Don't Do Miracles By Yourself

“Notice that Jesus did not do the miracle of feeding the five thousand directly Himself, but by working through His disciples. He performed the miracle, but involved others in its completion. Even though their faith was low, He still used the disciples. He trusted them to play an important role in spite of their unbelief.Jesus gave the disciples the bread. They distributed it to the people and later gathered the leftovers. Surely Jesus could have performed this miracle easily, and more dramatically, without their help. But instead, He deliberately involved the disciples in a learning experience. As they participated, their eyes were opened to see the miracle taking place.

There are some key leadership lessons at work in this story: • Leaders are more effective when they involve others. • Disciples don’t need to be mature to be involved. • Self-discovery is more powerful than teaching discovery. • Disciples learn more by doing than by watching. • There are different learning styles for different people.

Jesus didn’t just want to perform a miracle; He wanted to train His followers to believe. He was developing men of faith, not running a feeding program. He wanted His leaders to have compassion fueled by faith, so He engaged them by having them participate in the miracle. He could have done it faster by Himself. He could have done it more efficiently by Himself. But He chose to trust an important responsibility to His men. Those who are prone to perfection find it very difficult to operate by this principle. These are the people who often say, “It’s easier just to do it myself.”

If you have a very strong predilection for neatness and excellence, allowing others to be involved who don’t share your standards will be a severe test for you. The goal of good leadership is not always getting people to do things the “right” way, but instead, training them through the process. Here is a challenge for those with high standards: there are times you may have to sacrifice getting things done your way in order to encourage more people to be involved.

Jesus didn’t preach a message of “excellence,” but He did speak often about the need for more workers. Multiplication of workers for the harvest is not incompatible with high standards. But leaders create cultures, and a culture of control for the sake of excellence can be a huge hindrance to mobilizing workers for the harvest. Control can be an underlying issue if a leader is reluctant to involve others in important tasks. If you are a prisoner of your personality, you will insist on doing things your way, no matter how it affects others. Take time to do some honest assessment. Ask yourself and others who work with you: • Am I a controlling leader? • Am I proficient at involving others? • Do I get great satisfaction from seeing others learn by doing?"

To read the other 39 chapters of my new book 'Leading Like Jesus' get it from Amazon Kindle here. Or order a paperback copy from YWAM Publishing here.

Complicity Versus Confrontation

Complicity1.jpg

"The great privilege of leadership is in influencing other people’s lives. The grave responsibility of leadership is confronting sin in people’s lives. This is part of the price of leadership. Complicity is knowing about immoral, illegal, or unethical activity and covering it up through silence. It is saying nothing when something should be said.

Those who accept the privilege of leading must also accept the responsibility. Invested leaders help mold and shape the actions and attitudes of those they lead. They offer correction as needed, especially if certain actions and attitudes negatively impact the lives of others. Leaders set the moral and spiritual tone for what happens around them.

The Old Testament prophet Eli is an example of a leader who refused to confront the sins of his own sons. As a result, God punished the sons and held Eli responsible for his silence. (1 Sam. 2:22–36)

It takes courage and kindness to confront people in the right way. No mature leader—whether a father, mother, manager, teacher, coach, mentor, or spiritual leader—enjoys confrontation. What could cause a leader to fail to confront people when needed? Most often, it is dependence on the approval of others.

In the Maxwell Leadership Bible, John Maxwell says courageous leaders are willing to do “the unpopular to accomplish the unforgettable.”

Jesus could confront people in the temple because He did not need their approval. He was not leading out of a desire to be accepted by people. He was secure in His identity as a servant leader and therefore, courageous and free to commit to righteousness.

When Jesus threw the money-changers out of the temple, those with spiritual discernment knew He was a loving shepherd who was serious about confronting injustice.

People feel safe when they know their leaders will speak up for them, defend them, and not allow false teachers, false prophets, or unethical people to harass them or divide the church.

How did driving the money-changers out of the temple show good leadership?

  • A strong leader defends his followers, as well as the marginalized and oppressed.
  • A loving leader stands up for the underdog.
  • A courageous leader won’t allow anyone to hinder his people from having the opportunity to worship freely.
  • A godly leader speaks out against economic injustice.
  • A God-fearing leader won’t allow conflict of interest.
  • A Kingdom leader will not be complicit with sin.
  • A discerning leader will not allow others under them to compromise their reputation by remaining silent, rather than speaking the truth in love.

I recently received a letter from a young man, thanking me for confronting him. Two years prior, he had been allowing a serious compromise in his life to continue unchecked (and was quite boastful about it). I knew I could not simply turn a blind eye. Accepting this responsibility wasn’t easy. I had to be willing to face a potentially uncomfortable conversation. It meant setting aside time for many meetings with him, as well as spending hours in prayer and Bible study to make sure my attitude and scriptural position was in line. The young man was very popular in our community and everyone was watching to see how I handled the situation.

The invested hours proved fruitful and the man was rescued from deception. The situation also provided an opportunity to model how to be patient, yet firm—both to the young man and to those looking on.

There is a great pressure in our society not to be a “snitch.” Young people are especially under pressure not to “tell on” others. It’s true, there is a right way and wrong way to bring things to light. We need to pray before speaking to discern whether our motives are pure or impure. Our motivation should not be self-righteous, or to point a finger. But God’s Word is clear: if we know about sin in people’s lives yet remain silent, we are an accomplice to the sin in God’s eyes.

What might prevent you from speaking up about sin? Ask God to search your heart and reveal any insecurity or need for approval (see lesson one). It is important to teach this principle to those we lead, to arm them for the day when they will be tempted to commit the sin of complicity.

How could you go about training those you lead to appreciate this important leadership lesson?"

To read the other 39 chapters click here and buy Leading Like Jesus on Amazon Kindle. Or order a paperback copy at YWAM Publishing

A Leader's Friends

“Effective leaders spend time with their followers. Followers become friends. Personal association as a lifestyle was Jesus’ primary way of training and equipping His disciples. Jesus drew men and women close to Himself. His disciples were not distinguished by a particular doctrine, but by being with Jesus. He took His disciples with Him on trips, visits to people’s homes, outreaches and retreats.

