Sunday, January 15, 2017

What God did at Districts in Green Bay, WI

(Click any image on this page to enlarge for viewing.)

For over a decade now, we, as disciplemaking missionaries with Cadre Ministries, have had the honor of being a part of the Forrest Lakes District Youth Conference in Green Bay, WI. Each of these ten plus years, we've faithfully brought Cadre's disciplemaking training labs to equip and encourage students and youth leaders. In 2010 and this year, 2017, it was my honor to also be the conference speaker. All glory to God for doing only that which God can do! Like this note I got from a student: "Hey loved hearing you this weekend, you really put things in perspective to me. This weekend I felt God in my heart so much and I thought of things I've never thought before and decided to make Jesus my one and only savior and I had lots of 'WOW' moments this whole weekend so I just wanted to say thank you and God is good."

What drives a missionary to go places they'd not normally go? The love of Jesus. It was so cold in Wisconsin that the politicians were putting their hands in their own pockets. There are no truer words that can describe how cold it was than this poem

On Friday morning, January 6, 2017, we loaded the car and The Three Amigos headed to the frozen tundra in the far north for a grand God adventure with 4,000+ students and youth leaders!

Our best friends and favorite Cadre missionaries, Dave and Rennie Garda, invested the entire weekend in praying, training, coaching, and encouraging students and youth leaders from all over Wisconsin.

In one way or another, I've invested my entire adult life so far in making disciplemakers with the next generations—and those who lead them. I'm not going to lie. It's way more fun than working with normal adults—even though at times it gets a little squirrelly. 

It's our honor to share God's Word and the Gospel with students! This young lady hugged me and with tears in her eyes told me, "I trusted Christ as my Savior this weekend!" She was one of many! Another student wrote, "I was at Districts 2017 this weekend. I just wanted to say thank you for coming and speaking to us. God has such a huge impact on me. I gave my life to Christ for the first time this weekend and I am so excited to see what God has in store for me. I also ask if you could keep me in prayers, just to stand my ground and not give into the world around me and give in to my old ways."

If video doesn't appear, go here.
If you’re more a video person, you can check out this 3 minute video (above) that let’s you get a front row seat for the conference and what God did! (FYI: If you're so inclined, here are videos of my messages: Friday night, Saturday morning, Saturday night and Sunday morning.) Another student wrote to me, "Hi Bill! I wanted to email you and say how much God moved our hearts at Districts! I had a really good connection with your speaking. Me and my friends stayed up until 4 am and wrote our sins down, flushed them down the toilet. That night I also accepted God into my life, and let him take the wheel. I'm only fifteen. God got to my heart this weekend. I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate what you do and what God have did for me this weekend!"

While I value the honor of preaching God's Word to the 4,000+ people, I also value disciplemaking training experiences with cadres of students and youth leaders (including all the volunteer youth leaders) just as much!

We also deeply value disciplemaking training experiences with cadres of junior high/middle school students and those who love them. Above: Our dear friend, Nate Stenholtz, youth pastor, leads a Cadre training lab! (How YOU can become a trainer with Cadre like Nate.)

And of course we deeply value disciplemaking training experiences with cadres of high school students and their youth pastors! Why? Because God does these sorts of things: "I was at Districts this weekend and you are the most amazing speaker ever! Thank you so much for being there you inspired me so much! I had a new WOW moment this weekend, it was on Saturday night when everybody was singing Lord I Need You it was so Awesome! I am now going to be discipled by my youth leader! I have been having a really hard time with my friends and I got so excited when you gave us a chance to be discipled! Thank you so much!!!"

God. Dave and Rennie. Disciplemaking. Friendship. Encouragement. Youth leaders"When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours." —Romans 1:12

In between main session, service projects, and disciplemaking training labs, we get to love, encourage, and pray for the students. So. Much. Fun. Even if they are Green Bay Packer fans. Here's what another student wrote to me, "I would really like to thank you for everything that you told us at Districts17. On Saturday night, I finally surrendered to Jesus Christ and the things that you told us made me see a lot of things in a completely different way than I did before Districts. I'm a freshman and during my junior high years I struggled with anxiety and depression. I was also bullied quite often. Before Districts, I struggled to believe that God was actually here and I had a hard time believing that he loved me and that he forgave me for all of my sins. No matter how much I prayed, no matter how much I read the Bible, I didn't believe that God could ever forgive me for any of my sins. However, after what you said throughout this weekend (see Isaiah 6:1-8), I finally believe that God forgives me and that he loves me. I've had many doubts about God's love for me; however, I've learned that if you accept God and surrender to him, he does forgive you for all of your sins because he sent his son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins. I didn't grow up in a home where my family had a relationship with God. My family was religious. I now know the difference from being religious and having a relationship with God and surrendering yourself to him. All the things you said over this weekend has made me think a lot and it has changed everything for me. So, I would like to thank you for speaking to us and helping me accept Jesus Christ as my savior and surrendering myself to him. Thank you so much."

Did I mention that we get to love, encourage, and pray for youth leaders we've invested our lives in over the yearsThank you God for disciplemaking friendships!

Speaking of disciplemaking friendships: We've been known to meet up with some of our favorite disciplemaking pastors for coffee at 5:30 AM on a frigid Saturday morning while at Districts. Yes, that cup I'm holding has four shots of expresso in it. Can you say, "GOOD MORNING!"? Cup O' Joe with Bill indeed.

We also get to hear a lot of very cool disciplemaking stories. Like this one from Robert (top picture). Robert wrote, "I had a very cool God moment this weekend at Districts 2017! Our speaker was Bill Allison, a very talented speaker who has a heart for discipleship. The significance of this was he used to mentor Kris Prescott (lower right bottom) before Kris left for Texas. Kris was the first guy to take me in after giving my life to Christ and teach me about true discipleship. I developed a heart and love for Jesus and discipleship from the beginning of my walk with God. I got to introduce myself to Bill and thank him and then I introduce Bill to Gavin (lower left bottom), the young man I am discipling, who is already talking about who he is going to disciple. What an amazing testimony of disciples, making disciples, making disciples who want to make more disciples! I praise and thank God for all the disciplemaking men he put in my life!"

Seriously, how fun is all that? Thank you Jesus! This is that great intersection of disciplemaking as a way of life AND a large District Youth Conference event that works to create disciplemaking momentum during AND long after the event!  Thank you Jesus. We know it's all you... and that's exactly what we want.

"Now that I am old and gray.... Let me proclaim your power to this new generation, your mighty miracles to all who come after me."
—Psalm 71:18

You, Me, and Coffee Monday... 
Let me encourage you and and make you think 1 stinking 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. Go to your email and click the Feedburner confirmation link.
You can unsubscribe at any time with no questions asked simply by clicking the unsubscribe link at the bottom of any email you receive from Cup O' Joe with Bill. Honest. You got nothing to lose. Try it.

No comments: