How did you learn to ride a bike?
Did your dad sit you on the couch in front of the TV and say, "Here, watch four hours of the Tour de France. That will do the trick."
You most likely did watch older brothers or sisters ride bike however. It looked fun and if you were like most kids, you wanted to ride too.
Learning to ride bike probably looked more like your dad - or in my case, older brother - running along beside you, one hand holding firmly to the back of your seat to help you balance as you started pedaling and getting the feel of things.
That firm grip was released and those first rides certainly included a crash or two followed by comfort and the encouragement to get back in the saddle.
In short order, you mastered the art and skill of bike riding. You may not be ready to race in the Tour de France but you are more than capable of a ride across town.
You have achieved unconscious competence in the bike riding department.
Our journey toward bike riding stardom highlights the basic training principles that are required to make disciples who make disciples.
We call these the MAWL principle.
Model, Assist, Watch and Launch. This is the basic process through which we all learned to ride bike and it is the model of training that we see Jesus using and later Paul. This basic principle is applied in all good training that leads to actual competence and reproduction, to disciples having the confidence and competence to obey Jesus and make disciples.
Modeling requires us to set the example by actually doing what we want others to do. We see Jesus doing this in his ministry - he is preaching, healing, casting out demons, abiding with the Father, praying, setting strategy. He has taken the disciples with him and they are watching his example, asking questions and asking for deeper teaching.
Nathan Shank in Four Fields of Kingdom Growth comments that "What a disciple does in the first three months of faith, he or she will reproduce throughout their walk. If the disciple is asked to passively observe the work of the church, passivity will likely be the "DNA". If the disciple is expected to aggressively pursue friends and loved ones, reproducing what has been trained [modeled], multiplication is set in motion."
What we model is important.
Assisting requires to release our disciples to actually do what it is we want them to do by themselves. We have to put them on the bike. We assist them but they are doing the work. Again we see Jesus doing this with the disciples. Who is going to feed the 4,000? They are. Jesus is going to assist, but they are going to go out and serve the food. Who is doing all the baptizing? They are. Jesus is there and even gets blamed for the baptizing, but the Bible is clear that it is actually his disciples who are doing the work.
Assisting can quickly shift into watching. For some things, assistance might take longer than others and there is rarely a clear line of when we shift from assisting to watching, but shift we must. Our disciples must recognize our release of control so that they are empowered to do the work themselves.
In Paul's second letter to Timothy he says, "And the things you've heard me say in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to reliable people who will be qualified to teach others". Paul is watching from afar, hearing reports and coaching Timothy to continue to do what he is doing.
And of course your disciples will occasionally crash. Like the first time your dad released your seat and you scrapped your knee as you skidded sideways to the ground, those you are training will make mistakes. They will make messes. They will FAIL. And you will have the grace to pick them up, reassure them that they'll be fine and get them back in the saddle.
Don't worry, the kingdom won't fall apart with one mistake. Mistakes are the catalyst for maturity when treated with grace and love and Biblical application.
There then comes a time when we must launch our disciples out to run the race on their own. Jesus launches his disciples despite some of them doubting, to go and make disciples of all nations! We see Paul charging the Ephesian elders to stand up and continue the work without him as he heads back to Jerusalem for one final visit.
MAWL principles are as old as the Bible but our modern teaching techniques which sequester training in classrooms and pews make it difficult to apply them. Knowledge acquisition has in many ways trumped actual application and competence.
And so too often I've simply told people what they ought to do.
I've given hour long seminars. I've preached sermons. I've shared good ideas. But in the end, I've been discouraged by the results. The people I've taught walked away with a head full of knowledge but no real idea how to actually apply that knowledge come Monday morning or no confidence that they actually could.
The MAWL principle is what we see in the Bible. And it just makes sense. Everywhere in life where we want to master a skill, these ideas are the way to master them. If you wanted to become an electrician or a mechanic or a carpenter in the past you apprenticed yourself to a master. Modeling, Assisting, Watching and Launching were just what naturally happened every day that you showed up at the shop and worked alongside your boss.
If we want to see disciples become disciples who can and are making disciples who in turn can and are making disciples, then we must spend more time training with MAWL principles.
Who can you MAWL today?
Crescent Project’s National Conference is an annual gathering of leaders from all over the United
States, coming to be inspired, encouraged and equipped by Crescent Project.
National Conference presents a unique opportunity for equipping Christ-followers from around the country to connect with some of the most spiritually curious people on our planet: Muslims.
National Conference gives an inspiring snapshot of our changing times, demographics, and handles on understanding Islamic basics and identifying ways any church in any community can help lead the charge for cutting-edge outreach in their region, rallying other churches in the process.
The conference offers a wide assortment of workshops along with general sessions led by
experienced leaders and former Muslims.
National Conference is designed to equip Christians who are new to Muslim outreach as well as
those who have years of experience.
