Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A morning of encouragement and equipping for you, students, and volunteers

How to Disciple People Without Them Knowing It
* Does disciplemaking always have to start with a formal invitation by a leader?

* What does it look like in real life to follow Jesus together as disciplemaking friends?

* Is simply getting together and socializing enough—or is there more to disciplemaking friendships?

* How can we know if our disciplemaking friendships are hitting God's bullseye?

These are some of the the questions we'll explore in our How to Disciple People Without Them Knowing It training experience.

Saturday, January 31, 2015
9 AM to 12 noon
(Note: For those so inclined: From 12 noon to 1-ish pm we'll head to Pizza Ranch in Morton, IL, and continue our discussion and application there. Each person will be buy their own lunch.)

Real Life Church
106 Grant Rd
Marquette Heights, IL 61554

For anyone interested in learning how to be a disciple of Jesus who makes more disciples of Jesus. You are encouraged to bring your spouse, teenagers, staff, ministry leaders, volunteers, student leaders, etc.

$5 per person. 
Each person will leave with the Disciplemaker's Journal: Twenty-Five Adventures in Disciplemaking with Your Friends.

How Can You Register?
Email me and with the names of those you will be bringing to the training and a phone number for contacting you.

Optional Train-the-Trainer Opportunity!
If after the training experience, you'd like to take this training back to your ministry, you'll have that opportunity. If you're interested in this option, please email me for complete details.

Additional Resources for Disciplemaking!
We'll have other resources available for sale at this training experience.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Get Training in January 2015

1. Turning Pew Potatoes Into Passionate Participators
A mere 20% of churchgoers volunteer their time and talents in a ministry. That means about 80% of the people in our churches are pew potatoes

This is not only unhealthy, it's unbiblical. 

Instead of whining, complaining and giving up on the idea of finding volunteers to serve in ministry with you, I'd like to encourage and equip you to cooperate with God in...
Turning Pew Potatoes Into Passionate Participators

Are you interested?

Dream with me for a minute: What might God in and through your ministry for His glory if you doubled the number of volunteers serving with you?

Now are you interested?

What Will You Learn?
* Why finding volunteers these days is particularly challenging.
* What doesn't work when recruiting volunteers.
* How to address the primary barriers keeping people from volunteering.
* Five proactive steps you can take to cooperate with God in turning pew potatoes into passionate participators. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015
10 AM to 12 noon
(Note: We will choose a place to lunch from 12 noon to 1-ish pm and continue our discussion and application there. Each person will be buy their own lunch.)

2910 E. Lincoln St
Bloomington, IL 61704

For anyone serving in ministry—BOTH paid ministry leaders and volunteer ministry leaders.

$15 per person. 
Each person will leave with Recruiting, Motivating, and Retaining Volunteers—a handbook on finding, developing, and deploying volunteers for ministry. This book includes a bunch of great questions for team application and follow through.

How Can You Register?
Email me and with the names of those you will be bringing to the training and a phone number for contacting you.

Optional Train-the-Trainer Opportunity!
If after the training experience, you'd like to take this training back to your ministry, you'll have that opportunity. If you're interested in this option, please email me for complete details.

Additional Resources for Disciplemaking with Volunteers!
We'll have other resources available for sale at this training experience.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Relevance, Cruise Ships, and Church

