Baptism Questions- Who Can Baptize?

who can baptize

Here is some water! Can you baptize me?

Ever been asked this question before? There are some big questions around the issue of baptism.

  • Who can baptize others?
  • How do you know if someone is ready to be baptized?
  • Can someone be considered a “believer” or “disciple” if they don’t desire (or are not willing to take) this the step of obedience?

These are very important questions for someone trying to start a Disciple Making Movement (DMM). In the next few blogs I’d like to address these one by one.

Who Can Baptize?

We’ll start with the “Who can baptize?” question. Let’s consider some scripture as we begin.

35 “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him. 36 As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch *said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?” 37 [[i]And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”] 38 And he ordered the [j]chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him.”(Acts 8:35-38 NASB)

In this passage, Philip baptized the eunuch immediately after he shared the gospel with him. Was Philip an apostle? No. He was an ordinary believer who shared good news and then took the next natural step. He didn’t wait for Peter, John, or James. The eunuch was ready and he knew his authority as a priest of God. He didn’t hesitate to baptize this government official.

Dolpa scene

Baptism In Remote Areas

I heard a story once of some new believers in the high mountains of Nepal. They lived above the tree line. In order to reach their village it took at least six days of walking on narrow mountain paths. They had believed, but as they considered baptism, they faced a difficulty. There was a shortage of water in the village. It had to be carried by yaks from the river far below. There was also a shortage of “qualified” people who could do the baptism (according to the traditions of churches in their country). The pastors back in Kathmandu didn’t have time to trek many days up a mountain to baptize these people! read more

Do We Need To Live Among Them? Incarnational Ministry Questions

incarnational ministry

My kid’s school is far away from my ministry field. How important is it that I live among the people I’m trying to reach? If I can’t live “on site” how much will that affect my fruitfulness? It is important to consider the significance of what is called incarnational ministry.

Jesus was incarnational. What that means is though He was God, he took on human flesh and became a man. He left heaven, came to earth, lived among us and through that, that helped us to see what God the Father was like. He is our model. How important is it that we do this? This article addresses, not the issue of adapting to culture, but the question of living among the people we serve.

Do We Need To Live Among Them?

This is a real question for both cross-cultural and national missionaries as well. There are often many barriers to living among the people.

Does the principle of incarnational ministry mean that the only way to do missions is to live among those we want to reach? What about loving and providing for our families and their needs? What if the place I’m trying to reach is very remote or I can’t get a visa to stay there? read more

Discipleship Accountability: Avoid or Embrace?

One of the things I appreciate about the T4T (Training for Trainers) approach is how every meeting begins in the first section with reporting in on what you have done the past week to apply what you learned before.  Likewise, every meeting ends with the setting of new goals. How are you going to obey and put into practice what you learned in the lesson or story?  This accountability loop is a very important part of making obedient disciples.

Friendly accountability

It goes much further than this though.  We must develop an appreciation, even an embracing of friendly accountability in our lives as leaders personally.  As we model this, our disciples see it.  They begin to value it as well.

This will ensure that friendly accountability becomes part of the DNA of the movement.  By upholding this value, the movement will be stable and strong even after you, as the coach, trainer, initiator, or leader move on.  Accountability seems an unfriendly, even “dirty” word to many though. read more

A Bulldozer Anointing for Discipleship Breakthroughs


“You are like a bulldozer” he said. Wow. That was interesting to hear. I wasn’t sure I liked him saying that. What did it mean? I understand better now what this prophetically gifted man was referring to. To release Disciple Making Movements (DMMs) ,we need to move in a “Bulldozer Anointing”, pressing through obstacles until we get to the breakthrough God wants to give.

Obstacles Come – Big & Small

In life we all face obstacles. This has got to be even more true for those who are boldly pursuing the release of a movement of disciples among the unreached. We face financial obstacles, visa related obstacles, persecution related problems, family issues, discipleship and marriage problems and many other things. Big or small, the obstacles come with regular frequency.

What we do when faced with a barrier that stands in our way – determines what kind of a leader we become – and the results we will see.

Big or small, the obstacles come with regular frequency.

