GoingFullCircleBlog

Growing Worshiping Disciples on Mission for Christ


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How to Grow 14 Billion Disciplemakers in 70 years

http://egoodography.wix.com/home

Jesus went out and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the tax office,

and He said to him, “Follow Me!” So, leaving everything behind,

he got up and began to follow Him.

Luke 5:27–28, HCSB

Have you ever heard of the Bible-Storying Method of Discipleship? It’s an ancient-future approach to teaching the Bible and growing disciple-makers and it is sweeping the world in many different forms.  The goal is to grow spiritual dynamos who are fully invested in going full circle with God.  One of the forms this movement is taking is the Real Life Ministries approach.

Real Life Ministries (RLM) is a non-denominational Evangelical Christian church in Post Falls, Idaho. Planted in 1998, the church has grown to an average weekend attendance of more than 7,000. The unique characteristic of Real Life is a Bible study methodology called storying that grew out of a partnership with Avery Willis. Willis who served as president of an Indonesian seminary, wrote MasterLife discipleship plan, served as executive strategist for 5,500 missionaries with the International Mission Board, and ended his career with the International Orality Network.

After several years of discussion with Willis, Real Life decided to introduce Bible-storying into their small groups. The experiment was so successful that they trained all their pastors, community pastors, and small group leaders in the method. They found that the storying method:

  1. Helps people learn the Bible,
  2. Makes it easier to recruit small group leaders,
  3. Facilitates real learning,
  4. Equips members for ministry,
  5. Empowers parents to disciple their kids,
  6. Helps small group leaders understand the spiritual needs of those they are discipling,
  7. Keeps small groups from becoming boring, and
  8. Encourages transparency and real relationships.

Real Life identifies three major keys to making disciples according to God’s plan:

1. An intentional leader,

2. A relational environment,

3. A reproducible process.

The Real Life Discipleship Training Manual presents the mathematical process of kingdom multiplication:

  1. One disciple makes three disciple-makers every five years.
  2. If those three disciple-makers do the same every five years, in ten years there will be almost 180,000 disciple-makers.

  3. If they continue… in seventy years (less than the average life span), there are potentially fourteen billion disciple-makers. That is twice the number of people currently occupying our planet.

SO WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR?  LET’S DO THIS!  Email me at markpowers@scbaptist.org and I’ll send you a Bible Storying method called “Discipleship TRIOS” that can help you make this happen. And next week in our next blog, I’ll share more details of what Bible-Storying is and how it can work for you. See you then.  — Mark Powers

 

*Putnam, Willis, Guindon, Krause. Real-Life Discipleship Training Manual: Equipping Disciples Who Make Disciples.


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Unlock a New Vision to Go to the Next Level

Resources Recommendations But while all this was going on, I was not in Jerusalem,

for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I had returned to the king. Some time later I asked his permission and came back to Jerusalem. Here I learned about the evil thing Eliashib had done . . . I rebuked the nobles of Judah and said to them, “What is this wicked thing you are doing—desecrating the Sabbath day? Didn’t your forefathers do the same things, so that our God brought this calamity upon us and upon this city?

So I purified the priests and the Levites of everything foreign, and assigned them duties, each to his own task. Nehemiah 13:6–7,17–18,30, NIV

Nehemiah’s first vision was to re-build the city of Jerusalem. His next vision was to purify the people. While in captivity and immersed in another culture, they had compromised the purity of their Jewish faith. Nehemiah’s intent was to restore their allegiance to the one true God—the God of their forefathers who would use them to bring forth the Savior. In some ways, rebuilding the city must have seemed easy compared to changing the attitudes, habits, and daily practices of the people.

As you celebrate the victory of achieving your first vision, remember that the process of transformation is ongoing. The mission effort you have begun is very fragile. It must be nourished and protected in order to take root. Regression can happen before you know it. A single accomplishment will be an empty victory if we return to old patterns of hoarding our giftedness inside the “Church Club”. Being missional requires an ongoing intent, focus, and plan to get outside into our community. It will take years for missional thinking to be fully ingrained in an organization that has been self-centered.

