Thursday, September 27, 2012

Jesus Wasn't a "Leader"

Jesus wasn't a "leader."

He wasn't a CEO.

He violated the "laws of leadership."

He actually resisted opportunities to increase his influence—even when the crowd demanded more of him. (How strange is that in this day and age?)

No, Jesus was none of the mental images that are so prevalent in our current North American thinking about leadership.

I contend that Jesus was first and foremost a follower.

Yeah, you'll probably have to read that previous sentence again.

I know. Being a follower these days doesn't sound as near as sexy as being a leader, but Jesus didn't seem to mind being a follower. Explaining to his disciples that he was a follower—and who he was following, he said, "...I love the Father and... I do exactly what my Father has commanded me" (John 14:31). Make no mistake about it. Jesus was a resolute follower of God the Father—and the Father's agenda for his life... to the point of death.

The irony here is that because Jesus was a dedicated follower of the Father and every little part of Father's agenda for his life, the right people recognized him as someone worth following. Hence, Jesus trained a cadre of not-so-promising folks to follow him as he followed the Father's agenda. These followers of Jesus personally surrendered themselves to Jesus and the Father's agenda for their lives... and then gave themselves to the wild, out of control movement of helping other people to do the same, ad infinitum (over and over in the exact same way).

Of course, Jesus, by training others to follow Father's agenda for their lives, ultimately started a revolution. But it wasn't a "leadership" revolution as much as it was a followership revolution. The emphasis of Jesus' followership revolution is on following God's agenda... not "leading" it (at least not in the current way many today understand the concept of leadership).

It's really important to note here that being a Christian "leader" has nothing to do with OUR vision, plan, or agenda.

Jesus already has a big dream—one that was given to him by God the Father. That dream in two simple words is "make disciples" (Matthew 28:18-20).

Here's where Jesus really starts to get on our nerves. Jesus wants us to scrap OUR visions, plans, and agendas... and do something absolutely revolutionary: Follow him and the Father's disciplemaking agenda—and train others to follow Jesus and the Father's disciplemaking agenda... so they can train others, ad infinitum.

So beware of the emotional inebriation that comes from engaging in leadership bravado. While you are conjecturing on casting vision, strategic planning, and developing leaders, you could forget that you're supposed to be following a follower—and that you are called to make followers... who can make more followers (see 2 Timothy 2:2; 1 Corinthians 11:1). While you are drinking deep from the current fountain of leadership, me-carcinogens can slip in undetected. Somewhere down the road, you could end up trying to lead your own agenda in God's name rather than following God's agenda.

To really "lead" like Jesus, you must first dare to follow like Jesus.

If you think about it, following takes a lot more guts than "leading" because you're not in control of the agenda—you're accepting God's agenda as you own.

Here's the important and compelling question that only you can REALLY answer:

Do you have the guts to follow like Jesus right where you are right now?

You, Me, and Coffee Monday... 
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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

October is Pastor Appreciation Month

[Note that when we speak of appreciating pastors, we mean any and all pastors: senior pastor, associate pastor(s), youth pastor, children’s pastor, etc.]
Perhaps the greatest gift you could give your pastor(s) for Pastor Appreciation this October is a congregation that is equipped with the seven biblical ways God wants them to encourage the pastor.

It sure beats a generic card.

This 28-page booklet is great for Sunday school, small groups, and leadership gatherings—especially elders meetings.

What are you waiting for? It’s time to get busy equipping the congregation with what God says about encouraging the pastor!

Okay, the aforementioned generic card is way easier and less expensive... but in the long run equipping the congregation to live out their biblical responsibility to encourage pastors is way better for everyone.

* For a FREE downloadable six-page PDF sample excerpt, GO HERE.
* To order this booklet, GO HERE.
* To get this on iBooks, GO HERE.
* For Kindle, Nook, and other non-printable e-readers, GO HERE.

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Let me encourage you and make you think 2-3x a week with a virtual Cup O' Joe with Bill in your email inbox. Go here and submit your email. Then check your email inbox and click the Feedburner confirmation link. Note: You can unsubscribe anytime simply by clicking the "unsubscribe" link at the bottom of any email that comes from Cup O' Joe with Bill.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday Funday: Coffee with Jesus... just live

Click to enlarge for reading... and smiling.
Used by permission from

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The journey to purity

In the following FREE audio, we'll explore:
* Why God requires sexual purity
* Joseph's secrets for sexual purity
* Fifteen steps to adultery

Listen to Bill's message online here:

For your iPad/iPod and to share with others:

Download the mp3 here.

For reading and sharing with others:

To get this information as a PDF, go here.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday Funday: Remember Where's Waldo?

We were reading the Jesus Storybook Bible as a family at dinner recently. The story was about Saul's encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. See picture below.
When Libby (13) saw this picture above, she said, "Where's Sauldo?" (See picture of Waldo to the left.)

Everyone in this family thinks they are comedians.

Funny Allison Kid Links:
* That awkward moment when you know your parenting is working.
* Surviving driver's ed... again.
* Why I need your prayers.
* Great moments in parenting.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

How Jesus launched a disciplemaking movement...

Sometimes leaders try to vision cast to the masses to start movements of discipleship.

However, Jesus did not follow this particular leadership practice when he started his disciplemaking movement that is changing the world to this day.

When it came to making disciples who would make more disciples who would make more disciples, Jesus did something different than casting discipleship vision to the masses.

He prayed (Luke 6:12).

He chose a small cadre of people (Mark 3:13-15).

He invested lots of time with them (John 3:22).

He considered them friends (John 15:15).

He gave them his disciplemaking way of life and showed them how to give it to others in the same way he gave it to them—and they did (Matthew 28:18-20).

Note how different Jesus' approach is compared to ours.

