In church planting, I find that church planters get stuck in five different places. Often they have no coping mechanisms. Here are five ways of moving forward:
- Getting access to a community through ministry. It can be business, medical, etc. It’s about them, not about us. We always have to ask what they need. We need to focus the access on meeting their needs. Ministry is meeting people’s felt needs. When we do it in a new community, it becomes an access. But access is not the motive for ministry. We do it because the people have a need and in the Name of Jesus we meet the need.
- Finding the Person of Peace. You have to live a life among them that helps them find you. If you live out Deut. 6, a life of obedience and making statements that indicate you are a spiritual person and through thick and thin they see you as a spiritual person, or that you’ve changed, the people that want that find you. So often, it’s not that we go out and search high and low for a person of peace, but in the act of doing ministry, the persons of peace find us. The point is you have to be touching a lot of lives for that person to find you. When I see a church planter who is not having a lot of success, I ask “How many people are you meeting?” “What kind of ministry are you doing?” I can tell if you’re going to be a good church planter by walking in your office. If you’re in the office, you’re not a church planter. You have to be hanging out with the lost people. Who do you spend your time with? If you spend your time with saved people, you’re not going to plant churches. You have to be among them, yet different. Be in the world, but not of the world. I love hanging out with Christians. But I am a church planter, so I have to give up that which I love in order to do that which Christ has commanded. It takes walking from comfort to discomfort. I am obedient to what Christ has told me to do. I will do this until He tells me he wants me to do something else. You have to live this way until you find the person of peace. If you’re comfortable, you’re not going to find the person of peace. If you’re comfortable in your life, you’re not going to find him. He’s somewhere else. Remember the “Go!” that Jesus said? It’s where it’s uncomfortable. Those are the places we go to. This is where church planting lives, on that edge. The edge is something we’re creating. The edge is where the Gospel meets lostness. If you’re around saved people all the time, you’re not anywhere near the edge. You can’t even see the edge. You have to get out there in the lost world. If you go there living sh’ma, hearing and obeying, you create the edge right where you are. This is what we have to understand as church planters. We have to create the edge where the Gospel creates lostness. Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, the uttermost parts of the earth. The edge can be right in your living room if you have family. Neighbors. There are edges we can create everywhere, from inside our household to going around the world many times. If we are going to find persons of peace, we have to step off the ledge and find the edge. Some say it’s just too hard and sit back down on the couch and just won’t do it. You have to come to the point of saying, “I will create edges in my family, in my neighborhood, wherever God tells us to go.” Our presence at the edge is what permits the person of peace to be revealed. They don’t know they are persons of peace until they see something in you, a spiritual life in you, and then they say, “There’s something in you I want.” Here’s the other thing: New Christians are already at the edge. They’re the best people to find persons of peace. Don’t yank the edge out from underneath people’s feet. Support the edge. CPM is not about throwing out rescue tubes in the ocean. We give them a boat kit and they build their own boat. We get them engaged in it and they build it out further and further.
- Moving the relationship from just the Person of Peace to the Family/Group of Peace. There is a barrier from moving the person of peace to the community he/she is a part of. Having a relationship before you start transmit information. Information doesn’t bring relationship. You have to hang out with people and get to know them and they get to know you. As you build the relationship, you can say, “You’re only seeing a part of me. I’d like you to know the other part of me – my spiritual side.” This moves slowly. Yes. I went the fast evangelism explosion route, the CWT route, and we called it success if we had 1 out of 100. Our ministry has baptized over 5 million people in the last 12.5 years. Personal evangelism is not the biblical model. Three people in the New Testament: The Ethiopian eunuch, Paul, and another temple leader that Paul led to Christ. Then we have a period of time in early Acts, where we had mass evangelism: 3000 came to the Lord. Within a few weeks after Pentecost, we don’t see that again. When Paul tries to go back to mass evangelism, Paul gets beaten up. Acts 10 – the pattern begins: Cornelius and his household believed and were baptized, Lydia, the Philippian jailer, etc. Oikos. The pattern of evangelism focuses on minimal social units. But you can’t accept Christ for other people. When you evangelize social units, the individuals come to Christ in clumps; like picking entire grape clusters rather than individual grapes. Instead of presenting a Gospel that will be turned down 199 times out of 200, we spend 20 weeks, teaching them by example and by word, to reach a community. That’s how you get explosive growth; moving from a social relationship into their oikos and their community.
- Moving a group from conversation to Discovery Bible Study. This takes time and energy. A lot of people approach it long. If you announce you have a 26-week Bible study, it’s just not in our culture. If you start out by asking if you can share something you’ve learned about God and open up your Bible and read that. Ask how they would say it in their own words. Then ask “What does this tell us about God?” You’ve just done a discovery Bible study, but you haven’t made a big deal. Next week, say you’ve learned something about God today, but nothing more. Someone will ask. Then you can do it again. You can transition from having discussion to have a discovery Bible study. If you do it right, you will keep it interesting. If they get scared and back away, you just need to have patience. Some of you were really not wanting to be here this week, but some of you have told me you have changed your mind. The process changed your mind. Process matters. How you do it will determine your success rate. No one method works every time. It’s a relationship deal. You have to learn how to communicate that. Jesus was not always “successful” – think about the rich young ruler. Sometimes you can do it the very best you can do it and it’s not going to work. Being a church planter is about being a failure. It will fail more often than it will succeed, but when it succeeds, you will get a lot of fruit. If you have a method that fails every single time, you might want to change your method.
- Transition from Bible Study Group to Church. After four to six months they might believe and be baptized. How do you move it? This is your goal. This is also your homework.
Can you share stories about #4? Walk in and ask questions. It’s about relationship, being creative, being intentional, moving from conversation as friends. If you start the relationship with spiritual conversation, it’s not so hard to move it. If you start it with high fives and sports teams, it’s a lot harder.
Can you elaborate a little bit on #5? You’ve already spent 25-30 weeks doing DBS, you moved it to obedience and then you start introducing passages on church and they grow into it.
Before the person of peace goes out and starts training others, is it our responsibility to make sure they’re believers and baptized? Remember in the DBS, “Who are you going to share it with?” These guys start sharing with others right away. Does the facilitator of a DBS save the lost? You’re making disciples of lost people and they’re doing the work. When Jesus sent the 12 out ahead of him to the villages, were they saved yet? He had them doing things before they even knew He was the Messiah.
Could you respond to Luke 9:7, 8, 9. It seems to be conviction or stirring. How often have you seen this? We’ve seen transformation so powerful that villages 20-30 km away have come saying, “We want what is happening here.” There is nothing secret about what we do. You can be spiritual and not overtly Christian cultural. You can be a follower of Christ without being too Christian cultural.
We can be part of an existing, established church and do parties with them, but you can spend the other 3-6 days a week creating edge. That has to be a mindset. You can’t say, “I’ve gone to church and I’ve done my responsibility.”
You have touched on a hot button when you talked about lost people facilitating groups. The theology of lost people – getting the DNA wrong. If we don’t settle that issue, this is one of those tweaking things that will cause it to go wrong. I’ve got staff that doesn’t trust that. You have to resolve in your mind that it’s okay to let a lost person lead a 3-column study. If you’re struggling with that, it’s okay. We need to camp there a little.
