Luther on time management…

Martin Luther (1483–1546) towers as a giant in church history. The highly active and influential pastor, professor, author, and father of the Protestant Reformation understood the power of prayer to save time and effort. When asked of his plans for the coming week, Luther mentioned that he generally spent two hours a day in prayer, but the coming week was extra busy. Therefore, he said, “Work, work from early till late. In fact I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”

from Prayer: The High Impact Secret of High Impact Leaders by Dave Earley

Things God does without prayer…

“I scoured the New Testament some time ago, looking for things God does in ministry that are not prompted by prayer. Do you know what I found?


I don’t mean I had trouble finding an item or two: I mean I found nothing.

Everything God does in the work of ministry, He does through prayer. Consider:
• Prayer is the way you defeat the devil (Luke 22: 23; James 4: 7).
• Prayer is the way you get the lost saved (Luke 18: 13).
• Prayer is the way you acquire wisdom (James 1: 5).
• Prayer is the way a backslider gets restored (James 5: 16–20).
• Prayer is how saints get strengthened (Jude 20; Matthew 26: 41).
• Prayer is the way to get laborers out to the mission field (Matthew 9: 38).
• Prayer is how we cure the sick (James 5: 13–15).
• Prayer is how we accomplish the impossible (Mark 11: 23, 24). … everything God wants to do in your life; He has subjugated to one thing: Prayer.

David Jeremiah, Prayer: The Great Adventure (Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 1997), 40–41.

Prayer and Small Groups

“a survey of small-group leaders revealed an interesting correlation between time spent in prayer and small-group multiplication. It revealed that leaders who spent ninety minutes or more in daily devotions multiplied their groups twice as often as those who spent less than half an hour.”

Joel Comiskey, Home Group Cell Explosion (Houston: Touch Publications, 1998), 34

When I prayed well….

“Since I was sixteen years old and found myself leading a Bible study group of teens at our public high school, I have been aware of the link between prayer and impact. I was newly committed to God and entirely insufficient to make much of a difference in anyone’s life, so I had no choice but to pray. The more I prayed the more God worked. My group of two turned into several groups of more than thirty. Soon much of our high school was ablaze for God.

As a discipleship pastor for a university, a church planter, and a church pastor, I have been reminded repeatedly that the effectiveness of my leadership life has flowed out of the strength of my prayer life. When I prayed well, impact increased. When I failed to pray, effectiveness diminished.”

Dave Earley
Prayer: The Timeless Secret of High Impact Leaders

Movements in the book of Acts

Vance Pitman is someone I only learned about recently. He has planted a church in Las Vegas that has grown rapidly and has led over one thousand people to Christ. He is not a movement pioneer as we understand it in missiology, but he “gets it” when it comes to God doing the amazing multiplication of the book of Acts all over again. This message titled “THEM” from Acts 11:19-26 is good stuff. Enjoy.



God Works for Those Who Wait for Him

When God’s house on earth is a house of prayer,

then God’s house in heaven is busy.” 

–E.M. Bounds

I’ve listened to thousands of sermons. I’ve probably listened to a hundred John Piper sermons. This is my favorite Piper sermon.  And since “Prayer is the Work” in DMM / CPM, this sermon (even though not specifically about DMM) this has direct application to our work.  Enjoy!

Wait Thou Only upon God

“For God alone, Oh my soul, wait in silence” 

Ps. 62:5

“From of old no one has heard or perceived with the ear,

no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him.”     

Isaiah 64:4

Wait only upon God; my soul, be still,
And let thy God unfold His perfect will,
Thou fain wouldst follow Him throughout this year,
Thou fain with listening heart His voice wouldst hear,
Thou fain wouldst be a passive instrument
Possessed by God, and ever Spirit-sent
Upon His service sweet –then be thou still,
For only thus can He in thee fulfill
His heart’s desire. Oh, hinder not His hand,
From fashioning the vessel He hath planned.

Be silent unto God, and thou shall know
The quiet, holy calm He doth bestow
On those who wait on Him; so shalt thou bear
His presence, and His life and light e’en where
The night is darkest, and thine earthly days
Shall show His love, and sound His glorious praise.
And He will work with hand unfettered, free
His high and holy purposes through thee.

