The following paragraphs are a collective from Bill, Torey, Toby and Burt who recently attended the Exponential Church Planting Conference. This summary is excellent for LifeQuest. Within this summary are some clear directives for our future. Enjoy the read, the reflection and the longing for Christ to redeem and make new.......
First off I want to say thank you for the opportunity to go on this trip. I would like to also extend my thanks to the leadership team, the RCA, and the Church multiplication team for their contributions to make this trip possible. I didn’t really know what to expect going into this trip, but I came away from it inspired and challenged in many ways.
Over the last few days I have been able to take a little time and process through some of what we took in over the few days we spent in Orlando. I purchased the digital access pass in hopes of sitting down to take the main messages in again, but it seems they won’t be ready for another week or so yet. As you heard me mention, the two biggest takeaway’s for me from the conference were Obedience and Discipleship.
Obedience started from Eddie's message about the great commission, how in Matthew 28 some of the disciples worshiped Jesus, but some doubted. I had never looked at worship as an act of obedience before, but it makes perfect sense. I believe we need to worship God more, and not doubt the plans that he has for us. The message of Obedience continued with the message from Jossy Chacko. His story about asking his son to clean his room really struck me how we can be the same way about different commands from Christ. But where the rubber really meets the rode is are we truly obeying!
Discipleship has been something that we have always talked about at LifeQuest, but the importance of it really hit home with me during this conference. How do we expect the younger generations, or younger Christians, to succeed if we are not teaching and training them. To be honest, if I were to disciple someone I wouldn’t have a clue what to do or what to teach them on a long term basis. The workshop that I went to that was put on my Discipleship.org for the discipleship tools was one that made me see discipleship as something I could do. The discipleship tool they were showing was called Xchange ( http://www.disciplexchange.com/ ). Xchange is essentially a guide book on how to disciple someone, walking through the fundamental truths, and at the end preparing them to be a disciple maker themselves. If you meet every other week this program would take 14 months to complete if you were to take one chapter each time you meet. They have an option to buy workbooks, but there is also a mobile app available that you can use to walk through the material. I have not dove too deep into it yet, but this seems as a useful tool to me.
Here are some of the bullet points that I took away from the conference:
- In the story of Martha and Mary, as they invited Jesus into their home, Martha was busy working in the kitchen preparing things for Jesus. Martha thought she was so right, she thought Mary should be doing the same things she was. How often do we find ourselves thinking we are doing the right things, or the good things, and missing the great things?
- Are we building our resume, or our eulogy/legacy?
- We need to be the Alfred to Batman, supporting, healing, feeding, and nurturing.
- Are we willing to put the generation behind us, ahead of us?
- The value of life is measured on how much of it you give away.
- If we don’t give it away, or pour into others, our impact will be no greater than you.
- The typical bottleneck in ministry is our self.
- We have to know how to scale.
- Don’t run everything
- Don’t lead everything
- Don’t control everything
- Don’t attend everything
- Don’t know everything
- We need to give people permission to do things even if it’s out of the box, or not our way.
- Our children are disciples, not dependents!
- Coke and McDonalds have done a better job at reaching the ends of the earth than the Church
- Either we are all missionaries, or none of us are.
- We love to teach content, not obedience.
- The Church needs to be more of an obedience school.
- Discipleship is measured by nothing else than obedience to God.
- Obedience is not an optional choice.
- Our identity in Christ is more important that our gifts.
- Live a life worthy of your calling.
- If we are leading, but not following Christ, we are misleading.
- We often find ourselves asking God to bless decisions we have already made.
- The greatest gift we have is activating the gifts of others.
- God gives leaders to Church’s, not Church’s to leaders.
- To be truly great we must humble ourselves and serve others.
- When we are discipling someone they will become spiritual sons/daughters.
- Where are all the spiritual fathers?
- There are many spiritual children crying out for spiritual fathers/mothers
- Authority only works to discipline at younger ages, influence is the greater tool as we grow older.
- Play for the name on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back of it.
- Build kingdom, not Church’s.
- Don’t have the expectation of what this will do for me, but what will it do for the kingdom.
- The kingdom posture is a posture of surrender.
- We think if we can have more money we can do more.
- Money isn’t the problem, nor is it the solution.
- When we see a problem, God sees an opportunity.
My top 3 take away’s from Exponential
· Coke and McDonald’s have out done the gospel in promoting awareness – WHY?
· We are ALL missionaries or none of us are!
· Teach to obey
o Content brings a crowd / obedience brings discipleship
· What % of what you know are you obeying?
· Satan was the first interpreter of scripture (did God really say???). We interpret ourselves out of obedience.
2. Create a culture of multiplication:
· Ricardo – come preach and support his work in Pullman (Missions Team opportunity) – getting active in the multiplication of new churches in our community and beyond (Cambodia / Peru)
· 50% rule – if you have a role to fill you can do it only 50% of the time because the other half is to be spent equipping people to do that same role.
· Develop a Leadership Pipeline - Who are we intentionally raising up as leaders? Do we have any planters among us that we are preparing to send out?
3 . What is God birthing in our context? In our Community?
· Too much of Christianity is rooted in fear, anxiety and building things.
· We need to establish ourselves as spiritual midwives – attentive to the birthings of God.
As I have been reflecting on the Exponential conference and my main takeaways, I wanted to share them here. My goal going into the conference was not to learn something new but to be encouraged and convicted to do what I already know.
The theme of the conference was on being a Hero Maker, and my best description of that comes from 2 Timothy 2:2 "And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others." Make disciples who make disciples. Another aspect of this theme is don't take credit for what God is doing.
One way that this theme can play out is when given an opportunity to "shine" for Jesus, consider if there is someone else who could step into that role. Pastor Toby brought up a good point to consider in this; it may be that someone else is trying to be a Hero Maker in your life. So it's not a matter of never being in the "spotlight," but are you acknowledge God as the source.
There was a session that struck a chord by highlighting that in great commission Jesus is asking us to make disciples and to teach them to obey. Teaching to obey is much different than teaching content, and involves walking with someone and having access to their life.
Teach them to Obey. Don’t take credit for what God is doing.