Multiplying Gospel-Sharing Disciples

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Picture of one church’s short-term mission trip. But it’s different.

Last night our local church started its annual Short-term Mission Trip to our city. In a park behind the school where we meet. It’s a nightly Fútbol Camp for kids and families. No long trips, no plane rides, no exotic locale. Just right here where we live with our neighbors.

26 kids registered. Their moms, siblings and a few dads came and watched. Relationships started building. I wonder how many will receive Christ?

How will God use this ordinary group of Christians to reach ordinary people in an ordinary city on a very ordinary mission ‘trip’? We’ve been praying and reaching out here for years. I can’t wait to see what God does!

My role in this outreach is prayer. I’m not the leader – Pastor or Coach Héctor leads us now. But as I sat and prayed with Daniel, our Church Planter in Residence who will start another cross-cultural church nearby, holding the registration cards in our hands like I was taught, I had flashbacks to the first person to train me. My youth pastor, Mr. Mike, trained me to share my faith and lead outreaches in my parents’ basement when I was a sophomore at Marshall High School in northern VA. And now others have been or are being trained to multiply. This is where the action is. Multiplication.

Many, including my parents, modeled to me the importance of sharing the gospel as a disciple of Jesus through years of everyday life training. For over 10 years of Jr Hi ministry in the 90’s, our group held ‘Outrages’ where we did outrageous events kids could bring their friends to and present the gospel. And yes, Jr Hi kids shared the gospel, not just the grown ups. Our Sr Hi ministry outreaches, mission trips and training brought many to Christ but more importantly, trained a generation of youth (now in their 30’s) to share the gospel. (Side note: Mr. Mike and I teamed up at the same church for years. What a joy to work with him as a colleague!)

Now what Mike, my parents and others reproduced and multiplied into me is transferring into disciples from many nations in our city through people who were not Christians a few years ago. One mom who attended last year is now helping run the outreach.

The Best News Ever. This short-term mission trip may not go far away or host big, outrageous games. Soccer draws a crowd and the beginner evangelists show up, make friends and the gospel gets shared. Bigger though, is the impact of training others to share the gospel as part of making disciples. It’s God working in His power!

As I pray, I’m grateful. Grateful to God for His salvation offered by faith alone. Grateful for those people who discipled me. Grateful for the chance to disciple others who will disciple others too.

Keep having fun, praying for sinners to repent, sharing the gospel, inviting people to receive Christ and multiplying disciples who will disciple others too.

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8 Science-Backed Reasons to Read a (Real) Book

It’s a little off the coaching church planters topic but this post from Time shows important reasons to read real books – like the Bible – and lists benefits that planters, pastors, their families and churches need. For instance, screen reading slows you down, keeps you from relaxing and limits comprehension.

So shut this thing down and read a book. Preferably, your Bible.

TIME

Although more and more people own e-books, it seems safe to say that real books aren’t going anywhere yet. Eighty-eight percent of the Americans who read e-books continue to read printed ones as well. And while we’re all for the convenience of digital downloads and a lighter load, we can’t bring ourselves to part with the joy of a good, old-fashioned read.

There’s nothing like the smell of old books or the crack of a new one’s spine. (Plus, you’ll never run low on battery.) And it turns out that diving into a page-turner can also offer benefits toward your health and happiness. Here are eight smart reasons to read a real book.

It increases intelligence.

As Dr. Seuss once wrote, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Diving into a good book opens up a…

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Pro Tip: Stay Married

I’ve got two goals for every church planting couple that I coach: Stay Married.

Do we really have to state that goal? Yes. Yes we do.

  • 80% of ministry spouses report that ministry is hazardous to their family.
  • 1500 pastors leave the ministry every month. Planters included.

Church planter types are awesome. Bold, risk-takers, full of faith in God, ready to storm the gates of hell with a super soaker! We are like the Marines of the church. We go first into harm’s way to fight the good fight and see God’s Kingdom advance!

Only you know what? We aren’t Marines. We are, for the vast majority, married and Marines don’t re-locate their families to the front lines of a battle! We do. And it’s dangerous up here. There is a real enemy and he’s mean, he cheats and he wants to destroy you, your family and that church you dreamed up at the coffee shop when you were amped up on your third doppio espresso of the day.

The church planting battle field is not friendly to marriages. So you need a gospel coach that is going to keep you focused on your marriage amidst all the other demands. Twice in one week this month, I heard of two planters I know personally in different states whose wives had affairs. They were successful. They were ‘too busy’ to get a coach. Part of big name ministries, writing and speaking. But they neglected their marriages. How incredibly sad.

Listen, I know planting is a demanding call. There are no distinct time or space boundaries between work, home, marriage and friendship. It’s easy to get busy! It’s easy to forget about your spouse and your marriage. I got busy serving God, winning the lost, starting Bible studies, gathering, networking, marketing, speaking, raising money and planning (and this was 12 years ago before social media and the cloud!) The kind and firm questions of my church planter coach steered me away from the dangers I see so clearly now but couldn’t during the fog of the start up battlefield.

Church planter, you are different. And it’s not because you are better. It’s because you are a marked man on our enemy’s hit list. If you or your wife fail morally, then you and your family will need to step off the front lines for a long time. Neglecting your first ministry to your family is very easy to slip into but its wrong.

According to 1 Timothy 3, a qualification of leading a church is that you are to be the husband of one wife and manage your household well. The reality is, you lose in marriage? You take a seat. Or at least you should.

My wife and I at the CMM booth at an annual church event. We’ve been married 28 years. As cheesy as it may sound, I hope every church planter couple ends up like us – more in love during and after the hard work of planting a church.

So what should you do? Stay married.

That is a moralist statement. There is no power in that advice. You need to put your faith in the power of who God is and what Christ Jesus as done and will do. And you’ll need a coach who will point you to Jesus – not his great advice or expertise.

What should you look for in a church planting coach?

1. Get a coach who will remind you to whom you are married. As a member of the Body of Christ, we who put our faith in Christ are His Bride. You can’t lose your marriage to Him. He’s the best husband you can trust to protect you and yours.

2. Worship God, not your spouse or your kids if you have them. Worship Christ and ask Him about everything. Everything. You’ll want a coach that prompts you to pray. A lot.

3. Work less not simply more or harder. Minute-by-minute dialogue with God requires much more listening and less hustle than you probably tend toward as a church planter. Most of what I did racing around making it happen was my own willful self-effort. Not good. I needed a coach who’d been close enough to burn out that he warned me of the signs he saw in my own life. I had to learn to Sabbath. To cease. To stop. To be human.

4. Depend on the Holy Spirit. There are mountains of great church planting resources and wonderful subject matter experts, mentors, trainers and coaches available. Not one of us will be better for you as a planter than deep, old-school, radical humility and dependence on the Holy Spirit.

If you are stuck or struggling, get a gospel coach. One of our team can and will help you find out why you’re stuck and help you follow Jesus and stay married as you plant a church for the glory and by the power of God.