Jesus taught His disciples in the rabbinical style of question and answer, not in the Greek style of abstract philosophy and theory. He was up close and personal - mentoring, walking a journey with them in life. Jesus told them stories (parables), listened to their questions and heard their fears. He taught them by how He lived His life.

Have the pressures of life and demands of work and family caused you to withdraw from people, the very people you were called to serve in leadership? If so, …”

To Read more, check out Floyd’s book, ‘Leading Like Jesus’, available on Amazon Kindle. Click here to find it…

Why Jesus Said "No"

Matt 4:1-11  -  Jesus said no to leadership power, position and prestige Matt 5:31-32  -  Jesus says no to divorce for any reason except breaking one's marriage vows

Matt 5:33-37  -  Jesus said no to making superficial oaths

Matt 6:25  -  Jesus said no to worry

Matt 10:34  -  Jesus said no to false unity

Matt 11:20-24  -  Jesus said no to impenitent cities

Matt 12:1-14  -  Jesus said no to religious legalists

Matt 12:32-42  -  Jesus said no to doing miraculous signs

Matt 12:46-50  -  Jesus said no to his mother and brothers

Matt 16:23  -  Jesus said no to a key leader

Matt 17:1-10  -  Jesus said no to staying in God's glory

Matt 17:9  -  Jesus said no to speaking the vision too soon

Matt 17:24-27  -  Jesus said no to disregarding an oppressive government

Matt 21:12-13  -  Jesus said no to exploitation and injustice of the poor

Matt 26:39  -  Jesus said no to taking the easy way out

10 Simple Discipleship Truths

Hello, the following article is lifted straight off Steve Murrell's blog, found at http://stevemurrell.com/home/    Steve is the founding pastor of Victory Church in Manila with 105,000 members and still growing. His blog and regular entries are excellent! I highly recommend them for all pastors, church planters and fellow leaders in the upside-down kingdom.   Warmly,  Floyd McClung 

Posted by:  Posted date: November 20, 2013 | comment : 0 Comments

Last month Deborah and I were in Indonesia, Singapore, and Taiwan teaching Asian pastors, church-planters, and missionaries about discipleship and leadership. Same ole boring strokes, again. After our Sunday night session a young Indonesian leader asked, “how do you define discipleship?” Good question. Here’s my answer, and more.

1. A disciple is a person who follows Jesus.

2. Every Christian should be a disciple.

3. Every disciple should make disciples.

4. Discipleship is the process of helping others follow Jesus.

5. Discipleship is a life-long journey not a six-week class.

6. Discipleship happens best in community (small groups).

7. Men disciple men; women disciple women.

8. Evangelism and discipleship should not be separated.

9. Discipleship is relationship.

10. Jesus wants all nations to be discipled.

Making disciples is the job of every Christian every day.

Cultivating a relational discipleship culture, creating discipleship systems, and over-communicating discipleship principles was the core of my job description for over two decades as the pastor of Victory Manila. And I recommend that all of the above should be in every pastor’s job description.

Discipleship is not supposed to be complicated or confusing. In fact, it is so simple that a fisherman explained it to uneducated fishermen in two words: “Follow me.”

Are you following Him? Are you helping others follow Him? In other words, are you a disciple and are you making disciples?

 

My top 5 recommended books on discipleship:

Making Disciples by Ralph Moore

The Master Plan of Discipleship by Coleman

The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoffer

The Lego Principle by Joey Bonifacio

WikiChurch by Steve Murrell

5 Broken Views of Discipleship and How to Fix Them

I'm grateful for the great articles from Terry Moeller at Acts 29.  Terry consistently passes on the most consistently helpful articles on leadership, church and discipleship I have come across. The following article by Ed Stetzer is another winner. See  http://acts29-today.blogspot.com/

by Ed Stetzer 

There is a lot of talk about discipleship these days — and it is about time. Jesus seemed to think discipleship was a big deal, putting it as the heart — and the verb — of the Great Commission to "make disciples of all nations." Yet, it seems discipleship has fallen on hard times in many churches in the West — for example, English-speaking places like the U.S., Canada, Australia, and England where there are Christians who are just not as desperate and committed as their sisters and brothers in the Two-Thirds World. I would go so far as to say that our discipleship model is broken. I would like to suggest some areas where we are broken and hopefully provide some solutions about how to fix them.

1. We equate discipleship with religious knowledge.

While I don't think one can appropriately grow without seeking more biblical knowledge, many times believers reduce the discipleship process to, "Read this. Study this. Memorize this. Good to go." This is unfortunate.

"The point is not information, but Christ-like transformation."

Instead, discipleship is to be more like Jesus. Christ-like transformation is the goal, as we are "to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers" (Romans 8:29). The point is not information, but Christ-like transformation. And, that means it is not about knowledge in general, but about knowing Jesus better. Trying to be like Jesus, without the power of Jesus, dishonors Jesus.

2. We try to program discipleship.

Discipleship is not a six-week course. It requires both the pursuit of knowledge and intentional action. Too many offer a book or a class when what is needed is a life.

Instead, when Jesus made disciples, He brought them along as He ministered to people. I'm currently discipling a new believer, and we're actually doing ministry together — instead of me just telling him about it. The good news is that the research tells us people want this. In fact, in a recent LifeWay Research study, we found that a large majority of those who have previously attended a small group of some kind, but who are not attending now, would consider attending a new group, but they want to meet with their group more often than just once a week for bible study. People are looking for meaningful, shared-life relationships, not just a discipleship class.

3. We equate discipleship with our preaching.

I'm just going to say it: Pastors, move beyond your arrogance and stop thinking your preaching is enough to be the church's discipleship strategy. This is not just my opinion. Recent research done by LifeWay Research indicates that 56% of pastors surveyed believe that their weekly sermon, or another one of their teaching times such as Sunday evenings/Wednesday evenings, was the most important discipling ministry in the church. While it is great to see the recent renaissance of Bible-based preaching, along with it we have to jettison the idea that "If people just listen to my sermons, they will grow spiritually."

"Discipleship is not a Sunday event, it is a daily commitment."

Instead, discipleship is a daily process. Pastors, we have to develop more robust discipleship plans than just our weekly messages. Discipleship is not a Sunday event, it is a daily commitment.

4. We think that we will grow without effort.

For many, they think that God saved them and now they should just go to church and maybe stay away from the really big sins. They are unintentional in tending to their spiritual growth. Sadly we have not done much to change this.

