Still learning

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Here we are passing through Bangkok. Visiting our workers. In Bangkok I can recommend the Quest Cafe.

We’ve just come out of India and before that the Middle East. We’ve been in Muslim-majority, Hindu-majority and Buddhist-majority nations. A mixture of learning and helping others learn how to apply movement principles in everyday practice that results in multiplying disciples and churches.

Here’s what I learned from Jeff Sundell—practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, practice makes perfect.

This is a variation on the principle that they don’t know it unless they can do it.

When you’re training, assume people haven’t got it until they have practiced a new skill six times. When you lead someone to Christ get them to practice sharing the gospel with you right away before they share with their friends and family. When you catch up next, practice again and keep practicing.

When you want a group to become church,  you need to practice what church does. Six times. You model it then what while they do church.

So next time you blame your trainees for “not getting it” ask yourself, did I get them to practice six times?

Here’s an insight from Chuck Wood on helping people reach their relational world/s—oikos mapping.

As soon as someone comes to Christ get them to map their significant relationships. I used to get people just to list them. Mapping is a better way to go. Chuck Wood has produced a video on how to do oikos mapping. Once their relationships are mapped they can pray for each person and begin sharing. They bring the map each week to discipleship and update you on how they are sharing. You pray over the oikos map out they go again. Do that every week and you might just see the gospel reach networks of people rather than just individuals.

So two things you can start doing today—practice every skill six times, everyone has an oikos map and updates it every week.

Movements among students — Berk Wilson [podcast]


Berk and Barbara Wilson

Today we talk to Berk Wilson about multiplying movements among students.


What went wrong at Mars Hill?

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Following the resignation of Mark Driscoll, Mars Hill has announced that it is closing and will dissolve into eleven separate new churches. 

Ben Tertin’s asks, What went wrong at Mars Hill?

David Garrison and Nathan Shank in Georgia


Definitely worth a trip to Georgia to hear David Garrison and Nathan Shank (Feb 25-27, 2015).

There will also be practical training offered in the breakout sessions in multiplying disciples and churches.

Earlybird registration ends January 14.

The silence of the lambs

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David asked an important question

Do you mind if I start a conversation about #2? Don’t train in order to change people priorities. Train people who want to make disciples.

Earlier this year I translated Ying when he was speaking at a service here in Hamburg. After giving some basic training Ying asked for a show of hands who wanted to start sharing the Good News with someone. Only a handful raised their hands.

Ying wasn’t satisfied and shared this analogy (in my own words):
“Imagine David would give me a gift of $10 and I would call my wife in the middle of the night to tell her: ‘Grace, I need to tell you something. David gave me a gift of $10!’ – what would she tell me? Probably ‘Ying, are you crazy to wake me up in the middle of the night to tell me this?’” Then Ying continued. “But what would happen, if David gave me a gift of $ 1.000.000 and I would call my wife in the middle of the night to tell her this? She would be excited and thrilled about it.”

Then Ying continued and told the audience: “You have something that is like the one million dollar gift”

After the service I shared with Ying my observation in a lot of churches in Germany. I said to him: “You are right in what you said, but the problem is that many Christians feel that what they have or experience in Jesus is like the $10 gift. They are not excited about what they have. And I wouldn’t be either if I would believe what they have been told in their church experience.” Background to this: We have a lot of legalistic thinking in our churches. People believe, that they need to perform (or behave well) in order for God to love them. (I imagine you would find lots of those in the UK as well)

Ying in a later training started with the Father heart of God. So that people would first change their thinking about God.

So coming back to #2: f I would really only focus on those who want to be trained, I would find only a handful (plus in this handful I would probably also have some who feel they need to share the Gospel, in order to be loved and accepted by God, not BECAUSE they are accepted and loved – which is not helpful either).

What’s your take on this problem?



Here’s my response:


The accepted and loved was definitely not my problem. I had that. The real change occurred when God spoke through my wife Michelle after I wrote my book on Movements. She said, “Great book Steve, but when are you going to do something?” I felt God’s rebuke and his challenge in those words.

Deep down I didn’t think I was any good at sharing my faith. I didn’t think God could use me. The solution was nothing less than faith expressed in obedience. Then came the excitement of seeing God at work and a deeper love for people far from him because they now had names and faces.

Jesus’ command and promise has meant a lot to me since then, “Come follow me, and I’ll teach you to fish for people.”

