Making disciples of all nations.

Category: Disciple-making Page 8 of 9

Daniel McNaughton – Learning from Jesus how to make disciples

Favorite quotes from the episode:
“If I did this would I look like one of the disciples that followed Jesus and was willing to give their lives and reach the entire world for Christ.”

“Then you have Matthew, who has those parties. He invites Jesus because he knows Jesus will be great at a party with lost people.”

“Jesus talked less than I expected and ask more questions.”

Dr. Daniel McNaughton is serving as professor of practical ministries and Old Testament in Southeastern University’s Barnett College of Ministry & Theology in 2016.

Before going to SEU, he served in executive pastor roles at Christian Life Assembly in Camp Hill, PA (2015–2016) and Allison Park Church in Pittsburgh, PA (2011–2012). He also serves as a consultant and coach for Learning to Follow Ministries (2009–present), helping leaders throughout the Northeast Region develop healthy, empowering, and multiplying churches.

He was the founder and lead pastor of Spring Valley Community Church in Royersford, Pennsylvania, where he served for 6 years (2005–2011). He is the author of the book “Learning to Follow Jesus,” which is currently being used in over 100 churches in the U.S. and internationally. The book helps people grow in seven essential attributes of the follower of Jesus while under the care and encouragement of a spiritual coach. He served for two years as the lead trainer for church planters with the Church Multiplication Network of the Assemblies of God (2010–2011). Before that he served as a Bible and Church Ministries professor at University of Valley Forge for over a decade (1995–2007)

E06-Heathen Golf Pro to Discipler of All Nations (part 2)

In Episode 5 we heard the story of how God took a heathen golf pro living his own life and turned him into a full time minister who was focused on taking the good news of Jesus to people who had never heard.  In Episode 06 we will see his work doesn’t stop with someone making a decision for Jesus.  His job is to raise up people who will take on the role of discipling and pastoring their own tribes, peoples, and nations. 

Resources mentioned:
WhatsApp group – App they are sharing prayer requests and needs on. Should be available on Android and iPhone.



E05 – Heathen Golf Pro to Discipler of All Nations (part 1)

He was a heathen golf pro living his own life when God began his journey to faith through a pretty girl.  Listen to the story of how God led and guided him through different men investing in his life until ultimately he began to disciple others.  Then as he grew God expanded his call, or focused his call, to discipling all nations.

As you listen, pay attention to how many people God used to influence him.  Also, note how God prepared a small group (almost like a family) for he and his friends to grow and be nurtured in.

E04 – Finding people to disciple

How do you find people to disciple?  Have you ever looked around and thought, “I’d like to disciple someone, but I don’t know who and I don’t know if they would want me to disciple them.”

How did Jesus find His disciples?  Ok, we aren’t Jesus, but what can we learn from Him and the way He found people?  The answer is a lot.  Tune in now.

E03 – 80% of discipleship is Love -Dan Pearce

“80% of discipleship is love. ” -Dan Pearce

Have you ever wondered how to get you and your church to begin making disciples better?  Dan talks about some of the challenges and misconceptions about disciple making from his 30+ years of ministry. He shares his views on disciple making and some of the ways he intentionally invests in people. Learn some practical ways to start growing as a disciple maker today.

E02 – Sometimes you have to experience it

Have you ever tried to explain something to someone only to shake your head and say, “I guess you had to be there?”  Disciple making can be like that sometimes. With all the baggage that comes with the words “discipleship” or “disciple making” often people do not really know what you are talking about.  It’s hard to know what it is unless you’ve experienced it. In this episode Dave and James look back on their experiences (good and bad, or maybe better and best) both in receiving discipleship from someone and also in their attempts to begin discipling someone else.  Listen in and see how it compares to your experiences.

E01 – Our Stories – The Deep Water Podcast

We (Dave and James) share the journey God took, or is taking us on, to understand more of what Jesus meant when He said, “make disciples of all nations.”

We will share ups and downs along the way. We hope that as we share our stories of how God is leading us into better disciple making it will help you in your own story of how you learned to make disciples the way Jesus did (does).

