Prayer Walk Stories

Prayer Walk Team

Prayer Walk Stories: Somali Community

We went prayer walking in the Somali refugee community today! God allowed us to pray for eight people. We helped an Anglo America repent and commit to follow Jesus! Also, three people opened their homes for a return visit.

Lisa, Jesus’ new disciple, is wearing the orange shirt in the picture. She ended up hanging out with us the rest of the day. We hope to start a discovery Bible study in her home this week.

We went to four different Somali community locations.

Please pray that we’ll be faithful to make disciples and follow up with each home.

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Leave a comment and let us know about a recent prayer walk and what happened.

Seven Stories Of Hope: Revised edition

Seven Stories Of Hope

Seven Stories Of Hope: Revised Edition

Click to download the .PDF

We love the Entry strategy story set “Seven Stories of Hope.” After using it in the Nashville harvest fields a few times, we adapted the story set so that every story comes from the Gospel of Luke and every story is about people far from God coming near to God through Jesus the Messiah.

Seven Gospel Stories Of Hope

["We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure." Hebrews 6:19]

Story 1: The Demon-Possessed Man. (Luke 4:31-41)

Jesus delivers a man from demon-possession.

Spiritual lesson: We have hope, because God has compassion for people in bondage.

Story 2: The Lame Man Through The Roof. (Luke 5:17-25)

Jesus heals a man unable to walk.

Spiritual lesson: We have hope, because God forgives sin and helps broken people.

Story 3: The Prostitute Anoints Jesus. (Luke 7:36-50)

Jesus forgave a prostitute of her wicked lifestyle.

Spiritual lesson: We have hope, because God loves everyone and desires to forgive repentant sinners.

Story 4: The Farmer And The Soils. (Luke 8:4-15)

Jesus teaches us that every person goes through different seasons of life.

Spiritual lesson: We have hope, because God cultivates the bad soil of our lives into healthy soil that bears good fruit.

Story 5: The Sick Woman And The Dead Girl. (Luke 8:40-56)

Jesus demonstrates his divine power through miraculous healing and resurrection.

Spiritual lesson: We have hope, because God has the power to restore health from sickness and life from death.

Story 6: The Righteous Man And The Sinner. (Luke 18:9-14)

Jesus judges everyone by their heart condition rather than their outward appearance.

Spiritual lesson: We have hope, because God favors and forgives people who humble themselves and repent.

Story 7: Thieves Crucified With Jesus. (Luke 23:32-49)

Jesus loves to rescue sinners from hell and deliver them to heaven.

Spiritual lesson: We have hope, because God gives us eternal life when we believe and repent.

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Please leave a comment to let us know your thoughts/reactions to our adaptation of this story set.

Image credit: notw.com

First Look Harvest Field Handbook Orality Edition

ripple effect

Harvest Field Handbook Orality Edition: First Look

As we continue to publish free online resources for our global leader network, what motivates us the most is the Holy Spirit’s help to anticipate what will be needed in the days ahead to sustain the multiplication of indigenous gospel movements until Jesus Christ returns.

There is no reason to start a movement that is not sustainable anymore than plant a church that is not sustainable. Always be asking, “What is the DNA needed to sustain this movement?” If a movement is birthed with bad DNA, it will die. We don’t want to birth death-bound movements. We want to birth Spirit-filled, Spirit-empowered, Spirit-sustained movements until Jesus returns.

One of the needs we have is master training materials that will help home churches experience the full picture of everything God desires to teach us in His Word. Our first attempt to provide a single resource that meets this need is the Harvest Field Handbook: Orality Edition (our fourth publication out of our church).

Click on the link and let us know what you think. The final edition of our first attempt at this resource will be available for download tomorrow. HFH Orality download link

You will find these new Bible story sets in this first look:

  • The Holy Spirit’s Heart
  • Kingdom Prayer
  • What Do We Ask The Holy Spirit To Do/Reveal?
  • The Father’s Mind: Seven Truths for The Task
  • 3/3 Discipleship Pattern: Narrative Storying
  • Two Kinds Of People
  • The Son’s Hands: The Great Commission
  • What’s It Going To Take? (W.I.G. Take Question)
  • List Your Oikos
  • Five Basics Of Salvation
  • Finding People/Homes Of Peace (POPs/HOPs)
  • Seven Gospel Stories Of Hope

We hope you enjoy it. More to come soon. Comments always appreciated!

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Image credit: humanityhealing.net (we don’t support them. =-))

NEW Mapping Harvest Field Handbook

map

New Mapping Harvest Field Handbook

Check out today’s online publication of our latest Harvest Field Handbook: Mapping Edition.

Click the link below to download:

Harvest Fields Handbook: Mapping Edition

Here is a list of the resources you will find inside:

  • My Leadership Roles, Gifts, & Strongholds
  • My Local Harvest Field
  • Evangelism: My Story
  • My Circle Of Influence Network
  • My Fishing Spots
  • My H5 Prayer Strategy
  • My Fishing Friends
  • My People Of Peace
  • My Places Of Peace/Homes Of Peace
  • My Leader Network
  • My God-Revealed Gospel-Sowing Seeds
  • My Fishing Progress
  • My Record Of God’s Signs & Wonders
  • Disciple/Church/Leader Mapping
  • Prayer Requests

We hope you enjoy this third publication in a series of practitioner-driven harvest field resources for any follower of Jesus pursuing indigenous, generational movements of disciples, churches, and leaders!

Comments are always appreciated.

Church Birth vs Reproduction

What Is Church?

Greetings, mighty gospel online warriors!

We recently returned from a T4T USA conference in North Carolina led by the Obi Wan Kenobi of indigenous disciple-making movements, Jeff Sundell, and were challenged to find the minimum biblical essentials for what constitutes “church.”

During our iron-on-iron sessions, here’s what we came up with as the essentials of what we believe Jesus Christ considers the “birth” of churches versus the “maturation” and “reproduction” of healthy, mature churches:

Church Birth Essentials:

  • Intentional Covenant
  • Bible Study
  • Worship/Prayer
  • Fellowship

Church Maturation & Reproduction Essentials:

  • Baptism
  • Communion
  • Evangelism
  • Discipleship
  • Leadership
  • Trainer Training
  • Reproducing (Church Planting)
  • Multiplication Vision
  • Suffering/Persecution
  • Spiritual Warfare
  • Signs/Wonders

Let us know what you think of our list. Leave a comment and let’s discuss!

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Image source: Ekklesia

Brand New Movement Mapping Worksheets

Mapping

Instructions: Click on the trainsheet or worksheet you want to use and print it off and get to work for God’s kingdom! Scroll down to see previews for what each mapping tool looks like.

Church Formation Diagnostic Trainsheet

Church Formation Diagnostic Trainsheet

Church Formation Diagnostic Worksheet

Church Formation Diagnostic Worksheet

CPM Mapping Trainsheet

CPM Mapping Trainsheet

CPM Mapping Worksheet

CPM Mapping Worksheet

Disciple Formation Diagnostic Trainsheet

Disciple Formation Diagnostic Trainsheet

Disciple Formation Diagnostic Worksheet

Disciple Formation Diagnostic Worksheet

DMM Mapping Trainsheet

DMM Mapping Trainsheet

DMM Mapping Worksheet

DMM Mapping Worksheet

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Please leave a comment and tell us what you think about these mapping tools. We’re happy to Skype with you if you need some clarity in how to use them.