Your ability to manage change is always dependent on the quality of your relationships. I am amused to read in Nehemiah how he resorted to strong-arm tactics of pulling hair out and beating up those who disobeyed the laws of Jewish purification (Nehemiah 13:25). A leader must certainly be willing to discipline those who disobey God’s laws. But a leader can never withdraw from the bank account more than he has invested in his people relationally. Nehemiah had said previously: “The earlier governors—those preceding me—placed a heavy burden on the people . . . Their assistants also lorded it over the people. But out of reverence for God I did not act like that” (Neh. 5:15, NIV). We must constantly check our “relational balance statement” to ensure that we are depositing more care, attention, encouragement, and love in our follower’s lives than we ask for in return. That is servant-leadership by Christ’s example.

Once you have successfully accomplished your first ongoing mission project in your community, begin to envision your next work. Go to God and ask him to breathe another vision into your brokenness. Go back to your pastor and begin the circle all over again. Keep on dreaming and leading full circle. Never stop as long as God’s mission of redemption is yet to be fulfilled!  — Mark Powers

P.S. Enrollment in WorshipWise October Session OPENS OCTOBER 1 but CLOSES AT MIDNIGHT, OCTOBER 14.  Check out our 4-week courses for $99 each at http://www.worshipwise.com.

 


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Are Choirs Still Relevant in Modern Worship?

modern-worship-choir (As of last Wednesday 9/7, this SC Baptist Convention website article I wrote had 8,487 page views including 6,802 visitors.  Wow. I’m amazed!  Here is the article…)

Yes, I admit that many of our worship leaders and pastors hold divided opinions on the issue of choirs in modern worship. Yet in our culture we have seen a real resurgence of TV shows like “The Voice”, “Glee,” “The Sing Off,” and others that feature singers and choirs. Choirs are popping up in secular concerts, award shows, variety acts, and more. Some of the most cutting edge schools of modern worship continue to weave the choir into the fabric of their worship training.

I want to challenge you to rethink how a modern worship choir can be a viable way to revitalize your worship and involve more potential disciples in the worship life of your church! Here’s why:

The Bible tells me so

You may not be aware of it, but 54 of the Psalms are addressed to the choir director. Also, when the temple in Jerusalem was first dedicated and then again dedicated when Nehemiah rebuilt the temple, choirs were prominent in the dedication service. In fact, 2 Chronicles 5:13-14 tells us that it was the choir and orchestra that delivered the worship so powerfully that the glory of God fell on all those assembled in the temple.

Continue reading this article by clicking here: http://www.scbaptist.org/are-choirs-are-still-relevant-in-modern-worship/

Thanks!  – Mark Powers

(And take the WorshipWise.com survey to help us design future classes for worship leaders at WorshipWise!  Go here: http://www.WorshipWise.com)


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Leading Through Change: Step Six – Respond to Opposition and Conflict

Signs of ChangeBut when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard about it, they mocked and ridiculed us. “What is this you are doing?” they asked. “Are you rebelling against the king?” I answered them by saying, “The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it.”

Nehemiah 2:19–20, NIV

Every vision will encounter opposition. God’s chosen nation spent time in the wilderness between slavery and the Promised Land, and you will, too. The DISC personality inventory mentioned earlier tells us that 40 percent of us are “S” personalities. “S” personalities value steadiness, staying the course, and maintaining the status quo. Charles Arn, in his book, How to Start a New Service, identifies five levels of receptivity to change:

  • Innovators—Dreamers/Visionaries who embrace the future and are eager to embrace change but may not be accepted as leaders.
  • Early Adopters—Those who embrace a good idea on its own merit and are influential in moving it forward.
  • Middle Adopters—The majority. They tend to want to maintain the status quo and are influenced most by those opposing change rather than those supporting it.
  • Late Adopters—The last to endorse a new idea. Often they will not support any change regardless of merit until after it is adopted by the majority.
  • Never Adopters—Tend to be anti-change and will sow discord before, during, and after change is adopted.

 

Nehemiah experienced confrontation with detractors also. Nehemiah’s enemies circulated a rumor that his ambition was to become king. They planted the rumor to discredit him and undermine the mission. His three critics lived in his homeland but were not kindred. Expect there to be some who are not kindred spirits to your mission. Resistance will come; plan for it. I call this “anticipating some failure to reach more success.”