People who shudder about lost people lead a 3-column study. I never let a lost person teach or preach. But if you let a lost person lead a DBS, asking the questions doesn’t require all the questions. If you go out and try it, you’ll realize that as sophisticated as we are in your library, you will find that the opinions will fit within the norms of the commentators. Heresy doesn’t come from lost people, but from educated Christian people who take authority and drag people down the road. Work with the facilitator, let the facilitator take over. Churches planted by an outside will not reproduce. But if you coach the lost facilitator to lead a 3-column Bible study. It is counterintuitive to your Christian background. Try it. Be honest with the try. Jesus sent out his disciples to proclaim the Gospel. We’ve put up barriers around the Gospel with our religion. If something’s not true where does it come from? Satan. Spiritual warfare for the most part is Satan convincing you not to do something because it’s not conventional. He’s saying to settle for traditional church for what it is, and I won’t let you get to the best. Is personal evangelism good or bad? Good. But is it best? In some circumstances, it might be. But if all we settle for is ‘good’ we never get to best.
When you have a lost person facilitating a Bible study, how long have you trained that person? I lead a Bible study for women who had never studied the Bible. How do you learn to keep them on track? It’s messy, but it’s the best way. It’s like cleaning your children’s rooms. If you always do it, you will always do it. You have to let them clean it up themselves. I meet with people about an hour before the meeting. I go over the passage, walk them through the 3-column study. When someone goes off track, you ask them the question, “Where does that come from in Scripture?” and if people are talking about something that is off track, you can say, “That’s a very interesting thing, but for the next 30 minutes, we are going to talk about this.” And take it back to the study.
Is there a suggested Scripture series? We have a series. It’s not a long process. You can start anywhere, but that doesn’t make everywhere you start beneficial. We need to help people understand who God is. You need to help them understand the separation from God. If they don’t understand that, they won’t understand why Jesus died for them.
Going powerless to new communities and not be powerful – how does that look in our context of working with bringing a lot of resources to low-income communities where we do big events and they see us in public? Sometimes hundreds of families come to these events. How can we improve that approach so that it will be more in tune with being powerless, as we just learned? There are places for events to discover potential persons of peace and they can require resources. But, if that’s the way we do it, we could actually limit the growth with our resources. In India, we don’t have those kinds of resources. We have totally different ways of getting at communities. Part of the answer to your question is that we as Christians are to be a generous people. Generosity should be a part of our culture and nature. If we have and do not share, are we being generous? We have to find ways to use our generosity without causing people to feel embarrassed or beholden. How do we use our resources so that it doesn’t handicap the next generation of church planters? How do we use our resources without blowing our own horn? The reality is, we have to raise bucks. Every one who is out beating the bushes for it – without Marketing and Development – we would all be doing a lot less. They’re in here to understand what we’re doing. There’s a balancing act in all of this. We just have to be aware and keep asking ourselves the right questions. I don’t have the answers.
You talked about the church planter going into the family – is it essential that the church planter be at every meeting with the family? You need to be there enough so that you keep it going in the right direction and you absolutely must meet with your facilitator each week and do the debrief. Did you do thankfulness?, did you ask for needs? etc. You have to manage the system, you can’t just throw it out there and expect it to work.
The apostles later were financed and given stuff to go forward with the work; they needed money. How does this work?
We all need money. Why are we being paid? Attitude nad motive make a huge difference. If we pay someone to be minister of the gospel, that just sounds weird to me. Here’s why you pay people. You are so good at ministering to me and my family, I want to make sure you have more time to do that. I am going to pay you so that you can devote more time to doing what you’re really good at doing. I am going to pay you not to work, so you can spend more time sharing the Gospel. People don’t get paid because they have some piece of paper from a university. People get paid because they’ve demonstrated their call, their purpose and the people of God say, “You’re so good at this, we want to pay you so you can do this.” I don’t want anybody to pay me for being a church planter.
In some groups there are multiple facilitators; if people want to share the facilitating how do you do that? If you have a group that doesn’t have an obvious spiritual leader, you might move facilitating around to see who is the obvious spiritual leader, but often if I ask the group, they know who it is inside the family or affinity group. If there is not an obvious spiritual leader, ask the group or move facilitating around until you discover it.
Are there any warnings about people who are codependent? Crisis after crisis, etc.? God told us to be wise as serpents. The person who takes your time, energy and training and never gives it away is a tool of Satan. You have to learn as a leader to say ‘no’ to those people. Everything I teach you you must teach to someone else or they’re gone. If they can teach it back to me next time I see them, that means they’re doing it. I remind them of the covenant we’ve made. You have to be firm. Spiritual warfare is never easy. If Satan can get you wrapped up with this really nice guy and it takes your time and they are doing nothing, not starting new groups. This is spiritual warfare. They will beg, plead. Don’t believe them. If six months you want to try this again, you can contact me again and we can start over. I’ve never had someone contact me again. They’re not the kind of people to do that. They’re the distracters. When Satan was tapping on Jesus’ shoulder, Jesus told him to get behind him. It was Peter. Jesus saw it for what it was.
So, the two-strike rule, is that with believers or nonbelievers? Believers.
So with nonbelievers, as you’re training them and asking them who they shared this with. What would motivate them to share it with people they know? You don’t have to motivate them that much. The point is that people want to please, by and large. If you give an expectation, they’ll fulfill it. If we never put the expectation out there, we won’t get it. Don’t treat lost people like the saved. If they’re going through the Bible studies themselves, I will have some confidence that at some point it will work. If it never works, then we figure out that it’s a dead line. There are very few lines that starts dead. Almost everything replicates once. Sometimes 500 times.
Can you think of anything from experience where a facilitator has not been able to continue by your decision? No, generally not. I’ve had people quit, but that’s good because better that than spend 16-20 weeks.
When I’m down in Oakland, people want to gravitate together or have the concept of worshiping. What should we suggest to those kinds of people without falling into the traditional worship service? No good answer to that question. We try to talk to people in Christianized environments to talk about relationship to God instead of church.
Where music is a part of their culture? Dance a little. If you let something happen and then that group doesn’t multiply, don’t use it next time.
In letting people choose their leadership I’ve found the results aren’t as good if the people choose their own leadership. Is there a priority list as you transition into church? No. I don’t bring in anything except the Gospel. As they read the Gospel and begin to become obedient to the Gospel, they bring up baptism. They read the passages on baptism. Same thing on the Lord’s supper. They start reading those passages and they start doing it. They start identifying those who are pastors. In India they asked what songs they should sing? And we asked them back what songs they wanted to sing. Not translated western songs.
We read the story and wondered if you’ve ever had to shake the dust off your feet with a village?
We take it as being some sort of rude, cursing event. It’s not. You proclaim to them the Kingdom of Heaven is near. The shaking the dust off was a symbol of it’s time to move on. We can do that without being rude or ugly. We can do it very quietly. We can say to people, “I have enjoyed my time here. I pray you will understand that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. But now it’s time for me to move on.” And you move on. One of the things that Satan does to us is say, “If you’ll just spend another week here…” We had an evangelist who refused to move on. Finally I said, either you move to the next village or you’re off the team.” He was angry and grabbed up his bag and started a Bible study in the next village. And she started to weep and said, “Why didn’t you come before? Last week the witch doctor told us to sacrifice a child to improve our crops, and we did, it was my child.” Satan is the most intelligent. Even the archangel Michael will not argue with him. He is not going to throw things in our face things that are obvious. He will play on our sympathies. He will keep us spending one more week. That’s not what Jesus said to do. “If they don’t receive you, tell them, ‘The Kingdom of God is near.’ And move on.” Sometimes we’re too stupid to listen to God because what Satan is saying feels right to our humanness. You can’t go by the feelings, you have to listen to the obedience.