Please consider giving a donation towards our Resource development ministry. For donation directions, please email us: woodbine4thenations@gmail.com

Two New Napkin Theology Tools

Napkin Theology

Two New Napkin Theology Tools

We were at a conference recently about how to build relationships with Muslims in the United States and freely share the Christian gospel with them in a way that would not put them on the defensive about the prophet Mohammad and the Qur’an when we came up with two new napkin theology tools.

Tool #1: P.O.W.E.R. of the Cross

Instructions: Grab coffee or tea with one or several Christian friends or a Christian family and, using a pen and napkin, draw the diagram and explain how the power of the cross is a calling for every Jesus-follower to love people from every religious and social background and to move forward in obeying the Great Commission by making disciple-makers.

Cross PowerThe cross demonstrated to us that the Creator is serious about salvation, and we need a way to cast vision for and recruit missionaries to make disciple-makers of the unreached and unengaged people groups of the world. This tool, we hope, will be a blessing to you.

Tool #2: F.A.I.T.H. of Freedom

Instructions: Grab coffee or tea with one or several Muslim friends or a Muslim family and, using a pen and napkin, draw the diagram and explain each acrostic and what it means to you and why you’re sharing it with them. Share with them how they can have this kind of faith too!

Faith Freedom

Most people in the world will admit having some type of faith in something or someone. Use this napkin theology tool to describe your faith in Jesus Christ and help them understand how to enter into this kind of faith through the blood sacrifice of Jesus for their sins and his resurrection for the power of their salvation. This specific tool is wonderful to use with Muslims who have no understanding of how the inheritance promised them back in Genesis 21 has been completely fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth!

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Leave a comment and let us know how you’re using napkin theology

Check out Seth McBee’s Napkin Theology E-book on the Verge Network.

Check out how others are using napkin theology!

Harvest Fields Handbook Bootcamp Edition

Harvest Fields Handbook Bootcamp Edition

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Greetings, faithful kingdom partners!

We just published the latest version of our Harvest Fields Handbook on our blog homepage. You can click the link to view and download the print version of the handbook, or you can scroll through our screenshots to see every page of the handbook.

Several new resources:

  1. New cover design
  2. New resources
  3. New Great Commission task page
  4. New Sharing the Gospel page
  5. Our new take on the Seven Stories of Hope Bible story set
  6. A new update on the Seven Truths for the Task Bible story set
  7. The Salvation Bridge diagram
  8. Disciple Maker Formation Diagnostic tool
  9. Church Formation Diagnostic tool and key
  10. Spiritual Warfare page (warfare fields, demonic activity, and Anderson’s freedom prayer)
  11. Claiming God’s names and promises page for intercession warfare
  12. Suffering and persecution page (suffering fields, self-examination, tools and hope)
  13. Empowering leaders page (anointing oil preparation, commissioning logistics, and BLESS prayer)
  14. The Holy Spirit baptism, ministry, and gifts page
  15. Generational-growth-focused iron-on-iron leader questions
  16. Fasting and Intercession page (process, pattern, and power)
  17. Disciple and church formation diagnostic and mapping worksheets

Thank you for all your support. We appreciate your friendship and heart for God’s fame to be multiplied to all unreached and unengaged people groups in the world in our generation!

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Please leave a comment and let us know what you think.

Any practitioner-based resources you believer are missing from this field guide? Let us know and we may include it in a future update.

Email us for questions or to give a financial gift towards our resource ministry: woodbine4thenations@gmail.com

New Handbook Tool Updates

New Handbook Tool Updates

We have been working hard to update our movement mapping and diagnostic tools to make them as helpful and reproducing as possible. You’ll see them when we complete and publish the 2.0 version of our handbook in the coming months. We want to thank Neill, Jeff, Steve, Ray, and others for all the ideas for these diagnostic tools. Thanks for your support!

The color version of our disciple-maker formation diagnostic tool (training):

Disciple Maker Formation Tool

The black-and-white version of our disciple-maker formation diagnostic tool (worksheet):

Disciple Maker Formation WorksheetThe color version of our church formation diagnostic tool (training):

Church formation diagnostic tool training Church formation diagnostic tool training key

The black-and-white version of our church formation diagnostic tool (worksheet):

Church formation diagnostic tool worksheet

Disciple-making generational mapping tool (training with map key):

disciple map vertical Screen Shot 2013-06-05 at 10.59.39 PM

Disciple-making generational mapping tool (worksheet):

Screen Shot 2013-06-05 at 11.04.17 PM Screen Shot 2013-06-05 at 11.04.48 PM

Church formation generational mapping tool (worksheet):

Screen Shot 2013-06-05 at 11.04.07 PM Screen Shot 2013-06-05 at 11.04.40 PM

Here are the updates to the Harvest Field Handbook cover upgrades that we fixed with the correct order of the four fields now represented in gold, green, and black-and-white:

Screen Shot 2013-06-05 at 11.10.41 PM Screen Shot 2013-06-05 at 11.10.56 PM Screen Shot 2013-06-05 at 11.11.12 PM

We hope to have the Harvest Field Handbook Bootcamp version published online by next week, so stay tuned.

May the LORD bless you and multiply your tribe! We are just a conduit for these resources from our trainers to you and your disciples. May God’s kingdom come and will be done in our generation!

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Leave a comment and let us know how you’re using these tools and adapting them for your harvest field context!

Seven Fields Strategy For Gospel Movements

Great Commission Movements

Seven Fields Strategy For Gospel Movements

Introduction: We shared a vision a few months ago for re-organizing our church planting movement strategy around a “Seven Fields” strategy instead of a “Four Fields” strategy. We have not actually changed any content by adding “three” fields to the original “Four Fields” strategy; instead, we simply made “Endvision” it’s own field, added “Leadership Empowerment” as a field, and added “Great Commission Movements” as a field. Here is the original Four Fields multiplication strategy:

Four FieldsThis Four Fields strategy has been used primarily in the 1040 window to train networks of indigenous leaders to sustain Great Commission movements in different harvest field contexts representing the most hard-soil places on the planet.

Here is the Seven Fields re-structuring of this multiplication strategy:

Seven Fields fullAs you can see, we have placed “Endvision” or “The Father’s Heart” in the center of the missions paradigm. You will see arrows pointing back and forth between the rest of the fields as they circle around “Endvision.” Endvision, as one of our trainers taught us, is the only strategic field that answers the question, “Why?” The other fields answer the questions, “Who,” “What,” and “How.”

The purpose of today’s blog post is not to provide a commentary on the content of each field, but simply the Scriptures and functions of each field. Down the road, we will add commentary blog posts to dive deeper into the biblical foundations and missiological structure of each field in its relationship to the complete Great Commission movements paradigm.

Field One: Endvision

Seven Fields 1

This field is entitled “Endvision” or “The Father’s Heart.”

  • Scriptures: Matt. 24:14, Acts 1:8, Matt. 28:18-20, Matt. 13:37-38, Mark 16:15, 1 Tim. 2:4
  • W.I.G.take Question: “What’s it going to take to reach [your harvest field]?”
  • Indigenous church planting pattern
  • Core values: 1) Accountability, 2) Obedience, 3) Multiplication
  • 4th generation multiplication

Field Two: Entry

Seven Fields 2

This field is entitled “Entry” or “Prayer-walking.”

  • Scriptures: Matt. 25:32, Mark 2:15, 1 Cor. 9:22
  • Identify your: 1) population segment, 2) people group, 3) planting team
  • Intercessory kingdom prayer and fasting; tearing down spiritual strongholds in prayer
  • List oikos (relationship network) and begin to pray for salvation
  • Community surveys
  • Friendship-building
  • Language/culture learning

Field Three: Evangelism

Seven Fields 3

This field is entitled “Evangelism” or “Persons/Homes of Peace.”

