Monday, July 29, 2019

Day 24 Report: Eyes to See

Tracking Day 24*
Teammates: 6
Places: Pekin, East Peoria
Engaged: 22
Prayed For: 7
Gospel Shares: 6
Yellow Light - Scheduled Follow Up: 3
Green Light (New Believer):
Christian:
Trained:

*Note: This was a combination of two half-days in the harvest.

God's just been giving me eyes to see where the lost and downtrodden are located. We often think of homeless shelters or food pantries, but I feel like I better see places and people that are far from God and need his hope. (By way of example, in my days at summer camp I could walk into a room and instantly know what was going on, where the issue was, or what needed addressed... I feel like God has used these days in the harvest to develop similar skills.)

The highlight of this "day" was an afternoon I took about 6 people from a youth group I had trained out to share the Gospel. I had a friend join me. Just a month ago, a different youth group knocked on his door and shared the Gospel with him. Praise God for raising up laborers.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Day 23 Report

Tracking Day 23
Teammates: 2
Places: Peoria, Pekin
Engaged: 17
Prayed For: 9
Gospel Shares: 1
Yellow Light - Scheduled Follow Up: 1
Green Light (New Believer):
Christian: 8
Trained: 6

At lunch today I trained on discovery Bible studies, which is 5 of the Engaged, Christian and Trained in the count above.

In the morning my teammate and I attempted a follow up Discovery Bible Study and the person wasn't home. But we still engaged others and ended up with another yellow light where we can come back and attempt to lead a Bible study the next week.

The afternoon was unsuccessful in one sense as we didn't have any Gospel shares. But it was exactly what God wanted for us in another sense: I ran into a couple of old friends that had just received some discouraging news. They welcomed prayer and we were an encouragement to them.

Disciple: Discovering & Obeying the Word with Steve Parlato

We often think better teaching is a key to making disciples. And while we should faithfully teach God's word, it's even more important to train disciples to discover and obey the truth in God's word for themselves. Said another way: If you teach a disciple the Bible, he'll grow for a day. If you train a disciple to discover and obey the Bible, he'll grow for a lifetime.

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!

More thoughts from Steve:
Let Scripture answer the question.  Questions always go back to Scripture. Ask, "Where do you see that in this Scripture?  A corollary to this is don’t put yourself as the center of authority.  If you are talking too much or giving out the ‘real’ answers then you are undermining the process.

Group discipleship is better than 1 -1 discipleship
- Group discipleship results in more powerful discovery and action steps than one on one discipleship.  If a leader does not know something about a person in the group there is a chance someone else in the group does know that about that person and there is less hiding of sin patterns and life issues.  
- The size of a group is a matter of personal preference and ability.  I recommend that new leaders lead a group of 3 to 6 people.  More experienced leaders will be able to manage up to about 12 members.  
- Just remember lots of people you invest in will stop obeying and stop following Jesus, so work with groups and after much time you will have many more ongoing faithful disciples of Jesus.  Discipling people in groups is also good stewardship of a leaders time.

Leader sets the example and set the expectation in obedience.   
As a leader you must craft good action steps and transparently share them with the group.   Each meeting the leader must report succinctly how they obeyed Jesus.  If you are not setting a good example, then do not expect anyone else to do this for you.  If your group has met three or more times and nobody is obeying or doing anything you have a problem - start by looking in the mirror at yourself.  Make any changes to your own life and then come back at the group.

Take people out to prayer walk and to share.  Take them along with you to see you in action.  You can never model everything in the small group.

Sharpen people's action steps. Make sure each person leaves with a “SMART" action step. (Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time bound action steps) Honor and encourage any steps of obedience, but do not reward baby behavior when they can and should be doing more.  Sometimes people set small action steps as a way to avoid being challenged in a subsequent meeting.  Discernment is needed if you are overwhelming someone or if they are hiding and underperforming.

Start with new believers and seekers.  The more history someone has sitting in academically oriented Bible study groups where there was no expectation of life change or obedience the harder it will be for them to function in an obedience oriented Three Thirds group.

Rotate leadership.   Train up people who can lead all of the Three Thirds group process right away.  I begin assisting a new leader after only 3 meetings.  That new leader then begins assisting a new leader after 2 or 3 meetings that they lead.  Follow the Model - Assist - Watch and Leave process until all group members can lead the group.

Imitation before Innovation.  Lead the group 50 times, mastering the skills and having lived the process for a good long while before you innovate or conclude it does not work in your context. Then start looking at how to contextualize to your context.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Day 22 Report

Tracking Day 22*
Teammates: 2
Places: Peoria
Engaged: 10
Prayed For: 6
Gospel Shares: 6
Yellow Light - Scheduled Follow Up: 2
Green Light (New Believer):
Christian: 3
Scheduled Training or Discipleship: 2

*This was a combination of a few harvest times.

The COOLEST thing ever was a teammate I had taken into the harvest on Days 8 and Day 17 ran his own harvest time between Day 17 and now!  He casually let me know he took 3 people out to share the Gospel and had 2 follow-up appointments from it. I hadn't asked him to, told him to, or anything.

Also with that same teammate I had a crazy follow up visit. Seriously crazy. The two guys in the house were not the guy we had met before. It ended when a van pulled up with people yelling in it... but we mostly got the Gospel out, so we'll pray for a longer, smoother conversation when we return.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Day 21 Report: Aurora

Tracking Day 21
Teammates: 8
Places: Aurora IL
Engaged: 44
Prayed For: 24
Gospel Shares: 15
Yellow Light - Scheduled Follow Up: 13
Green Light (New Believer):
Christian: 7
Scheduled Training or Discipleship: 1 (Trained on the Spot = 6!)

This was a fun day!

We gathered with a small team of laborers in Aurora IL and hit the harvest in some fearsome heat for about 3 hours. The best part was a large list of follow ups that the local pastor will be pursuing.


One team we sent out met a young man and clearly shared the Gospel with him. He was actually the son of a member at the church we were sent out from. While he had never shown interest in spiritual things before, this intentional harvest focus led to a great conversation and opportunity to follow up.

Another team went door-to-door and see a bunch of fruit from it! At one house they asked if they could bless the house before they left, and the mother proceeded to get everyone out on the front porch to be a part of it!

Finally, one teammate had never seen an offer of prayer as a way to start spiritual conversations. He was totally sold after watching it firsthand. This man was already an evangelist but it was great to give him another tool for his ministry tool belt.


Thursday, July 18, 2019

Day 20: Simple Conversations

Tracking Day 20
Teammates:
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 
Teammates:
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.