Instead, we need to understand that the scripture teaches that each person is to not be a passive spectator, but rather to "work out your own salvation" (Phil. 2:12). Discipleship takes every believer's intentional effort. Yes, effort. Believers must take steps to grow, and that is in line with grace.

Notice that this passage does not say "work on your own salvation" or "work toward" it. You cannot. It is by grace and through faith. However, as a believer, you do take effort to grow—but that does not earn you a relationship with God, it just puts you in the right place where God can grow you as a believer, saved by grace. As Dallas Willard has explained, "Grace is not opposed to effort, it is opposed to earning."

5. We don't offer practical steps.

Changing a church's consumer culture requires an intentional discipleship plan and strategy. We are often intentional about our preaching schedule; why, then, are we not intentional about a discipleship strategy?

Instead, be unapologetic that you want to encourage people to get 1) grounded in their faith, 2) consistent in the word, 3) in a small group with others, whether that looks like a weekly Bible study group, a missional community, a Sunday School class, or something else altogether. Give people steps and people with whom they can take those steps. Conclusion

Assuming your discipleship plan is biblically grounded, the specifics of your plan are not nearly as important as implementing one and communicating it well. Heralding a strategy as the way to become a disciple would be arrogant, but each church should explain its discipleship strategy as "our church's way of discipleship."

Identifying the challenges of genuine discipleship and committing to a process that works through them are the first and necessary steps to cultivating a church filled with on-mission disciples.

(This article first appeared in the April/May 2013 issue of Outreach Magazine.)

By Ed Stetzer http://www.edstetzer.com/

Ed Stetzer is President of LifeWay Research and LifeWay’s Missiologist in Residence.

Spiritual Fathers and Mothers in the Lord

There is a cry in many people’s hearts for someone to father or mother them. There are many spiritual orphans who have never had the opportunity to be loved into wholeness. Fatherlessness is a curse on a nation, and the result of that curse is wounded people carrying an orphan spirit.

The pain in the lives of spiritual orphans empowers five lies:

• The Rejection Lie – I must protect myself from others

• The Fear Lie – I must hide myself from others

• The Performance Lie – I must prove myself to others

• The Blame Lie – I must defend myself from others

• The Control Lie – I must manage myself and others

Spiritual fathers and mothers are mature fathers and mothers because they are not controlled by these lies, nor do they fall into the trap of modifying the behavior of those who believe these lies. They go for the heart. They know that lies are empowered by pain and that Jesus is the truth to heal the pain and dispel the lies.

Fathers and mothers in the Lord do five things well*:

• Spiritual Fathers and Mothers Enable Others to Act – They foster collaboration and build life-giving teams. They actively involve others. They understand that mutual respect is what sustains extraordinary efforts; they strive to create an atmosphere of trust and dignity, of faith and vision. They strengthen others by sharing information and providing choice. Their give their own power away, making each person feel capable and powerful.

• Spiritual Mothers and Fathers Inspire a Common Vision – They inspire people to believe they can make a difference. They envision the future, creating an ideal and unique image of what their spiritual family can become. Through their passionate appeals and quiet persuasion, they enlist others in the dream. They breathe life into the shared vision and get people to see the exciting future possibilities.

• Fathers and Mothers Challenge the Status Quo – They search for opportunities to change the status quo. They look for innovative was to improve their church. They are learners and they encourage others to ask questions and think for themselves. They are always looking for what God wants to teach them. They experiment and take risks. And since risk taking involves mistakes and failure, they accept the inevitable disappointments as learning opportunities. They believe there are no failures, just learning.

• Spiritual Fathers and Mothers Model the Way – They create standards of common values and then set an example for others to follow. They establish values about how members of the community and staff should be treated. Because complex change can overwhelm and stifle action, they celebrate small wins. They unravel or remove bureaucracy, put up signposts for the way forward, and create opportunities for victory. They celebrate failure if people try, and rejoice in little obediences as the way to get to big obediences.

• Spiritual Mothers and Fathers Encourage the Heart – They provide opportunities for healing wounded hearts. They get extraordinary things done in their church or movement by doing lots of hard work based on grace, not performance. They keep hope and determination alive. They honor contributions that individuals make. And because every spiritual family needs to share in the rewards of their efforts, they celebrate accomplishments. They make everyone feel like a hero.

There are seven reflection questions that allow us to assess our level of maturity as spiritual fathers and mothers:

• Does our leadership and discipleship restrict or liberate people?

• Does it lead to conformity or does it promote creativity?

• Does it bring dependence on us or on God?

• Does it produce servility or servanthood?

• Does it build on rules or grace?

• Does it undermine or build a person's confidence?

• Does it produce fear or faith?

In closing, consider Paul’s message to the Corinthians about being a spiritual father or mother:

“I'm not writing all this as a neighborhood scold just to make you feel rotten. I'm writing as a father to you, my children. I love you and want you to grow up well, not spoiled. There are a lot of people around who can't wait to tell you what you've done wrong, but there aren't many fathers willing to take the time and effort to help you grow up. It was as Jesus helped me proclaim God's Message to you that I became your father. I'm not, you know, asking you to do anything I'm not already doing myself.” 1 Corinthians 4:14-16 The Message

In the NKJV translation of verse 15 it says, “...though you have ten thousand instructors in Christ...”

The Greek word used for instructor is a word used for those who supervise children until they reach adulthood. Paul is saying the Corinthians have had a lot of baby sitters but it’s time for them to grow up, and the key to that is having a spiritual father or mother in their lives.

Spiritual fathers and mothers are not instructors for spiritual babies. They are fathers and mothers in the Lord who know God.

*NOTE FROM FLOYD: I am indebted to Larry Kreider for his book, The Cry for Spiritual Mothers and Fathers. I have adapted the five characteristics of spiritual mothers and fathers from the book, The Leadership Challenge, by Posner and Kouzes. I have written more extensively on spiritual fathering and mothering in my book, The Father Heart of God, and in You See Bones – I See an Army.

The Principle of Saying Hard Things

John 6:22-71, especially verses 30-34 (The Message): "They waffled: "Why don't you give us a clue about who you are, just a hint of what's going on? When we see what's up, we'll commit ourselves. Show us what you can do. Moses fed our ancestors with bread in the desert. It says so in the Scriptures: 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.' 

