Today I went to a Celebration of the Life of Lyn Montgomery…who entered eternity earlier this week to join her Lord and her love Jim. I have known Lyn only in these last 4 years, but I know I missed her most fun and fruitful days. The years wore on her beautiful body and soul, yet I long to know the woman that I heard the stories of today…at least to taste her carrot cake!
I’ve had the privilege of knowing the Montgomery’s son Len (who is an amazing man in his own right) and Len’s wife Mishal (amazing too!). My two boys are the same ages as their three boys (they have twin 6th graders). In fact, all those boys are right now at our house enjoying video games together!
I never had the privilege to know Jim either, as he passed in 2006. Never-the-less, I’ve been deeply impacted by his work, vision and writings. He brought us in the church/missions world the idea, strategy and success of saturation church planting. On his shoulders, the ministry of DAWN (or Discipling A Whole Nation) was birthed. The most popular work of his, was DAWN 2000: 7 Million Churches to Go. In modest numbers, the implication of Jim’s ideas have catalyzed more than 3 million churches around the world. What a wake!
In a time of hype about movements and changing your world, Jim and Lyn are the true thing. I truly believe that even though less than 100 people gathered to celebrate the life of Lyn Montgomery in Anaheim today, there are thousands of saints in glory who welcome Lyn home because of her influence for Jesus around our globe. Certainly her Lord Jesus said, “Well done good and faithful servant!”
Links for you:
One of the people in my circles who is making the most difference in our world is Jim Hocking. This humble man just wanted to make a difference in the lives of the people he grew up with in the Central African Republic. I’m so glad that we can have him with us @LosAltosGrace tomorrow! If you want to find out more about Jim’s Story…and ICDI’s Story too, check out this video!
You should read the story of Marcellin in the November E-Newsletter from ICDI!
Can you cause a person to grow spiritually? When it comes to disciple making, what is our responsibility? At a Greenhouse Training event hosted by CMA Resources, we examined the following text from Mark 4:
26 He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.28 All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. 29 As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”
From the text, we see that a farmer can cultivate the ground and plant seeds, and even put the sickle to the plant once mature, but can do nothing to cause a seed to grow! In simple/organic church planting, the church planter (or disciplemaker) cultivates and plants, but realized that Kingdom growth is God’s work.
When we plant good seed in good soil, growth and multiplication naturally happen as they receive rain and sunlight. This is true of plants and it’s true of the Kingdom as well. The only thing that can stop this natural process is failure to sow good seed generously on good soil or farming in such as way to impede the natural process that God has in place.
At the Greenhouse training, the leaders made the following comparison between an organic/simple church approach and a traditional church approach to sowing, growing, and harvesting.
Do you agree that the traditional church focuses most of its energies on growing and tending the garden (flock) while being passive with regards to sowing and harvesting? What would it look like for you to cultivate and sow good seed more generously? What does it mean for us to be actively involved in the harvesting—putting a sickle to the “ripe plant?”
Enjoy this great video that was at the greenhouse training event to illustrate the teaching on the Kingdom.
6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. – 1 Corinthians 3:6
To learn more about attending a Greenhouse Training event visit www.cmaresources.org/greenhouse
Recently a blog friend, Tim, asked a very practical question:
Just out of curiosity, what methods to you employ in your context to search for persons of peace? This statement made me think of you walking down the sidewalk looking for a person of peace. So, I’m wondering what that type of searching looks like for you. Thanks!
You can see the dialog that this question started in the comment section of Cesar, Man of Peace. However, I’d like to share the core of what we discussed and develop it a bit further.
My Response to Tim’s Question
- Finding the person of peace is not about technique. Every person of peace story I know and every person of peace I have found has been different. Having said that, there are things we can do to find the person of peace. Here’s what I would say:
- When I consistently pray about finding people of peace, I find them. When I don’t focus my prayer on this, I don’t.