Each episode will have an element of learning to be a better disciple ourselves and then learning how to make disciples better.  Hop in and come along with us on the ride.

New Podcast coming soon!

I’m really excited to tell you all that we will be launching our new podcast in the next few days.  Its going to be called the Deep Water Podcast – Learning to make disciples the way Jesus did.  Read Luke 5 again.  Jesus tells Peter to put his boat out into Deep Water.  That is where we want to be.  Out in Deep Water… with Jesus in the boat.

Dave and I have literally been working on putting together this podcast since Jan or Feb.  Besides the basics of figuring out what we are going to talk about… we have been learning:
about mics
about how to edit the audio after we record it
music rights
photo editing
podcast hosting
website integration
and much much more…

I’ll be honest, it has taken more work to get it up and going than I would have thought possible. However, we have several episodes recorded  and we’ve already interviewed several great guests. We are excited to share them with you. 

You may see the first few episodes on our website before you can get them on iTunes or your podcast player, but once you see them here they should be up and running everywhere in just a few days.   

We are super excited about it.  We hope you’ll subscribe and listen.

Also, we’d love to get your feedback as we go along.  If its just Dave and I using our minds then we might as well call each other on the phone because it won’t be a good podcast. However, if we get a group of people who love Jesus and want to make disciples better who give us feedback and suggestions then we can make something really useful for a lot of people.

Come along with us!

How bad was Billy Graham’s batting average?

Today, I want to talk about Billy Graham. I specifically want to talk about Billy Graham’s batting average. (Some of you are thinking, “I didn’t know he played baseball.” Stay tuned.)

Billy Graham passed away last week, and he was a great man. He was respected everywhere and by practically everyone. There were a few people who had some pushback, of course, and there was some push back for their push back as well. But, in general he was very well respected.  People that were not even believers in Jesus still respected him. Politicians respected him, even on both sides of the aisle. It did not matter if they were a Democrat or a Republican, every president from Truman to Obama met with Mr. Graham as a counselor and spiritual advisor.

The day Billy Graham passed away my wife and I did some reading about him. One of the things that really struck me first was that he had preached the gospel in person to at least 100 million people, with other estimate being as high as 215 million. In the course of his life he led 3 million people to the Lord Jesus. Imagine, 3 million people that said, “Yes, I want to be a follower of Jesus.”

That is amazing!

So, he shared the gospel with more people than any other person in the history of the entire world. That is pretty awesome, you have to give him that.  However, when I looked at that number I thought, “Wow! He led 3 million people to the Lord. I cannot think of anyone who has led more than 3 million people to faith in the Lord (or who’s been the instrument which God used to lead them to faith.”) So, he not only shared the gospel with more people, but he also led more people to salvation.

However, when I thought about it, something strange hit me.  I had to back up a minute and rethink. He shared with 100 million people, and he lead 3 million people to the Lord. So, he only led 3% of the people he shared with to salvation.  Only 3% of the people that heard him were actually coming and making a decision to follow Jesus.  

It made me wonder if I went and knocked on a hundred doors could I lead 3 to the Lord? Maybe.  Maybe not.  However, if I kept knocking until I had a hundred people who were willing to listen to me and have a dialogue with me would three say yes? I don’t know, but I think it would be reasonable.  

With that in mind, when we look at Billy Graham’s batting average it is actually pretty bad. For every thousand people he spoke to only 30 would believe.  That would make his batting average only .030. Now to give you a context for that number, the average for the Major Leagues in 2016 was .255. So, Billy Graham’s batting average would be so low he would not even make the minor leagues, much less the Majors. He would not make any baseball team because that percentage is really really low.

As I pondered this, a couple of things hit me in terms of my own walk and my own faith. One is I need to be sharing the gospel more. If the legendary Billy Graham had this tremendous legacy and yet only 3% of the people that he shared the gospel with actually believed, then the logical conclusion is I just need to share more.

Let’s think about that for a minute. Only 3%.