 "Show us what you can do", they said. When the crowd that was fed the loaves and fishes could not find Jesus, they went searching for Him. When they found him, they asked him what sign he would perform for them. Their demand demonstrated their obtuseness. They were shallow, filled with selfish curiosity. The feeding of the multitude was sign enough if they were willing to obey Jesus. The issue was not belief, it was obedience. They had to act on what they already knew to be true if Jesus was going to teach them more truth. 

If people fail to act on what they already know to be true, then giving them more knowledge only serves to harden their hearts and deepen their deception. Spiritual leaders have to be willing to say hard things to their people.

 True shepherds must be willing to lose sheep. Many of Jesus' disciples turned away from him (John 6:60-66). It is sad to see people leave us. It is disheartening to lose good people. But if we speak the truth in love, and people will not receive it, what happened to Jesus may happen to us as well. 

"From that time many of his disciples went back and walked with him no more". John 6:66 (NKJV)

Never bind people to you. What Jesus did next was astounding: he gave those who were closest to him opportunity to leave as well:

"After this a lot of his disciples left. They no longer wanted to be associated with him. Then Jesus gave the Twelve their chance: "Do you also want to leave?" John 6:66-67 The Message

Your disciples must always have the freedom to leave. Obedience is voluntary. It has to come from the heart, not because we demand it or coerce it from people.

 Disobedient people want to hear words that please them. They want signs to tickle their fancy and they want pastors who don't confront their unbelief. Don't fall into that trap. You must remain free to disciple for obedience. 

 

Simple Doesn't Mean Stupid or Unbiblical

I love this article written by a colleague here in Cape Town. We teach these principles, bu more importantly, we strive to live practice them as a way of life. If you want to make disciples of the lost, grow your church or start new churches with those who don't know Jesus, I think you will find the article immensely helpful. Or you can read the original at www.campusministrytoolbox.org   http://www.campusministrytoolbox.org/journal/viral-creating-disciple-making-movements-on-campus/

Blessings,

Floyd

VIRAL

By Daniel Wesley - April 5, 2013
viral jc fish green

Creating Disciple-Making Movements

Around the world, missiologists have recognized and described 100 different disciple-making movements that are exploding in some of the least likely places you would imagine.  Some of these movements have seen millions become followers of Jesus in a few short years.  One particular movement, among mostly Muslims and adherents to tribal religions, has seen 18,000 house churches planted in just 7 short years.[1]  The churches in this movement have 35 people on average and are entirely made up of former Muslims, Animists and Atheists.  There are movements in China and India that far surpass this numerically.  So what can we learn from these movements that may be useful to us in the context of college ministry?  It turns out- quite a bit. They all have common elements that are easily adapted into a university ministry.

China-house-church

 

FOLLOW THEN BELIEVE

There are varied names for the approach and various differences between different movements, but one common ingredient in all these movements is raising up “followers” among unbelievers.

Follower- someone who respects Jesus, is willing to learn from Him/about Him and even attempt to honor Him in his or her life.

This was the religious context into which Rabbi Jesus entered 2000 years ago. People would associate themselves with a teacher or rabbi, learn from him, follow him, and obey him. Jesus took it further. He was not content with merely showing His followers a way to live, but by showing He was the way to live life with God. He did not only want external obedience but inward transformation that came through faith. BUT He usually began by asking people to follow Him. It is important that we notice from Scripture that Jesus had people following Him in simple obedience before they had “accepted” Him or embraced the fullness of who we know Him to be.  In fact, many times they would help introduce Him to their friends before they really understood fully who He was. (John 1:43-46; John 4:28-30).

Needless to say, they eventually did come to fully believe, but their initial lack of understanding and/or poor theology did not keep them from Jesus, or keep Jesus from them.  The result was that these early followers turned the Roman world upside down within a century.  No doubt each of them had different points at which they understood who Jesus was, stepped into the fullness of faith and experienced regeneration, but amazingly many were called “disciples” before that happened! Don’t take my word for it, go back and read about the disciples (Luke 5-6, John 1, Matthew 10 and Mark 3).  As you read through the gospels, notice the different ways many of his disciples lacked basic Christology leading up to Jesus’ death and resurrection and, in a few cases, after His resurrection.  It is interesting that most us have assumed that we must “get someone saved” before we teach them to follow Jesus. It seems the Jesus’ model is oftentimes the reverse. What if teaching them to follow Jesus is really critical to saving faith and to making future disciples? Doesn’t this correspond to our experience as well? We were intrigued, attended something, were exposed to Jesus, wanted to explore this more, maybe talked to others, and even sometimes did things we thought might honor God. Then at some point God’s Spirit and His grace broke through and we truly believed and truly committed our lives to Jesus. On the other hand, haven’t you known people who made a “decision” for Christ, but whose lives never changed?  Perhaps we should invite people to follow Jesus in obedience and let the Holy Spirit bring conviction in His timing. (I know this is mind-bending a little, but bear with me on this.)

So how do we help people to start following Jesus regardless of their “salvation status?”  It is quite simple actually. There are 6 simple transferable steps we can use to lead unbelievers forward in following Jesus.

 PREREQUISITE: GATHER A GROUP OF UNBELIEVERS

This might be the hardest step for many. But didn’t Jesus mix it up mostly with those who didn’t know Him? Didn’t He say He was called to the “sick”? They could be from a dorm, an athletic team, a club, a study group, or some neighbors. You could do this yourself, or better, have a student you want to train do this. In fact, the latter method is preferred if you are wanting to start a movement. Train, empower, release….this does not mean doing it for them! (Eph 4:12).  Of course, in your own life you should be modeling this as well with your unbelieving peers.

Screen Shot 2013-04-02 at 1.29.12 AMInvite unbelievers to study the “life of Jesus,” the “teachings of Jesus,” or the “Bible for themselves.”  You will find that MANY are open to this.  Avoid inviting them to your large weekly meeting or to a Sunday service.  That MAY come later, but begin by just meeting with them one-on-one and in small groups.  Try to avoid having one unbeliever with 5 or 6 believers.  Have your students meet with unbelievers one-on-one and then have them invite THEIR unbelieving friends to join them.  Don’t let the unbelievers be “outnumbered.”  If you need to be at the first few meetings or so, fine.  But your goal is to release your students to do this.  You can meet with them outside that time to debrief and coach them further.  Here is the goal: find people interested in Jesus, help them start to follow Him, and get them to invite their friends to do the same.

Ok, so once we have a small group of unbelievers gathered, here’s what it would look like:

1. THANKS

Invite everyone in the circle to share something for which they are thankful.  Celebrate with them as they share their gratitude.  While we are teaching them to be grateful to God for “every good and perfect gift” (Jas 1: 17), it is not necessary to tell them this in the early weeks. Just let them share and celebrate with them.   [Message: Gratitude is frequently the first thing we express to God when addressing Him and is how the Scripture describes the process of coming into His presence.  (Psalm 100)] 

2. NEEDS

Have everyone share something for which they need prayer.  [Message: God is a living God who answers prayer and who is concerned with our needs.]

3. SCRIPTURE

Read a short passage of 5-15 verses. Read the passage in 2 different translations and let different people read.  Close the Bible and invite someone to share the story in his or her own words.  Make sure they understand that the goal is to merely repeat the story in their own words and not to draw conclusions. Screen Shot 2013-04-02 at 1.37.50 AMAfter the first person has shared the story ask if anyone wants to add details that were missed. [Message: Scripture is critical to following Jesus and is our first means of receiving truth.  Scripture is the plumb line by which we judge any word from God.] **Note: With International students, it is usually good to start with creation and move towards Christ slowly over time.

4. LISTEN

Have everyone wait on the Lord for 1 or 2 minutes to see what part of the passage the Holy Spirit would highlight for them.  [Message:  God speaks to us by His Spirit and it is proper to learn to hear His voice most frequently through Scripture.]

 5. OBEY

After sharing what God highlighted from Scripture, have everyone share an “I Will” statement which expresses obedience to what was just learned.  Something important happens in calling them to obedience to Jesus. Be willing to challenge people with statements that are measurable and specific.  Avoid letting someone end with a vague immeasurable commitment like “I will be more grateful this week.”  Set the standard in the early weeks and the fellow group members will hold each other’s feet to the fire! Challenge them to hone their statements down to something more tangible. [Message: Obedience is part of what it means to love and follow Jesus.  The Christian life is faith in action.  Of course action doesn’t save someone but it will lead to true disciples of Jesus who have learned the importance of obedience.]

6. CLOSE THE LOOP

Start your next meeting (notice I did not say “week 2” as you may want to meet more frequently than just weekly) by having each person review their “I will” statement from the previous meeting.  Be sure and CELEBRATE even partial obedience.  If a guy shares that he drinks himself to sleep every night and he reports that he went 3 days after the previous meeting without drinking, celebrate that fact and encourage him in how he grew in obedience.  Keep pointing them to Jesus as the “author and finisher” of our faith.

That’s it!  Now, we may have raised some questions (see below), but the basic idea is that we find people who respect Jesus and want to learn about His teachings.  We ask those people to meet so we can learn together what it means to follow Jesus.  We watch the Holy Spirit draw them and convict them through the process of learning to follow Jesus.  Then they go do the same with their friends. This appears to be the overwhelming model presented in the gospels. The epistles do an amazing job of expounding on concepts such as sin, faith and grace. However, let’s make sure we balance the gospels and the epistles in our approach to making disciples and watch God give us more incredible fruit, as He is already doing around the world.

ISSUES/CONCERNS

Naturally this model might raise some questions. I will attempt to briefly address a few here:

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Questions for Discussion

  1. What do you like about this strategy? Dislike? Are you possibly apprehensive due to a tradition? A Biblical issue? A fear? Or something else?
  2. Could you see any advantages to such a model if you are trying to make many new followers of Jesus on your campus?
  3. How could you implement this into your ministry?  Think of a pilot program with a few students. (think: who, when, where…)

Please let us know of any stories where you have seen this strategy implemented on campus in the comments section. We would love to hear how God is using these ideas.

 

“Daniel Wesley” is a Trainer for CPx (Church Planting Experience). Meet “Daniel” and all our CMJ authors here.

FALSE PROSPERITY GOSPEL IN AFRICA

I am so grieved after reading this blog entry of a friend and co-worker. I disciple young African leaders in what I call the Young Leaders Forum. I know now I have to deal with the unbiblical aspects of the prosperity teaching. If you read this article, please pray for God's heart. Please don't take an offense. Pray for deception to be held back in Africa and for the truth of the gospel of salvation to preached and for disciples of Jesus to be made that embrace the cross of Christ. The link to the article is below.

Blessings,

Floyd

 

http://mbjones.posthaven.com/miracle-healing-revivals

New Videos

I wanted to draw your attention towards two new videos, shot during my furlough in the United States. Both were shot during my time at LCC Redding. You can find a more permanent link to them in the sidebar of our homepage, and I will also link to them here. The first is on Discipleship and can be found here.

The second is on Discipleship and Leadership and can be found here.

If you have the time, check them out!

Discipleship is Intentional Relationship

As you know, I am passionate about discipleship. But it often happens that as soon as I speak my passion with some people they get a glazed look in their eye, and then start backing out the door! I think they feel some potential pressure and guilt coming their way, or maybe another program they need to give time to.