Event dates: October 22-24
Location: Church of the City, Spring Hill, TN
(Just 25 minutes south of the airport, Nashville, TN.)
Multiply: The Vision Summit
The Vision Summit is a discipleship event designed to cast vision and equip disciples for local, national, and global mission.
Through it, the Multiply team seeks to build upon the dreams, spiritual gifts, and passions God has placed in His people.
The weekend will be surrounding God's Kingdom coming, and how we are to take part in the advancement of His Kingdom.
If you are in the Midwest, don't miss this opportunity for training and equipping.
Event Dates: Fri, Oct 11, 2019, 5:00 PM – Sun, Oct 13, 2019, 3:00 PM CDT
Location: Cross Point at Oasis Church - 23813 West Trail West Road - Plevna, KS 67568
Gospel Conversation Training
Have you ever wanted to have a gospel conversation with someone but didn't know where to begin?
Gospel Conversations training explains not only why but also how to have these conversations across various contexts and we'll give you plenty of practice.
During this one day training, you will learn what to do and say to share the good news of the gospel with competence and confidence. This training includes a time for practice and follow-up processes for strategy and accountability.
Event Date: Saturday October 19, 9 am - 4 pm
Location: Mitchell Christian School, Mitchell, South Dakota
Heart For Muslims
Heart for Muslims’ mission is to equip Christ-followers and connect them for service, ministering to our Muslim neighbors in the Name and Love of Jesus Christ. The vision is to eliminate the fear of Islam and free believers to boldly minister to our Muslim neighbors.
Date: Saturday November 23, 9 am - 4:30 pm
Location: Calvary Baptist Church - 123 W 57th St, - New York City, NY
Do you know someone who could benefit from one of these conferences? Be sure and take a moment and pass this article on to them.
One of the really cool tools on your smartphone is the You Version Bible App. It's a great resource for reading the Bible but also offers some really helpful reading plans and devotional plans which you can use to grow. One really helpful aspect of many plans is the ability to read through them with others and to interact with one another and the content of the plan.
Come, Let's Go! Discipleship and Evangelism is a new plan that was recently created by the folks at Zume. This is a seven day reading plan. Each day has a short devotional reading which includes a short teaching video from Zume. Then there are a number of Bible passages to read. Finally, there is an opportunity to talk it over, answering the question,
"Based on today's reading, what is one thing God is saying to you?"
(If you do not have the You Version Bible app you can get it at your app store on your phone or learn more here: www.youversion.com/the-bible-app)
Starting tomorrow, anyone who would like to join from the E2E community will begin reading through and interacting with this study. You can sign up now, but we'll start reading tomorrow, October 2nd.
Here's How It Will Work
It was early 2008 when I was first introduced to movement thinking at a world wide gathering for the mission agency I was working with at the time. I was new to the mission field, to church planting and so the week long seminar I attended rocked my world. There were so many paradigm shifts in what I was hearing, so much that was counter intuitive to what I'd done my entire church life in the U.S. It was disorientating at first but it struck a chord deep in my soul.
Church planting movments (CPM), disciple making movements (DMM), the spontaneous expansion of the church - all of it seemed born in the pages of scripture. Reading the case studies of movements happening in Asian and Africa looked like the book of Acts far more than my own church experience. And we we living in a country that was less than 0.01% Christian.
Doing what we'd always done was just not an option.
Over the next several years, we got some great training, had a great coach and dove into our own personal journey of rewriting the paradigms of church that had been embedded in us by a lifetime of North American church culture. I also began reading everything I could get my hands on in order to help me grow in my understanding and practice of all that it would take to see a church planting movement birthed where we were.
The first book that I read over and over again was the book of Acts. It is where everyone should start. But after that I began to find other books that helped me learn what God was doing in the book of Acts.
And so here are seven books that I found helpful on that journey.
These seven books will do much to help anyone interested in multiplication and movement. The paradigm shifts needed to begin to apply the Biblical principles of multiplication are enormous. These books will help you make those shifts.
A few other helpful books:
At every E2E and gospel conversation training that we do, we always start with the Father's heart. If we can help the church dive into scripture to discover God's heart and desires for our world, we have a great place to begin training disciples who will make disciples.
We've turned that beginning session into a worksheet so that groups of Christ followers can discover together the Father's Heart and we want to share that today.
Gather a group of friends. Set aside an hour and work through this discovery study. And then begin to pray and dream into the final question.
You can work through the study below or download the worksheet HERE.
Assignment: Together with a group of friends, read each passage below and write a simple summary of what the passage reveals about God’s heart and desire for our world.
Finally, work through these two questions together.
And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Steve Smith discusses what a disciple making movement (or church planting movement) is, and how to help it maintain its health in terms of biblical orthodoxy and biblical morality.
