— Russell Moore (@drmoore) July 27, 2015
While in New York City I had the privilege and opportunity to sit down with Mr. Robert Guerrero. Mr. Guerrero is of Dominican descent and is a Church Planting Catalyst for Redeemer City to City, as well as Pastor of Trinity Grace Church Washington Heights Parish. Mr. Guerrero was a joy to speak with and reminded me of that wise Latino Uncle that you don’t see very often, but when you do you walk away thinking, “I just had some wisdom laid on me.”
Who Are You?
My name is Robert Guerrero and I was born to Dominican parents in New York City. I spent much of my life in both the U.S. and Dominican Republic. In 1995, my wife and I moved into the Colonial City of Santo Domingo where we planted Iglesia Comunitaria Cristiana (ICC) with a focus on justice and compassion for the most under-resourced in the community.
I am also the co-founder of the Coordinating Community of Del Camino Network for Integral Mission in Latin America with networks in Costa Rica, Argentina, Chile, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Brazil and the Dominican Republic.
Currently I help catalyze, coach, and equip church planters with Redeemer City to City and am the Pastor of Trinity Grace Church Washington Heights Parish.
Walking through Washington Heights this afternoon it’s really obvious that this place has a story. What is the history of this neighborhood?
Yeah there’s a story here. Most people don’t know but Washington Heights was the cause of the crack epidemic in New York City during the 1980’s. It was historically African American, became Puerto Rican, and is currently a predominately Dominican neighborhood. Washington Heights has seen the largest big city turnaround in the nation having gone from a literal hell hole to an up and coming vibrant community.
How has Washington Heights been able to make such a drastic change for the good of the community?
To fully understand how Washington Heights has been able to make this change you have to first understand some history of minorities in America. You see African Americans and Puerto Ricans received more government aid than other minority groups. As a result they tend to be more dependent on that aid and less entrepreneurial.
“In New York gentrification tends to sweep through African American and Puerto Rican neighborhoods faster because residents don’t own businesses and are locked in at a standard of living.”
However, Mexicans and Dominicans have historically received less government aid than other minority groups. As a result they tend to be less dependent on aid and significantly more entrepreneurial.
“Gentrification tends to move through slowly and is controlled in Mexican and Dominican neighborhoods because residents own their businesses and property. They determine when and where the majority culture can come into their neighborhoods.”
Currently, the new immigrant in New York City are transplants from the South and Midwest. It’s hard for these people because urban life is fast and requires you to hustle because you have high bills to pay.The truth is a lot of transplants from the South and Midwest cannot survive the pace and cost of New York living.
“As a matter of fact, for churches in New York City to simply sustain themselves they must grow 25-30% yearly due to attrition.”
With such high attrition rates how do you grow a church that cares about multi-ethnic ministry and community development?
You must cast a city positive vision constantly. This is so transients can embrace the city vision and stay longer for mission.
1. Churches must create bridging spaces for people who are ethnically, socially, and economically different to gather and build relationships.
2. People must hear the vision from the pulpit ALL the time.
EX: Mr. Guerrero for the next year will preach for diversity in every one of his sermons.
What is the difference between multi-ethnic and multi-cultural?
Multi-ethnic: People who are ethnically different (Latino, Asian, Anglo, African American, etc.) but are culturally the same (hipster, young professional, suburban, urban, etc)
Multi-cultural: People who a re both ethnically different and culturally different. This is a whole different beast entirely!!! When engaging in multi-cultural ministry you must consider the cultural diversity of the leadership. Some people groups tend to be data based, others more intuitive, while others more methodical.
In pursuit of either multi-ethnic or multi-cultural it is imperative that the leadership of the church and the core of the church reflect the diversity you are striving for.
How do you lead your people into intentional reconciliation relationships?
“First you must understand to engage in reconciliation you are choosing to engage in the ugliness and mess of people. Reconciliation is something that must be taught and people must be discipled in.”
Leaders need to model reconciliation through engagement and in the church leadership.
Although this is very difficult I often say and hear other pastors attest to the fact that, “Once you’ve become multi-cultural you cannot go back!”
What is the greatest cause of division in New York or even America?
Most people assume our biggest divide is race. That’s not true. The biggest divide of the church in our cities is affluent and poor not doing life on life together.
Could you recommend 2-3 resources for people who are interested in Multi-Ethnic, Urban, or Reconciliation type of ministries?
