Sunday, April 22, 2018

On leading movements...

On March 22, 2018, The World and Everything In It had a fascinating report on how Christianity is thriving in Viet Nam. At the end of the war in 1975, the estimated number of Evangelicals was about 160,000. Since then it has multiplied nearly ten-fold (1.6 million).

Why? How? Who?

When asked to describe the remarkable growth of Christianity in Viet Nam, the reporter, June Chang, explained that after the war when the Communists took over, churches were closed and a lot of the pastors were put into prison. Some pastors who had connections to the U.S. left on U.S. military planes.

This created a crisis as the remaining Christians in Viet Nam were without leaders. However, Chang says, despite the onslaught of persecution and the lack of leaders, Christianity began to grow in Viet Nam—especially the first ten years when there was no communication with the outside world.

Stop.

Think about this for a moment.

How can a Gospel/disciplemaking/church-planting movement start, grow, and multiply without identifiable "leaders" and "leadership"?

We are told "Everything rises and falls on leadership"—right? That is conventional wisdom these days.

But what about this example in Viet Nam?

Seriously. What do you really think?

No. Don't keep reading. Answer the question above first. I dare you.

Here's a question that came to my mind as I pondered what God is doing in Viet Nam: What if we've missed who the real "leader" is in a Gospel/disciplemaking/church-planting movement?

To chew on this some more, go here and here.

If you really want to get your leadership head messed with, go here.
(I dare you.)

And if you're still puzzling over who is the real leader in any true movement of God, take a moment to ponder the depth of Larry Norman's understanding during the early Jesus Movement of the 60s and 70s...

"A reporter came up to me and asked me if I was the leader of the Jesus Movement, and I said, 'No. Jesus is.' Then they said, 'Well, someone said that the Jesus Movement started in your living room.' To which I responded, 'Well, if it did, I wasn't home at the time.'"
Larry Norman, circa the early 1970s

Hope you're smiling.

For The World and Everything In It report on the growth of the Church in Viet Nam, go here. (It starts at about 20:28).

You, Me, and Coffee Monday... 
Let me encourage you and and make you think 1 stinking time a week (usually Monday morning) with a virtual Cup O' Joe with Bill in your email inbox. Two Simple Steps...
1. Go here and submit your email.
2. Go to your email and click the Feedburner confirmation link.
You can unsubscribe at any time with no questions asked simply by clicking the unsubscribe link at the bottom of any email you receive from Cup O' Joe with Bill. Honest. You got nothing to lose. Try it.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Can we really trust the Bible?

This is such a good and important question.

Whichever way you answer, this question has incredible—some might say eternal—ramifications.

So let's get the discussion started!

On Tuesday, April 24, 2018, at 7 PM, the movie, Fragments of Truth, is showing for one night only in a theater near you.

Whatever you do, don't just watch the movie!

How cool would it be if you invited (and maybe even paid for) your family and friends (of all sorts of spiritual persuasions) to join you for the movie—and then went out for ice cream (or whatever) to discuss the question: Can we really trust the Bible?

That's what we're going to do.

What are the ramifications if the Bible is NOT trustworthy?

What are the ramifications if the Bible IS trustworthy?

What are you waiting for? Contact your family and friends and invite them. (Share this post with them.)

To find the nearest movie theater near you (type in your zip code) and to purchase tickets online, go here

Sunday, April 08, 2018

You can't make disciples from a stage...

(Ironic, ain't it? I'm preaching from a stage. Keep reading.)

Making disciplemakers is a strategic way to invest one's life. Making disciplemakers with the next generations and those who love the next generations is even more so. Think about it.

Disciplemaking is the only thing worth my short life because it's the way to bring God maximum glory. It's why I've hovered around the next generations and ministries like Timber-lee for years. 