Helpful books by Steve Smith:
Start working toward catalyzing a movement in your neighborhood with Zume.
I’ve had a great summer. One of the highlights has been connecting online with Ali, an Egyptian engineer. We connect every Monday over lunch and it’s been a joy to get to know him and his family. We have recently started reading through a creation to Christ overview in the Bible. Next week we’ll tackle Genesis 3 and the fall. Ali is Muslim. I am the first true follower of Christ that he has ever met and this is the first time he has read the Bible.
This summer I’ve also connected regularly with Mustafa, a young Muslim man in Syria and Mohammed, a Muslim college student in Lahore, Pakistan. It has been a joy to build a relationship with both of them.
I’ve been able to connect with them because of Embassy.
Hundreds of thousands of Muslims living in hard to reach countries speak your language and are going online to find friendship, language partners and answers to their questions.
Embassy exists so that they will meet a committed follower of Christ. Embassy offers training, encouragement and community and then helps you discover new Muslim friends online.
“Embassy volunteers use secular, public-access forums to connect with Muslims in closed countries who speak English. As men and women begin to read the Bible and engage in questions about Jesus, we invite them to include their friends and family in the conversation: small seeds growing to something great (Matthew 13:31-32).” *
Embassy is an amazing opportunity for the North American church to be on the front lines of the great commission.
What could God do through the local church?
Through your local church?
Imagine if you - yes you reader - were to go back to your home church and help form an Embassy Team.
Imagine if you could gather a group of friends who would begin reaching out individually online while also meeting regularly as a group to pray together, encourage one another and continue with ongoing equipping.
God is on the move in the Muslim world and this is an opportunity to join in that work.
Steps to Forming Your Embassy Team
“The Great Commission is for every church in every culture in every generation. There are no exclusions. But . . . every church in every culture in every generation must determine the way in which they respond to this responsibility -- in a way that is appropriate to time and context."
Forming an Embassy Team is your opportunity to respond.
You can learn more about Embassy and sign up to volunteer at their website: www.thisisembassy.org
As I interact with people at E2E training events and in churches I've begun to realize that there are a number of identifiable reasons that Christians are not sharing the good news of Jesus with friends, family members and strangers.
We aren't Christians.
Sometimes as we are talking with someone who calls themselves a Christian it becomes clear that they aren't. They are what Dean Inserra calls a "cultural Christian" and while they identify as a Christian in word, it is more so as a default. They aren't an atheist or a Muslim and their family went to church occasionally as a child so they must be a Christian.
But they aren't trusting Jesus for anything really, let alone salvation. And of course they are not sharing the gospel with anyone. So while they may be offended by the notion, we need to share the gospel with them.
[check out Dean's new book, "The Unsaved Christian."]
We don't know that sharing the gospel is required.
There are others we will run into who genuinely trust in Jesus. They have repented and believed. But somewhere along the lines, they were not discipled into the word or into the knowledge of their role in this world as ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20), witnesses (Acts 1:8) or disciple making disciples (Matthew 28:18-20).
This is a disciple making issue and we can quickly help them discover the joy of their job to share the love and truth of Jesus with others by taking them into the word of God.
We feel unqualified.
Another challenge we often run into is a sense they are not qualified to share the gospel with others. It's as if they've somehow been trained to believe that sharing the gospel is something that experts do - and they aren't an expert.
This too is a disciple making issue and can be overcome by having this friend turn with us to Luke 8:26-39, the story of Jesus' encounter with the Geresenes demoniac. When finished re-read verses 38-39. This man begs to go with Jesus but Jesus "sent him away saying, "Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you." And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him."
Does your Christian friend know more than the man in this story?
This man knows exactly one thing - the before and after story of his encounter with Jesus! No Bible training. No discipleship programs. no Sunday school classes. Not even a Bible in his hands.
After encouraging Christian friends with this story I have them write "I AM QUALIFIED" in the margin of their Bible next to this story as a reminder.
We are afraid.
Another common factor that we all run into is fear. I know of no one who doesn't at times face fear and respond by running away. We know we should have that conversation with our family member or co-worker. We feel the nudge to say something to the stranger behind the counter. But fear creeps in and paralyzes us and we move on without saying anything. "Next time" we think, but next time the same thing happens.
How do we help our Christian friends overcome fear?
These are just a few ideas of how we can help our friends overcome their fear of sharing the gospel.
We don't know how.
Too often, fear comes from feeling unprepared. Many just don't know what to say or how to transition to a gospel conversation. It's not really their fault. If someone asked me to go out and change the alternator on my car, I wouldn't even know where to begin. I think it's under the hood?
We have to take the time to equip our friends with simple tools so that they understand who to share with and know what to actually share. At E2E events we spend one whole morning equipping everyone to identify their relational networks (who to share with) and training them with lots of practice and repetitions to share their 15 second testimony and to share a simple gospel presentation called 3 Circles (what to share).
