Sunday, July 24, 2016

If you learn to laugh at yourself...


If you learn to laugh at yourself, you'll never cease to be amused.


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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Cadre's Challenge 2016 Rewind

Your Cadre missionaries had a God-favored time of disciplemaking friendships and training with students and youth leaders from around the country (and some folks from other countries) at Challenge 2016. (Note: Click any image in this post to enlarge for viewing!)

Challenge Conference is the national student ministries conference for the Evangelical Free Church of America and was held in Louisville, KY. The only thing worth my short life is investing in the next generation and those who are investing in the next generation.

This year, the Cadre training team (me, Dave Garda, Rennie Garda, Seth Fagerland, and Nate Stenholtz) did 13 different disciplemaking training experience around the theme: Friends That Matter.  

Everyday of the conference we trained students and youth leaders at 1 PM and 3 PM for about 90 minutes each time. Of course, we didn't lecture for 90 minutes! That would be boring.

At least half our time in each session was devoted to helping students and youth leaders interact with God via the Bible. We call it havering.

Youth leaders and students exploring together what it means to live sent as disciplemaking friends.

We stopped our training often for times of prayer, hearing from God, and praying for each other. Hey, that's how disciplemaking friends roll.

And, everyday, in our training rooms, Ivy made new friends from around the country. I think they enjoyed her as much as she enjoyed them.

In addition to the Disciplemaking Friendship training series we did, I was also asked to do an equipping lab titled, Secrets for Sexual Purity.

In between sessions, we had so much fun meeting new friends and reconnecting with old friends! Did I mention disciplemaking friendships yet?

Mornings before the conference were used for coffee and time with various youth leaders from around the country. Above: With some of our favorite disciplemaking friends from CO and IA. With these guys on this morning, we explored my favorite disciplemaking training experience for middle school and jr. high students—and how they can take it back to their ministries.

We think disciplemaking friendships are the way disciplemakers are made. Let me explain.

"Bill, Thank you for a great equipping lab at Challenge! Great training!"
a student from TX

"I was so inspired and moved by your family and your message at Challenge that I needed to write to you while it was fresh on my heart. My name is Jasmine and I was with a group of girls from Nebraska that sat and ate before the 1:00pm session on the last day. God has placed a passion in my heart to share this message. It's such an important message and I feel like it is overlooked in my community. I love your approach and want to learn more! Thank you so much for your time and Happy Anniversary to you and your wife! It was so nice meeting you both, and Ivy as well."
Youth leader from NE

These aren't the leaders of tomorrow. They're the leaders of today. Our desire is to encourage and equip the next generations to live and lead like Jesus—the best "leader" in the history of the world.

Thanks for your prayers and support. You make Cadre possible and powerful. To God be the glory!



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Sunday, July 10, 2016

How deep are your friendships?

For all this talk about "community" and "doing life together," if we're really honest, many of us would have to admit that we don't have the intimate friendships we long for deep in our hearts. 

You might be thinking, "I've got lots of friends at church."

But let's keep it real: Church is often the place we go to be alone, together.

Even if you do have a large number of friends, how many of them would you really bare your naked soul to? 

I dare you to make a short list in your mind right now.

See what I'm saying? 

For the most part, we're just like this picture above: "I'm fine."

But are we really fine?

And more importantly: What can we do about this?





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Sunday, July 03, 2016

Life together AFTER church...

Here's some Cadre help for living a love-God-love-people-make-dsciplemakers way of life together after church...

How to Use These Living Guides
Using any of these living guides is as simple as this...
* Open the living guide.
* Open your Bibles and read the Scriptures and their contexts. 
* Wrestle the Scriptures and the questions one by one with a heart to know and love God.
* Pray the Disciplemaker's Prayer together (it's in the living guide).
You're probably doing it right when your study together leads to more questions and deeper conversations about applying what you're learning together.

8 Ways to Use These Living Guides
1. Sunday School:
Use the any of these living guides for the first 10-15 minutes of each class for discussion and prayer together for 25 Sundays. Or take your time walking slowly through the living guide the entire Sunday school class. If you read the context of each of the passages listed and give plenty of time for discussion, interaction, and prayer, it will easily fill your Sunday school hour. We've seen both of these approaches work great in a Sunday school setting. Get each member of your Sunday school class his/her own living guide and you'll still have the most inexpensive Sunday school ever.