First on thee must that hand of power be turned,
Till in His love’s strong fire thy dross is burned,
And thou come forth a vessel for thy Lord,
So frail and empty, yet, since He hath poured
Into thine emptiness His life, His love,
Henceforth through thee the power of God shall move
And He will work for thee. Stand still and see
The victories thy God will gain for thee;
So silent, yet so irresistible,
Thy God shall do the thing impossible.

Oh, question not henceforth what thou canst do;
Thou canst do nought. But He will carry through
The work where human energy had failed,
Where all thy best endeavours had availed
Thee nothing. Then, my soul, wait and be still;
Thy God shall work for thee His perfect will.
If thou wilt take no less, His best shall be
Thy portion now and through eternity.

–Freda Hanbury

Why Some Disciple-makers Reproduce When Others Fail (Part 3)

Part 3 of Spiritual Multiplication in the Real World: Why Some Disciple-makers Reproduce When Others Fail gets into the nitty gritty of disciple-making. McNabb also begins to reveal many of the things he learned while leading a disciple-making team in Thailand. He starts off telling a great story about going fishing with a neighbor in Bangkok. He had done a lot of fishing growing up in Alabama, but he was soon to learn that fishing in Thailand was an entirely different experience requiring an entirely different approach. From that illustration he goes on to look at fishing for men from a Biblical perspective. I’ve heard or read many evangelistic sermons / lessons from John 4, but McNabbs treatment of the story of the woman at the well seemed fresh and useful. The crux of his analysis is that before Jesus shared the gospel, he created interest:


He uses the acronym F.I.S.H: Find, Interest, Share, and Help as an outline to the process. Under the Interest heading he has 7 points which I won’t list. But under one of them he gave this excellent of illustration of how to create interest by telling this story from his time in Bangkok”

“Teaw, like most Thais, grew up in a Buddhist family. She came to Christ as a bubbly young freshman at a local college. She had an older brother named Biak. One evening she brought him to a party we were holding. Biak seemed a little uncomfortable being around a bunch of college students because he was a little older. I saw this and immediately went over and struck up a conversation with him. We had gained some clarity by this time about the importance of finding out about people before you start trying to create interest. I began asking him several questions about himself. After getting through a few basic questions about where he had studied and where he worked, I asked him if he had a girlfriend. Immediately, I knew I had struck a nerve. Biak said he had been engaged, but his fiancé had just called it off. I said,“Wow, I’m sorry about that. I’m sure it is frustrating to think you have found the right one and then, bam, it falls apart.” He said, “Yeah, it is.” I said, “Well, it’s better to find out now instead of a couple of years into the marriage.” He nodded his head in agreement. Then I said, “You know, from the number of divorces that occur and the number of couples that aren’t happy after they marry, it looks like very few people marry the right person.”24 Again he nodded in agreement. I went on to say, “And the thing is, nobody stands at the altar and looks at the person he or she is marrying and thinks ‘You are the wrong person.’ Everyone thinks they have picked well and that they will beat the odds.” Biak chimed in enthusiastically, “That’s exactly right!” I said, “The only way you could be sure you are marrying the right person is to know the future or ask someone who does.” Biak replied “Yeah, and nobody knows the future, right?” I answered, “Well, God knows the future and if you know him, he can help you make the right choices.” Biak leaned in, stared right at me, and asked passionately, “How can I know God?” He was saying, “Sir, give me some of this living water.”

He has a section under Interest titled LET THEM SEE CHRISTIANS INTERACTING WITH EACH OTHER IN LOVE. This two page section was worth the price of the book all by itself, but I’d have to quote just about the whole section to communicate it accurately here. Buy the book.

There is so much in this book that I have highlighted, and I’ve only shared a fraction of it here in these three installments. I believe this book is going to quickly become a standard text for disciple-making in evangelistic courses.

“If you asked me six weeks ago how my personal evangelism was going, I would have had to answer, “Not so hot.” But if you asked me today about how it is going, I would excitedly tell you about all that has been happening over the past six weeks. What changed?”

Toward the end of the book he adds this personal note. This relates back to Part 1 where he emphasizes the need to be a part of a disciple-making team, but I want to include it here because this little story is powerful, especially given the fact it is coming from someone I would call a disciple-making expert.

