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?

Blessings!

David

Here’s my response:

David

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.

The silence of the lambs

IMG 4998

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?

Blessings!

David

Here’s my response:

David

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.

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.

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

IMG 0456

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.