These are not the end all and be all of sharing the gospel but they will equip Christians to begin to share the gospel boldly and abundantly.
We are just disobeying Jesus.
When it comes to the end of the day, our heart at E2E is to ensure that the only reason that Christians are not sharing the gospel is that they are just plain disobeying Jesus. We want to make sure that no one we connect with has any excuse. We want to see everyone everywhere equipped, trained and discipled into a life of sharing the good news of our Lord with anyone, anywhere, any time!
And if you'd like to hear some of these ideas through a little different - and much more powerful lens, find an hour to listen to Dawson Trotman's sermon, Born to Reproduce.
Dawson Trotman - Born to Reproduce [Listen Now]
I've found the story of Jonah to be a helpful starting place for the North American church when it comes to exploring our attitudes and actions toward people from groups other than our own - Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Atheists or the LGBTQ community.
Jonah is at best, the reluctant prophet. His reticence to go along with the mission of God to save the Ninevites becomes almost a distraction to the main message of Jonah's book: the heart of God to save. But God does save the Ninevites who repent and believe and turn from their wicked ways.
Meanwhile, Jonah heads out to a hill beside the city in hopes that fire will still fall. It's there that the curious event with a shade plant growing and then dying occurs.
Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered. When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.”
Jonah was concerned about the plant and the comfort that it afforded him.
The heart of God however was to save.
The heart of Jonah was somewhere else, focused on something he thought he was loosing. Something he thought was important but that God didn't think was important. At least not as important as saving the Ninevites.
This particular point in the story has had me thinking lately about the plants in my own life that I elevate above the mission and purposes of God -- the old wine skins that Jesus is inviting me to let go of in favor of new wine skins.
Jonah is not a Bible character that we should emulate. His is not an example to follow. God seems to place the story of Jonah in the scriptures first and foremost to demonstrate His heart for the nations - even nations bent on evil.
But there is an important opportunity in the story of Jonah to reflect on our own hearts.
Take fifteen minutes to read or listen to the story of Jonah and then answer the following questions:
Feel free to interact with these questions and the E2E community in the comments below.
The Gospel of Mark is an action packed biography of the life of Jesus. The very first chapter begins with John the Baptist preparing the way, Jesus getting baptised and then heading into the wilderness for forty days of fasting and temptation from Satan.
By verse fifteen Mark jumps straight into ministry as Jesus comes into the region of Galilee announcing, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
Jesus calls the twelve to follow him at the sea and then heads into the town of Capernaum where he preaches in the synagogue, heals a man with an unclean spirit and later heals Peter’s mother-in-law.
Verse 28 tells us that “immediately his fame spread everywhere throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.” Before the day is out, people are lined up at Peter’s door wanting to see Jesus, to be healed and to be set free from demons. I imagine this went on late into the night.
Not a bad first day of ministry. Exhausting let’s assume, but good.
If we were to stop the story there and pretend we didn’t know what Jesus did next, how would we finish the story?
I think I would probably sleep in the next morning. It was a long, hard day of ministry and I’d need to be good and rested up. Once I did get up, I’d probably start looking for a big hall to rent knowing that the crowds are back. I’d maybe print up some flyers to let everyone know when and where we’d be meeting again and I’d encourage everyone to invite all of their friends.
But of course this isn’t the path of Jesus.
He rises very early in the morning to head out and spend some time in prayer with the Father (verse 35). When his disciples find him, all excited about the crowds that are already forming (verse 37), Jesus’ response must have seemed just a bit counter-intuitive. “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out (verse 38).”
And that is exactly what Jesus did. “He went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons (verse 39).”
From the very beginning of his ministry, Jesus defaults toward going. We see this over and over again in the ministry and teachings of Jesus.
Here are a few examples from the book of Mark:
Jesus prepares the disciples to go and expects them to go (Acts 1:8). It is his prayer that as he has been sent into the world, he will send his disciples into the world as well (John 17:18).
And the commission given to his disciples in Matthew 28, “to go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything he had commanded”, is the strategy of Jesus.
Making disciples who make disciples is His plan A.
Jesus promised he would build his church. We are to go and make disciples.
We are to be church. To do that, we must gather. It is the example that the first church gives us (Acts 2:42-47; Acts 4:32-37) and is clearly taught in scripture (Matthew 18:20; Hebrews 10:25; Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 4:11-13).
But the purpose of church is not to gather. The purpose is to gather so that we can scatter, so that we can go and make disciples, proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ and make him famous all over the earth.
Jesus’ invitation to us is to follow him. And Jesus is on the move.
So let’s go.
The E2E Community
We are a collection of practitioners and trainers dedicated to equipping and encouraging everyone everywhere to proclaim the gospel and make disciples among the unreached locally, nationally and globally.