Posts Tagged discipleship

Living on Mission in Community – Video of Jeff Vanderstelt

One of my favorite parts of being in the Acts29 Network is the exposure and relationships that I have with some wonderful leaders. One of the VPs of Acts29 is Jeff Vanderstelt, one of the pastors at Soma Communities in Tacoma, Washington. He’s been out for a number of different training events with the Surge Network and other things, and every time he comes I’m challenged.

Here’s a brief video that summarizes one of Jeff’s core strengths — living on a gospel mission in community. Take a look and I’m sure this will challenge and stretch you.

How could you begin to live in similar ways with people in your life and/or Community Group?

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What is a Missional Church? (Part 3)

Here’s the third crucial component of being a missional church (see part 1 and part 2)

Create a counter-culture that shows the world how the gospel radically changes us in every way, especially in regards to power, money, and sex.

Up to this point, being a missional church could rightly be accused of being just another re-packaged approach to seeker-sensitive ministry. But missional churches realize that just evangelizing people isn’t enough–we have to disciple them into maturity. Not only does this honor Christ, but it also provides a key apologetic aspect to our evangelistic ministry.

Jesus called us to be distinctive. He says we’re the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world” intended to shine good works so that men will glorify God (Matt 5:13-16).

In order to faithfully demonstrate that God is our supreme treasure, we must live in a way that is counter-cultural.

This means that we view power differently. Rather than a way to control and subjugate people, power becomes an opportunity to serve.

This means we view money differently. Rather than a way to achieve the comfort, approval, security, and status we lust for, money becomes a tool to further God’s kingdom. It doesn’t master us.

This means that we view sex differently. Rather than a way to selfishly pursue personal pleasure, we view sex as a good thing created by a loving God to be deeply enjoyed in the context of a fulfilling intimate marriage.

Of course, this also means we view all kinds of other things differently too–but living as a counter-culture is an essential part of living as a faithful missionary.

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How would you help somebody grow spiritually?

We are trying to write a brief resource that we can send to people who mark on their communication card that they would like information about “Growing in my faith.” Of course, every person and situation is different, but we think there are some key truths that can be universally helpful in stimulating spiritual growth

We’ll post a final version soon, but in the meantime…

What principles would YOU include if somebody was asking you how he or she could grow in faith? Click here to reply.



Would you die for Jesus? How do you know?

Steve Timmis, co-author of Total Church and Western Europe Acts 29 Director, recently posted a series of tweets on laying down your life for Jesus his thoughts are worth sharing. These are in the order that he wrote them.

  • How can I be sure I would lay down my life for sake of Jesus & the gospel? Perhaps I’ll be like Peter in his bravado and subsequent denial?
  • Can’t ultimately be sure until I’m called on to do so. But there are indicators in what I am reluctant to give up…
  • If I’m not prepared to give up my bed to go and serve someone, I can be fairly confident I won’t give up my life…
  • If I refuse to give up a holiday abroad so I can support someone in gospel ministry, I can be fairly confident I won’t give up my life…
  • If I’m not willing to pursue people who are different from me in order to bless them, I can be fairly certain I won’t give up my life…
  • If I’m not prepared to miss out on promotion so I can stay & help plant churches, I can be fairly certain I won’t give up my life…
  • If I’m not prepared to jeopardise a friendship so that I can tell others about Christ, I can be fairly certain I won’t give up my life.
  • “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Jesus Christ

Which of these stand out the most to you?

HT: Acts29 Blog

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Spiritual Growth Takes Effort

I was meeting with a guy this week whose job is to help people train physically and get in shape. He mentioned that it’s not something that just happens. Rather, it takes a great deal of intentionality and effort. Unfortunately, most of us just want to naturally be in shape without expending any extra energy.

The same thing is true spiritually. I know many people who want to grow spiritually but who aren’t willing to put in the work — study, prayer, accountability, service, etc. The result? They don’t grow.

Fortunately, our effort is motivated by God’s power and God’s grace (Philippians 2:12-13). But it’s still work.

What are you doing today to grow spiritually? Are you putting in the work?

P.S. Great post by Sean over at the Praxis Church blog on a similar theme, “Nobody Ever Stumbles into Godliness.”



Set Your Mind on Christ Challenge – Day 5

Well, we’re coming down the home stretch! Those of you that are still with us, congratulations — don’t let up now! We’d still love to get your comments and thoughts on what you’ve learned in Luke 17-21.

A resource that you might find helpful related to chapter 18 is this excellent Modern Parable video, “The Widow and the Judge.”


