Puck & Chuck Test

Chuck Wood and I had a good time testing out some software for doing interviews. There are some amazing tools available to us for serving Jesus and his people.

Breakthrough in Quebec

Our team of 6 has been in Quebec for the better part of a week now. Yesterday, two of our students led a guy named Maxim to Christ. Today they baptized him in the river!

Quebec averages around only 0.5% evangelical. It is one of the most lost places in North America. Tonight, we are praising God for new life in the kingdom in Quebec!

NC City Leaders

We’ve been pursuing #NoPlaceLeft for almost 3 years in Boone. In that time our work on campus has spread into the community and into the Hispanic population. Things like this tend to spread and we want to help healthy things spread. The same thing is happening across North Carolina, among many other places.

One of the foundational structures that helps us to develop leaders and support them over the long haul is what we refer to as a coaching call. They often look like this. These men represent kingdom work happening in most of the major regions of North Carolina. We will spend 3 months meeting weekly and then shift to quarterly group coaching, called Iron on Iron.

It’s all free and there are no positional leadership roles. I love the purity of faith and conviction in these men. They are kingdom giants.

Network Effect: One Campus to Another

There are some unique opportunities presented when working in a collegiate context. This summer we sent a few of our students to serve with other leaders on other campuses. Two of them went to Charlotte, NC to serve with Caleb Sprinkle, one of our student leader alumni. One went to Miami, FL to serve with “Scuba” Steve Carswell, one of the key leaders for NPL Florida.

In the course of planning for and sending these students, the network effect became more clear to me. Both of the leaders who hosted our students are a part of the No Place Left community, so I already knew we were all on the same page. Not only was there no slow-down or vision-disconnect, our 3 guys were able to jump right in, and get to work. Alternatively, the hosts were able to turn our students loose to do what we all already do and they were also able to do some coaching and development with them that helped tremendously.

Ultimately, it is the vision that makes this possible. We associate with one another not because we like each other (we actually do love one another deeply), or because we are paid to, but because we have the same belief system with the No Place Left vision at the center of it and an agreed-upon clear path in place. It is amazing that we can parachute into one another’s networks and get right to work as co-laborers and learn from one another on the job. 

BCNet in New Orleans

Last week I spent 4 days in New Orleans with a group called Baptist Collegiate Network (BCNet). It is a team of teams that meets together once a year on the campus of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary to dream up projects that will help move towards the overall vision of BCNet:

“The gospel for every college student on every college campus in North America.”

I was invited to join the Evangelism team (one of a handful of different teams making up BCNet) last year. This year I am leading the team. Our team is distributed across NC, KY, NY, TX, OR, and CA. It’s amazing that we can work together even being so spread out.

Each year when we get together in New Orleans we have 36 hours together as a team to review our progress from the prior year, determine what projects we would like to take on in the coming year, and plan our work for the year. It is a long few days of hard work, but it is tiring in the best kind of way.

Over the last 2 years our team has been working on Gospel Appointments. It is a simple and effective entry strategy and process for setting up gospel shares. It isn’t only a campus/collegiate tool, but it makes a lot of sense in that context. This year we are continuing our work with Gospel Appointments and some vision and strategy to help move the needle forward in collegiate engagement across the SBC community in North America.

There is nothing less exciting to my ears than a “committee of committees.” Peeling back the surface a bit, I am actually excited to be a part of this community. The most encouraging thing about BCNet is the God-sized vision I quoted above. I’m excited to be a part of a team of teams that is all about shooting for the moon.

There are 6,726 institutions of higher education in North America. What if there was a reproducing gospel presence on every one of them?

A key issue for many of us in Christian ministry is that we don’t know (how) to dream up God-sized visions. These kinds of shoot-the-moon plans stretch what we consider might be possible. They force us into dependence on God to accomplish them – which cannot be said of much of what we aim at week to week and year to year.

I’m learning that a God-sized vision forces us to think, pray, plan, and act differently.

Training in Action

I felt like a proud dad today as I received updates on the training taking place in Boone. I’m thankful for the leaders the Lord is raising up.

Boone Gospel Conversations Training

While we are off the mountain for the weekend, the #NoPlaceLeft Boone team is prepping tonight to facilitate a Gospel Conversations Training tomorrow. I’m so encouraged by what the Lord is doing in Boone through these people. They are the reason we feel so confident in our exit to make the move to Southern California.

These are local leaders taking ownership of the core missionary task for the field God has called them to. We are praying that the Lord would raise up teams like this all over SoCal and the Western US. This is a work worth giving our lives to.

Two Years of Scott

Yesterday marked two years since Scott Kilby officially joined our team. It feels like it was just yesterday and 10 years ago because time flies and it’s hard to imagine our team and work without him.

Scott, Anna, and I all ended up intersecting in BCM in unexpected ways and I couldn’t be more grateful for them and how God has been at work in and around us.

No Place Left U.S.A. Retreat

At the beginning of May, Kelly (and Silas) and I gathered with #NoPlaceLeft city leaders from all over the U.S. in a little North Carolina mountain holler called Buladean. It’s the kind community where you have to exit NC into TN and then enter back into NC just to get to it. Beautiful. Peaceful. Difficult to access. A good friend and ministry partner of mine was born and raised here!

We spent 4 and a half days praying and studying the Word together, learning, and sharpening one another. The work we do is so geographically distributed from one another that we are more used to seeing one another on a Zoom video conference than in person. I met at least 6 of the city leaders for the first time (and not just in person) on this trip. It was a deeply encouraging time to be with brothers and sisters doing the same work in so many other cities. It was especially encouraging getting to spend some time with our teammates (Troy Cooper & Rick Preato).

The specific cities represented were (in no particular order):

  • Austin, TX
  • Houston, TX
  • San Antonio, TX
  • Dallas / Fort Worth, TX
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Charlotte, NC
  • West Point, NY
  • Jensen Beach, FL
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • Oklahoma City, OK
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Long Beach, CA
  • Gainesville, FL
  • Memphis, TN
  • Boone, NC