Casey Stengel, New York Yankee baseball manager in the 1950s, once said the key to leadership is to keep the five people who hate you away from the four who are undecided. In most organizations facing change, the middle adopters tend to listen to late adopters and never adopters. Your task as a leader is to empower the early adopters to inspire and lead the middle adopters to new ground.

An unknown source, tongue-in-cheek, has delineated five stages of innovation:

  1. Step One—People deny the innovation is required;
  2. Step Two—People deny the innovation will justify the effort;
  3. Step Three—People deny the innovation is important;
  4. Step Four—People deny the innovation is effective;
  5. Step Five—People accept the innovation, enjoy its benefits, attribute it to someone other than the innovator, and deny the existence of steps one through four.

When experiencing persecution, follow the example of Jesus. Jesus laid down his life for us. Don’t allow yourself to be a doormat to your critics, but do lay yourself down as a bridge to grace. We are most like Jesus when we share grace with someone who doesn’t deserve it. A servant leader imitating Jesus will absorb pain in his body to the point of brokenness. But our Lord has been there for us. On the other hand, Jesus also reserved some of his most confrontational words for religious critics. The ability to balance both godly grace and careful confrontation grows from brokenness before God. Remain a servant-leader, just as Jesus served us and died for us.

— Mark Powers

Readers: Please check out my WorshipWise ministry at http://www.WorshipWise.com.  Four-week classes online available 24/7 for only $99 each will launch in mid-September.  Excellent training at a GREAT price!

10 Arn, How to Start a New Service, 66–67.


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Leading Through Change: Step Three – Enlist Pastor Support

Resources Recommendations Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me,

“How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?”

It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time.

Nehemiah 2:6

Nehemiah sought support from his king to pursue the vision of rebuilding Jerusalem. A worship minister must receive the support of his senior pastor to pursue the missional vision. First, find ways to mention your vision in casual conversation, written memos, staff meetings, and face-to-face appointments. Charles Billingsley, worship leader with Jerry Falwell and David Jeremiah, refers to what he calls “the law of the seventh mentioning.” He believes we can plan on having to mention an idea at least seven times before it will appear on the radar of our pastor.

Attitude is crucial in the process of asking for endorsement and support from your pastor. This requires much prayer. Don’t rush into this meeting. Don’t let your excitement make you hurry. Set aside a week or two to pray. Ask God to shape your vision to match the vision of your pastor and vice versa. Your vision must be fused into your pastor’s vision for the church. Like a gardener who grafts a branch onto the main vine, you want your vision to enhance the pastor’s greater vision for the church.

When you have a sense of peace and confidence in the Lord, schedule a meeting with your pastor. Trust God to do his work between you. Begin by asking your pastor to share his overarching vision with you. We trust that the heart of every Christian executive is to fulfill Christ’s Great Commission. But he can express that in many different ways depending on his giftedness, personality, calling, and situation. He may say his vision is organizational unity, or financial security, or numerical growth. Continue to trust God’s Spirit no matter what your pastor expresses as a vision.

Your next question is crucial, asked in all sincerity: “How can I help you achieve this vision?” This discussion must be a sharing of hearts and not a sales presentation. Once you have heard their heart on this matter, then share the vision God has placed in your heart. If you are open and adaptable, God will shape your vision through the discussion with your pastor. You may leave the meeting with a different perspective on your vision and how to bring it to reality. But if you have soaked the meeting in prayer, you can trust that God had a hand in forging your vision through this meeting.

If the initial answer is “No,” don’t despair or give up. Ask permission to re-design and re-define your vision, then ask permission to come back and talk some more. If your pastor accepts your vision and pledges his support, schedule a follow-up appointment to present your written vision statement, smart goals, and action plans.

A prominent worship leader* who has successfully served his church for more than 20 years told me, “In pastoral relationships, there are no win-lose situations.” I asked him what he meant. “Any staff member is wrong to ever think he or she will win by making the pastor lose. If your pastor loses, you will lose. If you make sure the pastor wins, you will win, too,” he explained.