"Bill, I was just at Timber-lee and God really spoke to me. I am a believer and I LOVE GOD. I have been following him and sharing my faith, but I never really had my parents help me. So when I got back I went up to my dad and told him that I love him. And what I had learned. Then I asked him to do the 21 Day Challenge through the Gospel of John with me. He was so happy!! I also am I a group chat with one of my friends. We are going to video chat every day after we read to talk about what we are learning together. I thank you so much for teaching us!! P.S. some of our friends do not believe that we added into the chat. We are going to help each other minster to then. And be disciples for Christ!" —a student

"You have simply no idea how much of a blessing you were to our youth this weekend. They can't stop talking about how they heard God speak so clearly through you. You have an incredible gift and I am extremely challenged by your knowledge of the Word and how God is using you. Such good stuff! Thank you for the resources and will definitely look into seeing about the training you do. Always love learning and growing! Thanks again Bill."
Laura Burke
Director of Junior High, Calvary United Methodist Church, Normal IL

It's so much fun to encourage and equip youth leaders because they are disciplemakers.

And because of friends like you who pray for us and $ partner with Cadre Missionaries, we get to do this ministry as a family! We thank God for you!

You can't make disciples from a stage. That's why we spend time WITH students and youth leaders in between sessions. I contend that this time off the stage is just as important—and many times more important—as anything that happens on a stage. Here's why this is true.

Yeah, but does anything that happens at a camp really last more than a couple of days? Here's a fun and crazy story. This young lady in the blue-ish hair was at Timber-lee with me the year before this year. She told me that last year she took the 21 Day Challenge to read one chapter a day through the book of John for 21 days with her friends. And, after she finished reading the Gospel of John, she never stopped reading until she had read through the entire Bible. God is transforming her life! She wrote me saying that those closest to her "have pointed out daily that I seem to be a new person—stronger and ready to face demons in my path instead of falling prey to them." It turns out, God's Word is enough.

This is from a student. This makes my day.

"Thanks for bringing God’s Word to our students in such a relatable way. I really saw hearts open in powerful ways."
Pastor Greg Lynas
Hope Evangelical Free Church
Associate Pastor of Student Ministries and Young Adults, Roscoe, IL

Here's a picture that screams, "Disciplemaking friendship" over the years!

If video doesn't appear, go here.

"Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name goes all the glory for your unfailing love and faithfulness." —Psalms115:1

You, Me, and Coffee Monday... 
Let me encourage you and and make you think 1 stinking time a week (usually Monday morning) with a virtual Cup O' Joe with Bill in your email inbox. Two Simple Steps...
1. Go here and submit your email.
2. Go to your email and click the Feedburner confirmation link.
You can unsubscribe at any time with no questions asked simply by clicking the unsubscribe link at the bottom of any email you receive from Cup O' Joe with Bill. Honest. You got nothing to lose. Try it.

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Do you feel like we do?

I'm in that weird stage of life where I have difficulty remembering the names of my kids, but when I hear a song from the 70s, I can instantly name the band, album, and sing all the lyrics. (And I can play a darned good air guitar on the solo to boot.)

Recently, I reunited with Scott Davis, a friend from junior high, to take-in the legendary Peter Frampton in concert. It was delightful. Mostly...

As we got settled into our seats, I turned to my left to talk to Scott, but I couldn't help but see all the walkers piled up against the wall. I pointed this out to Scott. We looked at each other and burst out laughing... at ourselves and our generation. Ironically, one of the songs Peter Frampton sang to the geriatric crowd was "I Don't Need No Doctor." This picture suggests otherwise. So I guess the answer to Peter Frampton's question, "Do you feel like we do?" is, "Yes, thanks to wonders of Iburofen." 

The good news: The crowd sat down for most of the concert. The bad news: I can honestly say that I have never been at a concert where I had to stand up so many times to let people pass by so they could make their way to the bathroom. Let's face it, to the Peter Frampton generation, "pulled an all-nighter" means "I didn't have to get up in the middle of night to use the bathroom."  :  )

On that note, here's Tim Hawkins on old rockstars... 
If video doesn't appear, go here.

If you liked this, you might like these...

