12/32 Task Force: Understanding the Times, Reaching America with Truth

Any strategy that God blesses begins with Jesus, is all about Jesus and ends with Jesus.

One of the most powerful prayers in Scripture is recorded by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 3:14-21. I just have to post this prayer in its entirety. Yes, it is that good.

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen”

What a prayer!

There is a huge difference between believing in Jesus and Jesus living his life through us. Many Christians do good things in the name of Jesus, but if we are going to reach America with Truth, people must see Christ at work in Christians.

There is a huge difference between “having a daily, morning devotional time” and “being rooted and established in love” , having “power, together with all the saints”,  grasping ” how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ”, and  knowing his” love that surpasses knowledge.”

As the church, our goal is to “be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” so he can do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.”

Experiencing more than we can imagine can only happen “according to his power that is as work within us,” bringing glory to him in the church, throughout all generations, forever and ever!

Imagine being a part of a ministry that prepares Christians to be Jesus in the world, intentionally and strategically. Imagine God doing more through us than we can imagine!

This is the work of the 12/32 Task Force.

The first arena we need to address is prayer. Throughout history, all the great movements for God began with prayer — including the birth of the church in the book of Acts.

In Acts 1:14, the Scripture reads, “They all joined together constantly in prayer”.

I have always found it interesting that Jesus clearly told the disciples that they were to “go and make disciples of all nations”, (Matthew 28:19) but instructed them go back to the upper room and wait.  Why didn’t they divide the world into eleven slices and take off! Instead, they went back to the upper room and they prayed.

When God wants to do something greater than we can imagine, he does it through us. The key is that he does it and we are the instruments.

Let’s go back to the birth of the church.  All they did was pray and move as the Spirit enabled them.

Acts Chapter  two states that while they were together that, “Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.” What seemed like tongues of fire separated and rested on each of them.  They “were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”

Due to the festival of Pentecost, “…there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.”

The same sound of violent wind that was heard by those in the upper room was also heard by the crowd outside. It was God, through the sound of the wind that brought people together — not a door-to-door evangelism campaign.

When the crowd heard this sound, they “…came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language.”

It was then that Peter stood and addressed the crowd.

After Peter preached, some 3,000 people came to Christ and the church was born!

The significance of Pentecost is that God did it! All the people did was to follow the fire and the wind.

The formula for taking Christ to your community is no different than what was recorded in Acts chapter two. Here are the steps.

Step #1: Gather together for prayer, teaching, fellowship and such.

Step #2: Watch and wait for God to move.

Step #3: When God says move…MOVE!

Coming together in prayer is the first step in taking Christ to our communities and country. The question for us is — are we making plans to come together to pray?

Are we busily going about our business doing good things for God, or we waiting on him, watching what he is doing, in order that he may do great things — greater than we can imagine — through us!

When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going

When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going

I was born on July 3, 1959. At the time of this writing, I am 54 years old. Each day is becoming a little more precious to me. As I have pointed out in many past articles, America has come apart at her spiritual seam. I will admit, times are tough. I played varsity basketball in high school. One poster that was hung in our locker room read, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”.

Let’s not give up on the country we all love. The going in America right now is tough. It is time for tough to get going!

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a pastor in Germany during the reign of Adolf Hitler. Because he could not support the government takeover of the church, he became a part of what became known as the underground church.

Bonheoffer was eventually imprisoned and on April 9, 1945, he was executed.

The government takeover of the people of Germany, is similar to what we are facing today in America. Our government is slowly but surely encroaching on our freedoms — especially our religious freedoms. As I outlined in my recent series on “gay” marriage, biblical Christianity is under attack.

The only course of action for the Christians in early 20th century Germany was to retreat — to go underground. Hitler had become an immovable force. The Nazi party took over every aspect of German life, including the church.

This is not the case for Christians in America. To retreat now would be fatal for our country. On the contrary, for us, the answer is not retreat, but advance.

These are unprecedented times for the American Christian church. It is time for unprecedented action.

We need to become like the men of old, the men of Issachar. 1 Chronicles 12:32 reads, “Men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do — 200 chiefs, with all their relatives under their command.”

The enemies of Israel had overrun Jerusalem and all the tribes came together to take the city back for God. The leaders of “David’s Mighty Men” were the men of the tribe of Issachar. The Scripture tells us that these guys were uniquely qualified to lead due to three traits.

  1. They understood the times.
  2. They knew what Israel should do.
  3. They had their relatives under their command.

Verse 38 gives us even more insight into this godly band of warriors. “All these were fighting men who volunteered to serve in the ranks. They came to Hebron fully determined to make David king over all Israel. All the rest of the Israelites were also of one mind to make David king.”

This battle is only going to be won by people fully determined, with one mind, willing to risk all they have.

I want to suggest a two-fold strategy for taking our communities and our country back for Christ. We are implementing these strategies where we live, in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. If you live in the north Idaho area, I want to invite you to join us. A meeting date will be announced, soon.  If you are interested in including your community in this strategy alongside us, please join in.

Strategy Point #1: Very soon, we are going to begin a weekly worship and Bible study event in Coeur d’Alene called Kootenai CARES or Cultural Awareness Readiness Engagement Strategies. It will be a service for the entire family. We are not starting a “church”, we are gathering with a group of families who want to be the church.

Strategy Point #2: We are creating what we call a 12/32 Task Force, named for 1 Chronicles 12:32. This active group will lead smaller teams. The important areas of our community we need to impact in order to re-establish our American Christian values are as follows:

  1. Prayer
  2. Community Service
  3. Education
  4. Business
  5. Politics

In my next few posts, I will break down each strategy point.

God bless you and thank you for taking your time to read these articles. Email me sometime and let me know what you believe God is telling you.

~Pastor Gary

Homosexual Marriage, Epistemology & Righteousness…”What?!” Part Two

This blog series is a Christian response to “gay” marriage and the same-sex issues we are facing. I hope this isn’t only a one-way conversation. In a real sense, this issue needs to be a discussion, not a proclamation from me, or anyone else. On some level, all of us are dealing with this issue — nationally, locally or personally.  You may be dealing with this issue at home within your family. You, yourself, may be struggling with same-sex tendencies.

Also, I realize that many people passionately oppose a biblical worldview. Several of those opposed have made their way into our Reach America web orbit. For those of you who choose to disagree, I ask that you listen. You are welcome to respond in the blog section of our website.

Let’s talk ground rules: This discussion needs to take place in the context of the essence of God’s nature and his message to us all, as described in the Bible, God’s Word, not our personal experience or current perceived reality.

The essence of God’s nature and message

First — God is love and God loves all people — regardless of their personal issues. The most quoted verse in the Bible is John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Love so much exemplifies the awesome nature of God that the Apostle John wraps up the essence of God in three short words, “God is love”. (1 John 4:8b)

This amazing three-word declaration is written in the context of John’s admonition to those who claim to know God — “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love”.

Secondly — every person is a creation of God, made in his image. In Genesis 1:26-27, Moses writes, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

Thirdly — God’s will is that none perish, but all people come to salvation in Christ. The Apostle Peter is clear in 2 Peter 3:9 when he says, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” [Italics mine]

Let me make three more biblical points as we lay out the ground rules of our discussion.

Ground rule #1: This discussion will take place within the context of the Word of God. We will agree with the Apostle Paul and his position concerning God’s Word. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”. Also, we will agree with the writer of Hebrews, placing our lives under the authority of God’s Word for life guidance. Hebrews 4:12 states, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Ground Rule #2: Jesus, thus God’s Word, is truth. As we stated earlier, the Apostle John acknowledged that the essence of God’s nature is love. (1 John 4:8) If we are to be consistent in our biblical discussion, we must also believe the Apostle John’s description of the essence of the nature of Jesus Christ. John, who actually walked with Jesus for three years and was known as the “beloved” disciple, quotes Jesus. Jesus proclaimed, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” (John 14:6, Italics mine)

If we agree with John when he states that God is love, we must also agree with John that Jesus, thus God’s Word, is truth.

Ground Rule #3: We all must treat one another with the love of Christ, respecting one another. When we speak, we must do so full of grace and seasoned with salt, as Paul directs in Colossians 4:6. “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

I am looking forward to sharing with you as we begin this discussion.

FYI: unless you have been previously approved, your comment will be screened before it is posted.

God Bless!

Pastor Gary

In 10 Years America Can be a Different Place – Curious? Keep Reading

Our Lord, Jesus Christ, was the greatest leadership training strategist that ever lived.

Think about it. He took 12 regular guys and not only impacted the world for their time — but we are still experiencing the impact of His ministry 2,000 year later!

Get this — Jesus got His guys trained in just three years! Surely, through the power of His Spirit working through us, He can reach just one country in 10 years!

The key is to embrace Jesus’ methodology of world impact — and to do it, together.

As the church in America, we have taken the eternal message of Christ and His love and packaged it into a modern, western, “education” methodology. Folks, it simply isn’t working.

I believe American Christians have developed a mentality that — “if we studied it, we did it.” In our lives, we have reduced Jesus to a doctrinal statement. He is not living and working through us. (By the way, there is nothing wrong with doctrine — I hope you got my point.)

Belief statements, alone, don’t change the world, changed people change the world.

What would happen in America if our churches trained Christian parents and youth leaders how to train children and teens in the way Jesus trained His disciples? Do you believe that in 10 years this country would be different?

This is the purpose of our upcoming conference, April 25-26, in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. I would love to meet you.

Together, let’s learn how Christ changes lives and impacts societies. Together, let’s experience how, through the power of Christ’s Spirit, God can bring this once great nation back to Him. TOGETHER, we can reach America!

Click here for more info and registration.

~Pastor Gary

How the Left Discredits Authentic Americanism – Part 1

Yesterday — Thursday, January 23 — I spoke at a local political meeting, in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho. My topic was “Winning the Future.” I spoke of how past strategies to rally young people to traditional Americanism are not working, today. Actually, this was just part one of a two-part speech.

In part one, I shared my insights about the postmodern views of 21st century teens and young adults.

A reporter from our local newspaper, the CDA Press, was in attendance. To provide you with the proper context, I have included the manuscript of my speech and the link to story written by the reporter.

I do not have a lot to say about the article. For the most part, the reporter simply reported what I said. It is the comments at the end of the piece that I want to call to your attention. Be assured — I am not, in the least, offended by the comments. My purpose in responding to them in a blog post is to help us understand how those who do not love God and America are trying to discredit those of us who do. And, by the way, their strategies are working — at least, up to now, they are working.

To get the whole picture, you need to know what I said and what the reporter wrote. Today, I am providing my manuscript and the link to the article. In my next post, I will analyze the comments. I realize this is kind-a long for a blog, but here is the manuscript.

And — don’t forget — this is only part one of the speech.

The link to the Cd’A Press article HERE.

The manuscript:

Winning the Future – Winning the Next Generation

It was eight years ago that I sat down with Morton Blackwell, founder of the Leadership Institute, in Washington, DC, to discuss reaching the next generation of conservatives. He had called me in to ask me about how to reach the next generation. He really didn’t like what I told him. Morton insisted that we begin with college-aged youth. I have great respect for Morton. Let me tell you a little about Morton.

  • Morton was the youngest Barry Goldwater delegate.
  • In 1980 he organized and oversaw the national youth effort for Ronald Reagan.
  • He served as Special Assistant to the President on President Reagan’s White House Staff from 1981-1984.
  • At the time of our visit in 2006 he had been working to reach college students for conservative causes for 41 years.
  • From 1965-1980, Morton’s strategy was tried and proved to work.
  • His strategy was to knock on college dorm room doors and ask students if they were conservative. If they said they we not conservative, he would thank them for their time and move on. If the student said they were conservative, he would invite them to a training event; there, he would train them in this method.

I told Morton that day that I felt we needed to get even younger. We needed to reach middle and high school students. That we needed to build relationships with them when they are young, not to recruit them, but to listen to them and help them to realize their importance.

  • The concept I had was to build conservative communities across America.
  • He disagreed, saying that was a waste of time. We don’t have enough time for that!
  • Listen my friends, it is no coincidence that our sitting president is a “community organizer.”

It didn’t take long for me to realize that Morton really wasn’t interested in hearing what I had to say, he had heard that I was conducting youth leadership training events and wanted to recruit me to conduct his college training events.

We must reach young people, ages 10-19.

According to Forrester, a business technology and consumer strategist company, if a business is smart, they will start to gather data from middle and high school students, ages 12-17. Buying habits start young and those businesses who still want to be in the game 20 years from now better not ignore this important age group.

In a 2011 report, Forrester stated that only six percent of 12-17 year olds who use the web want to be friends with a brand on Facebook.

It would serve us well to understand the postmodern mind.

The following information is taken from my observations from working with teens for 37 years and a little help from some research by Purdue University.

  • Historians generally place the beginning of the postmodern era in America at 1945. The characteristics of this era are as follows.
  • There has been a breakdown of cultural forms. Everyone is coloring outside the lines.  Although the average teen is “retro” when it comes to fashion and style, they reject the grand narratives that have made America great. Youth reject that America was founded as a Christian nation, American exceptionalism, capitalism and free enterprise.
  • America is becoming an oral society. According to Purdue University, literacy rates had been rising steadily from the introduction of print through the modern period. Postmodern society has seen a drastic reversal in this trend as more and more people are now functionally illiterate, relying instead on an influx of oral media sources: tv, film, radio, etc…
  • This culture still very much relies on print to create media outlets; however, it is increasingly only a professional, well-educated class that has access to full print and computer literacy. An increasing percentage of the population merely ingests, orally, the media that is being produced.
  • Due to these factors, young people are visual and temporal. They have lost all connection to reality and history. This may help to explain why they are so fascinated with reality television. Pop culture keeps coming back to the idea that the line separating reality and representation has broken down. The movie, The Matrix, is a prime example of this.

Young people have a deep desire for individualism, yet they have a strange comfort level with collectivism and government. Capitalism and free enterprise is on the way out and the government as caretaker is in. Due to advancements in technology, especially surveillance technology, young people have the sense that they are always being watched. And who do they blame for this invasion of privacy? You guessed it, the government. I know, this is getting a bit convoluted, but hang in there with me.

Essentially, teens and young adults are looking to government to protect their individuality, and provide for their daily and life-long needs. They see capitalism as the embodiment of greed and they want nothing to do with it. Yes, Marxism is making a comeback.

Don’t get me wrong, they value individualism. It is the way it is being defined that is troubling. This generation wants the freedom to do whatever they want and to be whatever they want – individualism. They believe in a type of social justice where we all have the same things – collectivism.  Again, can you say “Marxism?”

In general, this generation is disoriented; there is no right and wrong. Truth is within you. Don’t judge me, and give me what I am entitled to have. Give me an education, health care, a job and a retirement plan. Take care of me and keep me happy from the cradle to grave.

Josh McDowell in his book, “The Disconnected Generation,” he created a list of terms and how they are defined by adults and by teens. Pay close attention to this list. “Folks, definitions of words are a-changin!”

Tolerance

Adult Understanding: Accepting others without agreeing with or sharing their beliefs or lifestyle choices.

Teen Understanding: Accepting that every individual’s beliefs, values, lifestyles and truth claims are equal.

Respect

Adult Understanding: Giving due consideration to others.

Teen Understanding: Wholeheartedly approving of other’s beliefs and lifestyle choices.

Acceptance

Adult Understanding: Embracing people for who they are, not necessarily for what they say and do.

Teen Understanding: Endorsing and even praising others for their beliefs and lifestyle choices.

Moral Judgments

Adult Understanding: Certain things are morally right and wrong, as determined by God.

Teen Understanding: We have no right to judge another person’s view or behavior.

Personal Preference

Adult Understanding: Preferences of color, food, clothing style, hobbies, etc. are personally determined.

Teen Understanding: Preferences of sexual behaviors, value systems and beliefs are personally determined.

Personal Rights

Adult Understanding: Everyone has the right to be treated justly under the law.

Teen Understanding: Everyone has the right to do what they believe is right for them.

Freedom

Adult Understanding: Being free to do what you ought to do.

Teen Understanding: Being free to do everything you want to do.

Truth

Adult Understanding: An absolute standard of right and wrong.

Teen Understanding: Whatever is right for you.

Thanks for hanging around long enough to read all this. My next blog is coming very soon.

God Bless!

~Pastor Gary

Defining Christian Leadership

In a word, leadership is influence. We all influence someone, therefore we are all leaders. The question to ask young and old alike is what kind of leader are you being?

Christian leadership is influencing people to come to Christ and to become positive Christian Leaders.

The key to Christian leadership development is helping teens learn who they are in Christ and how Christ lives His life through them to impact our world. A couple of our RA theme verses are Galatians 2:20 and Philippians 2:15-16. I will break down these, and other scriptures, in this series.

To facilitate the leadership process, at Reach America, we have developed five levels of Christian leadership.

We say that a Christian leader L.E.A.D.S.

Level One: Look and See. When people look at my life do they see that Jesus matters to me?

Level Two: Encourage and Serve. Who am I going to encourage and serve today?

Level Three: Adjust/Apprentice. When I sense that God is working in someone, am I willing to adjust my life?

Level Four: Develop Leaders. Are those I am leading, growing?

Level Five: Success. Are those I am leading, leading others?

Over the next several posts, I will take a closer look into each of these five levels.

Equipping Teen Leaders in This Postmodern Age

Step One: In my last post I suggested to create a C-4™ Community, a Christ-Centered, Counter-Culture.

Step Two: Parents and the church take control of education. (Sorry this is coming a little late. We are selling a house.)

When it comes to equipping teens to become effective leaders in this culture, one word comes to mind – education.

When turning postmodern Christian teens into multiplying disciples the only place you can begin is where they are. And where are our Christian youth? … in School.

As parents, and the church, we need to become involved in the education of our youth. Education is a vital part of discipleship. When parents and the church take over the education of a teen, we gain access to the process that is molding that teen.

Currently, Christian parents and the church have given our children over to the state to educate them.  We have literally handed our children to the secular state and have said, “Here, take my children and mold their minds. Shape the way my children see the world.”

After giving the state approximately 40 hours a week to impact our children, we herd them into the church for an hour a week and expect them to become everything God wants them to be.

Gang, take a moment and think about that.

In my last post I mentioned the importance of creating a C-4™ Community – a Christ-Centered, Counter-Culture. This next step is just as important.

I believe that if we are serious about turning postmodern Christian teens into multiplying disciples, the next step is getting control of their education.

I believe, we need to take a page from Daniel. You remember Daniel. In chapter one, we read that Nebuchadnezzar had occupied Jerusalem and had taken the Israelites captive. He chose the best young people Israel had to offer to train up as leaders for him. A part of their training was eating the King’s food. For Daniel, and his friends, that was a problem. The King’s food was not acceptable to God; eating it would cause them to be defiled.

Daniel made a deal with his Babylonian overseer. He challenged the overseer to allow them to eat food that was approved by God for a period of 10 days. At the end of the 10 days, the overseer could judge who was healthier – Daniel’s guys or those who ate the King’s food.

Ten days past and Daniel’s group was healthier than the others. As a result, they were allowed to continue eating food that pleased the Lord.

You see, Daniel knew that God’s ways are always better than the world’s ways. He knew that when he followed God’s ways that he would always come out on top.

Education is a vital part of teen discipleship and spiritual growth. Parents and the church can do it better than the state!

Do you agree?

Two important things happen when parents and the church take over the education of Christian youth. First, youth are educated with a Christian worldview. Secondly, the educational process is more efficient leaving teens with time during the day for training in righteousness and discipleship.

We must get involved in education.

Teens are busy, thus they have precious little time for training. Ninety (90) percent of Christian teens are educated in public school buildings, which is the world’s most inefficient way to educate children. Also, teens are involved in all sorts of extra-curricular activities. Combined with loads of homework, they simply are not available for the training they need to be effective Christian leaders.

As adults, we must reevaluate our priorities.

The typical Christian adult’s priorities are somewhere else other than spiritual growth. Parents do not value spiritual growth, for themselves or their children. Personally, I believe education and activities, like sports, are very important, but so is learning to hear the voice of God and learning a biblical worldview. Parents will make every effort to ensure their teen is “going to school” or “playing sports,” but church and things related directly to spiritual growth are optional.

At Reach America, we have partnered with a group of parents who have thrown the old model of American education out the window. We do not have all the answers, but we believe we are on the right track. We have created a C-4™ Community and the parents of our students are in more control of their teen’s education than they have ever been.

Although we are still learning how to effectively reach this postmodern age, we believe we have made some progress.

Next Post: Defining Christian Leadership

Turning Postmodern Christian Teens into Multiplying Disciples: Part 6

Step One: Create a C-4™ Community

I want to prepare you; the solutions I share below aren’t “sexy.” Turning Postmodern Christian teens into multiplying disciples is, in a word – hard. Only those who wish to get their hands dirty should continue to read these posts and answer the five questions at the end.

I am looking for partners who are willing enter into the culture wars. We are in a battle for minds, hearts and souls of our youth.  I look forward to hearing from you. Here we go!

In Acts 17:28, the Apostle Paul writes, “In Him we live and move and have our being.” In essence, where our kids “live” and “move,” they “become.” Our youth are attending church for a couple hours, but they are living and moving in a world that no longer recognizes Christ as God. Actually, should we be surprised at what our youth are becoming?

In Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, we are creating a C-4™ Community, A Christ-Centered, Counter-Culture. The biblical foundation for a C-4 Community is Jesus’ ministry with His disciples, Acts 17:28 and Paul’s ministry found in 1 Thessalonians chapters one and two.

A C-4™ Community is a vibrant, growing group of Christian youth and their families on a mission. These Christians love Jesus and have a burning desire to see their family, their friends, their community, their state and America come to Christ. This is important: When people come into our C-4™ Community, we do not become like them, they become like us, then Christ.

The object of a C-4™ Community is to create a Christ-centered culture that is counter to what the American culture has become. We believe we can be more effective reaching people for Christ by bringing people to us, rather than trying to reach them where they are living.

Spiritual development happens best in a C-4™ Community. Spiritual growth is all about people and places. Who teens are with and where they are is very important. Jesus built His training strategy on a powerful spiritual principle – Christianity is caught more than taught. Yes, there is an important teaching component to disciple-making, but you catch Christianity the way you catch the flu, you catch it from being around someone who has it!

CREATING C-4™ COMMUNITIES — “CHRIST-CENTERED, COUNTER-CULTURES”

Youth must live and move in Christ-Centered, Counter-Cultures if we expect them thrive. The perfect example of a C-4™ community, of course, was Jesus and His disciples.

For three years, the disciples lived and moved with Jesus, and they took excursions into the world. They didn’t live and move in the world and visit with Jesus for a couple of hours a week. The disciples walked with Jesus daily and had a front row seat as He taught, performed miracles, and confronted the religious leadership of the day. After a day of watching Jesus, He would sit down with His disciples and hold de-briefings on what they saw and heard that day. Eventually, Jesus sent the disciples out into the world with specific assignments, and they would return and report.

After three years of intense training, of living and moving with Jesus, the disciples were ready to launch out on their own – they had become everything Jesus needed them to be. Jesus could now return to the Father.

What was the result? Just read the book of Acts and beyond!

With our youth attending church activities (worship, youth group, etc…) for just a couple hours a week, can we expect to get similar results from our youth that Jesus got with His disciples?

At Reach America we are creating a C-4™ Community where youth are able to live and move daily and become everything God made them to be.

Parents, Pastors, Youth Pastors: I would like to end this post by asking five penetrating questions.

  1. Is your youth ministry Christ-Centered?
  2. Is your youth ministry Counter-Cultural? Recently, I was speaking to a teen who is a regular at his youth group’s Wednesday night meeting. He said, “Pastor Gary, I believe our youth group is a C-2 Community. We talk about Jesus, but we don’t see a lot of real life change, and I don’t believe we are impacting the culture.”
  3. How many of the teens in your youth group are seriously leading others? Do you have a leadership training process in place? Have your leaders been equipped to lead others, and are in fact leading?
  4. How many of your youth are actually leading people to Jesus at their public school versus how many of your youth are being led away from Jesus at their public school?
  5. Are you open to something a little different? If you are open, please email me at gary@letsreachamerica.org.

Without a doubt, this is a tough culture in which to be a young Christian. At Reach America, we do not pretend to have all the solutions, but we have dedicated our lives to cracking the code that unlock the answers for turning postmodern Christian teens into multiplying disciples.

Interesting in partnering?

Next Post: Equipping Teen Leaders in This Postmodern Age

Pastor Gary Brown

Turning Postmodern Christian Teens into Multiplying Disciples, Part 5

Have you ever considered this?

Jesus was the greatest cultural impact strategist who ever lived.

Jesus started a movement that not only impacted the world in His time; the movement He started is still impacting the world 2,000 years after His death! American-style, Christian training has ignored the power of His methodology. Instead of following His training methods, we have designed our discipleship training after the American education system. We cherish His words and life, but often we find our goal to touch and change the lives of people unmet.

Could it be that the way Jesus trained His disciples was just as important as what He taught them? A scripture that is classically used to wrap up our purpose on earth is Matthew 28:18-20. Basically, the command Jesus left us was “go, make disciples.” In our exegesis of the word “make” I believe that it is correct to assume that method is implied as much as message in the command to “make disciples.”

Jesus did more than lay the groundwork for what we teach; Jesus set the example. Through the way He trained His disciples, He modeled the method for “making disciples.”

A phrase Jesus often used to illustrate how disciples are made is “follow me.” The first time we find Jesus using “follow me” to explain His method for making disciples is recorded in all four Gospels (Matthew 4:18-22, Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:2-11; John 1:35-42) Through the use of “follow me,” Jesus also revealed the goal of those who would become His disciples. He stated that, “I will make you fishers of men.”

When formulating His training strategy, Jesus did not under-estimate the pull of the culture. He knew that it was important for His guys to be taught by Him as they followed Him around. Imagine Jesus saying to Simon, “I want to invite you to come and listen to me teach/preach for two hours a week.”

The context in which we are taught and from whom are just as important as what we are taught.

Let’s move forward and consider our teen’s current cultural situation. Due to the invasion of technology into our kid’s lives, they are barraged with information that significantly influences them. Secondly, as youth get older, they desire to please their friends over their parents. Third, and most certainly not last, is every teen’s struggle with their sinful flesh.

Do we really believe we can “make disciples” out of postmodern Christian teens in an hour or two a week? Jesus didn’t even try that!

Although Jesus lived in different times with different issues, He faced the same problems we face. Simon and the gang were living in a world heavily influenced by thousands of years of Judaism and modern Roman influence. Jesus had to also deal with the disciples sin issues; their struggles with their flesh.

When He considered these cultural influences and their need to overcome and tame the flesh, Jesus knew His goal to turn these guys into fishers of men would not be realized with a daily or weekly visit in their living room. Nor would it happen in a weekend retreat or a ten-week study. These guys had to get it not just agree with Jesus.

Initially, turning postmodern, Christian teens into multiplying disciples doesn’t happen in the context of visitation, while they live in the world. Training these young people must happen in the context of a Christ-centered environment. This must be included in our strategy if we are to be successful in turning Christian teens into multiplying disciples.

Jesus never completely removed His disciples from the world; He invited them to leave what they knew in order to be taught by Him. He required that they live with Him so that they would see the way He lived. Through His teaching they learned about Jesus and His mission. Through living with Him they experienced Jesus on a level they would need to accomplish His mission once He was gone from the earth.

In order for these men to fully know and understand that Jesus really is the truth, the way, and the life; they would have to walk with Him, daily.

Next Post: Step one in turning postmodern Christian teens into multiplying disciples is to create a C-4 Community – a Christ-Centered, Counter-Culture.

Please stay with me, we are just getting started.

Thank you for your patience as I write these short posts. If you are interested in deeper conversation, please feel free to email me, Gary Brown, at gary@letsreachamerica.org.

 

Turning Postmodern Christian Teens into Multiplying Disciples, Part 3

“Gary, times are a-changin!” These are the words of my wife’s grandfather, spoken to me probably 20 years ago.

This statement has never been truer than in 2013. To help make this point, I want to turn to Josh McDowell and his book, “The Disconnected Generation.” Here, Josh created a list of terms and how they are defined by adults and by teens. Pay close attention to this list. “Folks, definitions of words are a-changin!”

Tolerance

Adult Understanding: Accepting others without agreeing with or sharing their beliefs or lifestyle choices.

Teen Understanding: Accepting that every individual’s beliefs, values, lifestyles and truth claims are equal.

Respect

Adult Understanding: Giving due consideration to others.

Teen Understanding: Wholeheartedly approving of other’s beliefs and lifestyle choices.

Acceptance

Adult Understanding: Embracing people for who they are, not necessarily for what they say and do.

Teen Understanding: Endorsing and even praising others for their beliefs and lifestyle choices.

Moral Judgments

Adult Understanding: Certain things are morally right and wrong, as determined by God.

Teen Understanding: We have no right to judge another person’s view or behavior.

Personal Preference

Adult Understanding: Preferences of color, food, clothing style, hobbies, etc. are personally determined.

Teen Understanding: Preferences of sexual behaviors, value systems and beliefs are personally determined.

Personal Rights

Adult Understanding: Everyone has the right to be treated justly under the law.

Teen Understanding: Everyone has the right to do what they believe is right for them.

Freedom

Adult Understanding: Being free to do what you ought to do.

Teen Understanding: Being free to do everything you want to do.

Truth

Adult Understanding: An absolute standard of right and wrong.

Teen Understanding: Whatever is right for you.

Some may be asking at this point, “Christian kids don’t think this way, do they?” Or, “Not my kids!”

First, let me say that no, not all Christian kids think this way. However, don’t assume they don’t until you present the list to them and talk about it. No matter what we do as parents and youth leaders – in this age of technology – we cannot shield our children from postmodern influences.

Along with technology is the pull of friends. Never underestimate your teen’s desire to be liked by his or her friends. I call this the “cool factor.” It is completely normal for teens to want to build relationships outside their families. This is why we, as parents and youth leaders, need to do what we can to make sure that our teens’ closest friends – their “inner circle” as we say at Reach America – are all Christians. And make sure these Christian friends have a biblical worldview!

In my next post, I will begin to explore how postmodernism has infiltrated the Christian teen world. And yes, I do have solutions and a strategy to turn postmodern Christian youth into multiplying disciples. I am doing my best to keep these posts to around 500 words.

Thanks for your comments. I always enjoy reading what God is saying to you!

Pastor Gary