- Finding people of peace is about listening to the voice of the Master. Therefore, it is a spiritual exercise based on a loving, abiding relationship, not something we can manufacture.
- Luke 10:5-6 say: “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you.” The house mentioned here is the “oikos.” I don’t think it is particularly focused on the building where people live but the connected people who may just live is a particular building…or not; see An Oikos Isn’t a Building.
- This giving of peace, I think, is speaking the gospel of peace, or giving a blessing in the name of the Lord. It is, in essence, making Jesus the potential for conversation. I don’t think it means necessarily giving the whole gospel, just opening the conversation. If the peace rests on them, i.e. they respond and engage, stay there!!! Don’t take off, after having spilled the beans. Focus! On the other hand, if they don’t have interest, don’t cast your pearls before swine. Just move on and look for a real person of peace and a real “oikos” of peace. We focus our attention and energy on people who are moving toward Jesus, not convincing the uninterested that they should be interested.
- With this in mind, apostolic ministry (finding men and houses of peace then making disciples) is about finding ways to make Jesus the subject of conversation. How do we do that? Any way He tells us to, as he speaks to our heart and mind. It is not a matter of us coming up with a clever plan. But, if Jesus gives us a clever plan, then do it.
- Jesus is our model for ministry. Yet little of what we do in ministry nowadays looks anything like what Jesus did, or what he taught his disciples to do. Our idea of ministry has been so damaged by institutionalism, and the individualistic Western worldview, that we find it hard to think about doing ministry as Jesus actually taught us.
- When we start actually doing what Jesus taught his disciples to do, and what he expects us to do, we start bearing fruit. I know this from experience, and it is why I wrote my upcoming book Viral Jesus.
- This kind of actual obedience to Jesus, who speaks to our hearts and minds, should be normative, but is actually very, very rare in the West.
- We have replaced Jesus inspired ministry with what we think of as following biblical principles. Yet, supposed biblical inspired ministry actually ends up not looking at all like what Jesus did? Isn’t that ironic?
- I find myself wondering, and praying about, what would happen if say 500 Christians in the Bay Area of California would just do what Jesus actually speaks to their hearts based on an intimate relationship with him. This would end up reflecting Jesus’ and the apostle’s ministry in the New Testament. Yet, I only know about 20 people in the entire Bay Area that are willing to live like this. Does this make you as sad as it does me?
- I spoke about 500 people in the Bay Area of California actually following Jesus into ministry. What would that look like if all over the world people where doing this?
- I suspect that what we would discover in the West is what our brothers in China began to discover in 1949 and onward (see The Miracle of China and Thank You Chairman Mao). This would be both exciting and dangerous. Are we really interested in something exciting and dangerous? Do we prefer something we can control, even if it ends up being unfruitful?
- Do you agree with me that institutionalism and the Western worldview get in the way of the viral ministry I’m talking about? Why or why not?
- Where do you think the disconnect, between what Jesus did and taught about ministry and what we actually do, comes from? I’ve laid the disconnect at the feet of institutionalism and Western cultural worldview. Do you agree or do you have different ideas?
©2011 Ross Rohde
Posted by permission
Originally posted on Ross Rohde’s blog The Jesus Virus: here
For too long the truth, adventure, mystery and joy that comes with giving away the life of Jesus has been stolen from the ordinary believer. We have been taught methods of sharing Jesus that feel more cold, distant and dutiful than life giving. We have heard that just a few gifted ones will really be successful at evangelism. This is yet another blow designed to sideline the ordinary person from engaging in the supernatural work of sharing the life of Jesus with those thirsty to taste the goodness of God.
The great commission is often seen as Jesus’ marching orders to make disciples, which must include ongoing sharing of Jesus’ good news with those who have not yet heard. The great commission and Jesus’ similar instructions to the twelve in Acts 1:8 were delivered directly to His twelve Apostles. This has caused some to believe that not every follower of Jesus is responsible to engage in giving away the life of Christ; it simply is not their gift. This is not the truth. An often overlooked statement in the great commission instructs the Twelve to be teaching their disciples “to obey everything I have commanded you.” The Twelve were to teach the ordinary believer to obey everything Jesus taught them including the making of disciples or being a witness to all the world. Everyone is responsible to be intentionally sharing the life of Jesus with the world.