  • Scriptures: 2 Cor. 5:20, Mark 4:26, 1 Cor. 3:6, Rom. 10:14, Rom. 1:16
  • Fishing for people (of peace) [people who receive you AND the gospel]
  • Sowing gospel seed
  • Key qualities: 1) faith, 2) obedience, 3) boldness
  • M2E Evangelism strategy (“Mouth-To-Ear”)
  • Contextualize Bible storying for each H.O.P. and/or P.O.P.

Field Four: Equipping

Seven Fields 4

This field is entitled “Equipping” or “Discipleship Cultivation.”

  • Scriptures: 2 Tim. 2:2, 1 Peter 2:2, Heb. 5:14, Matt. 28:19
  • Growing mature followers of Jesus
  • Short-term discipleship plan: critical DNA lessons, most important training first! (10 weeks)
  • Long-term discipleship plan: overview of Bible, apologetics, spiritual warfare, persecution/suffering. (1-3 years)
  • 3/3 T4T training process: 1) Heart, 2) Head, 3) Hands
  • Spiritual C.P.R.: 1) Confess sin, 2) Plant God’s Word, 3) Reach the lost
  • DBS training (Discovery Bible Study): Model to Assist within one week

Field Five: Encouraging

Seven Fields 5

This field is entitled “Encouraging” or “Church Planting/Formation.”

  • Scriptures: Acts 2:42-47, Eph. 4:2-6, Heb. 10:22-25, Col. 1:18
  • Gathering disciples in local churches
  • Every church focus: 1) healthy growth, 2) generational reproduction
  • No money, property, or clergy
  • Three-selfs: 1) Governing, 2) Sustaining, 3) Multiplying
  • Five NT church functions: 1) Worship, 2) Fellowship, 3) Discipleship, 4) Ministry/Missions, 5) Leadership Development
  • Indigenous church formation

Field Six: Empowering

Seven Fields 6

This field is entitled “Empowering” or “Leadership Training.”

  • Scriptures: Mark 6:34, Mark 4:20, 2 Tim. 2:2, 1 Peter 2:9, John 16:7-8
  • Every disciple a leader!
  • Spiritual gift strength identification and empowerment
  • Ephesians 4 A.P.E.S.T. leader roles mobilized in harvest field mission teams
  • Leader training process: 1) Identify, 2) Equip, 3) Empower, 4) Release
  • Time: focus on training leaders who consistently 1) bear fruit and 2) fish for people

Field Seven: Exponential Multiplication

Seven Fields 7

This field is entitled “Exponential Multiplication” or “Great Commission movements.”

  • Scriptures: Luke 24:47, Acts 4:13, 1 Cor. 9:19-23, Col. 1:9-12, 2 Cor. 4:7-12, Mark 1:15
  • CPMM/DMM process (Church Planting Movement Multiplication/Disciple-Making Movement)
  • S.O.I.L.S. movement stages: 1) Spirit, 2) Outsiders, 3) Insiders, 4) Leaders, 5) Segments
  • Catalytic movements DNA: 1) White-hot faith, 2) Commitment to the cause, 3) Contagious relationships, 4) Rapid mobilization, 5) Adaptive methods
  • Strategic affinity mobilization and accountability

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We hope you enjoyed this blog post on the prototype sketch of one of our next info graphic projects. Our hope is to work with our team of graphic designers to add color and pictures to represent the content of these Seven Fields and publish the info graphic on the back page of the next edition of the Harvest Field Handbook.

Please pray through the changes we are implementing to our Nashville harvest field GC strategy, and feel free to leave a comment with any encouragement, advice, concerns, or clarifications.

For more information on our church network or resources, please send us an email: woodbine4thenations@gmail.com.

Barriers To North American Missions

North American Missions

Barriers To North American Missions

Greetings! We want to share with you a few things that we are learning in Nashville that will hopefully speak into what you’re experience in other parts of the world and may help you in your cultivating an effective, comprehensive strategy for completing the Great Commission task in your context.

North American Context Barriers:

  1. A lack of understanding the priesthood of all believers
  2. A lack of modeling prayer walking and evangelism by experienced church leaders
  3. A lack of focus on multiplying generations of new believers
  4. A lack of understanding spiritual gift and leadership style strength sets

1) A lack of understanding the priesthood of all believers

In the last five years of casting vision and attempting to see break through in indigenous church planting, we see a lack of understanding both with Anglo Christians and immigrants in the community of the kingdom priesthood. We have developed a Bible story set for this to begin piloting in our cell groups, neighborhood groups, house churches, and discovery Bible studies: Seven Core Values Of The Disciples Priesthood

We desperately need especially our church senior pastors and staff to continually cast vision for and give permission for lay leaders to rise up as kingdom priests. It feels like a real threat to the financial and career stability of paid church staff to unleash laity for priesthood leadership, but it’s undeniably biblical and absolutely essential in order to finish the Great Commission task instead of doing some good ministry and planting a few churches.

There is a church planter from Willow Creek moving to Nashville who is beloved by many Millennial Christians. His name is Darren Whitehead. His vision is planting 20 churches in 20 years. 500 people per church. Based on his vision, and if God gives him the #’s he’s looking for, that’s only 10,000 people reached by his church plants in 20 years. Meanwhile, we have a harvest field of 1.2+ million unchurched in Nashville. Our visions are tiny and our strategy is not all-encompassing. Darren has a good heart, but our vision must be birthed from the Bible rather than some random number we come up with that looks good on paper.

2) A lack of modeling prayer walking and evangelism by experienced church leaders

Most leaders I know in the church do all of their teaching and training in church facilities. This focus on teaching/training in modern day synagogues MUST shift immediately to the harvest fields. We have to have church leaders and staff training everyone willing to be trained in community prayer walking and harvest field evangelism. I’m finding that most church leaders don’t do this because they themselves don’t have a personal evangelistic lifestyle.

This fact is due mostly to two issues:

1) They never had anyone to model evangelism for them, so they don’t know how to do it and aren’t personally experienced in it.

2) Their churches expect them to lead inside their facility, on their ministry campus, and from behind the pulpit rather than in the harvest fields.

These expectations must shift soon if we are going to impact lostness. Rejuvenate conference really backed this up for me personally, but just because world famous speakers say the shift must happen does not mean it actually will until some church leaders actually begin taking men, women, and teenagers out into lost communities prayer walking and house church planting.

3) A lack of focus on multiplying generations of new believers.

Most of our functional church strategy is focused on assimilating people in local communities into the life of existing church campuses. This should not be. I personally evaluate our church’s health by how our community groups reproduce themselves, and right now, most of our house churches and cell groups are sick. They gather for Bible study and worship without any evangelistic impact in their local neighborhoods.

Let’s at least admit it: most Christians are scared to death of lost people and are ashamed of verbally declaring the gospel to the lost. True evangelists are rare, but they’re out there. We have to find ways on a consistent basis to get our church folk out of church campus ministry AND out of internally-focused house church ministry. Prayer walking is always the start. Ask Curtis Sergeant.

Once we begin planting groups and house churches in the community, Satan’s first attack is to distract every group to become immediately inward focused rather than outward focused. A house church is no different than a mega church unless their focus and heartbeat is salvation intercession and prayer walking with a strategy for penetrating local lostness.

As groups are planted, indigenous leaders must be identified, equipped, and given leadership roles as soon as possible. Model, Assist, Watch, Leave must be the process, and moving to assisting must be done rapidly.

