Wednesday, February 27

Discipleship fuels new churches

Baptist Press just released Shawn Hendricks 2/25/08 story about our work here in Guayaquil...


Discipleship fuels
new mestizo churches

By Shawn Hendricks

RICHMOND, Va. (BP)--Ten framed diplomas line the wooden slats of a home in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

The glass and gold-colored frames appear out of place in this tin-roof hut as sunlight spills through narrow cracks in the wall. But they represent the spiritual journey of Monica and Medardo -– their baptism, discipleship and commitment to a Christian marriage. Soon they will add another diploma to the wall -– one for starting a house church in their home.

The couple and their diplomas represent an aggressive discipleship effort called HARVEST (or COSECHA in Spanish) led by International Mission Board missionaries Guy and Linda Muse.

The Texas natives oversee a team of local believers in working with a network of 100 churches among Guayaquil's 3.3 million mestizo people.

"We have trained people that have worked and gone out and are continuing ... to win people to Christ," says Guy Muse, who has lived and ministered among the mestizos for more than 20 years. "We call [it] our Guayas house church network.

"Some are traditional churches, others are house churches -– but it is people we work with and relate to."

Muse admits he is a little "fanatical" about discipleship among Ecuador's mestizos. "We started [HARVEST] in the year 2000 and it's been trial and error," he recounts. "We keep learning things and adapting and changing and modifying and updating -– and we've got it down to something we feel pretty comfortable with."

According to the IMB's 2007 Annual Statistical Report, 3,162 new believers in Ecuador are involved in discipleship and 43 new churches have started. Worldwide, more than 1.2 million church members, including nearly 570,000 new believers, are involved in various discipleship initiatives.

Through Southern Baptist churches' year-round support of the Cooperative Program and their gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, missionaries like the Muses are at work encouraging more new believers to participate in discipleship and help start churches.

For Guy Muse, church planting boils down to quick follow-up, baptism and a nurturing discipleship effort. He explains it like this: If he or one of his teammates leads you to Christ today, within 48 hours someone begins leading you through the first lesson of discipleship.

"We sit down with you, we help you to make out your own list of family and friends who don't know the Lord," he says. "We teach you to pray for their salvation."

During the first weeks of one-on-one discipleship, the team urges new believers to invite their family and friends to join them in the study. Within eight to 10 weeks a new group should form.

"This is how house churches get started in Guayaquil," Muse says.

"Should church planting really be any more complicated than that?" he asks. "If we will do our part, Jesus promises to do His part and build His church."

One of the biggest challenges Muse and his team encounter is convincing people to trade their routine church life for ministry outside their comfort zone. Many believers put an emphasis on going to church rather than making disciples, something Muse refers to as "churchianity."

"Most of the traditional churches we relate to simply cannot get past [the challenge of living] their Christianity outside of the four walls of the church building," Muse reflects.

"It is much easier and more convenient to just go to church. But that's not what we understand the New Testament as saying at all. It says to go out and make disciples."

Shawn Hendricks is a writer for the Southern Baptist International Mission Board. For more stories and updates on the work in Guayaquil, visit For additional stories about missions in other parts of the world, go to or

Sunday, February 24

Less is more

Over the years I have come to the realization that it is not about how much I know; it is about how much those we work with know. Nobody cares how much I know. I can communicate a lot of information, truth, principles, methodology, etc. but in the long haul, what makes a difference is what those being trained have retained and bought in to.

We all are impressed with ourselves and how much we know. We want others to know all that we know, and see things as we see them. But that seldom happens. At best, only morsels of what we think important is ever grasped and adopted by those we work with. Clarity and emphases on a few things is much more valuable in the long haul than a ton of information that leaves everyone impressed.

In the beginning of our training we used to try and cram as much information as possible into people's heads. The assumption was that they would somehow absorb enough to begin putting it into practice. Not so. Very little was actually retained and put into practice.

Today, we approach training much differently. Now, our approach is teaching only so much as can be literally memorized and repeated back in a few short steps.

Our training is built upon seven pillars; all represented by a letter of the Spanish word C.O.S.E.C.H.A. (harvest).