The truth is that the ordinary person is a competent minister of the good news (2 Cor. 3:6). The truth is that success in evangelism should be measured by conversations about Jesus not conversions to Jesus. Ordinary people are only responsible to tell about and demonstrate the love of Jesus. Only Supernatural beings are responsible for the results, “I planted, Apollos watered but God was causing the growth.” (1 Cor. 3:6-7). Everyone is an evangelizer and success is measured by obedience to share.
The church needs to rediscover what has been stolen from her. We need to give back the cold, distant and dutiful methodologies* of evangelism for the more adventurous, risky and romantic renditions that only Jesus can create and place in our souls. The church needs some fresh adventures in understanding how Jesus is getting the message into the souls of people. When we think about engaging people with the truth, we should capture the understanding that Jesus is a customizer of methods, not a cookie cutter.
Jesus will take a believer, with all their experiences and fears, and have them cross the paths of not-yet-believing people who are a perfect fit for the customized approach Jesus gives the believer. This requires trust and obedience, but it is exactly what Jesus promised. Jesus said He will give us the right words at the right time, every time (Luke 21:13-15). This takes our faith and evangelism to a whole new level of adventure.
I can count fifteen people who shared Jesus with me in some form or fashion before Ralph shared the same truth with me and my life was transformed. Who was more important in my choosing to follow Jesus, the fifteen or Ralph? Was Ralph more gifted or skilled or persuasive than the others? Did Ralph ‘close the deal‘ because he has an anointing? I believe that all sixteen who told me about Jesus were equally vital to my process of turning to Jesus. All salvation experiences are mysterious. Some are dramatic, some are mundane, others cannot be marked by an event. Salvation is always a supernatural event where the God of the universe enters the life of a human being permanently. When the rich young ruler heard what was required by Jesus to gain eternal life, he became very sad. Jesus’ disciples asked him if a rich man can’t be saved “…then who can be saved?”. Jesus answered, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.” (Luke 18:18-27).
Enjoy the freedom of not knowing what God is doing in another soul. Enjoy that it is a mystery. Be assured, however, that God is doing something in the souls of those with whom you share His truth. Trust in His perfect and powerful ability to draw people to repentance in the way they need. Obediently follow His lead, even when it doesn’t make sense; because most mysteries don’t make sense.
The bottom line regarding evangelism is to enjoy it (weird huh?). Jesus is an artist of the soul. He created you specifically to engage the people He brings in your life with His truth. Enjoy His adjusting the delivery of the message to fit the current need of the one listening to your words.
If we learn to enjoy sharing the life of Jesus with others as He leads us, we will most assuredly share that life more often and with more passion. The Scriptures teach that the more we sow, the more we will reap. The power behind people coming to Jesus is not in any delivery, method or medium. The power behind people coming to Jesus is always in message (Rom. 1:16). Give away the message often and with joy and enjoy watching God at work!
* God can, has and will continue to use a more formal, methodological approach to giving out the Gospel. It is not wrong to do so, however, it has robbed the fun of spiritual reproduction from the ordinary believer. The giving out of the Word will never return without effect on the one hearing the truth.
I would love to hear your thoughts. Let me know if this is helpful to you and your church.