Thursday, March 29, 2018

What does Easter have to do with your life?

Stop.

Think about this.

Is it true?

Do you "understand" what this means for you?

What would it look like in real, everyday life for you, your family and your friends to live "the incredible greatness" of God's resurrection power?

The same power that rose Jesus from the dead is at work in and through you and every believer.

Understand?

Do you believe it?

Does your life reflect it?

Enough tough questions for now. I have a long way to go in understanding and living this too. Nevertheless, we've got to stop ignoring this and start grappling with its ramifications for us today.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

Happy Resurrection Day.

More Easter goodies here...
* Two of my fave Easter songs and lyrics
* What resurrection power looks like in real life
* Easter has always been God's plan
* Happy real meaning of Easter

You, Me, and Coffee Monday... 
Let me encourage you and and make you think 1 stinking time a week (usually Monday morning) with a virtual Cup O' Joe with Bill in your email inbox. Two Simple Steps...
1. Go here and submit your email.
2. Go to your email and click the Feedburner confirmation link.
You can unsubscribe at any time with no questions asked simply by clicking the unsubscribe link at the bottom of any email you receive from Cup O' Joe with Bill. Honest. You got nothing to lose. Try it.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

True Story: The REAL mission of Cadre Missionaries...

Last fall, in partnership with the Evangelical Free Church of American, we traveled to Minnesota to equip a cadre of trainers to take Cadre's Evangelism Is Relationships training back to their churches, ministries, and spheres of influence.
Pastor Dan Nyquist, Elim Mission Church in Cokato, MN, recently sent us this picture and this note:

Bill, Dave, and Rennie,

It was a sweet blessing to spend time with about 15 individuals and couples from our church going through the Evangelism Is Relationships training! 
Thanks for praying with us!

God brought a lot of things to the surface of our lives, and it was challenging, yet encouraging, to wrestle with these things together. I’ve heard some encouraging things from those who participated and hope to hear more in the days to come!

I'm so thankful for Holy Spirit’s instruction, exhortation, and encouragement through the Word, Prayer, and Fellowship with each other.


With love for JESUS,

Pastor Dan

We're not joking when we say Cadre Missionaries is all about making disciplemakers. If you pray and/or $ support us as Cadre missionaries, THANK YOU for investing in us... so we can invest in others... who actually invest in others... who will invest in others, ad infinitum. In other words, thank you for investing in disciplemaking—which the life of Jesus shows us is the most powerful and way to change the world—starting right where you live.
Want more?
* Are you interested in becoming a trainer?
* Want to know more about Evangelism Is Relationships training?

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Can You Help Me Make Disciplemakers in Albania?

That's right. I'm going to Albania! (Lord willing.)

It's all going to happen May 26-June 4, 2018.

And make no mistake about it. I need your prayers and $ partnership.

I'm prayerfully trusting God to the provide the $2,000 needed for this disciplemaking adventure.

Can you help send me to multiply disciplemakers in Albania?

Any gift of any size is a huge encouragement, much needed, and greatly appreciated.

To give securely online, go here.

Or you can mail a check to...
Cadre Missionaries, PO Box 278, Sycamore, IL 60178
(Please attach a note: "Albania")

Note: Cadre Missionaries is recognized 501(c)3 not-for-profit and as such all gifts are tax deductible.

From our hearts to yours, THANK YOU for your friendship, prayers and $ partnership in the Gospel of Jesus Christ! To God and God alone be the glory!

Just in case you missed it...
Here's the fun backstory on how God made this all happen.

We really are your disciplemaking missionaries.

"Dear friend, you are being faithful to God when you care for the traveling teachers who pass through.... Please continue providing for such teachers in a manner that pleases God. For they are traveling for the Lord.... So we ourselves should support them so that we can be their partners as they teach the truth." —3 John 1:5-8

Sunday, March 11, 2018

The Exciting Adventures of God, YOU, Us, and Cadre Missionaries!