For example, what we want to "C"ommunicate in the first letter "C" (concientizar in Spanish) is that we are focused upon making 500,000 disciples in five years. In order to reach this goal all of us together must be about four things:

1) Everyone praying the Lord of the Harvest to send/mobilize laborers into the fields of harvest. Everyone he sends our way we train.

2) Every church plant at least one other church every year.

3) Every believer win/disiciple four others every year.

4) Repeat #1-3 until we reach 500,000.

It has to be that simple. If it is more complicated than the above we get tangled up in the details and derailed. Everyone has to know and understand the vision of 500,000 disciples. Everyone has to know how we are going to get there. Everyone has to clearly understand their personal role and task. Only then is the "C" module learned. Any more information only serves as static/noise. It might be pleasant, even exciting, but it doesn't help to add more than can be absorbed.

It is futile to move on to the "O" of COSECHA if the "C" isn't fully grasped.

One of my favorite adages is "less is more." Of course I don't practice it as much as I preach it! But nevertheless it is true. We get more when we emphasize less.

If those we are training can't reproduce what we are teaching, we have failed. We are a bag of hot air. It is not enough to inspire, wow, impress, motivate--they have to be able to DO what it is we have taught.

Repetition is essential in each step. If they can't repeat clearly in their own words what it is being taught, it will be nothing more than information overload. Too often we fall into the trap of delivering assigned material to a group of trainees. We seem to think that finishing the book is the objective. Wrong. Our goal must be that they are able to reproduce each step of the process. And do so in such a way that those they will train in the future can also do the same. (See Third Generation Thinking).

In summary. Making disciples who actually go out and make disciples of the nations boils down to the KISS principle--Keep It So Simple--that literally any believer can do it.

Neil Cole says it this way, "Simplicity is the key to the fulfillment of the Great Commission in this generation. If the process is complex, it will break down early in the transference to the next generation of disciples. The more complex the process, the greater the giftedness needed to keep it going. The simpler the process, the more available it is to the broader Christian populace."

Saturday, February 23

Best laugh of the week

*Pray For Ed.

Ed is in trouble.

He forgot his wedding anniversary.

His wife was really angry.

She told him "Tomorrow morning, I expect to find a gift in the driveway that goes from 0 to 200 in less than 6 seconds AND IT BETTER BE THERE!"

The next morning Ed got up early and left for work.

When his wife woke up she looked out the window and sure enough there was a gift box wrapped in the middle of the driveway.

Confused, the wife put on her robe and ran out to the driveway, and brought the box back in the house.

She opened it and found a brand new bathroom scale.

Ed has been missing since Friday. Please pray for him!

*received in an email from family

Thursday, February 21

I'm for Hillary...

...being the Democratic nominee over Obama, but MIKE HUCKABEE is my choice for President of the United States in the November elections.

There is one issue that towers above all others for me: the sanctity of life.

Huckabee says, I support and have always supported passage of a constitutional amendment to protect the right to life. My convictions regarding the sanctity of life have always been clear and consistent, without equivocation or wavering. I believe that Roe v. Wade should be over-turned.

I want someone in the White House who stands for life. The greatest scourge on the USA are the 2,700 babies killed every day in utero in America. Surely terrible judgment awaits our nation for allowing the greatest holocaust in history to continue unabated. This horror has got to be stopped!

As John Umland states, "the war that affects my vote is the war against the unborn, and the commander in chief I will vote for is the one who will try to end that war." Amen.

Wednesday, February 20

Missionary perks

Many of our supporters back in the United States often feel sorry for missionaries living overseas and "suffering for Jesus." But the truth is, we are better off than most think. Folks back home simply aren't aware of the many personal privileges and perks we enjoy in our host countries. When I say we are truly blessed, I mean that! Here is a sample of just a few of the many perks we enjoy as missionaries:

-Getting our own glass to drink out of at social occasions and not having to share with someone else.

-Being given the seat right in front of the only floor fan in a closed room where 30 perspiring people are crammed together in equatorial heat and humidity. (If you don't think this is an honor and privilege, just try sitting somewhere else in the room and not pass out!)

