Thursday, July 18, 2019

Day 20: Simple Conversations

Tracking Day 20
Places: Pekin, Peoria
Engaged: 10
Prayed For: 3
Gospel Shares: 5
Yellow Light - Scheduled Follow Up: 2
Green Light (New Believer):
Christian: 2
Scheduled Training or Discipleship: 1

What impressed me about today is that people are willing to have spiritual conversations, willing to hear the Gospel, willing to consider what the Bible means for them....

But often our programs and structures don't allow those to happen. I understand the tension after running a day-camp program for years, but the challenge in front of the church is: Will you share the Gospel with people and be willing to answer their questions? Or will you put on another program, that while potentially helpful, doesn't move people towards faith in Jesus?

Case in point: A lady at a homeless shelter responded to my simple offer of prayer. It led to a 15-20 minute conversation, that included the Gospel and a simple story to illustrate Jesus' love for everyone. She had plenty of Christian background, so nothing was brand new to her. But at the same time, no one had heard her express that she can't read the Bible because she doesn't have one at her reading level. So I set her up with a Bible app on her phone and pointed it to an easy to read version. She even claimed she was going to start reading.  Maybe she will and maybe she won't, but the chance of her reading the Bible on her own is much higher after that short conversation.

Three Responses to the Gospel with Matt Altizer

Anytime you (attempt to) share the Gospel, people will respond in one of three ways. It helps to know what to do with each response.

If you can't view the audio player, click here.

Show Notes:
If you have a question to ask or a story to share, go here and Jump In!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Day 19 Report: Let Scripture Teach

Tracking Day 19*
Teammates: 2
Places: Pekin
Engaged: 6
Prayed For: 3
Gospel Shares: 1
Yellow Light - Scheduled Follow Up:
Green Light (New Believer):
Christian: 3
Scheduled Training or Discipleship: 3

*Today combined a few follow up studies with a half day of harvest time.

There was a lower number of engagements today as I had several follow up Bible studies scheduled. I'm learning:

  • to keep things simple: Time in the harvest helps you see that complicated tools and or methods won't work.
  • Scripture can teach! It is one of the most refreshing things to see a young believer ask a deep question, and then answer it correctly from Scripture. (Maybe more correctly than your average church goer!)
  • to continue sifting for a person of peace. I was ghosted by a couple people today for a follow up. I'll continue to pray and maybe reach out again, but I've also seen those that when God is moving in someone's life they seek you out after that initial encounter. 

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Day 18 Report: Small Towns

Tracking Day 18
Teammates: 2
Places: South Pekin, Pekin
Engaged: 10
Prayed For: 3
Gospel Shares: 2
Yellow Light - Scheduled Follow Up:
Green Light (New Believer):
Christian: 3
Scheduled Training:

This morning a friend and missionary to another country joined me in small town America. We were praying for the town, meeting people, and asking God: What would it look like for a movement of disciples who make disciples in a small town? (He has a burden for small towns in his country, and while there are difference, there are many similarities too.)

We shared the Gospel once and met five people. We started with the police department, which while intimidating, was a great way to get an "okay" for two strange guys to walk around town asking people how we can pray for them.

We cannot fund enough pastors to reach every small town in America, but we can look for spiritually interested people in each town. If you want to chat more about reaching small towns by looking for a person of peace, let me know!

Friday, July 12, 2019

Day 17 Report

Tracking Day 17*
Teammates: 9
Places: Pekin, Tremont, Peoria
Engaged: 24
Prayed For: 10
Gospel Shares: 5
Yellow Light - Scheduled Follow Up: 1
Green Light (New Believer): 1
Christian: 4
Scheduled Training: 3

*Note: Day 17 was a combination of 3 harvest times on 3 different days.

The first harvest time we had two people join us who had never attempted to share the Gospel with a stranger before. It was a great faith builder. I took a team to one park and had 8 conversations with zero results. But the other team had one conversation that lead to a person responding to the Gospel!

