Are you a victim of identity theft?

A well-dressed businessman was standing in line at the airport check-in counter. He, along with the others in line ahead of him, became quite concerned as they watched the door to the jetway close. When he realized what was happening and that the gate agent was going to have to rebook some of the people on a different flight, the businessman jumped out of line to take matters into his own hands. “Excuse me, Miss, but I need to get on this flight!” he said with more than a little urgency.

The woman replied, “Yes, sir, so do the rest of these people who are in line in front of you. Now kindly take your place back in line and we’ll help you when it’s your turn.”

Well, he didn’t like this at all, so he thought being a little more forceful might help his cause. He said, “You see, if I don’t get on that flight, I’m going to miss my meeting. And if I miss my meeting, I’m going to be very angry with you.”

The agent calmly replied, “Sir, we’ll help you when it’s your turn.”

The man, a prominent, wealthy and well-known businessman, had enough. He glared at the woman and growled, “Do you know who I am?!?”

Also having had enough, the agent picked up the microphone and announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention please. This gentleman at the desk does not seem to know who he is. If anyone can identify him, we would all greatly appreciate your assistance.”

Mr. Highfalutin Businessman huffed and puffed his way to his place in the back of the line.

Do you know who you really are?

I constantly see evidence that the average Christian is a victim of spiritual identity theft. That is, the average Christian has no biblical and meaningful understanding of who they really are in Christ. As Cadre missionaries, we’re out much of the year training volunteers to love and serve God effectively. (It’s our Ephesians 4:11-12 obsession.) During our training, we’ll often ask a room full of volunteers, “How many of you are full-time ministers?” Usually one or two volunteers raise their hands. Think about it. The overwhelming majority of volunteers have embraced a very unbiblical view of themselves, and honestly see themselves as “just volunteers.”

Let me clarify: I understand that most of us will never make our living as full-time ministers, but don’t miss my point: According to the Bible, if you’re a Christian, you really are a full-time minister, regardless of where you work or what you do for a living.

This “full-time-minister” identity is true for ALL followers of Jesus Christ: stay-at-home moms, students, factory laborers, entrepreneurs, educators, administrators, CEOs, sanitation workers, retirees, etc. Yes, I’m talking to YOU. If you know Jesus Christ as your Savior, YOU are a full-time minister.

I know what you’re thinking. When you hear someone say that a “regular” person like you is a full-time minister, you immediately start listing all the objections why that can’t possibly be true. That’s precisely why I want to take the ax of God’s Word and chop as hard as I can at the most common objections that keep volunteers like you from stepping into their biblical identity as full-time ministers. After all, the Christian life is the process of becoming who God says we are already.

How to choose your next best curriculum

People often ask me for curriculum recommendations. Since Cadre writes, publishes and offers a lot of training, people sometimes think we do curriculum.

But…we don’t.

I get why people ask. Choosing what to teach is a pressing, felt need many of us have as we plan to teach week-to-week…to week…to week.

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Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-curriculum. But Cadre doesn’t write it because we believe disciplemaking is a way of life, and that’s our focus—helping you, as our in-real-life friends, follow Jesus with the people in your life, living sent to make disciples who make disciples. Disciplemaking isn’t meant to be a topic for us to teach for 8 weeks every other year as part of our Christian education rotation.

But wait, don’t close out the window yet!

We can still help.

The truth is, there are many great kinds of studies and resources you can use to cultivate disciplemaking values in your ministy. This is the best one. And I’ll share a few more at the bottom.

But let’s back up for a minute.

While I can share a few resources with you, I’d much rather equip you to choose your own curriculum well. In fact, this won’t be my only post on the topic. But today, I simply want to challenge you to think about the big picture.

Instead of picking a curriculum based on how well it’s designed, how easy it is to teach without much prep, or how many of your friends use it…stop and ask:

  • What does a disciple who makes disciples look like?
  • What head, hands and heart understanding do we want to help develop in people as we seek to make disciples?
  • What are our goals as we aim to make disciples who make disciples?

There are plenty of good studies out there. But unless you have clearly defined goals, you’re probably going to fumble around looking for “the next best thing” to teach every 3-6 months.

Here are some sample “exit goals” to show you what I mean.

By the time children finish Kindergarten, they should…

  • Know the Bible is God’s Word
  • Be able to pray a simple prayer

By the time kids finish 5th grade, they should…

  • Know God helps us overcome our fears
  • Be able to name the books of the Bible in order

By the time students finish high school, they should…

  • Understand God’s design for us to live in biblical community with one another
  • Be able to choose personal priorities based on their relationship with Jesus.