ASSIGNMENT for tomorrow:
1 Chronicles 16:8-36
Underline all the activities a church is supposed to do
Notice the first half of the psalm is focused internally; second half is focused externally
70-80% of functions of church are evaluated in this
This is the psalm David wrote for the dedication of the Temple; it’s the oldest psalm in the Bible.
Sharing from 3-column Bible study:
- We will look to our own family and friends first of all that we haven’t shared with before we go out.
- I will study and be careful to understand the commands of the Lord and encourage others to do the same
- I will do better at spending time at my extended family so they can see all God has done for me
- I can model for them, but not live for them
- I will not try to extract families or individuals to come to an existing community, but rather go to their homes and train them and coach them how they can share what God is doing in their lives and what they’re learning
- I will be thankful for what God is doing in my life and be a good testimony to the Lord to others and look for whoever doesn’t know him
- I will encourage those who find Christ to not go to seminary first but to go back to their community and share the good news with their family and friends (Dave Hunt shared that we are not anti-seminary; training like that is good at the right time)
- I will go to my neighbors and communicate and find a way to tell them about the mercy of God
- We are sometimes afraid to release people when they’re young in the Lord; Jesus gave him the message to speak very clearly. We should release people when they’re young in the Lord to speak about how good God is and what He’s done.
- In AA they’re encouraged to go back and try to make amends for the problems they’ve caused in their family. If you bring your gift to the altar and remember something someone has against you, go first and make peace with your brother; Jesus saying to straighten out things with your family.
- In the context of the people getting into the boat and the man interrupting him. I will not hurry; I will be okay with interruptions.
- There is a family I know who is surrounded by evil and I will take this text back and work it through with them for their context.
- He was already famous as the crazy man in that area. That’s probably part of why Jesus sent him back because that is where the greatest testimony is. He probably didn’t have too many friends.
- This was probably an amazing testimony to see this man who had been chained now in his right mind
- In Addis Ababa there is a crazy man in a loin cloth by the Commercial Bank; what an incredible thing it would be if that guy was transformed and shared his testimony
- The town didn’t want Jesus to come in, but this man was sent in where they didn’t want Jesus to go.
- Jesus was the example because he caused a movement. Everywhere you go, he was doing something. He never stayed in one place. Paul or Peter found a person of peace, but when Jesus started this, he gave the example of doing this. He never stayed in one place. When David said, Jesus never planted a church. He freed those with demons. There is no excuse to not do this. To establish the Kingdom everywhere we go.
- Often God uses the lowliest to have the highest impact.
Break-out Group Discussion Response to question: “What
- Ask our clients to share what God has done or is doing in them, and ask them to come back with specific responses
- We are ready to do that cell group split, to form another cell group and implement this already into some of the people that we know and that I think will benefit and also implement the facilitation in the next 48 hours. Step #1 is to use this method in my Saturday night class and then I am going to facilitate for a couple of times for Richard to start one.
- Think in terms of multiples – 5 or 10 – don’t think in terms of one more group
- Go to my neighbor and talk about what God has been doing and explore possibility of them being persons of peace
- Encourage people to share what the Lord was doing in their family; there is an opportunity in the family to use that text as a possible doorway for starting a DBS
- With international students who are coming to San Francisco have their parents in China, but no siblings, no oikos, we’re thinking of creating some kind of community for them
- I have a neighbor upstairs who has lived in the same apartment for about 20 years; as I’ve been underemployed, he has been bringing us groceries. He is kind of a curmudgeon, but now we’re starting to talk. I realized I need to get closer and thank God for how through this man God is helping us survive and see how it starts to change the nature of our conversations. Tonight I will go up to see him and thank him for helping us and thank God.
- Build a relationship with someone in the neighborhood where I live.
- Train the staff to go out two by two with their clients to coach them to plant the Gospel in the community or culture they come from
- I will begin to look for persons of peace in the shelter I work with in Oakland
- Individually we will go back to our family and friends; I’ve been targeting my oldest son; I will resist the urge to stay at Jesus’ feet for myself and this prevents us from going. Gotta do it, not just sit around talking about it.
- I will ask my wife to go to the fire station with me
- I have some church planters I’ve trained who may have lost the perception of the edge; to look at that. To pull in the presentation by Walt, the fata morgana – perception of an ice shelf that isn’t really there.
- A family we’re fellowshipping with. We have been praying for him and he got a job. I am going to encourage him to thank God. Also, when we give things to families to encourage them to shrae with families.
- I am going to pray that the Holy Spirit will convict us all so we do the things we need to do instead of talking about them.
Dave Hunt: Make sure when you leave here tomorrow that between you and God that you have some “I will” statements because it’s when you start doing it and telling others about it that it starts working. Make it personal and make it real. Pray that God will give you the courage and commitment to follow through with your commitments and move forward.
In 1991 I was sent out responsible for reaching 80 million people in SE Asia.
Within 6 months some of my people had been killed. I was depressed. I moved to Singapore.
I was mad at God and wanted to stop being a church planter. I began to argue with God.
Finally I said to God, “Unless you can show me from your Word how to plant churches, I’m not doing this any more.” I committed to not watch TV, a movie, or read a book, until You tell me. Then the passages Matthew 28, Luke 10, Luke 9, and Matthew 9 became the foundation.
The imperatives in these passages are the framework. It’s not about going and building a place for them to come. Go to communities and go all the way down to the smallest traditional social unit. There are different ones in different cultures. Keep going until you’re at the minimal social unit, which then becomes the building block upon which you start church. You make disciples, not converts. We look to Jesus and what He did to instruct us on how to make disciples and it’s about consistency, teaching what you live and living what you teach, with your life, with people next to you. When they become disciples, it’s about baptizing them and establishing them as a body of Christ, a church, then teaching them to obey all the commands of Jesus Christ. This brings us to this passage in Luke 10, which we call the “Person of Peace” passage. In this passage there are imperatives that Jesus gave to his disciples. Many argue that you can’t take what Jesus said to his Apostles in the first century and apply it to today. But the principles can be transported to the 21st century and work in any culture. The series of passages is about the going process and starting in the discipling process. Jesus knew the hardest part is not to make disciples, it is finding people with whom we can work at making disciples. It’s meeting the first person. It’s breaking that cultural barrier, penetrating that bubble that says, “You’re a stranger, I don’t know you.” The Person of Peace model that we’re looking at is about breaking through those bubbles/barriers we all have. How does one go from being a stranger to being part of a family in such a relationship that we share the most important thing in life – our spiritual health, our spiritual wellbeing, our connection to God, and the only real connection we can have with each other, our life in Jesus Christ?
Let’s take a look now at this passage. I see you have lists of things you’ve learned from these passages. You read one thing from your list. If it’s already been said, go down. Then we’ll talk about it some more.
- Freely give what you freely received (the Gospel)
- We don’t need to wait until we have a special event to go and preach the Gospel (Where did you get that from the passage?) Don’t bring anything with you.