-Not only having running water inside our house, but HOT water too! (No outhouses for us!)

-Being asked to sing, preach, teach, baptize, speak, dedicate babies, marry, or give the devotional at any church gathering that takes place. (If you're a missionary, you know what I am talking about. Not even Billy Graham gets asked to do all that we are honored to do!)

-Being invited to everyone's birthday party, anniversary, or wedding. (They know at least the missionary will bring a nice gift.)

-Having a phone that actually works (most of the time.)

-Having a wireless cell phone with a balance. (That way everyone who needs to make a call can borrow ours and we save them money. We call it our "phone ministry!")

-Always the one invited to go places. (They know the missionary has a car and will provide the transportation for all the other 15 people also wanting to go.)

-Double portions of rice, chicken and plantains at any social occasion. (They reason we must eat twice as much to be as big as we are!)

-A nice siesta every day after lunch. (How do people in the States manage to go all day long without a nap?)

-Fruit vendors, knife sharpeners, plumbers, sewer cleaners, professional con artists, street sweepers, bottle collectors, repairmen, newspaper collectors, beggars, Jehovah Witnesses, gardeners, electricians, and salesmen, ringing your door bell 20 times a day to see if you need their services or can give them anything. (While sometimes annoying--especially during afternoon siesta--it is generally a nice perk when you actually do need their services!)

-Always being complimented on how fat we are getting, or how much weight we have gained over the past month. (It truly is a cultural compliment meaning we are "well fed", "healthy" and can afford to eat like we do.)

-The honor of receiving calls every week from people asking for help in translating an English letter, recipe, their kid's homework, legal documents, etc. (How many times have I heard, "oh, it will just take a minute, you don't mind do you?")

-Being stared at every time we set foot outside the house like we were some movie star (especially since our only actual claim to fame is being from Texas.)

-Being able to go to the Pharmacy and buy whatever medications you need without a prescription. (Just go down to the corner drugstore 24/7 and get what you need--none of that $90 doctor fee to tell you what you already know!)

-Being the first person people think of when they are in an economic crisis and need a loan.

-Oh yes, having a maid to cook, clean, and wash everyday. (How do people manage without one?)

-Someone to do all your yard work for less than your kids allowance.

And finally, my favorite perk...

-Garbage picked up seven days/week, 365 days/year without anyone questioning what it is you are throwing away. This is probably my favorite missionary perk, and the one I most appreciate getting back to after every Stateside furlough. (Our last furlough (no joke) NOT ONCE was our garbage picked up by the trash collectors due to our never figuring out how to do it right. I was totally overwhelmed by the Ft. Worth "garbage manual" explaining all the rules and regulations about what kinds of trash will be picked up, on what days, in what type of containers, etc.)

And people wonder what missionaries do with all their time. Well, as you can see, managing all our perks can take up quite a bit of our daily time!

Care to add some of the perks that come with your career-job-ministry? Just add them to the comments section!

Sunday, February 17

Can a woman baptize?

One of the interesting things about sitemeter is that one can see the Google search phrases and words that people use to find their way to my blog. One of the most common phrases and its variations is "can women baptize?"

So here we go again...

Can a Christian eat pork ribs or a ham sandwich? Not many of us who confess faith in Christ would have too hard a time answering that question. Yet, for first-century believers this was one of those "tough issues" that had to be worked through. Just ask Peter. In Acts 10 Peter tells the voice from heaven, By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean. Yet he is corrected, What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.

Can a Christian drink wine? Believers in Argentina would think, what a silly question! Of course you can. Jesus did. There is even a miracle in the Bible about Jesus turning water into wine at a wedding feast. Yet believers in other parts of the world would be highly suspect of anyone who professes Christ, and yet consume any kind of alcoholic beverage. They would be quick to show that Jesus' wine was not the same wine we have today.

Can a believer smoke and still be a true Christian? While certainly frowned upon as being a danger to one's health, most Stateside believers would not think that smoking would prevent you from being a Christ follower. Yet, here in Ecuador, anyone who smokes would be seen as a carnal/nominal Christian at best (that would go for C.H. Spurgeon's cigar smoking as well!)