Joshua Had A Bulldozer Anointing

Joshua faced big barriers when he moved into the Promised land as well. He battled a huge one right away with the fortified city of Jericho. Big walls. No way in. No way over. Armies that were bigger than his. What did he do? read more

6 Factors That Get Discipleship Movements Moving


What makes a disciple making movement move? How can you get multiplication growth to happen (and be sustained) as you make disciples? There are certain movement growth factors to keep in mind in your ministry.

The following are the most important keys to pushing your disciple making into multiplicative growth. Some are obvious. Some are more easy to ignore.

VISION CASTING movement growth factors

Proverbs 29:18 “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” (KJV)

How deeply ingrained in the heart of each disciple is the vision to see lost people around them come to know the Lord? When we talk about vision as it relates to Disciple Making Movements, we are specifically talking about the vision for lost people to meet Jesus and be saved. This passion, this vision for lost souls must be spoken out repeatedly in every meeting and in multiple ways. It has to become a part of the “talk” of the movement. It has to move beyond something only leaders think about and become ingrained in the hearts of all. This happens by creative and consistently motivating people to reach the lost around them. Cast vision to see your movement move! read more

God-Sized Goals

God sized goals

When sharing the vision for Disciple Making Movements (DMMs) most people are excited to hear what God is doing. As a Christian worker, who wouldn’t want to see a movement of genuine Jesus followers? We all do! It’s not hard to get people on board with the vision. It is more difficult motivating people to make necessary changes in what they believe and how they do ministry. Many also struggle with believing it is possible to see these kinds of movements in their area, or through them.

Faith Is Necessary

Faith is a necessity as we talk about starting Disciple Making Movements. I regularly return to Hebrews 11 to stir up my own faith. Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith is believing for things we can not see yet and verse 6 says without this kind of faith it is impossible to please God.

How does that play out in our daily lives? What does it look like to be people of faith as we attempt to start a DMM?

Our faith takes shape in our actions and goals. What we believe, actually believe, shows up in these two things. read more

Being Contextual Without Being a Zealot


One of the important aspects of a growing movement is that it becomes indigenous. Disciples are free to live out the gospel message in a contextual way. What does the word indigenous mean and how can we contextualize without going too far?

Miriam Webster defines indigenous as: produced, growing, living, or occurring naturally in a particular region or environment. We speak of indigenous plants, indigenous people, indigenous culture. What we mean by indigenous Disciple Making Movements (DMMs) is that within these movements disciples grow naturally in their own context and culture.

How Much Should We Focus On Contextualization?

Most people agree that indigenous movements grow faster than when we import culture and traditions from outside. Across the board, cross cultural church planters accept this, at least in theory.

A key question is the degree to which we focus on indigenization (or contextualization) as we pursue a DMM. What follows in this blog may be controversial or offensive to some people. Please forgive me ahead of time and hear me out. Feel free to comment about what you agree or disagree with. I won’t be offended and maybe we can learn together! read more

You Are a Royal Priest

royal priest

Our beliefs about who we are, dramatically impact how we behave.  In the last blog I talked about who we are as people God has chosen to bear much fruit.  We are the chosen ones.  Today I want to focus on another aspect of identity – who you are as a royal priest of God.

1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”- NIV

It’s important to understand the major shift Jesus brought about when he went to the cross and rose again.  He destroyed the old system of Levitical priesthood and established a new system where all who followed Him would be royal priests. In the new covenant you are not physically born into the priesthood.  Instead, when you receive Jesus, you are spiritually born into this status.

A Spiritual Caste Through Spiritual Birth

For years I lived in India. There, people of high caste birth have certain privileges. In Hindu society there are specific things only Brahmins are allowed to do.  You can not become a Brahmin through study or effort – you must be born a Brahmin.  It is not that different from the Levitical tribe.  You could not become a Levite either.  You had to be born a Levite. read more

Christmas Eve Reflections

Merry Christmas! I hope you are reading this blog with a happy heart as you celebrate the miraculous arrival of our Lord! What incredible good news we have to share with the world!


Sometimes this message seems so incredible it is almost scary. The shepherds definitely felt afraid when they first heard of Jesus’ birth through the angels. It was so incredible, so supernatural, so beyond them.

Luke 2:9 “An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”

Four things to take note of.

