GoingFullCircleBlog

Growing Worshiping Disciples on Mission for Christ


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One Simple Resolution… Grow Disciplemakers! That’s it.

GFC icon And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing,

but let us encourage one another.

Hebrews 10:24–25a, NIV

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? I make a few myself. But here’s the one that really counts in God’s Kingdom: “To Make Disciples Who Make Disciples!”  OK, Worship Leaders, do you have a plan for developing disciple makers in your worship ministry during 2017? NO?  Why not?

Come on, let’s get on it!  There are many great plans out there from all kinds of sources.  Go find one.  If you need some ideas and materials, email me at markpowers@scbaptist.org and I’ll send you several that we promote from our offices.

But make sure, whatever you do, that you use a method that fits TODAY’S SOCIETAL NEEDS!

Avery Willis in 2005 noted the changes in America that are opening the door for storying in our own society: “The post-modern culture drives much of the revival of storytelling in the United States . . . Most of today’s younger generation and even many of the baby boomers of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s prefer to learn through spoken and visual means rather than written word. There is also a preference towards relational, non-linear learning . . . The problem before us is that most of our preaching, Bible studies, evangelism and discipleship are reader-oriented and very linear-sequential. So how do we change? That is the question of the hour. We must do something before this wave engulfs us and before we lose a whole generation for the cause of Christ.”

If you don’t understand Bible Storying as a disciple making method then STAY TUNED to this blog all during the month of January as I lay it out for you.

Jesus knew the power of stories to communicate truth. When we think of Jesus, we naturally think of his teaching in parables. Stories conveying truth occur throughout the Bible. Bible stories are actual historic accounts while parables are metaphors that are developed to illustrate a point of truth. Both are wonderful means of conveying truth through storying.

The simplicity of the storying method of Bible study is obvious. This simplicity creates a reproducible process in a relational environment, and this is the key to the method’s appeal and accessibility. Using this simple method, you can start a full circle group in your worship ministry and lead it to multiply throughout your church and community every six to twelve months. And further, by adopting a mission project for the duration of your group, you are creating a missional community with a goal of establishing a mission outpost that may become an indigenous church with ongoing cultivation.

Get Ready… Get Set… GO make disciples who make disciples!  — Mark Powers

— Willis, “Storying Going Mainstream.”


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Here’s A Church You Can Emulate!

XmsfstPhotos04 058Everybody’s looking for a successful church to emulate. Large, small, and in between, we all are watching to see who’s making a splash so we can borrow a few ideas from them. With that in mind, I have a church to commend to you. No, it’s not the hottest church down the street. It’s a New Testament church – the church at Antioch.

The account of the Antioch church is found in Acts 11:19–30 and 13:1–3. The writer of Acts wrote that followers of Jesus were first called Christians in Antioch (11:26). Though this church was only a year or two old at the time of the writing of Acts, it is regarded as one of the most influential churches in the New Testament. What are the characteristics exhibited in their behavior that show spiritual maturity?

First, in worship, they knew how to allow God’s Spirit to create a worship vortex among them. According to Acts 13:2–3 (HCSB): “As they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work I have called them to.’ Then after they had fasted, prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them off.”

Second, in discipleship, they knew how to live sacrificially. According to Acts 11:29 (HCSB): “So each of the disciples, according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brothers who lived in Judea.”

And third, they knew how to go on mission, both in their community and to other people groups. According to Acts 11:24 (HCSB): “Large numbers of people were added to the Lord” as the church was on mission to its community.

Do the characteristics of the Antioch church sound familiar? They are the circle of missional living: worship-discipleship-mission. The fact that they reflected this proves that Paul and Barnabas taught an intentional process of transformational discipleship. Paul and Barnabas were growing worshiping disciples on mission in Antioch.

How about you? Yes, I know that most of my readers are worship pastors or lay worship leaders. So does that exempt you from growing disciple makers yourself? You know better, don’t you? Jesus gave the Great Commission to all of us, you included! His call to each of us is to grow disciples who make disciples and who act/think/pray as missionaries 24/7. That’s what the Antioch church was all about and their results show it. What kind of results do you have to show?  — Mark Powers

NOTE: Do you and your worship team need practical, accessible training available 24/7? http://www.WorshipWise.com offers an array of online courses to meet immediate needs for only $99 per course.  January session enrollment begins December 26. Join us!  MP


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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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The One-Day Missional Life Retreat for Your Worship Team

GFC iconYour first step to introduce your worship team to missional thinking can be a One-Day Missional Life Retreat in the context of a special rehearsal retreat. We cannot expect them to grow into deeper discipleship and more active missions until they have developed the missional mindset.