I think there are a lot of reasons why people don’t share. Not having a vital relationship with Christ is an important one. Following comes first. Then as we step out in fear and trembling Jesus promises to be our teacher.

I also keep in mind that the best evangelists are not experts like me but new disciples.

A simple and clear explanation of movements that multiply disciples and churches

Thanks to Mike for sending the link.

When it comes to training, what’s true north?

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As I mentioned, we’re learning a lot about training and mobilising in the short time we’ve been in the UK.

Here’s a few lessons that point to true north when it comes to training.

  1. Train just enough to get people started in the harvest.
  2. Don’t train in order to change people priorities. Train people who want to make disciples.
  3. The more people apply, the more training and input they receive.
  4. Let the stories of what God is doing attract others to the training.
  5. Start training with the basic skills, not movement principles.
  6. After people start doing something it’s time to teach them movement principles. Not before.
  7. Stay in touch after the training and look for those who are quick to do something. Give them your time.
  8. Don’t make enemies. Give people permission to opt in (or out) at the level for which they are ready.
  9. The end game is a team of people who want to make disciple and mobilise others.
  10. Train broadly to find the people you need to go deep with.

What we’re learning about training

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Michelle and I have been out training around the UK. It’s early days but we’re learning something about the process.

I’m far less focused now on getting through as much material as possible. Early on I’m doing less on movement principles and more on getting people started in connecting and sharing with people far from God. When someone implements, then it’s time to add some of the principles to help them move forward.

So the Following and Fishing material is still our key resource, but how we roll it out has changed.

Here’s my current thinking…

1. First training: Connecting and sharing

  • Praying for needs. We teach people to connect with people far from God by praying for needs. If it’s someone they know, they connect and listen for an opportunity. If they are looking for a person of peace outside of their relationships they meet someone and ask, “If God could do a miracle in your life, what would it be? Can I pray for you?”
  • Are you near for far? Coming out of the prayer they ask, “Right now are you near or far from God?” The person shares and they ask, “Would you like to be near (or nearer) to God?”
  • Share a story or two. They share the story in 2-3 minutes of how they were far from God and came near to him. And/or they share a story from Jesus’ life of someone who was far from God and came near to him such as the woman who wept (Luke 7:36-50).
  • Invite. They see if the person would like to meet again and discuss more stories of people who came near to God through Jesus. If possible. they meet in or near the person’s home. They ask if the person knows anyone else who would be interested.
  • Practice. We practice, practice, practice these skills in the training. If possible we send people out for an hour over lunch to find someone to pray for and share with. Then come back and report.

This first training can run from Friday night to after lunch on Saturday. Or it could be three weekly sessions.

2. Second training: Report in, practice, and new skills

In the weeks after the first training it’s not unusual to hear stories of people sharing, meeting for Discovery Bible Study and leading people to Christ.

We meet back in 4-6 weeks. 

  • Report in. What have people done? How have they seen God at work? Where are they stuck?
  • Practice. Practice the skills we learned in the first training.
  • New skills: How to lead someone to Christ and how to disciple a new believer using the Seven Commands of Christ.
  • Go out. Definitely go out over lunch and share with someone far from God.
  • Set new goals.

In the second training we may at times run two tracks — one for new people and one for those who have done the first training.

3. Third training: Building a team, applying movement principles

The whole time we’re looking for people who get it, who do something and can learn to train others.

  • Between trainings we stay in touch as much as possible with those who are implementing. We want to form an ongoing team of people who are both implementing and training others. We’re helping them learn and apply movement principles to their work in the field.
  • Repeat the process. Report in, practice skills we’ve learned, add new skills, set new goals.
  • Train trainersNow our priority is to equip effective practitioners to train others.

What’s next? Plenty of ideas but we haven’t got that far yet.

UPDATE: Some encouraging and wise words from Yoda Bill….

Excellent. As Mike Shipman said a few days ago, “Train, filter, coach and release.”

By training he means give a few simple things to do and make every one practice practice and practice some more. Only give a few things to do each session and have multiple sessions in which you introduce new things to practice.

By filter he assumes that many who attend the traings will not implement. Continue to train over and over by practicing over and over those who begin to implement.

Now for the revelation — Postmodern Brits are just like rural and urban Chinese, they ponder principles but they implement training.

What to do about unfaithfulness in the church?