- Knowing that we go with the authority of Jesus.
- Pray for and equip workers to go
- Be accepting of the culture; eating their food, staying in their house
- Going two by two
- Expect rejection
- Keep your eyes open for someone who is receptive to you
- Tell them the Kingdom of God is near
- Be shrewd
- Don’t be a lone ranger; go with somebody
- Pray for that right worker, that person of peace
- You can be doing something and a disciple shows up and you notice them
- Expect incremental growth (from 12 to 72)
- God directed them not to pray for the lost but to pray for disciples to go to the lost
- Put yourself deliberately in a place of vulnerable need, which will be met when you meet the person of peace
- Pray to know where to go because Jesus has prepared that place
- Know when to leave that spot (if you don’t get any answers)
- When you bless people and they don’t listen to you, recognize they’re not listening to God
- When you find a person of peace, stay there, don’t move around, don’t go from house to house
- Expect God to display His supernatural power
- The one that does bring good news is worthy of his pay
- When we are sent out two by two; we need to watch our brother’s back
- We want to go where Jesus is about to go; we pray and ask for His direction
- Don’t talk to people along the way; our focus is to equip and facilitate, not just be preaching all over the place. (There’s an urgency about this; don’t get distracted as you are going to plant churches. Stay focused on where we’re going and what you’re doing.)
- Find a balance between wisdom and vulnerability
- Don’t expect more than 48 hours to pass between the time you’re sent and finding the person of peace
- Maintain our innocence (but don’t be naïve)
- Tell them you’re not bringing religion to them, just trying to study the Bible
- Quality of animals mentioned tells us how to be (innocent as doves and wise as serpents).
Transition points (Lecture segment by David Watson)
When we look at church planting as a system there are places where it’s hard. “Go!” is about overcoming obstacles of distance, feelings about other people, places and cultures. The going being hard is about us and our problems. As we go, we will often go only so far and then stop and say, “Come to me.” “I’m not going to go all the way down into the pigpen with you.” We have to decide how far we will go and then we have to decide if we’re being obedient or not. The going doesn’t stop until you’re in the home. At the moment you stop and say, “Come and meet me.” Why don’t we step the last two to three steps to the home. We at CityTeam have changed. We used to have big events. Now we go to the homes. That is modeling how we are going to operate. It’s not about getting people to come to us, it’s about getting us to go to them. If you’ve got to come to me, where’s the power? In me. If we go to them, where’s the power? It’s in them. We talk about empowering people. Does a dove have any power? Does a lamb have any power? The picture here is that you are to be powerless. You don’t have a staff. It was a weapon in the first century. Jesus said, I don’t want you to take a staff (a weapon) or money (power). I want you to set aside your power. I don’t want you to have any of that power stuff. Not even an extra cloak or shoes. If you do that, do you look like you have any power? I want you to be like a little lamb, like a dove. You’re going in among the wolves. The power is where? The wolves! One little lamb among a pack of wolves. He is drawing this incredible picture of saying, “It’s not about power.” We can’t force people into the Kingdom of God, no matter how much power we have, how much money or strength we have, we cannot power people into the Kingdom of God. If we try, it causes a clash. He also said, “I want you to be as wise or serpents.” That points to Satan in the Bible. He was God’s right hand man until he rebelled and took a third of the angels with him. I want you to be smarter than he is. Don’t be stupid, just recognize there is only one real Source of power. He wants us to go. To where? The places Jesus is about to visit. So often we go to the wrong places. We go helter skelter all over the place and we wonder why our job isn’t working. I want you to pray to the Lord of the harvest about the lostness you’re going to. The fields are ripe. The people are ready to receive the message. Pray for harvesters. Where are they going to come from? In the harvest. We often think it’s more people from the outside, but he’s saying pray to raise up harvesters from within the harvest. Find the person of peace, that’s your first harvester. He will open the door into that community and allow the harvest to begin. If you don’t find that person of peace, move out. How did these guys get access? They walked in, healed the sick, cast out demons, cleansed lepers, raised the dead. They met their needs. In the 21st century we have lots of ways to meet needs, but in the first century they didn’t. They spiritualized everything. We recognize now that there are pathogens. We recognize that poverty can come out of other things. We can heal with a spiritual word. We can see God show up in special encounters. Jesus said, “I want you to go there.” And we walk there. “I want you to go vulnerable, without your power and meet their needs.” That is almost the opposite of what we think of, isn’t it? No power, meet needs. No power, cast out demons. No power, cleanse the lepers. The power comes from Jesus. Where’s the Spirit of Jesus? In us. I want you to go, to pray for those places, to pray for harvesters lifted up. I want you to say to the people, “The Kingdom of God is near.” Everyone on this planet is one step from the Kingdom of Heaven – faith in Jesus. The reality is they don’t know it. They haven’t seen it, they haven’t experienced it. Satan is going to work his best to convince them that there is no heaven, no hell, no satan. Yet, when we go in there powerless and a wisdom that comes only from Jesus, they’re going to say there’s something different here, I’m seeing something I’ve never seen before. The prostitute has become a virgin, the drunk has become a professor; that which we considered valueless is becoming something of great value. The transformation process of the Gospel is what we bring. The Gospel’s power to transform. We bear the most precious gift in our lives, in our words, in our actions and in our hands when we say, “Today I learned something that might help you.” And we tell them the Kingdom of God is near. My life was this way, I listened to someone who brought this to me and now my life is changed. Out there are people who God has prepared. They are called persons of peace. They see your life. They hear your shma statements, and your reactions that are different than their own and the person of peace will come to you and ask you why you’re different. And now you have your doorway to a minimal social unit we might call ‘family’ or ‘friends’ or something else, but it is a doorway that leads to community. Now we’re in the midst of them. The Kingdom of God is much nearer now than it has ever been and we have the opportunity to live with them and share on a regular basis. And we say, “Would you like to join me in what God has shown me? In discovering what God has to say to us?” Would this be something your family or friends would be interested in? We discover it one day at a time. When a person hears God speak, do they turn away very easily? No. but if it’s us they hear speaking, will they walk away. The John 6 passage is important, let them listen and learn from God. The promise is everyone who listens and learns from God will come to Jesus.
This whole process that is given to us in Luke 10, Luke 9, and Matthew 10 is that we take the initiative. We go now and we need these passages to tell us what to do and how to do it. This is the picture Jesus gave. Go out there. Don’t armor up. Don’t go powerful. I came to earth as a baby born of an unwed teenage mother, and I came to bring salvation to the earth. Lowest of the low. Bastard children have the lowest social standing. No power, no future. No reason for anyone to listen to him. He was God. He poured out His power and He came and He began to work. His work was his life. Church planting is not a job, it’s your life. When did Jesus start being the Messiah. It wasn’t something that came on him later. We see rites of passage, the baptism, the 40 days in the wilderness, but the Father didn’t confer anything on him in those. Satan said, “I’m going to destroy you.” And Jesus said, “Do your best.”
I’ve watched the power evangelists, but I’ve never seen a genuine miracle come out of anyone who had pride. They come out of people who are as gentle as lambs, as peaceful as doves, in the midst of doves. People say, “How did you do that?” and I say, “I didn’t do that. I was there and I watched God do it.”