When I looked back at Billy Graham’s legacy, I think his real legacy was not that he was this amazing preacher of the gospel. (And I’m not saying he was not a great preacher). I think his real legacy was that he had at least hundred million people who were willing to sit down and listen to him talk about Jesus. There were one hundred million people who wanted to listen to what he said about this man called Jesus. There were one hundred million people who were willing to give him their time to listen.  Many of them traveling somewhere to hear him or setting aside time to listen to the gospel as proclaimed by him. That is tremendous!

I mentioned earlier about knocking on doors to share the gospel and we could do that.  However, I do not feel like in the context of American culture that is the best plan. I think there might have been a time when that worked well, but I do not feel like in today’s culture that would be the most effective way. If the Lord leads you to do it then that is great, and I won’t have any objection to it.  However, for myself I do not feel like that is what the Lord is leading me to.  The big question is, “How can I engage with people who are thinking about spiritual things? How can I be in more conversations about the gospel?

I want to refer to one of my favorite books, Contagious Disciple Making. One of the things the Watsons say is we need to live an openly spiritual life. People need to know we are spiritual.  They need to know we are followers of Jesus. They also say we have to develop relationships with nonbelievers. As we develop relationships and lead an openly Christian and openly spiritual life in front of non-believers we open ourselves up to opportunities to have conversations about spiritual matter. We are looking to move conversations from casual, to meaningful conversations, and finally to spiritual conversations. Somewhere in the spiritual conversations we can give people the opportunity to engage further with Jesus and His story. At Contagious Disciple Making they use a discovery bible study (which I really like), or we could also share the gospel at that point depending on a number of factors. If I presented the gospel to more people I think I would have more people believe. In reflecting of my own life, I think that is something I need to do more.

Another question I considered with Billy Graham’s life was why he was so much more effective than others. There were and are other people sharing the gospel. There were other people who would like to have the ministry Billy Graham had, and yet they did not have it. If we go back to some of his colleagues and some of the people who worked in the same time frame we still do not see people who had the same fruit from their work. Some of them had moral failures or other issues of integrity, but surely there were some sound men of God, as well.  Why Billy? 

Clearly, he was a man of integrity.  But, what was it about his preaching and why was it that people would come and respond to him? (I probably need to read some biographies about him and see what I can find out about that. If you have read a good biography leave it in the comments.)

In spite of the fact that he had this amazing ministry he was still only able to lead 3 million people to Lord. (ONLY 3 million, right?) Yet, during that time frame (since about the 50s) many millions of people have come to the faith in the Lord. In fact, in certain people groups in the world with almost no Christian witness available in 1950 the Lord brought millions of people to faith in him.  I think of the Chinese. Depending on the statistic used, there have probably been 40 million to one hundred million people come to the Lord in the same time frame that Mr. Graham ministered.

So, he had this huge ministry, and so many times we want to say, “Oh, if I could only be like Billy Graham. If I could only have the ministry that he had it would be so awesome and everything would be good.” 

However, there is a theory called the Long Tail that we should also consider. The Theory of the Long Tail is that our economy is shifting to where instead of just huge sellers or products at the head, there is now room for lots of sellers or products in the tail. These products are niche products that would have been impractical 30 years ago, when basically all the products had to sit on a retail shelf somewhere. The insight of the Long Tail is there are actually more products sold and dollars made in the long tail then there are by the high performers. (That’s my amateur description of it. You can read more about it here.) 

If we think about it with the Billy Graham example, on the left side of the graph there are these super high performers. At the top left you have 3 million people saved and Billy Graham is listed there. Then it goes down and there are some other really effective people. Finally, you have this long tail that goes out to the right and just goes on forever. It represents the people that lead 4, 3, or 2 people to Lord. Just as in the theory of the Long Tail, there are actually more people that are led to the Lord in the long tail than from the super high performers. The super high performers like Billy Graham have a lot of “face” and recognition, and everyone knows them. However, without the long tail the body of Christ would be much smaller today than it is. 