  • Leading others into sin is one of the worst things a person could do (17:2).
  • Jesus views obedience as a normal and expected part of life (17:10).
  • Jesus knows that real life doesn’t consist of the temporary pleasures of life (17:33).
  • Jesus views prayer as a natural part of what it means to be the elect (18:7) and the evidence of whether we have faith (18:8).
  • Jesus never minimizes the cost of following him (18:18-30).
  • Jesus sees radical repentance as evidence of salvation (19:9).
  • Jesus expects his people to bear fruit until he comes again (19:11-27).
  • If we don’t worship Jesus, the natural creation will (19:40).
  • Jesus teaching was irresistibly engaging — “all the people were hanging on his words” (19:48).
  • Jesus fearlessly speaks against those he knows are seeking to destroy him (20:9-19).
  • Jesus is wise and refuses to get trapped by the crafty evil of his opponents (20:20-26).
  • Jesus is thrilled when we give out of our poverty. Sacrificial generosity most reflects his character (21:4).
  • Jesus is coming back. Get ready! (21:25-36).

How would I be different if this truth were explosively alive in my innermost being?

  • If I believed that Jesus was coming back at any moment, I would live with a greater sense of urgency and desire for radical holiness (That is actually what the focus of our upcoming Advent season will be). As Jonathan Edwards once resolved, “Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.”

What about you? How is God using this passage in your life? Questions or Comments?

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Don’t-Miss Resource: The Destination

A few years ago, Willow Creek Community Church did a study called REVEAL to try to determine the effectiveness of their ministries and programming when it came to making disciples. Their conclusions were surprising to some (not surprising to others) and lead to some interesting thoughts on what makes people grow in their faith. This resource is a talk that Greg Hawkins, the man behind REVEAL, gave to a group of church planters a few years back.

I confess that this is a more “under the hood” kind of resource that may only appeal to those who think about ministry programming and design (like I do), but if you’re a person that has ever felt stuck in your spiritual growth, I think this resource might help you understand some of the factors that contributed.

Click here for the audio.

Click here for the companion PDF notes.

For an interesting video that helps explain what this talk is about, check it out below.



Great Summer Community Groups

I am so excited about the 2009 Summer Community Groups for Second Mile Church. Our leaders have worked really hard to plan ahead and craft what should be a great experience for everybody. Each group has a plan for learning, for mission, and for building community and I trust God will do great things through it. Also, we’re multiplying from 6 groups to 14 and almost every single one has at least one co-leader or apprentice.

Sign-ups for groups begin on Sunday, May 3rd and can be done in person on Sunday or online here.

In the meantime, here’s an advanced look (for the special blog readers) about the various groups being offered (I honestly wish I could participate in every single one — they sound great!):

Knowing Scripture – This group will focus on discovering how to dig out the meaning of Scripture through personal Bible study, and apply it to everyday life.

Gospel Transformation – This group will explore how the gospel changes us from the inside out and propels us into culture with the good news of God’s grace.

The Hurried Family – This group will focus on helping stressed-out, busy families develop calm and rest in their lives, based on the truth of Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Financial Foundations – This group will focus on exploring big-picture biblical teaching on finances, as well as dealing with practical tools to help with budgeting, debt, spending, and giving.

Powerful Prayer – This group will focus on experiencing the powerful work of God through the prayers of ordinary people and will also pray weekly for the needs of people in Second Mile.

International Missions – This group will focus on grasping holistic mission as described in the book of Acts and understanding Second Mile’s ministry partnership among Muslims in Northern India.

The Truth Project – This group will focus on developing a biblical worldview by discovering how the Bible helps us understand theology, science, culture, history, government, work and community involvement.

Death by Love – This group will focus on applying the truth of Jesus’ substitution on the cross to a variety of life issues including fear, forgiveness, suffering, and broken relationships.

Love and Respect – This group will focus on helping couples build stronger marriages by understanding and applying the biblical teaching on marriage in practical ways.

Biblical Hospitality & Basic Cooking – This group will focus demonstrating hospitality, using food to bless those around us, and building relationships at the dinner table.

Respectable Sins – This group will focus on exposing the “respectable sins” that we tolerate (anger, worry, selfishness, impatience, gossip, etc.) and confronting them with the gospel.

Student Ministry – This group will focus on building Jr. High & High School students into disciples who faithfully follow Jesus as they interact with each other as well as with other adult leaders.

Gospel & Mission (Membership) – This group will focus on understanding the doctrine and philosophy that drives Second Mile Church and will give participants the opportunity to partner with the church in membership.

Leadership Development – This group will focus on developing current and potential leaders to grow in character, competence, calling, commitment, and communication.

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