2. Small Groups: 
These living guides are great for small groups to live out a disciplemaking way of life together. By wrestling Scripture together, you and your friends have an opportunity to own disciplemaking like Jesus at the conviction level rather than just at the idea level. (And, oh, there is a major difference between those two!) This wrestling Scripture together in community (a.k.a., havering) is a critically important step in transforming friendships into disciplemaking friendships.

3. With Volunteers and Students
Use the any of these living guides to help your adult volunteer leaders and student volunteer leaders grasp and own the value of disciplemaking friendships as the conduit for gospel ministry.

4. Retreats: 
These living guides are great for summer camp or fall or winter retreat experience. Cadre offers a four-session training experience that goes with each one of these living guides—and they work great in a retreat setting. Each person would get a living guide.

5. Family Discussions: 
It can be as a simple and spontaneous as a 5-10 minute discussion via the questions in the living guide after dinner one night a week. If you have a long drive together, use the car time to wrestle a study or two together. Consider doing a family night using this living guide to explore what it looks like to live a disciplemaking way of life together. Then invite other families to share this living guide experience.

6. 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 studies/adventures. This will drip essential disciplemaking values into your elder, staff, and team meetings throughout the year.

7. Mission Trips:
Make any one of these living guides the team devotional for your next missions trip. Since you're all on a missions trip, why not use it together each day?

8. Can YOU think of another way to use these living guides in your life and ministry? We bet you can!

To get yours now, go here.

Each living guide is also sold separately with bulk pricing...
* The One Another Living Guide
* The Disciplemaker's Living Guide
* The John 3:16 Factor Living God 



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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Thank you God for...

Thank you God for summer, snow cones, and funny kids with blue tongues.

Pardon me while I gush about being a dad... again and again and again and again.

What do YOU thank God for?


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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Missing the point of reading, studying, and singing

"You have received unmerited love and grace. Share it—or quit reading, studying, and singing about it." 
—Pastor Glenn Kaiser (pictured above)


Sometimes we get so caught up in the activities of reading, studying, singing, etc., we end up missing the point.


But that's precisely the point: Don't miss the point.

I dare you to think about your life for a moment: 
Are YOU missing the point? 

I challenge you to assess yourself by checking out this, this, and this.

Meanwhile, I'll be busy taking my own challenge.



Added Bonus: 
Glenn Kaiser making the same point above—only this time via the blues! Take a listen. Lyrics included below. (Get Glenn's music here and here.)

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

She came into your life
One look stole your heart
Your friends can see it in your face
Even in the dark
You laid awake at night
Dreamin' of the day
When she would wear your ring
And that evidence would say

You know I love you
I'm so glad, show and tell
Cause when your love is so strong
You just can't keep it to yourself

They hung me on the wood
My blood ran just like rain
I spoke on your behalf
And I'm comin' down again

You know I love you
They know in heaven and in hell
You say you love me
Why do you keep it to yourself?

People in the street,
They need to see and hear
Got noses full of cocaine
And bellies full o' beer
Credit cards and pretty yards
And kids that never knew
Who I am, and what I've done
And what I'll do for you

You say you love me
Ahh, you got my book up on the shelf
You say you love me
Ohh, if you love me
Why do you keep it to yourself?
Ohh, if you love me
Ahh, you gotta show and tell
Cause when your love is so strong
You just can't...
When your love is so strong
You just can't keep it to yourself


And this BONUS is only for those who diligently read this far... something to put a smile on your face AND sum up everything this post is about... enjoy...


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Sunday, June 12, 2016

7 Compelling Reasons Dads Really Matter...

and every reason has something to do with disciplemaking.

Be encouraged dad!

You really do matter. Here's 7 compelling reasons WHY...
1. You're the family comedian
2. You're a Disciplemaking Dad
3. You do what all dads do: Embarrass your kids
4. You have more influence than you realize
5. You're never a "babysitter" when you're with YOUR kids 
6. You're a "loser filter" for guys interested in your daughter
7. You're an incredible encourager

Do you know a dad who would be encouraged by this post?

What are you waiting for?