Should believers watch soap operas? I don't think I missed a single day of watching "General Hospital" through four years of seminary at SWBTS. I was a true GH fan. Yet, when we arrived in Ecuador as missionaries, we quickly learned Christians DO NOT watch soap operas, or if they do, you certainly never let anyone know about it!

Can we eat meat offered to idols? Can we play worldly electric guitars and drums in church? Can believers play cards? Go to the movies? Go trick-or-treating? The list of questions is almost endless. And the list of Scriptural proof texts used for/against can be equally suspect.

When we first arrived in Ecuador as missionaries in 1987, THE MAIN ISSUE that had our churches divided, and believers fighting one another, was whether or not one could hand clap to the music of choruses sung in church. The "hand clappers" were called every nasty name under the sun, and those who stuck to ONLY HYMNS were referred to as iglesias refrigeradoras - refigerator churches. People could fire off Scriptures on the subject quicker than Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke drawing his six-shooter! I mean, this was serious stuff! Today in 2008 absolutely NOBODY thinks twice about hand-clapping in church, but back in the 70's and 80's it was a different matter.

So what changed? Why was it so wrong back then, and yet all right to do so today? Did all the Scriptures quoted change overnight? What happened? You tell me!

Many of these issues vary from region to region, from culture to culture. They are not theological issues, but traditions learned from those who helped shape our understanding of the Word of God. The way we were brought up to believe. We have this need to defend our positions on every matter by finding a Biblical text to back up our already made up minds.

So, can a woman baptize?

Before you say "no" and start looking for out-of-context proof texts, try turning the question around and asking it in a different way, what in the Word of God would prevent a sister from baptizing another person on their profession of faith?

I would venture the "can a woman baptize?" similar to some of the above questions. The answer depends more upon culture, tradition, and church background, than it does upon clear New Testament teaching. Therefore, the rightness/wrongness often depends upon the context where the question is being asked. For some situations it can certainly be OK. For others, it might not be OK.

I have written on this subject previously Can women baptize? and Who has the authority to baptize? and What was Jesus intent?.

I do not wish to rehash the arguments here, but suffice it to say, to date we have not found anything unscriptural about a sister baptizing another believer. If our sisters in Christ are under the authority of Jesus and his command to go...make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you... who are we to keep them from doing ALL that Christ commanded his disciples to do? Why limit our sisters to obedience to only three of the above four commands?

In our church planting ministry we simply do not make a big deal about WHO does the baptizing. What seems to matter most to the NT writers is in whose NAME people were baptized. For those who believe only males can baptize, fine. We respect that. For those churches and believers that we relate to who have never made it into an issue, and allow women to baptize, this is also fine. We respect that too. Where both a brother and a sister together baptize--that's OK too!

Where we try to keep our focus is in doing what Christ said to do, and not get all tangled up in the secondary issues that seem to always accompany the main commands of Christ.

As usual, I welcome your comments or observations. To be honest, this is a non-issue for us, but others seem to have strong feelings both for and against this matter. Thanks for any input you might like to share.

Friday, February 15


I was recently amused to read Elisabeth Elliot's account of a question-answer time at a college where she was speaking...

I was one of the panel of experts...discussing the subject of marriage...Afterward there were lots of questions. But it was hard to figure out just what the questions were. Here is one of them (verbatim--I did not make this up. It was taped and then transcribed)

Um--like--um--I have a couple questions. Do you think--like--that--uh--do you think a woman could have a call just to be--like--a wife, but not--like--not just to be a wife--like, say, you know--if you're gonna be personal--like--my own engagement--like--I have a gift of--you know--a talent in music, you know--like--I mean, I know you're not saying--like--you know, especially in that case, I mean, you're saying more like--you have--like--I think our greatest thing in common probably is--um--is that--you know--is the dedication to serve God--you know--in the desire to, to follow--you know--to do his leading and--like--neither of us, you know, and especially in this kind of life you don't have a blueprint of what you--what he's gonna be doing necessarily, you know--and I'm just kinda concerned because like--you know--I've even thought about that cause I've kinda had a conflict--you know--growing up that way--you know--I'm talented musically--you know--so therefore I should probably look for somebody that's talented musically but he--he likes it--you know--I mean, he doesn't understand it totally but I'm sure we could live happily together with it, you know, but I don't expect him to have a--you know--yearning to go to all the Beethoven concerts or anything--you know--but I mean--I've heard of very happy marriages where--you know--there's quite different--you know--interests--you know--there.

