Podcast 018: “Growing to Spiritual Maturity” (part 2) with Ron Bennett

[On how we measure success] “So, if I view keeping people dependent on my input as my success factor, then I won’t tend to release them. But, if I see that maturity and my end-goal is that they learn how to learn for themselves and teach themselves or find the resources, then I can celebrate when they no longer need me” (Ron Bennett).

 


The Apprentice Approach Podcast, Episode 018 is part two in our newest series on spiritual maturity – how do we know (Biblically) what it looks like, how can we pursue it, and how can we cultivate it in others.

In today’s episode, we’re jumping back into our conversation with Ron Bennett – author of multiple books*, blogger, senior staff member of The Navigators, and authority on disciplemaking. Ron has led discipleship ministries on university campuses, military bases, in churches, and in the workplace. He had a background in Aerospace Engineering and the military before coming on staff with The Navigators… but one of the most important things you need to know is that Ron is my spiritual grandfather (which we’ll get into in the podcast). Ron is a wealth of knowledge and brings practical experience and application to our conversation.

Because it’s a process and because I know that the process involves a number of stages of maturity (this also helps me in my thinking), that I think in terms of stages. When I meet, I know that I’m picking them up at a certain stage of their journey. If I have those stages – those processes – in mind, then I can interface with them appropriately with where they are and take them – help them – move to the next stage” (Ron Bennett).

Join us for part two of our conversation with Ron Bennett as we focus on transference – moving deeper into the topic of spiritual maturity, specifically talking about cultivating maturity in others. We hear from Ron on:

  • How to identify what people need in order to grow in spiritual maturity and how to get them there
  • Practical ways to prepare people for spiritual “parenthood”
  • How does Ron “push them out of the nest,” so to speak, so that they begin to disciple others?
  • How to protect them from relying on YOU as their spiritual source
  • What happens “after” discipleship?

 

I think ‘success’ then becomes when people learn how to go to the Scripture, feed themselves from Scripture, and they never become self-reliant, they become interdependent on the Body, but there is a self-ability to feed themselves and hear the voice of God… and they know how to do that” (Ron Bennett).

 

Want to know more about the spiritual maturity “stages” Ron mentions? Click here for the “Spiritual Maturity Profile” resource.

Interested in learning more about The Wheel Illustration Ron mentions? Click here for The Navigators’ Wheel Illustration and its applications.

 

*For more from Ron Bennett, visit his blog “The Adventure of Discipleship” including his books:

 

P.S. If the idea of ripple-effect disciplemaking is a topic you want to learn more about – or, if you want more resources on the topics of personal discipleship, marriage/parenting/family, or being a disciplemaker – head over to our website www.theapprenticeapproach.org And, if you haven’t subscribed to The Apprentice Approach Podcast in iTunes, do it today!

 

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Podcast 017: “Growing to Spiritual Maturity” (part 1) with Ron Bennett

While there are valid differences of perspective on what constitutes discipleship, we define Christian discipleship as a process that takes place within accountable relationships over a period of time for the purpose of bringing believers to spiritual maturity in Christ. Biblical examples suggest that discipleship is both relational and intentional, both position and process…” (The Eastbourne Consultation on Discipleship, 1999)

 


The Apprentice Approach Podcast, Episode 017 is part one in our newest series on spiritual maturity – how do we know (Biblically) what it looks like, how can we pursue it, and how can we cultivate it in others.

In today’s episode, we’re talking with Ron Bennett – author of multiple books*, blogger, senior staff member of The Navigators, and authority on disciplemaking. Ron has led discipleship ministries on university campuses, military bases, in churches, and in the workplace. He had a background in Aerospace Engineering and the military before coming on staff with The Navigators… but one of the most important things you need to know is that Ron is my spiritual grandfather – which we’ll get into in the podcast.

Ron is a wealth of knowledge, but more important than his knowledge and published books is the practical experience and application he brings to our conversation.

“Discipleship is a process of pursuing – both knowing, reflecting, and sharing Christ. Those form more of the ‘coordinates’ of our journey; a journey that’s a lifetime of adventure! And so those coordinates never change. They provide a ‘fix’ for my spiritual GPS… if I get off track, like my phone it will give me directions back to my destination. So, part of it – to make it work – is to lock in the coordinates in my GPS in order to keep focused and moving in that direction. So, I think often times in our Christian culture, we look more at discipleship as an ‘event’ or ‘course’ rather than a lifestyle that will consume us for the rest of our life. So, I have concluded that my journey for the rest of my life is to pursue those three aspects: 1) to know Christ in an ever-deeper way; 2) to reflect Christ as He transforms me more to look like Him; 3) to share Christ in whatever ways I can to expand the Kingdom. And those are not places I’ll arrive, but direction I’m headed. So in that sense, ‘maturity’ is simply an on-going process of going deeper in understanding and going through those three things” (Ron Bennett).

Join us for part one of our conversation with Ron as we cover these (and more) questions:

  • What does “spiritual maturity” look like?
  • Why does discipleship have to take place within accountable relationships?
  • What happens when accountability is missing in intentional relationships?
  • How do you bring balance to both relationship and intentionality that brings accountability?
  • What do you (Ron) actually and practically do when you meet with someone?

 

Maturity is sort of a moving target, but for the stage we’re in, in our Christian journey, there ought to be some indicators that we’re making progress” (Ron Bennett).

Want to know more about what those spiritual maturity “indicators” are – throughout the various stages of the Christian journey? Click here for the “Spiritual Maturity Profile” resource.

 

*For more from Ron Bennett, visit his blog “The Adventure of Discipleship” including his books:

 

P.S. If the idea of ripple-effect disciplemaking is a topic you want to learn more about – or, if you want more resources on the topics of personal discipleship, marriage/parenting/family, or being a disciplemaker – head over to our website www.theapprenticeapproach.org And, if you haven’t subscribed to The Apprentice Approach Podcast in iTunes, do it today!

 

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Podcast 016: “Marriage and Disciplemaking” (part 2) with Terry and Leah Green

“Our life is full, but we’re not pressed into busyness. When we left the marketplace, we decided we were going to move from being ‘productive’ to ‘fruitful’ and let the Lord teach us what the difference was in that.” – Leah Green

 


The Apprentice Approach Podcast, Episode 016 is part two in our newest series on marriage, family, and disciplemaking! (click here for part one)

We had the privilege of talking with Terry and Leah Green who have been happily married for 54 years, are currently in full-time ministry, and hold all kinds of wisdom from their life-experiences in being small business owners, parents, great-grandparents, and of course, following Christ.

They’ve led Marriage GetAway, a marriage retreat at the Glen Eyrie Conference Center for 14 of the retreat’s 25 years and have been on staff with The Navigators since 1995 …basically, they’re the most humble experts you’ll ever meet!

We asked Terry and Leah, knowing they’ve discipled others in every stage of their own lives: “What have you done to protect yourself from being overwhelmed, moving out from a position of health (because we can all get unraveled pretty quick, it doesn’t take long at all) – what have you done to protect yourself and your marriage from getting to that point?”

Join our conversation with Terry and Leah, as they answer that question and also share ideas (besides just saying “no”) on how to protect your marriage and your own personal walk with God. We also talk about how we can move from productivity to fruitfulness; and finally, what does it look like to be a Christian marriage verses two Christians being married?

“Wherever you are today, hold on loosely to that.. God may want to do something more with your life, not only as an individual but as a couple, and give him the opportunity. But, you have to be looking for that and searching, God: What is it you’re doing and how can we be involved?” – Terry Green

P.S. If the idea of ripple-effect disciplemaking is a topic you want to learn more about – or, if you want more resources on the topic of marriage, parenting, and being a disciplemaker – head over to our website www.theapprenticeapproach.org And, if you haven’t subscribed to The Apprentice Approach Podcast in iTunes, do it today!

 

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Podcast 015: “Marriage and Disciplemaking” (part 1) with Terry and Leah Green

“We decided from the very beginning that love is a choice. We love telling people that 54 years ago we chose the one we love; and, we’ve spent the last 54 years learning to love the one we chose… and that’s day-to-day.” – Leah Green

 


“We decided from the very beginning that love is a choice. We love telling people that 54 years ago we chose the one we love; and, we’ve spent the last 54 years learning to love the one we chose… and that’s day-to-day,” said Leah Green to us when we asked: “Is there a ‘secret’?!”

The Apprentice Approach Podcast, Episode 015 is part one in our newest series on marriage, family, and disciplemaking!

We had the privilege of talking with Terry and Leah Green who have been happily married for 54 years, are currently in full-time ministry, and hold all kinds of wisdom from their life-experiences in being small business owners, parents, great-grandparents, and of course, following Christ.

They’ve led Marriage GetAway, a marriage retreat at the Glen Eyrie Conference Center for 14 of the retreat’s 25 years and have been on staff with The Navigators since 1995 …basically, they’re the most humble experts you’ll ever meet!

Join our conversation with Terry and Leah, talking about some really practical ways they’ve found to maintain perspective, continue making disciplemakers, decide who/when to say “yes” (or “no”) to, and (the best part) do it all alongside the love of your life!

 

P.S. If the idea of ripple-effect disciplemaking is a topic you want to learn more about – or, if you want more resources on the topic of marriage, parenting, and being a disciplemaker – head over to our website www.theapprenticeapproach.org And, if you haven’t subscribed to The Apprentice Approach Podcast in iTunes, do it today!

 

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Podcast 014: “The Impact of One” with Dianne Derby

“I don’t think there’s a greater way to show God’s love than to show what He’s done and changed in you – living that example to others.” – Dianne Derby

 


Today we have the privilege of talking with Dianne Derby. Dianne is an Emmy Award-winning journalist, the evening co-anchor for KKTV 11 News, holds two Masters degrees, is a wife, mom, and plays a significant part of our Colorado Springs community. But there’s one more thing to add to that list.

In this podcast, episode 014, we talk with Dianne about how one interview led to reading the Bible every Tuesday for five years with author, speaker, leader and Pearl Harbor survivor Jim Downing (our friend, who we affectionately call “Navigator #6”).

We covered topics like: how did that initial interview lead to the relationship it became, what did Jim Downing model to you in the context of The Apprentice Approach, what did it look like for Jim to walk alongside you during those years and in some significant life-moments, how is life different, and finally, what were some of your biggest take-away’s sitting with Jim?

Join us as we continue on our journey talking about spiritual generations with Dianne as she shares with us about her experience being discipled by Jim Downing.

P.S. If the idea of ripple-effect disciplemaking is a topic you want to learn more about or, if you want to hear from Jim Downing himself, head over to our Podcast and Blog page or go to www.theapprenticeapproach.org. Jim was our very first podcast guest – actually, the first three episodes – sharing everything from the definition of discipleship to its importance and being accountable for your influence to family and discipleship and even humor!

And, if you haven’t subscribed to The Apprentice Approach Podcast in iTunes, do it today!

Until next time, this is your host, Jack McQueeney, believing God for generations of men and women like you!

 

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Podcast 013: “The Measurable Difference of Disciplemaking” with Katlyn Kincaid, Abby Anderson, & Carmelle McCluggage

“Disciplemaking” isn’t coaching; it isn’t just being a teacher or leader. There are distinguishable, measurable differences: disciplemakers make disciples of Jesus who make more disciples of Jesus to the third and fourth generation. Multigenerational disciplemakers don’t just strive to “teach,” but out of our joy, we long for transference and we labor toward maturity. Intentionally helping others become not like us, but like Jesus.


Jack: Welcome to The Apprentice Approach Podcast Episode 013, where the ripples far exceed the splash… this is your host Jack McQueeney.

Many Christians struggle with making disciples; they feel busy, overwhelmed, and not qualified. We understand this struggle, which is why we’ve created a Bible-based framework so any believer can master the art of disciplemaking.

Today we’re going to focus on that last part: “master the art of disciplemaking.” You know, “disciplemaking” isn’t coaching; it isn’t just being a teacher or leader. There are distinguishable, measurable differences: disciplemakers make disciples of Jesus who make more disciples of Jesus to the third and fourth generation.

Multidimensional, multigenerational disciplemakers don’t just strive to “teach,” but out of our joy, we long for transference and we labor toward maturity, intentionally helping others become not like us, but like Jesus.

Dawson Trotman, founder of The Navigators, put it this way: “Activity is no substitute for production. Production is no substitute for reproduction.”

You know, we believe maturity in disciplemaking is actually measurable. Our friend Jim Downing would always use the example of botany to explain this – a fruit tree is mature when it produces fruit. Every believer is called to both God’s first command in Genesis 1:27-28: “…be fruitful and multiply…” and Jesus’ last command in Matthew 28:19-20 to “…go and make disciples…”. You can hear more on what it is to disciple toward maturity in our very first podcast “The Definition of Discipleship” with Jim Downing.

Okay! So now we’ve laid some groundwork on the definition and the measurability of disciplemaking, but HOW do we do it? What does it look like?

Let’s jump into today’s episode to see what generational disciplemaking actually looks like… in real life!

 

Jack: We have a special time planned for you today. We have three young women in the studio and we’re gonna talk about generational disciplemaking. We’ve got some exciting things and some guests that we’re going to have introduce themselves to you this morning. So, Katlyn, would you like to start for us?

Katlyn: Yes, hello, I am so happy to be here! I’m really excited about this. My name is, yes, Katlyn, and I was first introduced to the idea of discipleship as a child and I remember very clearly a counselor I had when I was a camper at Eagle Lake, who lived in Colorado Springs, in the off season I asked if she could meet with me and I was, I think, only in sixth grade. But, she would come pick me up from my house and then she would take me to a coffee shop or to someplace fun and we would just spend a little time reading the Bible together and then praying together. And, I just remember so clearly one time her talking about how God had written our names on the palm of His hand; and, I remember her writing my name in the palm of her hand. And, that just really inspired me because she cared so much about me and I just remember thinking, “I can do this too, I can do this with other people.” And one of those people eventually was Abby, and so I’m going to throw this over to her so she can introduce herself to you.

Abby: Well, hi guys! So excited to be here with you. My name is Abby and I was first introduced to discipleship actually at Eagle Lake Camps as well. When I was a camper there, I was discipled by my counselor and I just remember thinking, “Man! She’s so cool and she wants to spend time with me?” Um, so we just had such a sweet friendship and she really began to show me, not just what the Bible said, but also what God was doing in her life as well. And, that just felt so personal and I remember thinking, “Oh wow, God is using her even in her not being perfect and still figuring things out and that is – really was – a huge catalyst in me coming to know the Lord. And so, um one of the things I think that she taught me was that discipleship isn’t optional. Um, and that really has propelled the rest of my walk with Jesus. And so, I’ve actually had the privilege of discipling a girl named Carmelle, she is awesome, um and with us today. So, Carmelle do you want to introduce yourself?

Carmelle: Yes, hi! Um, my name is Carmelle, my story’s pretty similar to the other two ladies here. But, so I was first introduced to discipleship up at Eagle Lake Camp. Um yeah, I was counseled by a counselor that I had and she was really passionate and really devoted to my understanding of the Gospel and how that was playing into my life at home, which yeah, is something that I won’t forget. Um, and then coming back down off the mountain and kind of just going through regular life, I was approached by Abby who really just took time every week to, um, go through the Bible with me and pray with me.

Jack: That’s great! That’s great! Well, three generations of, uh, disciplemakers. I’m excited to be able to talk with you! You each represent a different generation, and I want to start with you Katlyn. Tell me why you think it’s important to be very intentional up front in your time together and how that reflected in your time with Abby.

Katlyn: Yeah, that’s a great question. Um, Abby – I knew Abby when she was actually a camper. I was a counselor when she was a camper at Eagle Lake. But that was not when we first, um, started our discipleship relationship. It was actually a couple years later, when my husband was running the Crew Program and Abby was his Crew Program Coach. So, she was one of the Leadership and so it was my role to meet with her throughout the summer. And that was, first of all, just the sweetest time; but, I remember it also being really crazy because I had an almost one-year old and I was also pregnant and so, um, and then I was meeting with Abby and several other Crew Counselors as well. And so, time was very limited – just in my own personal life and then also in meeting with these girls – and I was… I just also remember feeling tired a lot of times. And so, I didn’t have the capacity to be super strategic and come up with a plan of: this is where Abby needs to grow and this is how I’m going to help her grow and this is what we’re going to do together. But, I just remember, in my own time in being discipled by other women throughout the years, how important and valuable time in the Word and prayer was together; and so, um, and even just in my own walk with Jesus, I just knew that I needed time in the Word and prayer every day to really be abiding in Him well. And so, that was my hope and goal for my time with Abby – was just to really equip her with that and to come alongside her and serve her and encourage her in that and just help her to be filled spiritually; so that, as she was pouring into others, she was not relying on herself, but she was relying on the Spirit to, um, help her as she was meeting with others. And so, we were just very intentional in our time to just talk about life – just what was going on, how she was doing, how I was doing, um and then we just really made sure that we had some time in the Word and that we had time in prayer together. And that was what was always the most encouraging to us – was just that: sharing of life, time in the Word, time in prayer. And so, it wasn’t this big, fancy, strategic thing, I just didn’t have the emotional or just the regular time for that; but that was what was most important to me – was intentionally being in the time – time in the Word, time in prayer, time sharing how we were doing.

Jack: That’s really good. And, I think you had that modeled well from your mom. For those of you who don’t know, Katlyn is our oldest daughter; and all those number of years, Katlyn saw counselors come up and Shaunda get time with her in the midst of, uh, watching the kids and in the midst of “real life.” So, Abby how does that, uh, what does that look like for you with Carmelle and others and what you saw with Katlyn?

Abby: Yeah, that’s a great question, Jack. Um, so actually, how Carmelle and I actually got to know each other was really fun! Um, I had been a part of Eagle Lake’s Crew Program, which Katlyn talked about previously, for a couple years and Carmelle was one of our campers and I remember thinking she was really funny, and hilarious, um, and I was kinda slowly getting to know her. We’d spent a couple summers at camp together at that point. And – I think it was your second summer – I had just moved out to Colorado to actually start leading the Crew Program, and previously, I had led Bible Studies and discipled girls – really all through college, and um, even at the end of high school – but when I moved out to Colorado, I didn’t really know anyone. And so, I remember praying, “Lord you have given me such a clear ministry during the summer, but what does disciplemaking look like year-round, when camp isn’t running and I’m not like highly invested in all these people’s lives? What does discipleship look like?” And so, um, I remember there was one day I was sitting in the dining hall and Carmelle and a couple other campers – Tori and Kiera – we were all sitting around the table and I was just asking them, “What is it like going home from camp? You have this really intense experience of people discipling you, you have really strong community, what does it look like going home?” And they just talked about, “You know, I wish there were other people back at home who were this committed to walking with Jesus and wanted to read the Bible, like “in-depth” study the Bible together; and, we just haven’t found those people quite in our schools or in our communities,” and they just talked about this longing for this really Biblical community who was committed to studying the Bible, walking with Jesus, and uh, practicing discipleship. And I remembered thinking, like, “Well, I could, I could do that – like I could be a part of that.” And, it was one of these moments where I wouldn’t say, like, I felt this crazy calling, you know; but, here was a need that God had equipped me to meet. And so, I just asked them, “Hey, if we started a Bible study would you come to it?” Because, there’s nothing more terrifying, even, you know I think I was like 22 at the time, I’m like, “I don’t want to start a Bible Study and no one show up.” So, I had to confirm that people would come! But, I asked them, like, “If we started a Bible Study and continued to in-depth study the Bible like we’re doing at camp, would you come?” And all three of them were like, “Yes! Absolutely.” And so, there was a handful of girls who were in Colorado Springs who wanted, again, to just keep walking with Jesus and growing in their faith and were really ready for kind of the “next push” – the next step. Um, and so my roommate and I, Allison, decided: “Let’s start a Bible Study and see what the Lord does!” And we started a Bible Study with six high school girls at that point, and um during that season we had really, Allison and I, had really prayed, like you know six girls is a lot of girls and so, “What Lord – who do you want us to really give our time to one-on-one?” And so, we were all reading the Bible together every week; but um, we were just praying: Who do you want us to give our time to one-on-one? And, I just felt like the Lord kept bringing Carmelle to my mind. Carmelle is just so, like, caring and empathetic and she is a quiet leader who has a lot of wisdom and I just remember already seeing that when she was in high school and so, um, I just asked her. I think we had maybe been meeting – I don’t know, maybe three, four months – I just asked her if Tuesday mornings I could come pick her up before high school and read the Bible with her. And so, every Tuesday I would roll up to her house, pick her up, we would get breakfast and just read the Bible and pray together before I dropped her off at school. So, that’s kinda how our discipling relationship began.

Jack: That’s great, Abby! One of the things that, as I listened, you talked about being nervous. What did that look… flesh that out for us a little bit?

Abby: Yeah, I always joke: high schoolers are the most intimidating people I’ve ever met [laughter]! Um so, I was just nervous because: What if I didn’t have something to say? What if they didn’t want to be in a Bible Study with me? What if I, like I don’t know, didn’t have enough wisdom to give them? I know that sounds silly, but I think there’s just always insecurities whenever you are really stepping out in faith and yet, um again, there was a need and God had equipped me to meet it, so that was really my prompting to step out in faith.

Carmelle: Yeah, I felt the same way before starting to co-lead the Bible Study that we’re currently in. Yeah, I just remember feeling very afraid, thinking about all the, uh, “dis-qualifiers” and trying to grapple with the fact that I am not disqualified from sharing the Gospel; it’s something that is pertinent and yeah, not optional.

Jack: That’s great Carmelle! Well, one of the things that I wanted to get with Katlyn is: What are some of the things that you learned in your – as you were being discipled – and how did those things get passed on generationally to others? And, um, flesh that our for us, Katlyn.

Katlyn: Yeah, yeah that’s great. I met with a girl in college, her name was Katie, um, for all through my college career. And, Katie was so passionate about prayer. And, I remember doing several different studies on prayer, um, and just taking a lot of time when we were together to just be praying. And not always praying in the same way – really practicing different ways to pray. She especially loved praying through Psalms; and, I remember really loving that and learning that from her. And so, I think, even kind of unconsciously, I just really embraced that and remembered – or just embraced the fact that – when I’m meeting with someone, we need to be praying together. And so, I know that in my discipleship relationships, I’ve always been very intentional to make prayer a big part of what we’re doing in our time together. I think for me, partly because it’s so easy to say, “Okay, what I can be praying for you this week?” And then, – I know I’m not great at following up in that in my prayer life – making sure I’m intentionally praying for that person outside of our time together. It’s something I want to be intentional in and am working towards, but it’s just a personal feeling of mine. But, when I can make sure that when we’re together, we’re praying for those needs together, it’s just so sweet and there’s just something, man, I could go on about this for forever! But, it really breaks down walls; it really builds vulnerability; and, it really builds the relationship to be praying together; and, it just invites the Spirit in these beautiful, amazing ways! And so, that’s something that I was passionate about. And actually, but I didn’t necessarily realize I was making it such a priority until I was talking with Abby about this podcast… and I’m gonna let her tell her side of the story.

Abby: Yeah, you know it’s funny, I think we always lean into the places that we feel more comfortable and I would say reading the Word, uh, and studying the Word is definitely more my comfort zone and prayer is something that really stretches me. Uh, you know, right now Carmelle and I actually lead a high school Bible Study together, so now we’re co-leaders and our high school girls came to us maybe three or four months ago and they were just like, “I – we’re not getting like – our quiet time’s feeling kind of dull, we don’t know what to do.” And, I was just remembering how much time Katlyn had spent praying with me and teaching me how to pray. And, I feel like our girls really know how to study the Bible and it’s so sweet that that’s such a strong skill of theirs, but I feel like prayer is a weakness, especially because that’s my weakness, and sometimes you pass down your own weaknesses to the women you disciple. And so, I just invited them over one Saturday, uh, and it felt out of my comfort zone too, but we just practiced listening prayer for two hours. And so, for like one month every Saturday they would come over, um, we would sit on my couch and I would just open us up in prayer and say, “Lord we’re listening, we’re here, is there anything you want to say to these girls?” Um, and to be honest, I was nervous because I was like, “What if the Holy Spirit doesn’t say anything to them?” Um, and you know, it was that trusting God with the people you disciple. Um, and as we sat there, it was like pretty quiet and awkward for the first 30-40 minutes, but I kid you not, by the second time we had done listening prayer all three girls who were over were in tears because the Holy Spirit spoke to them and how sweet that it wasn’t me teaching them about Jesus but I was getting to witness the Holy Spirit, um, meet them in their own place and teach them more about who He was.

Jack: Yeah, you know Paul says, “And the things you’ve heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust of reliable men [or women] who would be qualified to teach others also.” Well, Carmelle how did that impact you as you began to see Abby do that with you?

Carmelle: Yeah, um, that’s one of the things I really admire about Abby – is like she digs into those uncomfortable places – and like, really addresses, um, the needs of our group just super well. So, she is good at picking out, like um, I don’t know, Bible Study isn’t a place where we’re supposed to feel 100% comfortable, um, she’s gonna, like, ask those questions that are really going to challenge us, um, and that’s what’s gonna ultimately lead to our growth and spiritual maturity.

Katlyn: Yeah and I think, I hope you guys are hearing this, um, something I’m hearing, as we’re all talking, is just how God uniquely created us to be the person He wanted us to be and so we’re not all discipling the same. And so, the way Katie discipled me was not the way that I discipled Abby; because, I’m not Katie. But, she shared with me what she was passionate about and she shared with me how to be passionate about the Word and prayer. And, I was able to pass on, not specifically how to do that, but my passion for the Word and my passion for prayer to Abby. And, Abby was not me; but, she was able to take that passion for the Word and passion for prayer – or learning that passion for prayer – and make sure that she was equipping Carmelle and the others. And, then Carmelle is also doing this now with other girls in a way that Abby did not do it. Carmelle’s really making it her own, um, but we can pass down that passion for the Word and passion for prayer.

Abby: Well I think, you know, there’s nothing cooler than seeing God raise up someone you’ve discipled to reach a person or a place that you could never go. And, I remember as we started our Bible Study, when Carmelle and I began leading, um, Carmelle just has a strong cool factor – like, it’s just a well-known fact.

Katlyn: It’s so true.

Abby: And, I remember, like, there were – especially one of the girls – just like, looked up to Carmelle, totally connected with Carmelle and I felt like I didn’t know where to go with this relationship with this girl; and yet, God had given Carmelle this, um – this girl was just drawn to Carmelle – and whatever Carmelle said, she totally respected. And so, I just think God is so sweet to raise up disciplers that people you’ve discipled to disciple other people that you couldn’t connect with, you couldn’t reach to. And, I think that’s where we need to make sure that we are winning people to Christ, not winning people to ourselves. And I think, that’s something that can easily happen in discipleship is: am I making these girls rely on me for their spiritual growth or am I coming alongside them, teaching them to rely on Christ so that He can equip them to go disciple others.

Jack: Abby, as you’ve allowed Carmelle to lead out – you’ve taught her how to – you’ve modeled and taught her how to lead in Bible Study. Bring us up to speed on how, of course she’s doing a great job, but how has it been to let her do that? To let her fly by herself?

Abby: Yeah well, I think my proudest, like, discipling moment ever was, uh, so the six girls we started with in our Bible Study were all graduating high school and half of them were leaving Colorado and the other three were staying in Colorado Springs. And so, me and the girl I was leading with previously, Alison, invited them over to my apartment. We were just hanging out with them chatting and we just asked them all, “Hey, what do you think next year should look like? We’re available, we want to, uh invest in you and continue to help you grow in your relationship with Christ; uh, but what do you think that should look like?” And I remember Carmelle like was so timid and laughing and didn’t want to say what she was gonna say, but she just looked at us and was like, “I think we’re ready to disciple other people but I’m just so nervous.” And that was really what launched this next generation. And so, it’s been so cool because Carmelle and Kiera and myself are now all co-leading this Bible Study; and, it’s been so sweet to be able to step back and know that if I’m out of town for a week, like, they can lead and they can help these girls come to know Christ more. And so, a couple weeks ago, I was, um, out on a trip and it was over Valentine’s Day and so they were like, “Hey, can we actually do something, like, we’re thinking about doing something different for our Bible Study,” and they ended up going through 1st John. And, we have one girl in our Bible Study who is known for asking the hardest questions known to man – and I love her for it – but, if you ever want to be stumped, do Bible Study with her. And so, Carmelle and Kiera led this Bible Study; and of course, this girl is asking a million hard questions. And what they did? Carmelle and Kiera left that Bible Study, dug into the Word, answered these questions, and then connected with her and followed up on all the questions that she had asked. And I think, um you know, it’s been so cool to, again, trust God that He’s gonna use these girls in ways that He, um, maybe I wouldn’t even be equipped to do as much. And so, I think it’s been good to see: it’s gonna look different; and yet, the Holy Spirit is moving through Carmelle and Kiera to disciple the next generation and I’ve gotta trust Him in that.

Jack: Well Carmelle, how did you feel about that, in the midst of it? In terms of being nervous and, uh, looking forward to leading in that? Talk to us about that.

Carmelle: Yeah, well I should first say that we have, like, the most gracious group of girls ever, so really, yeah, I struck gold there. Um, but yeah, as I’ve been going through it, um, I think I’ve really just been digging into practical ways of teaching and instructing so that they can have something to take away from every time we meet. Kind of trying to demystify, like, what it is to seek God in our daily lives; because, I feel like a lot of times that can be fuzzy. Um yeah, the nervousness is still there a lot of the times; but yeah, it’s okay to have those moments of silence and moments of awkwardness.

Jack: Uh-huh, yeah. I think that’s really true. Well Carmelle, why don’t you talk to us about your ministry now and what God has laid on your heart as it relates to what you’ve seen Abby do with you?