There are five major barriers from start to church established. I want to help you see those and be prepared on how to face those.
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Reasons for going two by two:
Sometimes one person will dismiss something that may be a divine encounter
Obedience to the Word of God
May allow access where otherwise not given
David Watson: I discouraged couples who are not married going together.
Mid-week Course Correction
Meetings as a table for 10 minutes to determine if there is anything we as a table want to see happen that is not on the schedule.
I want to hear real-life testimonies about how this process we’re learning has been implemented. Stories of failure and success. Some of these concepts are abstract. I’d like to hear some of these stories.
Discovery process for the person of peace: Random occurrences like Lydia and Philippian jailer vs. strategic launching of mission to Cyprus in Acts 13. Time and energy concerning both strategic and the process.
We were wondering whether we have stories within our own back yard, but in more affluent communities.
We would like to see this process have impact on the youth.
More details on the process of when the discipleship group becomes more mature, when do they get baptized? More details of the process.
We would like to hear what is right in the church. How do we work within the church today. We should be the church’s allies. What unites us with the church?
We have two ends of the spectrum: programs and development – how does CPM work in relationship to development and with the programs to do church planting?
We would like to hear more about the process of discipling outside leaders.
We would like to know what is the process to recruit workers from the field.
If there are any pointers on finding person of peace and getting the ball rolling?
What is the content of the 15 sessions and how much flexibility, especially with illiterate or oral peoples?
How do you discover a culture before you enter it?
We would like more time for question and answers and more practical experience of practitioners, especially as it relates to here in America, and how to incorporate children into the process.
Application to CPM principles in North America; are there certain nuances? Bottom line is that the NA church is not obedient, does not want to be held accountable.
Considering that CPM does launch from a framework in a pre-Christian culture, how does CPM apply or change in a post-Christian culture when we’re dealing with people who are coming from a post-Judeo-Christian culture. We’re talking about people who already have a theological framework, how does CPM apply? What do the definitions of person of peace, etc., look like in that framework. They have an eclectic selection of opinions, but not necessarily a theology.
Our group was interested in seeing an example or a story of the key elements of CPM from beginning to end that something you can tell us showing when it’s appropriate to leave a group, for example.
I appreciate the modeling of the interactive process and asking questions. It would help me if you highlighted it and said, “I’m going to lecture for a while now.”
We felt that the afternoon questions were a little too specific; if you broadened them more it might have more benefit for our ministries.
If you leave here and do not implement what you’ve learned within 48 hours. The people who succeed with CPM process are the ones who go out and start doing it, even if they don’t understand it fully, because you can’t learn it sitting in here. You learn by doing it. If I had time, I’d love to have a personal relationship with each of you and walk you through it in a mentoring relationship. All of us touch a lot of lives. That’s why we’re the right people to do CPM. CPM fits into our life. It’s a lifestyle. Whether I’m sitting across from a potential donor or from a new recovery client, there’s a potential for church to be established in their community. Can we move the gospel into that next social silo, family unit, hotel, etc. We have to have that attitude with everyone we meet, not just some of them. Some of them we will identify spiritual people. This afternoon is about how we know the right person.
Your assignment this afternoon is to do a 3-column study on Luke chapter 10, verses 1-12. Once you do that, I want you to go to Luke chapter 9, verses 1-9, and read it looking for what is not in chapter 10. Continue 3-column study with the new verses. Then go to Matthew chapter 10 and read verses 5-16 and do the same thing. Look at what has not been said in Luke 9 and Luke 10 and continue the 3 column study. You will need to finish this by tomorrow morning.
I will work with others.
I will ask the Lord of the harvester to show me those who are harvestable; to have eyes to see those who are sent.
I will be sensitive to the culture differences.
I will trust God to supply the resources along the way. I will empower other people to do their own ministry. I will know when I am not welcome.
I will coordinate prayer groups and meetings for workers for the harvest. I will not allow access ministries to personally connecting with people and connecting with the man of peace. (The people on the road.)
I will identify distractions I have. I will stop them until I have a person of peace. I will prioritize everything and listen for God to show me that person of peace.
We will try to live simply so we can go when and wherever God sends us.
We will go two-by-two. From now on I will be more consistent in taking my wife or someone else with me when I go and look for the person of peace.
When we are training church planters, we will make sure we are training teams rather than individuals.
I will not go alone.
I will trust God to provide.
We will get together and pray and focus on the depth of changes we need to make in our department based on the principles in Luke 10. Our prayer time will be a dedicated prayer time to get the answer to this.
I will get a partner.
I will pray.
I will start, take that first step. Next Tuesday we will start a new group of outpatients in Portland. I will start a DBS with them.
I will do the DBS with the volunteers who come to do the Bags of Love.
I will be flexible by God’s grace and eat whatever is served. I will go when I am asked to go out looking for the person of peace.
I will pray for workers, for favor, for protection, for open doors, for miracles of healing of the sick, driving out of demons, and raising people from the dead (access ministry).
Dave Hunt: It is easy for us to institutionalize our access ministry. God may be calling you as an individual in a personal way to touch a community. When it talks about not taking anything with you, it talks about staying with them. It says I will set aside my power and become dependent upon the community I am going to. We so often come in power, with the education, etc. This passage says we are to go in a position of humility and servanthood, being willing to place myself under the people I am going to serve. I will not go searching for the person of peace from a position of power.
To offer the training, train the trainer, coach the facilitator who is coming up.
In training outside worker, we will share Luke 10, to expose them to who the person of peace is and also to the Discovery Bible Study process. When we are training people to come to us.
Keep it simple. Practical in the training. Don’t make it too long. As we’re training volunteers, clients, family and friends, it has to be stuff they are able to apply right away.
The better environment for training is on-the-job training, as you go along, walking side-by-side. You’re training, even training each other as you go through this process.
I will remember it is an ongoing training.
I want to set up with some other people in our house church to walk through this.
To allow people who are training time to assimilate what they are learning.
And allow them to make mistakes.
From Recovery standpoint, we’re training them from the moment they come in, all the way from discipleship to leadership in six months. By the time they get to their sixth to eighth month, they’re ready to into the field.
Jonathan: We send out our clients 2 by 2 to the detox once a week. We have outside meetings. For volunteers in a recovery center, we need to train them to be accountable, otherwise they can become enablers.
We used to graduate people from the CPM course. That was a mistake. Now you learn and you go out and do.
I’m hoping that we can count on Paul’s commitment that by the end of the week we’re going to have something in our hands so we can take home to do the further training.
If someone asked for the DVDs, I would say there is a condition – they need to commit to the DBS process, so this does not become an academic thing.
I am already doing mentoring and coaching in my country. In July I will move to a new area and have one of the guys come into my class and do the coaching. I will take some people into the field with me, have the first three meetings with them and then let them do it.
With Family & Youth Outreach, we had volunteers we could use to do tutoring, etc. Now we have these middle class volunteers who want to volunteer with CityTeam. The majority of our work is with Spanish-speaking families. So we have this challenge of training volunteers and potential donors with CPM and we are looking at not sending them to the low-income neighborhoods, but we will encourage them to go to their neighborhood, their friends who are lost, who are unreached people. If we send them to the people we’re working with, there’s a challenge with language barriers. We’re already trying to set up a meeting with three volunteers.
They may not be comfortable. Like sheep among the wolves.