Every new group should try to focus on reaching 5 lost people for Christ and baptizing them, and every group should try to reproduce itself into a strategic area of the city every year.

4) A lack of understanding spiritual gift and leadership style strengths

In North America, we keep trying to cast vision for prayer walking and church planting with shepherds. Shepherds and teachers are designed by God to work with and lead existing Christians in the body. So, we keep setting our churches up to fail. We keep trying to get our administrators and mercy and helps gifted folk to do apostolic work and that approach will rarely work.

T4T is a great strategy; however, it’s not the whole sha-bang. T4T is only going to work in North America if we can identify our apostolic-gifted lay people in each church and group. For every Bible study, Sunday school class, and cell group we start, we have to identify and equip appropriately the shepherds and apostles.

The shepherds are going to care for the flock. Prayer walking and verbal proclamation of the gospel are not natural or comfortable for shepherding leaders in a North American context. Some people with more experience will probably disagree with me on that, but in my five years of ministry experience, this is what I have seen to be true across the board in every church I’ve been on staff.

The apostles, prophets, and evangelists are the only ones who have a natural gift for and enjoyment of hitting the streets of our urban businesses, neighborhoods, and communities proclaiming the gospel verbally, and we’ve got to find them, equip them, and expect them only to do these things because, though all followers of Jesus have the Great Commission task on our hearts, it is the A.P.E.s who are the ones designed by God to do this work of the evangelist.

I know that Jesus told ALL of his disciples to go make disciple makers in Matthew 28; however, in North America, we have a ton of baggage in the “Come and See” strategy department.

To get things up and running in a city to reach a city, you’ve got to let the shepherds shepherd the existing kingdom of God, but you’ve got to identify, equip, and unleash the apostles to finish the Great Commission task in the city. These apostles need their feet washed, they need to be anointed with oil, they need to receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands by elders, and they need to be sent out to start new groups across the city.

As they are sent out, shepherds need to be prepared to minister to the apostles, and to shepherd the new believers reached by the apostles. You’ve got to have a Barnabas for every Paul. And every Paul has to have a Timothy, because we have to raise up leaders as quickly as we raise up groups, or our groups will die. John Maxwell says everything rises and falls on leadership, and that’s why leadership development is at the heart of the four fields paradigm in Mark 4.

Our greatest weakness in Nashville is that we don’t identify and develop next generation leaders effectively. We reach a lot of lost people with our trained “mother church” or “generation 0″ leaders, but we lose a lot of new believers, and we haven’t seen a dime of 2nd generation break through or much obedience in believer’s baptism.

This work of multi-generational church planting is difficult work, but it’s the greatest threat to Satan’s plan for Birmingham and Nashville and beyond, and we are developing a lot of simple, practitioner-based resources for a North American context to help break through these barriers to effectively penetrating the vast lostness of our cities.

I hope this helps rather than hinders, and please measure everything I have said with Scripture. Our handbook for training missionaries is both in blog form as well as a smart device app, all free on our blog.

We love our faithful blog readers and pray that God blesses you and grants you the depths of his wisdom as a blessing for your faithfulness and obedience to him!

- James Harvey, CCW Associate Pastor

Rough Draft Church DNA Infographic

Rough Draft Church DNA Infographic

Here are some screenshots of our latest infographic on church multiplication D.N.A.

The purpose of this infographic is to train church planters and missionaries in simple, effective church multiplication principles from God’s Word.

Church DNA

Disciple Making DNA5 Church FunctionsChurch Action Tree

Church Core Values RootsChurch DNA Tree——-

Leave a comment and let us know what you think!

CPMM Series #6: Kingdom Prayer

Kingdom PrayerOur series on church planting movement multiplication continues with this article on Kingdom-Centered Prayer. God is not interested in small prayer. God wants serious prayer and series prayer warriors. Prayer is work; and Ephesians 2:10 says that we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works which the Father has prepared for us to do. If you study the pattern of how the Holy Spirit births church planting movements, the first activity of CPM-seekers is persistent, kingdom-centered intercessory prayer and fasting.

Matthew 6:9-10 “Our Father in heaven, may your holy name be honored. May your Kingdom come, and may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (GNB)

Kingdom-Centered Prayer

People typically think prayer is a means to get their personal needs met.

However, prayer is actually a means to worship, know, and be transformed by God.

If we expect answers from God, we must devote time and energy to what Andrew Murray termed the “School of Prayer.”

Biblically and historically, the one non-negotiable, universal ingredient in times of spiritual renewal was communal, consistent, and intentional prayer centered on the kingdom of God.

What are the essential elements of Kingdom-Centered Prayer?

1) Kingdom-centered prayer places the focus on God’s presence and kingdom.

Jack Miller explained the difference between “maintenance” and “frontline” prayer meetings.

A) Maintenance prayer meetings are short, mechanical, and totally focused on physical needs inside the church.

B) Frontline prayer has three basic traits:

  • A request for grace to confess sins and humble ourselves
  • A compassion and zeal for the flourishing of the church
  • A yearning to know God, to see his face, to see his glory.

One of the best ways to see kingdom-centered prayer in action is to study prayers for revival in the Bible. Consider Exodus 33, Nehemiah 1, and Acts 4. In each case, we clearly see the three basic traits of Frontline prayer. In Acts 4, the disciples lives had been threatened; however, their specific prayer request was for continued boldness to continue preaching the gospel rather than protection for themselves and their families!

2) Kingdom-centered prayer is bold and specific.

The A.C.T.S. model has always been a helpful guide for praying with the right motives from the right heart.

A: Adoration

Everyone has heard someone else pray without taking time to worship God for who he is. For this reason, kingdom-centered prayer can only begin with a focus on the God whose kingdom we are desiring to come to our community and social networks.

C: Confession

If we begin prayer with a focus on God’s character and role in our lives, then the next step is to confess our sins. In Isaiah 6, the prophet Isaiah has a vision of heaven, and for the first time, he experiences the radical nature of God’s holiness. Pastor David Platt teaches that, at this moment, his reaction is not “Wow, God is so great!” but “Woe to me! I am ruined! I am a sinner!”

We cannot remove ourselves from the essential nature of daily sin confession before the perfect King of kings. In James 5:16, we see why regular sin confession is such a vital element in the process of kingdom-centered prayer, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”

So, the big question for those who desire to see God’s kingdom come in their heart, their family, and their community is: Are you willing to expose your personal sin to the light of God’s healing touch? Are you willing to enter into an accountability covenant with some brothers or sisters in Christ so that you may be healed. The power of God’s kingdom comes arrives after healing, not before.

T: Thanksgiving

After focusing on God and worshipping him for his mighty works, our natural response is to accurately see our weakness and sin. The next step is to humble ourselves, seek his face, and turn from our wicked ways. Once we have confessed sin and asked God to heal us, the next step is to thank him for revealing sin and filling the void with a flood of his endless grace!

As the song goes, “When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed, when you are discouraged thinking all is lost, count your many blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”

So often, we enter into prayer with a selfish mentality and that is why our prayers are ineffective. We are praying with the self rather than asking God to overcome the self so that we can be obedient to God’s calling on our lives.

Jesus taught us to pray this way in Matthew 6:9-10 “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done one earth as it is in heaven.” Built into kingdom-centered prayer is a heart for God’s will to be done rather than ours. How many times have you and I prayed for our will to be done instead?

S: Supplication

Only after we have worshipped God, confessed our sin, and counted our many blessings will we be capable of asking God for anything kingdom-centered. Since Jesus taught us to pray for his kingdom to come in and through our lives before we pray for anything else, we can see why this process is so critical to maintaining a God-centered prayer life.