Carmelle: Yeah so, um like, we’ve mentioned Abby, Kiera, and I now co-lead a Bible Study of high school girls who have done the Crew program at Eagle Lake Camps. Um, that’s been really beautiful. Um, I was a counselor this past summer at Eagle Lake as well and following up with my campers while I’ve been home has played a huge part into my life, um, not at camp. Yeah.

Jack: That’s good. That’s good.

Carmelle: Um, I’d say some huge things that I have learned from being discipled by Abby has been encouragement and then also being, like, very challenged.

Abby: [laughs] That’s because I would challenge Carmelle a lot; so, I’m glad you continued that on!

Carmelle: No but it’s great because, like, not taking those, like, watered down answers to questions really, like being, pursuing me in like – I don’t know…

Abby: Well, I think Carmelle, like, she was always – she has such a wisdom about her – but, I think often times, especially when discipling high schoolers, you can get very surface-level answers. But, it takes that really digging to understand what do they truly think, what do they truly believe? And, that’s been one of the cool things – like, leading with Carmelle – is that, um yeah, again there’s some relationships where I don’t always have the relational trust to really push into things; and yet, some of those girls trust Carmelle even more, and she’s so good when people maybe give a surface level answer that we can kinda tell that might not be what they think or what they believe, she’s been so good to follow-up and say like, “Are you sure that’s what you’re feeling? Are you sure that’s what you’re thinking?” Um because, if we don’t talk about reality like it is, if we don’t know what people are believing about God, how can you point them to Christ? And, she’s so good at digging into that.

Jack: How did you see Katlyn do that with you, Abby?

Abby: Oh, Katlyn. Um, she doesn’t take surface level answers – ever. Um she, what I love about Katlyn is that she’s soft and yet she’s strong in the same moment. And so, um, there were often times where, again when she was discipling me, I was, um, in leadership, it was like the first leadership role I had ever had! I felt so unqualified and I just wanted to be really good at what I was doing. And so, I think often times I can struggle with, like, how people perceive me. And so, at first it would be really easy to say like, “Yeah, I’m doing great. Everything’s great, everything’s awesome.” And yet, she has such discernment that she would always push into that and ask about very specific things. Um, I think that is always a really good tool – is when you can tell that there’s more – um, asking about specific situations often unearths what may actually be going on under the surface, and she was so good at that.

Katlyn: Thank you. I’m glad you appreciated that, now looking back, maybe not so much at the time? Um, yeah and I definitely had Suz, there was an amazing, amazing human named Suz and she did that for me. And, I think it’s just cool to see how you have that passed on. And, I think what’s so cool about discipleship, I even think about, um you know, going back to Katie and Suz and just when they were discipling me, it wasn’t even always about me, it was also about: we’re doing this for you and the person you’re discipling. So, it’s not just you, but who else? Like, who’s your person that you’re going to be discipling? And, I think that’s what I love so much in seeing Abby, um, and meeting with her: it’s always been – even in our conversations – it’s not just about Abby; she talks about the girls she’s discipling and we talk about – we talked when we were meeting – about the girls she’s discipling during the summer and how what we’re doing can equip them and how she can better equip them. And that was a lot of our conversation, which is just so sweet that it’s not just about me, it’s not just about Abby; but, it’s about someone else too. Not that we’re talking badly, but just how can we equip them? How can we support them? How can we build them to be building the next person? And so, it’s so sweet to see Abby’s relationship with Carmelle. And even though I don’t disciple Carmelle, I don’t know her super well, I care about her and care about her spiritual growth. And, it’s so cool to see Abby not care just for Carmelle but also care so deeply about the girls Carmelle is meeting with and discipling and who they will eventually be discipling. And I think that’s what we love, what I love so much about spiritual generations is it’s not about me and there’s so many places where I hear all the time, “It’s just about me; just take care of yourself; do what’s best for you.” And generational discipleship is: “No, it’s not about you; it’s about the person who’s beyond you – two or three or four steps – how are you going to carry that on?”

Jack: Yeah, that is so appropriate because the ripple does far exceed the initial splash. Well, thank you ladies for your time this morning; we appreciate being together with you and we look forward to another podcast down the road.

Everyone: Thanks, thank you, thanks Jack

 

Jack: What a joy it was to sit down with these three dynamic ladies! We’ve seen and heard today what it looks like to be a disciple who makes disciplemakers. Even though each of these relationships is unique to the people involved, you can still see the thread… the “jingle of an unbroken chain” if you will… of what it looks like when men and women give themselves to the things of God, pushing past the initial awkwardness, showing up, and sharing focused time: connecting, reading God’s Word, and praying together.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this episode, learning community and feel encouraged and better equipped! If the idea of discipling toward maturity is a topic you’re enjoying learning more about, we’ve got a number of other great episodes that expand on a lot of what we talked about today! One of those is our very first episode with the late Jim Downing,  “The Definition of Discipleship”.

For more on The Apprentice Approach, including the full transcript of this podcast, resources, our blog, and to sign up for emails, visit our website TheApprenticeApproach.org, and if you haven’t subscribed to The Apprentice Approach Podcast in iTunes, do it today!

And let me encourage you to share this with a friend!

Until next time, this is your host, Jack McQueeney, believing God for generations of men and women like you!

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Podcast 012: The “How’s” of Reaching and Discipling Millennials and Gen Z with Abby Anderson

Learn how to develop relationships (through consistent commitment) that can bear the weight of truth and the hard parts of life; how to invite these generations into deeper development and growth; and, how to win people to Christ, not ourselves… and so much more in this second episode focused on Millennials and Gen Z.


Jack: Welcome to the Apprentice Approach Podcast Episode 012, where the ripples far exceed the splash… this is your host Jack McQueeney.

Many Christians struggle with making disciples; they feel busy, overwhelmed, and not qualified. We understand this struggle, which is why we’ve created a Bible-based framework so any believer can master the art of disciplemaking.

You know, we’ve had a lot of questions about reaching Millennials – and as the largest living adult generation, they’re the greatest driving force in many areas of our society… including disciplemaking. So, we’re excited to focus this month on Millennials, Gen Z, and what you need to know to be a disciplemaker who makes disciplemakers to the third and fourth generations!

Today, we have the privilege of talking with Abby Anderson – who’s living The Apprentice Approach lifestyle with these generations! Abby has been a part of the Eagle Lake family here with The Navigators for many years and is currently the Sustained Giving Supervisor. Abby was also the Crew Director at our Overnight property at Eagle Lake Camps for multiple summers, where she got to pour into the lives of Crew counselors as well as our Crew campers. She has a real heart for those that are in high school and college, and desires to walk alongside them as they learn how to pursue the Lord wholeheartedly.

We’re in the second episode of this two-part series about reaching and discipling Millennials and the generation after that, Gen Z. If you haven’t listened to our last episode (Episode 11), I’d highly encourage you to do that as Abby and I talked about foundational truths about both Gen Z and Millennials you need to know – showing us how we can model merging the sacred and secular, how we, as disciplemakers, get to share how the Gospel changes our relationship with God, and how the Holy Spirit transforms our identity. But today, we’re moving forward from the foundational truths to the “how’s.” Abby shares some keys to how we can reach Millennials and Gen Z.

In this episode, we talk about how to develop relationships (through consistent commitment) that can bear the weight of truth and the hard parts of life; how to invite these generations into deeper development and growth; and, how to win people to Christ, not ourselves… and so much more!

It is a pleasure to have Abby with us today. Let’s dive in!

Jack: Well, now that we know a little bit about Millennials and Gen Z, Abby, what are some keys to jumping in and practically discipling these young men and women?

Abby: Yeah, that’s a great question. I think, you know, just to give you a little bit of background, really the two first times I was discipled: the first time I didn’t even know someone was discipling me; it was kinda secret discipleship. One of my teachers, she is a former Navigator, she asked me to be her teacher’s aid and just started asking me what I believed about Jesus, and I wasn’t really walking with the Lord at that time and so through that space, she really began to cultivate some questions that I had about Jesus. And so, from her, I just learned: you can do it anywhere. We can literally disciple anyone, anywhere, so we’ve gotta be able to broaden our scope of what that looks like. And then I think the second thing is I had the privilege of being discipled by one of my camp counselors right when I began walking with Jesus, and she just basically taught me it wasn’t optional; I didn’t know, because I was a new believer, I had no idea that there are some believers – people walking with Jesus – who do not disciple. I just thought that was what you had to do immediately, so I had just come to know the Lord; I went home (I’m sixteen at the time) and I just found an eighth-grade girl to read the Bible with. And I had no idea what I was doing, but I knew that when I was meeting with my counselor Daria, she would read the Bible with me, so I guess that’s what Christians do. And so, I love that the Holy Spirit just used her in my life to propel me into this world of discipleship that has completely changed my entire life. And so, the first thing I just want to say is: guys, it’s not optional. We don’t just get to decide if we feel like discipling or not, this is part of walking with Jesus. And second, we may not feel equipped enough, we may not feel like we know what we’re doing, but I love that in my ignorance the Holy Spirit showed up and gave me words to say as I discipled this thirteen-year old girl. So, it’s not optional.

Jack: How about inviting someone into that kind of relationship, what does that look like for you?

Abby: Yeah, I think it’s always a little nerve-racking; no matter how old you are, you want to be liked. It doesn’t change. And I really thought it would; but now I am 26, and I still want people to like me. But, I think we have to remember something innate in humans is that there’s something so nice about being wanted. And so, whenever I go to someone and say, “I want to spend time with you;” “I want to get to know you;” “I want to invest in you,” I think there’s no one who’s offended by that. So, we get to give people the gift of wanting to be wanted. Um, I think the second thing, I have the privilege of discipling high schoolers and I kid you not, they’re the most intimidating people I have ever met, even being 10 years older than some of them, they still intimidate me! But, I have to remind myself that if you’re older, they already think you’re cool, so there are many times when I’ll be picking up one of my high school girls and thinking like, “Oh, does she think I’m so lame?” And I’ll have to say to myself in my head, “They think you’re cool because you’re older, so play off of that.” Um, I think we have to be okay to just be confident walking up to someone and asking if we can meet with them and begin reading the Bible with them and teaching them to walk with Jesus. I think also, the last thing that has just been so crucial in my discipleship relationships is having high expectations. Remember that it is important to set clear expectations for them up front so that they understand what you are expecting in this relationship and what you want it to look like. Something that is so sweet about this generation is if you set high expectations, they rise to them. And it was funny, even preparing for this podcast, I asked some of my high school girls like, “Hey what’s important for people to know about discipling your generation?” And the first thing they said was: “Set high expectations, we’ll rise to them.”

Jack: Hmm, that’s interesting. You know, Jesus called the 12 to be with him, he didn’t, uh, ask for volunteers, he was very specific. You know, Abby, as you think about the generations going forward, why is it important to have these high expectations?

Abby: I think a lot of time our generation and Gen Z feels written off. I can’t tell you how many times there has been jokes about, “Oh Millennials!” and I think we want to show that we have something to bring to the table. And so, when you look at someone and you can say like, “I see this in you;” “I see that you can do this;” “Will you rise to this expectation?” They feel honored and valued in that. And so, one of the things, um, in leading a high school Bible Study, I tell them exactly what I’m expecting of them. If they don’t have time to be involved and be committed and show up every week, then this probably isn’t the right place… and that’s okay. And we give them the freedom to say “no.” But, when they commit to being in our Bible Study, to grow relationships, you can only go as deep as the shallowest person [Jack: Yeah] and so we’re really clear about what the time commitment looks like, what we are going to be doing, and then we give them the freedom to say “yes” or “no” to that.

Jack: So, this is really important for any generation.

Abby: Yep.

Jack: Well, what does that look like for these Gen Z’s, why is it especially important for them?

Abby: I think what I love about Gen Z, uh, give them the real deal. They want to know truth, they want to know what you expect. They don’t want to play around, and so if you can say, “This is what I see in you;” “this is what I think of you;” “this is what I expect of you,” they feel really honored in that. Um, even when you say hard things; I think so often we’re afraid of offending them – because this is a generation that at times can be a little touchy and can get offended pretty easily – but, what I’ve found is when you honor their dignity enough to tell them the truth, they feel respected and they trust you.

Jack: So, there’s a sense of authenticity with you as you try to communicate that truth that really does come across [Abby: Yes!]. You know that’s really good ‘cause that reminds me of a conversation that we’ve had with Mark Heffentrager on “Leading the Next (and Now) Generation of Disciplers” and he talked about the importance of “tribe” in Millennials. Can you tell us a little more about the impact when a discipler, when someone really shows up, what does that really convey to these young men and women?

Abby: Yeah, I think they want to be valued and important, and so when you say, “I’m going to be present in your life;” “I’m not going to go away;” “I’m going to be consistent no matter what,” what it shows them is that you’re trustworthy. What I’ve found in almost all of my discipling relationships is that it takes about a year for me to really feel like, “Wow, they trust me.” Um, and that’s a long time, if we’re being honest. You know, it’s been interesting now walking through a couple generations of high school girls that I’ve discipled, every time I start over I’m like, “Am I doing something wrong?” “Why is this weird sometimes?” “Am I bad at this now?” “Like, did I lose how to disciple people?” And yet it takes about a year for them to really, really trust you and so what that means is a year of showing up to their tennis matches, a year of showing up to their basketball games, a year of picking them up after school, a year of showing that I’m not going anywhere no matter what you do, what you say, who you are, because I love you and I’m committed to you. And, when you can show that you’re going to be consistent regardless of circumstances, all the sudden the walls begin to fall and you can really begin to see who they are, and they trust you with their heart.

Jack: So, developing the weight, developing that relationship that will bear the weight of the truth that will eventually come when you guys talk about the hard things, that’s good!

Abby: Yeah, definitely.

Jack: You know, you mention it being hard and awkward, and I think that’s a topic that we all can really learn from, some keys to that. What does that look like for you?

Abby: Well, I think if I would probably get on a rooftop and shout anything about discipleship, one of the first things I would say is, “Don’t give up when it’s weird! Don’t give up when it’s weird.” Because if you give up when it’s weird, you’ll never get to the goodness of it. And so, I mean, I have been discipling people for ten years and, I will tell you, year after year, it’s weird sometimes. What that has looked like, a lot of times when I’m building relationships with people there’s a couple things that I have seen trends in. So, the first is, when you start a new discipling relationship, you’re gonna start with the shallow answers; so, it’s hard to feel like you’re actually getting down to what they actually believe about Jesus, because a lot of times they maybe know the “right” things to say, but that’s not what they actually believe all the time. And so, it feels like you’re bumping up against this knowledge – this “head” knowledge – and not able to dig deeper into the heart knowledge. And so, when that happens, don’t give up! Keep showing up, because they will drop the walls and begin to ask you questions; they will drop the walls and let you push back on things.Um, I think the second thing that’s kind of hard about it is every person is different, and I’ve seen this with my girls. There are some girls if I push pretty hard, saying like, “Are you sure, like, that was the right thing to do? Are you sure that you’re really trusting God with that?” They are so perfectionistic, they would be mortified and absolutely filled with shame. And so, there are girls that that would be a horrible approach to and yet, there are some other girls where I can look them in the eye and say like, “You’re sinning in this way; so, what are you gonna do about it?” And, that’s exactly the challenge they need, and they feel so cared for, loved, and known by – my bluntness is calling things what they are. And so, part of the first year is just getting to know who you’re ministering to, because a right step in one relationship could be a total wrong step in another, and so you need to know what lies Satan has been whispering over them for years – what things they struggle with – what they’re so fearful of. Because, as you can learn those things, you can be wise in not reinforcing things that are not true, but instead, speaking truth over them.