©2012 Ed Waken
Conversations Not Conversions – Ed Waken
Who Is In Charge?: ReTooling Leadership 1
Jesus’ Example: ReTooling Leadership 2
The Leader’s Priority: ReTooling Leadership 3
Organic Evangelism Principles
The Deal on Disciple Making – Video
Some new videos have been posted on the CMA Resources website…Check ’em out:
Selecting & Making Disciples – Neil Cole
Sharing his story & about CMA – Mike Jentes for the Grace Brethren
Explanation of Person of Peace – Steve Addison
Modern Example of Person of Peace – Steve Addison
Movements that Change the World – Steve Addison
Consumers or Disciples? – Alan Hirsch
Following Jesus – Francis Chan
Insightful video presentation from the Urbana Conference on the State of Christianity. In 1970 Europe was the top Christian continent (by population). In 2025 Africa will be on the top of this list and Europe will go to the 3rd place. Watch this video to be inspired to reach Europe!
Becoming missional: We reap what we sow
I’m reminded of a story about D.L. Moody. Someone once criticized him for the way he brought everyone to the front to respond to the Gospel.
“Well, how do you do it?” Moody asked.
The man had no answer because he wasn’t leading anyone to the Lord.
Moody’s response: “I prefer the way I do it badly to the way you don’t do it at all.”
There’s much I don’t like about the way the Gospel is preached in this country–for example, televangelism. But can I criticize if I am doing nothing myself?
Another story, this time about John Wesley.
John Wesley was an itinerant evangelist traveling widely in order to preach the Gospel. One day, someone challenged him that he should only speak to people about the Lord when he sensed God prompting him. He tried it for one week. During that time he spoke to virtually no one because he never sensed the Lords’ prompting. At the end of the week he concluded this didn’t work and went back to speaking to everyone he met.
I speak to myself: we have lost the art of abundant Gospel sowing.
The principle of sowing and reaping applies. The harvest we reap is directly proportional to the amount of seed we sow. (Obviously other factors such as quality of soil, water etc. need to be taken into account). In general, we reap little because we sow little. Are we trying to harvest in fields where little or no seed has been sown?
The International Mission Board of the Southern Baptists have produced a wonderful video called Like a Mighty Wave. It can be downloaded from their video resource section It examines the ten common practices of movements where many people are finding Christ and many new churches are starting. One of these practices is abundant Gospel sowing.
What does it look like for us to sow abundantly in a way that fits our simple/organic principles? If we cannot do it here in our own culture, how do we expect to do it on the mission field?
-By Felicity Dale
Reposted from her blog: Simply Church here
|Jay & Jan Bell|
Meet Emily. Yesterday Emily, a young wife and mother of two toddlers, cut my hair. She is a God-seeker and I have been planting myself into the soil of her heart over the years through friendly “God-talk.”
Hey Emily, have you been keeping up with the “Tebow talk?” She said, “Yeah, kinda, but what’s it all about?”
Well, Emily (as she is clipping), it’s about a Bible verse, the number 3-16 and his journey as the quarterback of the Denver Broncos (as I am praying). I then explained how he wore John 3:16 as eye reflectors during his years as QB at the U. of Florida. She asked, “What does John 3:16 say?”
Slowly, with a smile, I quoted the verse with passion.
But, Emily (clip, clip), check this out. During Monday nights play-off game against the favored Pittsburgh Steelers he threw for 316 yards. She exclaimed, “No way!” And, Emily (pray, pray), each pass averaged 31.6 yards. “Get outta here!” And the Broncos’ time of possession of the ball was 31:06 minutes! “Jay, are you making this up?” And, Emily, the TV rating of the number of people watching the fourth quarter was 31.6. “Jay, that’s so weird!” And the only interception of the game was thrown by the Steelers QB when the play was 3rd down and 16 yards to go. “Jay, what does all this mean?”
Emily, may I answer your question with a question? And my question is just one word: Coincidence?
Emily, do you have a Bible at home? “Um, let’s see, yes.” Let me send you these 3-16 numbers in an e-mail and then lay the verse and the numbers on your husband.
My head is no longer in her hands, but her heart is still in God’s hands!
Jay & Jan work with Encompass World Partners mobilizing people in the USA to love and reach out to Internationals.
If you would like to be on the email list for Jay & Jan, drop them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org