During this retreat, you will rehearse and prepare music for upcoming corporate worship while you are introducing basic missional life concepts. The best time of year for this retreat to occur is in either early January or just after Labor Day. An alternative could be a few weeks after Easter, but our hectic spring schedules make this alternative the third choice. The retreat could be scheduled on a Saturday morning, Sunday afternoon, or week night. It can be effective if held in your own rehearsal space, though you might want to consider an offsite retreat.

Here is the outline for a One-Day Missional Life retreat:

  • Enjoy fellowship time with light snacks, 30 minutes before official start time.
  • Warm up and rehearse worship songs for the upcoming Sunday.
  • Present videos, testimonies and statistics introducing the decline of Christian affiliation in our country (Search this site for updated stats: http://www.pewforum.org/data/.) Then present stories of needs in your own community: spiritual darkness, illiteracy, teen pregnancy, crime, illicit drug use, etc. Consider inviting someone from the police or sheriff ’s department, a school administrator, or a social worker to share local stories of need. Ask your worship team to share with each other the needs and challenges they see in your community with the person on their right.
  • Explain the concept of “Going Full Circle” and how our worship must move us to deeper discipleship and active missions. Lead a time of prayer and sing a song for God to open our eyes to see our world as he sees it.
  • Rehearse another song or two for future worship services. Choosing songs to learn and rehearse that reflect our call to missional living will strengthen the impact of the event.
  • Ask your team to discuss these questions with the person on their left:
    Where in the Bible does it say that we will win the world by getting people into church? What does it say?
  • Teach them the five-fingered-approach-to-handing-someone-the-gospel. (Go here to see my previous blog on this approach: http://wp.me/p4ybbl-7W.  Ask them to share ideas with the whole group about how this approach could be applied in your community by your worship team.
  • Have a time of prayer led by those previously recruited to pray on the team’s behalf.
  • Rehearse one or more upcoming songs for future worship services.
  • Present videos of missional concepts. Some sources for missional videos that can be bought and downloaded are: http://www.ignitermedia.com; http://www.worshiphousemedia.com; http://www.sermonspice.com. (Note: You may use videos from YouTube or Vimeo or other web-sharing sites only if you are live-streaming the video from the Internet, according to current U.S. copyright laws.) Ask for quick first-impression responses to these videos from your worship team.
  • The retreat should continue in this pattern, alternating rehearsal of upcoming worship songs, with teaching of basic missional concepts from this blog or my book “Going Full Circle” (https://wipfandstock.com/going-full-circle.html) and other resources, followed by guided discussion.
  • Be sure to invite your lead pastor to come in and say a closing word of support and encouragement to the team for their vision. Close the retreat with a celebrative ending and commitment to continue to the next step. Announce step two, Missional Moments in Weekly Rehearsals, to begin in the next rehearsal.  I will present this plan next week right here.

Celebrate this first step into full-circle living in your worship ministry!  Bravo for your leadership to take your team to the next level and grow “worshiping disciples on mission”.  — Mark Powers


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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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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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Leading through Change: Step Seven – Celebrate the Victory

Signs of Change At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem,

the Levites were sought out from where they lived and were brought to Jerusalem to celebrate joyfully the dedication with songs of thanksgiving and with the music of cymbals, harps and lyres . . . I also assigned two large choirs to give thanks . . . And on that day they offered great sacrifices, rejoicing because God had given them great joy.

The sound of rejoicing in Jerusalem could be heard far away.

Nehemiah 12:27, 31, 43 (NIV)

You have envisioned the dream, shared it with others, and led them to join you in accomplishing it. It wasn’t easy, and bringing it to reality required leading in the face of criticism and challenges. But you led through change into action. Now understand, this is only one small step in a long journey. Leadership experts remind us that it takes five to seven years to truly change a culture. So dig in and lead for the long haul.

Now God stands ready to show you the next missional step he has for you in the journey. Before you move on to your next mission there are two things that are crucial:

  1. Worship, praise, and thanks to God;
  2. Reward and recognition of the people.

When we praise God for success, we are recognizing that God gave the vision and all the resources to accomplish it. Because everything in life flows from God and to God, diverting any of the glory for ourselves is foolish. Leave no room for anyone to think you brought the victory. Offer your sacrifice of praise with such totality that there is no mistaking that God is getting all the credit.  – Mark Powers

 

—> Enroll now for practical, affordable, interactive online classes at http://www.WorshipWise.com.  Only $99 for each 4-week class! September session enrollment closes this Wednesday, September 7 at midnight.  Enroll now before you miss this session. The clock is ticking.