Multiplication tools: the list

If you want your group to be outward looking, the list is a powerful tool.

List
In CMA's Life Transformation Groups, each person makes a list of three to four people who are not followers of Jesus that they commit to pray for daily.

In T4T, each person is encouraged to make a list of all the not-yet-believers that they know, and divide them into groups of five. Each week, they pick a group and having prayed for them, try to tell their story to each person.

Do you have a list of people you know who are either not-yet-believers or who are not walking closely with the Lord? 

It's easier to think through the people you know by looking at your circles of influence:

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  1. The people closest to you: your family and closest friends. They don't have to live near you, but maybe you are in email contact with them. This week I offered to pray for a niece who isn't a believer and prayed for her via a facebook message.
  2. People from work: who do you know from work who is not following the Lord? The company president? The person who cleans the building? Your colleagues?
  3. Social acquaintances–people whose names you know and who know your name. Parents of those on your kid's basketball team? People in your neighborhood?
  4. Casual contacts, people you recognize but don't know their names. Your mailman, the girl behind the counter of the coffee shop where you get your morning caffeine fix. 

Practical application: Have the people in your group spend 15 minutes creating a list of all the people they know who are not following Jesus.  Suggest they commit to praying for them and if possible, telling them their story.

 

Free novel by Steve Smith, author of T4T

I have been very challenged and inspired by the book, T4T over recent weeks. It encapsulates the principles of rapid disciple-making movements in an easy to read and apply format.

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The main author, Steve Smith, has just finished a book, The Final Assault: A Novel about Finishing the Task that covers these same principles. He is offering it free for this week only. Obviously I haven't yet had a chance to read it, but it comes highly recommended by people I trust, and I wanted to let the readers of my blog have the opportunity for a free copy. Here is part of an email I received:

CPM Training Colleagues!

See my note below about a novel I have self-published to help us mobilize believers & churches effectively. The book ties in well to the sacrifice, faith and reproducible ways we need for CPMs. For this week only anyone can download it for free. 

Can you guys help me by sending this to any trainers and colleagues worldwide? Feel free to send to your training networks.  Feel free to send this to your personnel and prayer networks. 

Together may we see His kingdom come!

Steve Smith – Singapore 

As an attempt to mobilize the worldwide church to finish the task, I have finally published a novel that has been 18 years in the making from my USA church planting/pastoring days to my Strategy Coordinator for an unreached people group days to my CPM trainer days to my current role in Southeast Asia. Its goal is to provide a fast-paced, inspiring, readable alternative to average believers and pastors that might not read a normal book on missions.

STORYLINE:

This novel follows multiple intertwined story lines revolving around a small church pastor in Los Angeles who gets captivated by the ancient mission of the church to finish the task of engaging all people groups with the gospel. With the finish line in sight, this group begins to rally Christians around the world by their dedication and wartime mindset to join them in final assault on the enemy’s ground. 

Their goal is to be the in the last generation that welcomes the return of Christ. Swirling around this dedicated, growing band are the events that Revelation describes will assault the kingdom before the end. The novel follows a captivating, realistic (yet fantastic) story line of the enemy and his mechanisms to attempt to thwart this final run for the finish line.  The book finishes in a glorious climax that makes the sacrifices more than worth it. 

The novel incorporates faith-filling and practical pieces that will inspire believers and churches in HOW to get involved in the task seriously, how to plant reproducing churches and even how to tie it into current best practices. 

As the church becomes sufficiently mobilized around the world and walks in great devotion to the Lord and His Commission, we CAN finish the task. Help us spread the word! 

LIMITED-TIME OFFER:

Since I am self-publishing this on Kindle (not hardcopy), I have been able to price this very cheaply to put it in as many hands as possible, including a limited-time free offer. There are multiple ways people can get this onto their Kindle or Kindle Reader (almost any computer, pad or smartphone can download Kindle Reader for free):

·        Purchase it on Amazon for just $2.99

o    http://www.amazon.com/The-Final-Assault-Finishing-ebook/dp/B007RMTJSI/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1333765079&sr=1-1

§  (To get a free Kindle reader for almost any platform, go to the following website: http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000493771)

·        Amazon Prime members can borrow it for free for the next 90 days

·        Special 5-day offer – From approximately April 10-14, 2012 (Pacific Standard Time) anyone can download this book for FREE from Amazon (see website above) on their Kindle. Please let as many people as possible know about this. I would like to request that downloaders post a review on Amazon if possible. 

PLEASE PUT A REVIEW ON AMAZON

I would like to ask your help in not only reading the book but placing a review on the Amazon website. This will help us get the word out as we try to mobilize the church worldwide. 

PLEASE SEND THIS TO AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE

I would like to ask you to forward this email to as many people as possible, especially church and mission leaders to distribute to their email networks. Let’s get the word out so that the church may be built up and equipped for its calling. 

Thanks for your help! 

Steve Smith

 

Multiplication tools: the story

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Ying Kai in the book, T4T: A Discipleship Re-Revolution, shares how he taught a group of 30 impoverished farmers how to tell their stories, and then encouraged them to share their stories with at least 5 people during the coming week. The next week they shared reports of what had gone on. Eleven people had shared their story, but one farmer had led 11 people to the Lord. As they continued telling their stories and then training those they led to the Lord to also share their own stories, things began to multiply. Within a few months, more than 12,000 people had been baptized and 908 small churches had formed. Now, 10 short years later, there have been more than 1.7 million baptisms as a result of his training, which is based around a person's ability to tell their story.

In the New Testament, there are four accounts of Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus. There is the actual story in Acts 9, but on three other occasions, Paul tells his story, twice to persuade others about Jesus (Acts 22, Acts 26, Galatians 1). On each occasion he uses the same three part format for his story.

  1. What his life was like before he became a follower of Jesus
  2. How Jesus met him
  3. How his life changed since then

Telling our story in just a few minutes is a skill we should all have as a tool. It's worth spending the time it takes to develop this. It's also good to have several stories that might fit different situations, for example, a time Jesus healed you, a time he provided financially, a time he met your emotional need. 

Suggested activity: In your group, get everyone to write down a brief version of the story of how they became a follower of Jesus. (If the person has been a believer all their lives, then a story of when their faith became more real to them). Let them practice reading it aloud several times (all together). Then break down into pairs and each person tell their story to their partner without using their notes. The other person is to check that they are not using Christianese, and to suggest ways that parts of the story might be made more interesting–for example, cutting our unnecessary detail, or adding more to a relevant section. 

Encourage everyone to share their stories with others during the week.

 

How our standard poodle was witness to my failure

Winston H. Churchill is the full name of our standard poodle. (Winston Churchill obviously stems from our British heritage. The middle initial, "H," stands for Houdini which we added after he twice escaped from a wire kennel, leaving the door bolted behind him. No, don't ask!)

Winston before
Winston: before grooming

One of the advantages of a standard poodle is that they do not shed. The disadvantage is that they need grooming. Let me explain what Winston and his dreadlocks have to do with God's Kingdom and church planting.

Six months ago I would have struggled to find the books of Haggai and Zechariah; now my Bible falls open to those pages. God has been speaking clearly and specifically to Tony and me from these books about many of the things we are involved in: our personal lives, the direction our business should take, what is going on with the simple/organic/house church movement. 

To understand these books, it helps to know a little of the history. The first waves of the Children of Israel have returned from 70 years of captivity in Babylon. Led by Zerubbabel the Governor, and Jeshua the High Priest, they lay the foundations of the Temple in an attempt to rebuild Solomon's Temple, destroyed when Nebuchadnezzar invaded. But the local people (not Israelites, but others who have been relocated to their land) conspire to stop the work. For almost 20 years, the rebuilding of the Temple is abandoned. In the meantime, the Israelites settle back into their various towns and villages to rebuild their own houses.

Enter the prophets Haggai and Zechariah. They prophecy to the leaders and to the people telling them that many of the challenges they face, from financial difficulties to crop failures to drought, stem from the fact that they have neglected to rebuild God's temple. When Haggai and Zechariah prophecy the promise of God's presence and blessing  (I am with you, says the Lord (Haggai 1:13)), it is enough to galvanize Zerubbabel and Jeshua and the Israelites back into action. Within four short years the Temple is completed.

The church in our nation  is in rapid, overall decline.  Christianity is fast becoming outdated and outmoded. It's time for us to rebuild the Temple. I'm not referring to physical bricks and mortar here, but to the Kingdom, God's spiritual temple built with spiritual stones. These spiritual stones are people, followers of Jesus (1Peter 2:5).

The Lord has been convicting me over recent days through the book of Haggai and through T4T teaching that I need to be more vocal about my faith. How will we ever see a move of God here if no seed of the Kingdom is sown? If I preach the importance of speaking about our faith, then I must live it too.

As I looked at my day early yesterday morning, the one occasion I was likely to get to chat with a non-believer was when I took Winston for his end-of-winter hair cut. I determined I was going to find an opportunity to share my spiritual story with the lady who grooms him.

I failed. Completely. Someone else was in the store and I chickened out!  (Yes, I know. It's all about listening to the Lord and speaking to those he tells us to talk to.) 

God help me!

Winston after
Winston: after grooming

 

Fast multiplication: principles behind an abundant harvest

No farmer would expect to reap a harvest of wheat in a field where he had not sown seed.

Seed

Photo credit: CIMMYT (Creative Commons)

Why do we believers expect to reap a harvest of souls where we haven't sown spiritual seed?

There are similar principles of multiplication behind both physical and spiritual reaping and sowing. If we expect to see people become followers of Jesus without sowing the seed of the Kingdom, we are deluding ourselves.

What does this look like? According to Luke 8:11, the seed of the Kingdom is the word of God. In Matthew 13:38, the good seed represents the people of the Kingdom.

While at the Verge conference, I had the opportunity to attend some T4T training with Ying Kai. The T4Tmovement has seen more than 1.7 million baptisms and 150,000 new churches start since 2001.

What is the difference between what they see there compared to what we see in the West? They sow seed. Not just the occasional seed here or there. They sow abundantly.

The foundation behind their training is that each new believer is trained to share the good news of Jesus in simple ways right from the day they become a disciple. And not just once or twice. Each person is encouraged to share their personal story as a bridge to the Gospel, five times per week. 

Is it surprising that they reap a big harvest?