Here are three actions to make sure your pastor wins as you pursue your vision:

  1. Pastors need to trust you. They want to know who, what, when, where and why before trusting you. Using smart goals and action plans will help you earn trust.
  2. Pastors value unity. Your ability to keep people unified while successfully fulfilling the mission is a valuable trait. Your pastor and your church will value you for it.
  3. Pastors don’t like surprises. Make every attempt to keep your pastor informed by copying important documents and correspondence to him. Schedule regular updates in person. Share and celebrate victories and always communicate immediately if problems arise.

Worship Leaders – Is change bearing down on you? Don’t let it make you run and hide!  Lead your worship ministry through it and you will be leading your church… and maybe even your Pastor as well.  — Mark Powers

* Steve Phillips, Worship Pastor, First Baptist Columbia SC


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What Style of Worship Music is Right for Your Church?

Question-MarkOur Missional Music

Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was being provoked within him as he was observing the city full of idols. So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present. And also some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him.

Acts 17:16–18, NASB

Ethnomusicology is the comparative study of music from different cultures. Ethnomusicologists combine the study of musicology with anthropology to analyze music as a reflection of society and culture. Missional ethnomusicologists encourage the development of indigenous Christian songs produced by the local believers in their own language and music system. Music workshops are presented to native peoples illustrating the value of using local music systems rather than foreign systems, thinking through Scripture passages that might be put to music, composing new Christian songs in their own native style, and recording the new songs. In this way, the gospel becomes incarnate in the musical language of the native people.

A Brazilian missionary reported that a Palikur woman was asked, “Which do you like better, the hymns with non-Indian music, or the ones with the Palikur tunes.”

She replied, “We like them both, but the ones with our music can make us cry.”

Using the heart music of a people connects the gospel with their own legacy. Missionaries have reported that native people, normally apathetic about Christianity, listened with great attention to the words of new Christian songs written by their own musicians in their own style. Putting the biblical message in an indigenous style gives it an authority it would not otherwise have. We, too, must be ethnomusicologists. Worship leaders need to analyze their communities to effectively connect them with God in their indigenous cultures.

Paul was very careful to analyze the surrounding cultural context wherever he went. In the above Scripture, we see him relating to Jews in the synagogue, to Athenian citizens in the marketplace, and to Greek philosophers. In every one of those contexts, Paul saw idolatry alive and well. As a missionary, each of us must analyze our context as well. Who are the people groups in your community/town/city? And what are the idols they have substituted for relationship with almighty God?

The Intercultural Institute for Contextual Ministry offers many resources on its website, http://www.iicm.net, for analyzing the ethno-musical context of our communities. First, we must know the classifications and characteristics of people groups in general before we can analyze who is in our community. IICM identifies these American communities listed below.  Plus, according to Arbitron radio ratings, I have listed the most popular style of music each of these communities were listening to by percentage of radio market. These style preferences are the second thing we must know:

  • Upscale Communities – Affluent families living primarily in suburbia but also in posh neighborhoods in urban settings = ADULT CONTEMPORARY MUSIC.
  • Mainstay Communities – A diverse mix of ethnically mixed singles, couples, and families in established, diverse neighborhoods within small towns and second cities = COUNTRY MUSIC.
  • Working Communities – Racially-mixed, lower middle-class blue-collar households living in older towns = COUNTRY MUSIC.
  • Country Communities – Rural families with outdoor-oriented lifestyles working in agricultural and mining communities = COUNTRY MUSIC.
  • Aspiring Communities – An eclectic group of young, mostly single, ethnically-diverse households living in homes, apartments, and group quarters = URBAN CONTEMPORARY MUSIC.
  • Urban Communities – Ethnically-diverse singles and single-parent renters living in struggling-diverse, inner-city neighborhoods = URBAN CONTEMPORARY.

Obviously, this data is limited because it only includes radio listening habits and does not include data from personal listening devices. But despite those limitations it remains useful for analysis of general music trends in our American communities.

Here’s the kicker… Churches far and wide have started contemporary services using popular musical styles that they suppose will connect their members with God and be attractive to the world. Such Christian writers as Chris Tomlin, Tommy Walker, Laura Storey, and Paul Baloche, as well as a multitude of others, have given us wonderful songs of worship. Their songs are in a pop style that relates to those who listen to Adult Contemporary radio. But that’s where this strategy breaks down, and here’s why. The Arbitron ratings show clearly that the leading radio style is Country music in Mainstay, Working, and Country communities. Urban Contemporary music, which includes rap and hip-hop, is the leading style in two communities —Aspiring and Urban—while Contemporary Hit radio leads only in Upscale communities.

