Thursday, July 24, 2014

Rethinking Great Leadership

In the book, The Forgotten Ways, Alan Hirsch writes:
"In Australia we have an amazingly large spreading tree called the Morton Bay fig. It is a beautiful, very imposing tree. The problem is that nothing grows underneath it, because it casts such a wide shadow. A top-down, more autocratic leadership style can be likened to the Morton Bay fig. It can be magnificent, but it casts such a shadow that no other leadership develops in its shade."
Here are four wake-up-and-smell-the-coffee questions for you to wrestle...

1. How can someone's leadership so "magnificent" than nothing else can grow under it? Explain.

2. What do you see under your leadership tree? Be specific.

3. What do you see under Jesus' leadership tree? Be specific.

4. How are your answers to question #2 and #3 different? Similar?

Related Post...
* The fullest expression of spiritual leadership


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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Monday Funday: The first and most important person to laugh at is yourself

If you've ever wondered what preacher's kids do while their father is preaching, wonder no more.

Just between you and me, I kind of like the handlebar mustache.


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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Some of What God Did at Challenge 2014

We, as your disciplemaking missionaries with Cadre Ministries, want to thank you for praying for us! We just got back from four days of disciplemaking training in Kansas City, MO. Enjoy the pictures below and celebrate the goodness of God with us! (Click any image below to enlarge for viewing.) And did I mention our gratitude for your prayers?
Challenge is the national student ministries conference of the Evangelical Free Church of America. This year, over 5,300 students and youth leaders attended (about 1 youth leader for every 4-5 students). Above: Our theme for all of Cadre's training sessions at Challenge this year was the unique nature of disciplemaking friendships. One youth leader told us, "Thank you! The Friendship 101 training experience was the highlight of the week for me and our students."

Every afternoon at 1 PM and 3 PM, Dave Garda and I did disciplemaking friendship training with students and youth leaders from all over the USA. Go here to download 6 FREE disciplemaking friendship downloads. Yes, we sent everyone who participated in our equipping labs to the link above so they could share the FREE downloads with their friends. We're not kidding when we say that we are your missionaries of encouragement and equipping.

When we weren't doing training in the afternoon, we were hanging out with some of our favorite disciplemaking friends from across the country. Seriously, we'd start at 7 AM with meetings, skip lunch, then do training all afternoon, and then often end up encouraging friends in the evening or taking in the evening session. We were rarely in bed before 10 PM. And we loved every minute of it! For this we were born. Above: Dave and I get a moment to connect with our disciplemaking friend, Joel Sandager, a youth pastor in WI. (He's a Viking's fan, so he's ok.)

We were so blown away by the number and quality of students who came to our training. Over 1,200+ students and youth leaders experienced Cadre's disciplemaking training at Challenge 2014! Above: Since this is equipping—not lecturing—we constantly sought to engage students in meaningful learning activities that helped them to experience the training and get the "Aha!" themselves. It was absolutely crazy... and we loved every minute of it. They seemed to learn and have a blast too. (Here's another FREEBIE for you if you'd like to explore the difference between training and lecturing. Hey, who loves you? Cadre does!)

On 3 of our 8 training labs, students and youth leaders had to sit on the floor because we ran out of seating at the tables! And they totally stayed engaged. 

So much fun to reconnect with crazy youth leaders we know from across the USA. Jason Briggs serves at one of our favorite churches in Geneva, NE. The senior pastor there, Jeff Jensen, is a long time friend and just as crazy as Jason. Please pray for Geneva Evangelical Free Church in NE.

Many times in the middle of our training, we'd give students a few minutes to share what God was doing in their lives—and then have them pray for each other. Connecting students to each other and God is what disciplemaking friendships is all about. Why simply teach about disciplemaking friendships when they can actually experience disciplemaking friendships?

The heart of disciplemaking friendships revolve around a first century concept we've come to know as Kavanah. I encourage you click the slide above so you can get your arms around what Kavanah and disciplemaking friendship are all about—and then download these FREE PDFs and walk through them with a friend or two or three!

When our training labs weren't SRO (standing room only), they were full! Dave and I team taught each training lab. Did I mention it was so much fun?

In every session, we had students and youth leaders invest about 30 minutes doing a Read and Wrestle. In groups of 3-5 at the tables, we'd have them open their Bibles, read a passage together—and then wrestle a question designed to make them dig into the passage for understanding and application. Disciplemaking friends study the Bible to know and love God—together. Here's why we did it this way.

We love it when youth leaders came with their students because it afforded them the opportunity to go deeper with them! One youth leader wrote us, "I'm so thankful for Cadre's presence at Challenge 2014. I required my students to go to Cadre's equipping lab on Disciplemaking Friendships 101. A number of the students decided to also go to the follow-up equipping lab on their own! At least 6 of my students went out of their way to thank me for requiring them to go. I know I caught more a vision for disciplemaking friendships—and I am sure they did too."