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Movements are characterised by Commitment to the Cause. They take their faith seriously and learn to live it out in obedience to what the Scriptures teach. None of us live up to that ideal. That’s where grace comes in. 

But what of the modern-postmodern heresy of relativism in the church? In which any belief and any action becomes a matter of personal preference. The problem is not that we fall short of Biblical standards, but that we deny them all together.

Some great insights from John Lomperis on what needs to be done — although, I’ve travelled enough to know that the problem is not unique to America or the western world.

… one key way in which American evangelicals have not been closely hewing to the faithful biblical example of our spiritual forefathers and foremothers is in the basic attitude and response we often have towards what to do about blatant unfaithfulness within the church itself.

People often romantically long for the purity of “the New Testament church.” But in the New Testament I read, I see a church with some really serious problems.

In the Revelation to John, we see Jesus Christ not giving up on but still loving certain churches, calling them to Scriptural holiness, even when the Ephesian church had forsaken its first love, the church in Smyrna included people devoted to false teaching and sexual immorality, the church in Thyatira tolerated Satanic teaching and a woman leading others into sexual immorality, the church in Sardis was spiritually dead, and the church in Laodicea had not yet repented of being so infamously lukewarm.

Members of the church in Rome were harshly judging and being stumbling blocks for each other. The very first “reconciling congregation” in church history, which took an “open and affirming” stance towards sexual sin, was the one in Corinth, which also included members with a scandalously nasty habit of dragging each other to court. The Galatian church was being led to follow a false Gospel, and heard from Paul about his own experiences elsewhere with “false brothers” who “had infiltrated our ranks.” To the Philippian church, Paul noted that some preachers of Christ were driven by insincere motives of selfish ambition and jealousy. The Colossian church was plagued by a heretical false teachings that mixed in elements from non-Christian belief systems and struck at the very heart of the Gospel. The Thessalonian church had its own struggles with practice, needing to be warned against sexual immorality and then having problems with sinful, mooching laziness. The churches in Crete, overseen by Titus, had within them a disruptive faction who were spreading false teaching, and who had become part of the church despite not even knowing God. The church folk who first received the epistle of James appear to have had an ugly habit of treating rich people better than poor people. Peter’s second letter strongly warns against the inevitable problem of churches being infiltrated by dangerous false teachers. The recipients of John’s epistles were apparently in churches in which people were evidently believing the claims of spirits and false prophets who were not from God, there had been the spread of false teachings so dangerous that they endangered Christians’ eternal salvation, and there was even a corrupt man in a church leadership position who was slandering faithful Christians and abusing his power to put some faithful Christians out of the church. Finally, Jude’s little epistle is worth taking a moment to read in its entirety. He was addressing a church into which false teachers had “secretly slipped in,” people who “pervert[ed] the grace of our God into a license for immorality.”

Sound familiar?

I fear that for too many American Protestants, their first reaction if they heard of a church experiencing even one of these problems would be “if something like that was going on in my church, I would just leave and go to another church – even if that meant abandoning a faithful local congregation because of something happening in the wider denomination!”

This is a profoundly unbiblical mindset. The New Testament presents us with a number of responses to such church problems: Teaching that explicitly refutes false beliefs. Church discipline. Patient endurance. “Contending for the faith” – and note that when Jude gave that command, he was talking about fighting unfaithfulness within the church itself! Warning about the ultimate eternal consequences of persistent unfaithfulness. Waiting for eventual justice for enemies of the Gospel. Even rejoicing over some good preaching by very corrupt individuals!

But what I do not see in Scripture is this idea that when the false teachers have gained a small foothold in or even overwhelmed a local church, we have any right to just surrender everything to them, give them full, unchallenged leadership over the local flock, just run away and quit, and maybe try to rebuild everything from scratch somewhere down the road.

Chuck Wood drops into Tim Scheuer’s Iron on Iron via Google Hangouts

Australia is a vast continent. So getting practitioners together for encouragement and accountability can be difficult.

Tim Scheuer has been experimenting with holding his “Iron on Iron” gatherings via Google Hangouts.

Eight to ten practitioners report in on what God is doing, what they are learning, and where they are stuck. Then they talk about what they will do next.

Tim has someone who is further down the track provide input for about 30 minutes. In this session it’s Chuck Wood starting at the 35 minute mark. The whole process takes 90-120 minutes.

You can then publish the video record to YouTube.