The second time illustrated the value of modeling. I was at a local thrift store (I had already trained volunteers in starting spiritual conversations). It was fun and very helpful to show what it looked like to start a spiritual conversation.

The last time was two follow up meetings, both of which were encouraging. I don't know if it was an anomaly, but it was really intriguing that both were probably believers that need discipled to follow Jesus closer. They were both interested in more time together, learning to follow Jesus.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Day 16 Report: Recon Day

Tracking Day 16
Teammates: 1
Places: Galesburg, Peoria
Engaged: 10
Prayed For: 3
Gospel Shares: 5
Yellow Light - Scheduled Follow Up: 1
Green Light (New Believer):
Christian: 3
Scheduled Training: 1

Today was a reconnaissance day. My teammate (also my mom!) explored Galesburg for good place to meet people and engage in conversation. Our hope is to find a few places we can bring others from her church. To that end we think we found a couple of places that we're going to check out further.

In the afternoon I reconnected with the original group I started a Discovery Bible Study with in 2017-2018. Then I followed up with a Green Light from Harvest Day 11 and schedule a follow up Bible study with him. One thing that stood out to me is how much we are loners in America. I already know this, but it's another thing to experience it. I asked this man if he would have anyone else he would want to invite to this Bible study, and he said: "Ha, no." Many people have hardly any pre-existing relationships that the Gospel can spread through.

Fasting for Movement with Jeff and Angie Sundell

Can you imagine one million people fasting for #NoPlaceLeft? Maybe it's time to start. Jeff and Angie Sundell cast vision for three specific fasts when pursuing movement.

If you can't view the audio player, click here.

Show Notes:
If you have a question to ask or a story to share, go here and Jump In!

Monday, July 8, 2019

Day 15 Report: "I've got this."

Tracking Day 15 
Teammates: 5
Places: Pekin, Peoria
Engaged: 14
Prayed For: 5 Gospel Shares: 5
Yellow Light - Scheduled Follow Up: 2
Green Light (New Believer):
Christian: 2
Scheduled Training: 1

I have continued to be surprised by lost people's interest in learning from the Bible.  God is using the prayers of his people and his word to slowly change hearts. I've had a follow up Discovery Bible Study with an agnostic and just today he proposed scheduling a regular weekday to meet. 

My favorite moment from today was in the afternoon. I trained 4 students and a youth pastor and then we visited a few parks in town. We were able to share the Gospel several times and pray for people as well. In the middle of our time one of the students saw a friend of his. He stopped, turned back to look at us and then said "I've got this." Then he went and shared the Gospel on his own! Praise God!

Friday, July 5, 2019

Day 14 Report: Brokenness

Tracking Day 14 
Places: Pekin, Peoria
Engaged: 10
Prayed For: 4
Gospel Shares: 5
Yellow Light - Scheduled Follow Up:  1
Green Light (New Believer):
Christian: 2
Scheduled Training: 2

Sadly the weather kept me form training a small group of students and sharing the Gospel during the evening of this day. We're hoping to reschedule.

I'm just continuing to see how much broken people are open to spiritual conversations, engage with you about the Gospel, and want to hear more.  BUT at the same time, that brokenness often keeps them from actually reconnecting with you.

I had a follow up Bible Study with someone we met on Day 12.  It was awesome. He's very interested in learning how to follow Jesus, so on Sunday we're going to start the Commands of Christ.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Abundant Prayer with Paul Watson of Contagious Disciple Making

This should have been the first episode. Pursuing a movement of disciple-making disciples and church-planting churches starts, ends, and is surrounded by prayer.

If you can't view the audio player, click here.

Show Notes:
If you have a question to ask or a story to share, go here and Jump In!

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Day 13: Following Up

I spent this (really hot) day following up with people from Day 11 and 12.  There were several doors that didn't get answered, but also a few continued opportunities.