On Thursday morning, all the youth leaders gathered into one room (while students were in a main morning session) to explore how they might parlay Challenge 2014 into disciplemaking momentum in each youth ministry represented. Shane Stacey, National Director of Student Ministries for the EFCA, and a friend and co-laborer, Tim Bubar, led this disciplemaking equipping session. Want to guess what they drilled down on in some very practical ways? Kavanah. Yep, the very same disciplemaking friendships we talked about all week! (This is your last chance to download the 6 FREE downloads because you know you're interest is really piqued right now.)

Did I mention that we LOVED getting time at Challenge 2014 with our disciplemaking friends across the country? Here's Dave with another of our favorite disciplemaking friends, Mark O'Brien, junior high/middle school youth pastor in MN. Mark and his wife Rachel served the conference as transportation experts while on the ground in KC. (See the shirt Mark is wearing? Equip is the best disciplemaking training experience for junior higher/middle schoolers I've ever seen. Guess what Equip is about? That's right, disciplemaking friendships. Please tell me you're not surprised. Yes, junior high/middle schoolers can lead the way in disciplemaking. Equip helps you to help them! Check out the Equip Disciplemaking Friendship Experience here.)

All that to say: Thank you for reading and celebrating God's goodness with us! Now, please say a great big thank you to God right now!

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Monday Funday: Secure in my masculinity...

I don't always eat cereal for breakfast, but when I do, I use a Dora bowl. 

"Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum. Delicioso!"


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Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Don't underestimate God and the unlikely ones

























“I have seen few persons whose minds were spiritually darker when he came into my Sunday school class, or one who seemed more unlikely ever to become a Christian of clear decided views, still less to fill any sphere of extended public usefulness.”

That's what a Sunday school teacher said about D.L. Moody. (Moody pictured above.)

History has clearly proven that his first impression of Moody was wrong... way wrong.

Therein lies a very important lesson.

When it comes to spotting people you should invest your life in, first impressions are often wrong.

It's an ironic fact proven throughout history: God often uses the most unlikely people from some of the most ordinary places to make a most extraordinary difference for him.

So, when considering an "unlikely one," don't let the exterior fool you.

Don't be afraid to go after those who have promise but need much work.

Don't despise or overlook an acorn. Instead, dare to see beyond the acorn to envision—with Jesus' touch—the full grown oak tree.

And don't be put off by a lack of what the culture values and claims is necessary for "success."

Instead, be like Jesus—the master disciplemaker.

Look for the raw material of a disciple—then take the time and pains to shape and form it... into a Jesus-like disciplemaker.

It seemed to work pretty well for Jesus.

I guess I'm sort of partial to unlikely ones... because I am one.
And when Jesus touches and transforms an unlikely one, everyone knows it was Jesus—not the unlikely one—and God gets ALL the glory!

Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.
—1 Corinthians 1:26-29




The above true story about D.L. Moody was taken from the FREE book, Training Makes All the Difference. For your FREE downloadable copy, go here.  For a hard copy, go here.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Cadre @ Challenge 2014, Kansas City, MO

Your Cadre missionariesBill Allison and Dave Garda, will be doing disciplemaking training every afternoon at 1 PM and 3 PM for some of the 5,300 students and youth leaders at Challenge 2014, the Evangelical Free Church of America's National Student Ministries Conference. We'd love to connect with YOU. Come to one of our training labs and we'll try to get time together afterwards over the best coffee we can find in Kansas City, MO!

Here's what God did two years ago at Challenge 2012.

Please stop and pray RIGHT NOW for God to use us to encourage and equip students and youth leaders to follow Jesus—AND help them to help their friends to follow Jesus.

How God Answers Your Prayers for Us!
Here's how God is currently using your prayers! THANK YOU!
What God did in Colorado because of your prayers! THANK YOU!

We need YOU to join our prayer team!
We are missionaries with Cadre Ministries. 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. THANKS!
    Thank you for saying a quick prayer for us RIGHT NOW.

    Bill for all of us
    Because of God AND the prayer and financial partnership with God’s people like YOU, we are able to take Jesus-like disciplemaking, equipping, and encouragement to thousands of people in hundreds of churches and ministries each year! That's what Cadre Ministries has been about for over ten years now. God is at work and we love being along for this, crazy, fun, and fruitful ride.

    But make no mistake about it: We couldn't do Cadre without friends like YOU.

    Would you prayerfully consider joining our financial partnership team on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis starting now?


    From our hearts to yours, thank you for prayerfully considering our request.

    Bill, Stacy, Emily, Bill, Aubrey, Josey, Libby, Sadey, and Ivy

    FYI:
    Cadre Ministries is a recognized 501(c)3 not-for-profit ministry and all donations are tax deductible.


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    Wednesday, July 02, 2014

    When Knowledge alone is not enough

    Christianity is not a subject to be mastered, but an infectious way of living that is experienced together and shared with others.

    Like this.




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    Sunday, June 29, 2014

    Audiofeed Festival 2014

    While nothing could ever replace Cornerstone Festival,  but we loved the second annual Audiofeed Festival in Champaign, IL.

    I had the honor of speaking Thursday, Friday, and Saturday mornings, July 3-5, at 10:30 AM in the Radon Lounge tent at Audiofeed Festival. Our theme for these three mornings was Jesus Freakonomics. Each morning, my daughter, Emily Joy, shared a bit of spoken word poetry.

