Inspiration

When You Press Through and Persevere

perseverance

What is the most important quality in a disciple maker or church planter’s life?” she asked. I was thoughtful for a moment. Many things rose to my mind. Diligence, prayer, passion for the lost, ability to call others into the vision, my list was long. One thing rose to the top. Perseverance. Without an ability to stick to the task, in spite of obstacles, to resist distractions and press on, Disciple Making Movements don’t get launched.

God gave you passion and vision or you wouldn’t be reading this blog. Somewhere along the line, He breathed His heart into yours. It caught. A dream of multiplication began. read more

Will You Miss What God Is Doing In This Crisis?

crisis

Crisis brings out the best and worst within us. Some personalities love a challenge. Adversity inspires them. Climbing Mount Everest, participating in a Triathalon, winning an Olympic medal…these people amaze me! Not everyone has an extreme adventure personality. Some of us freeze when there is a crisis. We have no idea what to do. Others are pessimistic by nature. When a major problem hits, they see all the possibilities of what could go wrong.

In the midst of the COVID-19 global crisis, what kind of person will you be? read more

Will You Focus on the Living or the Dead this Easter?

dead

The news has been full of death statistics of late. New York Post headlines from April 8th read “Coronavirus kills 1,000 in NYC in just 36 hours.” Not good news! On April 5th, the death toll in Spain had crossed 12,000 dead. How are we to celebrate Easter in such a time?

If there ever was a time for us to proclaim the incredible news of Christ’s resurrection it is now.

Jesus is alive. He conquered death and the grave. By His stripes, those He suffered on Calvary, we are healed (Is. 53:5). The coronavirus has no grip on Him…nor on us! What a wonderful message we have to share. read more

A Holy Dissatisfaction- My Prayer for 2020

holy dissatisfaction

This is an inside look at my heart, an invitation to pray with me today. I invite you to join me in holy dissatisfaction.

As I do each year, I’ve been pondering my goals for the coming year. What is God wanting to do? What is He laying on my heart to believe Him for? I want to be focused on the right things…the God things not just the good things or the many things.

You likely do too. It’s the start not only of a new year but a new decade.

As I pray, I find myself filled with what is best described as a holy dissatisfaction. I’m longing for more. read more

Motivation #3- A Biblical Understanding of the Priesthood of All

priesthood

What is the primary reason the Great Commission task is not yet finished?” I asked this question to a group of students this week. Many different answers surfaced. None of them matched my own. I believe the main reason we haven’t yet made disciples of all nations is related to the priesthood of all believers. In elevating professional pastors, we have somehow overshadowed a powerful truth. Jesus died to make everyone a priest of God. There are no more high and low castes. Everyone who follows Jesus is fully empowered to do the work of the Kingdom. Disciple-making Movements embrace this. read more

Motivation #2: When God’s Heart for the Lost Grips Yours

God's heart

The mountain was high, the trail steep. I’d started out enthusiastic. Now each step felt hard. Up, up, up, I went. What would keep me going until I reached the top? Starting a Disciple Making Movement can be a bit like that hike. We start well, our passion high. A few months (or years) later, it’s an uphill climb. We need solid motivations clear in our hearts. They will carry us upward toward the release of a DMM.

As mentioned in previous blogs, some motivations will sustain you on the DMM journey. Others will not. In my last article, we talked about the number one reason for wanting to start DMMs all over the world. A passion for God’s glory will keep you through the messy, dry or painful seasons of launching DMMs. read more

Motivation #1: A Passion for God’s Glory

passion for God's glory

Motivations matter. Your why comes before your what. Simon Sinek’s book Start With Why is a best-selling business book. His premise is true in more than business. It’s true in life. Motivations affect us as we pursue Disciple Making Movements. If your reason for wanting to launch a movement is not clear, you may not experience what you are hoping for. Our first important motivation must be a passion for God’s glory.

How deeply do you long for His glory? What does that mean?

In my last article, I described the many different motivations we have for wanting to multiply disciples. Some of those motivations are inappropriate. Some are healthy and good. Not all motivations will sustain you in the long road of launching a movement. read more

3 Things to Do as You Start the New Year

new year

The New Year approaches! What plans and purposes does God have for us in the year to come? Here are three things I will be doing to get ready for the coming year. Join me in prayerfully going through these steps.

1. REFLECT.

Before rushing ahead into a new year, hit the pause button. Stop and take time to look back. Think through the major events of this past year, both ministry and personal. I ask these questions.

-How has God shown me unusual kindness or grace this past year?

-What did He reveal to me about His nature and character? read more

A Christmas Prayer for Disciple-Makers

Instead of a blog this week, my gift to you is a Christmas prayer.


The wonder of Christmas through the eyes of a child.

May your heart be filled with wonder, infused with a surprising level of joy this week.