I am not writing this to take anything away from Bill Graham.  I would be lying if I said there are not times where I would love to have a ministry like his.  I would love to have such huge fruit. I would also be lying if I said there were not times I would like to have the name and the fame of Billy Graham. I would like people to talk about James and what a great ministry he has. If we are honest with ourselves many of us would say we would like to have a ministry like Billy Graham’s. However, the key is we cannot do everything needed in the body of Christ as “Billy Grahams”. Billy Graham and his ministry could not fulfill everything that God commanded the body of Christ to be and do. God designed the body in a way that it requires the entire body to be participating in order to fulfill the Great Commission and function as Christ’s body.  The body of Christ needs more than just Billy Graham… it needs the long tail of faithful followers.

After thinking about the Long Tail, the clear answer is I need to do more than just share the good news with more people.  I also need to encourage more people (I could even use the word to disciple more people), to share their faith with those around them, in their workplace, and in all parts of their life.  I need to encourage more people to be an active part of the Long Tail. If the average believer led a couple of other people (not counting their children) to the Lord in their lifetime and help train them to follow, we would have a huge enormous growth of the church.

Part of our problem in the American church is a we do not have enough people sharing their faith or really discipling other people to do the same. Instead we defer to the Billy Grahams. We defer to our pastors instead of being obedient to Christ. The bible says, “always be prepared to give an answer for the hope that you have…”  and that is what we need to do.

So, in my life I need to share the gospel more. I’m not sharing nearly as much as I should. In terms of batting average, I’m not getting up to the plate often enough. I need to do what I can to find people who are more receptive and willing to listen to the gospel or to have a spiritual conversation. Could I bat .030?  I think so.  I think it is possible.  The bigger question is how can I get more times at bat?

I’m grateful for the legacy Mr. Graham left behind him.  He was a great man of God, and God used him greatly. He ran a great race. But remember…. he only batted .030.

What could you bat if you were at the plate more often? Is your problem too low of a batting average, or is it not being at the plate often enough?  Let me know in the comments below.

The time is now for us to make sure we are not sitting on the sidelines when we should be up at the plate swinging away.

God bless Billy Graham, God bless his family, and God bless you. Catch you next time.

Is there evidence of God working in your ministry?

I was reading Galations 2 a few days ago when verses 7 & 8 really stood out to me.  In the old NIV it says,

“On the contrary, they saw that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as Peter had been to the Jews. 8 For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles.”

From what Paul writes, it was clear to the pillars (Peter, John, James) that God was at work in Paul’s ministry.  There wasn’t any debate about whether God was working there or not.  The evidence was clear. Even though he was going to a group of people the Jews had historically considered off limits, and perhaps, even immune from the gracious touches of God, the pillars clearly saw God’s hand at work.

What kind of evidence was there? Gentiles were coming to faith, people were being healed, God’s Spirit was coming upon them, churches were forming. The young churches were enduring opposition and yet still filled with love and joy.  Paul was also encountering large amounts of opposition, and yet God was still clearly moving His message of Jesus’ love and redemption forward.

As I read that, I thought to myself, “Is there clear evidence of God being at work in my ministry?”

I’m not always sure that would be the case.  There are certainly times where I can see God’s hand working, and I do not think my ministry is without results or effect… yet, I’m not sure the pillars of our faith today would look at my ministry and say they could clearly see God at work there.

The pillars can see I have endured some suffering in my following of Jesus.  They can see I work hard at what I do.  They can see I am intelligent and use what I have for the Lord.  They can see I have been completely committed to the work. However, the question remains, is there clear evidence of God being at work in my ministry?

I cannot point to the fruit that Paul pointed to, nor can I point to the kind of opposition he encountered, perhaps thankfully. I cannot point to the number of lost believing, or to the establishing of churches like what happened in the places Paul was.

Is there clear evidence of God being at work in my ministry?  I would love to say yes to this.  I hope in the future I will be able to.

The question I am asking myself is, “What would need to change in my life or my ministry for that clear evidence of God’s work to be present?”

What about you?  Is their clear evidence that God is working in your ministry? What would need to change in your life or ministry for that clear evidence of God’s work to be present?

Leave your answers in the comments.


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