Sunday, November 17, 2019

Which is better: To be divided by truth or to be united in error?

This post is about the United Methodist Church... and so much more.

I think a lot of people in the west, particularly in America, tend to think that the west is the center of God's doings—and that all nations should come and drink deeply from American ministry leadership.

However, here's a case of the east, particularly Africans, cogently leading the west.  But, to be completely honest, I'm not all that sure that we in the west have the ears to hear or the courage to follow what our African brothers and sisters are modeling for us. This is very unfortunate because there is so much to be learned from them.

Here's another short take on this: This six minutes is worth the listen (or you can read it here).

"It is better to be divided by truth than to be united in error."
—Rudolf Merab, Delegate from Liberia

So I ask you—which is better: To be divided by truth or to be united in error?

Here's another audio that is worth a listen.

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Equipping Volunteer Ministry Leaders to Make Disciplemakers with the Next Generations...

We, as Cadre Missionaries, have enjoyed a God-favored partnership in the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination (CMA)—particularly via the Next Ministry Conference. For this, we thank God.

Dan Boal (left) is the Alliance Youth Ministries Consultant who serves 38,000 students and 5,000 youth workers nation-wide—and he's also the Executive Director of the Next Ministry Conferences. Laura Slezak (right) is a part-time Cadre Missionary and also serves as the Next Conference Manager.

The Next Ministry Conferences are designed to encourage and equip volunteer ministry leaders to make disciplemakers with the next generations. There are many conferences in the church world. However, there are very few conferences whose primary focus is on encouraging and equipping volunteers to be and make disciplemakers. (See WHY we find it's so easy for Cadre to partner with them?) Check out the video below...

In 2019, it is has been my honor to keynote and do disciplemaking training labs at Next Conferences in FL, OH, and MN. So. Much. Fun.

And it gets even funner as we get to connect with the great folks of the CMA—like this guy. Dr. Ken Castor is a youth ministry professor at Crown College—a CMA college. Rumor has it that the Next Conferences came out of Ken's heart to encourage and equip next generation ministry leaders—both paid and volunteer. Not lying when I say that we have a special liking for Ken and his wife Kathy. Ivy lovingly refers to Dr. Ken Castor as "Kenny Boy."

Not long ago, I was invited to speak at a chapel service at CMA's National Offices in Colorado Springs, CO. It was a joy to meet and interact with John Stumbo, President of the US Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination.

All this to say: 1) To God be the glory "for everything  comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to  him forever! Amen" (Romans 11:36), and, 2) We couldn't be disciplemaking missionaries like this without friends like you who pray for us and partner with us financially. THANK YOU for being God's wind in our Cadre sails.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Seven Questions I Dare YOU to Wrestle with Friends...

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." 

How simply and accurately can YOU explain Jesus-like disciplemaking? 

Around your dinner table at Thanksgiving, in your small group, at your next staff meeting, elder's meeting, Sunday school class, Bible study, ministry leader's meeting, at your next student ministries gathering, at your next retreat, date night, parenting class, while you are having coffee with a friend, I dare you to wrestle THESE questions...

1. What is a disciple?
2. What is disciplemaking?
3. How important is friendship in disciplemaking? Why?
4. How do you measure your effectiveness as a disciplemaker?
5. Who are you currently discipling? How so?
6. When you are with your disciplemaking friends, what do you do together? Be specific.
7. What does supporting disciplemaking look like in your church, ministry, and family?

[Note: The above seven questions were excerpted from The Disciplemaker's Living Guide by (c) 2018 Used by permission.]
"This book written by my friend, Bill Allison, is probably one of the simplest, clearest, most assessable descriptions of disciplemaking I know. I dare you to grab a friend or two and read this together."
Shane Stacey

Former National Student Ministries Director with the Evangelical Free Church of America and current Adult Equipping Pastor, Hosanna Church, Minneapolis, MN

Cadre Special for Cup O' Joe with Bill Readers
All you have to do is go here.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Our Disciplemaking Mission Trip...

We're heading out very soon for an 11-day disciplemaking mission trip that will strategically take us to pastors and volunteer ministry leaders in UT, AZ, and NV. Many of the churches and ministries we'll be working with are the only Gospel believing presence in their towns and counties. 

