Monday, October 31, 2011

The High Cost of NOT Training Volunteers (A True Story)

I finish preaching at a church and I am invited to attend a Sunday School class. Since one of the great passions of my life is to see Jesus-like transformational teaching happen in Sunday Schools and small groups, I say, “Are you kidding? I’d LOVE to.”

I’m escorted to a very nice classroom where about 20 energetic adults are milling around engaged in what seems like good conversation to me. I hear lots of laughter and see lots of smiles. Many of these folks seem to know and love each other. I’m able to meet the volunteer teacher and several other sharp, articulate, and fun-loving people before the class starts. I sense energy in the room. I grab my cup of coffee and donut and find a seat. The subject today: God’s Word on marriage. I think to myself: This is going to be good. I can’t wait to see how this group tackles this.

Ten minutes into the class, the energy, engagement, and enthusiasm that once was, is no more. It feels like someone pulled the plug in a bathtub full of fun, relationships, and learning. The longer the class continues, the stronger the vortex of disengagement becomes. I watch one very sincere and well-studied volunteer teacher stand at the front of the room... and continue to talk. He doesn’t seem to notice that the smiles, energy, and, worst of all, the learning—like Elvis—have left the building. Not once in 50 long minutes is anyone asked to respond or participate. I look around the room to study the glazed-over faces. Just minutes ago, these eyes were lit up as they conversed with each other about God and life.

Not now.

My heart deflates—for both the teacher and those being taught. I ponder the tragedy unfolding before me: an untapped gold mine of biblical understanding and life experience sitting in the room... wasting away... right under the teacher’s nose. I sit and wonder. (I know, I should have been listening to the teacher.) I wonder how any of them may have enriched the learning with a personal story of God at work in their marriage. I wonder if anyone might have a related passage of Scripture to share. I wonder what could have happened—what God might do in our lives—if we could stop the lecture long enough to break into groups of 4-6 people and study what the Bible has to say about marriage for ourselves first... before the teacher tells us. I suspect that a number of those in the class would have something biblical, fun, and pertinent to offer... something life-changing to share.... if only they had a chance.

But they never got a chance.

The class is over now. I walk out of the room and, at my next thought, I feel a slight chill run down my spine: I wonder who will come back next week... and, more importantly, who won’t?

Here’s a wake-up-and-smell-the-coffee moment for you:

The fate of your ministry is in the hands of volunteers. 

It's utterly foolish not to train them well.

Do you need some help training volunteers who serve in ministry with you? Start right here...

1.. The Teaching Genius of Jesus book is designed especially for volunteer teachers and small group leaders. What are you waiting for? Get it for them now!

2. Becoming a Disciplemaking Leader training experience.

3. The Ministry Is Relationships training experience.

To schedule a Cadre training experience—or to explore how you can be trained to take training back to volunteers in your ministry, contact us.

What three friends would benefit most from this post? Why not tell them about it right now?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Consider the DIsciplemaking Genius of Jesus

This triangle is a very general representation of Jesus’ time. Jesus invested a relatively small percentage of his time with the crowds. He invested more time with his disciples. However, Jesus intentionally and strategically invested the overwhelming majority of his time with the Twelve disciplemakers in his DLC. According to The Billy Graham Center for Evangelism, “the bulk of Christ’s time was not spent in public ministry (17 times) with vast numbers of people, but in private with his disciples, as recorded approximately 46 times in the Bible.”

Yet, this triangle can be a bit of an oversimplification. Why? Often, Jesus was focused on his disciples while they were in the midst of the crowds. The main point I’m simply trying to make is that Jesus focused lots of time and energy on those in his Disciplemaking Learning Community (DLC).

Monday, October 24, 2011

Life, Cadre, and other stuff to make you smile

Here are some pictures from our life/Cadre adventures last month. If you're over 40 like me, you might want to click on any of the images below to enlarge... so you can see them without your glasses.  Just saying.  :  ) Did I ever mention we love being your Cadre missionaries of encouragement?

Look who is driving... no wonder I'm losing my hair... and the little hair I have left is gray! 
(Ivy is in our 15 passenger van... which has almost 200,000 miles. This van is limping along badly... and costing us more money than the van is actually worth. Please pray for this van to truckin' until God provides our next 15 passenger van.  Thanks.)

Love God, Love People, Make Disciplemakers training at The Oaks Community Church in Dahinda, IL.

It's a little thing these two crazy kids call "Milkshake Monday!" With family traditions like this, no wonder I can't lose any weight.

Encouraging and equipping pastors who gathered at South Side Mission in Peoria, IL. Each pastor received the book, Recruiting, Motivating, and Retaining Volunteers.

Turns out Ivy is a BIG Chicago Bears fan and prefers to spend her Sundays in the man cave with her brother and father screaming at and for Da Bears.  Who knew... right?

Disciplemaking IS relationships.  My most recent day with the crazy guys in The Peoria Area Leadership Community (PALC).

As the saying goes, "Guns don't kill people. Dads with good looking daughters do." If you're a young man in his teen years and have some interest in one of my daughters, please email me at

Spoke at Calvary Baptist Church, Streator, IL. Not sure if the sign helped or hurt attendance :  )

I took the following 3 minute video of my daughter Emily doing "spoken word" (poetry) at Moody Bible Institute's annual missions conference... right before George Verwer got up to speak. She starts out by saying, "So I'm a white kid from a white town in the cornfields...." Hope you enjoy this as much as the student body seemed to enjoy it.