Jack: So Abby, as you attempt to not use a “one size fits all” perspective in the midst of this, what are some of the things that you do to prepare and to listen in to the Holy Spirit to determine what it is you know one of your girls might be struggling with?

Abby: Yeah, I think um, first off, I love that you brought up the Holy Spirit, because I think that is the only way we can really have insight and wisdom to their hearts. Uh, one of the things I try to do, especially on my drive over to pick up any of my girls, I just pray like, “Lord, would you show me, you know, what’s going on in their heart? What’s holding them back from following you? Would you give me the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, wisdom outside of anything that man can know?” But, I think another really important thing is, I actually try to pray that in front of them too, because I think it’s important to not win people to me, but win people to Christ. And so, building dependence on Christ, not myself, and I think it would be really easy, as the Holy Spirit gives me insight and wisdom into what they’re struggling with, for them to think, “Wow! Abby’s so insightful! I need to call her for everything.” But really, it’s the Holy Spirit who’s doing that; and so, I’m intentional, like when I’m meeting with them, to pray like, “Holy Spirit would you just give me wisdom to know how I can love Carmelle, serve Carmelle, and teach Carmelle more about you.” So that they know it’s the Holy Spirit inside of me who’s empowering me to do that, so that’s one of, you know, it’s a small distinction and yet it is absolutely will change the way you disciple.Um, I think the second thing, um, is that I, uh gosh, high schoolers are so funny because they want you know things and they don’t in the same moment. And so, if you ever sense like a hesitation before they answer a question, just call it. You know, there’ll be times where I’ll ask, “How was your week?” And they’ll pause and then they’ll be like, “Yeah, I mean it was really good.” Well, that tells you right there that there’s more to that answer and so I think we have to not be afraid of what’s going to come out. I know there probably even more recently in some of my relationships, sometimes I get afraid, like what are you going to say? What if I don’t have the right answer? And so, I don’t press in, and yet, again, we have the Holy Spirit in us, so we need to be able to trust and press into those hesitations and say, “Hey, you sounded like you hesitated; is there more to that? Would you tell me?” Like, “Do you know I’m trustworthy and I won’t say anything that, like, I won’t repeat this to other people, if that’s something you don’t want to happen?” So, um, I think again, just affirming you’re a safe place. And then lastly, um, we’ve gotta be a really good listener. And in discipleship, I think often we can we can go into a mode where we’re trying to teach other people and we’re not necessarily listening well. And so, one of the – there’s like probably three things I do to try to listen well.

The first is, someone told me once that, “If you want to understand someone’s theology, listen to them pray,” and, it is one of the most true statements I’ve ever heard. So, I will, a lot of times, I think it would be really easy in a Bible Study to let me lead, to let me pray, to let me facilitate like our spiritual conversations; but, if I want to know where my girls are at, I probably have to stop talking a lot more. And so, I’ll ask, I just call them out, at this point like they are comfortable enough that they call me out right back, but I’ll just call them out and say, “Hey, Sydney, you’re gonna pray for us.” And she does, and it’s awesome. But, as she prays and open us up in our time, I listen to: what is she highlighting about Jesus? What is she thanking Him for? Is she thanking Him for His grace? Is she thanking Him for His holiness? Is she only praying for – is she only asking for things? Um, that’s a really good, uh, if you hear girls only asking God for things, um, that’s a great launching point into saying like, “Hey, I noticed that when you pray, uh, you’re really asking God for, to bless your day and bless everything that you do; are you wanting to be about His Kingdom, or are you wanting to be about your kingdom?” Um, so listen to what they pray for and follow-up with them and ask them about it, and don’t be afraid– if they trust you, they’re not gonna be offended, they’re gonna feel known. So, the first is listen to them pray. Second, listen to the patterns, um, that they talk about. One thing we do before Bible Study is I always ask, “Happy/Crappy.” So, I say, “What’s a happy moment of your day? What was a crappy moment of your day?” Um, you’ll see trends really, really quickly. So, what is, uh, what are the things of disappointment that are ruling their life? Um, is it bad grades? Um, I know there is – I’ve discipled a couple girls who are just so overwhelmed by perfectionism, and so they’ll say over and over like, “I just have so much homework, I can’t do anything right; blah blah blah blah blah.” Well then, we get to talk about, like, what it means to rest in Christ’s grace. Um, but I have other girls who really struggle with bitterness, and so they’ll talk about like, “Well, and then this person did this to me and it was just the worst.” Are they painting themselves in the light of the victim, because then we get to talk about our own sin and what it looks like to walk through forgiveness and extend grace. So, listen to what are the trends that they say, um, this sounds super creepy and weird, but don’t be afraid to take notes on the people you’re discipling. Because you’re not gonna remember everything they say, so when I make observations, especially when I first began discipling people, in the back of my notebook I would write their names and write down things that are important to them. You know, so I would say like, “Shay said this that this was really important to her, I need to remember this. Um, this verse really stuck out to her for some reason. I need to look into this verse more and ask her why that was important.” So, I’ll take notes on what they say and what is important to them [Jack: Sure!] so I can see trends in what God’s doing. And then the last thing is: ask questions. I think we feel so much pressure in discipleship because we think we need to have the right answer, and yet we are, like, we have the opportunity to bring them to Jesus and show them who Jesus is. And so, I just ask a lot of questions in my discipling relationships, and I rarely give answers. So, if someone has a really, um, one of the, you know someone has a “crappy” that kinda sticks out to me, or a “happy” that sticks out to me, I’ll say, “Why was that so important to you? What about that moment was so defining for your week? Would you tell us more about that?” Or, if someone makes, um, you know, tells me a situation that’s hard, but then they try to brush it off – um which high schoolers do all the time – they’ll say like, “Well, it wasn’t that big of a deal though.” I’ll stop and say, “What did that feel like? Could you describe that to me? How did that change what you believe about Jesus?” And I think, as you ask those questions, they’ll answer. They’ll surprise you with their authenticity and their honesty. But, you have to be able to go there with them and not react or be afraid by what they say. Because, if they can tell you their doubts, their fears, and you can respond in love and acceptance, then you all of a sudden have the space and the trust to be able to speak into those places.

Jack: Boy, that gets to their core identity too. That’s good. Well, Abby, is it, uh, is it really just about meeting with them? Or what is it, uh – what is it your long-term vision that you’re thinking about?

Abby: Yeah, that’s a great question. I think my vision and my prayer has been that the next generation would know and love Jesus for the rest of their life. And I think that last part is so key: for the rest of their life. Because we see a lot of people, um, a lot of my generation (and I anticipate Gen Z) leaving the Church after Graduation. Um, when it’s not their parents’ faith anymore, it sure doesn’t often transition into being their personal faith. And so, I think one of the things that has been really helpful is I, um, there’s like a really easy diagram, um, that I’ve used in the past that you can easily pinpoint kind of where people are in their spiritual growth. And so, um, really there’s four quadrants: one where they have never heard of Jesus and don’t know the Gospel, the second quadrant would be they’ve heard the Gospel but they’re not sure if they believe it, the third would be they believe the Gospel but they don’t know how to practice it and continue to grow with Christ, and the fourth quadrant would be they know the Gospel, they know how to grow with Christ, and they can reproduce other disciples. And so, what I’ve been intentional to do is just because all my girls have heard the Gospel, just because all of them are in Bible Study, does not mean that they are all in the same quadrant. And so, I need to be intentional to truly understand where they are in their walk with Jesus, because that’s going to change how I approach, um, my discipling relationships with them. And so, I have girls who very much understand the Gospel, and yet they’re still deciding like, “Is Jesus worth it? I know it’s gonna cost.” I have girls who understand the Gospel and, you know they’re now learning, “Okay, what does it look like to walk with Jesus every day? How do I continue to grow in my, um, my spiritual disciplines and, um, how to read the Word by myself.” And then I also have girls who like, they understand the Gospel, they get what it looks like to walk with Jesus – even if I were to step back from discipling them – they, I mean they’re running and they are ready to make disciples and so I think my goal is always, I always want to have a vision for all of my girls being in the fourth quadrant. I always want them to steadfastly be walking with Jesus for the rest of their lives and making disciples in that process. But, I think we also need to acknowledge that not every girl I’m discipling is there; and so, my prayer is always – they’re moving into the next quadrant, they’re moving into a deeper, more steadfast, faithful relationship with Jesus that will extend to the rest of their life and then they will be able to continue to make disciples. And so, um, I think it’s been cool to, uh, I there’s probably like two or three different girls, um, in the past that I’ve really spent a lot of intentional time with, and some of them, um, is because they are walking through that question of: “Is Jesus worth it? Do I actually want to follow Him?” Um, but then some of them, like, they’re ready to share their faith. They’re ready to go out and make disciples. And so, in our conversations, we’re talking about like, “Okay, who’s a friend we can pray for that doesn’t know Jesus that we can share the Gospel with?” And so, I think we need to have a vision for: how do we help these girls move to that fourth quadrant, where they can begin making disciples in their schools – sometimes in their families, sometimes they come from unbelieving backgrounds – um, at college, with younger girls, and that really is the vision of how do we begin to ask the question: what does it look like to make disciples right where you’re at? Because like we said, you can do it with anyone, anywhere, um, and that’s what I want to talk to my girls about.

Jack: That’s so good. Well, it really does reflect John 17 – Jesus’s prayer and His modeling to his men – and I think it’s exciting to see you do that as well, Abby, with your girls. So, thank you again for your time and we’ll wrap it up at this point.

Jack: We’ve learned today some of the keys to how to disciple Millennials and Gen Z – moving from understanding foundational truths of their generations to how to actually reach them where they are individually, in their unique context and climate. Abby shared the importance of setting high expectations, being authentic and consistently committed to the everyday lives of those we’re discipling. But most importantly, Abby shared some keys to how she listens to the Holy Spirit as she prepares to meet with Millennials and Gen Z, leaning into His wisdom and how that leads to winning people to Christ, not ourselves.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this episode, learning community and feel encouraged and better equipped! If Millennials and Gen Z is a topic you’re enjoying learning more about, we’ve got two other podcast episodes you don’t want to miss! Podcast 008: “Leading the Next (and Now) Generation of Disciplers with Mark Heffentrager (Director of Eagle Lake Camps) and Podcast 011: “Foundational Truths You Need to Know About Gen Z and Millennials (from a “we” perspective)” with Abby Anderson (which is part one in this series) are great resources on this topic!

For more on The Apprentice Approach, including the full transcript of this podcast, resources, our blog, and to sign up for emails, visit our website TheApprenticeApproach.org , and if you haven’t subscribed to The Apprentice Approach Podcast in iTunes, do it today!

And let me encourage you to share this with a friend!

Until next time, this is your host, Jack McQueeney, believing God for generations of men and women like you!

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Podcast 011 “Foundational Truths You Need to Know About Gen Z and Millennials (from a “we” perspective)”

POST SCRIPT: We experienced technical difficulties during the recording of this podcast. Thanks for your patience when things are noticeably re-recorded and overlaid; and, thanks for understanding that this whole disciplemaking thing really is about doing “real life” with people… even when mics mess up!

Welcome to the Apprentice Approach Podcast Episode 011, where the ripples far exceed the splash… this is your host Jack McQueeney.

Many Christians struggle with making disciples; they feel busy, overwhelmed, and not qualified. We understand this struggle, which is why we’ve created a Bible-based framework so any believer can master the art of disciplemaking.

Today, we have the privilege of talking with Abby Anderson! Abby has been a part of the Eagle Lake family here with The Navigators for many years and is currently the Sustained Giving Supervisor. Abby was also the Crew Director at our Overnight property at Eagle Lake for multiple summers, where she got to pour into the lives of Crew counselors as well as our Crew campers. She has a real heart for those that are in high school and college, and desires to walk alongside them as they learn how to pursue the Lord wholeheartedly.

We’ve had a lot of questions about reaching Millennials and the generation after that, Gen Z. So, we’re excited to talk to Abby – who’s living The Apprentice Approach out every day with these two generations! Abby is a Millennial herself, who has been discipled and has experienced discipling other Millennials, as well as many in Generation Z and she offers foundational truths about Millennials and Gen Z and also shares some great insight for how to truly engage these generations for Jesus!

It is a pleasure to have Abby with us today for part one of this two-part series. Let’s dive in!

Jack: So, Abby, as a Millennial, how do we respond to Gen Z? How do we respond to the generation that follows us? You’re a Millennial, you’ve learned some things, why don’t you talk to us today about that?

Abby: Well, Jack, I am so excited to talk about this topic, because there is probably nothing that gets me more excited than discipling the next generation. And while Millennials and Gen Z may get a bad rap, I totally understand, let me tell you, they are hungry to know Jesus! And, we have such an incredible opportunity to really raise up the next generation of Christ-followers. So, there’s a couple things, um I’ve been, obviously, a Millennial my whole life and also discipling Gen Z’ers for the past, really, six years um intentionally. And, there’s just been a few things that I’ve learned and observed from my time with them – so excited to share with you.

Jack: Yeah, yeah that’s great! Jump right in!

Abby:  Yeah, well I think this is something people talk about a lot, but really one of the things that I’ve noticed is um Millennials and especially Gen Z, they genuinely don’t know what God’s Word says. Um, I think they um and even myself really, we grew up in a generation where mega Church and pastors were very present. We had a lot of access to Biblical teaching through the boom of the internet, through social media, um even through bloggers. And so, as a generation, we know what people say about God’s Word, but rarely has anyone taught us to read God’s Word.

Jack: Well that’s interesting Abby, then how do we help Gen Z’s understand?

Abby: Yeah, that’s a great question! I think from being a Millennial and spending time with Gen Z, first off, understand that this is where they’re coming from and don’t berate them for it. I think a lot of times we do get a bad rep and yet a lot of times the reason this is the way it is, is because no one ever took the time to teach us. And so, first off, don’t hate on their generation, but meet them where they’re at. One of the things that I’m so intentional with in my discipleship is to read God’s Word with my girls. A lot of them, again, they’re going to church with their families or their friends or the people that are investing in them, but they’re not necessarily seeing these mentors get up and spend time in God’s Word. They’re not seeing these mentors and how they read God’s Word. And so, one of the things that I love doing is just bringing a girl alongside me, bringing them with me when I’m studying the Bible. So, I’ve been leading a Bible Study with high school girls for the past four years and so whenever I prepare for Bible Study, a lot of times I’ll text the group and say, “Hey, I’m gonna go to a coffee shop and work on my Bible Study, does anyone want to join me?” And so, how can we model this? How can we model spending time in God’s Word and bring them along with us as we ourselves are reading God’s Word?