(I apologize for not knowing the rules of punctuation for this kind of English.) Nobody on the panel knew what the girl was asking. She was confused--that came through loud and clear, but she might have seen through some of the fog simply by making the effort to clarify and shorten her question.

The kind of questions we ask reveals a lot about the kinds of things going on in our heads. They reveal the kinds of things we think about, value and cherish. I like to ask questions. Many of my "M Blog" posts are an attempt to answer a question. I have discovered over the years that a lot of people do not like questions. Questions have a way of challenging the status quo. Questions rock the boat. I know that many times my questions have gotten me into trouble! But questions are what makes life interesting.

"We tend to prefer answers to questions" says Charles Ringma in his devotional, Dare to Journey -- "Answers are meant to reassure. Questions usually disturb us."

As a missionary "strategy coordinator" (SC), some of the questions that "disturb" my comfort zone include:

--how will we reach the remaining 25 under-reached counties in our province?

--what needs to happen in order to fulfill the Great Commission in Ecuador in this generation?

--what needs to happen for our group of churches to network in a more unified and cooperative way?

--how do we mobilize the existing Body of Christ out into the fields of harvest?

--what will it take to get believers to transform from "come to us" churches into "go make disciples" churches?

--what will a church planting movement look like in our Ecuadorian context?

--are we hearing all that the Lord is trying to say to us?

--how do we start a sustainable prayer movement?

--who are the national leaders emerging from the harvest that I need to be pouring myself into these days?

--when is the missionary task completed in Guayaquil? (and closely related...)

--is our presence still needed in Guayaquil or is our presence more of a hindrance to the work?

--how do we finance the growing physical and social needs that we see all around us without falling into the dependency trap of relying on outside resources?

--how do we integrate into the greater City-Church here in Guayaquil--what will this look like?

What kinds of questions are on your heart and mind?

Wednesday, February 13

What would you do different?

If you had to start all over again in your church planting, knowing what you now know, what would you do differently? This question is answered by Neil Cole on pgs. 204-206 in his book Organic Church.


First, I would begin in the harvest and start small. Don't start with a team of already-saved Christians. We think that having a bigger and better team will accelerate the work, but it doesn't. In fact, it has the opposite effect. It is better to have a team of two, since the right two makes the work even better: an apostle and prophet together will lay the foundation of a movement. The churches birthed out of transformed lives are healthier, reproductive, and growing faster. It is about this: a life changed, not about the model. Never forget that.

Second, I would allow God to build around others. Don't start in your own home; find a person of peace and start in that home. Read Matthew 10 and Luke 10, and do it.

Third, I would empower others from the start. Don't lead too much. Let the new believers do the work of the ministry without your imposed control. Let the excitement of a new life carry the movement rather than your intelligence and persuasiveness.

Fourth, I would let Scripture, not my assumptions, lead. Question all your ministry assumptions in light of Scripture, with courage and faith. There is nothing sacred but God's Word and Spirit in us; let them lead rather than your own experience, teachings, and tradition.

Fifth, I would rethink leadership. The Christian life is a process. There is not a ceiling of maturity that people need to break through to lead. Set them loose immediately, and walk with them through the process for a while. Leadership recruitment is a dead end...Leadership farming is what is needed. Any leadership development system that doesn't start with the lost is starting in the wrong place...Mentor life on life and walk with them through their growth in being, doing, and knowing. The end is not accumulated knowledge but a life of obedience that will be willing to die for Jesus.

Sixth, I would create immediate obedience in baptism. Baptize quickly and publicly and let the one doing the evangelizing do the baptizing. The Bible doesn't command us to be baptized, but to be baptizers. It is absolutely foolish the way we hold the Great Commission over our people and then exclude them from obeying it at the same time.