But, of course, those are things I don't believe in. I love relationship.
For me, discipleship is relationship. Not just hanging out relationship, but intentional relationship. I love investing in people, encouraging them, trying to discern what God is up to in their lives, and then intentionally identifying with what that is to encourage their walk with God.
In fact, I believe every relationship is a discipling relationship if I am intentional. Some and are deep and involve lots of time, others are not so involved...but every relationship is a gift from God... and an opportunity to invest in people's lives. What a privilege.
So how does it work? This thing called discipleship? How does "intentional relationship" work? First, a couple things it doesn't mean...
It doesn't mean getting ahead of where people are in their journey with God. It doesn't mean imposing an agenda on people. It doesn't mean pressuring people or controlling them. It doesn't mean I'm responsible for them...
Whew! That's a relief!!
God has put me and you in people's lives to serve them, and in some cases, to very deliberately invest in their journey with God. With that in mind, here a few suggestions of things I have found helpful:
1. Ask questions - find out where people are in their journey with God, and start there.
2. Try to discern through prayer and listening how you might encourage the person. That is intentionality...discerning, listening, and praying... then speaking encouragement. When you frame what you say with encouragement you will never be far off the mark.
3. Define the relationship. Figure what people want or expect, then define what you can give, and how, for how long and how often. Be positive, not demanding.
4. Always come back to Scripture - somehow, someway, involve the Word. With pre-Christians, I ask if they would like to discuss some of the teachings and sayings of Jesus. If not, that let's me know that they are not ready for spiritual input, so I will focus on the friendship, and set my expectations accordingly. Then I look for others that I can be more directly involved with spiritually. I keep the friendship with everyone, but search for those who are hungry to learn and grow.
5. Expect obedience. Discipleship is obedience to Jesus. Little obediences lead to big obediences. I suggest small things for people to put into practice or do, or ask what goals or what God is impressing them to do. Then I watch to see how the person does in obeying what God is saying to them.
6. I involve them with others at the same level of spiritual growth... I introduce them to others who are seeking to know Jesus, or others who are already on the journey, depending on where they are.
7. Celebrate weakness of failure if a person is honest about a mistake or need. Make your relationship a safe place for them to grow.
Okay, those are a few ideas. What has helped you be intentional about discipling people? Share with me so I can pass on your ideas. Thanks!!

Fifteen Signs of People Who Don't Finish Well

There are approximately 100 biographies in the Bible, and of those, only 30-35% of the people finished well. Why does it happen? To answer that question, we need to understand what it means to not finish well.  The 15 characteristics below explain why people don't finish well. If any one or a combination of the following traits describes your life - you are a candidate for not finishing well. I encourage you to press in to God that you might finish stronger and more passionate for Jesus than when you began your journey with him. Remember Caleb at the end of his life? He finished well!

 "Remember what God said to Moses the man of God concerning you and me back at Kadesh Barnea? I was forty years old when Moses the servant of God sent me from Kadesh Barnea to spy out the land. And I brought back an honest and encouraging report. My companions who went with me discouraged the people, but I stuck to my guns, totally with   God, my God. That was the day that Moses solemnly promised, 'The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance, you and your children's, forever. Yes, you have lived totally for   God  .' Now look at me:  God   has kept me alive, as he promised. It is now forty-five years since God spoke this word to Moses, years in which Israel wandered in the wilderness. Here I am today, eighty-five years old! I'm as strong as I was the day Moses sent me out. I'm as strong as ever in battle, whether coming or going. So give me this hill country that   God   promised me. You yourself heard the report, that the Anakim were there with their great fortress cities. If   God   goes with me, I will drive them out, just as  God said." Joshua 14 - The Message

 

Fifteen Characteristics of People Who Don't Finish Well

  1. You have lost your spiritual passion for the things of God
  2. You are backslidden and away from God
  3. You are resentful toward those who hurt or betrayed you
  4. You are not learning and growing spiritually
  5. You are not discipling others and are not being discipled
  6. You no longer share your faith with pre-Chrisitans
  7. You are cynical and critical about church and spiritual leaders
  8. You have plateaued spiritually – no longer growing
  9. You are isolated and unaccountable in your walk with God
  10. You have hidden sins and habits that grip your life
  11. It has been years since you led someone to faith in Christ
  12. You are not praying for the nations and the lost fervently
  13. You are considering an affair with another person and/or would accept divorce as an easy "out"
  14. Loss of stomach to fight spiritual battles
  15. No faith for the impossible!

Tough Guys Discipling Tough Guys

Note: I received this letter yesterday from a wonderful lady who is a world changer for Jesus. She is the founder and director of Siya Sebenza in Port Elizabeth, a job training and now, a disciple making training program. I have been coaching Ena in the 12 principles of obedience based discipleship that I like to call "discovery discipleship". Her letter below could be the beginning of something big! Floyd I had a wonderful experience yesterday which had quite an impact on me. I have been teaching at a Christian Gap year school (a sort of adventure school) near Alicedale, a small town in the Karoo (South Africa).

They have about 70-90 students every year and for the past 4 years we have been running our WORK-4aLiving programme there. Every year some of the students can apply to be facilitators for the following year. I was pleased to see one young dynamic coloured guy this year, Jade, who had been in my classes last year and who had been VERY NAUGHTY last year. He was now a facilitator and had given his life to Christ in the meantime and was a changed man-harnessing all that potential now in the right direction!!!

We were chatting during the break. I was having a laugh because i saw him chew out a couple of guys in my class for misbehaving and i told him how funny it was considering that i had him sitting UNDER my nose last year!!

Then it happened. He was telling me how hectic some of the students were and how they misbehave. We started speaking about discipleship and i told him how i see the facilitators coralling the good ones in one corner and the bad ones into the other corner. Instead, i suggested, why doesnt he start identifying leaders (men of peace) amongst the 'bad' guys and start investing in them and discipling them instead of just 'guarding' them and just getting them thru the programme.

There are about half who are Christian but they are  NOT STRONG influencers. I told him that! as a strong leader, he needed to find the STRONG man of peace amongst those guys, who ar borderline but open - and they can change the whole group but that it will start by discipling these guys not rejecting or constantly punishing them with PT! He looked at me and went as red as a coloured guy can and he said, "But i've never done that!!! And neither have the other facilitators!! And that is right. It is what we are meant to do!!"  it was a lightbulb moment and it WAS SO AWESOME to see the lights go on...

Straight after my class there were about 10 guys who were called out to do hectic PT because of bad behaviour. There I saw Jade standing with his arms around them in a huddle praying or talking, not sure. Even the other facilitators were looking to see what was up!!  Normally PT would have started by now. This young man is VERY strong and it is exciting to see him hopefully take his place as a leader in the Kingdom.

Sorry so long and it may seem a bit insignificant but for me it highlighted the impact of having the right conversation, INTENTIONALLY! at the right time, with the right person. I mean the impact of that place is great but it could be SO much greater if they get the tough guys discipled by tough guys themselves.

