equip

The Power of Disciple-Making Action

  • 26 September 2017
  • MinistryLift blogger

The Celtic Way was a form of Christian faith that flourished among the people of Ireland during the Middle Ages. The Celtic Church saw much of Ireland converted to Christianity in a very short period and then they sent missionaries throughout Europe.

The Celtic Way has given us a model on how to disciple people from even before they start to believe. These unbelievers were invited into their community to belong (to see, experience, participate), which helped them later to believe. I think it would be fair to say that they saw and experienced the Christian life being lived out before they heard it explained to them.  

I think we have mistakenly put too much emphasis on making disciples primarily through cognitive methods. From my experience, most people think making disciples and a Bible study are synonymous. 

If we continue to make disciples by predominantly teaching a system of beliefs through lectures or Bible studies, we will only perpetuate the problem that we have in our churches today—many religious people who adhere to a set of beliefs, instead of disciples who truly follow Jesus as a lifestyle and are transformed in the process.

Moving people from understanding a set of beliefs to practicing them is a huge hurdle for us today. The method we use to teach beliefs needs to be re-examined.

Jesus taught with words but he also showed them by living it so they could see it and not only hear it.

Paul got that. Here are a few of his words that show how he was intentional to use his life, not just his words, to teach people.

1 Thess 1:5 - "You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord."  

Notice how effective this was. They became like Jesus. If it were one of us writing this today, we would perhaps more honestly have to say: "You know how we taught among you for your sake. You listened to us and followed our doctrine.”

Phil 4:9 - "Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me (words are our standard method of discipleship), or seen in me (imitation or example is another pattern of discipleship), put into practice." 

Phil 3:17 - "Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you." 

Personal Handpicked Provision

  • 13 September 2017
  • MinistryLift blogger

Many of us search for ways to better hear the voice of God's Spirit in our lives. It's no different if you are an experienced leader or a stay-at-home mom. That's been my experience as I look over the landscape of my prayer life as an experienced leader and as a stay-at-home mom. Recently I had opportunity to lead my daughter in hearing the counsel of God's Spirit. This is her story, my distraction, and our Father's faithful provision for both of us. 

It was Monday morning and my 12-year-old daughter awoke in tears. We had lots of Monday mornings all summer but this one was different. This was the Monday before the Friday she was scheduled to have surgery. Neither of us wanted this to happen, but the closer Friday came the sharper in focus was this reality. Those Monday morning tears now make perfect sense to me. 

I wanted to comfort her, but I felt my skills and resources were too limited. I wanted to whisk her away from all the turmoil maybe even more than she wanted to be delivered from the pending surgery. I knew this was a perfectly shaped set of circumstances for God's Spirit to speak to her in ways that only He knew how.

We took time to remind ourselves of some very important truths—Jesus is always with us, the Holy Spirit is our comfort and our counsel, and how wonderfully loved we are by our Heavenly Father. I didn't recognize it at the time, but these truths were for me too. From there I invited her to share her heart with Jesus—her fears, her disappointments, her questions—and invite Him to speak to her as she listened. This is what many call listening prayer. Whatever the label, I knew my daughter needed to hear for herself the words of life that only He authors.

We often do this listening and sharing on the "outside"—talking and responding to one another as we discern the Spirit's presence and counsel and then process the message together. Today, she would listen on the “inside”—just her and Jesus. This is a double-edged discipline for me. On the one hand, I'm free to patiently wait for the results of my daughter's listening. But on the other hand, I have no opportunity to be tracking the twists and turns. This was a faith exercise as much for me at it was for her.

Her inside listening lasted a long time. Longer than I was comfortable with. I thought maybe she had fallen back to sleep. But she was listening and God's Spirit was speaking. Finally, she shared with me. Mom, I have a thought. The nurse who was supposed to be in the ward to check me in won't be available and then (our good friend who is a nurse) would be there!

The Seven Core Values of Millennials

  • 7 September 2017
  • Geoff Kullman

Any missionary will tell you that in order to effectively speak Jesus into a culture, you first have to understand that culture. And the culture that millennials have grown up in has changed a lot, hasn't it? 

That's led to tons of churches, maybe one just like yours, that are struggling with young people leaving, frustrated that nothing they've tried has worked, and worried if their church can survive this trend.

That's why my team developed The Seven Core Values of Millennials training. Because we know that by helping you build a broader understanding of Millennials, you will be able to build better ministries for Millennials.

I'm going to present the Seven Core Values of Millennials at the Equip 2017 Study Conference, but I have chosen three values on focus on here. 

​Core Value #1 – Diversity

If you've been frustrated by any aspect of the millennial generation, particularly as a pastor or church leader, chances are it may have something to do with their mindset (or preference) for diversity.

But the reason for millennials valuing diversity is simple:

They are the first generation to come of age in a truly global world.  Whereas previous generations had limited (albeit expanding) access to information and opinion, millennials grew up with the Internet... limitless access to information and opinion.

(And for younger millennials... those in their late-teens to mid-twenties... they literally grew up with the Internet in their pockets!)

Unlike Builders, Boomers, or even Gen Xers, the millennial generation has never known a world limited to one single, trusted source of information. Instead, they have always been exposed to choice, relativity, variety, and globalization.

You can't blame a fish for living in water... even though it seems like a horribly silly idea to the rest of us! Neither can you (or should you) blame a millennial for seeing the world through a diverse, globalized lens.

It is literally the only environment they've EVER known!

In other words, understanding the core value of diversity begins with the recognition that we cannot assign a moral value to the lens through which people see the world. 

Core Value #2 - Entrepreneurship 

It may go against some of the (unfortunately pervasive) stereotypes about the millennial generation, but they are, without a shadow of a doubt, THE most entrepreneurial generation EVER!

Pages