The pay off for this kind of devotion to God and dedication to seeing his will accomplished in and through our prayers is incredible joy in knowing we have freely surrendered to God for the purpose of unleashing the Holy Spirit’s power to change our hearts and transform the lives of those we love and want to see reconciled to him.

We can see this process at work in Exodus 33. Israel has sinned greatly as a nation before Yahweh in the story of the Golden Calf. God is ready to kill all the people he delivered out of Egypt and start over with Moses as the neo-Abraham. But Moses stands in the gap between the sinful people and their perfect God.

  1. Step One: All the people have to strip off their idols, burn them with fire, and drink the ashes. (32:20)
  2. Step Two: Moses implores God to have mercy on the sinful people. (32:30-32)
  3. Step Three: Moses begs God to have favor on him and the people. (33:12-13)
  4. Step Four: Moses asks God to reveal himself to the people so that the nations will know who God is and who his people are. (33:15-16)
  5. Step Five: God grants Moses’ requests because he prayed with a kingdom-centered heart. (33:17-19)

Spiritual lesson: When we pray with a kingdom-centered heart, we obey Jesus’ teaching on how to pray. We demonstrate to God a clear understanding that this life is about him and his will and not about us. We prove that the source of our trust is in him and his provision rather than in our self-sufficiency and independence.

3) Kingdom-centered prayer is prevailing and corporate

Prayer should be consistent and constant. Prayer is not designed to be sporadic and brief. Why?

Sporadic and brief prayers reveal a lack of dependence on God as well as a lack of desire to walk with his Spirit.

We must pray without ceasing, pray with conviction and desperation, and only then will we find that the very process of kindom-centered prayer is enabling God’s kingdom to come according to the way God has revealed it operates: to have our hard hearts melted, to tear down spiritual strongholds of sin, and to have the glory of God break through and multiply in and through us to a world that needs to meet and embrace the King.

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Leave a comment and let us know what prayer/fasting resources are useful in your ministry.

Click here to read more about church planting movements

What Is T4T?

Reach The World!

What Is T4T?

T4T is an missional strategy acronym that stands for “Training For Trainers.”

A T4T training session is a one-hour gathering of trained trainers training trainers.

3 T4T Core Values:
1) Obedience
2) Accountability
3) Multiplication

4 T4T meeting basics:
1) Begin with Accountability: Who did you share with last week? What happened?
2) Tell the new Bible story twice.
3) Small groups of two. Practice telling the new Bible story (2x).
4) Map relationship network. Who will you share with this week? Pray for faith, obedience, and boldness.

The biblical basis for this strategy is 2 Timothy 2:2. The apostle Paul instructs his disciple Timothy in how to multiply generations of new leaders for the Great Commission task, “Pass on what you heard from me to reliable leaders who are competent to teach others.” (MSG) In this verse, we can see four generations of teachers: 1) Paul, 2) Timothy, 3) Timothy’s disciples, 4) the disciples of Timothy’s disciples.

If we examine the Great Commission command in Matthew 28:18-20, we see that, in order to effectively make a mature disciple, we must equip every follower of Christ to make disciple makers, and this focus on training trainers is the DNA of T4T.

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Click to check out our T4T web app!

How are you using the biblical T4T leadership training pattern to reach your community?

New Web App

T4T Web App

New Web App

In an effort to make the principles and patterns that we use for multiplying new generations of indigenous disciple makers more easily accessible to people, we recently developed a new web app that is easy to read and use on any computer or smart mobile device.

Click here to see the T4T web app

Official LINK: http://myapp.is/t4t

The app is still in raw form, and we have a lot of content to add; however, you can download the app to your iPhone or iPad using the Safari browser. You can also bookmark the app URL in your web browser and visit the app any time you want to access the resources.

Happy disciple making! Cheers!

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Do you have a web app? Leave a comment and share the link!

RESOURCE: Free Ebook Be The Church

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RESOURCE: Free E-Book Be The Church

Thank you Caesar Kalinowski and Seth McBee at Verge Network for this great new vision-casting missional community resource!

Sometimes the simplest things can get lost in tradition or become over complicated due to confusion or lack of practice. Sometimes we are just too smart for our own good. The reality of who we are as Christians, the Church and as disciples, while having historical and eternal importance, has become somewhat muddled in our modern understanding and dialogue.

As the conversation around being “missional” has come front and center within certain church circles in recent years, it seems that many of us struggle to grasp and/or explain the basics to others. This short book of simple pictures and conversations is meant to offer a starting point–a way to get, or keep, the dialogue going around some of the key issues surrounding who we are as the Church and what our mission really is.

Drawing from Seth McBee’s Napkin Theology, you can use this free resource to understand, explain and illustrate the simplicity of discipleship and mission.

Click here to download the E-Book!

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For more information on disciple making and church planting tools, visit our website!

Leave a comment and let us know what tools you use for casting vision for missional communities.

RESOURCE: Elders And Deacons

Elders And Deacons

RESOURCE: Elders And Deacons

Instructions: Please use this blog post to study the Scriptures concerning the church leadership roles of elders and deacons and pray for wisdom from the Holy Spirit in how to contextualize these essential, biblical leadership functions in your church multiplication network. We encourage you to read these passages together with your lay leaders and discuss each passage to discern how your church network will implement leadership in your context.

Important passages to consider:

The Heart: motive and vision

  • John 10:11-18
  • Mark 10:35-45

The Work

  • Acts 20:17-38
  • 1 Peter 5:1-4

The Qualifications

  • Acts 6:1-7
  • 1 Timothy 3:1-7
  • 1 Timothy 3:8-13

The Appointment

  • Acts 14:23
  • Acts 6:3

The Accountability

  • 1 Timothy 5:17-20

The Authority

  • Ephesians 4:15-16
  • Ephesians 1:22-23
  • John 20:21-23
  • Matthew 18:15-20

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Thank you Pastor Al Henson for all your help and leadership in our church and among our leaders!

If you want more information on leadership, please send us an email at woodbine4thenations@gmail.com

Seven Core Values Of The Disciples Priesthood

A Disciple Belongs To Jesus

Seven Core Values Of The Disciples’ Priesthood

Core Value #1: Jesus Is Mediator – Hebrews 10:11-25

The Great High Priest. Spiritual Lesson: Every disciple receives forgiveness and finds reconciliation with God through Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection.

Core Value #2: Jesus Is King and Lord – Matt. 27:45-56

The Torn Temple Veil. Spiritual Lesson: When Jesus died, he gave all disciples authority to commune directly with God.

Core Value #3: Jesus Is Commander – Ephesians 1:15 – 2:10

The Headship Of Jesus. Spiritual Lesson: Every disciple receives their authority and contextual harvest-field mission from Jesus.

 Core Value #4: Disciples Are God’s Family – Ephesians 2:13-22

The Church Is God’s Family. Spiritual Lesson: In Jesus Christ, every disciple has been adopted into God’s family as a son or daughter.

Core Value #5: Disciples Are God’s Friends – John 15:1-7

The Vine & The Branches. Spiritual Lesson: We cannot do anything as disciples of Jesus unless we abide in Him daily.

Core Value #6: Disciples Are Priests – 1 Peter 2:4-10

The Disciple’s Identity. Spiritual Lesson: A disciple of Jesus is defined by their identity and role as both priest and preacher to all nations.

Core Value #7: Disciples Are Ambassadors – 2 Cor. 5:14-21

The Ambassadorial Kingdom. Spiritual Lesson. All disciples are ambassadors of reconciliation to all nations.