by Skye Jethani
[Passing on a stimulating article. The last two paragraphs are worth the read.]
In the first part of this article I examined how the radical shifts in the American church paralleled the transformation of the passenger shipping industry in the 20th century. Prior to the 1960s, ships were primarily a form of transportation. When this utilitarian function was disrupted by jet travel, the cruise industry was born by transforming ships themselves into the destination and triggering a rapid increase in the size of the vessels.
Similarly, in the mid 20th century the utilitarian role of the church, transporting people into communion with God, was disrupted by secularism. This led innovative pastors to transform churches into destinations rather than vehicles, and attracting irreligious consumers required much larger churches with previously unimaginable offerings. The megachurch explosion began. 
Both the cruise industry and megachurches have been incredibly successful ever since. In 1970 only 500,000 people took a cruise, and there were only 10 megachurches in the United States. In 2010 over 14 million people cruised, and there are now over 1,500 megachurches. If the transformation of the passenger shipping industry has helped us understand the emergence of the megachurch phenomenon, what might it say about its weaknesses?
In the early years of the cruise business ship owners believed the airlines were their competition. Rather than flying to Bermuda, the Caribbean, or Mexico, cruise lines tried to sell the romance and glamour of an ocean voyage (remember “The Love Boat”?) as superior to the speed of air travel. Eventually, however, cruise lines accepted that they were not in the transportation business, but rather the vacation business. This meant Carnival Cruise Lines wasn’t competing with United, Southwest, or even other cruise lines, but with Disney World and Las Vegas. 
To win more of the vacation market some cruise lines began to downplay the allure of the sea and instead built amenities aboard their ships people expected to find at land-based resorts. Today there are ships with water parks, roller coasters, golf courses, planetariums, bumper cars, even tree-lined parks with carousels and ice skating rinks. Step on to Oasis of the Seas’ cavernous main boulevard with fountains, cars, street performers, and a bar that ascends four stories through a glass canopy, and you’ll hear awestruck passengers saying, “I can’t believe I’m on a ship.” 
And that is the problem.
By trying to compete with land-based resorts, these cruise lines literally lost sight of their unique value proposition--the sea. Ships are so crammed with amenities designed to lure passengers and their dollars, it is now possible to spend all day on a ship and never see the ocean. While a passenger may catch a musical, play golf, or ride a roller coaster, the inherent limitations of a ship, no matter how big, mean these experiences will never match what is possible on land. Broadway will always have better productions and Six Flags will always have better rides. As a result the modern cruise industry is engaged in a strange delusion. It is ignoring the one thing it can offer that no one else can--the allure of sea travel--to compete in areas where it can never win.
The church can learn an important lesson from this delusion: Relevance backfires when it overshadows your uniqueness. Not every cruise line has succumbed to this temptation, nor has every megachurch, Some, however, find the accolades of cultural relevance too affirming, and the pressure to fill thousands of seats every weekend too demanding. They will spend millions of dollars for state-of-the-art theater equipment, will stock their children’s departments with Xboxs and 3-story playgrounds, and even run live Twitter feeds during worship. Churches that can’t afford these “wow” factors or a tattooed pastor with electric personality, may still feel the pressure to run an expanding array of programs normally found at a community college or YMCA all to attract consumers away from their devices and health clubs to the church.
At the same time these churches strip away their distinguishing qualities. Gone are the crosses, stained glass windows, steeples, hymns, pews, and liturgies. Sanctuaries become auditoriums. Choirs become bands. Communion becomes a coffee bar. Like a cruise passenger who never experiences the sea, some attenders may be so occupied with programs and productions that they may never actually experience the church.
A friend recently told me about a convicting conversation he had with a newcomer to his congregation. The man, from a Hindu background, came to the large church about a month earlier because he was curious about Jesus. “Everyone here has been very friendly to me,” he reported to the pastor, “and my family has been enjoying all of the programs. But I do have one question. When am I going to learn about Jesus?” The church's reason for having its mega-building and programs is to more effectively draw people to Christ, but the pastor wondered out loud whether they had gradually confused their methods and their mission. After all, the church could survive if people don't meet Jesus, but not if they don't meet their budget. 
This story reminds me of recent research conducted by Barna. While pastors are scrambling to discover the secret bullet to engage young adults, Barna found the top reasons millennials want to attend church are to be closer to God (51%) and to learn more about God (31%). Imagine that. It’s like discovering people want to take a cruise because they like the sea--no roller coasters necessary. 
Eventually we will learn that no matter how much money, effort, or innovation the church possesses, it will never be as cool as the culture. Relevance is a race it cannot win, but in our misguided attempts to compete with the culture we risk losing sight of the only thing of value the church can offer the world--Jesus Christ. 

[If you're willing to reconsider what it means to be a healthy church, go here.]

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Gospel Coaching Training in Peoria

I'm going and I'd love to experience this together with anyone from PALCO.

Who is in?

And why not invite folks from your ministry to join us? Here's the PDF of the flyer above for you to share with others!

Note: There's also an evening option for volunteers who serve in ministry.  Here's the PDF flyer for volunteers!

Looking forward to these days together!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Why you should be a part of the PALCO lunch on 9/11/14

