On Monday night Spencer and Bailey and I traveled down to Pineola, NC (a crossroads in neighboring Avery County) to facilitate a 411 Training for some leaders of churches in the Avery Baptist Association.
We started by casting vision for #NoPlaceLeft in Watauga County and Northwestern NC and then trained these folks in 411.
At the end of the training, I challenged each person to try to train at least 2-3 people from their churches each week. The very next day one of the leaders we trained had already trained two other people!
More often than not this is what it looks like when new No Place Left teams begin to emerge. I’m praying that we will see a #NoPlaceLeft Avery team emerge who will take personal ownership of getting the gospel to the 17,000 residents of their community by making disciples who make disciples and training believers to make disciples who make disciples until there’s No Place Left.
There are 6,300 homes unengaged with the gospel in the 3 mile radius around Boone’s town center. Over the course of a few weeks somewhere around 15% of the entire membership of Perkinsville Baptist Church has been mobilized into the harvest at least once to offer prayer and share the gospel. There are other churches in the area that seem poised and ready to join the adventure. What if every church in this community took ownership of training every member to make disciples and getting the gospel to every resident in the community personally?
It is beautiful to see local legacy churches training and mobilizing their people to engage lostness in their own backyard. Any church can do this. Every church should do this. Perkinsville Baptist Church is just getting started, and I’m certain that it will only be one of a number of churches who will take ownership of the core missionary task in this community!
A lack of practical equipping can keep people from being mobilized. We can help with that! In fact, there are lots of trainings going on that can help, and one happening on February 17 here in Boone! They are free, fun, and really helpful!
Gospel Conversations Training – Boone, NC
Feb 17 | 9-5pm
Perkinsville Baptist Church
Register for free here.
Midway through January one of my Timothys (Matthew) and I spent the weekend in Raleigh to lead the Grace Raleigh / Grace Christian Life Emerging Servants’ Summit. The event was Friday night and all-day Saturday and we stayed through Sunday as I preached for their weekly gathering. We trained 70 over the course of the weekend and saw 5 students decide to follow Jesus during our time in the harvest!
Berk Wilson and Ed Russ are their lead pastors/elders. They have bee faithfully laboring at NCSU and in Raleigh for over 2 decades and they are on fire!
It is so encouraging to serve and learn from other churches who are implementing the Four Fields strategy. God is doing a good work in Raleigh!
Harvest time was awesome: 25 teams engaged 84 people, prayed with 56 people, and shared the gospel with 16. Of those who heard the gospel, 5 were ready to turn and believe and there were 7 who wanted to meet again! The harvest is truly plentiful!
My friend Francisco asked me to help lead a 411 Training with him for the Spanish-speaking community of believers in Boone. He is a part of Perkinsville Baptist Church and has been pursuing a call to reach the Spanish speakers in our community as a bivocational missionary.
We had 22 adults attend the training and quite a few had children with them. Some of these folks have been out in the harvest with some of our leaders not long ago.
The best part of the training was that while I led it in English, Francisco translated every bit of it as I went along. He did a stellar job and got a chance to practice the whole 411 Training by having to translate it bit by bit.
I mostly just disappeared, or at least tried to, so that Francisco could lead and facilitate. There were at least 3 separate segments of people in this training from different churches or ministries. It was so encouraging to see them uniting around a disciple making training! I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity to serve these fine people and excited to see the Lord providing Spanish-language leadership for them!
The 411 is simply 4 Questions, on 1 sheet of a paper, in 1 hour. The 4 questions are:
- Why? (Por que?)
- Who? (A quien?)
- What? (Que?)
- When? (Cuando?)
A couple of weekends ago we took a convoy of students to Black Mountain, NC for a weekend retreat. We’ve been taking retreats to Tarheel Lodge in Black Mountain for many years. This trip was a first of its kind for many reasons.
In the old days we would take only our leadership team, interns, and staff to this location for this kind of retreat. The retreat at Black Mountain was meant to be chock full of vision casting, strategizing, and hard work. We thought we would be doing something similar with this trip.
One of the key differences was that in the group we took, around 1/3 of the students present were new believers that we lead to faith in the harvest. Somewhere between 1/2 and 2/3 of the students that went were relatively new in their faith even if we didn’t personally lead them to faith.
Formerly, we took our highest level leaders away and pushed them really hard. For this retreat, we had lots of new people and we realized that we couldn’t push them. We could only invite them forward. Rather than being a work-retreat, it was a shepherding retreat.
We planned this retreat to help us solve a problem. It is hard to get college students away to longer trainings like Four Fields Intensives where they can discover for themselves principles from the Bible about why we do what we do.
Our solution was to take a normal college ministry weekend retreat and pack it with training modules from a Four Fields Intensive. We narrowed down the list of training components to only those that would fit our students and their context.