Seventh and last, I would settle my ownership issues. Stop being concerned about whether "your" church plant will succeed or not. It isn't your in the first place. Your reputation is not the one on the line; Jesus' is. He will do a good job if we let him. If we have our own identity and reputation at stake in the work, we will tend to take command. Big mistake. Let Jesus get the glory and put his reputation on the line; He can take care of Himself without your help.


My observation is one of the keys to successful church planting is learning to empower others. Making others the focus of ministry, not ourselves. I could write a post on each of the above seven issues Neil brings up. Suffice it to say, anyone involved in church planting would do well to heed Cole's words gained from first-hand experience.

Sunday, February 10

Mt. Chimborazo

One of my favorite stories in the history of evangelical work in Ecuador took place in 1892.*
I love God's sense of humor. See if you don't agree.

Francisco Penzotti, a Uruguayan carpenter-turned-preacher, had been jailed in Lima, Peru for eight months for distributing the Word of God. After his release in early 1891, he headed north to Guayaquil with his boxes of Bibles. As he pushed these pass the customs inspectors, one of the officials declared defiantly: "As long as Mt. Chimborazo stands, these books will never enter Ecuador!"

Not only did the Word of God enter the country that year, but today, all around the slopes of Mt. Chimborazo, an estimated 40-45% of the population claim to be evangelical believers. Chimborazo Province has the highest concentration of followers of Jesus Christ than any other region of Ecuador or South America that I am aware of.

From Chimborazo, the Gospel is spilling over into the neighboring Andean provinces of Tungurahua, Cañar and Cotopaxi. This is an exciting time to be a missionary in Ecuador. To see what I mean, click on the inspiring new IMB video International World Changers share Gospel in Ecuador and see the faces of a people long held in spiritual captivity, but now being freed to join the ranks of what is rapidly becoming a nationwide spiritual tsunami.

I love being on the winning side! More than 100 years since the infamous customs official's words were spoken, God is still proving to Satan and all his hosts that no matter how hard he tries to stop "those books" from entering, JESUS SHALL REIGN WHERE'ER THE SUN! And Mt. Chimborazo, at 20,946,230 feet, the highest point on the surface of the Earth (when measured from the core of the earth), stands tall as a majestic spiritual icon to remind the world "the gates of hell shall not prevail." Don't you love God's humor? Can't you just see Him smiling?

*Source: Daybreak Over Ecuador by Richard P. Reichert.

Saturday, February 9

Weekend fun

The following are samples from the book Disorder in the court: Great Fractured Moments in Courtroom History of actual courtroom attorney questions and witnesses answers. These were originally seen here and here.


ATTORNEY: What is your date of birth?
WITNESS: July 15.
ATTORNEY: What year?
WITNESS: Every year.

A: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
W: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.

A: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
W: Yes.
A: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
W: I forget.
A: You forget? Can you give us an example of something that you've forgotten?

A: How old is your son, the one living with you?
W: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can't remember which.
A: How long has he lived with you?
W: Forty-five years.

A: What was the first thing your husband said to you when he woke up that morning?
W: He said, "Where am I, Cathy?"
A: And why did that upset you?
W: My name is Susan.

A: Do you know if your daughter has ever been involved in voodoo or the occult?
W: We both do.
A: Voodoo?
W: We do.
A: You do?
W: Yes, voodoo.

A: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?
W: Did you actually pass the bar exam?

A: The youngest son, the twenty-year-old, how old is he?

A: Were you present when your picture was taken?

A: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
W: Yes.
A: And what were you doing at that time?

A: She had three children, right?
W: Yes.
A: How many were boys?
W: None.
A: Were there any girls?

A: How was your first marriage terminated?
W: By death.
A: And by whose death was it terminated?

A: Can you describe the individual?
W: He was about medium height and had a beard.
A: Was this a male, or a female?

A: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
W: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.

A: Doctor, how many autopsies have you performed on dead people?
W: All my autopsies are performed on dead people.

A: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
W: Oral.

A: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
W: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.
A: And Mr. Dennington was dead at the time?
W: No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy.

A: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?

