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Growing Worshiping Disciples on Mission for Christ


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How to Grow 14 Billion Disciplemakers in 70 years

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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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“Rabbi” or “Lord”… What is Jesus to you?

Businessman Balancing SomethingWhile they were eating, He said, “I assure you: One of you will betray Me.”

Deeply distressed, each one began to say to Him, “Surely not I, Lord.” . . .

Then Judas, His betrayer, replied, “Surely not I, Rabbi?” “You have said it,” He told him.

Matthew 26:20-22,25-26, HCSB

Disciple or betrayer, the difference is found in one small word. The disciples called Jesus “Lord,” but Judas called him “Rabbi,” which means “teacher.” Many in the world know information about Jesus. But knowledge alone does not make a disciple. When Jesus is our Lord, he is our master, our spiritual boss, our authority. “To Judas, Jesus was a rabbi he respected, spent time with, and learned from, but Jesus was not lord of his life. Judas never surrendered his will to Jesus. He was informed but never transformed.”1 A disciple’s life is the expression of deep love for our Lord and Savior who transforms us daily through his power.

In previous blog posts, we studied the transformation process Jesus outlined in the Beatitudes. There we discovered how God transforms believers into disciples. How can we partner with God to develop a plan which will lead worship teams through transformation? How can we provide experiences to grow worship teams into missionaries?

Across the next three weeks, I will present a three-step plan to transform your worship team into a missional worship team.

Step One: The Missional Life Retreat.

Step Two: Missional Moments in Rehearsals.

Step Three: Full Circle Groups

Don’t miss it!  I’ll see you here next week.  — Mark Powers

1. Geiger, Kelley, Nation, Transformational Discipleship, 19.


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Jesus’ Secret for Leading Through Change

Jesus5 Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion?

Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.

I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it.

Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.

I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me. You’ll learn to live freely and lightly.

Matthew 11:28–30, The Message

Dictionary.com defines change as: “1. to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of something different from what it is, or from what it would be if left alone; 2. to transform or convert.”

An unknown writer said: “I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is that they must change if they are to get better.”

Socrates said: “Let him who would change the world first change himself.”

The Bible talks about change, too. Most Scriptures using the word “change” are assurances that God’s nature will remain unchanged throughout eternity. The remaining Scriptures mentioning change are commands to change our lives to align with God. Though God’s nature never changes, the world he created is ever-changing. Change is a naturally occurring result of a dynamic universe made by a creative God. So we must learn to lead through change because change is always going to be a part of life.

The Scripture above is the secret to unlock Jesus’ plan for leading through change: God is the real leader, and we are following him.

Henry and Richard Blackaby, in their book, Spiritual Leadership: Moving People on to God’s Agenda, wrote: “The key to spiritual leadership is for leaders to understand God’s will for them and their organizations. They then move people away from their own agendas and on to God’s.”

The Scripture in Matthew 11 tells us to “walk, work, and watch” in God, so we will “learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” A leader must stay so close to God that we hear his whisper and walk in his shadow. There is no guarantee that this level of trust and obedience will bring success in worldly terms. Jesus lived like this, and it took him to the cross. Yet we trust in the power of the resurrection regardless of the sacrifice it takes to get there.

GO walk every step with God, and be the leader HE has called you and gifted you to be!  — Mark Powers

 


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A Summer Meditation for Worship Leaders: “Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed”

cross01 If you desire to be a leader of disciples, you must beware. “Sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it” (Gen. 4:7, NIV) The biggest challenge we face as leaders is the mastery of our private self. What am I when no one is looking?

Alas, and did my Savior bleed and did my Sovereign die?

Would He devote that sacred head for sinners such as I?

Was it for crimes that I had done, he groaned upon the tree?

Amazing pity, grace unknown, and love beyond degree!

I shudder to think of the whip on Jesus’ back. I do not want to imagine the cat-of-nine-tails bruising and cutting him for me. Yet I persist in my sin, heaping pain on him. Are you too weak to embrace the pain of rejecting secret sin when he took the whip and nails for you? By his stripes we are healed. They are his gift to you. Allow the image of his stripes to overpower private sin. That is your gift to him. Our choice is to either be healed or hold the whip.