 

 

Creation to Christ...The God Story

The God Story – Creation to Christ Lesson One - Creation - There is one true God and He created all that is. He lives by His Holy Spirit in the hearts of true Christians who are born again. • God Created the Heavens and Earth………………… ……Genesis 1:1-24 • God Created Man and Woman………………… …………Genesis 1:25-28

Truths to learn and obey from these Bible verses about creation: • God is the creator but not a spirit in the creation; He is personal and infinite • God created man and woman for three reasons: friendship with God, to love and care for each other, and to oversee creation and preach the good news of Jesus.

Lesson Two - Rebellion – We have all sinned against God through disobedience and rebellion. The penalty of our sin is death. • Rebellion in Heaven……………………………………..Revelation 12:7-9 • Rebellion in Heaven……………………………………..Isaiah 14:12-15 • Every Human Being Has Sinned, Sin is penalty of sin …Romans 3:23, 6:23 • Our sin causes great sadness to God …………………….Genesis 6:5-6

Truths to learn and obey from these Bible verses about rebellion: • Satan is a liar and deceiver: he attacks with temptation, accusation and deception • Sin is rebellion/disobedience • God gave death as the punishment for sin

Lesson Three - Sacrifice – The punishment for our sins requires a sacrifice for forgiveness. • Sacrifices in the Old Testament as a Picture of Jesus …… Genesis 22:1-14 • The Sin Offering ………………………………………… Leviticus 4:1-3 • Jesus Died So We Can Return to God …………………..Luke 23:21-34 • Jesus’ Sacrifice Was Made One Time for All People ……Hebrews 10:12

Truths to learn and obey from these Bible verses about sacrifice: • The penalty for our sin is spiritual death • God has provided a way to escape the penalty of sin • Jesus is God’s sacrifice for our sins • There is no need for other sacrifices – Jesus is the sacrifice for all time for everyone

Lesson Four - Return to God – God asks us to repent and return to Him • The Lost Son Returns to His Father ……………………………Luke 15:11-20 • There Are Two Things We Must Do to Return to God ………. John 1:12-13 • Our Sins Are Forgiven When We Return to God ……………...1 John 1:9 • We are Born Again and God’s Spirit Lives in Us…………….. John 3:6, Romans 8:14

Truths to learn and obey from these Bible verses about returning to God: • Returning to God is a way of acknowledging our need for forgiveness • Returning to God is an act of godly sorrow for our sin • Returning to God releases God’s forgiveness • When we return to God we become the children of God

Lesson Five – Commission/Fulfillment - Telling others about Jesus • When We Return to God We Receive New Life …………John 3:3-7, 15-17 • We Become God’s Friends and Co-Workers on Earth……John 15:13-16 • We Are Sent to Tell Others About Jesus …………………Acts 1:8, Matthew 28:18-20

Truths to learn and obey from these Bible verses: • We are all called to go and make disciples, to baptize them, to teach them • We should gather people in simple churches to grow in Christ

10 Reasons Some Leaders Don’t Follow Paul’s Example of Church Planting

Because of the orderly fashion in which the book of Acts is written, and because of the missions and leadership truths Luke deals with, we can assume he intended Acts to serve as a training handbook for those committed to spreading the Gospel. Unfortunately, many Christian leaders don’t see it that way.

I am convinced if spiritual leaders spent just half their time doing what Paul did, the world would already have been evangelized several times over. And the churches they planted would have been born with multiplication in their genetic code. Church planting provokes us to train leaders and reach the lost more intentionally. 

 So why don’t some missionaries and pastors follow the principles and practices of Paul demonstrated in the book of Acts? I asked that same question recently of a group of young missionaries in training with All Nations. Here are some of their answers:

1. Fear of Suffering and Sacrifice. Church planting is hard work. It means stress and in some cases, intense spiritual warfare. Paul’s methods for reaching the unreached and the unchurched are so radical that they guarantee opposition, even persecution and death, particularly when we plant churches where the gospel is least known.

2. Intimidation. Most of us don’t think we are a “Paul.” Pastors and missionaries excuse themselves by saying Paul was a “special person with a special anointing.” But Luke makes it clear that the whole church was moving out to spread the gospel. In fact, the powerful church of Antioch was started by anonymous laymen who moved from Jerusalem to Antioch to spread the good news of Jesus. Never under estimate what people will do when you believe in them and give them a chance to trust God!

3. Pride. Some leaders think they can improve on the way Paul did things, so they don’t take his methods and principles seriously. One missionary said to me rather flippantly, “If Paul were alive today he would change the way he did things.” When I asked him why he thought that way, he didn’t know. He just assumed Paul would learn from how we do things and make changes accordingly.

4. Unfocused Goals. Many spiritual leaders have unclear goals of what they want to accomplish. Staying busy in ministry can easily take the place of being effective in ministry. Being effective means planting churches. We won't reach lost people and disciple new leaders and plant more churches if we don't set goals to do so. In fact, I believe Satan loves to keep us busy doing 'good things', good church things, to keep us from doing the main thing: make disciples among the lost.

5. Unbelief. For some, the challenge to trust the Holy Spirit to break Satan’s strongholds over cities and nations requires steps of faith and obedience they are not willing to take. It takes faith to believe God for a new church to be planted, risk taking, daring faith. Church planters face the constant possibility of failure... but, they also see the greatest rewards in Christian ministry!

6. Ignorance. Few spiritual leaders have taken time to seriously study the church planting methods of Paul. Some even believe by planting churches Paul had not thought through the best way to advance the kingdom of God. Seriously, I have heard people say these things.

7. Confused Missiology. Another reason I see for the church not following Paul’s method of church planting is that people have changed, added to and amended how Paul did missions so much that he now gets blamed for all the slip-shod, unfocused, ineffective activity that is being done in the name of “missions.” This is especially true for short-term missions activities, where so much more could be done if the leaders of these outreaches would apply the principles and practices of the great apostle. It should be pointed out that many of the churches Paul started were established on “short term” outreaches, but those were short term outreaches with long term goals.

8. Poor Interpretation of Scripture.  Some movements and churches have neglected the Pauline methodology because of misunderstanding about what Jesus meant when he instructed his disciples to “...make disciples of all nations.” There is a grave mistake in the thinking of some that missionaries and pastors are commissioned by Jesus to reform society rather than spreading the gospel. This approach to church and mission actually devalues the important ministry God has given to local churches. Christians are to be salt and light in society, but that is not the calling of a pastor, church planter and cross-cultural missionary. We are to join Jesus... he said, "I will build my church". We get to do that with Him!