Jack: Yeah, that’s good. So, Abby, how is it that you not only teach the importance of the Word, but then get into the obedience aspect, obeying it, in light of all the things that they have heard? So, the social media aspects, all those pieces. How do you do that practically?

Abby: Yeah, one of my favorite things to do, there was a girl, Carmelle, I was discipling. Who we would, it was when she was in high school, I would wake up, go pick her up in the morning before school and we would just do our quiet times together at a coffeeshop before I dropped her off. And so, I would ask her, “Hey, Carmelle, what do you want to read today? Like what, is there any passages, you know, you feel the Lord’s putting on your heart? What do we want to go through today?” And, I would have her pick the passage. We would spend time reading the Word on our own; and then, we would talk about observations – things that stuck out to us – what do we see about God’s character in this? And then, at the end of our time, and I think this is so important and we cannot miss this, I would ask her what’s one thing you want to obey out of this Scripture today? And we would pray for an opportunity to obey that piece of Scripture.And, it was so cool to see how God would give us opportunities – specific to what we had read that morning – to either choose obedience or disobedience. And so, that was again one thing of trying to help her understand this isn’t just you know a spiritual or sacred time where we’re reading God’s Word and then we go on with the rest of our life; but, how does God’s Word impact every moment of our day, and how can we walk in obedience – you know, when we’re in math class or when we’re eating dinner with our family?

Jack: Yeah, how do you do that without stifling their excitement for walking with Christ?

Abby: That is a great question! We are a generation that loves excitement, I will tell you that. If you talk to any Millennial or Gen Z’er, I’m sure what you’ll hear is, “I wanna do big things for God!” And you know, I love their heart behind that. And, I think we’ve got to be careful not to write them off in that but really hear that they have a heart that wants to serve God and step out in faith. But, here’s a generation that grew up applauded. We are a generation that there was no winners or losers, everyone got a participation award, but even more than that, we are a generation where social media first took root. And so, everything we did people “liked” it, people commented on it, people mentioned us in it. And so, we’re used to having fanfare at all times.

Jack: So, if you didn’t get the 86 Likes, are you disappointed?

Abby: Oh totally! I think again, what we have to remember, is how do we meet this generation in that place? And so, one of the things that I’m sure, if you’ve spent any time walking with Jesus, you realize that sometimes walking with Jesus is a long obedience. There’s nothing that – people aren’t applauding you for it. No one’s, like, throwing a party because you did hard things. A lot of times, God asks us to be obedient in really quiet places, where people aren’t watching, and that’s really hard for our generation, to be honest with you. And so, as disciplers, I think first thing we need to do is acknowledge that – we need to acknowledge that this is a generation that wants fanfare, and yet, how do we teach them to be obedient in really quiet places. And so, one of the things that I have been intentional to really think through is: what are the girls that I’m discipling, what are they seeing in my life? Because, if we’re not intentional, what they see is me leading Bible Study, me discipling girls, me being able to teach a bunch of women about Jesus. And, what they’re seeing are all these really amazing spiritual things that I’m doing that a lot of people are watching and are really exciting. What they don’t see is when I make dinner for my family, or I show up faithfully to work everyday and work really hard unto the Lord, or when I’m grocery shopping, and so, I think we need to realize that, unintentionally, we can curate our lives for our disciplees to only see a certain aspect of what we do. And so, when they grow up and they have to make dinner for their family they might think, “Well, Abby was doing all these amazing things, why am I just making dinner for my kids?” And we need to be intentional to invite them into those quiet places where we are faithfully loving and serving Jesus – when no one’s watching.

Jack: That’s great, Abby. You know, you mentioned what it is to see life in the mundane but then also in the spiritual realm. How do you tie those things together? What are you doing as disciplemaker to communicate some of those truths that, you know, life is not lived on either side?

Abby: Yeah, oh this is my favorite thing to talk about, Jack. Um, I think a lot of times, really the thing I hear the most from my girls is that, “I do all these spiritual things and then I go on with the rest of my life.” And no one taught them, no one taught them, how to walk with Jesus in the mundane! And so, they think being spiritual – walking with Jesus – is reading their Bible, praying, sharing the Gospel. And, if they’re not doing one of those things in that moment, they’re part of just their normal, secular life. And so, because we have not taught this generation how to commune with Christ in the everyday, they have these two separate lives and they don’t know how to merge them. And I truly, truly, believe they desire to, but they don’t understand how they can go to their tennis match and play while communing with Jesus; they don’t know how, even my generation, doesn’t know how to go grocery shopping for Jesus and honor Him in that. And while that sounds so silly, don’t we have the Holy Spirit in us? Isn’t that what Christ came to do – to invade every aspect of our life? And so, we get to worship him, not just by singing praises, but also while we work, while we get to participate in our everyday, mundane, unexciting lives. And so, I think that’s the biggest thing we can teach this generation.

Jack: How do you do that, Abby? You know, as you try to help not just other women in their walk with Christ, but to catch that spirit to the third and fourth generation?

Abby: Yeah, that’s a great question. There’s probably, like, two specific things that I intentionally do. So, the first is, I would say, as a discipler, my girls often see me as the “spiritual side” of their life because we’re talking about spiritual things; but, we’re meeting, we’re reading the Bible. And so, one of the most powerful things I can do is be involved in the “real” parts of their life – so that means picking them up from high school; that means talking about what they’re doing in math class, how they bombed a math test and it was really hard; it means talking about just like things that are fun that don’t necessarily immediately relate back to the Bible. It means showing up for their tennis matches; it means having a sleepover and watching like a silly movie. So, how can I, as almost a spiritual side of their life, enter into the very real, secular sides of their life as well? So, I think that’s the first thing – if we’re only showing up in a spiritual context, we’re affirming that there is a spiritual side of their life and there is a secular side; and so, we need to break that barrier down with our presence and with our involvement. But, I think the second thing is inviting them into the mundane places of my life as well; and talking about what does it look like to honor God in this area? One of the things I really like to do is, again when I’m showing up to these like very normal, everyday things, talking about, “Well what do you think Jesus has to say about that?” So, I remember a couple weeks ago there was, one of my girls had something really disappointing happen; it wasn’t a big deal, it wasn’t anything super spiritual, it was just a small thing that had happened that was really disappointing. And, as we talked about it, instead of quoting Scripture and saying, “Hey this is how you should think about it; this is how you should feel about it.” What I asked her is, “Well, what do you think Jesus has to say about that? Do you think He has anything that He wants to tell you in the midst of thisdisappointment?” And, I didn’t know what Jesus wanted to say to her, so we just stopped and were driving in the car, so we are at a stoplight – don’t worry I prayed with my eyes open – but we’re at a stoplight and I just prayed, “Lord, do you have anything you want to say to her about this?” And then, we were just quiet. And, I can’t say it was like this magical, amazing, moment where like the Holy Spirit spoke to her so clearly, but how can we ask those questions in the midst of really mundane things? So, how do we bring this idea of Jesus is interacting with us right now in this mundane stuff. I think the second thing too is: how do I, I need to dialogue with them, how I’m navigating honoring God with every aspect of my life? So, I’m pretty open about my life to my girls; so, one of the things I’ll talk about is like I’m trying to figure out like what does it look like to honor God with my money? And dialogue – do you guys have any thoughts on that, I’m really trying to navigate this as well? So, inviting them into the places that my faith and myknowing of the Gospel is transforming my everyday life.

Jack: Boy that’s good. You know, Abby, there’s – we touched on this earlier – but there’s a kind of constant performance level that, especially the social media brings up, where the appearance of happiness is more important than actually being happy. And, we know this generation, there’s shame, there’s struggle in the midst of that. What are some of the things that you’ve intentionally done to step into these areas to help young women deal with this?

Abby: Yeah, well I think there is so much shame in this generation, but I think the first thing – as we think about how to step into these really deep, hard places – is how do we make these girls feel known? And so, I just, I just think it’s such a joy and honor to be able to be a witness to what God is doing in their life. And, I want to make sure that they know that I care about them. And so, one of the things that I’m really intentional about, again, is just showing up holistically in their lifenot just in a piece of it. I want them to be known not just who they are at Bible Study, but who they are, you know, at lunch in high school, who they are on the tennis court, who they are on the basketball court, who they are with their family. And so, how can I holistically know them and just acknowledge those pieces of them?

I think the second thing is just being able to acknowledge that they have something to offer;because, if we’re gonna talk about shame, if we’re gonna talk about those deep places where they are fearful of sharing, there has to be trust. And so, I can build trust by showing up, but then also showing that I trust them. This generation wants to have something to contribute and they want to be trusted. If you are just showing up to teach them, they’re gonna have a very hard time sharing with you because they want to know that they have value in your life too. And so, one of the things that I’m very intentional to do is invite them into what I’m struggling with, what I’m navigating, what I’m thinking through, and give them an input. And so, for example, um, a couple months ago I was leading a devotional for a group of leaders and I wanted to practice it before I got up in front of everyone and shared. And so, I actually grabbed one of my high school girls, took her out to coffee and was like, “Hey, can I just practice my devo with you? And can you give me feedback on it?” And so, I sat down, went through my whole devo with her, and then she gave me pointers. And, I think that is such a sweet place where we, as disciplers, get to humble ourselves and like get to actually live inside of community and not in this – I don’t know – like leadership moment where, “I’m investing in you, and I have so much to offer you; but, you don’t have anything to offer me.” Because, at the foot of the cross, we’re all equal; and so, how do I engage with the girls I’m discipling in a way, acknowledging that I do have things to offer them, but they also have things to offer me, and the Holy Spirit can use them to minister to me as well.

Jack: Boy, that’s good. You know that’s something I’ve been thinking about, and I’ve actually shared this in a number of talks that I’ve given recently, but Ephesians 2:10, where it says, “For we are God’s masterpieces. He’s created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he’s planned for us long ago.” I think about, especially if I think there’s a word picture for young women in this day-and-age, is God’s masterpieces. I think that God dotes over them, as we would sometimes dote over a special piece of art or something that is very unique and precious to us. But, as you think about young women and some of the folks that you’ve actually been ministering to, what is it that you do to actually engage with them around, I think, not just allowing the Holy Spirit entering in, but helping them to refute the lies of the world?

Abby: Oh yeah, oh yeah. If there is anything that we need to talk about with this next generation, it’s the core lies that they believe. I think they have been, yeah, just very much whispered to by Satan about the lack of their worth, the lack of their ability to trust God, and so we have an opportunity as disciplers to not only share how the Gospel changes our relationship with God, but how the Holy Spirit transforms our identity. One of the things I’ve really noticed over the past couple years is just this huge struggle with shame, that’s something that I personally have experienced, I know Millennials have experienced, the girls I’ve discipled experience. And, I think it’s, it’s not simple; and, there’s a couple reasons why this is such a stronghold that Satan has in this generation. I think the first is they don’t know the difference between conviction – which would be Godly guilt – and shame. So, when I do something that displeases God, when I sin against someone, I do feel guilt; and that is good; that calls me to repentance. But, what shame does – guilt is always specific; it’s always specific. When the Holy Spirit is convicting me, He’s convicting me of the words I said; I can remember the exact sentence I said. Whereas shame says, “You are a mess-up; you are wrong; no one will ever like you; you’re a terrible friend.” So, the difference between conviction and shame is that conviction is specific and something specific we can repent about; shame says who we are is wrong and broken and we will never be redeemed. And no one – I feel like no one is teaching that distinction – they don’t know that. And so, they interpret guilt and conviction as shame, and then they don’t know how to repent; and, when we don’t live in repentance, of course we don’t feel the peace of Christ. And so, I feel like my girls, they know that God is Just and that Jesus died to atone for God’s wrath and wipe their sin clean, but they don’t understand fully that because, even though we are saved, we still sin, but we have this throne of grace that we can approach and repent and be at peace with Christ. Because they’ve lived in this world of just ultra-grace, what they’ve been told is, you know, “God forgives you; God forgives you; God forgives you,” and that’s so true, and yet, no one taught them the process of repentance. And so, they just keep hearing, “God forgives you; God forgives you,” but they feel guilt and shame and they don’t know what to do about it. And so, their reaction is basically if I feel this way, God must not be real cause Jesus’s grace is supposed to cover everything and I still feel guilty and ashamed. But, it’s because they haven’t repented. And so, what I have, like one of the sweetest things we’ve gotten to practice is just teaching them what to do with our guilt and how do we bring that before God; ask for repentance and experience the transforming grace of Christ.

Jack: Well, how has this ultra-grace concept been damaging in your mind to these Gen Z teens?

Abby: Yeah, I think, um, I think there’s so many ways, first, it’s that no one taught them repentance, and no one taught them what to do with conviction. And so, what they do is they push it aside completely. When they have conviction from the Holy Spirit, no one taught them how to come before God and repent, and so they just feel complete worthlessness when they do something wrong. This generation they want to do right. What I love, love, love about them is they know when they’ve messed up and they’re mortified by it; and yet, no one’s taught them what to do with that. Um, I think also – with ultra-grace – because they’ve been taught, “Jesus forgives; Jesus forgives; Jesus forgives,” no one’s teaching them about how to strive for holiness. And so – holiness is not perfection, and yet it’s the fruit that happens when the Spirit renews us – and so, what they hear, they have to choose, it feels like, between ultra-grace and perfection. And, when they can’t reach perfection, they choose ultra-grace – where my actions don’t matter, my sin doesn’t matter – because they’ve already tried being perfect and it doesn’t work.

Jack: How do you bring this message and this concept of repentance into the context of discipleship?