  1. Don’t be afraid.
  2. It is good news.
  3. It is cause for great joy.
  4. It is for all people.

Do you feel afraid? Afraid to believe fully? Afraid of persecution? Freaked out by the supernatural aspects of working with God among the unreached? Afraid of the challenges? Afraid of hoping something incredible will happen, only to be disappointed? Afraid to take a step of faith and obedience?

The message of the angels is a message for you. Don’t be afraid.

Do you ever forget it is good news we have to share? It’s not politics. It’s not religion. It’s not a matter of trying to convince people to believe what we believe or to adopt “our God” instead of whatever they are currently worshiping. It’s good news. His arrival in on earth and in our lives is incredibly good news!

It’s good news that He loves us. It’s good news that He cared enough to come and be one of us. It’s good news that He paid a price for us so we wouldn’t have to. There is SO MUCH good news to share!

It is cause for great joy. Not fighting, not arguing, not taking of sides. Not bombs and wars and crusades. Great joy. The kind of joy we see in the eyes of children when they open gifts tonight or tomorrow. The kind of joy we see in grandma’s eyes when she hugs those grandkids who have come back for the holidays. The joy of reunion, reconciliation, forgiveness, delight, intimacy, pleasure, peace. He came to bring great joy.

Last but not least, this message is for ALL people. Not some. Not a few. Not one people group, or class, or status. He came for all people. This message is for all!

Yet not all have heard it. That is our job. The angels did their part. They announced His arrival to the shepherds. The shepherds had to do their part too. They had to spread that word to everyone they met. That is our job too. What about the homeless man you saw the other day? What about the grumpy neighbors who keep to themselves? What about the person from another culture and religion that you work with? Who will you tell about the true meaning of Christmas today? If we don’t share the message, how will it become known by all? His message is for all.

I know it’s Christmas and we all have parties to attend, food to prepare…but take a moment, just a few minutes, and tell someone the good news we celebrate on this holiday. That goes for those of us who preach today too. If we want to make disciples who share the gospel, we need to be active in sharing it in our personal lives too. Today is an awesome day to take a few moments to do that.

Let the joy and love overflow. Let the fear go. Let His supernatural message go deep into your heart once again today.

Christmas Blessings!


Give the “Best Jesus presents” in 2017!

It’s His birthday that we celebrate each year on December 25th, right? He should definitely be given a birthday gift. The question is what? What do you give to the One who made it all? What would really make His birthday a party in Heaven?


In Luke 15, we find three very similar stories; the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and the Lost Son. Each of these stories ends with a description of what happens in Heaven when even one person repents. Can you imagine the party in heaven if 50 people repented? What if it was a hundred? Or 500? That would be a pretty big angelic celebration! I can imagine Jesus joining right in the dance! Woohoo! My beloved ones have come home!

I’m thinking that what really makes a party a party for Him is when there are lots of new names written in the Book of Life He keeps.

This Christmas, what if instead of focusing on our having a great party on earth, we focused on what would give Him a fun party in Heaven? It is His birthday after all!

Many of our Christmas traditions, feasts, songs, dances and programs are geared to help Christians enjoy themselves. We might even invite people who aren’t yet believers and include a little message at the end, especially for them. This year I’ve been asking though, what could we do differently to see more lost people get introduced to Jesus- the One who the Big Celebration is all about. What if we did something different and the people we invite, not only met Him casually (prayed some kind of prayer of response) but what if they actually made a decision to repent, follow Him and become a disciple? What if what we did at Christmas actually resulted in new groups of disciples meeting together regularly to learn His ways and obey His commands?

I think that would make a pretty awesome Jesus present!

Seriously… as disciple makers, let’s re-evaluate what we have done in the past at Christmas. How fruitful was it, in light of the goal of making disciples who make disciples? What could we do differently this year to see a different result?

I’ve talked recently with a few people about this. Plans are being made to include more one on one sharing of testimonies. Plans are forming to prioritize follow-up immediately after the “program” on Christmas day, to immediately invite the seekers or new believers into groups where they can learn what it means to be a disciple. Church members are being challenged and trained to share the good news of Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection more this month than normal- believing for many new disciples to be made in December.

Jesus is going to have an incredible Christmas Birthday party! What gift will you bring Him this year?