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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