A day of great coffee (Eysals)... and encouraging and equipping some ministry interns at Riverside Community Church.
THANK YOU for stopping by long enough to read this far! We can't do Cadre without friends like you who love, pray, and give. 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.  From our hearts to yours, THANK YOU!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Disciplemaker's Guide to Grow, Minister & Lead

(Click image to enlarge.)
Here are ten disciplemaking adventures for following Jesus together! Each of these ten disciplemaking adventures includes application pages that will help you wrestle the Scriptures together. You'll learn how to be a disciple (grow), who makes disciples (minister), who make more disciples (lead).

A note from our friend who works with Moody Bible Institute's Distance Learning Program: 
"I had such an incredible response to your book, Disciplemaker’s Guide to Grow, Minister and Lead from the students in my Moody leadership course. Some students in Australia needed to take a two hour independent study on Christian Education. They loved the Disciplemaker's Guide! They said the book addressed the issues they were wrestling with in their church. Thanks for your partnership in ministry for all of these years! Thanks for all that you’ve poured into our lives! Thanks for letting me share Cadre resources with people around the world so that the Body of Christ can be better equipped to love and serve Jesus and the world around us! —Andrew Beaty

Start your disciplemaking adventure now.

Chapter 1 You, as a Volunteer in the Church, Can Change the World


Chapter 2 Grow Your Attitude

Chapter 3 Grow Your Actions

Chapter 4 Grow Your SMART Plan


Chapter 5 When Your Ministry Suffers from Program-itis?

Chapter 6 When Your Definition of Success Is Off...

Chapter 7 When Your Evangelism Events Aren?t Working?


Chapter 8 Leading You

Chapter 9 Leading Those Who Lead You

Chapter 10 Leading When You Want to Quit

(Below: iBooks Version)
* For the iBooks version (with lots of digital extras including printable personal and group application pages for each chapter, Bible icon with imbedded verses, four 30-minute conversational audio training sessions, plus more) CLICK HERE.

* For the printed book, CLICK HERE.

* For other e-readers (Kindle, Nook, etc.,) CLICK HERE.

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Current conventional wisdom on leadership

The more I study Jesus the more I question current conventional wisdom on leadership.

Related posts:
Jesus wasn't a leader.

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Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Go and make disciples...

Jesus said, “go and make disciples of all nations.”

Many Christians hear the word "go" and "nations" and they immediately let themselves off the hook for their responsibility for making disciples.

Why? Because they are not going to other nations. They are staying in this nation.

Thus disciplemaking gets relegated to those who are in full-time ministry and those who serve as foreign missionaries.

How is this working for us?

Let's be honest. It's not.

But all is not lost... yet.

Consider this...
If you're a follower of Jesus, you've been commanded by Jesus to "go and make disciples of all nations"—and that includes the nation in which YOU live.

Before you worry about whether or not God might send you to another nation, why not first live as a Jesus-like disciplemaker in the nation in which you now live?  After all, if you don't live with Jesus' heart and passion for making disciples now and here, you'll won't magically live like this simply by going overseas.

Going overseas does not a missionary make.

So what might living as a Jesus-like disciplemaker look like in a 21st century Western world?

* Are you a stay-at-home mom?
Go about mothering in a God-honoring way AND seek to make disciples of who cross your path—starting with your kids and other mothers.

* Are you a student?
Go about your being a student in a God-honoring way AND seek to make disciples of those who cross your path—starting with your friends at school.

* Are you in business?
Go about your being a business person in a God-honoring way AND seek to make disciples of those who cross your path—starting with your colleagues.

* Are you on staff at a church or ministry?
Go about your job in ministry in a God-honoring way AND seek to make disciples of those who cross your path—starting with volunteers and students.

* Are you a construction worker?
Go about your job in construction in a God-honoring way AND seek to make disciples of those who cross your path—starting with your coworkers.

* Are you a farmer? 
Go about farming in a God-honoring way AND seek to make disciples of those who cross your path—starting with your neighbors, friends, and associates.

* Are you a _________ ?
Go about your job as a ________ in a God-honoring way AND seek to make disciples of those who cross your path.

Get the idea?

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But let’s be honest. Most of us are not living with this kind of disciplemaking intentionality. This must change. Jesus wants us to bring his disciplemaking intentionality and proactivity to every nook and cranny of our lives—and ultimately to the whole world. Disciplemaking like Jesus isn’t something you add on to your life, it’s a way of life (1 John 2:6 and 1 Corinthians 4:16-17).

Here’s some good news:
Jesus isn’t asking you to form so many different circles of relationships that you’ll never be able to manage them all.

Here’s the challenge:
Jesus wants you to bring disciplemaking intentionality and proactivity to all of your relationships right now wherever you are.

The questions is: Will you?

If you're open to living this way of life, start here.

If you want more about pursuing a Jesus-like disciplemaking way of life, the Disciplemaking Is Relationships training experience is for you—whether you're a stay-at-home mom, a student, a volunteer, or a paid ministry leader.

For details on this training experience, go here.

Who knows? Maybe if we try to live Jesus' heart for making disciplemakers here and now, our hearts will be so transformed we'll want to "go and make disciples of all nations."

It's just a thought. :  )

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