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

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: https://www.pheaney.com/2019/06/day-6-report-40-days-in-harvest.html

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: https://www.pheaney.com/2019/06/start-with-your-oikos-with-joleene-burts.html

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