I love reading Roland Allen! In my library, I have Spontaneous Expansion of the Church; Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours; Roland Allen: Pioneer of Spontaneous Expansion; and this Kindle gem, Missionary Methods: God’s Plan for Missions According to Paul. I try to reread an Allen book each year, encouraging my pastor friends to discover the depth of this Anglican missionary.
In chapter one of the Kindle book, Allen highlights three facts about Paul’s missionary journeys that “demand attention.”
What are a few principles for the modern-day church?
The key in these relationships is two-fold. Teachability and multiplication. Not only do I need to remain teachable, but so do the others I meet with. In fact, if I sense a person is not teachable, it is usually not long before we are not meeting anymore. They generally have a way of removing themselves. I also look for and expect multiplication. It does not always happen, but if I do not expect it, it will never happen! I was teaching a one hour conference last year on discipleship and was asked this question: “What is your success rate on multiplication?” (There is always one who asks this question or the one about “the box from the denominational headquarters that will fix their church!”) I thought for a moment and said, “I guess about 25%. A quarter of those I disciple will turn around and disciple someone else in some manner of discipleship. Even if they don’t, they are better equipped Biblically than they were before! This man said, “is that all? 25%!?!?” Before I could think, these words came out: “I think it’s pretty good. What’s your success rate?” He smiled and said, “Never mind. 25% is pretty good.” He wasn’t discipling. He wasn’t being discipled. He wanted a quick fix to a long problem.
Looking for those who are teachable with an expectation of multiplication is slow work. It takes an everyday mindset. Do you have a compassion for the lost that leads to passion? Have you been fishing for men (Matt. 4:19) or looking for the teachable?
In 2005 Dr. Robert Coleman wrote an article entitled “The Jesus Way to Win the World” published in the Evangelical Review of Theology. A key statement was made in this article:
“For disciples do not stop with conversion; they keep following Jesus, ever growing in his likeness, while learning the lifestyle of the Great Commission, and someday, through the process of multiplication, the gospel will reach the ends of the earth.”
As my New Testament professor at Midwestern would so famously say, “Nobody gets this!” Sure, we get it intellectually. We certainly understand it, but we do not understand this to the point that it shapes and orders our lives as a disciple of His. Dr. Coleman aptly quotes Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47-48; Acts 1:8; John 17:18; and John 20:21 in that this was not simply a fun idea for the First Century believers, but a command from Christ Himself to be followed upon the coming of the Holy Spirit. The New Testament book of Acts confirms this to be normative in the life of the believer and in the church.
Coleman continues in this thought by quoting Matt. 9:36-38. “Pray for the Lord of the harvest to send workers.” According to Coleman, this is done using a seven-fold strategy.
Have you been fishing? Need some more bait? Keep fishing because the fish are hungry!!
When I meet another believer, the conversation will usually include our respective church families, how we came to Christ, and discipleship habits. I love learning about what others are doing in their daily walk with the Lord, and sharing with them what He's been teaching me!
I purposely try to talk about two things, asking these two questions: what does evangelism look like in your life on a weekly basis, and what do you include in your daily time with the Lord? I ask these questions for two reasons. The first being that most believers are not sharing their faith on a weekly basis and feel inadequate to do so. (Among a myriad of other reasons.) The question helps me see where they are and how I can encourage them. I ask the second question because most believers do not have a regular time of Bible reading, prayer, or personal devotion with the Lord. I ask these questions to encourage others to live out their faith and become strengthened in Christ. I also ask to challenge myself. Proverbs 11:14 pushes me to look for those who can give me wise counsel.
Sometimes people ask what I like to do for daily Bible reading, thus the focus of this post. I like to use various methods; I get bored using the same one and like to change it up. In the past I've purposefully went through specific books of the Bible, jumping around to what I wanted to read. I've followed a reading plan during certain seasons, like Advent. I like to handwrite scripture, and usually do so with a book or two of the Bible each year (Deut. 17:18). Right now I'm reading through scripture doing what I call the 2-1-1-2 method. I read 2 chapters in the Old Testament, 1 Psalms, 1 Proverbs, and 2 chapters in the New Testament. Along with this, I'm journaling using the SOAP method. This is where you use the acrostic SOAP (Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer) to help you along. I keep a medium sized journal with my Bible and start by writing the scripture at the top. Since I'm doing the 2-1-1-2 method right now, I'll pick out a verse that really hits me. Sometimes I'll simply write down the reference and other times I'll write the whole verse out. It all depends on its length and my mood. Next I'll write down what I Observe from the text. What jumped out to me? What did I learn? Who is talking and what are they sharing? After this I'll put down my Application. How can I apply this to my life? What do I need to do or be reminded of from this passage? How can I grow through reading the text? And finally, I'll write a short prayer. This is usually based upon the application, asking the Father to help me learn this lesson in a way that impacts my life.
Have you tried the SOAP method? Make a plan to have a daily time where you purposefully seek to learn from scripture. Feed yourself daily with the Word just like you do with physical food.
How's the fishing? Remember, they are hungry to hear the Word! Carry some bait with you as you are going!
Remember the last time you had to stop and fish that little hitchhiker out of your shoe? Maybe it was a little piece of gravel, a large bit of sand, or even a balled up piece of thread. It was driving you nuts and you couldn't walk anymore until you dug it out. You certainly didn't put it there, but you were going to take care of it!
Christian, make sure to leave a pebble for those you share the Good News with. After you talk with them, you want them to think about the conversation they just had with you. As you know, that little hitchhiker in your shoe can come in many different forms. So can the pebble that you leave with your unbelieving friend. Leave it in the form of a difficult question that they would ponder and let that be the last thing you say to them. Give them a gospel tract. These are small, cheap, and concise. Check out the post below for one I designed. If you would like some, let me know. They are very inexpensive. A gospel tract is a short booklet, card, bookmark, etc that briefly explains the Good News of the Christ. Another good pebble is a "red book." The Good News For You! booklet is a 7 lesson Bible study booklet on the Gospel of John. It slowly leads a person to faith beginning with "man's problem" and ending with encouraging a person to receive Christ and walk as His disciple.
The pebble you leave will stir up curiosity and it may be the very thing that sets them up to either receive Christ or better prepare soil for someone else to harvest.
Are you prepared each day to "leave a pebble" with a friend, co-worker, or a person you'll never see again? Be prepared. Keep material in your car, purse, shirt pocket, or better yet, in your heart! 1 Peter 3:15
Check out the new Gospel tracts I designed based on Dr. Brock's Good News Bible study book. You can contact me or go here and order them yourself. If you order them yourself, type in "Good News For You", select the amount you'd like, and select "none" for the design fee. I've already paid that.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.