Meet my crazy friend, Steve Waggoner. He’s the pastor of Crosswalk Fellowship in Delavan, IL. (Okay, we both might be crazy. Keep reading. You’ll see why.)
I knew Pastor Steve lived and multiplied a Jesus-like disciplemaking way of life long before I actually met him. Why? Because I kept meeting people he’s discipled. So I knew it was a matter of God’s timing before our paths would cross.
Eventually, he showed up at one of Cadre’s disciplemaking training experiences (see above). Some time later, Pastor Steve and I connected over coffee. [It’s no accident that Bill’s personal blog is called cupojoewithbill.]
Then Pastor Steve asked if he could take the disciplemaking training he received from Cadre and pass it on others. I smiled and said, “No way. We can’t have people like you running amuck making disciples who make disciples” who make more disciples.” But I think he knew I was joking.
Pastor Steve asked if we could start with the various leaders of the church. So, we did the same Cadre disciplemaking training experience with the ministry leaders of the church.
After training the leaders of the church, Pastor Steve jumped off a cliff.
He did something I’ve never seen a pastor do. He took his entire church through the exact same disciplemaking training experience for the next three months DURING the Sunday morning services. You might want to re-read that previous sentence again. Pastor Steve didn’t do the disciplemaking training experience in Sunday school. He slow-dripped the biblical disciplemaking values of the training for three months as the Sunday morning worship/teaching time with the whole church. Instead of only preaching about disciplemaking, Pastor Steve gathered people around tables and trained and equipped them. For three months as the Sunday morning worship service.
And here’s the really amazing part: He kept his job as pastor (so far). And by the way, he stationed each of the leaders who were previously trained at different tables so they could facilitate the training and wrestling of Scripture for application with the rest of the church. The way they received disciplemaking is the way they gave it to others.
E-mail is truly an amazing and funny thing. For example, somehow I “accidentally” received this e-mail memo from . . . HELL! It is from a high-ranking general in Satan’s evil army—a demonic warrior named Ichabod—and is written to the demons who have been strategically assigned to Christian students like YOU! I’m not sure how this message ended up on my computer—except for the fact that maybe one of God’s angels intercepted it and somehow sent it my way so I could share it with you in this Bible study booklet! I wouldn’t be surprised if I start getting these e-mail memos on a regular basis! If I do, you can count on the fact that I will inform you of the enemy’s tactics—so that you will not be ignorant of his plans to make you spiritually ineffective (II Corinthians 11:3). When you are finished reading, please share it with EVERY student and disciplemaker you know—so they, too, will be on guard against the attacks of the evil one (Ephesians 6:10).
Your partner in Christ for your generation, Bill Allison
Apathy: Try to Put Their Spiritual Fire Out Slowly!
To: All of my young demons of destruction!
From: Ichabod Ebenezer Beelzebub, General of Sector 666
RE: Our Greatest Threat: Christian Students
As your superior in evil, I must confess that nothing makes me tremble more than THOUSANDS of students praying! I HATE THAT! The thought of the damage done to our side as a result of this makes my scales crawl! It may be months before we recover the lost ground— but recover the lost ground we must!
So, instead of direct attacks on the Enemy from the outside (which has only hurt us and rallied them), I think it is time for a not-so-new, sneakier strategy. I propose a return to the strategy of making student ministries crumble from the inside out! Since each of you has been assigned to tempt, discourage, and frustrate Christian students in youth groups all over the world, I want to encourage you to influence them to do various “innocent” acts of destruction—with the hope that we can actually get Christian students to hurt the work of God for us! For the next several months, I will guide you with specific pieces of advice about how to help Christian students ruin their lives and youth groups.
Lesson #1: Apathy is a Demon’s Best Friend!
One of the most important and effective weapons we have in the battle with Christian students—especially those Christian students who have grown up in Christian homes—is apathy. That is, some Christian students don’t REALLY care about God or building His kingdom! As a lord of Satan himself, I rejoice in EVERY Christian student who is lukewarm! Anything that makes the Enemy vomit must be good for our side (see Revelation 3:16)! However, a growing number of Christian students are becoming radicals! They love God and are actively working to tell other students about God’s love. THIS MUST BE STOPPED! Somehow, we must work to take the edge off these radicals and lead them down the slippery slope of apathy!
