Mar. 21, 2023
What is THE FIELD newsletter?
This e-newsletter is designed to inform and energize all of us for the work of the harvest. Jesus told us to pray for the harvest fields and for all those working in the fields. I hope you will join me in this exciting adventure.
Church Planting Mobilizer
Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going
I’ve been to Orlando, Omaha, and Ohio—most all the “O’s”! I spent time in Orlando at the Exponential Church Planting Conference. Many thanks to the SDC for hosting me.
I traveled to Omaha, Nebraska, and met with several pastors. Luke Haidle, Stephen Stout, Jon Annin, and Daniel Rodriguez were huge encouragers as they became the newest group to form a missional network. I drove around southeast Nebraska and saw small communities that need the gospel. One county in Nebraska (Otoe) is only 3 percent evangelical.
I also made a trip to Ohio (to help my mom move) and stopped to see Samuel Hailemariam, pastor of Grace International Church in Indianapolis. We are creating our fourth missional network, launching in April and focused on Ethiopian immigrants. By the way, pray for Samuel right now if you will. He is in Ethiopia in a hazardous place doing some much-needed gospel work in a war-torn area.
You never know when you will have a chance to share Jesus with someone. That’s why I always keep copies of “How Good is Good Enough?” with me. This past month I gave one copy to a total stranger and another copy to a family member. As the old American Express commercial said, “Never leave home without it!” See below how to order this book.
Part Two: Church Planting Movement Vision
Last month I introduced my working definition for the USMB church planting movement. This slightly updated version states: To see churches that work together for the gospel by discipling, discovering, developing and deploying workers. I added the “discipling” aspect because what was implicit needed to be explicit. In other words, what exactly are we discovering, developing and deploying?
Every church needs to be a disciple-making factory. This is the foundation. Matthew 28:19-20 is our clear mandate. As we disciple, we will help people discover God’s call and develop character and competency. As we continue to disciple, we will encourage them to be deployed to Jesus’ mission field. Sometimes that means staying right at home, but sometimes it means leaving to go to a new mission field.
Last month we focused on the first portion: working together for the gospel. This month I want to dig into the second part. My friend and coach, Dave Reynolds, makes this process simple on a napkin. As you are discipling a person, you help them discover his or her gifts. Each believer, according to 1 Peter 4:10, has at least one spiritual gift.
But the journey has just begun because now your goal is to develop them. Ephesians 4:11-12 says to equip them. The process of developing a disciple begins by having them simply “looking” at you as you model. But soon it shifts. The disciple learns and then begins to lead. Eventually we want disciples to be able to launch out and replicate themselves (2 Tim. 2:2).
This discovery and developing may lead to many different roles. For some, it will be as a small group leader. Some may start a local outreach ministry. Others may be called to student ministry or a helps ministry. All of these are deployed, but for some, it will result in being deployed in another place. This is scary for both the sender and the sent one. Making an investment in someone just to see them leave is hard. And equally, to be sent can be frightening.
This is why we are developing networks of churches to support each other in this biblical process of multiplication. Imagine every church working hard together to produce gospel-focused disciples that are discovering gifts, developing character and competency to be deployed into the harvest!!!!
Next month I want to unpack the deploy element as expressed in the A.C.T.S. acronym.
My Multiplication, Discipleship & Evangelism Book Suggestions
I am reading Leadership as an Identity by Crawford Loritts. This book is a much-needed correction in the leadership world. Too often, leadership is viewed as power. Too many stories of pastors and leaders going off the rails because they abuse this power. Loritts has written a great book to remind me that leadership is based in humility. He covers four essential traits that a leader needs to grasp: Brokenness, Uncommon Communion, Servanthood, and Radical Obedience. Here’s a link.
Best book for a seeker…
Need help in sharing Jesus? Give a book! One of the best books to give a seeker is Andy Stanley’s “How Good is Good Enough?” I buy it in a bulk 3 pack for under $6. Here’s a link.
B.L.E.S.S. A Powerful Book on Evangelism
If you need a good resource for guiding you and your church into loving people to Jesus, this is it. Love the simplicity and practicality of the 5 ways:
- Begin with prayer
“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Luke 10:2
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