For us in Recovery, it is important to train the trainers right away. It is very important to listen. A lot of times we do the same thing over and over. Our hearts may become calloused. One of the ways that we do that is that we do everything we ask our clients to do. On Wednesday, we have a meeting that is dedicated to prayer. When we do that, it keeps us in the right frame of mind.
Opened in prayer by Aila.
Work by tables on Scripture passage Ezekiel 34
Responsibilities of Leaders
- Feed the sheep
- See the people as God’s and not their own
- Strengthen the weak
- Remain aware of the people’s needs instead of stuffing one’s self
- Be gentle and merciful rather than forceful and severe
- Are accountable, will be judged
- Serve with gentleness and nurture
- Bring back those who have strayed
- Listen to God
- Give the flock good, rich pasture
- Hear and obey God
- Follows God regardless of harsh difficulties and obstacles
- Use power to protect sheep and not harm them
- Be concerned about the lost, not allow them to perish
- Deliver the sheep from the fog of the world
- Bind up the injured and bring back the strays
- Establish a peaceful environment
- Not to neglect their call
- Find the sheep, rescue them and then restore
- Treat the sheep equitably
- Do not abuse the flock, but provide rest
- Bring them back into their own pastureland
- There will be a true shepherd who will rescue them; leader’s responsibility to introduce them to the true shepherd
- Confront when necessary
- Build them up
- Train other leaders
- Heal the wounded
- Feed them the best food
- Put the needs of the sheep above the leader’s own
If the leaders don’t do it, God will take away the leadership responsibility.
In order to be a good leader, you also have to be a good follower.
How did this make you feel?
- Gives a glimpse of the tremendous heart of a weeping God who really cares about the sheep who are so bruised and battered and weak and hurting
- Leaders need to listen more
- God the Shepherd making a covenant of peace
- Wanting to weep; we are all leaders and there’s a world to be rescued and there’s a lot for us to do
- Confirmation that God is saying, “This is what you have to be doing.” Encouraged.
- Cleared up something and will continue to bring revelation about becoming a really good follower so we can build really good leaders. From the first moment the person is being witnessed to, what kind of DNA are we putting in there?
- A deep conviction for the depth of the call; vs. 28-29, “They shall no longer be prey of the nations, nor prey for beasts.” People are prey on many levels. We see that in Recovery.
- There are so many sheep and there is a need for so many more shepherds who know the sheep. We need to train up more good shepherds who will bind up the sheep.
From Day 1, you treat the person (addict, drunk, whatever) you treat them as if they will be the next great Christian leader. Our job is not to select, but to provide environments where people self-select to continue growth or to drop out.
One of the things we need to remember is that we cannot fix the past, we can only provide a new future. So much of what we do in our planning is about fixing wrong things, the past. The reality is, that if all you do is fix the past, you never provide hope for the future. You’re bound to repeat the past over and over and over again. We have to prepare for the future, that it can be different. The questions we ask are not so much in terms of “How do I get this guy to stop drinking, doing drugs, etc., but what hope can I put in his heart so that he desires to be a different person?” If they don’t see any hope for a different future, what’s the point of changing? If we want to see change, we can’t dwell on fixing the past, we have to think in terms of giving hope for tomorrow. You can become a person who is valued by others. It’s in your hands. We’re here to help you, to give you the tools. We can’t do it for you. We can give you the environment. Sometimes just walk through your church and ask people, “What do you hope for?” and see what their answer is. We wonder why our churches just sit there and soak and nothing is happening. The leaders have failed to bring hope.
Behaviors are learned and they can be unlearned. When there’s no good leader to model good behavior, then people will do whatever comes naturally. Because of sin in the world, we will always naturally go lower.
Community is built around hope for the future. We need a vision and a hope to bring us together moving us into the future. If we want to build communities of faith, what is the hope we give them? If the leaders lose their vision and lose their hope, what hope is there for the sheep? We are the leaders. We need to keep moving. We need to keep saying, “This is who we are and what we’re about.”
Talks about the wild places, but God says, “Don’t sweat it, I’ll be there with you.” In Iran, there is so much depression. It’s the #1 drug dealing country in the world. It’s difficult to find hope. Our new generation of leaders when they witness to people, the first thing they say is, “Jesus has set you free. What do you want to do about it? Let me sit with you and help you see what God’s plan for your life is.”
God really only lets things go so far, out of love for the sheep. He steps in and does what needs to be done.
Proverbs 24:14 Know wisdom is thus for your soul. When you find it, you shall have a future and your hope shall not be cut off. Every DBS, potential planter of the Gospel. Christ is our wisdom. We need wisdom on the spot to give hope to the people.
Read Psalm 23.
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me, your rod and your staff they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows. Surely goodness and kindness will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
The role of leadership is to provide the kind of environment that the Lord promised us as our shepherd. He said, “If you’re not going to do this, I’ll do it.” But the implication is that He wants us to be good shepherds. Our responsibility as leaders it to provide environment to allow the sheep to become all they can be.
Now, list all the things you learned yesterday and through your homework.
Top 3 things we learned yesterday:
God spells love O-B-E-Y
The process of delivery of the messages needs to reflect the culture of the recipients. (Chocolate cake picture)
The outside leader’s responsibility is to deculturalize; the inside leader’s responsibility is to culturize.
By not responding we are choosing for the unsaved to stay unsaved.
To lead, you must follow.
Keep it simple, sweetheart.
CPM is a lifestyle, not a job.
Take off your shoes when you are entering a culture. When we go to a neighborhood, we don’t take our culture.
Help discover the simple meaning of Scripture.
Group memory helps individual learning.
Leave our comfort zone as Jesus left his comfort zone.
Don’t expect lost people to act like saved people.
Look for the natural leader right away, train, coach and empower this person as soon as possible.
Difference between obedience and legalism; latter is how good I am; former is how good God is.
The impact of group learning.
Concentrate on simplicity rather than complexity.
Don’t start a new group; infiltrate an existing group.
Do not bring the Christian culture, but let obedience determine the culture
Become like others to win some for Christ
CPM is an extension of the body of Christ that focuses on lostness
What we do in church planting is not all there is to church. We are the starting point, not the ending point. Some organizations try to be all the points. Let us focus on starting, help it to get started right, then, with the power of the Spirit they can take over and continue. If we take over the hard part and we’ve trained them in such a way that they understand their growth process, we’ve impressed upon them the commands of the Lord, then it will go in the right direction. If we start it with the right DNA, it will grow right.
Christian clubs serve themselves, churches serve others.
Jesus brought salvation through his obedience; we need to push through our uncomfortableness.
My hero is Thomas Edison who tried to make the light bulb 2000 times. When asked if he was discouraged, he answered, “No, because I know 2000 ways not to make a light bulb.”
Church planting is not a job, but a life that you live.
Our lives are messed up because we don’t love God enough.
To be intentional every day.
Accept my position in life, where God called me.
The greatest bottleneck to replication is certification.
Matthew 28:18-20 – He says “Go!” not “Come.” I need to go.
What amazes me is that we establish a point and say, “Y’all come.” We think if we get into the general vicinity and plant our flag, that’s enough. You never stop going to households. Keep going to them.
Everything we do must be do-able by the simplest person in the group.
Never bring my culture to a place I want to reach, but be willing to adapt to the culture I want to reach.