A: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
W: No.
A: Did you check for blood pressure?
W: No.
A: Did you check for breathing?
W: No.
A: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
W: No.
A: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
W: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
A: But could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
W: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law somewhere.

Thursday, February 7

Evangelism/missions quotes

For us, evangelism and discipleship come in a single package: going and making disciples. Jesus own words, " you go, make disciples..." give us the framework for understanding what evangelism and missions is all about. The following quotes come from and


EVANGELISM is just one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread. D. T. Niles

We must be global Christians with a global vision because our God is a global God. — John Stott

Our business is to present the Christian faith clothed in modern terms, not to propagate modern thought clothed in Christian terms. Confusion here is fatal. J. I. Packer

The greatest hindrances to the evangelization of the world are those within the church. John R. Mott

The Holy Spirit can’t save saints or seats. If we don’t know any non-Christians, how can we introduce them to the Savior? Paul Little

Evangelization is a process of bringing the gospel to people where they are, not where you would like them to be. When the gospel reaches a people where they are, their response to the gospel is the church in a new place... --Vincent Donovan

Being an extrovert isn’t essential to EVANGELISM–obedience and love are.
Rebecca M. Pippert

The spirit of Christ is the spirit of missions. The nearer we get to Him, the more intensely missionary we become. -- Henry Martyn

Evangelism is not salesmanship. It is not urging people, pressing them, coercing them, overwhelming them, or subduing them. Evangelism is telling a message. Evangelism is reporting good news. - Richard C. Halverson

If your Gospel isn't touching others, it hasn't touched you! --Curry R. Blake

Life is too short and hell is too hot to just play church. Pastor Larry Osborne.

Some wish to live within the sound of a chapel bell; I wish to run a rescue mission within a yard of hell. — C.T. Studd

Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. — John Piper

It is possible to do evangelism without planting churches, but it is not possible to plant churches without doing evangelism. --unknown

God's plan in these last days is revival in His worldwide church and through the revived church the reaping of a final great harvest of souls. --N. Grubb

The Great Commission is not an option to be considered; it is a command to be obeyed -- Hudson Taylor

People who don't believe in missions have not read the New Testament. Right from the beginning Jesus said the field is the world. The early church took Him at His word and went East, West, North and South. -- J. Howard Edington

The Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became Man for no other purpose. --C. S. Lewis

We talk of the Second Coming; half the world has never heard of the first. -- Oswald J. Smith

We Christians are debtors to all men at all times in all places, but we are so smug to the lostness of men. We've been "living in Laodicea ", lax, loose, lustful, and lazy. Why is there this criminal indifference to the lostness of men? Our condemnation is that we know how to live better than we are living. --Leonard Ravenhill

It is now possible to live a "christian life" without doing the things that Jesus commanded us to do. We have hired people to go into all the world, to visit those in prison, to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to care for widows and orphans. The average Christian doesn't have to do it. --Cal Thomas

Missionary zeal does not grow out of intellectual beliefs, nor out of theological arguments, but out of love. -- Roland Allen

Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin, and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen; such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of heaven on earth. --John Wesley

Monday, February 4

13 guiding values for our church planting

Our "simple church" planting here in Guayaquil is known as "La Iglesia En Tu Casa" (LIETC)--The church in your house.

We have identified at least 13 guiding values that the Lord has seemingly been pleased to bless over the past 7+ years of church planting.

1.) LIETC is built upon a foundation of prayer, which is the most important work in which we are engaged. (Luke 10:2)

2.) LIETC is built upon the idea of mobilizing the laity. The laity is empowered to go and do tasks traditionally assigned only to trained professional clergy. (Eph.4:11-12, 1 Pet.2:9-10)

3.) LIETC is built upon the concept of taking the church to where the people are, rather than bringing the people to the church. (Matt.28:18-20, Luke 10:3)

4.) LIETC crosses denominational lines and works with Great Commission Christians to plant New Testament churches. (Eph.4:4-6)

5.) LIETC depends on God to provide the workers, free of recruitment or manipulation. Prayer is the key. (Luke 10:2)

6.) LIETC is built upon the understanding that women are likewise called to plant churches. (Matthew 28:18-20)

7.) LIETC is built upon the understanding that it is Christ's responsibility to build His church, not ours (Mt. 16:18). Our task is the Great Commission--to make disciples; his to build His Church.

