It has been 5 years since the Lord has called our family to raise our financial support as our means of engaging the mission He called us to. It scared us when we first knew this was what was next. We were leading a campus ministry at the time, and it was such a surprise that we weren’t even considering that it might be a long-term calling from the Lord. In this journey through the last 5 years, the Lord has provided in amazing ways and in the process, given us some amazing relationships as a result.
Now, we are serving with e3 Partners, leading strategy for North America and building a No Place Left Collegiate Network and we get to give our lives to see the kingdom expand across our continent.
We couldn’t do this if we didn’t raise our own support. Lots of you are partners with us – and it is only with you that we are able to do what God has called us to. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.
Each year, e3 Partners has a global Giving Day, where every gift given on that day is matched with a percentage of funds by our organization – so every dollar you give goes farther!
We would ask that you mark your calendar for Thursday, September 12 and prayerfully consider giving to help us press on in the work God has called us to! For some, that may mean giving a special gift, and for others, that may mean increasing existing support. It gives us so much joy to partner with others in the ministry that we do – we would be honored to have you join with us in a special way on Giving Day 2019!
This is how facilitate a full 4 Fields Training Rollout with a local church. One of our teammates created this image and knocked it out of the park. If you are interested in hosting a training rollout, you can find my contact on the About Us page. If you’d like to learn more about our training process, you can find that here. For our upcoming training schedule, you can look here.
The month of June was an intense and fruitful month for us – and it included a lot of travel representing just about every aspect of my new responsibilities with e3 Partners as North America Region Director.
I’ll highlight some key events in NC, FL, Canada, and CA, below to give a taste of what the Lord has been doing and what is ahead.
Marrying Some of Our Dearest Disciples
I met Matthew just before he started his freshman year at Appalachian State University, just about 3 years ago now. I met Gracie the following year as a brand new freshman. It has been amazing to see the Lord use them so powerfully since then, and it has been all the richer to walk with them through their whole relationship. One of my most treasured moments with them was officiating their wedding in mid-May. They have become like a son and daughter to us over these last few years. Matthew works with me as a CPM Catalyst for e3 Partners.
Before we left Boone for the Raleigh event, we were able to spend some time with our team we left behind to carry out the work in our absence. They have been more fruitful than ever and it was such a sweet joy getting to laugh, connect, and worship with them in person. We love these folks dearly! Scott and Anna Kilby and Matthew and Gracie Thifault lead so well here.
Church Planting Multiplier Gathering (Raleigh, NC)
A key part of the #NoPlaceLeft work in the US over the last 4-5 years or so has been conducting 4 Fields Trainings broadly to find leaders and establish new churches and missionary teams. We continue this work, but now we have leaders, teams, and churches all over map (literally). With so much good work established, we need to intentionally seek to learn from the margins of the most fruitful work so that we can adapt accordingly.
At the beginning of June we gathered with leaders from NC, GA, TN, TX, NY, and CA to learn from how God is moving in places where we are seeing multiplying generations of disciples and churches. It is no surprise that Identity in Jesus and strong discipleship are both at the heart of this fruit that the Lord is bringing. I also felt some clear direction from the Lord to pursue a collegiate network within the broader NPL Coalition. I’m thrilled about that!
e3USA Leadership Retreat (Tampa, FL)
Our little family of 4 flew home to Long Beach after the Raleigh event, and a day and a half later, I flew to Tampa to meet with the guys pictured with me above. These guys have become close friends of mine and they are our area leaders that make up our e3USA leadership team. Tom is based in TX, Justin in NC, and Matt in UT. We get together to pray, assess, and plan each quarter for our national work with e3 and NPL. It is truly life-giving getting to serve with these brothers.
After a significant amount of prayer together, we came away confident in our next stage of our vision that aims to accomplish No Place Left: “50-50-25.”
50-50-25 stands for 50 Coalitions in the 50 largest US Metros by 2025. A coalition is simply a team of at least 3 teams with an NPL Plan in place. We can’t force movement to occur, but we can “raise the sails” so that when the Holy Spirit moves powerfully, we are ready to harness His movement and keep up with Him.
e3 Canada Training Mega-Trip (Ontario & Nova Scotia)
One aspect of my North America role that I have been the most excited about is working with our Canadian leaders. I’ve been coaching our 2 key national leaders, Jeremy and Tony, for a year and a half or so. This was the first time I’ve gotten visit Canada (ever!) and it was even better than I hoped it was going to be. A bonus to the whole thing was getting to have the newly married Thifaults with me for the whole trip! I could really feel what John was expressing here:
Though I have many things to write to you, I don’t want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete.
2 John 12 (CSB)
As amazing as it is to connect with these brothers digitally, it was so refreshing to be together for an extended time.
On my first stop in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, we facilitated a 4 Fields Intensive training for folks coming from all over Southern Ontario, Nova Scotia, and Manitoba. All throughout the training, these folks were on-board and tracking with us. As a result of this training and time with these leaders, we now have 4 Fields Intensive Trainings scheduled for Winnipeg and Halifax, and a Midlevel for Greater Toronto all within the next 3-9 months.
On my second stop in Nova Scotia, we facilitated a Midlevel Retreat for the NPL team led by Tony. Midlevels are for leaders who are actively engaged in disciple making and church planting enough to get stuck or frustrated or both. We build the retreat around identifying barriers and breakthroughs, addressing those barriers, and setting goals for the next season of ministry. It was one of the most worshipful events I have been a part of in recent memory. We saw a new team emerge and coalesce during this time too!
Back in Long Beach…
It is so sweet to be back home with my family. These are my people, and I don’t like being gone long – even though they handle it so well.
The day after I returned, the Long Beach 4 Fields Intensive training started! I didn’t participate, but we got to swing by for a bit to eat lunch and connect. Rick and Jenny Preato lead this so well – it’s an honor to get to serve with them! They, and most of the rest of our teammates are now in Australia for 2-3 weeks to facilitate 4 Fields Intensive trainings there too! This truly is an amazing work.
I’m so thankful for all that the Lord is doing, and all of what we get to participate with Him in!
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.
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):
A few weeks ago, our #NoPlaceLeft Boone team had their first baptism of a new believer! Haley led her to faith so Haley baptized her. Seth, the senior pastor of Perkinsville Baptist Church (their their legacy church), a family member who is an elder at Perkinsville, and another family member were all in the water with them.
It is so encouraging to see the kingdom expand and it is especially encouraging to see a local church empowering believers to make disciples, baptize them, and teach them to obey Jesus.
#NoPlaceLeft is “Local ownership of the core missionary task for all peoples and places.” That’s what we are working toward globally, including Boone, NC. Today I saw a couple of clear mile markers toward this end.
It was surreal and deeply encouraging to hear Seth Norris, pastor of Perkinsville Baptist Church, preach the 9 Functions of Church from Acts during our big outdoor celebration service. Simple, biblical, reproducible tools are taking root in our legacy churches. Seth has led PBC to launch a #NoPlaceLeft Residency as well. I can’t overstate how beautiful this partnership relationship has been with Perkinsville.