“Building a Healthy Multi-Cultural Church,” Mark Deymaz
“Center Church” Tim Keller
During my time in New York City, a little over a month ago, I had the privilege to spend some time with Pastor James Roberson of The Bridge Church. James planted The Bridge Church in Brooklyn, NY, which is the largest of New York’s five Burroughs. James is also a coach with the REBUILD Network. Our time together focused predominately on the question “How does a church engage diversity?”
Who are you?
My name is James Roberson and I was born and raised in Westchester, NY. Though I grew up in church, my relationship with God was defined more by praying for wins in football and passing classes in school. I graduated from Yorktown High School (this was a miracle), and left New York to attend college at Valley Forge Military College in Wayne, PA. While at Valley Forge, I was captain of the football team and graduated with an A.A. in Liberal Arts. I was granted a full athletic scholarship to attend James Madison University (JMU) in Harrisonburg, Va, where I played defensive tackle, and graduated with a B.A. degree in Speech Communications and a minor in Theater. It wasn’t until college that I was introduced to a consistent lifestyle of living for God through Campus Crusade for Christ. Once my collegiate football career ended, I helped start a campus ministry called IMPACT, geared toward reaching out to the African American community. This experience was a turning point in my life, and I realized the most influential way to change the world was to preach The Gospel. In that moment, I committed my life to ministry.
How do you create space for people who are different to come together without being overwhelmed?
You have to create a controlled environment of the uncontrolled environment you’re sending them to. If people who are ethnically or economically different within the church don’t sit-down and have a meal together; they won’t do it with non-believers. As a pioneer in pursuing diversity you have to be willing to lead out in bringing people who are different together. There is going to be awkwardness. The goal is not to create a “sanitized” comfortable environment, but to learn to embrace the differences and continue to pursue the relationship.
What is essential to engage in diversity?
- Authenticity: The greatest apologetic for Christians today is authenticity.
- Proximity: You need to build bridges and create environments for people to begin building relationships. If where you work, live, and play are filled with people who are basically the same, where can you change your environment to engage people who are different? Could you shop at a different grocery store? What if your children played soccer for a city league instead of a club team?
- Humility: This is accomplished by consistently taking on the posture of a learner. Always be willing to ask questions even if you look silly or awkward for doing so.
What kills diversity or stifles it?
The worst way to engage in diversity and reconciliation is through “racial reconciliation” circles.
It begins the relationship with deeply rooted issues.
When you sit-down with someone and begin the conversation with Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, your experiences with prejudice, you start a relationship in the most negative explosive way possible. If you want to understand the reality of an African American, Hispanic, Asian, etc. start with building a relationship. Those deeper rooted feelings and emotions will come to the surface naturally as you begin to enter into one another’s lives. Furthermore, because a relationship is being developed there is trust that is being grown.
It creates clicks that give short term results but kills long term progress.
The unfortunate reality with reconciliation circles is that it often leads to more division. The majority of circles that see diverse relationships develop tend to become closed off and hostile to outsiders. Because people were willing to be vulnerable and they overcame highly sensitive issues, they now want to protect what they’ve worked so hard for. In order to see long term progress you have to de-program reconciliation and learn to make it a lifestyle rhythm.
I recently had the opportunity to write a guest post for my friend and fellow resident, Andrew Self. I was asked five questions dealing with who I am, my passion for church planting (specifically urban multi-ethnic churches), and why Christians should care about church planting.
For your convenience below is the link to my post. I Hope you are encouraged and glad to see the vision God is giving us!
Read blog post here!
Grace and peace,
In the month of April I had the wonderful privilege to interview John Murchison who was the first Children’s Pastor at the Austin Stone, and is currently the Executive Director of Children’s Ministry. During my time with John we discussed leadership development, special considerations when working with children and youth, and lessons learned along the way.
Q: Can you walk me through the leadership process from the point someone serves in KIDS for the first time to that person becoming a Coach?
A: I hear two questions being asked here. There is on one hand what we do with someone who is serving for the first time, and on the other what we do with someone we think should be developed as a leader. Those are two different tracks but start the same way.
When it comes to serving and leading in KIDS you always start by looking for faithfulness. For most people the track they go down after demonstrating faithfulness is to play a key role within the KIDS team, but not to lead. They may become vital to a specific classroom, take ownership of a specific ministry area, or be the glue that helps bring a team together. For those people we want to cultivate community, develop them to master their area of responsibility, and regularly show them we love and appreciate them.
When it comes to developing leaders generally, faithfulness will get you plugged in with the person who has that “X” factor.