Focus on the lost.
Do not expect the lost to behave like Christians.
Have more patience in that process, with the lost and with the saved.
Our patience is usually directly connected to our understanding of time. When things are not happening as we think they should, we get impatient. Don’t make deadlines too close. One of the lessons we have to learn, I had to learn, is stretch out the timeline and it increased patience.
Every day we make a choice and choose who will or will not be able to hear the Gospel.
In my sensitivity to the urgency of this, I’ve learned you have to go slow to go fast.
Acceptance of such great diversity. We should not judge somebody by the way they look or their past.
We can’t change the past but we can influence the future. Don’t keep looking in the rearview mirror.
The level that I love God dictates my level of obedience.
Help leaders and Christians to not act like lost people.
The worst sinner can become the greatest church planter.
LEADERSHIP TEAM COACHING MEETING
Part of our meetings is for ourselves to understand deeply what the Lord is talking to us about. Just as we’re leading groups to discover God, we have to continue discovering God. The moment we stop discovering God, we become disobedient. We have to always be engaged in discovering God. We have to be accountable to being in God’s word every day. The only way to do that is to ask. We need to covenant with one another to not be shy about asking, “What did you learn in God’s word today?” If they can’t answer that question, we need to say, “Every day you don’t learn more about God is a day of disobedience.” Every day we fail to deepen ourselves in God, we become more shallow. Leadership is about attraction, not enforcement.
Two ranchers had adjoining ranches. Their cattle were always getting mixed in. Separating them was always a problem. One of the ranchers said, “I will build a fence around my property.” So he invested a lot of money and built the fence. Cattle will push up against a fence, and lean it. You’re always repairing fences. The other rancher was watching this. It looks like a lot of work to have a fence. Cattle need water and they need salt. I will spend my money and drill a well and put out salt licks. Every day when the cattle needed water and salt, they’d come back to the well and the salt licks.
Churches operate the same way. IF we build fences we’re always fighting the cattle to keep them in. If we drill wells and provide salt, we don’t have to fight to keep them in.
In coaching leaders, we need to dig wells and put out salt to give them the water and the saltiness. This will not happen with a lesson, it’s as they observe your life. In six months to a year, you will have tragedy, failure, success. The people we’re leading will see if we are fence builders or well drillers. When it gets tough, do we do the things that draw people to us or do we try to box people in. The only way to teach this is with life. We really can’t teach it in a few minutes. Anyone can say the words, but that’s not how they learn to obey; it’s because of our obedience in every circumstance. Obedience will cost us and sometimes dearly. Even in those circumstances, where it may even cost our life, and there are people in our organization where being obedient could cost them their lives, but faith means choosing to be faithful in spite of circumstances. That is what defines a well driller vs. a fence builder. Well drillers live lives of obedience regardless of outcome. Fence builders say, “Just do what I say.” It’s more legalistic, it’s not about a love that brings obedience, but compliance. Compliance out of legalism never reproduces. Only love that produces obedience has the capacity to reproduce. That’s our responsibility.
Let’s keep thinking in terms of how we can help the people we’re coaching to become drillers of wells and setting out salt licks. Our own lives are the biggest part of that. Throughout the New Testament, Paul says over and over again, “If you want to know how to follow Christ, follow me.” I used to think it was arrogant. The only Scripture many people will read is Christians. Our lives have to be exemplary to the point where we can say, “I’m going to be the kind of person who if my children look at me and do what I do, they will become followers of Jesus. If coworkers look at me… if strangers look at me… they will become followers of Jesus.
I am not always perfect, but the repair of broken relationships is also an example. How we can be imperfect and forgiven and also how we can forgive, is not about perfection, but obedience. We don’t all have to have the same personalities, likes and dislikes. We need to follow Jesus, our Perfection.
Matthew 28 – I want to walk you through this passage. We don’t want to miss what this has to say to us as church planters. I know you’ve done it in a 3-column study, but I want to do a little exegesis of this so we’ll all be on the same page.
Then the 11 disciples went to Galilee to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. (Even the first step was a step of obedience. If they hadn’t gone, they would have missed it. To receive Jesus’ final commands, they had to obey a previous command, to go to that mountain.) When they saw him, they worshiped him, but some doubted. (They are being commissioned by Jesus to start God’s church on the planet. They were ill-equipped, ill-prepared, and some of them were still doubters. They weren’t perfect. How often in our leadership thinking we think a person must reach a certain level to be a leader. Is that how Jesus did it? No he just handed it to them. If we hang around too long, leaders won’t emerge. If Jesus had stayed another 20 years, would any of them become leaders? He left. We wonder why people don’t become leaders after walking along with them 5, 15, 20 years. The right kind of leadership is when people rise to the occasion to lead, but it only happens if we make that happen. Part of being a leader is knowing when to lead. We’ve taught, modeled, we watch. Did the disciples have it 100% at this point? Some of them didn’t get it at all, they still doubted. But, even though they doubted, they obeyed and were there. Even when they doubt, do they obey? One of our greatest church planters came to me and said, “I don’t think what you’re teaching will work, but I am going to sell out and I will do it. I have doubts about this process, but I’m going to do it.” And now hundreds of churches have come out of that. Sometimes that’s the quality of leadership. Disciples were demonstrating leadership already because in their doubt, they obeyed. Regardless of the consequences (in this case, doubt), they obeyed. That’s part of leadership.
Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (He is establishing the fact that he is God. All means ‘all’ and that’s all it means. Everywhere. Heaven and earth. The whole universe. He established his credentials to give the next four commands. Mathew is written in a style called crescendo. Every segment has higher importance than the preceding segment. Now we’re at the highest point before the book ends. Even the Great Commission itself is written in this style. Each command has more importance than the one preceding it.
- Go (that’s pretty easy, move from point A to point B. Israel was under Roman occupation. The Jews had been leaving under the boot of Rome and during that time, many Jews had grown up only knowing Roman occupation. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is speaking to Jews under Roman occupation. “Love your enemy” wasn’t about some ethereal concept, but about the Romans. “Do good to those who harm you” or “When someone slaps you” were not some thoughts. These were responses to real life situations – love those who hate you, bless those who curse you, give to those who take away from you. Here we have 11 Jewish men who grew up this way and throughout the book of Matthew, Jesus said over and over again, “Don’t tell anyone but the children of Israel what I am telling you.” Not the Samaritans, not the Gentiles. Now at the very end he says, “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Ethne. Ta ethne is “everyone but us.” “Them.” Go make disciples of everyone else on the planet. The Jewish understanding of this was to turn my face away from a Roman soldier passing by, show him your derriere. If a Roman brushed against you, you had to go through seven days of ceremonial cleansing to enter the temple. You would not do business with a Roman unless forced. If you decided to do business with them, you were a tax collector, the lowest life form of all for a Jew. They hated, feared and despised the Romans. Now Jesus says to them, “Go and make disciples of ta ethne.” That ‘Go’ isn’t simply about going from point a, to point b, but who do you hate, fear, despise, not let your children marry? Go and make disciples of them. This was not a real simple ‘Go’ at that time. Where am I unwilling to go? That defines where I need to be going. When my wife and I said to our missions agency, “We want to go where no one else will go.” Five years later they sent us. It wasn’t about getting on the boat, going across the danger. It was about facing what you despise, hate, fear. Facing the blackness of your own heart, to be obedient to take the Gospel to someone else. When the disciples didn’t do it, God forced the issue by sending persecution and Cornelius and then Paul.
