#noplaceleft

Vision validated by action

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A report from Jeff and Angie Sundell on the work in Athens. In July the team spent 30 days in the harvest. Here are the outcomes:

  • 2,746 people across Athens, Greeks and refugees, were engaged in a spiritual conversation

  • 680 people received prayer

  • 1848 heard the Gospel

  • 744 red lights — they didn’t want to know more

  • 641 yellow lights — they want to find out more

  • 79 green lights — they want to follow Christ

  • 151 believers trained in how to share the Gospel

  • 32 baptisms

  • 358 are being followed up

30 days is a long time and follow up is hard work. It’s not easy to get to consistent discipleship and church formation. But it is possible.

The people who see multiplying disciples and churches do what Jeff and the team in Athens do. They don’t just talk mission. They have a vision, they act and they mobilise others.

Want to see how all this fits together? Listen to Jeff Sundell’s vision for NoPlaceLeft Europe.

This is a Movement of God

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This movement of God behind bars is one of the case studies in The Rise and Fall of Movements. An update just came in from Don Waybright.

He walks into the room, handcuffed, escorted by the guard that brought him from his 5’x9’ cell on L line of solitary confinement at Darrington Maximum Security Prison. From head to toe his body is covered with prison tattoos. The teardrop tattoos around his eyes symbolize murder – taking the life of another man.

The guard hands him off to our team and we allow him to say a few words of thanks to the prisoners celebrating behind the cage – the ones who have shared the Gospel and demonstrated to him the love of Jesus, but aren’t allowed to have physical contact with him. Now his eyes swell with real tears – symbolizing the suffering Lamb of God who died for the forgiveness of his sins and has transformed him from the inside out. We guide him into the portable baptismal, and soon he rises from the water to the sounds of cheers filling the room – his face glowing with the full awareness of the radical lifechange his baptism represents.

Today we baptized 13 men just like this…in the past year Sugar Creek has baptized 77 men in solitary confinement at Darrington. Next month, the new Warden, embracing the movement of God breaking out, will allow the inmates who discipled the men to conduct the baptisms for the first time. 

At Coffield Prison in Palestine TX, the largest prison in the state, over 225 disciple making groups meet weekly in every living area of the prison. They average 30-40 baptisms each month.

One of the inmate leaders of this movement, in for life with no parole, was recently transferred to Darrington. Last week he began a 12-week high intensity, high accountability group disciple-making training at Darrington…the 40 participants are already starting groups throughout the general population.

There are over 100 men on the wait list to attend this training…a genuine movement of God is taking place – no man can control it, nor take credit for it since this is the unstoppable, unshakable Kingdom of God! The fruit of surrender to the Spirit – obedience to the Word of God – and pursuit of the mission of No Place Left where the Gospel has penetrated every person in the prison and beyond! 

Find out more about this movement of God: 182-NoPlaceLeft Behind Bars.

Read the case study and others in The Rise and Fall of Movements.

Movements — How to Spot the Real Thing

Will Burnham and some of his guys

Will Burnham and some of his guys

There’s a lot of discussion about movements these days, but how do you know if you’re on the right track to see a multiplying movement? There’s a simple test.

Michelle and I have spent a week in Greece learning from what God is doing along the refugee highway. We got to spent time with Will Burnham and workers with Arab, Iranian, African and South Asian backgrounds. Many are former Muslims. Some of them are in the photo above. It was so refreshing to see the early signs of multiplying disciples and churches.

Will just posted this update of what God is doing through these new believers. Look for the evidence of what a movement is.

Michel and some of his disciples left the Training Center a few days ago. They passed an African man on the street sitting beside his adult son who was having a stroke. No one passing by stopped to help. He called out to Michel in Lingala if he spoke his language. Michel realized what was happening and called a taxi and took the man and his son to the hospital where he is recovering! They said if he was 20 minutes later there would be little hope for a recovery. 

As Michel shared the love of Christ the old man described how fear in witchcraft has been their only faith. Both opened their hearts to Jesus! Then the son, Tresor, asked Michel to come to his home where five other African men live in order to share with them. They all believed. Two men are married, one wife is in Paris and the other man’s wife lives in another area of Athens for work. 

Both wives found out about their husbands new faith in Jesus and asked to talk to Michel. The wife in Paris is watching the discipleship videos Michel just did in French. The other wife in Athens asked for Michel to come and share to the 30 other African women living in her building. He plans to go there with two of his female leaders next week. 

God at work through a simple act of kindness. May His Kingdom continue to grow!

Here’s the test of any movement. It’s not about what are you doing. Listen for the stories of what new disciples who were far from God are doing. That’s the difference between a ministry and a movement.

Ed Stetzer and The Rise and Fall of Movements

Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer

My one-on-one with Ed Stetzer on The Rise and Fall of Movements:

Ed: What’s the story behind The Rise and Fall of Movements?

Steve: I’ve been studying movements for over 30 years. I soon noticed that dynamic movements have certain characteristics. I also noticed that movements don’t stand still. Movements rise and they fall and they can be turned around.

I wanted to write a book that explains the characteristics of movements that multiply and how they change over the course of the typical lifecycle. An understanding of the characteristics and the lifecycle provides a framework for action.

There are many studies of organizations and social movements that identify a typical lifecycle. They prompted me to search the Scriptures and church history to see if I could find the same patterns. I did.

The real challenge was to discover how God was at work at each stage of development and how we contribute to both the rise and fall of movements.

Ed: What is the movement lifecycle, and why is it important?

Read the whole thing…