The fact that you're reading this right now makes our day! THANK YOU!  As you view our pictures that tell stories, please take a moment to thank God with us. (You can click on an image below to enlarge for reading or just go here.)

Would you please pray for us? About 1-2 times a month, I'd like to send you a short email with details about how you can say a quick prayer for us. If you are willing to be on our email prayer team, please email me and put "prayer team" in the subject line. We'd be glad to pray for you too.

Can you help us? We couldn't take any of part of this disciplemaking adventure without people like you who love us, pray for us, and give $ to Cadre. Every expression of partnership breathes life into our souls… and enables us to do the same for many others! For more information about how you can partner with God, the Allisons, and Cadre Missionaries, go here.  Cadre Missionaries is a recognized 501(c)3 ministry and donations are tax deductible.
For up-to-date ways you can pray for us, go here.

You, Me, and Coffee Monday... 
Let me encourage you and and make you think 1 stinking time a week (usually Monday morning) with a virtual Cup O' Joe with Bill in your email inbox. Two Simple Steps...
1. Go here and submit your email.
2. Go to your email and click the Feedburner confirmation link.
You can unsubscribe at any time with no questions asked simply by clicking the unsubscribe link at the bottom of any email you receive from Cup O' Joe with Bill. Honest. You got nothing to lose. Try it.

Monday, March 05, 2018

There is no such thing as a "small" church...

If you read the word "small" and think "inferior," I couldn't disagree with you more.

Think about it.

Here's why.

More on this here...
There is such a thing as a crazy pastor
Some of the best pastors I know 
How do you define church success?
Leaders, vision, and church 
Why church matters
Rethinking what it means to be a healthy church
If all this is all too serious for you
Jesus' church growth chart

You, Me, and Coffee Monday... 
Let me encourage you and and make you think 1 stinking time a week (usually Monday morning) with a virtual Cup O' Joe with Bill in your email inbox. Two Simple Steps...
1. Go here and submit your email.
2. Go to your email and click the Feedburner confirmation link.
You can unsubscribe at any time with no questions asked simply by clicking the unsubscribe link at the bottom of any email you receive from Cup O' Joe with Bill. Honest. You got nothing to lose. Try it.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

The True Story of a Crazy Pastor and Why I'm Going to Albania...

Meet my crazy friend, Steve Waggoner. He's the pastor of Crosswalk Fellowship in Delavan, IL. (Okay, we both might be crazy. Keep reading. You'll see why.)

I knew Pastor Steve lived and multiplied a Jesus-like disciplemaking way of life long before I actually met him. Why? Because I kept meeting people he's discipled. So I knew it was a matter of God's timing before our paths would cross. Eventually, he showed up at one of Cadre's disciplemaking training experiences (see above). Some time later, Pastor Steve and I connected over coffee. (Hello? It's CupOJoewithBill.com for a reason people.) We became friends. Disciplemaking friends.

Then Pastor Steve asked if he could take the disciplemaking training he received from Cadre and pass it on others. I smiled and said, "No way. We can't have people like you running amuck making disciples who make disciples—who make more disciples." But I think he knew I was joking.

Then Pastor Steve asked if we could start with the various leaders of the church. So, we did the same Cadre disciplemaking training experience with the ministry leaders of the church.

After training the leaders of the church, Pastor Steve jumped off a cliff.

He did something I've never seen a pastor do. He took his entire church through the exact same disciplemaking training experience for the next three months DURING the Sunday morning services. You might want to re-read that previous sentence again. Pastor Steve didn't do the disciplemaking training experience in Sunday school. He slow-dripped the biblical disciplemaking values of the training for three months as the Sunday morning worship/teaching time with the whole churchInstead of only preaching about disciplemaking, Pastor Steve gathered people around tables and trained and equipped them. For three months. As the Sunday morning worship service.

(This is NOT a picture of Pastor Steve. 
But it might be a few years from now.)