“If you asked me six weeks ago how my personal evangelism was going, I would have had to answer, “Not so hot.” But if you asked me today about how it is going, I would excitedly tell you about all that has been happening over the past six weeks. What changed? I don’t know anything more about evangelism now than I did then, so that can’t be it. I didn’t have a fresh mountaintop experience with the Spirit, so that can’t be it either. What did happen is that a new missional community started meeting in my living room. You see, it had been a while since I was a part of a disciple-making team, and it had taken its toll on my personal evangelism, but now that is corrected. Though I have led missional communities for years, have been a missionary, and can write about all that I have learned, my flesh is still weak. I don’t do well living on mission without being a part of a like-minded community. I suspect you don’t either.

Why Some Disciple-makers Reproduce When Others Fail (Part 2)

In the second part of the book Spiritual Multiplication in the Real World: Why Some Disciple-makers Reproduce When Others Fail, McNabb covers the essential elements of a successful disciple-making team:

1. The leader champions the vision of Spiritual Multiplication constantly.

McNabb says, “51% of the disciple-makers who scored as effective in our study reported that their leader championed the vision on a weekly basis.” He then goes on to detail specifically how Jesus championed that value repeatedly with his disciples.

2. The Leader Models the Vision of Spiritual Multiplication.

“Our survey asked people if their leaders modeled spiritual multiplication. Many people answered “Don’t know” on this question, which was essentially saying, “Maybe my leader did, but I didn’t see it.” 83% of these people were non-effective. In contrast, 84 percent of effective disciple-makers said yes, they did see their leaders model spiritual multiplication. This set off our software’s alarm bells, indicating we had found something significant.”

3. The church or ministry frequently offers ministry training geared toward helping members multiply.

“We found that 48.5% of highly effective disciple-makers were involved with churches or ministries that offered weekly ministry training. This was true in only 29.8% of non-effective disciple-makers… in multiplying ministries that successfully train people to reproduce, the focus is on apprenticeship to existing leaders, not on classes.”

4. Members of the church or small group engage in giving and receiving regular coaching.

McNabb starts by reviewing stories of Jesus coaching the disciples in real world situation. Then he says,

“Survey participants were questioned regarding how frequently they had received coaching during the three year period our study investigated. Nearly three quarters (74.9%) of those who had not received coaching were found to be non-effective. That percentage dropped to 26.1 percent for those who had received coaching every other month.”

5. The church’s or Ministry’s small groups function as disciple-making teams.

“Highly effective disciple-makers average twice as much time discussing evangelism, praying for the lost, and actually doing evangelism together with others in their small group as non-effective disciple-makers. Effective disciple-makers fall somewhere between the two. The relationship here is clear: increased time doing evangelistic activities together as a team increases effectiveness. Most groups that function well as a disciple-making team define multiplication as their reason for existence. What we call a group is important because its name implies its reason for existence. Bible studies, fellowships, and prayer groups don’t usually multiply. “Cells” multiply. “Evangelism Teams” multiply. “Disciple-Making Teams” multiply. Many churches start small groups for the purpose of assimilation and care. The best groups I have ever seen at assimilation and care, though, are those that form for the purpose of equipping and mobilizing their members. The church is supposed to build laborers, not hospitals.

“Michael Stewart, Pastor of Missional Community at The Austin Stone Community Church, conveys the importance of pursuing mission within the context of community: “This wonderful, beautiful community we find in Acts 2 was a direct result of pursuing Jesus and his mission. At Austin Stone, we have realized that when you aim for Acts 2 community, you will get neither community nor mission. But if you aim to pursue Jesus and his mission, you’ll get both mission and community.”

6. The church or ministry regularly offers evangelistic events.

7. Those seeking to Multiply are Characterized by abundant prayer.

“When David Garrison studied fast growing church planting movements, which grow by training laypeople to multiply, he found that abundant prayer was not just a common element, it was universal in every movement. 22 I was visiting recently with a missionary trainer who spoke of the prayer habits he had witnessed in several church planting movements. He said, “These guys are spending crazy amounts of time in prayer every day.”

Next week will will look at Part 3 of the book, Effective Disciple-making Practices.