Tracking Day 13 
Teammates: 1
Places: Pekin, Peoria
Engaged: 12, (8 of those were attempts at follow up)
Prayed For: 1
Gospel Shares: 1
Yellow Light - Scheduled Follow Up: 3
Green Light (New Believer): 0
Christian: 1
Scheduled Training: 1

One person our team met on Friday was open to a conversation today. He doesn't currently go to church but claims to be a believer. He was interested in a Bible study. It's crazy his current openness because he told me that he originally moved to town (many years back) to sell drugs. I'm praying God will use him to reach his neighborhood and family.

I also had one teammate join me as we attempted to meet a couple of hispanic guys. I'm 99% sure one of them is a follower of Jesus. He was interested in a Bible study, so we're going to attempt to meet next week. My goal is to teach him the Commands of Christ so he can pass them on to the people in his world.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Day 12 Report: The Power of Team Part 2

Tracking Day 12
Teammates: 27
Places: Pekin
Engaged: 86
Prayed For: 18
Gospel Shares: 5
Yellow Light - Scheduled Follow Up: 4
Green Light (New Believer): 0
Christian: 7
Scheduled Training: 1

Another awesome display on the power of team.  The same group from yesterday sifted through 86 engagements, 18 prayers and 5 Gospel Shares to find 4 people to follow up with.  There was also one believer I'm confident God had in mind for us. He had so many questions and has a very real but fragile faith. He gladly welcomed a follow up meeting to better follow Jesus.

As excited as I am about the people we met, 20+ high school students got to practice engaging people in spiritual conversation. Real life practice! I'm super excited to see how God uses that over the coming weeks and months.

We also weeded someone's garden that refused prayer and never gave the opportunity to share the Gospel. But she needed help on a 90 degree day, so we helped her. We pray that a small seed was sown, even as our attempts did not yield any fruit today.

I'm reflecting that I need to specifically invite Christians into the work by offering training. I didn't actually train these students in that so unfortunately that didn't happen with this day even though we met 7 Christians.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Day 11 Report: The Power of a Team

Tracking Day 11 
Teammates: 25
Places: Peoria
Engaged: 64
Prayed For: 25
Gospel Shares: 5
Yellow Light - Scheduled Follow Up: 5
Green Light (New Believer): 3 (1 with clear follow up info)
Christian: 5
Scheduled Training: 0

Nope, you didn't read that wrong. 25 teammates and in an hour and half we engaged over 60 people. I was working alongside a local youth group and we canvassed the neighborhood around an inner city Christian school. It was a simple invite to a cookout that evening, and while maybe none of the people we invited came, we have several follow up opportunities from that canvassing. Best of all, there was at least one new believer! It's amazing what a team can do!

At the cookout I was able to share the Gospel with those that listened (maybe about 75 people).

One story outside of that team: In the morning I met a young man for a Discovery Bible Study. We finished the first story of Creation to Christ and I was about to wrap up when he said: "Can we read the next story too?"  God's word is powerful. He had never heard the stories of Creation and was very intrigued. Pray our continued Bible studies will point him to Jesus.

God's been answering prayers for open doors and spiritual interest. A quarter of the way through my 40 Days there are numerous individuals I'm meeting with for Discovery Bible Studies. I'm praying for groups to form out of these individual meetings.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Day 10 Report: Prayer & Follow Ups

Tracking Day 10 
Teammates: 0
Places: Peoria, Pekin
Engaged: 10  (2 were believers, 3 were scheduled follow ups)
Prayed For: 3
Gospel Shares: 3
Yellow Light - Scheduled Follow Up: 3
Green Light (New Believer): 0 (but 1 oh-so-close!)
Christian: 2
Scheduled Training: 2

I had my prayer partners pray that the people I had meetings scheduled with would fulfill them and God showed up! Five out of five!

I had challenged an agnostic to read Ecclesiastes between our meetings and he did! He appreciated the cynicism but also applied it to his own life: "While things are pretty good for me, I still feel like somethings missing." This is someone who doesn't believe in the miracles of the Bible and sees everything as a metaphor.

I re-shared the Gospel with someone I had met on Day 8. He seems to comprehend the Gospel message and I asked what was keeping him from turning and believing in Jesus. He said, "I guess I still have some questions. Maybe I need a Bible study or to go to church."  I offered to meet with him for a Bible study and he said yes!