- Make disciples. What is a disciple? Jesus made the first disciples. Jesus is our example. How did he do it? They had a relationship with him. They lived with him. Discipleship is not the same as being a student. It’s a very deep relationship. When he said, “Go and make disciples” whose disciples were they to be? Our job is not to make our own disciples, but to make disciples of Jesus. I want you to go where you’re afraid to go and I want you to make disciples for me of those people. You really have to know the Gospels and you have to read the Gospels with a different questions. We always read the Gospels as “What is Jesus saying to us?” Read the Gospels with the question, “What was Jesus doing to make disciples?” in mind. He selected them and called them into relationship with him. Then they saw him in public and in private, everywhere in all kinds of circumstances. He was consistent in every circumstance. It’s about consistency. The thing that makes disciples is a relationship to observe consistency. At some point, we have to move people from following us to following Jesus. That’s where the DBS comes in, the obedience Bible studies, the leadership Bible studies come in. At some point we need to leave. Jesus said, “It’s good that I go away. I am going to send you another Comforter who will remind you of everything I have taught you.” We need to prepare people to live without us in their presence. We’re not making people dependent upon us, our organization, our church. Our job is to empower them to be independent disciples and, by definition, they will then make more disciples. It’s funny, most people don’t make disciples as long as they consider themselves a disciple. If I’m a student, I don’t try to be a teacher. Part of the discipleship process is when we find the time we should go away. You have the word of God, you have the Holy Spirit, it’s your responsibility now, it’s time for me to move on. That’s when you’ve made a disciple. Have you been operating people in to build fences, or have you established them with their own well, their own salt licks so they can do it themselves?
- Baptize them in the name of the Father, of the Son, and the Holy Spirit. What is so important about baptism? Think about our attitudes about baptism in the church today. For some it’s a symbol, for others it’s a sacramental process that brings salvation. What matters is the commandment by Jesus to baptize them. Why is this the next-to-the-last thing he says? The #2 important thing? When we think about it we think of individuals. We think about the symbol of death, burial, resurrection. Evidently, there is something more. 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 – The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. How do you enter into the body of Christ? By baptism. Jesus knew that being alone as a follower of Christ was an impossible task for anyone to survive. Some of us have been out there all alone. He said, “I want you to be baptized, to establish communities of followers.” It is more than a symbol, it is more than a source of faith and salvation. It is about establishing communities of believers. It doesn’t matter which way you want to take it (baptism by water, baptism in the Spirit) – BOTH have to happen. In our modern church language, does discipleship happen before or after conversion? In this passage when does it happen. (Before). Commandments that are in order and increasing in their complexity. Look at what Jesus did. Did he call saved people or lost period? Over a three year period they went from not knowing him to falling in love with him. That’s what we do. The command to baptize is to establish the church, the body of Christ. That’s what it is. When we baptize, we are baptizing into a community. If there is no community, we’re establishing a community. What is the church and establish that community.
- Teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. What were you taught? What did Jesus command us to teach? Obedience. The making the disciples was the stuff. We teach by action, we teach by words. The stuff happened there. They became believers, were baptized. Now what are we to teach them. Obedience is for the saved. Discipleship is for the lost. Do you see that? Baptism happens when they believe. Believe and be baptized come right together. You can do that as you make disciples, because they’ve fallen in love with the Lord. We’re not talking about baptizing someone who has no experience in the word. We don’t have to have lack of confidence because they’ve been in a context of discipleship. We don’t have to fear this. They’ve been next to us for six months to a year. At that point, we can in confidence baptize them. Now they’re a believer, they have responsibility. “If you love me, you will obey my commands.” The picture that the Bible paints when you pull all the threads together it is an incredible picture. We want to see this as our roadmap. We want to go places nobody is willing to go. We want to call out people, meet people to make disciples of. We’re going to invest relationship, not class time into making disciples. When those disciples fall in love with Jesus. When Jesus asked who people said he was, but Peter responded, “You are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said, “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but your Father in heaven has revealed this to you.” John 6:44-45 who draws them? God. Discipleship is about falling in love with Jesus as Master, Creator, Savior, Sustainer, and Life. Out of love you commit to him. That love results in obedience. The first step of obedience is obedience, joining the body, establishing the church where there is no body. Your life from that point forward is learning to obey. The focus of teaching is not the lost. The focus of teaching obedience is to the disciples.
Do you set the pattern towards obedience?
Absolutely. You model it every day. They have to hang out with you. They have to see you at work and at home. They have to see you when your mom dies, when you have a car accident, when someone breaks into your apartment. They have to see you and how you respond. That means we have to be the kind of people God has called us to be. Disciple making is not about a classroom, it’s about a lifestyle. We’re going back to that Deuteronomy passage. Church planting isn’t a job, it’s a lifestyle. It requires us to be disciple makers. It’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle. You can’t turn it on and off if you want to be a disciple maker. We make mistakes.
They are going to see that we make mistakes along the way.
But they are also going to see you repent and be restored. In a previous occupation as a counselor, many people never saw conflict resolution, either never saw conflict or never saw the parents resolve conflict. That handicaps children! We do the same thing when we’re teaching Christians. If we act all perfect and holy, that’s distortion. If they see us fail and then be restored, they will see and understand that we are not about perfection, but about being obedient. God knows we can’t be perfect. But he demands that we be obedient. Obedience is only possible because of his love in us and our love pushes our obedience further and further out in concentric circles.
Now, I want us to focus on what we’re to be debriefing about when we’re having team meetings. Your teams are working with lost people and we want to make sure the DNA of the future church is being established as we work with lost people.
- Did you have the time for Thanksgiving?
- Did you have the time for Needs?
- Did you discuss how to meet the needs?
- Did you do the three-column study?
- Did you facilitate, or did you lead, or did you teach?
- Did you write the Scripture?
- Did you write/say the Scripture in your own words?
- Did you write/make obedience statements?
- Did you ask with whom you would share what you are learning?
- Did you identify the facilitator?
We are God’s answers to people’s prayers. When we do ministry, we are answering the prayers of people. If we deliver food, the person is thankful to God. How many have heard, “You’re an answer to prayers.” The Church is the first line of God’s answer to the prayers of the people on this planet. Writing the Scripture is a DNA process of learning obedience. The writing process brings knowledge of the leader. Another question is did the inside leader facilitate it? The second column is “Do you understand the word?” Expectation of obedience is how you make disciples. If you don’t write those statements, you have no expectation of obedience. If you had intention to be obedient, you’d be writing out the “I will” statements. Accountability is an indicator of willingness to obey. The DNA of evangelism – asking who they will be sharing this with. This is an incredibly important step. If you don’t establish it up front, it won’t happen. Discovery Bible study groups have started 10-15 groups before they’ve even become a church because they have learned to talk to their friends,
Is there an easier word than facilitator? We tried to find a word that didn’t use church language. The role of this person is to facilitate the discovery of God’s word and move to obedience to God’s word.
Are you going to talk more about the baptism? Is it the disciple who baptizes? At what point does the conversion from lost to saved happen? Basically, the baptism is the confession of faith. Who baptizes doesn’t matter.
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