Sunday, May 22, 2016

How God used the Wisconsin Disciplemaking Learning Community to transform my life and ministry... by Pastor Andrew Smiley

A Note from Bill Allison...
People sometimes ask me, "What do you do?" When I tell them, "I'm a disciplemaking missionary with Cadre Ministries," I often get blank stares. They have no mental box to put me in. What in the world does a disciplemaking missionary do? Great news!  This story below is at the very center of what we mean when we say, "We're disciplemaking missionaries." It's WHO we are... and WHAT we do. And we couldn't do it without friends like you. So please keep reading.

From fall of 2015 to spring of 2016, I led a Disciplemaking Learning Community in WI. Recently, Pastor Andrew Smiley (they guy on the right in the picture above) sent me the email I am sharing with you in the post below—with his permission. THANK YOU for reading this and tracking with the Allisons, Cadre Ministries, and our disciplemaking adventures! To God—and God alone—be the glory!

I have changed over the past eight months and my involvement in the Wisconsin Disciplemaking Learning Community (DLC) has been a big part of what God is doing in my life.  

Our DLC has continually challenged my propensity to put my life in categories rather than think of my life as one complete whole. It is my tendency to go from "box to box" (family, ministry, etc...) making sure I am faithful in each while failing to connect the dots. I have been frustrated at the tension this type of thinking has brought me as I makes it hard to be "successful" with all things all the time. 

Our DLC has shifted my thinking. I now think about my life as one comprehensive effort to follow Jesus in all things. All of these things are related and especially related to Jesus. I obviously knew that my life was about following Jesus, but learning to follow Jesus in all things in my life has profoundly shift my perspective. 

It is not harmful to my ministry to focus on serving and loving my family. It is not harmful for my family when I fulfill and live out my calling to pastor and make disciples. Making the most of my time (with my family, ministry, in community) has led me to push conversations, activity and focus toward answering this question: 

What does it look like to follow Jesus together today? 

I look forward to continually answering this question alongside others.

A pursuit of following Jesus in my life has only spilled over into the way I lead in ministry, the way I preach, and the way I think and live. I am more open to aligning ministry to meet what I find in the Bible, especially in how Jesus made disciples. The measure of success has less to do with many typical external measures (attendance...) but more about whether the disciple is multiplying and overflowing into others. In my ministry, I am constantly asking this question: 

What does it look like to help other people follow Jesus and make disciples like He did?

Your disciplemaking friend,

Andrew Smiley
Twin Lakes, WI

If you'd like to get your own taste of what Andrew is talking about, go here, here, and here. For more information about Disciplemaking Learning Communities, contact us.

(Above: The WI DLC)

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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Transforming Friendships Into Disciplemaking Friendships

Disciplemaking Friendships—Why?

When I went back to college later in life, I was told that I had a “math deficiency.” I ended up having to buy an introductory mathematics book and re-teaching myself some basics.

Everyday I worked through a portion of that pitifully boring math book—alone.

However, once a week I met with a tutor who monitored my progress (or lack thereof) and tried to answer my many questions. (“Why would anyone plant a garden in the form of a triangle and then use the Pythagorean Theorem to measure the hypotenuse?”)

One day I asked my tutor, “Help me understand integers”—and I pronounced it exactly like it’s spelled: “in-TEG-ers.” My tutor smiled and said, “You mean, integers”—and she pronounced it “IN-ti-jers.” Sensing my embarrassment, she said, “It’s okay. You couldn’t have known this simply by working through the book by yourself.”

Right then and there I realized this: Solo book learning is a good start, but a fuller, deeper learning happens in community.

In my math community—with a tutor and few other struggling students—I learned to correctly pronounce mathematical terms I’ll probably never need—such as “integer.” (My math is up to speed these days, but you may have noticed that I still have a significant math deficiency in my attitude.)

In Jesus’ day, this fuller, deeper, communal learning was known as havering. And as it turns out, haver learning is a critically important part of the disciplemaking genius of Jesus. Why? Because you will never fully come to know and experience Jesus or disciplemaking by simply working through the Book by yourself.
(The above was taken from the introduction to the Disciplemaker's Living Guide.)