Gospel: Three Circles with Kenton Killebrew of Global Gates

Sharing the Gospel doesn't need to be complicated. The Three Circles is a simple Gospel tool that's being used widely in #NoPlaceLeft networks. Check out this episode for an awesome story of how God worked through the Three Circles.

If you can't view the audio player, click here.

Show Notes:
Remember to PRAY! On the next episode Paul Watson of Contagious Disciple Making crushes the topic of prayer.

If you have a question to ask or a story to share, go here and Jump In!

Monday, June 24, 2019

Day 9 Report: 40 Days in the Harvest

Tracking Day 9
Teammates: 0 (My main to-do tomorrow is track down more teammates!)
Places: Green Valley, Pekin
Engaged: 19
Prayed For: 5
Gospel Shares: 6
Yellow Light - Scheduled Follow Up: 2
Green Light (New Believer): 0
Christian: 7
Scheduled Training: 6

I started my day in Green Valley. We were hoping to do some training over a Bible study and then head out to pray for the town, but rain kept us from heading out. I was able to train on 3 Questions, 3 Circles and a weekly prayer calendar. I left them with the challenge to pray every weekday for a specific person or family in their life. Next week their challenge is to ask those people how they can pray for them. I'll be checking back in 4 weeks to see how it goes. (Six of the Christians I met in the stats above were this Bible Study.)

The best part of the day was a follow-up Bible study with a guy from the apartments on Day 6. I still see an opportunity there and am praying one of the relationships I've built will be a person of peace with a desire to reach the apartment complex.

This probably started a few harvest days ago, but I'm starting to realize the immensity of the task, even in an area as "small" as 370,000 people. What's It Gonna Take to reach them all for Jesus? Being in the harvest forces you to ask and answer tough questions. You start notice people and patterns. What would it look like to have a disciple-maker in every society segment and neighborhood in the area?

Friday, June 21, 2019

Day 8 Report: 40 Days in the Harvest

Tracking Day 8
Teammates: 2
Places: Peoria, Pekin
Engaged: 17
Prayed For: 7
Gospel Shares: 4
Yellow Light - Scheduled Follow Up: 9
Green Light (New Believer): 0
Christian: 0 (maybe 1)
Scheduled Training: 0

God's been granting some great fruit in people being interested in follow up meetings.

Two quick stories:
My teammate and I were on the south end (inner city) of Peoria, following up with a couple of previous yellow lights from Day 3. We passed by an older couple cleaning up their yard. Instead of starting with an offer of prayer we just said: "We've got about 10 minutes, is there anything we can help you move?" After we moved a broken up couch and mattress we offered to pray. The lady was weeping and gave me a huge hug afterwards. They turned back to their work right away, but when we asked if we could visit again, they said yes. We'll be looking to return and share the Gospel soon.
Later that day in Pekin I was able to share the Gospel with someone at a homeless shelter. It was evident he hadn't really heard about Jesus before. I wasn't able to stay long, but I said, "Would you want to meet again to hear more about Jesus?" I'm excited to return and share the Gospel again.

I'm praying for a "Green Light," but also know that those will come with faithful sowing and follow-up

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Day 7 Report: 40 Days in the Harvest

Today was a follow-up day in LaSalle from Day 5. To be honest, it wasn't as fruitful as the previous visit. We were able to connect with one person, but unable to actually meet with him. Unlike the previous time, the offer of prayer did not lead to many spiritual conversations.

As Jacob and I debriefed, he said something really helpful: The harvest is a filter for faithful Timothy's. People that are willing to join you in cold-call evangelism (even if they are terrified doing it) are showing a specific interest in the missionary task of reaching the lost.

We've also had some great conversations when leading with an interview format. "We're here learning the spiritual climate of the area, would you be interested in asking 5 questions?" It leads to some great conversations and people are very open to an interview (When you ask if you can record it, everyone says yes! I think they want to be a YouTube sensation).  However, offering prayer is a more reproducible way to engage the lost as it can work in many contexts (reaching your oikos, house of peace search, as you go interactions, etc.)