This is why the Enemy has so many of His volunteer and full-time workers in what He calls “youth ministry.” He knows youth ministry is the most strategic mission field in America! This 85 percent is a frightening statistic indeed—and frankly, this is something the big boys in Hell have been working on for years—but with very little success! Furthermore, around 44 percent of all people who trust Christ as their Savior do so because of the witness of a close friend or relative! So, if Christian students ever get serious about impacting their non-Christian friends for Christ—we are most certainly doomed! Why? Because non-Christian students are receptive to the gospel—especially when it is presented by a trusted Christian friend! YIKES! This should have you more than a little concerned! At ALL costs, don’t let students catch a vision for reaching other students!
Apathy Generator: Busyness!
How can you stop the radical Christ-following students? Let me offer the following apathy-tactics that we are currently using with some success. Once students reach the junior high/middle school years, encourage them to get overly BUSY doing things that are good—but not necessarily what is BEST! The goal here is to get them busy doing anything except that which is eternally important! You know the old saying, “If the Devil can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy!” Remember: we work for the Devil—so let’s bury those students in busyness. (It’s working quite well with adults these days!) Get younger students focused on themselves, being popular and cool, and involved in the zillions of good activities that demand all of their time and attention. Good is the worst enemy of best—and if students get so caught up in good things—they will never have time to do that which is eternally best! For older students, focus their attention solely on buying cars, working at McDonalds, and making money for college—all “good” things that can be used to choke their spiritual fruitfulness (see Mark 4:19). Help Christian high school students forget the fact that they only have so many years to be in a youth ministry—lest they make the most of those years!
Note: Getting older students over-involved in work is only effective if they work on Wednesday nights and/or Sundays so they will have to miss Bible studies and youth group meetings! BIG CAUTION: IF students prioritize their involvement in youth ministry activities, the whole busyness approach could backfire on us! Think about it. Students stay connected to a strong, healthy youth ministry—never missing a Bible study. Then they start telling other students they know from all the activities they are involved in outside of the youth ministry about their “AWESOME” youth group. This makes me sick to think of the damage that could be done! So if you choose to lure Christian students into the busyness trap, make sure they get so busy that they cut themselves off from their church’s youth ministry!
When All Else Fails: Romantic Diversions
If busyness doesn’t make Christian students apathetic about God and their church youth ministries, pull out the big guns and hit them where it really hurts— romantic relationships! When trying to pull radical Christian students out of the life of a vibrant youth ministry, I have found only a few tactics more successful than sending non-Christian girlfriends or boyfriends into their lives! Get a spiritual dynamo guy interested in an open-minded non-Christian knockout of a babe! How many Christian guys can resist this? HA! I love this job! Get that missionary wanna-be of a young woman to date the beer-drinking star of the football team—even just one time! Sometimes it only takes one date—and you’ve got them! HA! I REALLY love this job! Pull them from the fire of other Christians SLOWLY so they cool off just a little bit. Don’t try to take them from hot to cold in one day! Just try to SLOWLY cool them down degree by degree and before they know it—they are spiritual popsicles! This starts by taking them out of the influence of youth ministry—and away from adult youth workers and other radical Christ-following students who really love them. Before long, they stop reading the Bible, praying, and sharing their faith. From there, it is a fast moving ski-ride down to spiritual Iceland.
I have so much more to teach you, my little demons of SLOW destruction, but these suggestions will get you started in the art of creating apathy in Christian students! Slowly and steadily take the spiritual fire of Christian students down—one little degree at a time. Remember: spiritual destruction via apathy is a slow steady leak—not a one time blow out!
Don’t Just Sit There—Do Something About It!
It is my hope that the articles in these lessons stimulate you to serious thinking and action! The best way to use this booklet is in a group discussion situation. So each chapter will be accompanied by thought provoking Bible study questions you can use for self or group studies.