Disciplemaking Friendships—How?

The newly updated, revised, and expanded...
Disciplemaker's Living Guide
This Disciplemaker's Living Guide is a tool for transforming friendships into disciplemaking friendships.

It's great for families, students, small groups, networks, leadership meetings, discipleship groups, Sunday school classes, elder’s meetings, staff meetings, disciplemaking learning communities, mission trip teams, and even improving your marriage.

What’s New?
* A refreshed size and design.
* A helpful introduction on WHY and HOW to use it as a dialogue rather than merely a devotional resource.
* The Disciplemaker’s Prayer and a challenge to pray it daily.
* Various images and graphics that promote reflection, study, and dialogue.
* Language that clearly ties this resource to the disciplemaking priorities and practices spelled out in the Disciplemaking Is Relationships training.

5 Ways to Use this Living Guide
1. With Volunteers and Students
Use the Disciplemaker's Living Guide to help your adult staff and student leaders grasp and own the value of disciplemaking friendships as the conduit for gospel ministry.

2. In Small Groups: 
Once your team—adults and students—understands and starts living the values, bring it to your entire ministry. This is a great series for small groups.

3. For Retreats: 
This living guides is a great summer camp or fall or winter retreat experience. Cadre offers a four-session training experience called Disciplemaking Is Relationships.

4. Family Discussions: 
Consider doing a family night using this living guide to explore what it looks like to live a disciplemaking way of life together. Invite other families to share this living guide experience.

5. Starting Meetings:
Instead of just starting meetings in prayer, take 15 minutes to have people get into pairs and work through one of the 25 disciplemaking studies/adventures. This will drip essential disciplemaking values into your elder, staff, and team meetings throughout the year.

But wait. There's more.

We're taking pre-orders right now along with a special limited time deal: Buy 2 and get 1 FREE. Complete details here. This offer ends May 31, 2016.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Why we're so boring...

Talking about what you believe—what you think to be true—is okay at best and boring at worst.

But talking about your convictions—what you believe so deeply that you're willing to die for—is a far more interesting conversation.

Spare me your many beliefs.

Tell me your few convictions.

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Sunday, April 24, 2016

If you really want your ministry to thrive...

If you really want your ministry to thrive for the glory of God, then you'd better figure out how to find, develop, and retain volunteers.

I have great news for you!

This is your invitation to make this summer 2016 a "summer of love" for God, volunteers, and your ministry.

Session #1 Finding Volunteers
We'll explore five practical ways to turn pew potatoes into passionate participators.

Plus we'll explore...
* Why volunteers want a mission not just tasks
* How to develop a volunteer "job description" for your ministry
* How NOT to ask volunteers for help
* How to train volunteers to find more volunteers

Thursday, June 23, 2016, from 9 AM to 12 noon

The Metal Barn, 9621 State Rt 91, Peoria, IL 61615

Session #2 Developing Volunteers
We'll explore twelve motivating factors that make volunteers tick and why it matters.

Plus we'll explore...
* Why working with volunteers requires real leadership
* The differences between a boss and a leader
* How we demotivate volunteers and how to stop it
* The power of feedback to and from volunteers

Thursday, July 21, 2016, from 9 AM to 12 noon

The Metal Barn, 9621 State Rt 91, Peoria, IL 61615

Session #3 Retaining Volunteers
We'll explore seven ways to retain highly effective volunteers. 

Plus we'll explore...
* Why volunteers quit leaders and not ministries
* How to encourage volunteers
* How to train volunteers—not just organize them
* The three minute difference

Thursday, August 25,  2016, from 9 AM to 12 noon

The Metal Barn, 9621 State Rt 91, Peoria, IL 61615

Each of these three training sessions are filled with practical tools for personal and team assessments. You'll leave with clear next steps for immediate application.