Abby: Yeah, I think you’ve gotta model it first. One of the things that I um had modeled to me within my own – the people I’ve worked for, the people that have discipled me, just leadership in general – they were so quick to repent in front of me. And so, when I am maybe pushed too hard, I’m known to do that when I’m pushed too hard in a situation. I might offend someone, or when I don’t show up to Bible Study prepared, what I’m intentional to do is not try and hide my sin, not try and hide the ways I messed up, but to intentionally say, “Hey guys, I really messed this up today and I just, I am sorry. Would you forgive me?” And, I’m really specific to tell them what I’m sorry for, “So, I’m sorry for saying this comment to you; I thought it was funny and it was unkind, would you please forgive me?” And so, when they see that I – because I’m confident in who Christ is – I don’t have anything to hide, I don’t have to worry about being perfect; I can come before them and ask for their forgiveness. Then, all of a sudden they know they don’t have to be perfect. So, I think that’s the first thing. I think you know two other ways that I really try to incorporate this is every – my poor girls – every time we meet, one of the things I always pray before we get started is, “Lord, if there is any way that we’ve sinned against you and we don’t know, would you bring that to mind and would we quickly repent?” And so, I just ask that the Holy Spirit would convict them, so that they have the opportunity to repent and experience the sweet grace of Jesus. And then, I think the third thing is, and I hear this all the time from our generation and Gen Z’ers, is they’ll tell me, “You know, I just feel so distant from God.” Um, and I think we’ve all gone through seasons of that; and yet, what I also know is when I’m living in unrepentance, when there’s sin that I’m unwilling to give up, I always feel distant from God. And so, gently, very gently, I will ask them, “Was there any sin you haven’t repented of?” And, nine times out of ten there is. And so, what we get to do then, is, I get to say, “Well hey, would you like to repent of that?” And, sometimes they’re ready to and, to be honest, sometimes they aren’t. And so, what I, if they are ready, I’ll just say, “I’m gonna open us up in prayer and then I would just love for you to repent to Jesus about this and experience His grace.” But, there’s times where you know I’ve had girls walking through a lot of bitterness um which I have had to walk a really long road with, and I’ve asked them, you know, are you ready to repent of this? And they’ll say, “No, I still love my sin.” And, I get that, because I’ve been there. And so, what I’m able to say to them is, “Well, I’m gonna pray that God would soften your heart and that you would see your sin as painful and life-destroying like it is, and God would give you a heart of repentance, so can I pray that over you right now?” And, I’ll pray that God would give them a heart of repentance, ‘cause it’s only through the Holy Spirit that we have the power to repent of sin and turn towards righteousness. And so, we have got to talk about the fact that there is sin in our lives, and we’ve got to acknowledge that we need to repent of it.

Jack: That is so good, Abby. And, to see you personally modeling with that, wrestling with it, and then being able to translate that and help them understand that for their own lives is so key and important to the next generation as we disciple other men and women. So, thank you so much for your time today.

Abby: Yeah, Jack, thank you for letting me be here and yeah, I am just so excited for this generation; they are a generation that wants to know Jesus and are hungry to be discipled!

Jack: Amen, they’re a blank slate.

Abby: Yes, yes they are!

Jack: We’ve learned today how important it is to understand the context and climate of the culture of those we’re discipling. Abby has shared foundational truths about both Gen Z and Millennials, showing us how we can model merging the sacred and secular, how we, as disciplemakers, get to share how the Gospel changes our relationship with God, and how the Holy Spirit transforms our identity. What a blessing to see how Abby models moving toward righteousness through repentance, honesty, and simply showing up in the lives of those we disciple!

We hope you’ve enjoyed this episode and learning community and feel encouraged and better equipped! If Millennials and Gen Z is a topic you’re enjoying learning more about, you’re in for a treat as we’ll be focusing on Millennials this month! (and if you haven’t listened to our Podcast 008: Leading the Next (and Now) Generation of Disciplers with Mark Heffentrager that’s another great resource on this topic!) For more on The Apprentice Approach, including the full transcript of this podcast, resources, our blog, and to sign up for emails, visit our website TheApprenticeApproach.org , and if you haven’t subscribed to The Apprentice Approach Podcast in iTunes, do it today!

And let me encourage you to pass this on to a friend!

Until next time, this is your host, Jack McQueeney, believing God for generations of men and women like you!




010: Evangelism: Six Common Mistakes to Avoid

Jack: Welcome to The Apprentice Approach Podcast Episode 010, where the ripples far exceed the splash… this is your host Jack McQueeney.

Many Christians struggle with making disciples; they feel busy, overwhelmed, and not qualified. We understand this struggle, which is why we’ve created a Bible-based framework so any believer can master the art of disciplemaking.

Today, we have the privilege of having Scott Morton with us again for part two of our Evangelism series! If you haven’t heard our previous podcast, I’d highly recommend listening in to a great conversation, including some very practical questions anyone can ask their skeptical friends. It’s a great place to start. Scott is the author of Down-to-Earth Discipling and For You, My Friend: Spiritual Insights From a Skeptic.* He’s a long-time friend of ours and currently the International Funding Coach of The Navigators which takes him all over the U.S. meeting with and encouraging folks who are on the front-lines sharing the Gospel. This is one of the reasons we’re talking with Scott about Evangelism – he knows how to do it and he actually lives this stuff out! But not only that, Scott is a master at helping us see how Evangelism and Discipleship go hand-in-hand… and neither are as scary as people think!

Today, Scott shares how to avoid six mistakes as we engage with people who need to hear the Good News of the Gospel, while also offering insight and advice about how to actually have these conversations… even if you don’t think Evangelism is your gifting. Such a joy to have Scott with us again today, so let’s dive in…

Jack: Well, here we’re back with Scott Morton again. Scott being an International Funding Coach of The Navigators, is also a wrestler of Evangelism. He’s deeply committed to this concept that when Jesus said to “make disciples,” Evangelism and Discipleship go hand-in-hand. Scott, we know that statistics show that very few believers share their faith on a regular basis, some never. “It’s the pastor’s job,” they say. You know, we have discovered that probably two out of five believers don’t believe that they have non-believing friends. Talk to us about how that impacts their willingness to share their faith with others.

Scott: Yeah, I think a lot of us are reluctant to share our faith because of previous failures. Just yesterday, I asked a businessman believer if he’d ever shared his faith. “Oh yes,” he said, “but it didn’t go very well.” So, he’s got that in the back of his mind, Jack, as he thinks about sharing again and it’s probably not going to happen. Now, a lot of believers, most I think, would like to reach out and disciple others. Not everyone knows the Great Commission, but some know that Jesus said to “make disciples of all nations.” Recently a friend told me that he’s retiring from his business early; he’s in the prime of life and he says, “I’ve got more time now, I’d like to disciple some guys.” I said, “Great.” But, he was thinking about discipling guys in his church, but he was struggling to find a church member who would be interested in studying with him. So, I made this comment, I said, “How about some of your non-believing friends?” There was a long silence. This was a new thought for him.

Jack: Boy! I’m finding that also. You know, a Barna report that came out, stated that ½ of believers in this day and age have only had one to maybe two faith conversations with non-believers this past year. And that, I think, is staggering in the context of what Jesus left us with, to “make disciples.” So Scott, let’s get into this dynamic tension between Evangelism and Discipleship.

Scott: Well, they fit together, and we Americans tend to think either/or: it’s either Evangelism or Discipling, and I favor discipling or discipleship and I disfavor Evangelism because I’m out of my comfort zone. And if you don’t have the gift of Evangelism, well then, we’re stuck. But, we’re not told to be Evangelists; we are told to “do the work of an evangelist” in 2 Timothy. So, what is the “work of Evangelism?” I also notice in Matthew 4:19, you know the story, where Jesus was walking on the seashore and he’d already met these guys before, but he said to Peter, and Andrew, James, and John, “Follow me and I will make you deeply spiritual men.” [laughter] Well no, it doesn’t say that. It says, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men,” in other words, “I will help you to reach out and touch other people.” In Luke 5:10, you know the story there, where Jesus got into Peter’s boat and pushed out and preached to the people, and they went out and caught some fish. And he comes back to shore and Peter is saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man,” and Jesus said, “From now on you will be catching men.” Now this is what’s on Jesus’ mind: reaching out to other people. And so, this idea that we can be a disciple of Christ and then ignore Evangelism, ignore sharing our faith, it doesn’t even compute, Jack. It’s like an oxymoron, it just, it can’t be. Reaching out is the normal Christian life, but we’ve made it (at least in the West), not reaching out is the normal Christian life. So, anyway, to reduce frustration in sharing Christ, I think it’s more of a practical issue than a theological issue. We’ve got frustrations; we’ve made mistakes. So, here’s six mistakes that I’ve made and that I think a lot of people have made on sharing your faith. Are you ready?

Jack: We’re all ready.

Scott: Alright here we go, number one: Too much, too fast. In Matthew 13, the parable of “The Sower” or the parable of “The Four Soils,” the first seed is sown beside the road and it didn’t make it into the good soil. You can imagine a seed laying out on a dry, dusty, hardened, gravel road or concrete road- it didn’t make it into the good soil. And Jesus said, “When anyone hears the Word of the Kingdom, and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart,” that’s Matthew 13:19, “does not understand it.” Now the word “understand” here in Greek is suniemi, and it’s the same word that’s used for the word, “synagogue.” In other words, it’s a place of bringing things together. [Jack: Oh!] So, we have to help our friends “bring things together” about the Gospel. I have a friend in Iowa who said, “My goal at this stage in my life is to bump into people and help them sort out who Jesus is.” I like that. We can do that. We can help people sort out who Jesus is. The fourth soil of the parable, Jesus says, “This is the one on whom seed was sown on the good ground; this is the man who hears the Word and understands it.” So, helping someone understand the Gospel is critical. Now, sometimes we rush to encourage someone to pray the Sinner’s Prayer to invite Christ into their hearts, but does that person understand what he’s praying? He doesn’t need to understand the Nicene Creed, but he does need to understand that basic Gospel message, or the enemy will rip it out of his heart. Jack, maybe you’ve had the experience of you talk with someone one time and they pray to receive Christ and a month later they’re cold to the things of God; I think this is what happens.

Jack: Hmm. You know, it is interesting how we talked about in our past podcast [Episode 009], the importance of asking good questions, and then listening and drawing people out, and there’s a sense that you know, as we’re authentic and as we listen with empathy, folks will come along on the journey with us. So, let’s keep going.

Scott: Well, number two. Number one was: “Too much, too fast.” Number two is: “Too little, too late.” I have dilly-dallied around with some of my friends and acquaintances waiting for the right time, you know what I mean? It’s gotta be a “right time,” and so I say, “Well, it’s not today; I might offend them, they’ve just gone through a struggle, I don’t know,” and so I wait. I wait. Sometimes we think that we must become their best friend and be invited to sing at their wedding and then we finally get to share the Gospel with them. Now my car body shop guy, and if you have a teenage son, then you will become well acquainted with the guys in the body shop, I assure you that. So, he and I met several times, we kind of liked each other and became friends. And he suddenly moved away and I couldn’t find him, and I had never shared the Gospel with him. Even though we’d been together, Jack, probably 10 or 12 times. We’d gone out to supper as couples, and I’d never shared anything because of waiting for “just the right time” and it didn’t happen. So, I heard he had left town, I went to the body shop and couldn’t find him. They said, “Yeah, he’s left town, but here’s where he lives.” I drove around his neighborhood trying to find this guy’s car. I regret that I was too little and too late. I was working on building the relationship and never got around to sharing Christ. Another couple Alma and I were befriending, they had a million problems, we were their friends. We helped them buy groceries; we helped them with this and that, and he had AIDs and moved back to his country before we even talked about Christ. But, it had been close to a year, Jack, and I hadn’t shared a thing. I was waiting for the “right time.” Too little, too late. Number three: “Forgetting You’re Part of a Big Team.” Now, let’s take a look here at 1 Corinthians chapter 3, verses 5-9. Let me just read this and uh there’s some good insights here. 1 Corinthians 3:5-9, this is Paul writing to the Corinthians, a church he had started, “What then is Apollos and what is Paul? Servants through whom he believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity (underline it), opportunity, to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor, for we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.” Paul didn’t do it all by himself. Apollo didn’t do it all by himself. Paul planted; Apollos watered; and God gave the increase. God changes lives. You and I cannot change lives. Now, verse 8 says that “he who plants and he who waters are one.” We’re teammates. We’re not competitors, we’re partners in this campaign directed by God. Verse 9 says, “we are fellow workers.” But, though we are one we bring different talents to the team. Verse 8 says, “according to his own labor.” So Jack, as you and I are talking to people, we might know the same people, we each have a little different contribution to make. [Jack: uh-huh] I think sometimes we say, “Well, since I can’t make the entire contribution, I don’t do anything.” So, you are on a big team, God is moving in the lives of our non-believing friends, and you play an important role. Maybe you’re a planter, maybe you’re a waterer, but use the gifting God has given you in the process. So back to verse 5, who is Apollos and who is Paul? Servants. Jack, that’s our identity, we are servants as links in the chain. The word here is a word diakonos, and it means “a lowly table servant.’ It’s not even the top of the servant chain. It’s at the bottom of the servant chain! So that’s our identity: we’re simply table waiters serving other people. Now notice that phrase, “as the Lord gave opportunity.” We have opportunity. Now Jack, have you ever said, “You know, I should say something here. I should ask a question here.” And we let it go, and then the moment passes. God gives us opportunities.

Jack: That’s so interesting. A number of years ago, I was with a group of men and we were talking amongst ourselves and some of these men were friends, but all their wives were involved in a Bible Study that Shaunda, my wife, led. And as they talked, they began, the conversation changed to the time that they spend over in our house in Bible Study. We bought a latte machine and they renamed our kitchen “Shaunda-bucks,” but only to hear that these men were beginning to see the changes in their wives’ lives as a result of not just their wives coming to Christ, but, growing in their faith. And as they began to ask questions, they kind of pushed on me in a sense, and they asked, “What’s going on there? We can’t get that.” And I said, “Well that’s a great question, why don’t we get together? And we can get together, we could go to my office or another room, and we could sit down and begin to talk about some of the same things that they talked about.” Well long story short, as a result of stepping into that opportunity, we had a chance to see all those men come to Christ as well with their wives! But it was, again, it was what I could do. We all have stories and God has us all on journeys and my responsibility was just, at that point, to ask the right kind of question and move into that.

Scott: So Shaunda watered, and Jack or Shaunda planted, and Jack watered.

Jack: That’s exactly right.

Scott: Well okay, so that’s three. Number four is: “Forgetting that the Holy Spirit is With Us.” 2 Corinthians 2:15 is a verse that I think is about sharing our faith, but we overlook it. It says, “For we are a fragrance of Christ to God, among those being saved, and among those who are perishing. To the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life.” So, when you are among non-believers, you carry the aroma of Christ. There’s an odor about you. Those who are following truth among our friends, that is, they’re moving toward Christ, the aroma you give is a fragrance of life. It’s attractive.

Jack: Well, hopefully it is.

Scott: Hopefully it is. But, it was attractive with you and Shaunda cause they wanted to find out more. And even on a bad day, Jack, you give off this aroma. Just by being around non-believers, even on a bad day, we smell of Christ. But, it’s also an aroma of death to those that are not following truth. But in any case, it’s an aroma that’s a reminder of Christ. It’s a link in a chain. Now, John 15:26 is a verse that I think we all know, it’s the one Jesus gave this at the Last Supper. He says, John 15:26, “When the helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of Truth who precedes from the Father, he (not it), he will testify about me and you will testify also. Because you have been with me from the beginning.” Okay, so the Holy Spirit is testifying to people about God and we are testifying to people about God. We are working in concert with the Holy Spirit, and we’re the junior member here. The Holy Spirit is the prime mover, we’re the junior member, but we are participating. So, I like to ask myself when I’m with someone new, or when the topic merges into serious things, instead of non-serious things, I say, “What is God doing right now? Lord help me to move in the right way. Help me to ask questions. Help me to make a comment. What do I, do I just stay quiet?” I want to cooperate with the Holy Spirit. God is much more interested in winning people to Christ than you and I are.

Jack: Yeah, that’s good Scott.