1. It is important to note that we can’t blame the Devil for the bad choices we make! Think about someone you know who was once a radical Christ-follower but is now apathetic about spiritual things. Perhaps this person is YOU! What are some choices that Christian students make that SLOWLY take away their passion for Christ? How does the slippery slope away from Jesus get started?
2. What can Christian students do to keep their passion for Christ stoked hot and burning bright? Be specific.
3. What do the following verses teach us about how our enemy will try to keep us from living passionately for Jesus?
II Corinthians 11:3 Ephesians 6:10-18
4. What do the above verses teach us about how to fight our enemy?
5. Why might Christian students be more of a threat to Satan’s kingdom?
6. “If the Devil can’t make you bad, he’ll try to make you busy.” Is this statement in any way true in your life? Be specific.
7. In YOUR life, how might GOOD be the worst enemy of BEST?
8. Read Mark 4:1-20. What is choking your spiritual fruitfulness?
9. What “big guns” does the enemy tempt you with? What temptations do you struggle with the most? What is the area of your greatest weakness? Who can you talk to about this?
10. If you were the enemy, how would you plan to attack YOU?
If you’re wanting to prevail against apathy we invite you to enjoy the dramatic audio and share this experience with friends, family time or in your small groups.
In an amazing experiment, scientists set out to test an animal’s survival instincts. The scientists dropped a rat into a large jar of water that had been placed in complete darkness. They wanted to see how long the animal would continue to swim before it finally gave up and allowed itself to drown. What did they find? That the rat usually lasted little more than three minutes in complete darkness.
Then the scientists dropped another rat into the same kind of water-filled jar. But instead of putting it in total darkness, they allowed one tiny ray of light to shine onto the jar. Under those conditions, the rat kept swimming for 36 hours! That’s over 700 times longer! It seems that because the animal had a ray of hope, it continued to swim!
A ray of light
God wants YOU to be that ray of hope and light to the people “swimming” in your sphere of influence. That includes the people in your everyday life: at work, home, school, church and your neighborhood.
This is your guide for a journey through 25 life-changing “one another” verses from the Bible (i.e. love one another, pray for one another, bear one another’s burdens). It’s a pocket-sized booklet of biblical challenges that help you and your friends inflow the love of God into your lives—and then helps you overflow God’s love into your everyday relationships in practical ways.
Each “one another” study challenges you to express God’s love to others in a practical way. This guide is perfect for families, small groups, discipleship groups, Sunday school classes, elder’s meetings, staff meetings, disciplemaking learning communities, mission trip teams, and even your marriage.
What might God be able to do in your daily relationships if you dared to be a ray of light to the people around you? I dare you to find out.
When I was about 20-years-old and in Bible college, I took a rare weekend to head home to visit family and friends. Most weekends for me at this time were given over to my job. I paid my own way through Bible college by working every hour I could. And when I wasn’t working, I was studying. Unlike my high school years, I was determined to put forth my best academic effort.
Being home that weekend with my mom and my friends from church was a joy and a much-needed encouragement to my soul.
On Sunday at church, as the offering plate was being passed around the congregation, I got a clear prompting from God to give. As a poor college kid, I often let myself off the hook on giving. But this time—in response to the nudging—I looked into my wallet.
I saw one very lonely $5 bill.
And I was well aware of the fact that I needed that $5 for gas to get back to school.
What to do?
As the offering plate made its way around the congregation toward me, my struggle intensified. I tried to logic my way out of God’s nudging. (You ever do that?) And just when I assured myself that God would want me to keep that $5—the offering plate passed by and I did something crazy: I tossed that $5 into the plate.
I was filled with exhilaration… and fear.
Sure, I did what I sensed God wanted me to do. But now I had another problem. And that was all I could actually think about during the rest of the church service.
When the church serviced ended, I was approached by a gentle giant of a man with short pure white hair and a warm smile on his bright yet wrinkled face. It was my friend, Alfred Huggins. He put out his hand to shake mine. When I shook his hand, he stealthily put something into my hand without anyone else noticing. Al winked at me.
I looked down into my hand, and there was a $5 bill.
This true story is a perfect picture of what our lives have been like for the last 15 years as disciplemaking missionaries with Cadre.