Well might the sun in darkness hide, and shut His glories in,

When Christ the mighty Maker died for man, the creature’s sin.

But drops of grief can ne’er repay the debt of love I owe

Here, Lord, I give myself away, ‘Tis all that I can do.

Watts, “Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed,” Public Domain.

— Mark Powers


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Missions 101: Our Missional Message – Jesus is the Only Way to God!

Jesus5 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,

a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him

who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

1 Peter 2:9, NIV

A 2012 study by LifeWay Research asked Protestant pastors and church members to respond to the statement: “If a person is sincerely seeking God, he/she can obtain eternal life through religions other than Christianity.” The alarming statistic is that 12 percent of Protestant pastors actually agreed with the statement. This means that more than 1 in 10 of the responding pastors does not believe that Jesus is the only way to eternal life. Statistics for adults who attend Protestant churches are far more alarming. A startling 26 percent agreed with the statement. That’s more than 1 in 4 Protestant church members polled who don’t believe Jesus is the only way to God.5

The Scriptures call Christians to be a distinctive people. But many Christians today want to look and act like the world to increase our acceptance by the world. Distinctiveness is not something we seem to value as Christians these days. Let’s consider this issue in two parts.

First, the message of the gospel calls Christians to a distinctive belief. Without a distinct message, it is almost impossible for the church to call unbelievers into relationship with God. When we believe that other religions lead to eternal life, the message of Christ and the call to God’s mission of reconciliation go out the window. Any talk-show host or positive-thinking guru can piece together a message from world religions that makes us feel good. American society tells us, “Co-exist! Live, and let live. Lifestyles are in, religion is out. Everybody has a right to embrace their own belief system. There is no right and wrong as long as you don’t hurt someone or their things.”

But God calls his people to boldly proclaim Christ as God’s singular means of reconciliation. Will we listen to our God or to our world?

Jesus said himself, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6, NIV). Mohammed specifically says in the Koran that Jesus is not God. Jewish faith says that the Son of God, the Messiah, has not yet come. Buddhism says that there is no God. Hinduism says there are many gods. These religions are mutually exclusive. You can’t get around that fact. We must offer the world the only thing that will make a difference. Offer them the real truth of God. God designed us to be incomplete without him. He completes us for eternal life exclusively through his only son Jesus. There is no other way to God.

Second, the message of the gospel calls Christians to a distinctive lifestyle. Without a distinctive lifestyle, it is almost impossible for the church to call unbelievers to relationship with God. If our behavior is no different from those around us, how can we tell them that Christ will make a difference in their lives? As discussed previously in this blog, God expects his followers to consistently exhibit the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. If these qualities do not signify our lives, how can we be significant in pointing others to God? Our distinctive lifestyle must be a bright beacon to our neighbors, co-workers, and friends. And our lives must point to Jesus – the only way to God!  — Mark Powers

Roach, “Pastors Uphold Christian Exclusivity Poll Finds,” http://www.lifeway.com.

BLOG READERS… please join me in this May-June class online at Missional University:

>>Click here for an engaging video about my online class “Growing Worshiping Disciples on Mission”: https://vimeo.com/161573899

>>Get info and register here for this class BY APRIL 18: http://missional.university/index.php/swl

 

 


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Worship Team Meditation, Easter Week 2016: I Stand Amazed

cross01 I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene,

and wonder how He could love me, a sinner condemned unclean.

How marvelous, how wonderful, and my song shall ever be:

How marvelous, how wonderful is my Savior’s love for me.

Jesus had sent his disciples on mission. They had returned to recount gloriously of the miracles they had performed and lives they had touched in Jesus’ name. What an amazing privilege was theirs to be in Jesus’ presence every day and see his love touching lives. And when Jesus asked Peter his opinion of who Jesus is, Peter replied, “You are the Messiah of God.” Jesus didn’t deny it. What must the disciples have thought? These Jewish men, looking for a conquering messiah to restore the kingdom of Israel to power and sovereignty, must have thought: “Our time has come. Surely God will vindicate his chosen nation now and we will rule with him, sitting at his right hand.