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Image by cdn.pastormark.tv

Leave a comment and let us know how this Bible story set has been helpful to you in your mission work.

Disciple Making Movements

Disciple Making Movements

Disciple Multiplication Movements

Guest Blogger: Curtis Sergeant, www.metacamp.org. This blog post comes from the DMM training notes of a breakout session at the 2013 Rejuvenate Conference.

In the church, we hear so much about the Great Commission, but the great disconnect with all disciples in churches is that most disciples don’t view the Great Commission command as their personal responsibility of obedience to the One who has all authority.

What is built into the DNA of effective discipleship?

  1. Obedience
  2. Accountability
  3. Multiplication

A) Discipleship

“Disciple” means “follower.” God is not asking us to be the Christ. There is only one Jesus Christ; therefore, being a disciple means making disciples in a way that they learn to follow Jesus, not try to be like us.

So, every follower of Christ, no matter their lack of experience of maturity, are experts in discipleship compared to the lost. (2 Timothy 2:2)

B) All Believers Participate

The Marines have a saying, “Every Marine a Rifleman.” This concept carries with it the DNA that no matter your assignment in the Marine Corps, every one must be able to defend themselves.

All disciples of Jesus should have in their DNA Jesus’ expectation that they make disciples.

C) Self-feeding

A key element to a movement is that disciples are characterized by their ability to feed themselves. They take responsibility for their own spiritual growth.

Most churches in the West are defined as a place where we go to get spiritually fed. But in the New Testament, each disciple is responsible to go directly and intentionally to Jesus for their spiritual nourishment, not the church.

Qualifications of being an effective self-feeder

  1. Able to read, interpret, and apply Scripture
  2. Prayer
  3. Participation in the body of Christ – spiritual gifts, leadership styles
  4. Persecution & Suffering

Helpful prayer acrostic for praying for God’s blessing with people

  • B – Body
  • L – Labor/Work
  • E – Economics
  • S – Social
  • S – Spiritual

This prayer acrostic is very effective in prayer walking. “Bless” people you pray for and see how God uses your prayers to open the hearts and lives of people you encounter during your prayer walks.

In China, the believers refer to prison as seminary.

In baptisms in other countries, here is the question set leaders ask at someone’s baptism:

  1. Are you ready and willing at any time to suffer for Jesus?
  2. Are you ready and willing  at any time to go to prison for Jesus?
  3. Are you ready and willing at any time to escape from prison for Jesus?
  4. Are you ready and willing at any time to die for Jesus?

D) Training

  • Whom: new converts and those willing to be faithful and obedient
  • When: immediately; just-in-time
  • How: small group; interactive; dual accountability; Scripture; role-play
  • What: self-feeding; commands of Christ; immediate obedience

“Delayed obedience is disobedience.” – Curtis Sergeant

The more that we obey God, the more we are able to hear the LORD the next time that he speaks and reveals himself. Besides, God does not desire lip-service. He desires obedience!

James 2:26, “For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.” (HCSB)

The more that God reveals himself regularly, the more intimacy we have with him.

It’s not loving for me to allow someone to hear from God and not obey it and pass it on to others. That’s the worst thing that can happen. Spiritually, we are dead unless we are conduits for God’s revelation and truth through us to others.

New Believer Checklist

As soon as someone gets saved, we need to explain to them three important blessings God wants to give his children:

  1. Blessing: to lead others to become children of God
  2. Greater Blessing: to lead others to form spiritual communities of God’s children
  3. Greatest Blessing: to train/equip others how to form spiritual communities of God’s children

The core DNA of discipleship

  1. What do I learn from this Bible story?
  2. How do I share this story with this week?

When disciples meet together for accountability, we check for two things:

  1. Did you apply last week’s story to your life?
  2. Did you share with the people you committed to share with last week?

Small Group Structures:

P.O.U.C.H. Churches

  • P: Participative
  • O: Obedience
  • U: Unpaid
  • C: Cell Groups
  • H: Houses

Read David Garrison’s Blog Post on POUCH Churches

C.H.A.T. (IMB version of Neil Cole’s LTGs. Groups of 2 or 3, gender specific, reading 25 – 30 chapters of Scripture per week, and meeting for accountability)

  • C: Check your progress
  • H: Hear the Word
  • A: Act on it
  • T: Tell others

Training Cycle: M.A.W.L. (Can be done in one day/training session)

  1. Model
  2. Assist
  3. Watch
  4. Leave

It’s the same plan as learning to ride a bicycle. People cannot learn to do ministry until they sit in the seat and take hold of the handle bars and begin pedaling.

Paul’s pattern in planting churches was an average of six months or less per church network in the Model and Assist stages, and then he would spend years even decades in the Watch stage, and then eventually he would leave and tell them he would not return and charge them to be obedient to what he trained them to do.

In a disciple making movement, every disciple should be involved in two churches:

  1. Your primary spiritual community
  2. The new church that you are personally investing in the Training Cycle

What to do with new believers?

  • In the West, we incorporate them into existing churches
  • The best practice is to start new churches

When we continually gather believers into larger and larger groups led by super-mature Christian leaders who almost no one can effectively emulate, then we have lost the DNA of multiplication.

The New Testament way is to plant new churches every time people come to Christ so that they can do ministry themselves and own the Great Commission.

Reproduction Rate Matters!

  • In the West – Time is money
  • In the Kingdom of God – Time is souls

Currently in our generation, more than one person dies every second apart from Christ, and God is robbed of his glory. That’s the pace of multiplication. That’s the reason why a disciple making multiplication strategy is so essential!

It’s the example of Elephants vs. Rabbits in terms of multiplication. Elephants have one baby in a year to 18 months, and it takes many years for the single elephant baby to grow into sexual reproduction maturation so that it can reproduce. Rabbits reproduce every six months, and every baby rabbit achieves sexual reproduction maturation in four months! We need to build into the DNA of every local church around the world the DNA of disciple making multiplication strategy if we are going to successfully complete the Great Commission task in our generation.

If we will follow these disciple making multiplication principles by putting them into practice, we can reach the whole world in one generation, around 10 years.

We have a false assumption that things done quickly retain less quality.

Furthermore, we are pursuing simultaneous rather than sequential church planting qualities: One process. Vision casting, Pre-evangelism, evangelism, discipleship, church planting, leadership development, and gospel movement cultivation can all happen at the same time during the same process if we focus our energy and time on putting into practice these disciple making best practices.

  • All of the seven fields can happen at the same time when birthed and bathed in prayer
  • Discipleship multiplication DNA is built into the pre-evangelism process, so that you’re viewing everyone as a potential trainer of trainers (The Greatest Blessing from the BLESS prayer walking strategy)

The resources are in the harvest field! Let’s not forget that the laborers we are praying for are most likely already in the harvest fields waiting to be told the gospel and trained to be trainers. Stop building your core teams and raising a massive budget and preparing for the launch of an organization! Look up and see that the harvest fields are ready for the harvest, and let’s go multiply trained disciple makers!

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Much thanks to Curtis Sergeant and his love for and commitment to the LORD.

Leave a comment and let us know what you think about this training.

2013 Rejuvenate Conference: John Perkins

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Rejuvenate Conference
Evening Session 1

Keynote Speaker: John Perkins
Revelation 2:1-7

Jeremiah 29:7 – But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. (Jeremiah 29:7 ESV)

The church today is, in many ways, like the church in America; it has done so much but lost its first love.

The gospel coming forth in the world manifests itself through crossing all barriers of injustice and brokenness, of sin and selfishness, and of culture and language and breaks through by shining the love of Christ.