Once adults have experienced this class or group, they should…

  • Know how to lead someone to Christ
  • Be able to live out the one another verses with family and friends

Note that these are just EXAMPLES—they’re NOT mean to be exhaustive. You can view a more extensive list of goals and find practical help as you teach for disciplemaking in Cadre’s Teaching Genius of Jesus.

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If the ministry you’re a part of isn’t ready to come up with goals for all ages, spend some time prayerfully identifying a few simple goals for the group you’re teaching or leading.

Once you know what you’re aiming for, you can find studies that will help people grow as disciples in the areas you’ve identified.

But if you’re still looking for Cadre-style “curriculum,” start here…

  • You can break down our Equip middle school training into weekly bite sizes and plan a lesson around it. There are lots of ideas and creative ways to engage, but there’s no script. You’ll have to be willing to study and share the Scripture together with those you’re teaching.
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And finally, since I told you I would, here are a handful of additional resources I’ve found helpful in cultivating a disciplemaking way of life:

For kids:

Discover 4 Yourself Inductive Bible studies

The Jesus Storybook Bible (and curriculum)

252 Basics

For students:

Dare 2 Share’s Field Guide to Sharing Your Faith

Sticky Faith: 10 Lessons to Nurture Faith Beyond High School

For adults:

Let’s Read the Bible Together YouVersion plans

Prayer that Makes a Difference by Martin Sanders

A Righteous Brood by Hugh Halter

A missionary disguised as a handyman

I ran into him at an office supply store where I was buying a calendar for the new year.

As soon as I saw him, my heart lifted. I know him to be a friend and supporter of missionaries…including me. I also know him to be one of the best handymen in the business. He’s been to my house many times to make up for my domestic incompetence… and usually makes sure I don’t pay too much. I love this guy. I’ve broken bread with him in his home. He’s special to me.

“Hey man, it’s great to see you!” I said as I unashamedly hugged this bearded 50-something year-old man right in front of the store clerk. “What are you doing?”

“Getting my life for together for the new year,” he said, smiling holding up a calendar.

“Me too, though I’m not so confident about getting my life together anytime soon,” I said with a twinkle in my eye and a smile on my face… joking…but not really. “I just talked to Stacy about having you help me with my honey-do list for the year,” I said hopefully.

He said, “I’d be glad to help you with that list. But check this out. I’m not going to do the handyman thing much longer. I just don’t have enough time and energy to do all that needs to be done to do the business side of it by myself.”

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“So what are you going to do?” I asked, starting to feel slightly alarmed at the possibility of not having his help with my honey-do list.

“Well, you know I’m in a small group with [names a prominent and respected Christian man in the business]. He offered to hire me at a very wonderful salary… and I could do what I’m basically doing right now without all the headaches of the business side of things.”

I said, “Hey, that’s great. So that’s what you’re going to do then?

“Well, no. I prayed about it and I sensed God wanted me to join a couple of other guys. These two guys are real close to beginning a relationship with God… but they’re not quite there yet.”

I gently slapped him on the left arm and said, “Wow, I can’t think of a better guy to help them on their journey. Are you getting a similar deal with these guys?”

“Yes and no. Yes to doing what I do best without having the headaches of the business stuff. No to the really wonderful salary part.” Then he paused, looked me square in the eyes and said with humility and conviction, “I just think this is something God wants me to do…and we both know this whole journey isn’t about money.”

A man on a mission…a mission from God

Wow. Here I am in an office supple store, minding my own business, and God shows up. I knew the words were coming from my friend, but my spirit sensed I was hearing directly from the very heart of God (Luke 15). This guy is not just a highly skilled handyman who is at the beck and call of the highest bidder.

He’s a missionary disguised as a handyman.

Maybe you’re thinking, “That’s a nice story, Allison. But what does it have to do with me?”

Everything. But probably nothing. And that’s precisely the problem.

So much more than a handyman

Think about it. Are you living to just make a living…or are you living to make disciples? You were created for so much more than to just make a living (Eph. 2:10). You are so much more than what you do for a living. If you know Jesus Christ as your Savior, you are a man or woman on a mission…a mission given to you by God (Matt. 28:19). So I dare you to embrace your biblical identity as a missionary.

Here’s your first step! Fill in the blank:

“I’m a missionary disguised as a _________________________.”

If you really want to move from living to just make a living to living to make disciples, like my handyman/missionary friend in the story above…

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