Thoughts on Discipleship #2

For the next few posts, we’re going to look at an excerpt from David Olsen’s book, Discovering Your Leadership Style. The article is entitled “Lead Like Jesus.”

First, a word about leadership. Some of us are hesitant about calling ourselves “leaders.” There are a number of reasons why this is. To some, leadership is a power-play, where someone just wants to be in charge. Others prefer to see themselves as a guide in the middle of a discussion. Still others see leadership as a responsibility that they do not feel comfortable with, so they sidestep the designation. 

Those who participate in our groups look for examples of how to live. When group attendees ask questions, they are participating, but they are also seeking guidance. Make no mistake – if you are in charge of a small group, you are leading! 

So what are some ways we can lead like Jesus?

Olsen discusses three core foundations of leadership wisdom – instinct, fruitfulness, and multiplication. Today, let’s briefly look at instinct.

There are different definitions of instinct depending on the discipline being discussed, but for our purposes, Olsen defines instinct as “unconscious thoughts or actions that are conditioned into a person through repetitive behaviors, habits, or experiences.”

Leader instincts are developed over time through experience and wisdom. As we lead, we should constantly self-evaluate – how we handle situations, address topics, love and guide others – anything and everything associated with our leadership. The more often you encounter a scenario and handle them wisely, the more your instinct will develop, and the more you’ll see God work in and through your ministry.

We all ought to be seeking to gain experience and wisdom so that we are more effective. For those new to leading a group, this may involve seeking out those who have been leading longer for tips and advice. Books, seminars, and other resources may be helpful as well. Pray that God will give you insight regarding how you can develop your leader instinct so that you are better equipped to handle whatever situations arise. 

What are some situations you’ve encountered that helped you develop your leader instinct? How did they help you with similar situations later on? Comment on IG and Twitter.

Thoughts on Discipleship #1

Since I joined the staff of my current church, I’ve been sharing some thoughts with our Growth Group leaders in the form of a weekly email. I’ve decided to share some of these. I pray they are a blessing to you…

Spiritual Disciplines in Small Groups

How do you promote the concept of spiritual disciplines within your groups? Is it a subject that you address with intention and frequency? Do you talk about it when your lesson plan calls for it? Or do you forego such discussions?

It is important to make the discussion of spiritual disciplines a part of your group’s discussions on a regular basis. Our call to make disciples includes training fellow believers to develop good spiritual habits that will enable them to grow in their relationship with God. 

Studying the Bible, giving, serving, praying… these are all actions. While there are aspects of the Christian walk that are matters of the soul or states of mind, serving in the church is an action. Giving faithfully is an action. And so on. This is why a habit needs to be formed.

Finding occasions to bring up spiritual disciplines need not be difficult. Since we are all instructed to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”(2 Peter 3:18), and disciplines help the believer accomplish this, then we as group leaders need to motivate others to “act” in ways that benefit our walk with God. When you pray together as a group, encourage them to pray for that week’s requests during their personal prayer time. Give them topics related to your group’s study that they can study during their quiet time. Ask for testimonies of folks who have witnessed to others recently so group members can hear what worked and what didn’t.

Did you know that there are two types of spiritual disciplines? According to Dr. Don Whitney of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, there are personal and corporate disciplines. For instance, we are to pray in private, but we are also to pray together with other believers. When you encourage your group, make sure to speak of both types. Make sure your group is the smaller meeting that happens between the larger gatherings (Acts 2:46-47).

Why is it important to emphasize spiritual disciplines? Because we all forget to do them from time to time! Even “holy habits” can skip our minds. And while it can be discouraging to mess up, our response needs to be renewed motivation instead of giving up (“I’ll never have a good prayer life – why even try?”). We as leaders should encourage our groups to persevere. 

Let’s all look for opportunities to encourage others to grow in their faith, and to do what it takes to make that happen.

A Response to “A Strong Word”

I don’t know how many blogs you read, but if you have read any posts from anyone in ministry over the past couple of years, you’ll know I mean it when I say MINISTRY IS HARD.

Sure, it’s easy to blame the current (and past) worldwide health situation. I often say that if anyone wants an excuse not to go to church, they’ll find one. Well, the world found one.