And here's the really amazing part: He kept his job as pastor (so far). And by the way, he stationed each of the leaders who were previously trained at different tables so they could facilitate the training and wrestling of Scripture for application with the rest of the church. The way they received disciplemaking is the way they gave it to others.

How ridiculously simple, beautiful, and rare is that?


I think this story is worth replicating millions of times.

If this story ended here, I could die with a smile in my heart.

But this story gets even better.

Pastor Steve recently asked me if he and some others he's trained could take the same Cadre training to Christian leaders in Albania. His church has a long history there. Of course, I said, "Yes!"

Then Pastor Steve looked at me and asked, "Can you come with us?"

I responded, "No."

But the more I thought and prayed about it... and the more I sought wise counsel about it... the more I grew to love the idea.

Why? Because it's what Jesus-like disciplemaking friendships are supposed to do... spread to all the nations!

How could I resist?

It's all going to happen May 26-June 4, 2018. And I'm going to need your prayers and $ partnership to the tune of $2,000 to be a part of what God is doing.

Can you help us multiply disciplemakers in Albania?

Any gift of any size is much needed and would be greatly appreciated.


To give securely online, go here.

Or you can mail a check to...
Cadre Missionaries, PO Box 278, Sycamore, IL 60178
(Please attach a note: "Albania")

Note: Cadre Missionaries is recognized 501(c)3 not-for-profit and as such all gifts are tax deductible.

From our hearts to yours, THANK YOU for your friendship, prayers and $ partnership in the Gospel of Jesus Christ! To God and God alone be the glory!

See how disciplemaking friendships start right where you live and then spreads to the world? Only God!

If you've read this far, you may be wondering WHAT training we did and how YOU can do something like Pastor Steve in your church/ministry. Contact me. But before you do, let me ask you a serious question:

Are you crazy?

Sunday, February 11, 2018

A 2 Timothy 2:2 Train-the-Trainers Gathering

In the spirit of 2 Timothy 2:2, we are convening a train-the-trainers gathering for a "cadre" of disciplemaking friends. Here’s the 411 on our train-the-trainers gathering...

When?
Monday, March 12 thru Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Where?
Sycamore, IL

If you're interested or have questions or need complete details, please contact us. (The links above will answer most of your questions so be sure to go back and click the links above for more information.)

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Adventures in Multiplying Disciplemaking Friendships in AZ, NV, and UT...

"The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught."
—Mark 6:30
Click any image below to enlarge for viewing.
I've known Derrick (above) and June Smothers for over 16 years. We first met at a missions conference at Pekin Bible Church, Pekin, IL—where we both were speaking. At that time in our lives, God was in the process of launching Cadre. And God, through the Smothers, was in the process of launching a Gospel-centered church in an area in Utah that had no such church. Derrick is now the Executive Director of E3 Connection. He's a missionary of encouragement and equipping. Does that sound familiar? This is God's story of our partnership in multiplying disciplemaking friendships.

However, this disciplemaking missionary adventure begins in Arizona. The three amigos (me, Stacy, and Ivy) spent a full day together with our disciplemaking friends, Ed and Pam Brockway. If Stacy and I ever grow up, we want to be like Ed and Pam in how they live and spread Jesus-like disciplemaking friendships. Ed wrote me in 2017: "Bill, thanks for pulling me close years ago and challenging me to live as a disciplemaker. I'm regularly investing in nine college students. We're studying Jesus and trying to make disciples like He did. Is there anything greater than this? Thanks for the push. Love you." See what I mean? They are beautiful followers of Jesus.

Then we headed to Mesquite, Nevada, where the Smothers live. Soon we were encouraging and training pastors and ministry leaders from Nevada and Utah at River Valley Bible Church. It was so much fun. In the words of Derrick, "You are so weird Allison. Hardly anyone comes to this part of the country to do ministry. We don't have huge numbers. Funding can be a challenge. And it's not cool or sexy." Well, we like to think of this part of the world as "Cadre Country." Here's why I love this type of challenge. A number of those pictured above are leading the only Gospel preaching church in their counties. In other cases, there might be one other Gospel-centered church in the county. Stop and think about that.