     
    My son's Ska band, Must Build Jacuzzi (see above) played Thursday afternoon to a packed tent of skankers.

    My spoken word poet daughter, Emily Joy, performed on Thursday afternoon as well. 

    Yeah, we like the music at Audiofeed, but the main thing for us is sharing community together around the person of Jesus Christ.

    Not gonna lie. I kinda like all the crazy mohawks and stuff. If I had any hair, I'd wear it like this guy.

    Ivy, like all of our kids, had a blast at Audiofeed too. She loved being a part of our camp community that has been festing together for about 30 years now. I remember all of our kids being at Cornerstone when they were Ivy's age.

    You can't tell, but this is Steve Taylor and the Perfect Foil. I also really enjoyed the 77s this year—they were exceptional.

    This sign says it all. I think we've moved on.

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

    What God Did at Summer Camp 2014 Baby

    "I know fully now why I came to camp. God had to show me the way to Him." —A high school student

    We are your disciplemaking missionaries serving with Cadre Ministries and we just got back from a great week of camp in Lake Geneva, WI, with students and youth leaders from Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria, IL! I had the honor of speaking. And here's the story and pictures about what God did. Click on any image below to enlarge for viewing...
    What's great about doing this camp is that I already know lots of these students. Some live in our neighborhood. Others we know and love because we are friends with their parents. (I'm sure their parents are way older than me though. Hey, I've got a 3-year-old. I'm young.) And we'll continue to see many of these students because we live in Central IL. How cool is that?

    Not sure if you know this or not, but summer camp includes a good deal of fun and craziness. Of course, this is just one of the reasons I like summer camp. It's amazing what kind of games you can create with Qtips, tape, and a straw. Stuff your mother would never let you get away with—which is why we all left our moms at home!

    The two youth pastors from Grace, John Vanne and Ryan Haggerty, participate in our Disciplemaking Learning Community in the Central IL area. We call this DLC, the Peoria Area Leadership Community. It's so much fun to partner with youth leaders—vocational and volunteer—who focus on making disciples of students—and helping them to help their friends.

    Here's the Allison Camp Survival Kit. Guess what? It worked. Not only did we survive, but we thrived. Thank you Jesus and thank you coffee.

    Most people know that the Bible has lots of stories in it. But what most people don't fully realize is that all those stories are really telling the one big true story God. Over five different chapel sessions, I told the big true story of God as found in the Bible—starting in Genesis and ending in Revelation. You're probably thinking, "Boy, those must have been some really long chapel sessions." Not really. One time I told the big story of God from Genesis through Revelation in a single sermon.

    Small groups and small group leaders play a very important role in this camp. The main goal of the small group leaders was to continually intersect God's story with our story. This is where processing, life, and disciplemaking happens!

    On Thursday night, I talked about how God rescued us. I finished speaking at about 7:30 pm. Then students went into a well-planned, hands-on learning experience based on God's true story in their small groups. That time lasted from about 7:30 pm to 11:30 pm with a bunch of students walking up to me and letting me know that they trusted Jesus Christ as their Savior! Other students who claimed to have a relationship with God already let me know they were sick of dinking around and were serious about owning their relationship with God! It was a great night of the Holy Spirit moving. It all ended with a spontaneous sharing time by the students that I will not forget.

    What makes this camp really work? These youth leaders—both vocational and volunteer! With parents and God, these are the disciplemakers who will continue to walk with these students long after camp is over. Thank you for praying for us. God heard and answered you prayers.

    And did I mention that it didn't hurt the week to have lots of coffee to drink?

    Thanks for reading this far! We couldn't do Cadre without friends like you! We thank God for you.


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    Sunday, June 22, 2014

    Monday Funday: 1 minute and 47 seconds of bagpipe glory

    If I ever start a bagpipe band, it will be with this guy, and we'll call ourselves...
    The Red Hot Chili Pipers.
    If video doesn't appear, go here.

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

    Christian culture today...

    "Sadly, we do not have a Christian culture today that easily discriminates between a person of spiritual depth and a person of raw talent. The result is that more than a few people can be fooled into thinking they are being influenced by a spiritual giant when in fact they are being manipulated by a dwarf. We must always be aware that there are great leaders who can build great organizations (including churches) on natural gifts. Say the right words, be smart enough to do the right things, be insightful enough to connect with the right people, and one can go a long way before anyone ever discovers that the inner life is close to empty."
    —Gordon MacDonald, Preface to the 2003 edition of Ordering Your Private World


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    Sunday, June 15, 2014

    Monday Funday: How My Wife Lied to Our Three-Year-Old about The Gingerbread Man

    The other day, I overheard my wife reading the story of The Gingerbread Man to our three-year-old, Ivy. It's a classic. However, I sensed she was taking a little poetic license with the ending. Using the picture above, my wife ended the story of The Gingerbread Man like this: "And then the funny fox used his teeth to tickle the gingerbread man. The end."

    I kid you not.


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