But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. (Revelation 2:4 ESV)

The church is primarily called to be a community of love that ministers to its neighborhood. We are to be salt and light locally. This is where we will see movements birthed.

God uses individuals to make initiatives, but he works his power through Christians in community with one another, ministering first to each other, and then being salt and light to the local community.

We have to have impact. It’s not enough to have a few communities doing this; it must be a movement globally; planting people all across the nations, reaching across racial and language and cultural barriers with authority and power.

What’s holding us back? We’re afraid that we cannot preach the gospel with relevance. But we forget the call of the gospel is to love God and love people well. This is the Greatest Command of Jesus! Love is what breaks through. Love is what takes us to the streets with a message of reconciliation, which is what’s missing so much, especially the joy that Christians have to go and make disciples.

We have turned the church into an individualistic and selfish group. We are focused on individual therapy and prosperity. But God has called us to go forth with peace and joy into a community that desperately needs to see what real love looks like.

Sin is where we turn away from God and fall into a twisted love with ourselves. We turn away, not as victims, but as rebels against God’s holiness and Lordship.

Process of Transformation:
1) Genuine Love
2) Powerful Impact

No Impact without Love

Our entire society is based around gradual individual significance: steps of education through seasons of maturity lead us to a career where we individually contribute something to society. But God’s design has always been for a Christian church community to bless and reach the lost in their local harvest field.

We keep trying to get into neighborhoods with an agenda to change our neighborhoods, when the people in each neighborhood are your best resource for not only knowing what the real issues are in the neighborhoods but also the best way to solve them. Our role as community-focused church networks are not to come in and solve problems, but to go into a community, plant our lives there, get to know the people, love them, learn from them, and facilitate the power of the gospel being birthed in their hearts and empowering them to see radical and lasting change transform that community for the glory of God, and then see that transformation reproduce and spread to other communities, nations, and peoples.

God is an investor, and he’s looking for good stewards who will be faithful with the little things so that he can give us more. The resources we have, the life we have, and the times we have all belong to God, and it’s always an issue of stewardship. Are we good stewards of what we have, or are we trying to take the place of God like the slave who received the resources from the Master and buried the resources in the ground until he returned?

We need to come back to the basics, because it’s in the basics that we discover again the power of God’s love, and then we are able to repent, reconcile, restore, and remember our first love! The church is always trying to move past the basics, but the gospel has always been simple and basic, so to move beyond the basics is to move beyond the gospel!

The Power of the Gospel in Romans 1

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. (Romans 1:8 ESV)

Basic Principle: When we proclaim the gospel verbally, people get saved. Period.

Basic Principle: When people get saved because of the power of the gospel, word spreads and people hear about the faithfulness of God.

So here is the step-by-step pattern for a New Testament church to see a Great Commission movement birthed in their local community:

1) Proclaim the gospel verbally. Payoff: People get saved
2) Promote the good news of God’s faithfulness. Payoff: People in other communities hear the good news and follow your example.
3) Plant this same biblical pattern in the hearts of everyone we disciple. Payoff: the gospel multiplies organically at a grassroots level until the whole world hears about Jesus’ love!

that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. (Romans 1:12 ESV)

Basic Principle: There is great power in the gospel proclaimed verbally in the context of community, which is the church.

Basic Principle: God desires to reveal his truth and power to people in community with one another. He longs to educate, equip, and empower his body, which is the church.

John Perkins: I know what makes terrorists. When governments and nations set people free and then try to enslave them again. Freedom is too precious to give away. Once you have tasted and experienced what it means to be free, you’ll never be willing to be enslaved again. So when the gospel brings true repentance and freedom spiritually, it is manifested through the physical obedience of the church in their local community.

What is the gospel?

Definition: it’s the incarnated presence of God in our lives. The gospel begins spiritually with the transformation of a heart, but the gospel is not complete in a heart until it is lived out boldly and freely through the life of the body holding that transformed heart. In this way, people will see the gospel rather than just hear about it. But people need both a spiritual and physical gospel.

The gospel is the visible demonstration of God’s love. Jesus’ death on the cross was both a spiritual and a visible act; a demonstration of God’s love in the heavenly realm and the physical realm where angels, demons, and humans all witnessed the complete love of God for his creation through the destruction of his Son.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 ESV)

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16, 17 ESV)

The first sign of God’s love in his church is not actions of love but words of love through a verbal proclamation of the Word, which is Jesus, because when we are no longer ashamed of the gospel, we will gladly, boldly, and joyfully proclaim the gospel verbally to people in our community, because not only are we no longer ashamed of the radical message, but we carry with us wherever we go the expectation that the Holy Spirit uses the preaching of the Word to demonstrate the love of God to a godless society.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:12, 13 ESV)

So the Word of God is what penetrates the heart, not our actions, which is counter intuitive according to the prosperity gospel and social gospel movement. It’s not our actions, but the Word proclaimed that penetrates darkness and brings kingdom breakthrough. As Hebrews 4:13 teaches, the Word is what exposes the heart and tears down walls and opens blind eyes and deaf ears and dead hearts and brings light and life.

The church is trapped in a culture of liberalism and and materialism. We are stuck in a worldview of success related to money which then leads to a church that is measured by success in terms of finances and numbers, and God’s justice demands the ultimate destruction of anyone that bows down and worships the god of money and engages in cultural idolatry. God is not interested in our money or our numbers. He is interested in our hearts, and he is looking for ambassadors who have died with Christ and live according to their love and devotion to the man who called them to die and live in him.

The church must return to a three-fold love given by God:
1) Our first love: Jesus
2) Our second love: our family
3) Our third love: reaching our local communities so they can share in the joy of our first love and join us in the movement

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This blog post comes from John Perkins’ message on the opening night of Christ Church’s Rejuvenate conference in Birmingham, AL.

Ten Tips For Evangelism With Hindu Peoples

Ten Tips For Evangelism With Hindu Peoples

hinduism

CAVEAT: This article is recommended by our missionary organization only in terms of helping you think through how God wants to break through spiritually among the Hindu peoples you are called to engage with the Gospel. While some of the advice is well and sound, we are still called ultimately to the true battle at stake, which is not catering to Hindu peoples, but the spiritual war we are called to fight on behalf of the lost people of all nations and tribes. There is not a pattern in Acts for catering to lost people. They are lost and do not know what they need. The biblical precedent in Acts is to fast and pray a lot corporately, and then to send apostolic teams to boldly proclaim the Gospel to all peoples in love and courage. Ultimately, we must call all peoples to repentance and faith in Jesus. They must turn from their wicked ways. They must renounce all foreign gods and destroy their idols. They must run to Jesus and turn fully to him in both faith and practice (obedience). After all, we are calling Hindus to become followers of Jesus, not simply to adding him to their pantheon of gods. Furthermore, we are calling them to full discipleship, which means becoming fishers of men. Hindu converts to Christianity cannot make disciples unless they have fully repented of their false religion and idolatry, turned to Jesus Christ as the sole King of the cosmos, and committed to obedience through believer’s baptism and his Great Commission command to make disciples of all nations. (Matthew 28:18-20)

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Ten Tips For Effective Evangelism With Hindu Peoples

Friendship evangelism is usually easy to initiate with Hindus. Most Hindus esteem religion in general and are free and open to speak about it. A sincere, nonjudgemental interest in all aspects of Indian life will provide a good basis for friendship. Personal interaction with Hindus will lead to a more certain grasp of the essence of Hinduism than reading many books.