What is the “X” factor?
The ‘X” factor is the gift of leadership. It’s the person who naturally takes the role of the leader, and is someone who can get stuff done.
The first step into the Coach track after demonstrated faithfulness is a sit-down conversation. This is where the KIDS Director will cast a vision for this potential leader to be developed in order to lead volunteers, pastor parents, and make disciples of children.
Once the potential leader/coach catches the vision the development stages look like:
- Faithfulness in serving
- Observing a leader and teacher
- Starting to teach
- Starting to lead
- Making new leaders
Q:What are special precautions you have to consider when working with children? (Curriculum, theology, safety, etc.)
A:There’s a lot of good curricula. Take a survey of what’s out there, identify what you like and modify.
A lot of curriculum strays theologically in that it de-emphasizes our sin and focuses on Jesus “loves you and came to die for you!” A great test is how they present the story of Noah. Why does God bring the flood? If they leave out God’s judgment they’ve swung into neglecting our sin.
The opposite is moralism over the gospel. How is David and Goliath taught? Is it David is so brave, you be brave, or is it God saves his people? Although David was brave the main point is not David’s faith, but God’s faithfulness to His people.
A key question you want to ask is “does the curricula fit our church culture?” For example at the Austin Stone our church culture is more discussion based than lecture based.Our adult culture on Sunday is more event based than liturgical, our kids Sunday is discussion not lecture based.
When you do age appropriate curriculum you need to stand on the shoulders of people who know how to write age appropriate content.
Safety: The greatest mistake leaders make is being too quick to fill spots so the ministry can take off. Chances are high that an entire church can tank because of one safety incident involving a child.
A better first step is to set policies that are realistic and that people are accountable to.
Most important safety tips:
1. Background screen (low hanging fruit)
2. You need a one on one interview.
3. Sex offender awareness training
4. Policy that everyone reads, agrees with, and is held accountable to.
Never grandfather anybody in. When change is made everyone has to walk through the process.
Q:What has been the hardest lesson(s) you’ve learned in your time in children’s ministry?
A: I’ll give you a general lesson and a KIDS specific esson.
1. General: It’s really hard to switch from being a faithful Christian to being a faithful Church employee.
2. KIDS Ministry: The biggest lesson has been in answering the question, “How do I stay out of the weeds enough to pastor people?” It’s really easy to say people are getting in the way of your ministry when so many things need to get done. People come before tasks.
Always remember people come before tasks.
Q: If you could start a new children’s ministry what are core values and practices you would start with?
A: I would say you need two core values that will determine your practices.
1. Sound doctrine
2. Fun and exciting
With regard to sound doctrine we covered that already in the curriculum piece. You want to make sure you are teaching the gospel and pointing children to Jesus.
The value of being fun and exciting is dealing predominately with contextualization. You always want to contextualize the gospel to the people you are reaching. Children culture is fun, so the way we speak their language is to have fun. The goal is for children to leave with a smile on their face asking to come back the following week. Relationship gives the opportunity for the gospel to be declared and heard.
Q: Final question, what’s been the biggest “win” for you personally in Children’s Ministry?
A: Biggest win is seeing God move. Whether that is a volunteer who meets Jesus through serving, hearing a mom talk about her child meeting Jesus, or seeing the kids you invested in grown up and walking in the truth of the gospel. “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” 3 John 1:4
I don’t want to build Chuck E Cheese to have a Chuck E Cheese. I want to build a Chuck E Cheese to see God move.
For the month of March I did some traveling, continued building relationships, and thought through future plans. Here are this month’s experiences:
- Led a group of College students on a trip to New York City for exposure to urban ministry.
- Helping coordinate and execute a 4 week Men’s Breakfast.
- Was accepted into REBUILD church planting network.
- I’ve been coaching a new KIDS resident in the support raising process.
- Ang and I have been praying and processing through making disciples in our neighborhood.
These are the two biggest reflections from the last month:
- Bringing an “Empire State of Mind” to Austin.
- Preparing for an exciting upcoming season.
Bringing an “Empire State of Mind” to Austin:
I had the privilege of being on a team that led 60 college students to New York City (NYC) over Spring break. Going into the trip I was beyond excited because I was leading an urban ministry team that was focusing on talking with leaders of urban multi-ethnic and multi-cultural churches.