Tracking Day 7
Teammates: 1
Places: LaSalle, Pekin
Engaged: 15
Prayed For: 3
Gospel Shares: 3
Yellow Light - Scheduled Follow Up: 3
Green Light (New Believer): 0
Christian: 3
Scheduled Training: 2

Gospel: Share your Story in 15 seconds with Lukas Teese of e3 Partners

A recovering alcoholic walks into a bar... 

If this was a joke, you probably think you know it ends.

Check out this episode of On the Road to #NoPlaceLeft for how God used a simple tool called a 15 Second testimony... in a bar... to save a recovering alcoholic.

If you can't view the audio player, click here.

Show Notes
If you have a question to ask or a story to share, go here and Jump In!

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Day 6 Report: 40 Days in the Harvest

Tracking Day 6
Teammates: None (I had planned today as a follow-up day).
Places: Pekin & Peoria
Engaged: 11
Prayed For: 4
Gospel Shares: 6
Yellow Light - Scheduled Follow Up: 8 (no joke!)
Green Light (New Believer): 0
Christian: 2
Scheduled Training:

Story From the Day:
I started out the day wanting to prayer-walk a specific apartment complex. I had done a Discovery Bible Study with a friend who lived there and he said it was a pretty rough area, with the police visiting pretty much every night for one reason or another.

There was a couple sitting outside on the far side of the road where I was walking. I had intended to wait until I circled the complex before offering to pray for them, but the guy hollered out "Hey buddy, do you have a cigarette?"

I took that as a cue to walk over and chat. (Aside: I did not have a cigarette. :) After a little small talk I asked if they had anything I could pray about, and the guy said: "A whole bunch."  So I sat down and listened.  It was about an hour conversation all about the hardships he and she were facing, his addictions (he was drinking a beer at 9AM), and their spiritual beliefs. At one point I was able to share the Gospel with them using the 3 Circles.

I found out God had already been working: They had just had a spiritual conversation the night before between them and 3 other people in the apartment. And, they both had a desire for more spiritually, but felt that, without a way to "get to church" they couldn't do anything else.

I offered to come back and teach them how to learn from God's word for themselves. They were both interested! She said: "I would really like that."  Before I left, one of those friends came over, and I got permission to capture this interaction: (This is about as real as it gets).

If you can't see the video, go here:

Pray for S, S, N, C, & A who are interested in a Bible study!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Day 5 Report: 40 Days in the Harvest

The lack of understanding of the Good News of Jesus was very evident today. It is crazy how confused the simple message of the Gospel has become, and even more so because it's wrapped up in cultural Christian concepts. (We had a great/crazy conversation involving Joel Osteen that I'll save for telling in person.)

The sad part about it is that the Gospel is not changing lives because it has been confused and therefore not accepted.  Another sad thing that was evident was religion has burned people. (Again... Christian religion apart from a relationship with Jesus.)

I had a great teammate with me: Jacob Stafford of One Way Ministries. One bonus is he remembered to take a picture as we were debriefing the day! We're going to visit LaSalle again soon to follow up the Yellow Lights we encountered.

Tracking Day 5
Teammates: 1
Places: LaSalle
Engaged: 22
Prayed For: 6
Gospel Shares: 7
Yellow Light - Scheduled Follow Up: 3
Green Light (New Believer): 0
Christian: 1
Scheduled Training:

Entry: Hello to the Gospel in 3 Questions

"Hello, this is the Good News of Jesus Christ."

Okay, so it may not be quite that fast, but here are 3 questions to move any conversation to the Gospel.

If you can't view the audio player, click here.

Show Notes:
If you have a question to ask or a story to share, go here and Jump In!

