What is THE FIELD newsletter?
This e-newsletter is designed to inform and energize the USMB family 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...
- Stephen Stout's Luke 10:2 story
- Survey results: Developing Workers
- Your Ministry Passion Survey
- Christmas gift evangelism is upon us!
- Still offering two free books!
This month we continue moving through the discover, develop, and deploy process. We’ve talked about the need to discover workers quite a bit. Hopefully you have been praying Luke 10:2 and God has revealed some potential harvest workers. In this issue I want to share highlights of a real live example of someone who has been praying Luke 10:2.
Once we discover harvest workers we need to develop them. Last month many of you sent me responses to the question: “What are essential areas that need to be developed in potential harvest workers?” In this issue we will unpack that. Let's dig in shall we?
Where I've Been...
(Kansas, Colorado, and the Eastern District)
Did you know that Paul's second missionary journey was to strengthen the church plants? Paul didn't launch them and leave them on their own. He returned to see how they were doing.
In Acts 15 it says, "And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are" ...And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
We have some churches that are up and running, and it's good to visit them and strengthen them.
I spent some time with some of our newest MB brothers Mekete Sugebo and Tilahun Abera from New Creation in Denver. These men have faced persecution for their faith back in Ethiopia- it was humbling to hear how God has been using them. Pray for New Creation. While in Colorado I was encouraged to visit with two other pastors, Mario Trujillo (Pueblo) and Miguel Warren (Denver). Great men doing a great job.
I got to visit the Western Kansas and Oklahoma Panhandle Network of pastors. It never ceases to amaze me how God has blessed our MB family with such awesome pastors! We spent a good amount of time talking about developing harvest workers (as you will hear more in this issue).
I got to see the Eastern District churches that include not only North Carolina, but Kentucky, Ohio, Maine, and Georgia. I did a workshop on Saturday, but truly felt that the men in the room were teaching me. You see, in the U.S. we have a much harder time developing leaders than our Ethiopian and Congolese brothers. Perhaps next month we can weigh in on that topic.
I just got back from Wichita to see SouthLife in action. There is so much LIFE at SouthLife. Young families and kids everywhere. Ministry and prayer are evident. Pastor Kevin Friedberg preached an amazing message based on Isaiah 53. Great day!
Discovering Harvest Workers-
A Luke 10:2 story from Stephen Stout
Our Nebraska network has been meeting since March of this year. We’ve been praying the Luke 10:2 passage (see the header above). One of the joys of this job is to see God working through pastors in real time. Here’s just a sample from Pastor Stephen Stout from Omaha:
“I have been in Christian Ministry for 25 years now and connected with thousands of people to encourage along the way. But I have never really been seen as a recognized official mentor by any of them. And now that has all changed quite suddenly with four people approaching me in the last two months.
Brandon - 21 In full time ministry - "I was recently encouraged to find a mentor. I have observed your life. Would you be my mentor?" I said yes, we will meet monthly.
Elliott - 32 Accepted Christ one year ago, and I baptized him last month. "You are like a dad to me that I don't have. Thank you for all your words of encouragement. When you say that you are proud of me, it means so very much, because I never really had that in my life." I connect by text almost daily with him.
Noah - 6 year old. His single mom approached me when coming back from a hike we all did together by the river. "Would you do more things like this with my son. I know he would just love it." I said yes. Two weeks ago we did an all out mud hike with his 7 year old friend. We are planning a bike ride next.
Josiah - 16 As a family they have been distant from church for some time, and their father lives 2 hours away. I was simply his camp counselor for 3 days and then they came to church once. His mother said, "I have been praying for a mentor type adult to connect with my son. You may be the answer to our prayer." We have done several outdoor work and fun things together.
All of these people approached me. I was simply being alive and friendly and living my normal life. Just keep being you, and people will notice and reach out and invite you to be a part of their lives all in due time.”
That's an exciting story! Would you pray that God would use all of us like that? Pray that we can influence even more Brandon’s, Elliott’s, Noah’s and Josiah’s. Imagine God blessing our churches with hundreds of potential Luke 10:2 harvest workers!
Developing Harvest Workers
Remember, the question from last month: What essential areas do we need to develop in a Luke 10:2 harvest worker? After compiling all the conversations, zoom meetings, emails and surveys, this is what I learned. I spent time collating the information into a visually digestible format of roughly 18 categories. This grid is a tool for you to consider (and tweak) as you develop people within your own ministry context. Perhaps there are some areas still missing and perhaps a few areas are overlapping, but, here is my completely fallible but hopefully helpful chart. The results included twelve essential areas and six ministry tracks.
Your Part in the Development Process?
Where do you have skills, knowledge, and experiences to help others? In other words, if God were to lead you into being an equipper, where would you be willing to share your wisdom with burgeoning harvest workers? Look at the above chart and select 1-2 areas for which God has given you deep passion.
Then, where do you need the help of others in order to train people in your congregation? For example, maybe I don’t have the experiences or expertise in missions but some of you do. On the other hand, maybe I’ve spent a vast amount of time in basic discipleship and could invest energy training future disciple makers.
As I have traveled the MB country, I’ve talked with leaders deeply gifted in most all of these areas. I personally know there are some pastors who would love to engage in the areas such as preaching, theology, church history, spiritual formation, leadership and so on. In fact, between all of our churches, schools, and organizations, I believe we have most of the resources necessary to accomplish everything on that chart.
Imagine Developing Workers Together
Imagine if we aligned our efforts so well that on any given evening, there was a group of potential church planters, pastors, and missionaries as well as lay leaders being prepared for service by our very own pastors and conference leaders. Imagine having a pathway to discover, develop and deploy dozens of workers every year. My slightly educated estimate is that we need 20 harvest workers (planters, missionaries, and pastors) to be prepared every year to see our movement grow.
Two Free Books "
Operator I am still standing by"
Here's that great book I mentioned the last few months. If you'd like a copy, click here to email me your physical address. I will send you two copies for free to use with a potential harvest worker.
Chapter titles include:
1. A Conversation about the Question
2. Defining the Concept of Call
3. Three Types of Call Experiences
4. Three Ways God Calls
5. Who God Calls
6. Discerning God's Call
7. The Effects of God's Call
8. The Call to Missions
9. The Call to Pastoral Ministry
10. Continuing the Conversation
A Christmas Evangelism Idea...Prepare NOW!
HERE'S AN IDEA: Purchase several copies of this book, and at Christmas, add them to a gift bag that you are giving to friends and family. If you want someone to know how to become a Christian, this is a proven book. I have given more copies than I can remember, and it always has been well received. Click on the book above to get this for less than $2 a copy in 3 packs.
The core of our missional networks:
Discover! Develop! Deploy!