Shepherd’s Corner: July 2021

 

Hey friends. If this past year has taught us anything it is that even in the most horrific circumstances, our God is in control. In fact, what we find is that where there is suffering, God is always at work. And now is no exception. There is overwhelming consensus across the missions community that God is doing something unique in this generation.

But if we are to join the Lord in accomplishing His purposes—and let’s never forget that it is His work, not ours; we don’t bring anything to the table that He needs—but if we are to come alongside Him at this strategic moment in history, we must ask ourselves a question. What can we do to leverage every resource that has been entrusted to us to see the Gospel go to every people and every place in this generation?

To that end, I would like to introduce you to a new initiative that we are calling Made to Multiply. Simply put, the vision is to train a million people here in North America to share the gospel and make multiplying disciples right here at home over the next five years. We believe that by doing so, we will see not only tens of millions of mouth-to-ear gospel shares across the country and many new disciples made, but also thousands of new laborers who are called to the nations.

Because we know that when we equip, model, and empower people to engage in the harvest locally, that God will birth in their hearts a passion to see Him praised among the nations! Think of it! What can God accomplish through the lives of tens of thousands of newly sold-out disciple-makers working both here and abroad to get the hope of the gospel to every people and every place? And the beauty of it is that we don’t need to reinvent the wheel. We are simply trying to build upon what all of us are already doing.

To put it simply, we are trying to accomplish three tactical priorities:

1) Substantially increase the number of people receiving gospel conversations training; it’s pretty simple. The more people that get trained to share the gospel, the more people will hear the gospel. And the more people that hear the gospel the more people praise and worship our Heavenly Father.

2) Provide easy access to multiple on-ramps for progressive ministry. In other words, after people have been trained to share the gospel, we want to provide multiple opportunities for deeper engagement in the harvest both here and abroad. We will do that with more specialized training, virtual trips, short-term trips, opportunities to give to fund specific initiatives or staff members. Again, all the things we are already doing. The key is in helping people make the transition from training to deeper engagement in the harvest.

3) Finally, we want to be very intentional in our efforts to multiply ourselves. If each of us were able to help prepare and launch one person committed to doing the same thing that we are doing, what an impact that would be. Imagine if every Church Planting Mobilizer could filter among the people who have gone on trips with them and help cast vision and invest in training them to lead trips themselves. What if every Strategy Coordinator could find one other person within their sphere of influence who is willing to take ownership for another people or place and build a team to pursue them with the gospel? If we each were able to multiply ourselves every year for 5 years, the projections for the global impact that would result get ridiculous.

It’s that simple! We expand the funnel by training one million people in gospel conversations. We provide them multiple on-ramps to ministry to move them deeper into the funnel. And finally, we seek to multiply ourselves annually to send out more laborers to more people and more places.

Some of you may be thinking “One million is a lot of people. How are we going to get in front of that many people in North America in the next 5 years?” Well first of all, we are making a commitment as an organization to leverage all the influences God has given us: media (including I Am Second), marketing, church partnerships, seminary relationships, everything, to help put new training leads in your lap. And when you break it all down, here is a conservative estimate of what it would require:

If every CPM could multiply themselves once a year and train just 90 people annually in gospel conversations (and that includes the people they take on trips, both physical and virtual) and if every SC could multiply themselves once a year and train 250 people annually, we would easily exceed the one million target by between 30 and 40%. Think of the thousands of people that we could mobilize to the gaps if we are successful.

There will be much more to come about this. This is just an overview. We will discuss it in greater detail at our next Town Hall meeting this coming Thursday, July 1st. In addition, we are now planning to have our annual meeting in-person in Dallas later this year on October 29-30. And I strongly suggest that you make every effort to be here. I believe that this will be a pivotal moment in the history of this ministry. In the meantime, we would like to learn how we might be able to better serve you as you pursue God’s calling on your life. So please take a few moments to fill out the questionnaire that accompanied your Town Hall invitation as soon as possible.

I hope you are as excited by this vision as I am. There is very little in it that is new and what there is primarily relates to utilizing technology and media to help accelerate what you are already doing. It is a natural extension of where God has been leading us for several years. I will leave you with this. William Carey is well-known for having said “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.” I think that applies here. Let’s move into this season expecting great things from God and never shy away from attempting what others might find overwhelming. I love you. And remember, abide well, stay pure, and love loud. God bless you.

Jim Shannon
Chief Executive Officer
e3 Partners / I Am Second