This training is for anyone who oversees a ministry—volunteers and/or paid staff. If possible, please bring another leader (volunteer or paid staff) from your church or ministry as this will help you both process and apply this training experience. If you aren't able to bring someone from your church or ministry, you're welcome to bring another ministry leader from your network or denomination. If you can't find anyone else to join you for one or more of these training sessions, please come yourself.

There is a onetime cost of $30 per person for training materials whether you participate in one, two, or all three of these summer equipping experiences.

Each person will get the newly updated, revised, and expanded edition of Recruiting, Motivating, and Retaining Volunteers—a handbook for anyone who works with volunteers in a ministry setting. 

To save your spot in one or more of these training sessions, please email Bill and let him know what dates you'll be attending.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Monday Funday: Geriatric Rock and Roll Fun and Humor

Instead of torturing you one meme at a time, I decided to put all these in one post. Rock on. 
Get it?
This is in my 23-year-old son's apartment. Pray for him.
Not nice. But kinda true.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

What to Do with Bored Church Kids?

"I'm bored."

I couldn't believe my ears. I was three months into a youth pastorate. I had taken the high school students from our youth ministry to a theme park—one with "the world's fastest roller coaster"—and the students complained of being bored.

That was the last time I took any students to a theme park.

Instead, I started doing something else... and when I did this "something else" with students... I quit hearing the words, "I'm bored."

No joke.

I don't know what all the answers are to dealing with bored high school students in the church, but I can guarantee that it's not more fun entertainment. Besides, you didn't get in to youth ministry to babysit whiny teenagers. You got into youth ministry because you wanted to see students become REAL disciples of Jesus Christ... right?

If you're interested in discovering the "something else" that will take the "I'm bored" right out of the students in your high school youth ministry, then you should read this very carefully.

If, after reading that, you have questions and/or would like more information, contact me. I'd love to interact with you.

If you have bored junior high/middle school students and you're not sure what to do with them, then check out THIS and then contact us for more info. We'd love to interact with you too.

And just for the record, I couldn't agree more with Bono when he said, "I want to have fun, and I want to change the world."

Youth ministry done like Jesus can do both.

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Sunday, April 03, 2016

Monday Funday: Lunch with my probation officer...

My friends are legit professionals.

Me? I'm still sporting the original Cheap Trick concert t-shirt from the 70s.

This is where Allison Lunch Rule #1 comes into play:
The guy with the tie buys.

Is this guy really one of my friends or my probation officer?

You decide.

Few things are worse than two old guys posing for a selfie.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Monday, March 21, 2016

For all my friends who are NOT morning people...

Surgeon General's Warning: This 40 second mind-blowing poetry experience is in honor of World Poetry Day and is especially for every student and youth leader who has heard me speak at a camp or a conference somewhere on God's green earth. I love you. Some things are just so important and good, you have to share it with the world. Here you go. Crank up the volume. And the irony? I AM a morning person.

I'm Not a Morning Person
A poetry recitation by Bill Allison

I woke up early one morning, the earth lay cool and still.
When suddenly, a tiny bird perched on my window sill.

He sang a song so carefree, so lovely and so gay,
that slowly all my troubles began to drift away.

He sang of far off places, of laughter and of fun.
It seemed his very trilling brought up the morning sun.

I stirred beneath the covers and crept slowly out of bed.
and gently lowered the window and crushed his little head.

I'm not a morning person.

Bonus: Here's my 40 second recitation of the above poem.

(If audio link doesn't appear, go here.)

And if that little poetic ditty I did wasn't enough goodness for you, then please enjoy this....

(If video link doesn't appear, go here.)

Thanks for stopping by to share that weird and wild intersection of junior high humor AND poetry.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

St. Patrick's Day: And now the rest of the story...

If the only thing you think of when you hear the words "Happy St. Patrick's Day" is green beer and corned beef and cabbage, then I challenge you to take 3 minutes to read this.

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Sunday, March 13, 2016

Monday Funday: Happy Real Meaning of Easter

For something a little more serious, meaningful, and beautiful about Easter, check this out!