Monday, June 10, 2019

Day 4 Report: 40 Days in the Harvest

Tracking Day 4
Teammates: 2
Places: Peoria & Green Valley
Engaged: 20
Prayed For: 3
Gospel Shares: 4
Yellow Light - Scheduled Follow Up: 1
Green Light (New Believer): 0
Christian: 3
Scheduled Training: 1 maybe

A couple of stories:
I was praying at a coffee shop before I was going to head out in downtown Peoria in the morning. A barista who had seen me doing a Discovery Bible Study with a coworker the previous week interrupted me to ask what I had been meeting his coworker about. I learned that he had already been praying for his coworker and has had some spiritual conversations with him.  It was a great encouragement to meet another believer.

I was reminded not to pre-judge who will respond to the Gospel. There was a guy wearing an 'I have issues' t-shirt that I almost avoided. But I felt led to offer to pray for him. It turned into a 15 minute conversation where I was able to share the Gospel and a follow up story about Jesus. He was even interested in meeting again!

One thought:
My afternoon was in Green Valley. I was surprised by how it went, especially compared to Day 3.  We offered to pray for a dozen people and only got one off-handed prayer request. (And even then they moved on from us before we were able to pray.) We know God wants people in this small town to hear and receive the Gospel, but the receptivity to spiritual conversations was surprisingly low. I'll be returning their a couple of more times during these 40 Days, so I'm going to start regularly praying for that community to be open to the Gospel.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Day 3 Report: 40 Days in the Harvest

Wow! Remember what I said last time about how it's better to share the Gospel with teammates?! Today we had 4 total teammates and the amount of conversations proves it! 

Tracking Day 3
Teammates: 4
Places: Peoria (From inner city to upscale and back again.)
Engaged: 25+
Prayed For: 18+
Gospel Shares: 14+
Yellow Light - Scheduled Follow Up: 2
Green Light (New Believer): 0
Christian: 0
Scheduled Training: 0
(The + is because we had some bigger groups we engaged in the afternoon so not 100% sure on totals.)

Some cool stories: 
I ran into someone I had prayed for previously and their prayer request (for their grandkids) had been answered.
A friend joined me as a teammate and I offered to pray for people in an upscale area of town. I didn't think we had a ton of luck (4 engaged, 2 prayers) but my friend said "This was helpful." He appreciated seeing simple questions starting spiritual conversations.
In the afternoon the number of people we engaged, prayed for, and shared the Gospel with was nearly identical. Usually there is a funnel with less people hearing the Gospel than you engage, but people on the south end of Peoria were very open to conversation and hearing the Gospel. For one group of kids it was the first time they had heard Jesus had died for them.

Some free thoughts: 
We have some messed up versions of Christianity out there. Church is something you go to, Jesus life and death is something you give assent to, but it doesn't change you or mean anything different.  Of the 14+ people that heard the Gospel today, many of them would describe themselves as Christian, but I'm not confident that many of them have a personal faith in Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.
The offer of a Bible study in a cultural Christian context often is met with "I already go to church." I'm working through better follow up questions. One I know I need to try is: "Can we come back and share a story of Jesus with you?"

Reply or contact me to join in a future harvest day! See the schedule here.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Day 2 Report: 40 Days in the Harvest

I started this day with 4 Discovery Bible Studies on the calendar. One of them was a growing believer and the rest were spiritually interested.  The second two no-showed but the first two went great.
I had at least 6 prayer partners specifically praying for the day, and it was evident in those Bible studies. Both of them surprised me by wanting to read more scripture! The first (not currently following Jesus) said: "Do you want to read another chapter?"  And the second (a growing believer) said "Do you want to read it again?"

Two other thoughts:
1) It's way easier with a teammate. I didn't have one in the afternoon and it makes it much more difficult! (Jesus knew what he was doing when he sent out his disciples 2x2.)
2) It does not take very long to get into some messy stuff. I won't share the specifics on the internet, but seeing brokenness face to face is pretty heavy. (This reminds me of my podcast episode with Dale Losch, statistics aren't as powerful as hearing personal stories.)

Reply or contact me to join in a future harvest day! See the schedule here.