But if it was just that, wouldn’t all our churches be full again? Sure, there are lingering effects, fear, some illness, and a lot of caution. But if as ministers of the Gospel truly believe the Good News we proclaim is the best news anyone can hear, wouldn’t the people of God be flooding back to the church as soon as it was in any way possible? If not, why not?

As Ron Edmondson put it in “A Strong Word for Some of My Pastor Friends,” we as pastors need to understand that many of those who left simply will not be coming back. That’s a hard pill to swallow, but if we can’t operate in reality, we operate in delusion. I think he’s correct, unfortunately. But with that understanding is the further understanding that our churches are now filled with different people. Maybe fewer for now. Or maybe fewer for a while. But the church as it currently exists is the only church that actually DOES exist. 

And that is the church to which we must faithfully minister.

Do we reach out to the estranged? Absolutely. Some have fallen out of the habit of attending and need a reminder that the church is still around. Some need affirmation that the church still cares. Others may prefer their occasional live stream viewing when convenient. And still others may just be done. But if someone does not come back, that is not a defeat. It’s not up to the pastor to win them back.

The win is in being faithful.

Trying to encourage those who have stepped away to step back in the fold to be shepherded once again. Letting them know that they are missed. And continuing to minister to the church that remains. New folks, long-timers, and everything in between.

Because they are real.

Christian One Issue Voter Seeks Candidate

Let me start this post by saying that I am by no means a political prognosticator. My views are likely not unique. I do not have any inside information to share. But I feel that I need to mark the occasion of this election due to the controversies, implications, and divisiveness it has wrought.

First off, I am not going to indicate for whom I voted (I voted a few days ago). I am not ashamed of my decision, but I am not giving free publicity to my chosen candidate(s) either. There are plenty of pundits from the evangelical world that have weighed in on how they are voting and why (Piper, Grudem, and Mohler to name a few). These articles offer thought provoking opinions, especially regarding the WHY. I believe that such discussions should ultimately be limited to issues of governance. After all, how are we to debate which failed, sinful human being is a worse failed, sinful human being? If this is a contest on character, I am just as wretched as any candidate on any ticket, and am not qualified to judge.

I have decided to make this election about one issue. In secular culture, this kind of decision is met with disdain, assuming that one who makes such a decision is uninformed, uninvested, or does not care about the election’s outcome. None of these are true of me. In fact, I am not a one-issue person in general. I have conservative opinions on the gamut of cultural, economic, governmental, and international subjects. Still, I have decided to make this election very simple.

I voted for life.

I am a blood-bought, sold-out, Bible-believing child of God. I make no apologies for this, and have no shame in declaring such. I believe that the destruction of unborn human life in the womb is sinful. I grieve for the millions of unborn babies that have lost their lives due to a court decision based on bad law and bad practice of it (as well as those globally). I lament for those who regret the decision to have an abortion or to perform them, and I encourage them to seek forgiveness and peace from the God of all comfort. I envision a day when we can look back on the years since Roe v. Wade with sadness but hope for a future without its ramifications. I call upon God to spark a revival in this country and around the world, and I pray it begins with me.

My vote was cast for the candidate that I believe is more likely to protect life, based on past governing decisions and statements. Legislation, Supreme Court nominations, executive orders and policies… all are factors that can either slow or stop abortions in this country or can remove existing restrictions and speed up and/or fund them. I pray that candidate governs for the former instead of the latter.

As I close, I urge us all to pray for all our leaders, and for those that are elected or remain elected tomorrow (or whenever all the votes are finally counted, but that’s a topic for a different blogger). Regardless what happens, I will not grieve. No election in the history of the world has removed God from his throne, and 2020 will not be the year to break that trend. Please believe me when I say that. We will weather whatever storm is coming, because one always is coming. Trust God.


Have you ever thought that something that came from your brain was completely original, but you find out that it already exists?

Once, I had an idea for a pre-pasted toothbrush that could be purchased from a vending machine for the dental hygiene fan on the go. Apparantly this brainchild of mine was not original, as it was on the market (by Reach, I think?) a few months later.

Yesterday, I thought I coined the term “yeahbut.” We’ll say I did coin the term, since I’m going to use it differently than it’s current definition.

Dwayne Johnson, aka “The Rock,” is an inspirational figure. He famously started his career with 7 dollars in his pocket, and has progresed from football player to WWE star to movie and TV star to XFL and tequila company owner.