During our week long trip we met with leaders from Apostles Church, Trinity Grace Church, Redeemer City to City, Bridge Church, Graffiti Church, and Christ Crucified Fellowship. I will be posting individual posts detailing lessons learned from some of these leaders. Overall, each of these churches greatly stirred within me a desire to see disciples made of all people groups. My desire to see the local church being an expression of unified diversity in an urban multi-ethnic context increased dramatically. I know this has consistently been the drum that I beat but seeing this expression of the church with my own eyes makes me want to engage in urban ministry all the more.
I have no false notion of multi-ethnic ministry being easy or somehow being more glamorous than a homogeneous church. As a matter of fact most days I am overwhelmed by the task. I feel totally unprepared, I have no clear vision if my engaging in this type of ministry is in church planting, within an established church, through non-profit work, etc. I simply don’t know.
Preparing For An Exciting Upcoming Season
With that being said my acceptance into the REBUILD network is a clear next step. Two of the four pastors I spent time with in NYC are graduates from REBUILD and are now coaches for new cohorts going through the church planting residency. I couldn’t be more grateful and ready to learn from men who have invaluable experience and wisdom in urban ministry.
Along with getting ready to go through REBUILDS nine month residency I am also helping raise up a new campus leader in our KIDS ministry. Once I get this motivated woman fully supported and taking on more ownership of our KIDS ministry I will be freed up to be intentionally engage my lost neighbors in St. Johns.
I have some big hopes and ideas I am praying God will allow me to start and see through in the next 16 months. Angela and I are ready to take a step forward in engaging our neighbors, building relationships, and purposefully sharing the gospel in our neighborhood. Our hope is to find a way to get into the neighborhood elementary to start serving our local school and build relationships with faculty and parents. We’re creating margin in our schedules to regularly have neighbors over to our home, as well as intentional time to be in the neighborhood park building relationships. What’s the most exciting is I am seeing God creating a righteous angst among other believers at our campus to reach our neighborhood.
- Please pray that I can balance the responsibility of an increased campus role with the course load of REBUILD.
- Please pray for my family and I as we take the leap to intentionally give up everything but the gospel for the sake of the gospel as we engage our neighborhood. Also, please pray for more laborers to join us.
- I need to learn Spanish! Please pray that I can find someone to teach me at least conversational Spanish soon. Also pray that I don’t have to sell one of the kids to do this.
- Please pray for our campuses new resident as she continues faithfully trusting God to bring her financial supporters. She has until June 1st to be fully supported.
- Finally, please pray for wisdom, humility, and discernment for both myself and the leaders of my residency. I know I can become laser focused on something and chase it at all costs. Pray that I would remain humble and teachable when it comes to the leading of my pastors.
In February I had the opportunity to serve a group called “Future Travelers.” The group consists of church planters from all over the country who come to Austin to receive coaching from Todd Engstrom of The Austin Stone and Trevor Joy of The Village Church.
The biggest lesson I learned was understanding how to lead from the middle. There are three levels of leadership. The Up level is executive leadership, the middle are leaders who balance top level leadership and staff level team members. Down level leaders are staff and your “boots on the ground” team members. Finally, there is the “out,” which answers the question why?
Leading from the Middle:
Up (Top Level Execs): Trust
Down (Staff): Buy In
For the month of February I have been stretched and pulled like never before. Here are this month’s experiences:
- Had lunch with Andy Kampman Director of the 100 People Network.
- Was given the opportunity to observe a cohort training with one of our Elders and pastors from around the nation.
- Met and have been going through weekly trainings with the college students I am leading to New York City in March.
- Helped connect people at my campus with resources and counseling during our Sexual Sin series.
- I took Noelle to her first dance for Valentines Day.
- Identified a new intern to help with our campus KIDS ministry.
- Walked through some difficult conversations.
- I was able to volunteer at the CROSS conference.
- Have moved on in the application process with the REBUILD Network.
These are the two biggest reflections from the last month:
- Urban ministry is hard.
- God is drawing me closer through difficulty.
Urban Ministry is Hard:
At 1:00am on February 19th there was a drive by shooting at my house. I will not go into details about the incident but the whole situation transpired over $5.00. Literally. My family and every other family on my street were put in danger over one guy being disrespected over $5.00. There has been a sense of pride in being the “urban ministry” guy at church. A sense of being a part of something different, something edgy, something exotic. I thrived off of that feeling. My head stood a little higher, my walk had a little extra swag, and I felt like I was doing something most people were too afraid to.