Scott: In the classic book The Hound of Heaven by a guy named Francis Thompson written 120 years ago, this is what Francis Thompson said, “I fled him down the nights and down the days; I fled him down the arches of the years; I fled him down the labyrinthine ways of my own mind in the midst of tears; I hid from him.” This was an opium addict running away from God in London in about the 1890’s. Amazing. God is more interested in seeking people, and He’s doing that, and you and I aren’t the first people to the table. The Holy Spirit has already been working in our friend’s lives, we get to participate in that.

Jack: Amen! You know Barna said, it came up in their research, he [David Kinnaman] talked about as the Barna Group: 47% of Millennials who are practicing Christians say, “it is wrong to Evangelize.” Seems to me there’s a misunderstanding that tolerance is in conflict with the wisdom it takes to move people along in their Gospel journey. Talk to us about that, Scott.

Scott: Yeah, a lot of people use the frame, “I don’t like the Gospel shoved down my throat.” And nobody likes anything shoved down their throat. You and I don’t either [Jack: Right]. So, in doing Evangelism, we are not shoving things down people’s throat, we are not being judgmental, we’re not telling people something that they don’t even want to hear, being impolite about it. So, we are tolerant, of course, we are tolerant, but this message needs to be shared. And I think if we work with the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is going to touch people’s lives and maybe in ways that are uncomfortable for them. But we are participating with this, and the Holy Spirit is a gentleman. He doesn’t, he’s not impolite, but he will get through to people in ways. You know, I think of Peter, how did God get through to him? With the miraculous catch! It wasn’t poverty, it was success that got Peter’s attention. So, the Holy Spirit is going to get people’s attention; we are participating with him, we’re not shoving things down people’s throat.

Jack: And he rarely does it the same way with each individual!

Scott: Everybody’s different, yes exactly. Yeah, good. So, number four: “Forgetting About the Holy Spirit in Our Ministry Efforts.” Number five: “Neglecting the Bible.” I have found, Jack, and well I think you have too, in the example you just mentioned, those people who will read the Bible with me over time often come to Christ. Not because I’m such a great Bible teacher; I’m not, but simply because they’re in the Word. My teaching and answering questions is important, building friendships is important, but “the Bible is sharper than any two-edged sword” (Heb. 4:12). You know a few years ago, I was meeting with a returned missionary who had done badly on the field and came home as a failure. And it was my job to pick him up at the airport and take him to lunch and try to cheer him up a little bit. Well, I took him to White Castle Hamburger shop, which maybe my first mistake. [laughing] [Jack: Haha, culture shock!] We sat there for three hours and I listened, and I tried to give advice, and finally at the end of three hours I said, “Is there anything at all I’ve said (because it wasn’t going anywhere), is there anything at all that I’ve said that’s been any encouragement at all?” He said, “No, not really.” Which was humbling. But he said, “There was a verse you shared, what was that verse again?” Jack, we have got to stop talking and start sharing the Scriptures, because the Scriptures are powerful. So, let’s get our non-believing friends into the Bible.

Jack: That’s good. That’s good, Scott.

Scott: Now here is a practical tool. So, when you meet a seeker friend, either for lunch or for a coffee break or just in your office or home, wherever. Should you bring a Bible? Should they bring a Bible? I’m finding with this generation they’re not gonna carry Bibles around in the glove box of their car, so I usually don’t ask them to bring a Bible. Sometimes I’ll bring two little New Testaments and give them one as a gift, that’s powerful because they might read that when we don’t talk about it. But usually, I Google a New Testament story about Jesus and then I copy it, simply Xerox it, and I try to find a story of Jesus maybe 10-20 verses long, not too long, and then I give one copy to him and we keep a copy. So, after we’ve had our lunch, I take my time, I say, “Okay, should we take a look at the life of Jesus?” And, I give him the paper and then I read through it, I usually don’t ask him to read through it; he might not be comfortable reading out loud. So I say, “This a great story; let’s read it.” I read the passage aloud and after I read the passage, I just let it sit for a few seconds, then I say, “What happened here?” And then I review the facts of the, because I’m finding that sometimes if you ask them just to say, “What do you see?” they don’t know where to start. So, I’ll just review the facts, so Jesus was in the boat, they went out to deep water, and I put it in my own words. And then I say, “Okay, what do you see? What stands out to you?” And there’s no science to it really, it’s just being real with your friend and discussing things. And I usually like to quit when it’s kind of at a high point so that there may be something else we can discuss the next time we get together. But I always ask at the end, “What’s the takeaway for you?” I like that word “takeaway.” If I can get people to study the Bible about Jesus, then that puts them on a train that takes them to Heaven. It’s not about me; it’s between them and Jesus’s Word.

Jack: You know it is interesting, Scott, how that takes hard work [Scott: Yeah!] and a real commitment to hang in there with people. Because inevitably, they’ll cancel, things will come up, and there’s always something else other than wanting to get together to talk about the Bible.

Scott: Stuff always comes up. This week I had to move an appointment to next week, “Golly, Scott, I can’t make it.”

Jack: Yeah. You know I have found, I’ve picked up a couple good apps on my phone that I share with guys before we actually get together. And I’ll say, “Hey download this free app, but download this and begin to read through it because I think this might be a fun little story in order to talk about during our time together.” It’s interesting once they do that, then it remains open on their phone after we get done, they may get home and at night when they’re going through, inevitably going through a text message or a thread or checking email, that app will come back on their screen, that app will pop back up and before they close it out they may re-read it. So, it’s something that we have found that has been helpful as it related to dealing with you know the Bible, getting people in the Bible.

Scott: That’s a great idea. It’s a great idea. It’s one more little seed dropped along the way that makes a difference. Well the last one is: “Forgetting to Pray.” Jack, I confess this is a weakness with me. I’m not a good prayer, I wish I was. But, what I have done is in my journal on the second page, and you don’t have to keep a journal, but I encourage everybody to keep some sort of a prayer list, because our minds are like grasshoppers, I mean they’re all over the place. So, on page one is all my praises and all my confessions of sin, it takes a whole page. And then on page two I’ve listed my non-believing friends and contacts. Some of them I know better than others, I just write their name down and, on my better days, I put my finger on their name and I say, “Lord touch this person, draw them to know you, I don’t know what to do; draw them to know you. I’m going to meet with them next week. Touch their life. Let me be in the right place at the right time.” And I’m finding that as I pray over them things begin to happen. A lot of people say, “Well, I don’t see God working in my life with daily miracles and so on.” Listen, if you get involved in reaching out to your friends, you will see little things like this.

Jack: Yeah, and you know, Scott, I have done the same and one of the things that before I get together and I pray for people, I ask the Holy Spirit to bring to mind something that they may have said. And inevitably, I’ve been able to see, you know my memory comes and goes, but the Spirit of God recalls something that they’ve said that I’ve been able to pick up on and carry, maybe even to the next level. And so again it’s part of that engaging the Spirit in a supernatural way through this the power of prayer.

Scott: Yes. I like Job 42:10, “The Lord restored the fortune of Job when he prayed for his friends.” Just that little phrase, “when he prayed for his friends.” Jack, we can do that. We don’t have to be the greatest preacher in the world, we’re not called to do that. But, we can pray for our friends. So, I suggest, make a list of your non-believing friends, start by praying for them. Don’t start by saying anything just yet. Just pray. And say, “Lord bring them across my path,” and then be ready for some miracles.

Jack: That is great, Scott. And that is encouraging to think about just our involvement with the Lord in this process. And I go back and think about these catchy points: “Too much too fast,” “Too little too late,” “Forgetting you’re part of a bigger team…” I think the important and significant part of what it is to “keep the Bible at the center point of what we’re engaging in,” and then “Forgetting to Pray.” I think how important it is, the power of prayer. Someone told me, “Jack, prayer is not part of the ministry, it is the ministry.”

Scott: Yes, that is convicting: it is the ministry. Right. And then also “Not Forgetting that the Holy Spirit is With Us.” [Jack: Oh yeah, sorry. ] We’re a team player with the Holy Spirit.

Jack: Yeah, well thank you so much for putting some of this together and being with us today. And I hope you, our audience, really grapple with some of these points that Scott has made and turn this to become practical aspects of who you are in your sphere of influence.

We’ve really loved having Scott with us during this series, talking about such a relevant topic and helping us see these six common mistakes we can find ourselves making as we engage with non-believers. Scott shared great wisdom for how to avoid these mistakes and also engage at a heart-felt level with our non-believing or skeptical friends. Also, I want to remind you to check out our Resources page and Blog for more great tools and conversations about Evangelism and how it goes hand-in-hand with Disciplemaking.

Well, we hope you’ve enjoyed this episode and learning community and feel encouraged and better equipped to be a disciple who makes disciplemakers! For more on The Apprentice Approach, including our regional training events, resources, blog, and to sign up for emails, visit our website TheApprenticeApproach.org, and if you haven’t subscribed to The Apprentice Approach Podcast in iTunes, do it today!

Until next time, this is your host, Jack McQueeney, believing God for generations of men and women like you!




009: Are You an Evangelist or a Sower of The Gospel?

Welcome to the Apprentice Approach Podcast Episode 009, where the ripples far exceed the splash… this is your host Jack McQueeney.

Many Christians struggle with making disciples; they feel busy, overwhelmed, and not qualified. We understand this struggle, which is why we’ve created a Bible-based framework so any believer can master the art of disciplemaking.

Today, we have the privilege of talking with Scott Morton! Scott is the author of Down-to-Earth Discipling and For You, My Friend: Spiritual Insights From a Skeptic.* He’s a long-time friend of ours and currently the International Funding Coach of The Navigators which takes him all over the U.S. meeting with and encouraging folks who are on the front-lines sharing the Gospel. One thing I wanted Scott share with us today is his practical experience with Evangelism. Specifically, I asked Scott to speak to the relationship between Evangelism and Discipleship. Scott’s an expert at helping us see how Evangelism isn’t that scary and also gives us practical questions to use in our next conversation!

Such a joy to have Scott with us today, so let’s dive in…

Jack: Scott, some believers want to disciple others as long as it doesn’t involve that scary word Evangelism. Help us with that, what do you mean by the title of today’s podcast, “Are you an Evangelist or a Sower of the Gospel?”

Scott: Yeah, Jack, thanks. To take the scariness out of Evangelism I think depends on how I see myself. If I see myself as having to be a preacher, then I am petrified. But if I see myself as a Sower of the Gospel, that’s not so terrifying. I can do that. So let’s look at two things today:

The first, is the misconception about my identity in Evangelism. And then the second is asking Gospel questions. I would like to leave our listeners today with questions they can use in their relationships with non-believers, and I would like to offer a book that they can give to their skeptical friends.

Jack: You mean that you just ask these questions outright to non-believers?

Scott: Well they’re not magic questions and it’s all in the context of relationship. So for example, I was talking with a colleague last November about how I invited my banking guy to do Bible Study with me. And he said, “Scott, how did that happen? What questions did you ask the banker that he agreed to do study with you? We don’t know those questions.” And I found that non-believers will respond to just these few key questions.

Jack: Okay, well let’s table those questions right now, but let’s dive into the misconceptions or the brass-tacks about Evangelism.

Scott: One reason that we believers are discouraged about Evangelism is because we think that we’ve got to take the identity of a Preacher and go from 0-60 in about 5 seconds. That is share the Gospel in such a winsome, powerful way that the person we’re talking to completely understands everything about Christ, the Trinity, original sin, Substitionary Atonement, and the Nicene Creed in about 45 minutes [laughing] – and that’s not gonna happen. Or, we think that we gotta have the skills to twist the topic from the Green Bay Packers to the Gospel and sometimes that’s just too awkward. And we want to have our friends eager to see the Bridge diagram in about 10 seconds- it’s not gonna happen, Jack.

Jack: I get that, I can relate to that. So how can we switch our thinking about Evangelism?

Scott: I think we need to stop comparing ourselves with those who have the gift of Evangelism like Billy Graham, or Bill Bright, the founder of Campus Crusade, or your Pastor. Some people are instinctive Evangelists, but most of us, including me, are not wired that way. Now, here’s a couple of Bible passages that I hope our listeners will jot down. The first is Romans 12:6-8. Now this is a list of the gifts, and it’s not all the gifts, but it lists seven of them: prophesying, serving, teaching, exhorting, giving, leading, showing mercy; Evangelism is not listed. 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 also lists the gifts: 9 gifts and Evangelism is not listed. So now we come to Ephesians 4:11, “and he gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers.”

Jack: Well, are these gifts of the Spirit, offices, or are they roles within the Church?

Scott: Well, they could be either; and, I would say probably both. These gifts, or offices of the Church, are given by God to His people to be used for the equipping of the Saints to the building up of the body of Christ. Evangelism in Greek, I looked it up, simply means a messenger of good. Euangelion (I’m not sure I’m saying it right), “eu” means “well” or “good” and then the last half is “angelos” we get that “angel,” a “messenger.” So it’s a “well or good messenger,” a “messenger of good.” It’s not a messenger of bad, nor a messenger of oratory, nor a messenger of skillful preaching, nor a messenger of condemnation; it’s a messenger of good news. So Jack, when we think about being an Evangelist we don’t have to be a whiz-bang preacher who can mesmerize a crowd. That’s not us, that’s not my gift, but what happens is we excuse ourselves from seeking to win others for Christ thinking that it’s someone else’s job.

Jack: Well that makes sense because I can see myself as a “messenger of good news.” I like to bring good news.

Scott: Yeah, that’s fun. So, be yourself; you simply need to bring good news and we like to give good news don’t we? When my son was born in Madison, it was early in the morning, but I went home as soon as the baby was born and put a big note on the picture window of our house, “It’s a boy!” It was good news; I wanted to share it. So, getting back to the title of the podcast, “A Sower of the Gospel,” that’s good news, but it doesn’t have to be shared all at one time. I am holding here the links of a chain, it’s got about, I’d guess, 12 or 14 links on it. And, we need to see ourselves as being a link in a chain, not a preacher praying the Gospel prayer with people every time we meet them. There are many links that precede the final link. So instead of preachers, let’s think of ourselves as links. Now, in my own case, the first link in the chain (that I remember) was a painting of Jesus knocking at the door hanging in our little country church back in Iowa.

Jack: I remember you saying that, sharing that.

Scott: I was five years old; it made a big impression on me, but at age five I was way too cool to become a Christian. And then a Pastor came to our house when I was in Junior High, he talked about spiritual life; I appreciated it, but I don’t remember what he said. And then I went forward at a meeting one time, don’t particularly know why. And then a Grad student came to my room at Iowa State when I was a freshman and presented The Bridge diagram, and then I attended a Navigator Conference where a businessman quoted Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock,” and I thought of that picture. Now, all these were links in a chain, but that very day when I heard that businessman quote that verse, I walked into a prayer chapel and asked Christ into my life. That was the final link, or the link where I received Christ. But would that final link have been possible if those others had not been there? I don’t think so. But Jack, everybody has links in a chain. How about you? What would be the links leading up to your conversion?