Tracking Day 2
Teammates: 1
Places: Inner City Peoria, Pekin
Engaged: 10 (one of them being a scheduled follow up Discovery Bible Study)
Prayed For: 5
Gospel Shares: 5
Yellow Light - Scheduled Follow Up: 2
Green Light (New Believer): 0
Christian: 3
Scheduled Training: 0

Start with your Oikos with Joleene Burts

Reaching the world with the Gospel starts with our own neighborhood. Hear how God used a simple tool called an Oikos Map and a funny game called Bunco to lead people to faith in Jesus.

If you can't see the audio player, visit here:

Show Notes:
If you have a question to ask or a story to share, go here and Jump In!

Monday, June 3, 2019

Day 1 Report: 40 Days in the Harvest

In the morning, the most spiritually receptive person was weeding outside a church building. We were interrupted before we could fully understand her personal beliefs, but it was really intriguing that she was more open to talking than anyone else. 

Coming out of this day we have 4 opportunities for follow up. Three of the four were pre-existing relationships. People are interested in meeting, even specifically for a Bible study or for training to share their faith (Both of those happened today)!  The believer I met was a long-time acquaintance. After I prayed I asked a simple: Would you be interested in training to better share your faith? After it was a Yes I simply said "When? and Where?".

I'm still pondering how to respond to people that claim they are close to God but do not seem to have a personal and real relationship with Jesus. I'm learning to continue to press towards Gospel clarity, both in explaining it to someone, but also in their response to it.

Reply or contact me to join in a future harvest day! See the schedule here.

Tracking Day 1
Teammates: 1
Places: All Around Pekin
Engaged: 14
Prayed For: 6
Gospel Shares: 3
Yellow Light - Scheduled Follow Up: 3
Green Light (New Believer): 0
Christian: 3
Scheduled Training: 1

Thursday, May 30, 2019

The Four Fields, a path to #NoPlaceLeft with Tom Hall of e3 Partners

How can one church or ministry, even a huge one, fulfill the great commission? The Four Fields is a simple strategy that provides a path to #NoPlaceLeft. Tom Hall of e3 Partners explains.

If you can't view the audio player, click here.

Show Notes
If you have a question to ask or a story to share, go here and Jump In!

Friday, May 24, 2019

40 Days in the Harvest

This summer I am going to be doing something called “40 Days in the Harvest”

This means I will be setting aside 40 days, scattered throughout the summer, to spend out in the harvest field: engaging the lost, sharing the Gospel, and discipling the fruit.

Why am I doing this?

  • To see where God is already at work in the hearts of people.
  • To demonstrate that people far from God are still interested in spiritual conversations. 
  • To provide a way to invite believers into the work (See below).
  • To begin building missionary teams focused on reaching the unchurched all around us.
We see very clearly in Luke 10 (and elsewhere in the New Testament), that it’s best to go into the harvest field with a partner or team. I’m currently seeking teammates for these 40 days.

  • When? Forty days scattered throughout the summer. Check out my schedule here. I’ll divide the day into time slots, with 3 hours being a preferred minimum. (You’re welcome to come the whole day and multiple days.) There’s also only 1 weekend day, but if this idea appeals to you and weekdays are not good I’d love to work with you and set up a Saturday or Sunday 
  • Where? I’d love to come to you and partner with you where you have a vision and burden, but you’re also welcome to join me wherever I'm going for that day. 
  • What? You don’t need to be an evangelism expert (or even an extrovert!) to come along. Just be willing to pray and walk with me. We’ll cover some tools and skills as we go, and I’ll only ask you to join in if you’re comfortable doing so.
If you're interested in joining or just have more questions, contact me and let me know! 

I hope to post a run-down of each harvest day after it happens. You can subscribe to this blog here to get those updates.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

The Brutal Facts with Dale Losch

This was a fun interview because Dale took things a different (and better!) direction than I was planning. You'll have to find out for yourself, but listen for what motivates most believers to reach the lost. One motivator is the brutal facts of lostness in the world, but Dale does a great job of sharing another.

If you can't see the audio player, visit here:

Show Notes
If you have a question to ask or a story to share, go here and Jump In!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

What does #No Place Left mean? Steve Addison shares.