9. Inconsistent Application of Pauls Principles. According to Roland Allen (Missionary Methods: St. Pauls or Ours?), some people have neglected Paul’s methods because they have “...adopted fragments of St. Paul’s method and have tried to incorporate them into alien systems...” The failure that has resulted from these hybrid methodologies has been used as an excuse to reject the apostle’s methods. To quote Allen again: “For example, people have baptized uninstructed converts and the converts have fallen away; but Paul did not baptize uninstructed converts apart from a system of mutual responsibility that insured their instruction.” Obedience based discipleship based on hearing and obeying the Spirit as He instructs new converts is a much surer way to prepare followers of Jesus for baptism.

10. Disrespect For the Apostolic Calling of the Church. The Pauline approach to missions has lost it’s stature in some circles because some spiritual leaders have borrowed the term “apostle” to reinforce their position of authority or dominance over their followers. Others have wanted recognition or prestige in the Body of Christ. “We are apostles,” they claim, expecting have the same title means they deserve the same respect those early apostles had. Those were men of great courage who opposed the Roman Empire, withstood the fierce persecution of the Jewish leaders, and suffered and sacrificed to spread the gospel all over the world. If so called apostles were truly “sent ones” they would be giving their time and energy to pull down Satan’s strongholds in the 10/40 window, endure stoning and jail sentences, plant scores of churches among the unreached, and spreading the good news of Jesus with courage and passion.

 

The Power of Encouragement

Hello, I'm not sure if this is a true story, but it is certainly a story of "truth". I try to practice this simple truth with people I know, and people I meet for the first time, seeking to discern what God has put in a person and speak words of affirmation and hope and destiny to them. After all, if I am wrong, how bad can it be if I am trying to speak words of encouragement with the hope that it points people to Jesus?

Yours,

Floyd

One day a teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name.

Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down.

It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed in the papers.

That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and listed what everyone else had said about that individual.

On Monday she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. 'Really?' she heard whispered. 'I never knew that I meant anything to anyone!' and, 'I didn't know others liked me so much,' were most of the comments.

No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. She never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn't matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another. That group of students moved on.

Several years later, one of the students was killed in Vietnam and his teacher attended the funeral of that special student. She had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. He looked so handsome, so mature.

The church was packed with his friends. One by one those who loved him took a last walk by the coffin. The teacher was the last one to bless the coffin.

As she stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to her. 'Were you Mark's math teacher?' he asked. She nodded: 'yes.' Then he said: 'Mark talked about you a lot.' After the funeral, most of Mark's former classmates went together to a luncheon. Mark's mother and father were there, obviously waiting to speak with his teacher. 'We want to show you something,' his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket 'They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it.' Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. The teacher knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which she had listed all the good things each of Mark's classmates had said about him. 'Thank you so much for doing that,' Mark's mother said. 'As you can see, Mark treasured it.'

All of Mark's former classmates started to gather around. Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, 'I still have my list. It's in the top drawer of my desk at home.'

Chuck's wife said, 'Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding album.'

'I have mine too,' Marilyn said. 'It's in my diary'

Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. 'I carry this with me at all times,' Vicki said and without batting an eyelash, she continued: 'I think we all saved our lists'

That's when the teacher finally sat down and cried. She cried for Mark and for all his friends who would never see him again.

The density of people in society is so thick that we forget that life will end one day. And we don't know when that one day will be.

So please, tell the people you love and care for, that they are special and important. Tell them, before it is too late, tell them while you have time. Tell them in carefully crafted but simple, heartfelt words of love why you appreciate them, the good you see in them, the love and hope you carry in your heart for them.

 

TWELVE PRINCIPLES OF DISCOVERY DISCIPLESHIP

DISCOVERY DISCIPLESHIP seeks to empower emerging leaders to bring about sustainable transformation in society and to ignite self-sustaining, reproducing movements of Jesus' disciples making more disciples, and through that, to build healthy reconciled communities and nations. Discovery discipleship is based on Biblical principles of personal and community obedience to Jesus Christ. The principles of discovery discipleship are as follows:

1. Obedience to a few simple truths that a person discovers from the teachings of Jesus is a more powerful form of transformation than seeking ever increasing knowledge about the Bible or Christianity as a "religion".

2. Investing in a few obedient followers of Jesus is a more powerful form of transformation than seeking to influence multitudes of non-obedient Christian spectators.

3. "Insiders" make the best leaders: "outsiders" are to invest in insiders, those inside the culture or business a network of relationships that God wants to use to bring about transformation.

4. Self-discovery of the life-transforming truths Jesus taught is more powerful than being told what to believe.

5. The Holy Spirit is the best teacher; the role of mentors is to facilitate opportunity for new followers of Jesus to hear the Holy Spirit speak directly to them from the Bible, without being told what to believe.

6. The teachings of Jesus in the Bible are the greatest source of wisdom for transforming a nation.

7. Every person has the resources within them through faith in Christ to be a leader in their community; the greatest obstacle to being a transformational leader is not poverty of circumstances, but poverty of mind and spirit.

8 God has prepared persons of peace inside every culture, business, government, neighborhood and sphere of society who are the key persons to bring about transformation. Such persons are not just "networkers", or "gatekeepers", but persons ready to obey Jesus, to change their mind and behavior about sinful, selfish choices that are destructive to themselves and their community.

9. Discipleship is intentional relationship. Transformational discipleship is intentionally investing in someone so they might have the opportunity to experience the life-transforming power of knowing and obeying Jesus Christ and as a result, bringing transformation to their community.

10. Jesus invited people who did not yet know him to be his disciples; he discipled people to convert them, he did not convert them to disciple them.

11. Belonging leads to believing, not just believing to belonging. In other words, Jesus modeled inviting people to be part of his spiritual family as a way of bringing them to obedient faith - he did not wait for them to believe in order to invite them to belong. If they did not grow to obedient faith, he did not kick them out, but at the same time, he gave attention to those most serious about obeying him.

12. Discovery discipleship happens best in small discovery Bible studies that provide opportunity for accountability and practice of the above mentioned principles. These discovery groups are capable of growing into simple churches that can multiply and bring transformation every sphere of society.