The reality is I am afraid most nights. For the last 12 days I have been paranoid, mentally fragile, physically drained, and emotionally exhausted. I don’t know what it looks like to love my neighbor when their actions put my family in danger. My neighborhood doesn’t feel like home anymore. The day after the incident I spent hours cleaning my house hoping it would make my home feel safe again. It didn’t. I have questioned my call to this place more so now than the almost 3 years we’ve been in Austin combined. When I leave for work I take an extra second to double check my front door and let the question, “Is my family safe?” sink in before I walk to my car.
I don’t know how to respond to people. I have experienced one of two extreme responses from most people.
Extreme One: You live in the ghetto what did you expect?!
Extreme Two: You need to move your family away from this now, clearly God wouldn’t call you to this!
Most people in my context have no earthly idea how to empathize nor have a clue how to speak into this. I don’t judge them, but I also don’t know how to help them. Extreme one is insensitive. How does a response like that help to “bear one anothers burdens?” Extreme two is naive. Look at Jesus, how in the wrong was he if God doesn’t call us to suffering?
God is drawing me closer through difficulty.
There is still joy to be had in the midst of this storm. In light of all that happened recently God has used this situation to open doors that have been closed for the last 18 months. In the last 12 days Angela and I have met our neighbor Lucy across the street, I’ve spent time hearing my neighbor Shawn’s story and shared the gospel with him, and I have been able to pray with the grandmother of the young man who was the shooters intended target. Even crazier is the young man responsible for this has a younger brother. That younger brother spent about an hour at my house this past week sharing how hard things are at home, how much he enjoys his new job, and if Angela and I would be open to teaching him how to cook random vegetables his employer gives him.
God is granting me favor with neighbors that wanted nothing to do with my family and I before this incident. I also feel as if God is keeping me in an emotional state to break my pride and open my eyes to see the hurting, forgotten, and marginalized people of this city the way he does. From a man running through our campus with a blanket, to my next door neighbor who crashed into 3 other cars in front of my house, to the gentleman who showed up to church convinced he is the 800th reincarnation of the prophet Elijah, I see these people differently. I want them to know Jesus. I want them to know they’re not alone, that regardless of what circumstances have led up to their current life situation there’s good news! The Messiah has come and he has died for them, and he freely offers them a new life in Himself.
This has hands down been the hardest month of my residency. My thoughts, my actions, everything feels dry. Despite all that has gone on recently my love for Jesus has not been shaken. My love for His church has grown. I am incredibly appreciative for the handful of men who have come around my family and loved us so well. Things are different…
This week I have spent a great deal of time processing through the church’s role in reaching unreached peoples. My thoughts on the church’s role in reaching unreached peoples will come from three resources. I will begin by unpacking the theological reasons based on a John Piper sermon. From there I will transition my focus to practically what this looks like for the Western church by engaging with a David Platt sermon (unable to link due to password restriction) and my time with Andy Kampman Director of Mobilization for the 100 People Network.
Let the People’s Praise You, Let All the People’s Praise You!
In Dr. Piper’s sermon he unpacked Psalm 67 and painted a clear and compelling picture answering the question “Why God cares about the nations?” Psalm 67 says,
“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, 2 that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations. 3 Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! 4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. 5 Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! 6 The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, shall bless us. 7 God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!”
There are four points in this passage that show us why God cares about unreached peoples.
1. God aims to be known as the one and only true God. This first point is based on verse 2, “that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.” Dr. Piper articulates extremely well how this is a very arrogant claim unless it’s true. If true than going to the unreached people of the world is a humble, obedient, daring response by those people who love those that are perishing.
2. He wants the nations to know that he is a God of justice. Verse 4 says, “Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity…” This is a profound point because it is saying God will judge based on no partiality. Regardless of nationality, skin color, family tree, socioeconomic status, level of sophistication, etc.
There are only two people in God’s eyes; those in Adam and those in Christ. Romans chapter 5 contrasts these two men in depth. By way of summary Gods justice requires perfection. Those who are in Adam (People whose hope is not in Christ) are not perfect but still in their sin, yet those in Christ are deemed perfect. This is NOT because of their works but Christ’s perfect work on the cross in their place for their sin.
3. God aims to be known for his sovereign power. At the end of verse 4 the Psalmist says, “and guide the nations upon the earth.” This is not the only place God speaks of being the ultimate sovereign over all worldly governments. Other passages that talk about God’s sovereign power are Proverbs 21:1, Daniel 2:21, and Daniel 4:35, among others.