I took a short class to learn how to podcast and one of the assignments was to brainstorm a top 10 list of people you'd like to interview. We were supposed to start with our most 'gettable' guest and then guests 9 or 10 would be the difficult ones to track down.  Despite being farther down my list, Steve Addison was kind enough to do an interview and it felt like a perfect fit for my first episode.

Steve is an author of several books on movements, as well as a blogger, podcaster.  He also leads a missionary organization focused on multiplying disciples and churches AND puts the tools he teaches into practice himself. I have been totally spoiled by his interest in jumping in for my first episode.

If you can't view the audio player, click here.

Show Notes for Episode 1.1
If you have a question to ask or a story to share, go here and Jump In!

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

On the Road to #NPL Podcast - Season 1

What does No Place Left mean?
Can my church start a movement that would cause the gospel to reach every corner of my city?
Can I?

If you can't see the player above, listen here.

If you've asked any of these questions then On the Road to No Place Left is a podcast for you. I'll be driving around and sharing about how you can pursue No Place Left wherever God has you. In short episodes, we'll interview guests that are pursuing movement in their cities, share skills and tools you can put into practice, and always include awesome stories of God at work.

You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts. The first episode will drop Thursday May 16.

Here's a rundown of Season 1: A Four Fields Framework
  • What’s #NoPlaceLeft? with Steve Addison, Move Network
  • Brutal Facts about the Lost with Dale Losch, President of Crossworld 
  • Four Fields Overview with Tom Hall, e3 Partners
  • Who is your Oikos? with Joleene Burts
  • From Hello to the Gospel in Three Questions
  • Sharing your story in 15 Seconds with Lukas Teese, e3 Partners
  • The Three Circles Gospel Tool with Kenton Killebrew, Global Gates
  • Abiding in the Word, Prayer, and Fasting 
  • Three Thirds Discipleship
  • The 411 with Ginger Mayer, e3 Partners
  • The Healthy Church Circle
  • MAWLing Leaders with Mike Puckett, e3 Partners
  • Iron on Iron Leadership Sharpening Tool
  • Season Wrap Up: Big Vision, Clear Path, Simple Steps
I'm still solidifying more episodes and guests, but this is a general idea of where we're headed.

I hope you can jump in as we pursue sharing the gospel, making disciples, and reproducing leaders and churches until there is No Place Left where the name of Jesus hasn’t been heard.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Discovery Bible Study Training

According to this study by Barna, less than half of unchurched Americans are open to an invitation to church.  This is true even if that invitation come from a friend. (That study is 5 years old by the way. I highly doubt things have improved.)

While people are growing less and less interested in visiting church, the Gospel and truths of God's word are more and more relevant to the brokenness people experience in the world today.

What if our first invite wasn't to church?

What if our first invite was to Jesus and the truth of his word?

If you'd like to learn how to study the Bible with those that are far from God, this training is for you.  We'll cover the basics of starting Gospel conversations, as well as how to lead a Discovery Bible Study.

Thursday April 25, 6-8pm at Grace Church in Morton. 

Contact me for more information or if you'd like to schedule a training a different time.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Gospel Training This Saturday

I'll keep this simple:

Where: The Cabin in Tremont

When: 7:30PM

What: A simple training to share the Gospel with the people in your life.

Let me know if you're interested in coming.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Something's coming...

I've been a little quiet on the blog lately.

Don't worry, something's coming...

Thursday, April 4, 2019

March Gospel Report

Time to report in: GospelShare.Link

This March, I and the people I trained...

... offered prayer to 37 people.

... prayed with 13 of them.

... shared the Gospel with 11.

... encountered 25 Red Lights (At some point the conversation ended without opportunity for follow up.)

... found 8 Yellow Lights. (There was an opportunity for follow up.)

... met 3 Christians as we shared.

I would love to know how much the Gospel is going out in addition to me and my training.  Can you use GospelShare.Link anytime you share the Gospel this spring?

GospelShare.Link is a place to celebrate how much the Good News is being spread. Check it out and check in whenever you share.

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!