This September 2017 marks the 15th birthday/anniversary of Cadre Missionaries!
For 15 years, God and YOU have made it possible for us, as Cadre missionaries, to multiply Jesus-like disciplemaking here and around the world.
From our hearts to yours, thank you!
If you love Cadre missionaries and our disciplemaking mission, we invite you to be God’s wind in our sails.
In honor of our 15th birthday, would you please prayerfully consider donating a special gift of $15?
Those of you who know us know that we don’t often ask for financial support like this. However, on our 15th anniversary as a ministry, we need your $ help, so we’re asking God’s people—like you—to join us in this disciplemaking adventure. Each gift is a huge encouragement, much needed, and greatly appreciated. Because Cadre seeks to make disciplemakers, only Heaven will reveal the full impact of your partnership.
BONUS: The first 100 people to give $15 (or more) will receive a special edition Cadre Missionaries Prayer Coaster (see picture). Plus the first $1500 given will be matched, so with your generosity you can help us turn the first $1500 into $3000.
Challenge: We’d love to see 500 of our closest friends respond with a special gift. That would bless Cadre with $9,000 much-needed dollars ($7,500 plus $1,500 matching gift).
If you’ve never financially supported Cadre Missionaries before, this would be a great first step. If you’re already a $ partner with God and Cadre, then please prayerfully consider generously giving an additional $15 this month.
In a ministry like ours, every dollar makes a huge difference. Each gift—no matter the size—is a huge encouragement, much needed, and greatly appreciated.
Because Cadre seeks to make disciplemakers, only Heaven will reveal the full impact of your partnership.
We are your Cadre missionaries. Thank you for celebrating 15 years of Jesus-like disciplemaking with us and to God be the glory!
At the tail end of his earthly ministry, the resurrected Jesus appeared to his eleven disciples and commanded them to make disciples:
18Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.19Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.20Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
You’ve heard it a thousand times. Perhaps you didn’t even bother to pause long enough to read the passage because you recognized it as “the Great Commission” passage.
Been there. Done that. Right?
But I dare you to stop and ponder it for one more moment. Consider this question:
How would Jesus’ eleven disciples have understood Jesus’ command to “make disciples”?
If you’ll graciously allow me more than a little poetic license here, I’d like to take a shot at answering that question. When Jesus commanded his original eleven disciples to “make disciples,” I suggest that they would have heard something like this:
“Guys, you know what I’ve done with you for the last three-and-a-half years? Repeat that in the exact same way over and over again. Starting right now as you go about your lives, do exactly what I did with you…with others…and help them do it with others without ever stopping. When you tell others about me, some will believe and follow me. Baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Be sure to pull them close—like I did with you—and show them how to love God, love people, and make disciples… until every ethnic group in the world has disciples who are making more disciples. As you live my disciplemaking way of life, you can have full assurance of my presence, power, and provision—because I am always with you.”
The birth of a Jesus-like disciplemaking movement
So how did the eleven disciples respond to Jesus’ command to make disciples? Did they understand? Better yet, did they obey?
The Bible is clear. Together, as they went, they sought to live and replicate Jesus’ pattern for disciplemaking…in the exact same way as Jesus…over and over. And a Jesus-like disciplemaking movement was born. About twenty-five years later, the Apostle Paul (not one of the original eleven disciples) wrote about his Jesus-like disciplemaking way of life this way:
“Therefore I urge you to imitate me. For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.”1 Corinthians 4:16-17
Jesus, the Twelve, Paul and every church
It started with Jesus, who showed his closest friends—the original eleven disciples (and many other disciples)—how to make disciplemakers. In the pattern of Jesus, these original disciples made more disciples of Jesus. Later, this Jesus-like disciplemaking way of life transformed Paul. It was precisely because Paul was imitating Jesus’ disciplemaking way of life that he could say to others, “I urge you to imitate me” (see also 1 Cor. 11:1).
Paul passed this Jesus-like disciplemaking way of life on to many others including Timothy, the church at Corinth, and “everywhere in every church” (italics mine). These cadres of Jesus-like disciplemakers were the very first Disciplemaking Learning Communities—the disciplemaking genius of Jesus at work.