Here’s what we ended up doing:
- God’s Mission from Genesis to Revelation
- Critical Path from 0 to Healthy Church
- Four Fields Bible Discovery – Luke 8-13
- Four Fields Bible Discovery – Acts 13-20
Location: First Baptist Church Charlotte – 301 South Davidson St. Charlotte, NC 28202
Contact: Caleb Sprinkle
Description: Join us for an interactive Gospel Conversation Training that is leading to a movement of many new disciples and church plants in North America and Abroad.
This training will equip believers in making disciples who make disciples with simple, effective tools to cast a God sized vision for reaching the lost people of Charlotte (700K+). You will learn effective lifestyle tools to help you pray for the lost people in your area of influence, competently and confidently start gospel conversations, and initiate follow-up that will lead to multiplying disciples.
This hands-on training includes practice of the tools you will learn with an exciting opportunity to engage the community for prayer and gospel conversations. Every participant will leave knowing how to clearly share the gospel and train a fellow believer to do the same until there is #NoPlaceLeft in our region who has not heard the gospel.
For more trainings this year, have a look at the list here.
Two and three years ago we were hardly ever sharing the gospel in our ministry. Part of the time we didn’t even notice it. Some of the time we felt guilty about it. All of the time we didn’t really know how to share the gospel succinctly, which really kept us from trying to share unless an opportunity presented itself to us on a silver platter.
This was one of the 2 keys for helping us drastically increase gospel sharing in our ministry. The following videos are 3 different representations of the same simple tool. The 3 Circles is one of the simplest, and most profound and flexible tools I’ve ever come across – that’s why it stuck for us so well.
In a recent post I shared about importance of training trainers. When we train people, we are transmitting skills. That’s the first priority. We are also training trainers. Because I had my team training with me, I was reproducing myself. They are both new to this process of training, but as they trained with me, they nailed it. We practiced together before we trained together. Had I been sick, or for some other reason unable to attend the training, they could have facilitated it without me.
Training trainers isn’t just about building a bigger training team. It is about multiplying myself and my impact. I spent an extra couple of hours with my team preparing for this training, but after we finished the training, they were even more capable of facilitating trainings and leading training teams than they were before.
It has been a paradigm shift to start thinking about what a Church Planting Movement is and how to spark movement in my context. I’ve been learning that multiplying movements require multiplying leaders at every level. That’s one of the key roles I need to fulfill. As I’ve been trying to shift from being a leader to leading leaders, one of my friends in ministry, Robby Christmas, developed this excellent and simple tool to keep up our progress in developing leaders.
MAWL, as the image shows, stands for Model, Assist, Watch, Launch. This particular version is filled in with the tools we use locally. You could replace them if they don’t fit in your ministry process. On the left, you can fill in the Planter’s name and you’ll check off the boxes as you go through the process of “MAWLing” them on each of the tools listed. By the time you have checked each box, you have a leader who is ready to be launched to restart the process themselves. Robby has included a basic outline for a 90min weekly MAWL meeting. The link above the image includes both pages.
Whether you use this particular tool or not, I would encourage you to think about your process for identifying, developing, releasing, and leading leaders. It is easy to overlook, but so critical.
A year ago, we couldn’t remember the last time someone decided to follow Jesus as a result of our ministry. We also couldn’t tell any specific stories of sharing the gospel. In that same year, 9 ASU students died, most from suicide. We were broken-hearted for those students, for our campus, and for the lack of fruit we were seeing in the midst of it all. A sense of holy discontent was starting to crescendo for us as we were facing relative fruitlessness, ministry decline, and the many crises happening across campus. The tug of war for us was simply trying to keep students in regular attendance at our weekly meeting and trying to exist for more than just maintaining attendance.
One area where we saw a glaring issue was sharing the gospel – we weren’t doing it. Our top 1% of students would share the gospel occasionally. We celebrated it when it happened, but I rarely heard stories of students sharing the gospel. I also didn’t have stories to tell of sharing the gospel personally.
We lacked two things – expectation and training.
This year we started regularly communicating our expectation of 100% obedience. We expect every staff and student to be obedient to the Jesus’ command to make disciples. We tell them this. All the time. And we build loving accountability for sharing the gospel in our regular ministry rhythm. And we model it for them.
Expectation was a critical component for us, but training everyone with some simple tools to help them actually make good on this expectation was just as critical. It isn’t fair to try to hold someone accountable for something they don’t actually know how to do. The first step for every Christian student is training them.
A couple of years ago, we set the goal that our entire ministry (around 80 people) would share the gospel 100 times throughout the school year. By the end of the year, we shared the gospel 3 times. THREE. Only around 1% of our people were sharing the gospel. We lacked expectation, accountability, and training, and I wasn’t modeling it myself. Our results should have been no surprise.
This fall semester alone our ministry (now around 20 people) shared the gospel over 300 times! We had a radical decrease in students but an exponential increase in gospel shares. Turning the corner toward 100% obedience set a bar that lots of people weren’t willing to meet. But it wasn’t our bar – it was Jesus’ bar. Our numbers aren’t as important as the trends they represent. One of the most exciting results was actually seeing 100% of our ministry be 100% faithful to the great commission.