Monday, March 11, 2019

Three Circles Training with Practice!

Sunday March 31, 930am-Noon at Pekin Bible Church.

Learn how to:
  • Share the Gospel using a method called the 3 Circles.
  • Move a conversation to the Gospel with 3 Questions.
  • Pursue the next steps with that person depending on the 3 Responses you might get.
Then... we'll go and do it! God shows up when we obey.

If Sunday mornings are not a time you can make training, contact me and we can schedule another time!

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. 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, EventBrite, 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, 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:

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Thinking down on others

Picture this: It's freezing cold and you see someone walking outside.

He doesn't have gloves or a hat.

Is your first thought "What is that idiot doing?"

I'm afraid I've been guilty of thinking down on someone like that before.

What if you had the same upbringing, the same parents, the same schools. Would you be any different?

Treating someone as less than human, even if it's a fraction less and just in a mental comment we make to ourselves, is a dangerous slope.

Maybe instead of thinking down on 'that idiot' we should look at ourselves: Are we willing to sacrifice to change his story?

PS. He needs more than gloves. He needs the Gospel too. You can probably give him both.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Crossing the line

At some point you just have to cross the line.

Maybe you're not comfortable talking to someone you don't know. Maybe you're not comfortable introducing a meaningful topic into a casual conversation. Maybe you love to talk deeply with people but have never ventured into a spiritual conversation.

If you want to share the Gospel with people that are far from God, you're going to need to cross the line.

Me? I hate the fact that EVERYONE is looking at their phone, usually with earbuds in. The only way to start a conversation with them is to cross the line of interrupting them. (Don't worry, most of us just waste time on our phones anyway.)

In any of these scenarios the line is there. It needs to be crossed. The mission of Jesus calls us to leave our comfort behind and reach out to others.

Finally, wherever your line is: It's not going to be any easier to cross it tomorrow. You might as well go ahead and do it today.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Waiting, praying and what God wants

I've got wise friends. One of them told me this in a recent phone call:

"We're so used to the American culture of getting what we want when we want it, that when we pray for a desire for more than a year we think something must be wrong." (Loose paraphrase.)

Maybe God just wants to to pray more.

Abraham Lincoln thought the same thing about the Civil War:
 "The will of God prevails. In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be, wrong. God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time. In the present civil war it is quite possible that God's purpose is something different from the purpose of either party -- and yet the human instrumentalities, working just as they do, are of the best adaptation to effect His purpose. I am almost ready to say that this is probably true -- that God wills this contest, and wills that it shall not end yet. By his mere great power, on the minds of the now contestants, He could have either saved or destroyed the Union without a human contest. Yet the contest began. And, having begun He could give the final victory to either side any day. Yet the contest proceeds." (Emphasis mine).

We're interested in the resolution to our trouble or dilemma and we usually want that resolution to happen quickly. I'm not sure God is interested in the same thing. Maybe we're supposed to learn and grow from what we're facing.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Why I don't use tracts

Some people love their Gospel-tracts. Me? Not so much.

I'm not talking about the bad ones (and trust me, there are some bad ones out there): Literature that is insulting and mean in how it presents the Goodbest news in the world.

But I don't even like to use the good ones.

It has nothing to do with the tract itself, the problem is me. (What's that old break-up line? "It's not you, it's me.")

For me, a tract is a crutch. An easy way out of the difficult work of starting a conversation, caring for someone in that conversation, and directing it to the Gospel.

[There's a difference between a crutch and a tool. If you use a tract so you can talk less or listen less (bigger deal!), then it's a crutch. If you can use a tract to start a conversation or further it towards the Gospel, that's using it as a tool. Go for it.]

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Knox County Gospel Conversation Training - February 9

Gospel Conversation Training

Saturday February 9, 9am-Noon at The Oaks Church in Dahinda IL.

In Knox County there are 34,000 people living without Jesus in their lives. At least half of them will never set foot in a traditional church. What's it gonna take to bring the Gospel to them? This training will equip and challenge you to share the Gospel and make disciples with the people in your world.

Learn how to:
  • Naturally take a conversation from "Hello" to the Gospel. 
  • Share the Gospel in a simple and effective way. 
  • Help people take their next steps towards Jesus. 
Please contact me to RSVP.  Interested in training but can't make that day? Let me know!

Other upcoming trainings:

Friday, January 11, 2019

Is caring for others "the Gospel"?

So, is caring for others "the gospel"? Is that evangelism? No, not without the spoken message of the gospel of Jesus... We should never confuse meeting physical needs with sharing the gospel. Caring for others represents the gospel, it upholds the gospel, it points to the gospel, it's an implication of the gospel, but it is not the gospel, and it is not equal to the gospel.

Mack Stiles in Marks of the Messenger (pgs 68-69)  eloquently completes my thoughts about free meals without a Gospel conversation.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

411 Training on January 25

[A quick service announcement It seems I've had several people get subscribed without their knowledge, sorry if that's you! You can always unsubscribe via the link at the bottom of the email, or reply and I'll remove you myself. I've added a double opt-in requirement to the sign up form to prevent this problem in the future. Back to your regularly scheduled post:]

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 January 25th, 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 you can't make that night but would still like the training, let me know and we'll get another time scheduled.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Pekin High School Late Start Gospel Conversation Training

On January 23rd, 815-915am at Pekin Starbucks we'll be meeting to train students how to share the Gospel with their friends. We'll leave that day with a goal to contact fellow students that are far from God, inviting them to the next Late Start at Starbucks.

On February 6th we'll meet our friends (same time, same place) with the specific intention of sharing the Gospel with them.

Then on February 20th we'll do a Discovery Bible study for anyone that is interested in learning more about Jesus.

We'll repeat the whole cycle March 6, 20 and April 3rd.

If you're not a Pekin High School student, you might know one. Can you pass this training on to them?  If you don't know any, but you're interested in a similar training for yourself or your ministry, contact me!