Jack: Yeah, I think for me, probably was an identity issue. I was so closely tied into my family, that God had to really shake that up in order to get my attention. Then a friend sent me a verse from the Bible, and then another friend, a Navigator staff, shared a simple illustration with me that really made sense and it clicked.

Scott: So it was several things leading up to that before you actually became close with Christ.

Jack: Correct.

Scott: Yeah. So we’re not all gifted Evangelists, but we can all sow seeds. We can all be a link in somebody’s chain. You might not even know when you are a link, probably won’t know, but time will tell.

Jack: Yeah, what does that mean practically for our daily Christian lives?

Scott: Well, I think first of all, we remove ourselves from the guilt of having to accomplish what gifted Evangelists accomplish. Stop comparing yourself with gifted Evangelists.

Jack: That’s good.

Scott: Now, I once traveled around Michigan with a gifted Evangelist visiting Navigator alumni. It was a great trip, I had a great time. But, I noticed the guy that was taking me around, at every restaurant he would engage with the waiter or waitress about the Gospel. It went very well. Even one time with a gas station attendant he gave him a little track; it went very well, and everybody he talked to seemed to appreciate the fact that he took an interest in them. But I thought to myself, “I can’t do that, in fact I don’t even want to do that.” And I thought, “I am not him; God bless him for his gift of Evangelism.” So, let’s get out from the guilt of having to be something we’re not. Number two then, let’s stop excusing ourselves from our duty to be Sowers of the Good News. We say that since we don’t have the “gift of Evangelism,” then we don’t have to bother with Evangelism at all. We can be nice to non-Christians, but that’s about it. Maybe one day they’ll go to Church or watch re-runs of Billy Graham late at night, but we are not excused from Evangelism just because we don’t have the gift.

Jack: Well, what does that practically mean for us on a daily basis? Flesh that out for us.

Scott: Well, I like to think of it this way: when I was playing baseball, everybody on the team had to learn to bunt the ball to advance the runner. Are there certain skills involved in bunting? Yes, you have to start with your bat at the top of the strike zone; you let the ball hit the bat; you don’t push at it, which is a big mistake… and everyone on the team had to learn to do that. Now, some were better at it then others, maybe some were even “gifted” at bunting, but we all had to do it. No one said, “I’m a home run hitter, I don’t need to bunt,” and I was a pitcher and I said, “Well, I don’t do anything but pitch.” No, I had to learn to bunt right along with everybody else. So we all need to learn to be Sowers of the Gospel, whether it’s our gift or not.

Jack: So, that seems to be a challenge – to get our arms around learning these skills of Evangelism. How can we do that?

Scott: Well, I don’t think, I think we make it harder in our minds than it really is. Let’s start with questions that we can ask non-believers. Now, here’s six questions that I ask and that the person I talked to last fall said, “Scott nobody knows these questions.” Well, I think we do, we just haven’t articulated it.

So here’s the first question, Jack, this might work in a role play a little bit, but so the question is with someone that I’ve been around awhile. So, I would go like this, so “Joe, we’ve done business together for a couple years, but tell me about your history, where you grew up; I don’t know anything about where were you born? What was your life like?” And so I just invite them to share their family story. And then I say, “Wow! You’ve had quite a life so far, but what about your spiritual journey during those days?” And it’s interesting to me, Jack, I have not had anyone hesitate to share that. Now they may say, “Well I don’t have much of a spiritual journey at all,” and it might be just two sentences, “I went to church a few times,” but listen. Find out. And then, I like to ask, “Now that you’re an adult, what’s your spiritual journey like these days?” And then I say, “Well Joe, could I tell you my background?” So, I’ll tell them where I was born and I don’t go into two hours of detail here, but just a little bit. And then I say, “Let me tell you a little bit about my spiritual journey.” Now, I may not give a full testimony at this point or the Gospel, but just a little bit about it. And that seems to go pretty well.

Jack: I like how you’ve weaved in the spiritual journey piece in the midst of your story. We all have these, even non-believers have that. Is that threatening for them?

Scott: I’ve not found it to be so. Jack, I think we’d be surprised at how eager people are to talk about the spiritual dimension of life in a non-threatening atmosphere. So, if you’re genuine and you’re authentic and you’re getting to know this person, I don’t think they’re gonna consider it, in fact, I think they’re gonna like to talk about it, at least that’s been my experience so far.

The second question is someone I’ve known for quite awhile and I go like this, so let’s say, “Greg, we’ve been acquainted for a long time but I don’t think I’ve ever told you about something that means a lot to me, my spiritual journey. Have we ever discussed that?” (Now, I’ll give them a chance to answer, because maybe we have.) “I wonder if the next time you come and we get together, if I could tell you about it? It’s not about Church, it’s not about religion, but it’s pretty interesting.” So, at the next time we’re together, whether it’s over lunch or whether he’s a vendor coming in my office, I’ll say, “Greg, let me take a couple minutes and just tell you something that marks my life, and I don’t think I’ve ever told you.”

Jack: Yeah, I like that. So it really makes sense with your chain illustration that this is really a process. And what other ways can you engage non-believers rather than just over a meal?

Scott: Well I’ve noticed a lot of my Gospel sowing is over meals; maybe it’s just because I like to eat, but it can be done a lot of different ways. And Jack, I think you’ve done it over golf and just life celebrations – a birthday party in the neighborhood – and I find sometimes my neighbor, when we’re out shoveling snow together, we’ll just chat a minute or two. [Jack: Yeah, that’s good.] So, anything you can do to build the friendship. And, I find that showing genuine interest in people, that’s compelling.

Jack: You know it is interesting to take advantage of those windows of opportunity, those teachable moments.

Scott: Good way to put it, yeah. The third question is maybe something that is a bit more of a risk, but I’d say something like this, “Bob, besides my job here at the real estate company, one thing I like to do is I like to do Bible Study with young business guys like yourself. Now, you said you were once in a Bible study in your Church a few years ago? Tell me about that.” So, I’ll let him tell me about that, if he’s had a background in it. And I’ll say, “Well Bob, why don’t we meet for lunch a couple times and study the life of Jesus? We need to understand what Jesus was about, and by the way it’s my treat. Do you like Mexican food? I got a place.” And, Jack, no one has ever turned me down on this. Now, I don’t think it’s just because they’re afraid to turn me down; I think they’d turn me down, but they sense that I’m interested in them. But more than that, it’s not because of my personality, God is in this. And God is willing to go to bat here.

Jack: That makes total sense. You know, Scott, you ask such great questions. But, I think one of the things of knowing you and seeing you in action, I wanted to ask you the question: what have you learned about the power of listening? Because you are such a good listener and from that are able to pull out things as people talk to you in a very practical way.

Scott: Well, I think listening is a learned skill. If you’d have talked to my wife twenty years ago, you would not have had that same conclusion. [Laughing] Listening, instead of while the other person is talking, instead of thinking what we’re going to say, we have to genuinely be there. And so, we’re looking at them, but don’t stare at the person steady for thirty minutes, that’s gonna spook them. So, just be natural and I like to say, “Tell me more about that.” There’s always a, everybody has a story, and it’s usually a sad story. So, I think we probe. We ask questions. And, it’s okay for there to be periods of silence. I think the first good listener I ever talked to, I was telling him something and he said, “Tell me more,” and then I told him more, and then he said, “Tell me more,” and then I told him more and then there was silence, and I kept going. This man was a good listener and I thought, “I can do that.” Listening is a learned skill; I think we can do it.

The fourth question is one about The Navigators; so you often get asked, “Where’d you go last weekend?” “Well, I went to a conference sponsored by The Navigators,” or the Lutheran Church, whatever it is, because you’re going to meetings like this, if it was about marriage, “Can I tell you about something I learned?” So, this is just, we bring in our regular life experiences with our friends. So people say, “Well then, what’s The Navigators?” “Great question, The Navigators is an inter-denominational organization that helps people discover how to develop their spiritual life, especially for those people that would never darken the door of a church.” And, sometimes my people say, “Well that’s me.” And so, I like to say, “Well let me tell you how it began. The Navigators began with a young drunk Presbyterian man trying to swim across a lake with his girlfriend late at night in Southern California. That’s how it began.” Well, they’re intrigued, but I would encourage everyone to read the book Daws and learn Dawson’s testimony because you can tell it; it’s safe. It’s fascinating. But, it gets the facts of the Gospel out.

Jack: Yeah, I like what you said how people can take what they’ve learned and utilize that in such a way, “Hey, you know there’s something that I picked up at Church that I wanted to bounce off of you,” or on the radio, or there’s a piece on the news that they can practically get their arms around in order to create conversation. You know, Scott, what have you found, the best way to transition conversations towards the context of spiritual things? How do you make that shift?

Scott: Well, I don’t try to be sneaky about it. I used to try to be sneaky about it and then people feel like they’re being manipulated.

Jack: Yeah, that’s good.

Scott: Just be who you are. So the best phrase I think I’ve come up with is, “You know, I don’t know that I’ve ever told you about something very precious to me: my spiritual journey. I wonder, may I tell you about that?” And so, you get their permission. If it’s with a stranger of course, you wouldn’t do it that way, but with someone you’ve known awhile, I’ve found that to be probably the key phrase.

Jack: That’s good.

Scott: One more question, sometimes people ask me and they’ll ask you as well, they’ll say, “Scott when did you get out of baseball? Why’d you get out of baseball?” Or it could be with you, “Why did you get out of being a lawyer?” Whatever it is. And I like to say, “Well, it was a fascinating journey. All I can say is that I followed God’s leading. Next time we get together, could I tell you the whole story? We don’t have time now, but I’d like to tell you the whole story; it’s fascinating and I’d love to share it with you.”

Jack: I like that, John Crawford once said to me, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink, but you can rub a little bit of salt on his tongue,” and I thought, “there’s some things there that we can drop in and create interest that they’ll want to continue the conversation to the next link, to the next link.

Scott: I think we identify with Christ and leave a little question out there and the Holy Spirit will go to work on our friends.

Jack: That’s good. Hey, Scott, like you, I travel a lot and I get on a plane and I sit down and I look across to the person sitting next to me, to my seatmate, and all of a sudden I realize either they want to talk or they don’t want to talk. They’ll put their headphones on, but 9 times out of 10, there are a lot of people that just want to talk. How do you engage someone in that environment?

Scott: Well, sometimes I’m so tired at the end of a trip that I say, “Lord don’t let them talk to me.” I confess I don’t want to talk. My life was touched by a friend of mine who we were at a conference together and we were sharing a bathroom and I could overhear him in the next bedroom early in the morning having his quiet time and he prayed out loud. He was praying, “Lord on the way home today may I sit with someone who needs to hear the Gospel and would you give me the words to say?” He was eager to share the Gospel.

Jack: Boy, that takes some courage!

Scott: Yeah and I thought, “I can’t do that!” but I thought, “Lord I will do that.” And so, it was not long after that that I came across Romans 1:15; we all know Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ…” but Romans 1:15 has another “I am.” It says, “For my part, I am eager to preach the Gospel to you who are also in Rome.” Eager. I thought, “I’m not eager; I’m anything but eager, I’ll do it if I have to.” Let’s get rid of that attitude. So, on an airplane trip or someone I’m not gonna see again probably ever, I’ll say something like this, “Bob, I really enjoyed talking with you today; now we might never see each other again, but may I give you a gift as we depart here? This little booklet…” (now hold it up and I’ll maybe blow some dust off of it and I’ll hold it up to them), and I’ll say, “This little booklet was written by a friend of mine and it’s about developing a strong spiritual journey and you can see (I’ll page through) it’s got some cartoons in it and it’s got some sarcasm and some humor and it’s even got a nasty word in it, so I thought you’d enjoy it.” And I hold it out to them and everyone I’ve ever presented this to has taken it, Jack. So I’ll put my business card in it here and “God Bless You” and that’s it. And, that’s a link in a chain. That is being a Sower of the Gospel.

Jack: Boy, I like that. And I like this little book. And for our friends listening, we’ll, in our show notes in just a second, we’ll talk more about that.* But, Scott, what I hear you saying is that we can be ourselves, not compare ourselves, but just be faithful to what we know God has asked us to do. And as you’ve done that, I love this little book that you’ve written on the spiritual insights from a skeptic. It gives, it brings up practical things that people are wrestling with. How did you come up with this idea?

Scott: Well I wrote it originally for a friend of mine (way smarter than I am), and I couldn’t answer his questions. I didn’t even know what kind of questions to ask him and one night I was thinking of him, laying in bed at night. At midnight, I got up and started writing this book. And there’s nine guidelines or principles for developing a spiritual life and it doesn’t end with the sinner’s prayer; it ends with a question of, “Lord, I think if you’re there I want to know you more; lead me to the next step.” It’s very open-ended. But, I wrote it because he and I agreed on a lot of things. For example, the first one: “Life is not fair.” He agrees with that. I agree with that; and so, then it just takes us down to where we agree on a lot of things. So, I wrote it as a way of keeping the conversation going, because a lot of us, after we get done talking about the Green Bay Packers, we don’t know where to go.

Jack: [with a laugh] Oh, I don’t know about that. We can certainly start from there.

Scott: We start from there, but to get to the Gospel. So, I find this is a way of keeping the conversation going and I use this with strangers. But also, I used it with my grandson. We met for Mexican food after school and we would do a chapter a week and we’d read through it and then I would bring in a Bible verse connected to it. I also have mailed it off to friends and one woman wrote back and said, “You know your little booklet, my kid’s not walking with the Lord; but, the booklet was laying on the coffee table. He picked it up and said, ‘Could I take this with me?’”

Jack: Huh! That’s great!

Scott: So, you never know when you’re going to be a link in a chain.

Jack: That’s great. Well, more to come on this booklet and how you can utilize it! Well, Scott, thank you so much for today and it’s always a challenge to not only be with you, but as you talk about your own personal experiences, it’s a challenge for me too. You’re one of my heroes in this area as we take a look at how Evangelism is in total sync with Discipleship and the importance of that, so thank you so much.

Scott: Thank you, Jack. Appreciate you.

Jack: We’ve learned today that there is opportunity for everyone to engage with others in the hopes of them hearing the Good News of Jesus Christ, regardless of if they are “gifted” in Evangelism or not. We just need to focus on taking opportunities to be a link in the chains of the lives of others.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this episode and learning community and feel encouraged and better equipped! For more on The Apprentice Approach, including the full transcript of this podcast, resources, our blog, and to sign up for weekly emails, visit our website TheApprenticeApproach.org , and if you haven’t subscribed to The Apprentice Approach Podcast in iTunes, do it today!

Until next time, this is your host, Jack McQueeney, believing God for generations of men and women like you!

*In partnership with The Apprentice Approach, Scott Morton is offering For You, My Friend: Spiritual Insights From a Skeptic at a special discounted rate for our The Apprentice Approach listeners!
From now until May 1, 2019, you can get this practical “sowing seeds” tool for $5 per booklet! Offer expires 5/1/19 or when supplies run out and requires a minimum order of 5 booklets.
Simply email theapprenticeapproach@navigators.org and use Promo Code: TAASOWER.