He took my sins and my sorrows,

He made them His very own.

He bore my burden to Calvary and suffered and died alone.

How marvelous, how wonderful, and my song shall ever be:

How marvelous, how wonderful is my Savior’s love for me.

Immediately after Peter’s confession, Jesus drastically reoriented the disciples’ thinking. First, he foretold his own crucifixion. Then he gave them two commands: deny yourself and take up the cross. What must the disciples have thought? A shudder of fear must have chilled them as they heard Jesus’ reference to the cross—the Roman instrument of torture and slow death reserved for the worst criminals. If my Savior is to bear rejection and death for others, then I as his disciple must follow the same path of service. In one sentence, Christ redefined what it means to follow him. The essence of kingdom living is now self-denial and service, not power or coercion. Take up the cross and follow Christ in self-sacrifice!

When with the ransomed in glory, His face I at last shall see,

Twill be my song through the ages to sing of His love for me.

How marvelous, how wonderful, and my song shall ever be:

How marvelous, how wonderful is my Savior’s love for me!

Gabriel, “I Stand Amazed in the Presence,” Public Domain.

NOTE: – During May and June, I will be teaching an online course based on my book GOING FULL CIRCLE.  The course runs 7 weeks – totally online – and is called “Growing Worshiping Disciples on Mission”.  Please join me for this! Cost is $285 plus a $30 tech fee. Go here and scroll down for lots of info and videos about our School of Worship Leadership at Missional University: http://missional.university/index.php/swl.   — Mark Powers


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Missional Thinking 101 for Worshipers: Jesus, Your Savior!

3Crosses And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life,

and this life is in his Son.

He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God,

so that you may know that you have eternal life.

1 John 5:11–13, NIV

From time to time, both personally and with evangelistic teams, I have had the privilege of hitting the streets to talk to people about Christ. Street witnessing is evangelism, a part of the larger whole of missions, and very valuable in planting gospel seeds in lives. We often use a simple evangelistic tract made to look like a million dollar bill (http://www.livingwaters.com/store/tracts). Printed on the back of the million dollar bill is a concise presentation of the gospel. “Have you gotten your million dollar bill today?” we ask as someone approaches. Some will say, “I’m not interested,” and walk on, but most are intrigued and will say, “Wow, is that real? Can I have it?”

“Yes,” is the reply, “but you have to answer the million-dollar question. The question is this: ‘If you die tonight, how will you convince God to let you into heaven?’”

The great majority of people will answer, “Well, I am trying my best to live a good life and do right. I hope God will let me in.”

If this is your response, you are dead wrong. It’s my joy to reply: “You and I would have to be perfect to EARN a place in a perfect heaven. Are you perfect? But here’s the good news: God offers us eternal life as a FREE GIFT through Jesus Christ. God sent his son to die in our place and pay the debt of our sin. In response we give him our heart and life by confessing our sin and accepting Jesus as the master of our life. Then we must trust and obey him in everything. For the rest of our life, Jesus works his way from the inside out to help us live according to God’s plan for us. Then when we get to heaven, God sees Jesus in our heart and says ,”That’s my child. Come on in and live with me forever.” 

The Scripture from 1 John gives us the one and only key to spiritual life: Jesus! Far too many people in our churches and out on the streets just don’t understand. They somehow think that the power to reach up to God depends on their own effort. No matter how much you try, attempting to live good enough to earn heaven is a dead-end street.

If you have never opened your life to Christ, please do it now! Stop right here and ask Christ to come into your heart as your eternal King, Lord, and Savior. E-mail me at markpowers@scbaptist.org if I can help you make that leap of faith into Christ!  — Mark Powers

P.S. – During May and June, I will be teaching an online course based on my book GOING FULL CIRCLE.  The course runs 7 weeks – totally online – and is called “Growing Worshiping Disciples on Mission”.  Please join me for this! Cost is $285 plus a $30 tech fee. Go here and scroll down for lots of info and videos about our School of Worship Leadership at Missional University: http://missional.university/index.php/swl.