Jesus didn't change the world by growing the tree and then putting a root system in place.

Jesus changed the world—and continues to change the world today—through disciplemakers who prayerfully choose a cadre of people for the purpose of helping them help others to follow Jesus.

We think of Jesus' roots-first approach as, D3 "disciplemaking friendships."

Of course, Jesus' roots-first approach takes way more time, work, and doesn't feel leadership sexy.

But stop and think about it.

Never before have we had so much ministry activity and so little Jesus-like disciplemaking.

Isn't it time to make Jesus our model for life and ministry?

Start here.

We tend to overestimate what preaching can do and underestimate what living like Jesus can do. You can't vision cast the masses into a disciplemaking way of life.

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Monday Funday: The REAL biblical approach to finding a mate...

As a follower of Jesus, I try to live by the Bible.

I like the Bible's approach to finding a mate.

And that means...
Parentally arranged marriage.

We're picking our kids' in-laws.

And with six daughters, we're also hoping to bring back the popularity of the bride price concept!

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Thursday, September 06, 2012

Why Volunteer Youth Leaders Matter

by Bill Allison,

About 80 percent of churches in the United States do not have the luxury of a paid youth pastor.  And once you step outside of America, finding a paid church youth worker is about as common as finding someone listening to an ABBA eight track tape.  (I’m not saying they don’t exist, just that they are extremely rare.)

Think about the ramifications of this for a moment. 

The overwhelming majority of youth ministry here and around the world is quietly being done on the backs of volunteers in volunteer-led youth ministries. 

If you think that’s news, as BTO once sang: “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”  What’s really amazing to me is this:

Despite often being ignored and minimized in the current youth ministry dialogue, I contend that many of these under-resourced volunteer youth workers from volunteer-led youth ministries are literally changing the world for Jesus Christ a few students at a time.

The Paul Cone Factor
I heard about Paul Cone long before I met him.  As I come alongside church leaders in Central Illinois, I often ask folks, “How did you become a Christian?”  That’s when I started hearing about Paul.  I’m still regularly running into people—young and old—whom Paul has introduced to Jesus AND discipled.  You see, Paul has strategically invested his entire adult life volunteering in youth ministry.  Get this: Now the people Paul has discipled... are discipling others. 

Who does that remind you of?

The first person that comes to my mind is... Jesus. 

Ironically, Paul will probably never be asked to speak at a national youth ministry conference—or even a local one for that matter (their loss).  He’ll probably never write a book—or even an article—about youth ministry (I’d buy it, read it, apply it, and give it to others if he did).  With no formal eduction in youth ministry, no goatee-cool-factor, no fanfare, and no hifalutin youth ministry facilities or program, Paul Cone has humbly invested his life volunteering in youth ministries in regular-size churches. 

His ministry strategy?  He simply loves God and students.  Paul is a disciple of Jesus who is quietly investing his life in making disciples... who are now actively making more disciples.  And God is getting the glory—not Paul.  When I tell Paul about all the different people I consistently meet who indicate that his influence in their lives was a turning point for them spiritually... he turns a slightly deeper shade of red and puts his head down.  End of conversation.  But it’s not the end of the conversation because—while Paul doesn’t talk a big youth ministry game or toot his own horn—he speaks very clearly, consistently, and cogently with his life.  And God is using him to do nothing less than change the world a few volunteers and students at a time.

Paul is 53 years old at the time of this writing.  (He just told me his age three days ago when we were talking youth ministry with a friend of ours who is a paid youth pastor—all while eating a fabulous Mexican lunch together.  That’s him with the hat on next to me in the picture.)  Guess what Paul is up to these days?  Surprise: He’s STILL a volunteer youth worker in a church without a paid youth pastor—doing his best to make disciples who will make more disciples.  I’m not ashamed to say that I love Paul Cone and I want to be like him because the legacy he is leaving is amazingly like Jesus’.... consistently multiplying disciples... who are multiplying disciples... ad infinitum (i.e., again and again in the same way forever).

Celebrating Volunteer-Led Youth Ministry
The fact is that God has a lot of Paul Cones out there.  But because they tend to be so unassuming, you have to look for them to find them.  Where are they?  Tucked away—often under the radar of professional youth ministry—in the 80 percent of churches who don’t have a paid youth worker. 

One would think that the sheer numbers of these volunteer youth ministry leaders would warrant a whole host of training resources, conferences, and attention.  But the truth is that, when it comes to youth ministry, the 20 percent in professional youth ministry tend to get the spotlight while God’s largest army of youth workers—volunteers—are politely ignored, often minimized, and woefully under-resourced. 

This inequity bothered us so much, we started Cadre Ministries.

Please don’t get me wrong.  Cadre LOVES paid youth workers.  We’ve trained and certified many vocational pastors and youth pastors to take Cadre training to the volunteers in their ministries.  But here’s the thing for us: We love volunteers in church ministry with the same level of intensity that we love the people in professional ministry. 

After all, if I understand the biblical doctrine of the priesthood of the believer, then every Christian is a full-time minister.  Some of us full-time ministers are paid by a ministry and others of us are volunteers, but we’re all full-time ministers.  That means the Paul Cones of the world are to be celebrated as real full-time ministers and never viewed as“just volunteers.”

What’s Your Next Step?
1. Who is one ministry volunteer you need to celebrate?  Why?  How will you celebrate this person as a full-time minister? What is your next step?

2. Find the volunteer-led youth ministry closest to you geographically.  How can you build a trusting relationship with these volunteers? After you build a relationship of trust, what training, resources and encouragement can you share with them? What is your next step?

3. With whom do you need to share this post?  Why not do it right now?

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Monday, September 03, 2012

Monday Funday: God, marriage, and laughter...

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