Communicating the gospel through stories

6 9 Why Communicate the Gospel Through Story 2

This month’s edition of Mission Frontiers is all about Unleashing the Gospel through Storytelling.

Tom Steffen explains why it’s important to communicate the gospel through stories.

There’s a report on Church-Planting Movements Among Oral Learners.

JO Terry provides some practical tips on storytelling.

Steve Smith writes about how to find “houses of peace.”

Reaching the world in your backyard

2013-11-22 James David Steve

God has brought the world to Nashville Tennessee. James Harvey and David Kaufmann talk about reaching immigrant populations through disciple making movements.

What they had to say rocked my understanding of how we train workers for the harvest.

Download their resources at

Contact James and David about training at


Five Reasons (Most) Seminary Graduates Fail At Church Planting

Hire me

This Forbes magazine article got my attention.

It may explain why you’ll only find one or two good church planters in most institutions of theological learning.

Five Reasons (Most) MBAs Fail At Startups

Startups Need Execution, Not Administration

Despite the proliferation of entrepreneurial courses within Business Administration programs, business schools are essentially vocational training grounds for consultants and investment bankers.

There are a variety of reasons many MBAs struggle at startups. The five most lethal challenges are as follows:

1. Tool Users - Startups often have a long gestation period in which the team is in discovery mode, defining the company’s value proposition, target market, pricing, business model, etc. Thus, startups need people who can identify and prioritize problems, not just solve those that are already defined.

MBAs graduate with an analytical toolkit that can be readily applied to solve known problems in a deliberate manner, especially when reams of data are available. Thus, it is no surprise that Harvard recently reported that 25% of its 2012 graduates accepted jobs as consultants, while 52% opted for careers in financial services.

2. Limited Entrepreneurial Experience – The admission process of top business schools emphasizes undergraduate grades and standardized test scores. As noted in Startup Advice From College Dropouts, successful entrepreneurs are often poor students.

Additionally, just as MBA graduates gravitate to consulting and investment banking, the majority of business school enrollees are also drawn from these industries (along with public accounting). Thus, relatively few MBA candidates enter B-school with meaningful entrepreneurial experiences.

3. Golden Expectations – Top MBA programs are expensive and their graduates have astronomical salary expectations. Per the 2012 Global Management Education Graduate Survey, the median debt of 2012 MBA graduates was $45,000, while the debt from top schools averaged $90,000 (e.g., Wharton graduates averaged more than $114,000 of graduate school loans).

This same report notes that MBAs will be granted a median starting salary of $90,000, plus an average signing bonus of $15,000. Unfortunately, the 2012 QS Applicant Survey notes that, on average, MBAs expect to earn $153,000 upon graduation.

When I graduated from Wharton in 1989, I was one of the few in my class who shunned the investment banking / consulting path for the life as an initially unpaid entrepreneur. I was able to follow the startup path because I had no school debt and my wife had a stable, well-paying job. Sadly, relatively few entrepreneurially minded MBA graduates can now afford to accept a below-market salary at a startup.

4. Action vs. Analysis – Although its use is in decline, many MBA classes are still taught via the Socratic case method. This approach is effective when reviewing historical scenarios in which abundant data is available and a menu of potential decisions are readily evident.

Outside of the classroom, startups seldom have enough time, information or money to view the world through the rearview mirror. As such, much of the benefit derived from the case study methodology is inappropriate in an entrepreneurial setting where greater value is placed on execution, rather than analysis.

I recall a lengthy Harvard case from my days at Wharton that explored a large company’s convoluted decision process to move from wood to fiberglass skis. At the time we reviewed the case (the late 1980?s), the transition from wooden skis was nearly 20-years in the past.

5. Attitude – I have numerous friends who also happen to have earned an MBA. However, my friends notwithstanding, the reality is that many graduates from top Business Schools are tools. They are often more focused on building their careers, rather than building collegial teams. This proclivity for a cutthroat, rather than a collaborative culture, is detrimental to startups, which require everyone to row in the same direction with a low drama quotient, lest the startup boat will sink.

Look For MBA Outliers

Top business schools are effective at identifying intelligent, ambitious people. Entrepreneurs should leverage the screening performed by B-schools and not dismiss MBA applicants outright.

Thus, if you encounter an action-oriented MBA who has practical startup experience, is willing to accept equity in lieu of a market salary and exhibits a collaborative attitude, ignore their MBA handicap and hire them immediately.

UPDATE: Comment from someone who knows. Let’s call him William the Wise…

A key phrase is buried in the text, “greater value is placed on execution than on analysis.”

Looking for Strategy Coordinators who get to movement, my wife and I often said half the criteria for results was who the person was before they walked into the class room.

My first five minutes of conversation with Jeff Sundell, I knew that he knew how to run a business. It might have been an auto parts business.

Correct that last sentence. It was not that he knew how to run a business HE HAD RUN A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS

Point is the only thing I remember from that conversation is that he had experience doing what is now called “execution”

People who do things make things happen and get to multiplication.

Too much analysis and too much looking at structure or future potential pitfalls never put the maximum energy in to getting todays job done.

Just as MBA are trained to look at data and predict problems most preachers are trained to find fault in doctrine, structure ecclesiology tradition etc.

Jesus said Those who have been successful executing stewardship over a few resources will be given execution authority or more resources and broader execution responsibility (Luke 16:10.

CS Lewis 50 years on

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On the 50th anniversary of his death,

CS Lewis has been honoured with a memorial stone in Westminster Abbey.

The stone has been placed in Poets’ Corner, alongside renowned literary figures including Chaucer and Dickens.

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams – a fan of his work – gave the main address at the ceremony.

Lewis, born in 1898, is best known for the Chronicles of Narnia series, which has sold 100 million copies worldwide and been adapted for screen and stage.

Brian Miller writes, 

Perhaps no Christian thinker since the Reformation has proved so influential. And how gloriously ironic this fact is, as no Christian thinker since that time has been so widely revered by both Catholics and Protestants.

Lewis’ legacy is as diverse as it is great. He was a poet, an apologist, a storyteller, a science fiction author, a philosopher, and a theologian. 

Here is man who enjoyed tobacco and beer, quoted poetry and philosophers, taught at the best Universities in the world, whose joy seemed to flow off the page into the very soul of the reader.

 My favourite CS Lewis quote?

If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

CS Lewis, The Weight of Glory

 My favourite CS Lewis book?

“The Great Divorce” (C. S. Lewis)

(VIDEO) Following and Fishing: Session 1

The first of four sessions on multiplying disciples, groups and churches. Everywhere.

In this session we learn how to pray for people who are far from God. How to lead someone through a Discovery Bible study. Finally, how to share your story with someone in three minutes.

The videos are not a substitute for doing the training, face to face, with an experienced practitioner.

The best way to use the video content is help you become a better practitioner who trains others. The best training is not delivered by video but by a practitioner in the room, face to face. The best training is also delivered over series of up to eight weeks, so that participants have an opportunity to implement between sessions.

Download the participant notes and an outline for trainers.

Join the Following and Fishing Forum, to connect with a growing band of other practitioners and trainers.

Learn from those who have gone before you, and subscribe to the Movements podcast.

Lastly thanks to Kris Rossow for filming and editing the video and thanks to the good people at for making the training available to a wider audience.

Following and Fishing: Sessions 1-4

The view from my window

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I’m in Cambridge England this week, a guest at Ridley Hall.

Ridley has been training ministers for the Anglican church since 1881. A plaque outside the chapel commemorates those who have given their lives in overseas missions.

Two of the famous “Cambridge Seven” who served in inland China in the last 1800s were from Ridley.

On Friday I’ll be speaking to students at the Centre for Pioneer Learning.

The rest of my time here is devoted to working on my next book which will look at Movement Leadership.

Job Description: Movement Catalyst

David Broodryk and movement leaders from Eurasia.

David Broodryk (left) and movement leaders from Eurasia.

David Broodryk on what a movement catalyst does. How he finds them. How he mentors and equips them.


A vision and a plan to reach 50 US cities

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Find out more….

Defining movements

2013-11-07 Broodryk Addison Kiev

David Broodryk is a practitioner, trainer, coach and strategist for disciple making movements.

I met David at a gathering of CoNext partners a few hours out of Kiev in the Ukraine.

David shares describes what a movements are and looks specifically at disciple making movements.

As you listen you can follow the presentation.


Neil Cole in Australia