The style of music being used in most contemporary worship services best compares with Adult Contemporary secular radio. If we are going to effectively connect all people with God, we must offer worship in other musical heart languages as well. Yet how many churches do you know that are offering a worship service featuring country, rap and hip-hop, top forty, or the myriad of other styles available? Can we truly think we are connecting all worshippers with God when only contemporary and traditional styles are being offered on any given Sunday?  — Mark Powers

 


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Singing Churchmen Mission Trip to Cleveland: Amazing Works of God!

 Cleveland 2016 - street singing 2 Twenty eight members of the 60 voice SC Baptist Singing Churchmen were on mission in Cleveland Ohio from last Saturday, April 30 through today Saturday, May 7.  God used us in amazing ways to share the good news of Christ!

Every time we sang we included a simple straightforward presentation of the gospel. But even better… from Sunday through Friday, we recorded 219 one-on-one conversations in which we presented the gospel in a personal and non-threatening way. Something like this: “Hi, did you enjoy our singing? We’re here telling people how much God loves them and wants to have a relationship with them through Jesus.  Are you a Jesus-follower or have you experienced that relationship with God?”

From these conversations we gleaned 22 contacts which were turned over to Jay Schroder to give to Cleveland Church Planters for follow up.

DURING THE FIVE DAYS IN CLEVELAND we sang  TWENTY TIMES in every imaginable setting. Here is a list of the places we sang:

Sunday, May 1:

  • Morning Worship at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church where the Holy Spirit moved mightily.  After our songs, Pastor Dwayne Simmons abandoned his sermon and communion service plans and preached on prayer and led us into an hour long time of praise and prayer for chains to be broken in the congregation and the city.
  • Evening Worship with the Chinese Church in Hudson Ohio followed by Q&A about worship and music ministry then dinner with the church members and guests.

Monday, May 2:

  • Concert at Tower City Mall in downtown Cleveland at lunch hour which led to many spiritual conversations.
  • Singing in four locations on the downtown streets of Cleveland. Fun time!
  • Concert at the Cleveland VA Hospital, one of the largest VA hospitals in the U.S.

Tuesday, May 3:

  • Concerts in three Assisted Living Centers where NAMB church planter Dave Wible has started discipleship groups.  (Dave has started over 70 discipleship groups in the past three years in the Cleveland area.)
  • Flash Mob twice at local mall food court… many great conversations!
  • Two concerts during evening feeding shifts at Lakeside Lutheran Men’s Shelter.  Amazing experience!

Wednesday, May 4:

  • Concert at the Medina OH town square gazebo for Brunswick Community Church then lunch at cafes all around the square to talk to those who had seen and heard us. Pastor Buck Wilford, former Special Forces officer, was meeting and talking to those passing with great energy and a huge smile.
  • Flash Mob at the historic Westside Market in West Cleveland, a huge inside market featuring bakeries and delis and butcher shops.
  • Concert for Liberty Hill Baptist Church, an African American congregation that loved us and provided for us in their dormitory style rooms where many mission groups stay each year and let us use their full kitchen for our meals.

Thursday, May 5:

  • Participated in and sang for the Cleveland National Day of Prayer Event in Wade Oval Park, a powerful four hour prayer and praise fest with Christians from across the city.
  • Concert of kids songs and gospel magic for Laura’s Home, shelter for abused mothers and children.  One of the real highpoints of the trip… watching our group “dance” and sing motion songs with the kids.  Jim Diehl, Director of Missions for Aiken Baptist Association, presented the gospel through kid-friendly magic, too.

Friday, May 6:

  • Traveled halfway home and presented an evening concert at Ansted Baptist Church in West Virginia for a packed house pastored by Randy Spurgeon who is the former Worship & Music Director for WV but was called to pastor this church last fall.  This church is a major force for the gospel, running around 200 in worship in a small town of only 2,000 residents. What a great way to end our trip!

THIS IS GOING FULL CIRCLE… WORSHIP THAT LEADS TO DISCIPLESHIP AND MISSIONS!  And YOU can do it, too.  GO!  — Mark Powers