A consistent, Christ-like lifestyle is the most important factor in sharing the Gospel with Hindus. The suggestions that follow should help to break down misunderstandings and help to build a positive witness for Christ. But learning and applying these points can never substitute the need for a transparent life of peace and joy in discipleship to Jesus Christ.

Ten Tips For Effective Evangelism With Hindu Peoples

1. Do not criticize or condemn Hinduism. There is much that is good and much that is bad in the practice of both Christianity and Hindu­ism. Pointing out the worst aspects of Hindu­ism is hardly the way to win friends or show love. Criticizing Hinduism can make us feel like we have won an argument; however, it will not win Hindus to Jesus Christ.

2. Avoid everything that hints of triumphalism and pride. We are not the greatest people with the greatest religion, but some Hindus are taught that we think of ourselves in this way. We do not have all knowledge of all truth; in fact, we know very little (1 Cor 8:1,2).

3. Never allow a suggestion that separation from family and/or culture is necessary in becoming a disciple of Christ. To insist or even subtly encourage a Hindu to leave his home and way of life to join the “Christian” way of life in terms of diet and culture, etc., is a denial of Biblical teaching (1 Cor. 7:17-24).

4. Do not speak quickly on hell, or on the fact that Jesus is the only way for salvation. Hindus hear these things as triumphalism and are offended unnecessarily. Speak of hell only with tears of compassion.
Point to Jesus so that it is obvious He is the only way, but leave the Hinduto see and conclude this for himself, rather than trying to force it on him.

5. Never hurry. Any pushing for a decision or conversion will do great harm. God must work, and the Holy Spirit should be given freedom to move at his own pace. Even after a profession of Christ is made, do not force quick changes regarding pictures of gods, charms, etc. Be patient and let a person come to fuller understanding and conviction in his own mind before taking action.

6. Work traditional Hindu (and biblical) values into your life, like simplicity, renunciation, spirituality and humility, against which there is no law. A life reflecting the reality of “a still and quiet soul” (Psalm 131) will never be despised by Hindus.

7. Know Hinduism, and each individual Hindu. It will take some study to get a broad grasp of Hinduism and patient listening will be required to understand where in the spectrum each Hindu stands. Both philosophi­cal and devotional Hinduism should be studied with the aim of understanding what appeals to the Hindu heart. Those who move seriously into work among Hindus need to become more knowledge­able in Hinduism than Hindus themselves are. Some study of the Sanskrit language will prove invaluable. Remember the biblical pattern from Acts 17 of introducing truth to the Hindu from his own tradition, and only secondarily from the Bible. For example, the Biblical teaching on sin is repulsive to many modern Hindus, but their own scriptures give an abun­dance of similar testimony. Bridge from Hindu scriptures to the Bible and Christ.

8. Be quick to acknowledge failure. Defending wrong practices in the church and Western Christianity only indicates we are more concerned for our religion than we are for truth.

9. Share your testimony, describing your personal experience of lostness and God’s gracious forgiveness and peace. Don’t claim to know God in His majesty and fullness, but share what you know in your life and experience. This is the supreme approach in presenting Christ to the Hindu, but care must be taken that our sharing is appropriate. To shout on a street corner, or share at every seeming opportu­nity is offensive. What God does in our lives is holy and private, only to be shared in intimacy to those who will respect the things of God and his work in our lives.

10. Center on Christ. He alone can win their hearts’ total loyalty to Himself. In your life and speech, so center on him that all see in your life that God alone is worth living for. Hinduism is often called “god-intoxicated,” and the Hindu who lives at all in this frame of mind is put off by Christian emphases on so many details to the neglect of the “one thing that is needed” (Lk. 10:42).

A Hindu who professes faith in Christ must be helped as far as possible to work out the meaning of that commitment in his own cultural context. Often a new follower of Christ is ready to adopt any and every practice of Western Christians, and needs to be taught what is essential and what is secondary in Christian life and worship. For example, it can be shown that the Eastern practice of removing shoes in a place of worship has strong biblical precedence despite the fact that shoes are worn in Western churches.

A new believer should be warned against making an abrupt announcement to his or her family, since that inflicts great pain and inevitably produces deep misunderstanding. Ideally, a Hindu will share each step of the pilgrimage to Christ with his or her family, so that there is no surprise at the end. An early stage of the communication, to be reaffirmed continually, would be the honest esteem for Indian/Hindu traditions in general that the disciple of Christ can and does maintain.

Approaching Hindus on these lines does not result in quick conversions and impressive statistics. But a hearing will be gained from some who have refused to listen to traditional Christian approaches. And new disciples of Christ can be taught to deal more sensitively with their contexts, allowing them to maintain an ongoing witness to their family and society. As the leaven of the Gospel is allowed to work in Hindu minds and society, a harvest is sure to follow in God’s own time.

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CAVEAT: This article is recommended by our missionary organization only in terms of helping you think through how God wants to breakthrough spiritually among the Hindu peoples you are called to engage with the Gospel. While some of the advice is well and sound, we are still called ultimately to the true battle at stake, which is not catering to Hindu peoples, but the spiritual war we are called to fight on behalf of the lost people of all nations and tribes. There is not a pattern in Acts for catering to lost people. They are lost. The biblical precedent in Acts is to fast and pray a lot corporately, and then to send apostolic teams to boldly proclaim the Gospel to all peoples in love and courage. Ultimately, we must call all peoples to repentance and faith in Jesus. They must turn from their wicked ways. They must renounce all foreign gods and destroy their idols. They must run to Jesus and turn fully to him in both faith and practice (obedience). After all, we are calling Hindus to become followers of Jesus, not simply to adding him to their pantheon of gods.

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Adapted from Evangelical Missions Quarterly, April, 1994. Box 794, Wheaton, IL 60189.

Leave a comment and let us know about your missionary work with Hindus. How is it going? What are you learning? What resources have you found to be helpful in terms of actual fruit of new believers?

America, Baptisms, and Mark 4:20

America, Baptisms, and Mark 4:20

Baptism

We recently received a fascinating update on the average baptisms of evangelical churches in the U.S. We hope you will enjoy this thought-provoking article by guest blogger Gary Stump, Pastor of Onward Church.

Consider the Message paraphrase of Jesus’ statement about effective discipleship in Mark 4:20: “But the seed planted in the good earth represents those who hear the Word, embrace it, and produce a harvest beyond their wildest dreams.”

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I’ve been trying to find out what percentage of American evangelical churches baptize 100 or more people per year. I wrote the Rainer Research Group to find out if there was any research available in this statistical area of interest, but there was not.

The reason I asked this is that in my previous church, we baptized 100 people per year for 10 years. This put us in the top percentage of American churches. But compared to what the Lord did through Ying Kai in China it is almost nothing.

Here’s the way I’ve been sharing this concept to cast vision to pastors and others:

“Suppose you could purchase a machine that produces widgets. It costs $20 million and produced 100 widgets per year.

OR

You could purchase a machine for $500,000 that produced 170,000 widgets per year.

If the widgets produced were of equal value, which machine would you buy?”

Our system of making disciples in America is broken! Surely someone will hear this message!

Supporting Data (according to numbers in T4T book):

2001-2011 (1st 10 years of our new church plant) Baptized 1,000 people = 100 per year; total money spent = $20 Million

2001-2011 (1st 10 years of Ying Kai on his field) Baptized 1,700,000 people = 170,000 per year; total money spent was his salary times 10 ($500,000?)

Something to think about!

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Leave a comment and let us know what you think about Gary’s article.

Want to follow up with Pastor Gary? Send him an email at: gary@garystump.org