We need your help in two ways...

1. Would you please pray for us RIGHT NOW?
Please pray for Bill, Stacy, Ivy, and Derrick Smothers.

2. Can you help us $?
We are asking God for $1,500 to cover training materials, travel expenses, and a few meals when we’re not being hosted by friends. 
* To give right now securely online, go here.
* To give right now securely via PayPal, go here. (Include note: “Allisons”)
* To give via regular mail, send a check to Cadre Missionaries, PO Box 278, Sycamore, IL, 60178 (Include note: “Allisons”)

Every little bit of $upport—whatever the amount—is a huge help, much needed, and deeply appreciated!

[Note: If you're wondering why UT, AZ, and NV, this is for you.]

From our hearts to yours, THANK YOU SO MUCH for every prayer you breathe and every penny you give! 

We really are your disciplemaking missionaries.

Bill, Stacy, and Ivy
p.s. For a very encouraging story about what God is doing in these parts of the country, go here and watch the video.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Do You See Categories or People?

I hope you're smiling. But you may not be. At least I tried.

But before you leave, there is a point to this post.

Carefully consider this...
Instead of seeing people as categories, what if we first saw people as human beings to be loved?

Think about this with me for a moment.

Instead of seeing people as categories —Democrats or Republicans, Asian or Hispanic, Muslim or Hindu, tattooed or not, etc.,— what if we first saw people like Jesus sees them—as people to be loved?

I know. This sounds crazy—especially in our current culture where we first categorize and then demonize just about anyone who disagrees with us.

But not so with Jesus.

Jesus sees beyond the categories and sees people worth loving. (See here, here, and here.)

If you aspire to follow the Jesus of the Bible, you might want to ask Jesus for some help in seeing beyond your favorite categories.

Will you?

I dare you.

It's the only real hope for breaking the crazy cycle our current culture is stuck in right now.

"You can safely assume you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do." —Anne Lamont

You, Me, and Coffee Monday... 
Let me encourage you and make you think ONE 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. Check your email to confirm.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

The Challenge of Being a Disciplemaking Pastor—Part 2

I’m walking through The Disciplemaking Genius of Jesus book with key ministry leaders in our church. Here’s how we’re doing it: We read a portion of the book and then gather for dinner at a local Mexican restaurant to wrestle scripture and explore what it looks to be leaders who live a Jesus disciplemaking way of life together—that overflows to others.

Frankly, this hasn’t been easy for us because running actives and programs is way easier than the hard work of being friends who aspire to live and share disciplemaking as a way of life together.

After our first gathering, one of our leaders said, “I was really torn up inside after our meeting, but it was a good thing.” Seeking to live the disciplemaking genius of Jesus together is a challenging—but necessary—shift for our church leadership.

To further help equip and encourage us on this journey, you brought the The Disciplemaking Genius of Jesus Training Experience to our volunteer church leaders [see pics below]. Better yet, you brought Pastor Steve Waggoner and the two of you trained and encouraged us. Thanks for modeling disciplemaking friendships that multiply even in the way you shared the training with us.

Now we’re looking at how our monthly leadership gatherings can become “Disciplemaking Learning Communities” where we continue to encourage and equip each other in Jesus-like disciplemaking friendships that multiply.

So here’s how we’re starting to move forward: I’m investing time living and practicing the disciplemaking genius of Jesus with the primary church leaders—so they can do the same at home, work, and in their respective ministries within our church. The goal for us as a church is to be intentional about spending “time with” one another in study, prayer, life as worship and loving others as we follow Jesus together and make disciples—who then make more disciples.

Just like Jesus did.

All that to say this: Thank you for being a disciplemaking friend to me and our church for all these years.

Pastor Jason Schifo
Community Free Church, Mahomet, IL

We can bring The Disciplemaking Genius of Jesus training experience 
to the volunteers in your church or ministry! Details here.

Better yet: We can equip YOU to take disciplemaking training 
to the volunteers in your church! Like these folks.

In case you missed it...

You, Me, and Coffee Monday... 
Let me encourage you and make you think ONE 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. Check your email to confirm.
You can unsubscribe at any time.