Note: At our next PALC Ongoing lunch on September 11, 2014 (complete details here), we are going to explore 20 great questions that can help us create a disciplemaking culture in our lives and ministry. To that end, here's a brief and thought-provoking article. I hope you take the five minutes needed to read it and let it speak to you.
Learning to Ask the Right Questions
by Skye Jethani
Whoever defines the question defines success.
A great deal of Jesus’ ministry was intended to challenge and transform the questions being asked by his disciples. For example, when the widow put a penny into the offering Jesus’ disciples dismissed her gift as insignificant. Their culture was conditioned to ask, “How much did she give?” Jesus, on the other hand, celebrated her offering because he asked a different question, “How much did she sacrifice?” In this case, like so many, determining the right question is the difference between success and failure. 
Before we evaluate our lives we must first determine what questions to ask. Sometimes identifying the right question is far more difficult and time consuming then the evaluation itself. Consider Albert Einstein’s observation. He said, “If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on it, I would use the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”
If we’ve adopted the wrong questions, then it is very likely we are judging ourselves incorrectly. This is vividly displayed in Numbers 20 when Moses led the Israelites to Meribah. As they often did, the people complained to Moses about a lack of water. The Lord commanded him to speak to a rock and it would “yield its water.” Instead Moses disobeyed God. He rebuked the unfaithful people and struck the rock twice with his staff. Amazingly water erupted from the rock. The people and their animals drank. The crisis was averted. Moses had saved the day. 
Let’s evaluate Moses at Meribah with the question we frequently ask. Was his ministry relevant? Yes. What could be more relevant than giving water to thirsty people in a desert? Was his ministry effective?Absolutely. Was Moses’ ministry powerful? Yes. In fact it was miraculous. Each of these questions leads us to conclude that Moses was a success, but God asked a different question: Was Moses faithful? 
While the Israelites splashed and celebrated in the water, God severely punished Moses for his disobedience. “Because you did not believe in me...you shall not bring this assembly into the land I have given them.” Success or failure depends entirely upon the questions we ask. What the world celebrates as an effective, relevant, and powerful ministry God may declare a failure. No doubt if Moses were leading today we’d all be reading his book Sinai Success: How to Draw Water From Rocks in 3 Steps. But when we ask God-oriented questions we may discover that a leader stuck in obscurity and panned by the Evangelical Industrial Complex is actually highly successful in God’s kingdom.
All of this means whoever determines our questions wields enormous power over our lives and work. We must consider the resources we engage, the books we read, the leaders we follow. What questions are they asking? How are they shaping our assumptions about success and failure? Are they helping us ask God-directed questions, or merely human ones? 
So much of contemporary life, including in the church, is focused on answers and solutions. But maybe we need to take Einstein’s advice and spend more time in self-reflection determining whether we are asking the right questions. Ultimately it's the question that determines success or failure, not the outcome. 
Can't wait to lunch with you and our other disciplemaking friends in the Peoria Area Leadership Community Ongoing THIS Thursday, September 11th, 11:30AM-1PM!  Complete details here.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

How to create a disciplemaking culture

It's time for lunch with your disciplemaking friends in PALC Ongoing!
* September 11, 2014
* 11:30 am to 1 pm
* La Fiesta, 1101 W. Jackson, Morton, IL

We'll explore 20 key questions you must learn to ask if you want to create a disciplemaking culture in your life and ministry!

You'll leave with these questions to use and share in your life and ministry... and more.

But wait! There's more!
Did I mention chips? Salsa? Tacos? Disciplemaking friends?

Note: Please save the date and email Bill if you're coming so La Fiesta knows how many to expect!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Details for August 28th PALCO gathering

This generation wants to change the world.
Here's how you can help them do it like Jesus did.
We'll wrestle what disciplemaking looks like with people who don't yet know Jesus as Savior. (Yep, I contend that evangelism is a part of the disciplemaking process—not two separate things. More on this on August 28th.) You'll experience the newly updated Evangelism Is Relationship training experience—and here's the big deal: You'll have the option of taking EIR training back to your leadership team as a five-session training experience later this fall! Plus, there will be a sweet extra "bonus" only for PALC alumni who are present on August 28th.  For a look at the content of this training, go here.

Thursday, August 28th

Coffee and goodies at 8:30 AM
Training from 9 AM to 3 PM

WhiteRose Fellowship Church
505 S. Main St
Bellevue, IL 61604
(Not far from the Peoria airport—go here for directions.)

PALC alumni—and you may invite one guest from your ministry

$50 per person and includes the training experience and training materials.

Please register with Bill ASAP via email. This helps us on the planning end of things.
* To pay tuition via regular mail, send a check to: Cadre Ministries, PO Box 264, Mossville, IL 61552 and include a note that the check is for PALCO.
* Even if you plan to pay tuition on the day of our gathering via a credit card, please register with Bill via email ASAP.
(If money is truly an issue for you, let me know and I'll take care of it for you. Not joking. I love you.)

Bring your own lunch.

Be sure to bring your Bible and pen.

Can You Help?
We need someone to bring...
* healthy snacks
* donuts and goodies for the rest of us who don't care if we die young
* coffee
Please let Bill know ASAP if you can you help with one of these!

Can't wait to wrestle what disciplemaking looks like with people who don't yet know Jesus as Savior with you at this upcoming PALCO on Thursday, August 28th!