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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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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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


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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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Missional Thinking 101 for Worshipers: Our Missional Mind

Claiming the Streets  I, the Lord, have called you

for a righteous purpose, and I will hold you by your hand.

I will keep you, and I will make you a covenant for the people and a light to the nations, in order to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon, and those sitting in darkness from the prison house.

I am Yahweh, that is My name.

Isaiah 42:6–8a, HCSB

Mission is the work of God to reconcile our sinful world to himself, and it is eternally rooted in his own will and nature: God originated the mission; Jesus Christ enacted the mission; the Holy Spirit empowers the mission; the church carries out missions; we tell the world the good news of reconciliation through Jesus; a person accepts Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, becomes a disciple, and joins God’s mission. God’s love goes full circle in missions. John Piper, in Let the Nations Be Glad, wrote, “When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity.”

Gailyn Van Rheenen, in Missions: Biblical Foundations and Contemporary Strategies, pointed out that there are at least five things that Christians must understand when we join God’s mission: “First, if mission flows from the character and nature of God, it cannot be neglected by the church. Mission, because it is of God, cannot be aborted. Second, since the mission is of God, God will equip people for the task. If they feel inadequate, he will empower them. Third, the mission of God enables Christian missionaries to understand themselves under God’s sovereignty. Christians should not undertake God’s mission for self-glorification but for the glorification of God. It is God’s enterprise. Fourth, the mission of God implies sacrifice. It is a mission worth living and dying for. Finally, because the mission is God’s, it will succeed. Even though messengers fail and people reject the message, the mission of God continues. God, the source of mission, will raise up new people to carry his message.”

Understanding these five things about missions will help you clarify your role in the mission of God. How many of our church members, or our pastors for that matter, can clearly put into words the mission of God and our work of missions? We are quick to tell anyone what we think our church should be. But our church wish-list seldom mirrors God’s mission in the world.  — Mark Powers

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.

Credits: Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad, page unknown.  ——- Van Rheenen, Missions: Biblical Foundations and Contemporary Strategies, 19.


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Missional Thinking 101 for Worshipers: Our Worldview

Awestruck FamilyAnd I will put enmity between you and the woman,

  and between your offspring and hers;

he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.

Genesis 3:15, NIV

A worldview is the lens through which people view and understand life. In Basic Training for Mission Teams, Jerry Rankin and Phyllis Tadlock defined worldview as: “Shared beliefs, feelings and values that drive the behavior and life patterns of individuals and cultures.”1 A Christian worldview sees history as “His story,” the story of God’s mission to redeem the world. God’s story is a continuum with a beginning and an end. Some have portrayed this redemption story as the story of three trees: the tree of good and evil in the Garden of Eden; the tree of Calvary where Jesus gave his life for us; and the tree of life in Revelation 2:7 at the end of this age.

In the above Scripture, God unveiled his redemption plan immediately after Adam and Eve fell into sin. God revealed to Satan as serpent that ultimately Jesus would crush his head even after Satan had wounded the Son of Man. This prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.

The Bible is full of stories showing our God on mission to restore fallen humanity. His redemption story unfolds in distinctive chapters across the ages: the creation; the fall into sin; the plan of redemption announced; the faith covenant with Abraham to bless the world through his offspring; the prophecies of the coming of Messiah; the birth, ministry, crucifixion, and victorious resurrection of Jesus Christ; the Great Commissioning of the church to join God on his redemptive mission; the gospel taken to the nations; the second coming of Christ; and the consummation of his story when all disciples are worshiping the Lamb at the heavenly throne.

You and I are a part of this continuing story. We have been commissioned by God to join his mission and share his story. What an amazing concept, that God would use people like you and me to redeem our world back into relationship with himself through Jesus Christ.  Let’s not waste a moment in this life. Let God use you continually as his instrument to “seek and save the lost”.  EVERY CHRISTIAN IS CALLED TO BE A MISSIONARY TO THEIR COMMUNITY AND THE WORLD!  — Mark Powers

1. Rankin and Tadlock, Basic Training for Mission Teams, 28.