Being disciples, who make disciples, who make more disciples. We think of this as multiplying Jesus-like disciplemaking friendships. It's how King Jesus takes over the world one heart at a time. (Above left: Garreth (and his wife and another missionary couple) have started a church in a highly religious area of Utah that has never had a Gospel witness. There is one now! Tony (on the right) is an unpaid pastor who runs a landscaping business. Here's why I love this!

After the training, we immediately loaded up the car and headed out deep into the state of Utah—about a 5 hour drive. It was disciplemaking friendship all the way. (Car rides are always the excuse for more time together following Jesus.)

The next morning, we were guests on the Mike and Heather radio show on Key Radio in Provo, Utah. This Gospel-centered radio station is a beacon of hope and encouragement to believers—and an evangelistic seed for those who are not believers. We had a lot of fun and there were a lot of God moments. After our time on the radio, we had a great time encouraging Matt Gould, the new pastor at Grace Bible Church in Springville, UT—a church that the Smothers planted years ago. After that, we went to see the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The next day, we gathered with 30+ pastors and church leaders at Fellowship Bible Church in Lindon, UT, to encourage and train them in disciplemaking friendships. Since Derrick had already experienced this training a few days earlier, we did it together this time. I hope you get the idea we're serious about making disciplemakers... not just talking about it. :  )

How Jesus launched a disciplemaking movement that continues to this day.

 We explored Jesus-like disciplemaking values like simplicity, friendship, and withness.

 To be a "leader" like Jesus is to be a disciplemaker like Jesus.

 Rethinking what it means to be a healthy church.

Tapping into Jesus' "secrets" for a disciplemaking movement that continues to transform the world one heart at a time.

After this fun day of training, encouragement, and friendship, the Allisons jumped into Pastor Rodney Zedicher's van and we headed out another couple of hours deep into those beautiful mountains for Ephraim, UT. Rodney pastors the Ephraim Church of the Bible. He and his wife Deanna have seven kids—one boy and six girls. What's not to like about that? We were already bonded at the heart even before we got to know each other. Did I mention that their family vehicle is a 15-passenger van? I can't make this stuff up folks.

I had the honor of speaking in the morning service. 


If you're really bored, you can watch my message above. If the video does't appear, you can watch it here.

After lunch we reconvened for a disciplemaking training lab. Recently, Ephraim Church of the Bible birthed another church in a nearby community and some of those folks were able to join us for the afternoon training. Here's the short we received afterward: "Thank you so much to you and your sweet wife and daughter for spending time with us and for drenching us in God's inspired truths today!"


Here's a very cool thing. We're going to continue our disciplemaking friendship with Derrick and June Smothers and E3 Connection. Derrick will be spending five days with us at our house in IL this March and he'll be a part of our Ministry Is Relationships train-the-trainers gathering we're doing at Dave and Rennie Garda's house in Sycamore, IL. Plus, Derrick will be a part of this in Central IL. We're just going to keep slow-dripping Jesus-like disciplemaking friendships until people from all nations are being disciples who make disciples—who make more disciples. It's the only hope for the world. That's what Jesus said to do.

All that to say: Thank you for reading all the way to the end. You must truly be a friend. We thank God for you. Would you please pray for us? About 1-2 times a month, I'd like to send you a short email with details about how you can say a quick prayer for us. If you are willing to be on our email prayer team, please email me and put "prayer team" in the subject line. We'd be glad to pray for you too. I mean it. This is how Derrick and I have stayed in touch for 16 years. (For up-to-date ways you can pray for us, go here.) Can you help us? We couldn't take any part of this disciplemaking adventure without people like you who love us, pray for us, and give $ to Cadre. Every expression of partnership breathes life into our souls… and enables us to do the same for many others! For more information about how you can partner with God, the Allisons, and Cadre Missionaries, go here.  Cadre Missionaries is a recognized 501(c)3 ministry and donations are tax deductible.