Send this link to him now—http://bit.ly/24Ks09x—and tell him THANKS!

Happy Father's Day to crazy dads with crazy kids everywhere.


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Sunday, June 05, 2016

28 years later... on June 11th

Strong. Selfless. Smart. Indefatigable. Intoxicating. That's the woman I love and the mother of our 7 children ages 5-25.

And she's funny too.

Last month we were both up before the sun drinking coffee—Stacy at one end of the kitchen table and me at the other. I said, "Why don't you sit closer to me so we can read the Bible together this morning?"

In a tired voice, Stacy said, "That would take me further away from the coffee pot."

So funny. So early in the morning.

We're celebrating God's goodness via 28 years of marriage on June 11, 2016.

Thanks for celebrating God's goodness with us!

"Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine, flourishing with in your home. Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees as they sit around your table. That is the LORD's blessing for those who fear him."
—Psalms 128:3-4

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Exciting News about How God is Using YOU!

Check out how God is multiplying YOUR prayer and $ investment in Cadre missionaries for the extension of His kingdom and His gloryThe best way to view this is to go hereYou can also click on any image below to enlarge for reading. Thank you for check this out!
Would you please pray for us? We are disciplemaking missionaries with Cadre MinistriesWe need you. About 2-3 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 say a quick prayer for us 2-3 times a month, please email me and put "prayer team" in the subject line. We'd be glad to pray for you too.
We are your Cadre missionaries. We couldn't take any of part of this Jesus-like disciplemaking adventure without people like you who love us, pray for us, and give $ to Cadre. We need you. You make our ministry powerful and possible. Every expression of partnership breathes life into our souls… and enables us to do the same for many others! Cadre is a one-of-a-kind ministry. For more information about how you can partner with God, the Allisons, and Cadre Ministries, go here. To make a secure online tax-deductible donation, go here.  Cadre Ministries is a recognized 501(c)3 ministry.

For up-to-date ways you can pray for us, go here.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

When someone asks me, "What do you do?"

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 (the 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!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Bill,
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

Disciplemaking Friendships: Why and How

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?

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

Who?
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.

How to Use the Living Guide
Using the Discplemaker's Living Guide is as simple as this...
* Open the living guide.
* Open your Bibles and read the Scriptures and their contexts. 
* Wrestle the Scriptures and the questions one by one with a heart to know and love God.
* Pray the Disciplemaker's Prayer together (included in the living guide).
You're probably doing it right when your study together leads to more questions and deeper conversations about applying what you're learning together.

8 Ways to Use this Living Guide
1. Sunday School:
Use the Disciplemaker's Living Guide for the first 10-15 minutes of each class for discussion and prayer together for 25 Sundays. Or take your time walking slowly through the living guide the entire Sunday school class. If you read the context of each of the passages listed and give plenty of time for discussion, interaction, and prayer, it will easily fill your Sunday school hour. We've seen both of these approaches work great in a Sunday school setting. Get each member of your Sunday school class his/her own living guide and you'll still have the most inexpensive Sunday school ever.

2. Small Groups: 
This living guide is a great for small groups to live out a disciplemaking way of life together. By wrestling Scripture together, you and your friends have an opportunity to own disciplemaking like Jesus at the conviction level rather than just at the idea level. (And, oh, there is a major difference between those two!) This wrestling Scripture together in community (a.k.a., havering) is a critically important step in transforming friendships into disciplemaking friendships.

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

4. Retreats: 
This living guide is a great summer camp or fall or winter retreat experience. Cadre offers a four-session training experience called Disciplemaking Is Relationships that works well in a retreat setting. Each person would get the Disciplemaker's Living Guide.

5. Family Discussions: 
It can be as a simple and spontaneous as a 5-10 minute discussion via the questions in the living guide after dinner one night a week. If you have a long drive together, use the car time to wrestle a study or two together. Consider doing a family night using this living guide to explore what it looks like to live a disciplemaking way of life together. Then invite other families to share this living guide experience.

6. 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.

7. Mission Trips:
Make the Disciplemaker's Living Guide the team devotional for your next missions trip. Since you're all on a missions trip, why not use it together each day?

8. Can YOU think of a way to use this in your life and ministry?


Your Next Step...

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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