Gospel Coaching Changes Leaders

My job as Coaching Catalyst at CMM gives me the chance to work closely with a lot of amazing leaders. In one case, it’s a place few people in the US have visited in the last 50-60 years.
Just south of Florida, there is a movement of the gospel where thousands are coming to faith and where there’s a hunger for leadership training and gospel coaching among pastors and disciples young and old.
Four years ago, I had the privilege of offering the first Gospel Coach training there to a group of 20 young Christians in a city on the island. I was so nervous. My ability to speak seemed like a barrier. I had no idea how it would be received. Then, to top it off, due to technical limits, CMM’s normal method for practicums (video conferencing) was impossible. So the groups agreed to practice on their own. I was skeptical.

When I came back six months later, I was surprised to hear the results. More than half of these volunteer leaders in this new church met every 3-4 weeks to practice Gospel coaching together. One man hitchhiked from an hour away to meet with his group. They said things like,
  • I knew a lot before from previous classes, but Gospel Coaching brought all the things I’ve learned all together.
  • This is a brand new way to approach discipleship.
  • Gospel coaching has changed our marriage.
  • I’ve never shared some of the things that I’ve shared with anyone before. And Iam still loved.
  • This is changing the culture of our leadership.
By intentionally gathering and practicing the skill of coaching the gospel, this group of young Christians learned to help each other apply the biblical doctrines of grace in each other’s lives. Profoundly.
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Article about our work in Cuba in a national magazine

Two days ago the PCA denominational magazine byFaith posted a fantastic article about the ministry in Cuba with whom we partner.

CMM is not mentioned directly, but this will give you several pages of an accurate and compelling backstory to our work and current events.

All the pictures are of men, women and young people that I work with in Cuba. Makes my heart sing to see them! This is Frank, Ari and Meli!

Here is how the article starts….

“After more than 50 years of silence, the U.S. and Cuba have started talking again. In fact, this past July the two countries announced a formal restoration of diplomatic relations, and President Barack Obama said that the U.S. and Cuba had struck a deal to open embassies in each other’s capitals for the first time in half a century. The politics are controversial, and the changes elicit different responses across the political spectrum.

But there’s another “thaw” taking place throughout Cuba, one that breeds hope among all God’s people. God has sparked a fire in the hearts of Cuban men and women. As a result, there’s been a profound Gospel renewal and an explosive house-church movement.”

Read the rest here at byFaith and rejoice at all the Lord has done and pray for more of what He WILL DO!

And kudos to author Zoe Erler!!

Impacting Cuban Seminaries?

Seminaries in Cuba? Yes! While our work is church-based, one seminary in particular has been impacted by the coaching training and my co-trainers.

Two of my co-trainers for CMM gospel coaching have been recruited to the team that will help re-start and renew a seminary that had been practically shut down.

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Alfredo (pictured above teaching the Gospel Story) is the interim director of the Los Pinos Nuevos seminary in central Cuba. He is leading a team that is opening six satellite campuses in six key cities in 2015.

With over 20,000 house churches started in just the last five years, there is a huge need for training in Bible, theology and ministry. Coaching is a key means for personal change that effects spouses and children of men and women in leadership development. And then their church and city.

Because many of the seminary renewal team has experienced the power of gospel coaching for their lives, marriages, families and house churches, they have agreed that coaching simply will be required for all students and professors as an integral means to develop church-based ministry skills alongside academic learning.

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Yeremi (sounds like ‘Jeremy’) pictured above, will be directing one of those six satellite campuses in the city of Matanzas where 35+ house churches have been started in seven years. He teaches Greek and practical theology while overseeing nine house churches and leading one himself.

The leadership of this house church planting movement is very sharp, hard-working, motivated and sacrifices without question to expand the kingdom of God in Cuba.

Think of how the lives and families of these leaders will flourish in the power of the gospel! Imagine all the people these leaders will reach with the good news of Jesus!

Would you help us prepare more people like Alfredo and Yeremi to lead the way to the gospel spreading to all of Cuba? Click here to donate or help spread the word. Thanks so much!

Why so many house churches in Cuba?

Why so many house churches in Cuba? It was decided that no more church buildings would be permitted. But God’s work goes on unhindered!

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People are allowed to meet in their homes all they want. So 1000s of new churches sprout up in a home, grow, outgrow and multiply as hundreds of thousands are converted to Christ. Since 2011, one Bible-believing denomination as grown from 250 churches to more than 30,000 churches and house churches!

Elizabeth and I have been asked to commit to train key Cuban leaders for 3-5 years who will multiply other gospel driven leaders. But our Spanish skills are insufficient. So we’re planning to move to San Jose Costa Rica for 8 months for language school.

Would you invest in our training so we can invest in key Cuban leaders who will take the gospel to the whole island? And would you pray for us?

There’s a $10K matching pledge made and $1850 has been matched in one week. Please ask the Lord if He wants you to support us! Every bit helps. And if He says yes, click here to donate! Thanks!

If you want more of the backstory, check out my blog post on jimmoonjr.com

Opportunity for Gospel Coaching a persecuted church

Spent last week on a strategic island nation near Florida that rhymes with ‘tuba’. And it’s changed me. Hope it will infect us all.

You may have heard God’s at work there. It’s true in the Los Pinos Nuevos (LPN) denomination. Thousands are turning to Christ through the faithful witness of this formerly inward, legalistic denomination that is now gospel-driven, missional, fruitful in evangelism and reproducing like crazy.

Big picture data from LPN. In 1978, according to their government reports, there were only 120,000 evangelical Christians on an island of 11 million. That doubled by 1993 then doubled again by 2001. By 2011, the number had more doubled again. Now if you are good with math (I’m not) then you’d realize there are over 1 million ‘evangelicals’ now. Wow.

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Church is different there. Resources more difficult to find. Hostility toward Christianity has slackened but there is still much government control. With no permission to build new church facilities, LPN took reproduction into ‘casa cultos’ (legally recognized house churches) and cell groups. It’s all legal and out in the open. In fact, switching to house churches and cell groups out of necessity has accelerated evangelism. It’s opened the door for many spiritually seeking neighbors (who would never be seen at a church for fear of losing their jobs) to just come over, be welcomed and investigate Christ. Is there something for us to learn here?

The LPN denomination has been working hard in the power of the Spirit and the truth of the gospel. In 2007 there were 187 churches. Same as before the troubles. Now there are 27 training centers, 3000 pastoral leaders learning the doctrines of grace in over 30,000 different house churches and cells. LPN can count over 300,000 people in their denomination now. Wow!

How did this happen? The need for and power of the gospel is spreading deep and wide in this movement.

Though pastor/leaders there have been raised in a culture of suspicion and mistrust, a small group of wise leaders there and stateside have been implementing a God-sized strategy of evangelism and training leaders in trust-building, gospel-centered workshops like CMM’s Gospel Coach. They transformed their seminary into a training center and have pushed out and pressed down training to indigenous leaders who are using tech tools like ThirdMill (Biblical education. For the world. For free.) for  training in systematic biblical grace-focused theology.  

Most importantly, the key leaders, from the president of LPN on down, have been blown away by God’s grace personally. I was honored to lead the top 13 key leaders from LPN through an adapted and extended Gospel Coach workshop to help them coach the hundreds of leaders they work with in the gospel. Then participated in another two days of strategic planning that was so clearly dependent upon God’s Spirit and His provision that it brought tears to our eyes. There God has to work and they have to depend on Him.

How I long for more of us to feel our need for the gospel, for more dependence on Christ and more urgency in our mission like these brothers and sisters!

That is a dangerous desire and prayer, but the opportunities are too big not to pray.