Well, now he appears to want to transition to political pundit.

I’m not going to go into the politics here. Basically, The Rock endorsed a set of candidates for the 2020 election. He is absolutely allowed to endorse whomever he wants, just as he is free to think that I should care who he (or any celebrity) endorses.

I just think he has added a “yeahbut” to his career.

See, there are those who think that the candidates he endorsed and the party to whom they belong are reprehensible and that their election would be awful for this country for years to come.

And many of those folks are wrestling fans. Football fans. Health and fitness fans. Action movie fans.

So now, when Person A says, “Man, I like The Rock in the new Fast and Furious movie,” the response from Person B who is one of the fans I just mentioned could be, “Yeahbut, he endorsed XYZ.” And no matter what accomplishment of The Rock that Person A mentions, Person B can negate it with the “yeahbut.”

The moral? Don’t let your next statement or decision be a “yeahbut” on your testimony as a child of God, your employer, your ministry, your family, or your reputation. Guard what you say. Especially online.

My Stay-At-Home Workout


a state, period, or place of isolation in which people or animals that have arrived from elsewhere or been exposed to infectious or contagious disease are placed.

Yeah, I’m not gonna use the word “quarantine” anymore. We are “stay-at-home.”

So I can’t go to the gym. Had a really good roll going, was seeing some results. Then they had to close. Bummer.

Here is my “stay-at-home” workout circuit. I do this circuit 3 times, 4 to 5 days a week, plus I walk a couple days a week…

  • band single bicep curls (I don’t know the technical term for my big tubular rubber band with handles on it, so it will henceforth be referred to as “band”) x 20
  • band alternating shoulder front and side lat raises x 15
  • standing band tricep press x 20
  • band side bicep curls x 20
  • standing leg raises x 20
  • squats x 20
  • lunges x 10
  • pushups x 20
  • ab leg raises x 20

Let’s Figure Out Live Streaming Church This Week

OK, so I’m not the first person to write about the coronavirus and its effect on churches and how we operate and minister to our congregations. But to be fair, none of us knew a month ago (or even a week or two ago) that this pandemic would shut down almost everything and change almost everything else.

Like I mentioned in my last post, I started my MDiv this semester, and this is technically my Spring Break. I’m an online student, so it isn’t like a typical Spring Break anyway. I was hoping to get caught up on some reading and to finish a paper that’s due next Saturday. Instead, I’ve had to learn how to livestream our church services on the fly. Wasn’t expecting that.

The cool thing is that I’ve been planning to get us online for a while now. I’ve been researching best practices and gear so, when the time was right, I could pull the trigger on streaming with confidence.

Then we had to close for at least two Sundays if not more.

We already post all sermons to YouTube and our website, and we have a simulated live Church Online portal where folks can view a service every even numbered hour Pacific time 24/7. This week we’re adding Facebook Live.

If anyone is interested in the tech side of things, here are some of the tools we’re using…

If you have questions on how we’re using these platforms and tools, hit me up on social media or my contact page. I may not have all the answers, but if enough of us ask enough questions, eventually someone will come up with the answer. Or something. Maybe.

Look, a lot of us swim in uncharted waters in our ministries. If you’re in vocational ministry, take a look at your job description when you first started your current position. How close is it to your current reality? I’m guessing not very. Same goes for volunteers. Learning any new systems or procedures lately?

Not many of us thought we’d be video producers. But then we were. And still are. And will be.

Ministry is changing. The Church isn’t. The Church is still the Bride of Christ. The Church is still God’s plan for getting the Gospel to the nations. The Church is still important. The Church is its people. We may meet in different ways – some temporary, some ongoing. Be we meet. We worship. We work together. And we figure things out. God is worth our effort.

Will My MDiv Lead to More Blogging? (I Hope So)

As those of you who have followed this blog can attest, I have REALLY neglected posting on #NoCamo in recent months. OK, years.

I’m hoping that my MDiv and its writing-intensive requirements will not hinder my blogging further. In fact, I hope it will spur an uptick in output, as the creative writing juices will be flowing and the overflow can land here. I’d like to document this academic journey here – highs, lows, and the experience in general.

I’ll be sharing what I’m learning, how it pertains to my ministry in its current context, takeaways, frustrations, successes, and all the rest. I’m excited to be on this journey and look forward to what’s to come.