grace is the answer WEIRDER culture is looking for. In a sense I agree (grace is critical and is the answer), but I thought there was a bridge he didn't cross there: how can we speak into that culture effectively? Many believers are finding it harder and harder to connect the message of grace meaningfully with the current culture, and I'm not sure I got any sense as to how to do that more effectively. I would have liked a helpful framing thought or two, but that's about all I felt was missing from this interesting book.

Know the Real Jesus
Alexander Venter

I pIcked up a copy of Know the Real Jesus because I’ve read most of Alexander Venter’s work and because I’ve found historical Jesus research interesting and at times enriching to engage with. Anything that helps us get a clearer picture of Jesus is something I’m interested in!

Historical Jesus research is a broad scholarly stream and I was curious to see if this book would serve as a helpful introduction to some of it’s insights. I knew Alexander would be sticking to the vein of the tradition that reinforced, rather than undermined the historically held picture of Jesus (a hunch that proved accurate), and so I was curious to see if this would be a helpful book to give to people who wanted an introduction to this body of scholarship. My takeaway is that it is.

At the beginning, Venter offers a few thoughts and insights about the research stream and the value of historical Jesus research, and then the main body of Know the Real Jesus traces the arc of Jesus’ life, ministry, death and resurrection as it is outlined in the gospel accounts, whlie Venter adds insights and perspectives from the scholarship along the way. Having engaged this content a fair bit I wasn’t stunned by much, but that probably means it is a good introductory resource.

What I really love about this book is not just that it does the scholarship justice (which in my opinion I think it does), but that what comes through the book even more than that is Venter’s love for Jesus. You can tell this isn’t an academic exercise for him; this is a way of knowing the Jesus he follows more deeply and personally. His call to us is more prophetic than it is academic: these are tools we can use to know Jesus better and walk with him more closely. As a pastor, this is the heart I could only wish a book like this would have! I’m deeply grateful for Venter’s contribution to the body of Christ in this book.

On the Road with the Holy Spirit
Ken Fish

I picked up a copy of this book as Ken is a friend and ministry mentor of mine and I was curious to see what his first published book would be like! I was blown away; it was a fantastic and inspiring book that deeply encouraged me as I was preparing to head to Australia for my ministry trip there this fall (much of the book shares events that took place in Australia).

The structure of the book is simple; Ken shares a few pages of one of his pillars of revival (presence, prayer, purity, etc) and then after that there are a number of pages of Ken’s ”ministry diary” - recounting and reflections on his ministry engagements and what the Spirit was up to in that process. What makes the book so compelling is how inspiring it is. What Ken articulates are things that I’ve seen in measure but Ken inspires me to go after at another level. Dramatic healings, incredible miracles, people undeniably set free. My heart was stirred again to pursue the Holy Spirit and I was again reminded all that is available to those who pursue the Kingdom of God above all else. A fantastic read!

See all the Reviews

Input from others:

Putty Putman challenges Christians to live supernatural lives- something I believe true biblical discipleship requires. I know Putty personally and can vouch for his commitment to Christ. He is a brilliant, yet humble man.

Dr. Randy Clark
Founder, Global Awakening

Putty awakens readers to this overlooked truth: The Kingdom, empowered by the Spirit, is a collective force guided intelligently by God's unseen hand.

Dr. Michael Heiser
Author of The Unseen Realm

It is an honor for me to have a friend like Putty Putman who is living and loving from the heart of Jesus.

Leif Hetland
President of Global Mission Awareness

Throughout my ministerial career, there are a few teachings I have heard that stand out over the rest. One of them is Putty's teaching on the reformation at hand and the role of interdependence in the middle of what the Father is doing.

Chad Norris
Lead Pastor of Bridgeway Church

Putty unearths the real meaning of the normal Christian life and teaches us how to walk in our divine mandate as world-changers.

Kris Vallotton
Pastor, Bethel Church

If you want everyone who encounters you to encounter Jesus, you’ve got to first encounter His full Gospel. Let my brilliant friend Putty show you how to live like Jesus.

Laura Harris Smith
Author of Seeing the Voice of God
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