Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Big Vision | Little Vision

I'm not sure if the apostle Paul had a big vision as he went on his missionary journeys, or if he just did the work and God blessed it. Either way, he said this in Romans 15: "So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum I have fully proclaimed the Gospel of Christ. ...now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions..."

Let's all dream of being able to say the same thing. What would that look like? My vision is that every person in central Illinois (2 million+ people) would have a chance to hear the Gospel in a conversation. Big visions should drive us to our knees in prayer. They should force us to engage with others and enlist them in the work.

Ultimately though, that big vision needs to boil down to a simple question: What do I do?

What is the smallest possible vision you can have? Maybe it's for your neighborhood, your family, or workplace.

Because if we're not careful, that big vision becomes a place to hide. It can be crippling if we can't bring it to Monday morning. What do I need to do on Monday (or Sunday or Thursday) to start pursuing that vision? We work more on the ideas and plans and goals than we work on the actual work.

If your vision is to write the next great American novel, you shouldn't spend any time on the cover art. You should spend almost all of your time writing. If your vision is to be a great basketball player, you don't need to spend time tracking down the best looking shoe. You need to get to the gym. If your vision is to reach every person in your town with the Gospel, you don't need to set up a neighborhood mapping system. You need to pray and share the Gospel.

What's your big vision? What's your little vision? What are you going to do to get after it?


Saturday, February 9, 2019

Tool for Trainers: Event Training Checklist

If you're running an event training it's important to follow some best practices to get the absolute most out of the time.

An event training is just an excuse for what happens afterwards. We want the training to give us and those that are trained clear next steps: opportunities to practice sharing the Gospel, a feedback loop for future training or discipleship, and most importantly a passion and vision to reach our own people with the Gospel.

Here's my go-to checklist when I'm prepping for a training:
  • Promote!
    • Work with the host church or ministry to make sure the word is spread far and wide about the event. 
    • Share about the training through your own channels as well: Support teams, prayer teams, social media, blogs etc.
  • Invite.
    • First, as soon as possible, invite fellow practitioners to Swarm train
    • Second, a few weeks before the event, personally invite 5 people to the training. They may have already heard about it on social media or in an email blast, but a personal "I thought of you and wanted to invite you to this training" can help people engage.) 
    • (Why do we invite others, both to help us train and to be trained? We're looking to see the Kingdom of God grow beyond the borders of single church or organization. The more we can get people together from a variety of churches the more we can grab the kingdom mindset of No Place Left for a people group or geographic area.)
  • Put a schedule together
    • You can find some great sample schedules here.
    • If you have swarm trainers, divide up the modules. 
    • Get together with those trainers at some point before the training to practice! (This could be a week or two before if you live close together or the day before if you're traveling to the training.) You can also do this on a video call if needed.
    • However you do it, be sure to practice your parts out loud before the event. Remind your swarm trainers to do the same.
  • A week before the event...
    • Confirm details with the event host. Don't forget the basics like: whiteboard, markers, pens, index cards, paper, etc.
    • Confirm details with any swarm trainers.
    • Prayer Walk the location of the training and where you will go out in the harvest. If you can't get there before hand to prayer walk, spend some specific time in prayer for the event.
  • At the event...
    • Make your contact information readily available.
    • Whatever level your training, whether it is a short 3 Circles training or a full-day Gospel Conversation Training, leave a follow-up path. (For example: "We didn't cover how to lead a Discovery Bible Study today, so contact me if you to learn how to do that." OR "You can find the Commands of Christ at www.obeychrist.com, I'd also love to model those commands for you, let me know if you're interested.")
    • Have attendees set specific next-step goals, and match them up with an accountability partner for those goals.
    • Share about the next training that will be available (either through their church or a different one that you're holding.)
  • After the event...
    • Follow up with your main contact. 
      • Ask for stories to look for people that were obedient. 
      • Confirm details for your next training (and restart this checklist!)
    • Follow up with anyone you made a personal connection with at the training.
I set this up as a checklist on Trello: Go here and you can copy that card to your own board. Or if you'd prefer a printable checklist, here is a Google doc.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

"You've got a special gift."

"You've got a special gift."

I've been told that a couple of times now in reference to my being able to start a conversation with a stranger and share the Gospel.

A gift? Really? Less than two years ago I hadn't shared the Gospel in a conversation in 10 years. I actually started a post on this blog at one point titled "I am the world's worst evangelist..." (Side note: I tried to track it down but apparently I was so depressed by it that I deleted it.)

I wouldn't call this a special gifting. It took me weeks to get up the courage to cross the parking lot for my first real attempt at sharing the Gospel with a lost person. Even after that there were months  where I shrunk back in the middle of a conversation instead of speaking boldly how God is prompting me. (I still struggle with it.)

Two things that helped me find this "gift":
1) Learning simple Biblical tools to share the Gospel.
2) Being in relationships with people that actually expected me to do it.

So if it is a gift, it isn't unique to me or a limited number of people.  If it is a gift, it can come to anyone that starts to obey what God calls all believers to do. If it is a gift, we'll see that obedience to Jesus makes us more in tune with opportunities and better able to listen to the Spirit's leading.

Maybe we've never seen this gift in ourselves because we've never been trained to share the Gospel or expected to do so.

So since I've got the gift I'm going to pass it on to you, the reader. Here it is, free for the taking.

The only question that remains is: What are you going to do with it?

Monday, February 4, 2019

Rescheduled 411 - February 15, 7-9pm

Here are four simple questions any follower of Jesus should be able to answer (and do!)

Why do we make disciples?
What do we say?
Who do we reach?
When are we going to do it?

During the evening on February 15th, in Eureka IL, we'll be training these 4 questions. It will take about 1 hour and we'll cover it all 1 piece of paper.  (Hence, the 411.)

If you'd like to come let me know and I'll get you more details. If this isn't for you but you know someone who might be interested, please send them this blog post.

Upcoming Trainings: