Posts Tagged example

LIFE Groups Living on Mission: Charlie Coffey Edition

By Paul Wilkinson

As disciples of Jesus, we are called to live on mission with Jesus. At least once a month (or as frequently as is possible so send me stories!), I want to share stories of LIFE Groups living on mission with Jesus. May we be perpetually living into the “Good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) Read, pray over, and meditate upon Charlie Coffey’s story with Cul2vate; how he leverages a hobby and passion for the sake of the Gospel:

I have been associated with Cul2vate for over two years now. I first met Joey Langford 3.5 years ago in the BBC Missions Garden; at that time, Joey was still on mission in South Africa. We chatted about his goal of wanting to come back to the USA and initiate a Cul2vate Program in the Greater Nashville Area. I shared with him my gardening history and my dreams/desires of having a “more missions-focused approach” future for the BBC Gardens. Well, as we could say about Joey and his Cul2vate ministry….”the rest is history.”
I count myself fortunate to now be a volunteer with Cul2vate. Since that first meeting 3.5 years ago, I have retired and have more time to give. I have been active in gardening since a youngster. Both my mother and father were gardeners and they helped to create in me a love for working with my hands and raising/harvesting fresh vegetables. I not only love to grow fresh vegetables but, since retirement, have the additional time to plan and plant on a much larger scale (1/4 acre to almost 5 acres). Additionally, my science “genes” love to experiment with new growing techniques and new vegetable varieties. To grow fresh food and then be able to “give it away” to others who do not have sufficient fresh vegetables is a very rewarding yet humbling experience. It is more than just giving my money to help another, but it is knowing that in those vegetables, I am giving away apart of myself (my time and energy) to assist others.
But . . . there is more! For those times that I am able to volunteer down on the Farm, Cul2vate trainees are always present. These individuals are learning how to “garden.” More importantly, they are needing someone to interact in their lives . . . someone to love on them. As I go about my assigned gardening duties, I have the opportunity to “community” with these trainees. “Community” occurs as we work together, eat together, and share life together. I have nearly 50 years of adult life experiences to share with these guys. We may or may not have similar backgrounds but we are able to share “current life” together. At the end of each day, I realize that I received much more than I was able to give.
Sharing life together with someone is an essential component in a Christian’s participation in the Great Commission. As Pastor Mike encouraged us just a few Sundays ago, “If all of your interactions and community are with other Christian friends . . . then . . . initiate interactions and friendships with non-Christians.” Although I’m not an avid reader, I have just recently read two things that have made an impact on my thinking

  1. Example is everything when sharing new concepts with others. We can talk, explain, discuss topics, but for the optimal impact one needs to “example” the concepts before them. At the farm, I example life before these guys. They then have to connect the dots.
  2. We are well aware that the Apostle Paul reminded individual Christians that through Jesus Christ we become members of a royal priesthood. What we sometimes forget is that the role of a priest is to represent Christ before the people and provide a conduit to and represent the people before Christ. What better concept of being a priest than being an example of Christ to these guys and then providing a relationship/friendship that offers a conduit to an initial relationship or a deeper relationship to Christ.

I would challenge the “mature/retired” adults at BBC to look for opportunities and regularly volunteer to be “examples” and “priests” to lost friends in our community.
(Charlie Coffey is a member of the In-Betweeners Sunday AM LIFE Group.)

Culture Change through Micro-shifts

By Paul Wilkinson

Daniel Im has recently published a book entitled No Silver Bullets. His major point is that there does not exist a “singular fix” for ministry woes, whether they be spiritual growth problems, discipleship problems, etc. So instead of wasting our time looking for the silver bullet that will remedy ailing ministry, we ought to be instituting micro-shifts that will change the culture little by little.
Im’s 5 micro-shifts are:

  • From destination to direction
    • the idea is that discipleship is not a function of achievement and information, rather discipleship is an ongoing process of movement toward the person and work of Christ.
  • From output to input
    • the idea is that the discipler needs to focus less on the outputs of attendance and numbers, rather focusing instead on the small inputs we can have today in people’s lives that will begin to move them toward the image of Christ tomorrow.
  • From sage to guide
    • the idea is that instead of transferring data from our minds to the minds of those we are discipling, we should be leading them on the path of discovery of who Christ is and how the Spirit works in our lives; we should be engaging them in experiential learning rather than lecture only.
  • From form to function
    • the idea is that we should be focusing more on the function of our learning environments, for example being in biblical community and loving one another, more than the actual form used for achieving those ends, for example whether one runs a traditional Sunday School or an off-campus missional community.
  • From maturity to missionary
    • the idea is that we, as believers, are necessarily kingdom people who should be about the work of kingdom expansion, and towards that end, it is often the case that being confronted with the difficulties of engaging the lost will compel us to seek our own growth.

I share those micro-shifts with you, not because of their content or because I fundamentally believe in them all, but to give you some idea of how the framework functions. Take the output to input micro-shift, for example. Maybe what it looks like in your group is less teaching a set of lessons on the spiritual disciplines to the 40 people in your LIFE Group and more like taking 5 folks from your LIFE Group to engage with by meeting with them outside of class regularly for a period of time and modeling for them how you read the Bible, how you pray, how you fast, how you memorize Scripture, etc.
When it comes to hospitality, perhaps you could begin by dedicating yourself to being in your classroom early for a month or two and receive the first, second, and third set of people that show up. Overwhelm them with hospitality to demonstrate to them what it looks like. Then, in subsequent months, challenge those individuals to be the first ones there to receive other people. So, instead of trying to create a full value shift in the group in one fell swoop, take the micro-shift approach of leading by example for a few weeks and empowering group members who you engage to emulate you. You can do that tomorrow! And the same goes for outreach, group reproduction, missions, etc.
If we were Superman or the Hulk, then we could simply leap a mile at a time. Church work is not like that. It is more like hopping 1 foot at a time until the 5280 feet are covered. I’m blessed to be hopping with you for the sake of the kingdom!
If you want to hear Daniel Im talk about his book, check out this podcast.