8.) LIETC is built upon an understanding that the missionary task is primarily one of praying, modeling, teaching, training, encouraging and mentoring. (Eph.4:11-12)

9.) LIETC is built upon the strategic use of locally available and reproducible communication media. We don't use or model anything that can't be done/reproduced locally by the people we work with.

10.) LIETC is built upon the idea of church being more a "family gathering" held in a home setting, and less a "traditional church service." (1 Cor. 12-14, 14:26, Book of Acts)

11.) LIETC is built on the twin pillars of prayer and lifestyle evangelism. There is a continuous emphasis on these two areas.

12.) LIETC is built upon the understanding that multiplication of disciples is the focus of all we do. Simply adding to existing works will not get the job done. (Matthew-Luke, the "parables of the kingdom.")

13.) LIETC belongs to God, and He can do as He pleases. Change in the way things are done is an on-going process as God continues to open our eyes to his ways of building the Kingdom.

Saturday, February 2

Lessons from my mentors

Over a year ago, stew's exagorazo posted a list of things he has learned from his mentors. As I read through this slightly edited list (it is rather long), I am drawn to these values and characteristics. I want to receive this kind of mentoring in my own life, and BE this kind of mentor to my fellow co-laborers.

- Don’t be afraid of a good fight; healthy conflict can have good results

- Tell the truth no matter how much it hurts

- Live life sacrificially for others; if it doesn’t hurt it’s not a sacrifice

- Busy can be good at times

- Be tenacious and diligent

- Even small mentoring deposits can have long-lasting rewards and dividends

- You’re not done until God calls you home

- Make disciples wherever you are

- Give away whatever you have and have learned

- Go, go, go

- Model for others a life worth living

- Use your platform of influence to challenge others towards Christ-like living

- Love you wife openly and affectionately; talk highly about her

- Leaders can have a lasting influence for generations

- You can be intelligent and passionate about Christ

- Write – it is a great way to leave a legacy that lasts for generations

- Be a friend

- Listen well

- Encourage when you can

- Dig deep into God’s word for guidance, insight, direction, and inspiration

- Quantity time equals quality time; the more time you spend with a mentoree the better

- Challenge mentorees to use their God-given talents for the Kingdom and they will

- Ask for help, you never know how it might empower a young leader

- Model a missional life and others will follow

- Seek to empower, not to control

- Release young leaders into ministry

- Give away responsibilities in a way that empowers

- Strive to get loyalty first and you will neither get loyalty nor empower others; strive to empower others first and you will both get loyalty and empower others

- Be authentic and transparent about struggles

- Bring people into the mess with you and they will help you

- Build teams, not structure first; structure follows team

- Believe in younger leaders

- Look for the faithful, available and teachable

- Share your life with your mentorees

- Try new things

- Don’t get caught up in the details, unless you need to get caught up in the details

- Challenge the status quo

- Equip and develop, don’t just do events

- Make big asks of high-potential leaders

- Be patient with young leaders – they might actually do some good some day

- Keep your cool under pressure

- You can take current motion and use it to your advantage

- In developing others, you can’t steer a parked car

- Balance ministry and family – err on the side of spending time with your family

- Equip and resource, in that order

- Submit to authority

- Every organization has a culture. Know it and use it to your advantage.

- Choose your battles carefully – you don’t have 9 lives in ministry.

- Don’t take ministry too seriously sometimes

- Strategic planning is just that – strategic

- Give credit to others where credit is due

- Just listen. That alone can be therapeutic for the other person.

- Give timely advice when necessary

- Have friends that you trust when you’re in a high-octane and performance-oriented environment

- If you spot an emerging leader, do something about it. Give them something to do. Invite them into your circle. Increase their platform.

- Give yourself to an emerging leader and they will give themselves to you.

- A little enthusiasm goes a long way.

- Encourage a vision and you will reap a dream

- Use your platform to give others a platform of leadership