4. God aims to be known as a gracious God. Verses 1-2 say,”May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, 2 that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.” That phrase “your saving power” is literally your salvation. While verse 4 starts with, “Let the nations be glad…”
How God demonstrates his grace makes the nations glad is through his salvation found only in Jesus Christ! John Piper summarizes this message well,
“The heart of the missionary message to the nations is: God will save you from your sin and guilt and condemnation by grace through faith in his Son Jesus Christ. We go with a message of grace, not a message of condemnation.”
To conclude this section John Piper does well in his unpacking of Psalm 67. He shows us that God cares about unreached peoples. He cares for people to worship Him as the one true God, the God of justice, God who is the only sovereign, and God who is gracious. I recently received great wisdom from a friend who said, “Anywhere in Scripture that it is clear that God cares about an issue you should care. Regardless of where your heart lands on the issue if God explicitly says He cares, you should care.”
God’s Glory Among the Nations in Practice
What does the chruch’s role in reaching these unreached people God cares about look like? David Platt discussed 8 non-negotiables for the local church that I won’t go into detail about here, but will list and add a few quotes I thought helpful.
- A God centered God
- Pastors and church leaders are mobilizers and equippers in the local church. The only thing that will drive people to mission and sustain them is God’s Word. True biblical theology drives urgent missiology.
- A life changing gospel. Making disciples is the supernatural overflow of being a disciple.
- Spirit empowered church
- A Christ driven strategy. Go and make disciples of all nations
- A people’s (ethne) goal.“The great commission is not a general command to make disciples of as many people as possible. It is a specific command to make disciples among every people group.”Unreached = No access to the gospel.Lost = have access to people and churches who can share the gospel.
- A multi-faceted approach. We need both/and local and international missions. We also need both/and in meeting physical and spiritual needs.
- Death defying commitment. When we engage in reaching unreached people groups we can be certain all the weight of hell will be warring against us.
In my time with Andy Kampman I saw him agreeing tremendously with Platts 8 non-negotiables while describing how he puts them to practice in weekly rhythms. Andy can spit stat after stat showing why unreached peoples need to be engaged. For example there are approximately 11,500 people groups in the world today. Of that number 6,000 people groups have never even heard the name of Jesus be spoken. Andy shared how there is a city in Eastern Turkey that is a college town where people fluently speak English. It has a population of 40,000 college students and none of them are Christian. Andy’s calling from God is to be a mobilizer, which is someone who trains, equips, and sends Christians from the local church to the unreached peoples of the world.
Andy’s model for mobilizing the church is called Goer Missional Communities. Andy is highly incarnational with his people and he bases his being so on Mark 3:14 where Jesus, “appointed twelve(whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach.” Andy doesn’t merely teach a class, lay out five steps to reach the nations, and call it a day. He is on a daily basis on his knees, pounding the pavement, and spending time with Jesus right alongside of his people.
Within this GMC model you see four primary rhythms revolving around Word, Demonstrate, Declare, and Prayer. They also utilize a method to be lived out weekly called 3,2,1. I know very creative.
- Word: 3 hours with Jesus
- Demonstrate/Declare: 2 hours with the lost (building relationships/intentional evangelism)
- Prayer: 1 hour corporate prayer
What Andy has seen through this model is now over 100 people from The Austin Stone sent to the unreached peoples of the world. In Andy’s mind seeing someone come to faith is great, but not the end goal. He focuses heavily on “rapid movement” or making disciples that multiply. The bar is high, but the results speak for themselves. Most new believers that Andy and his “Goers” lead to faith are sharing the gospel and reading the Bible with 5 non-believers in their spheres of influence within 48 hours of coming to faith.
In conclusion, the role the church should play in reaching unreached peoples is through intentionally making disciples of all people groups. We can accomplish this task through mobilizing, equipping, and training Christians in the local church through modeling what the life of the Christian looks like. We can equip our people through sound teaching of the Bible, giving them tools that lead to intentional gospel conversations, and we must demonstrate as leaders in God’s church what life on mission looks like. As I close, my hope is that this quote from Andy would leave you both convicted and emboldened. My hope is that you would begin to put into practice rhythms that will lead to disciples being to the extent that transformation takes place in neighborhoods, cities, and the unreached peoples across the globe. I know this word was convicting for me.
“Investing in someone is doing life together with little or no scheduled time together. You can’t tell someone what to do and expect them to obey. You have to show them what to do, that’s the whole point of Mark 3:14.”