May you once again marvel as you contemplate the incredible miracle of the Christ-child’s birth.

May it be the most natural thing in the world to share the story of Jesus with those around you who have never heard.

May you know the blessing of not only knowing Him better but of making Him known to many others this year.

May you grow as a disciple who makes disciples, sensing the pleasure of your Master saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” read more

How to Avoid Burnout and Painful Member Care Obstacles

member care

Burnout! That common condition that we hate to see our friends go through. Depression. A mental health issue more common in ministry leaders lives than you would think. Marital difficulty or divorce. Again, not unusual. Heart attack! Almost predictable in busy leaders who don’t take care of their health.

 

These issues are a major concern for those trying to start movements, especially in pioneer regions of the world. Member care issues join our list of obstacles that block a Disciple Making Movement.

Not Only Strategy Matters

Many of the things which block a movement’s growth have to do with strategy. But the health of those initiating the movement also plays a key role. When team members are overworked, emotionally drained and struggle in their own lives and families, it has a major impact on the movement.

Exhaustion That Runs Deep

I had never felt so exhausted in my life. One doctor who saw me called it “chronic fatigue”. I could barely walk up the stairs without becoming so tired I had to sit down. I was completely depleted. A few weeks off helped me to recover…somewhat.

 

Then another crisis hit. A medical evacuation of a fellow missionary. They nearly died. I came home and collapsed. There was absolutely nothing left inside of me. I didn’t realize that following that pattern in my life would lead me toward medically diagnosed depression. I would later face a season when I needed to take significant time off to get medical care and help.

 

Paul, the great movement initiator knew what this kind of exhaustion felt like. The pressure of ministry can be incredibly heavy upon us.

 

“Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.” 2 Cor. 11:28 NIV

Stop It!

A pastor I often listen to online said recently, “Don’t give out more than you take in. That is just plain dumb! Stop it.” That is about as direct as it can get.

 

There is real truth in his statement. At times, we need to hear it said that way. We can be a bit dumb when it comes to taking care of ourselves.

 

As passionate people deeply committed to the Great Commission, we give and give and give. We push ourselves to help others, even when there is little left inside. Sometimes we give out more than we have taken in. Eventually, it catches up with us and we pay the price. Often the movement does too.

 

Maintaining spiritual, physical, emotional and relational health is crucial. It is necessary if we want to release a thriving, multiplying, and sustained movement. Below are some of the things I have tried to practice to keep myself and my team healthy.

 
How to Keep Yourself And Your Team Healthy

1) Practice spiritual disciplines like Sabbath.

Do you take a weekly day to rest and refill? Or do you go week after week without any breaks? Many church planters do.

 

We tend to think we are somehow superhuman and able to keep going without rest. But God didn’t create us to function that way. The Sabbath is a command of God for a reason. He gave us that law to bless us with the health we need. We can not give out what we don’t have. Each week, find a way to practice Sabbath personally and as a team. I’ve written several articles on this that you may find helpful.

2) Maintain boundaries, even when growth is happening.

In community-oriented cultures, this is quite difficult. But it is necessary. Brene Brown in her book, Rising Strong, says, “Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.” Henry Cloud has also written an excellent book called Boundaries for Leaders.

 

It is easy to feel like the needs of those you minister to and lead must take priority. Christian ministers can feel they must have their phone on 24-7. They must always be available to those they lead.

 

This is a recipe for burn out. While we are called to love others deeply, we must also love ourselves. We show that by setting and upholding boundaries.

 

That means learning to say, “I will meet you tomorrow. Today I have another appointment.” Even when that “appointment” is your date night with your spouse or taking a nap on your Sabbath.

3) Seek out mentors and peer community.

Make sure you have upward mentoring in your life. The more we grow in leadership and ministry the more difficult it can be to find mentors who speak into our lives. We are helping many, but who is helping us? Take responsibility to find those people and seek them out.

 

Also, look for peers you can relate with. Take time for those Skype or WhatsApp calls with an old friend. Join a peer group like the one we have for DMMs. Cultivate meaningful relationships, even when it takes energy to do so. It is vital to your emotional health.

4) Practice “friendly accountability” related to your physical health.

Do you have someone who holds you accountable for things like exercise, healthy eating, and sleep? If you crash and burn, chances are the movement will too. Maintaining your health is much easier than recovering from burn out or depression. Set goals in these areas and then find someone to hold you accountable and encourage you.

 

We are whole people. Our physical health is as important to God as the rest of us. Make space in your life for exercise and sleep. Don’t believe the lie that you are superhuman and don’t need sleep like other people. Get regular physical check ups.

 

Your healthy lifestyle speaks loudly of what you value. It’s part of being a disciple-maker to model this too.

5) Make space in your life for friendships and play. read more