You’re Invited!

June 25, 2016 — 2 Comments

Thank you so much for inviting me to share my insights about making disciples of lost groups of people over these last several years. You have sharpened my thinking and improved my practice!

Not a blog this time … but a community!

As I’ve continued growing, I’ve experienced myself and seen in others the need for a community of like-minded people who are passionate about reaching the lost.

My response has been to form and help facilitate The Antioch Story Learning Community.

Will you join me?

Being part of this new learning community will help you gain insights, develop skills and use your strengths to help groups of unbelievers discover God in the Word of God and respond to him in faith and obedience.

Learn more by going to See you there!

TAS Small

27981632_sThe Parable of the Sower describes Satan as a bird that swoops in and “takes away the word that was sown” in some of the people that we are seeking to disciple (Mark 4:15).

We know the parable well, but what does this actually look like in real life, and what do we do when it happens?

Listen to what Barnabas and Saul did when they saw it happening to Sergius Paulus, the Governor of Cyprus (Acts 13:6-12; see text at end of post).

This account shows us four things to do to keep Satan from taking away the seed we are sowing.

1. Be alert: observe and discern what is happening to those who are hearing the Gospel story. If something seems off, is it because they are experiencing spiritual opposition, social pressure or second thoughts?

2. Be responsive: follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. To do this well, do it consistently. Remember: Paul was able to speak up because he was “filled with the Holy Spirit.”

3. Be smart: let God deal with Satan. Paul didn’t go head-to-head with Satan – or even with Elymas. Paul simply announced what God was going to do.

4. Be expectant: God’s power and God’s word will accomplish God’s purposes. All we need to do is be alert, be responsive and be smart.

Your turn:

  1. Imagine the scene. What do you think Barnabas and John were doing while the focus was on Paul?
  2. What new insights does this account give you about the spiritual opposition faced by people of peace?

Share your thoughts and make it a conversation!

Text of Acts 13:6-12

for pastors only

July 3, 2015 — Leave a comment

11841326_sI have a question for pastors:

What would you do if Paul and Barnabas were members of your church? Would you want them to stay and help your church grow, or would you send them out to make disciples where none existed?

That was the decision the church in Antioch needed to make, and what they did changed the world!

After hearing from the Holy Spirit, the leaders of the church in Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas to disciple people who were untouched by the Gospel.

Having been a pastor myself, I can imagine some of the questions that you might have about sending out your best and brightest.

How can I replace them?
Will my church grow without them?
Why not have them start home groups that become part of the main church?

Surprisingly or not, these and similar questions have at least one thing in common: they are all about me and my church.

Here are a few questions that you may want to consider from other perspectives:

  • How has God gifted and called the people in my church?
  • What is necessary to reach my whole city or region with the Gospel?
  • What is God asking me to do?

Your turn:

  1. Discuss the three questions above with your church leadership.
  2. Using Acts 13 and 14, teach your congregation about your church’s role in fulfilling the Great Commission – both locally and globally.

Share your thoughts and make it a conversation!

plow first, seed second

June 27, 2015 — 1 Comment

27365249_sWhat do you do when the Gospel seed that you are sowing doesn’t take root?

One option is to shake the dust off your feet and move on. However, even though this is a biblical response (Luke 10:10-11), it is not always the right one.

Sometimes the seed doesn’t take root because the soil hasn’t been fully prepared.

The Parable of the Sower illustrates three reasons why disciple makers need to work the soil.

Continue Reading…

awkward moments

June 23, 2015 — Leave a comment

disciple making comfort zonesWhat is it that keeps many followers of Jesus from making disciples of the lost?

Ironically, it is the command to “go” that actually stops many of us from making disciples.

This is because going is about more than geography: going is also and always about leaving our comfort zones!

Here are some awkward moments that you can expect when you leave your comfort zone:

1. Expect to find yourself in awkward social situations. This happened to the Twelve when they returned from a shopping trip in the middle of Samaria.

Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find [Jesus] talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?” ~ John 4:27

Continue Reading…

stop making disciples

June 15, 2015 — 4 Comments

10775396_sOne of my recent observations is that disciple making skills are leadership skills.

While there is nothing particularly new or novel about this observation, there is something significant about it. Namely, it clarifies what we are seeking to do:

We are not seeking to make disciples as much as we are seeking to reproduce disciple-making leaders.

Here are three reasons this distinction is important:

1. Leaders who make disciples accumulate followers; those who make disciple-making leaders help more people become followers of Jesus.

Like Paul, we continually point others away from us and to Christ: “So then, no more boasting about human leaders!” ~ 1 Corinthians 3:21

Continue Reading…

celebrating with food

Celebrating a new church building … with food!

Yesterday I had a personal breakthrough:

I celebrated a new church building and all the good it represents.

Here are some of the good things I saw:

1. The location of this church building is a reminder to the community that they have accepted the church as part of the community. This is because the building is in a prominent location that clearly required the support of city leaders.

Continue Reading…

influence-definitionWhen I introduced it as a necessary skill for disciple makers, I defined leadership as influence.

But what does this look like – how is it that we seek to influence others as disciple makers?

Here are some statements I recently heard from other disciple makers:

“Being a disciple maker means bringing people to Jesus and showing them how to follow him.”- Jim Lilly

Continue Reading…

How do you seek to influence others as a disciple maker?
Click the picture to give your feedback – thanks!

360 Degree Leadership CompassOne of my core convictions is that you can become a better disciple maker by becoming a better leader.

I am not saying, however, that it will be easy. Here is why:

The most difficult person for you to lead is YOU!

Self leadership is the highest form of leadership and the one that requires the most time, effort and discipline.

Nonetheless, if you lead yourself well, you will increase your effectiveness as a leader and your fruitfulness as a disciple maker.

Here are three ways that I lead myself:

Continue Reading…